Sunday, November 03, 2013

Chaos held on Zadoc

While the tau ground forward on Tyranteous, they made no progress on Zadoc as the newly landed troops made good their bridgehead. Meanwhile in the far south, where the lush vegetation in Atonerni gave way to the polar tundra of Mida, the forces of chaos continued their advance against the imperium. However in Mida the Imperium put up a determined defence, knowing the narrow strip of land south of the southern ice sheet would force their enemy to advance along predictable lines.

The first of these advances came on 0311.013M42 with a determined thrust from Khornate legionaries and their allies. The bezerker marines rushed headlong at the enemy positions, defended by the Adeptus Mechanicus and a force of Astartes, hoping to quickly overwhelm the loyalists. The Imperium had dug in well however, and the chaos advance soon ran into difficulties as it was pounded by imperial gunfire. In only a few hours the rush had been halted, the forces of chaos unable to cross the killing ground prepared for them. For now at least the chaos advance had been halted.

Meanwhile in space the Dark Angels pushed further in system, encountering lord Tragaen's vessels as they escorted more chaos reinforcements to the surface of Zadoc. The Dark Angels immediately launched an assault on the chaos ships, but found to their dismay an enemy whose gunfire was unnaturally accurate. As the two fleets passed each other in the upper atmosphere of Zadoc, the exchange of fire was unusually one sided. The astartes quickly started losing ships, a strike cruiser exploding dramatically in the early stages of the battle, which led to further destruction of a host of excorts.

The Dark Angels returned fire, but somehow Lord Tragaen's vessels managed to evade much of the withering fire, partly thanks to distortions in the upper atmosphere and partly due to blind luck. Regardless of the reason the chaos vessels only suffered minor damage, although one carnage class was forced to retire. As the fleets closed for battle once more following the first pass, another strike cruiser was critically hit and detonated, its remains plunging to a fiery death into the Gontina sea, throwing up tsunami all along the coast.

The Dark Angels now realised to continue the engagement would be a serious folly, and retreated from Zadoc, allowing Tragaen to complete his reinforcement of the planet, taking the moon base in orbit for good measure as his personal fleet base. The Dark Angels meanwhile moved their fleet away from the immediate vicinity of the primary inhabited system, looking for other ways to cause problems for the chaos invasion. They found their opportunity when they made contact with elements of a Khornate fleet, attracted to the Arch Cleric's cause on Zadoc by the fighting. The force of five cruisers was immediately attacked by the Dark Angels, who inflicted significant losses on the fleet before withdrawing again. It was a pattern of hit and run tactics the Dark Angels would now continue in their determination to disrupt the invasion of Zadoc.

The overall effect of the Dark Angels' action in space was mixed. Tragaen's reinforcement of the world had not been stopped, and his fleet remained very strong with perhaps eleven capital ships in the system by 0611.013M42. The khornate fleet had been mauled, but this force was only loosely allied to the invading forces at best, and the Iron Warriors had gained use of "the Device" in any case. The actions did show that the chaos fleet now deployed at Zadoc had increased to maybe twenty capital ships, and a force to dislodge them was not currently available, lest the defences of the Perseus Deeps and Vastrid be severely weakened. On the ground the action by the Mechanicus greatly improved the morale of imperial forces on Zadoc, giving them their first victory since the invasion began.

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