Thursday, December 05, 2013

Zadoc offensive: Northern front

On the northern flank the tau-eldar alliance were concerned with pushing as far north as they could, as quickly as possible. The city of Antolovi, in the central plains of Foregi was a strategically vital location neither side could afford to lose. Knowing this, the eldar proposed to utilise their own eldritch forces to their advantage, and in the crucial battle of Antolovi in the hours to come, an unnatural darkness pervaded the battlefield, aiding the technologically advanced tau and hindering the imperium.

The Alliances forces attacked aggressively from the start, Eldar forces pouring into the city and capturing the strategically vital central plaza from the outset. The Tau advanced around the edge of the city, their railguns and broadsides covering the more open ground there and their disruption fields making them all but invisible in the blackness. Eldar waveserpents followed close behind, supporting their advance. A series of EMP missile strikes caused disruption to the imperial side, knocking out tanks escorting the superheavies but the baneblades themselves were too well shielded. Meanwhile a sudden tempest engulfed the Marines holding the foremost trenchworks killing some of their number in the eldritch electrical storm. The Luginia refinery on the left of the Imperial line was also attacked and occupied by Stealth teams who overcame the meagre forces holding it.

The Imperium then counter attacked in force, as they had been expecting the alliance to assault Antolovi. A massive alpha strike was launched against the Tau forces advancing through the city outskirts. In a carefully pre-orchestrated ambush drop pods rained down amidst the tau lines supported by flights of land speeders. They caused significant damage to the tau but failed to annihilate them as planned. However the Tau offensive ground to a halt as intense fighting erupted in the centre of the city. The Marines of the Raven Guard chapter sustained exceptionally heavy casualties with only a few small pockets left fighting by the end of the first day, but they succeeded in sapping the tau advance of all momentum and preventing them from advancing on their objectives. Meanwhile Carcharodon scouts backed up by Imperial Guard tanks recaptured the refinery, wiping out the Stealth teams occupying it. They then successfully held it against a counter attack by Kroot infiltrators and Eldar walkers.

It was in the central plaza that the battle for Antolovi and the central Foregi plains was decided. A massive air strike was launched by the Carcharadons which immediately ran into a storm of anti-aircraft fire and enemy interceptors. In a swirling dogfight almost all of the space marine attack craft were shot down and their occupants killed as they tried to extricate themselves from the wreckage. In a final last ditch effort to remove the alliance forces from the objectives they had secured, the Imperial guard unleashed a cataclysmic bombardment, indiscriminately carpeting the entire area in a hail of explosive shells and weapons fire as airborne forces moved in to recapture what was left. When the bombardment lifted the Imperial commander saw that, incredibly, most of the enemy forces appeared intact and ready to fight. Realising the battle was lost the airborne attack was called off the the Imperial forces retreated in good order to the north.

With Antolovi lost to the alliance, holding on to Chettalo was also impossible. The mobile alliance forces hounded the imperial retreat, ensuring that they were only able to regroup by 0512.013M42, surrendering much of the Foregi plains to the tau. Now the alliance had a secure foothold on Zadoc, and held the initiative. Chaos would need to be dealt with, but for now the intervention of the eldar had accelerated the tau invasion, although a complete collapse of the imperial line had not come about.

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