Sunday, July 07, 2013

Tyranteous; Tau edge south

General Cunningham took control of the situation on Tyranteous by immediately arranging a daring counter-attack on Shadowstrike's forces nearing Greenberg. On the right flank of his armies the Praetorians would hold a defensive posture, while the Librians and Blood Martyrs led the assault from the west of lake Renbow.

The offensive was begun in complete darkness, and Cunningham committed significant armoured forces to the attack on the built up industrial farming complexes north of the city of Greenberg. To a casual observer this would seem poor strategy, as the Librian armour would be at an apparent disadvantage in the built up area, and the tau had superior night fighting equipment. However Cunningham knew that the tau were also very effective in the open fields, so by taking shelter amongst buildings and ruins he was reducing the aliens' advantage. He also reasoned the tau would not expect an attack at night, and in this he was right.

The assault initially took the tau completely by surprise. There was no preliminary bombardment and the imperial forces were able to close with their enemy before the tau realised this was a serious attack. Losses were high and several units simply withdrew without orders, and the tau retreat soon risked becoming a rout. Shadowstrike was away at the tau HQ at the time, but the tau commander on the ground was an able and experienced commander. As the Librians and Blood Marryts surged forward the tau commander kept his head, and despite having lost much of his army he utilised his remaining forces expertly. Riptides were once again key to the battle, but in the end the outcome of the battle was decided by a fierce firefight between tau fire warriors and the astartes. In the end the tau just held on, and despite Cunningham's initial hopes, the offensive stalled as the sun came up, and Shadowstrike was able to wrestle the initiative back for the tau.

With mounting casualties and the tau reinforcements plugging the gaps in their lines, the Librians were forced to retreat, allowing the tau to encircle and take Greenberg, reaching the shores of lake Renbow and cutting the imperial army in two on 0307.013M42. Now commander Dawnstride launched his own offensive in the east, seeking to smash the Praetorian armies on the imperial right flank.

Dawnstride's forces moved into the plains of east Wendrick meeting little resistance from the imperium until two days into the advance. Then the tau met the prepared positions of the Praetorians, who had created formidable defensive positions in a line running all the way from Tallengrove Crossing to just north of the Renbow Refinery complex. The tau struggled to penetrate the prepared positions of the Praetorians, although they quickly dealt with the imperial heavy guns. In a confused battle which degenerated into a long range gun duel, Dawnstride's forces were simply not prepared for the close quarters fighting which was needed to take the Praetorian defences.

After several days of inconclusive fighting, the Praetorians even launched an infantry counter-attack, led by their abhuman Ogryn auxilla. This attack was repulsed with heavy casualties sustained by the imperium, and the tau wondered why the imperium would launch such an attack which had such a slim chance of success. In fact the tau had simply failed to understand imperial logic. The Praetorian commanders knew full well the outcome of an infantry assault against the tau in broad daylight, but while the tau were busy annihilating these forces, they were not concentrating on the defenses themselves, and the imperial forces were given breathing space to move their reserves up to the defence lines. By 1007.013M42 it was clear that Dawnstride would be unable to penetrate the "Praetorian Wall", and the tau called off the offensive in the east.

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