Friday, October 11, 2013

Tau advance on Tyranteous. Eldar intervention shocks Imperium

During early 10.013M42 the imperial position on Tyranteous went downhill rapidly. After a relatively static period the tau launched a new offensive utilising a number of battlegroups. Commander Windgather struck west, while in the east Dawn Stride prepared his forces to assault the Praetorian Wall, now defended by reinforcements brought by the influence of the sector commander, Titus Luthor.

In the east the Tau suffered. The defences of the wall were manned largely by the Novgorod Guard regiments, lead by General Chuikov. Chuikov worked well with overall commander General Cunningham, although his tactics of attrition appalled the veteran Librian. While Cunningham was used to deploying highly trained and well equipped regiments backed by artillery and tank formations, Chuikov sent wave after wave of poorly trained men at an enemy with frightening firepower.

The losses from 0410 to 1110.013M42 were horrific, with thousands of guardsmen cut down every hour by Dawn Stride's forces. The Novgorod regiments however were nothing if not numerous, and Chuikov always had a reserve to throw in. After over a week of attritional warfare against the defences of the wall, the tau pulled back, their attempt to break through a failure.

Meanwhile in the west Windgather had more success. The city of Hawkshill was surrounded quickly as the Zadocian PDF resistance crumbled. With Windgather able to call on eldar allies apparently at will, even the Crimson Fists, who deployed in company strength to defend the city, were unable to stop the tau forces from breaking through. Hurridly the 450th Orbital Drop Force was redeployed to defend the city, using its Vendetta flyers to break the stranglehold the tau now had on the imperial settlement.

Despite the imperial guard forces acquitting themselves well and even taking down a terrifying eldar Wraithknight, the aerial reinforcements were brutally shot out of the sky by tau broadsides, once again demonstrating the superiority of tau weaponry. The whole western front now looked close to collapse, with Cunningham presiding over yet another defeat to the tau.

Later in the same week the eldar appeared again, this time independently and far from the tau front line. Clearly acting in support of their tau allies, the eldar, identified this time as the particularly dangerous Rillietan faction, launched a devastating raid on the supposedly secret Adeptus Mechanicus base at Thraxicon in the Granite Hills. The Adeptus Mechanicus defended themselves as best they could, calling on their space marine allies for help.

In the thick of the fighting the Chapter Master of the marines managed to get close enough to the eldar command group to launch a daring attack on the eldar farseer herself. He managed to cut the alien spiritual leader down, but his triumph was short lived, the laughing god immediately exacting his revenge on the hapless astartes warrior. This left effective command to the Adeptus Mechanicus and their commissariat representative. The commissar himself showed extreme bravery in standing upright as an example to the men, even managing to shrug of a direct hit from a Fire Prism thanks to his refractor shield. He pointed upward and declared this as a sign the emperor was with them, before being shredded by accurate and overwhelming shuriken cannon fire...

After four hours the battle was over and the eldar had disappeared. Thraxicon was in ruins, as was the principle armourer and manufacturer of vehicles for the planet. This was disastrous for Cunningham, who was once again contemplating the prospect of surrender or evacuation. For the sector commander and Inquisition the arrival of the eldar on Tyranteous signalled a deepening of the alliance relationship. Whether the eldar had decided to officially throw in their lot with the tau was still unknown, as at least some eldar had deep misgivings about wholeheartedly supporting the younger race. At present however it seemed the majority of eldar in the sector were now working for the alliance under the auspices of the Rillietan. Very bad news indeed for the imperium.

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