Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tyranteous: Chaos final assault fails, Tau take Fallenvale

With the chaos position almost hopeless on Tyranteous, the imperial guard commanders were confident that now only the tau would prove to be their real enemy on tht planet, but still they were instructed to hold defensive positions against the forces of damnation, rather than launch an all out attack to finish them off. Little did they know that the fact that imperial intelligence were well aware that the strength which had so far been pitted against them by the forces of chaos did not represent the total strength of Lorek and his allies. Daemons had been used in place of conventional troops, and Lorek was in fact husbanding his valuable ground forces as he knew he was vastly outnumbered by his loyalist enemies.

The invasion of Tyranteous had taken a turn for the worse however, so Lorek ordered his entire strategic reserve, along with a massive daemon summoning, to attack by surprise out of the Granite hills in the shadow of mount iceclaw. Although the imperium were right about the chaos ground forces, arcane technologies and daemonic pacts had so far shielded the bulk of Lorek's marine forces from the imperium. On 1405.013M42 he committed them.

The imperium first learned of the new offensive as farming collectives and small settlements sent garbled pleas for help then stopped responding altogether. A PDF batalion was sent to investigate and did not return. Observation by air, resulting in savage casualties to the imperial navy determined that a huge force of marines and daemons was now moving north on Fernal Crossing. If this fell, the entire region of Ferval would fall to chaos and the final victory of the imperium over their arch-enemy would be set back once more.

The Librian 78th, 114th and 59th mechanised were sent to face this threat, assisted by half a company of Blood Martyrs astartes, representing the greater part of General Mikell Denham's southern armies. He was sure this was Lorek's last roll of the dice and was determined to smash his foothold on Tyranteous once and for all.

General Sackville was given charge of the force, designated West Army, as Denham re-organised his forces into four armies. Other than West there was North, defending against the Tau in North Landing, led by the Corellians, but made up of a range of forces. East, covering East and Grent, under General Illiani, commander of Zadoc forces and Centre, defending the capital and the Wendrick region led personally by Denham himself.

Sackville devised a brutal strategy to counter Lorek's advance, and one the Blood Martyrs fully endorsed. The forces of chaos were baited to fall upon the imperial armies, who had formed a wide front as they travelled north west, stretching from the Granite hills to the Lanwick sea. Sackville's advance was obvious, and as soon as the forces of chaos wheeled to meet him, he took up defensive positions.

The two armies clashed in the planes, the forces of Lorek and his daemons piling into the Librians with savagery. The 78th regiment was almost wiped out, the 114th lost half its strength and the 59th had nearly all its equipment destroyed. For a long time it appeared Sackville was losing, as horrific reports of casualties came in from the front. Sackville merely nodded, consulted with the Blood Martys, and threw ever more men into the meatgrinder.

The loss of life was horrendous, but the imperium could make good the losses, while Lorek could not reinforce his precious legionaries. Worse still while the daemons and traitor marines were orchestrating a massacre in the valleys, the Blood Martyrs met lighter resistance on the imperial left flank, taking the high ground and putting Lorek's forces at the disadvantage. After four days of fighting the daemonic entities began to weaken, and yet Sackville still had men to throw into the battle, though by now even his superior Denham was having second thoughts about the strategy. However, by now the Blood Martyrs had scouted the territory of the Granite hills, and quite by chance found one of the small cultist parties responsible for the summoning of the daemonhosts. The space marines quickly determined the source of the daemons from the screaming captives, before executing their prisoners and ordering a strike on the daemon portal from orbit. The strike cruiser Phoenix quickly ran the tau blockade, fired on the co-ordinates before escaping into deep space.

On 2105.013M42 the daemons allied to Lorek abruptly vanished, and the gods of the warp withdrew their favour from the venture. What was left of Lorek's legions made their way into the wildernesses, either teleporting back to unseen ships during night hours, or using warp portals to evacuate the planet. The chaos invasion of Tyranteous was finally at an end.

Meanwhile the tau had been highly successful in expanding from their initial beachhead but the Imperium still held out in the northern cities. If they could be driven out of their prepared positions in the major population centres Imperial resistance in the north would collapse. The honour of claiming the cities was given to the cadres of the Ksi'm'yen Sept, Shadowstrike's own Sept and veterans of the Tau's wars throughout the sector.

The meticulously planned operations were imperilled when poor weather covered the northern continent on the day of the attack. Rather than push back the operation and lose the element of surprise Shadowstrike ordered the attack on Fallenvale to go ahead anyway. At zero hour Stealth Suites and Kroot auxiliaries who had infiltrated the settlements overnight fell upon the defenders as Shadowstrike's Cadres moved into the city outskirts.

The defensive positions were manned by men of the Corellian Storm Guard, an elite and well lead unit but outnumbered as the Tau had been successful in keeping the point of their attack from Imperial Intelligence. The Corellian artillery and fortified positions were neutralised by stealth units before they could do much damage but before long re-enforcements began pouring in from throughout the city and the battle hung in the balance.

As the battle raged the weather worsened with torrential rain, lightning storms and high winds blanketing the city. The appalling weather kept the Tau atmospheric fighters grounded, unable to patrol the air over Fallenvale without exposing themselves to Imperial flak guns. Used to air dominance Shadowstrike's Cadres without ground based anti-aircraft weapons and were totally vulnerable to the strafing runs of the Corellian Vendetta gunships. The Tau's supporting armour paid a heavy price, utterly exposed to the aerial attack.

But in the fierce street fighting it was the infantry that held the key to victory and after many bloody hours the Tau emerge victorious. Fallenvale was taken and many of its remaining defenders forced to surrender, although the air mobile Storm Guard were able to make their escape under cover of the storm. In the south Hammerton was also encircled by an armoured push and cut off from friendly forces. The Imperial position in the north was looking untenable, only constant raids on the Tau's supply infrastructure preventing a total collapse.

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