Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Zadoc reversals continue for Imperium

As 013M42 drew to a close, general Wavell was no more successful in stopping the rot on Zadoc than his predecessor. He did however request more in the way of reinforcements as it was becoming clear the eldar deployment in the alliance sector was significant, and the arrival of tau forces from Tyranteous shifted the balance of power even more in the favour of the alliance. To counter this the Iron Warriors had also increased their deployments, both by mass enslavement of the populace within the chaos zone, use of the daemonforge and resupply via the vast traitor fleets which had descended on the system.

Titus Luthor agreed to the reinforcement of Wavell's armies. He managed to secure the use of a new imperial navy battlegroup, commanded by Admiral Pendragon, which was dispatched to the system on 0612.013M42, arriving in good order on 1612.013M42. Meanwhile on the ground Wavell waited, his army set in defensive positions across the imperial held territory of the world.

On 1112.013M42 the alliance launched a much expected advance into the low lying west coast of Foregi, heading towards Todetto and the Tucciomua sea. The force was largely composed of eldar forces, with support from the tau commander Lightspear, employing large units of wraithguard and Wraithknight walkers. The Corellians facing them were well equipped however, and for the first time they deployed their much feared Stormsword superheavy tanks.

The massive war engines posed a severe threat to Lightspear and his eldar allies, but he had forewarning. The alliance had seen the massive war engines being deployed from orbit, and knew well their capabilities. Tau shielding technology was therefore used by the alliance army, and these forcefields provided much needed protection from the massive shells fired at them by the Corellians. Even so the tau took heavy casualties, but Lightspear's elite crisis suits managed to drop behind the Corellian lines using the tau superiority in the air. Almost all these deep insertion teams were massacred, but the super heavy vehicles were all knocked out of action or destroyed. Late intervention by imperial navy Vendettas caused some concern, but after a fierce and costly battle the Corellian line was breached in several places and Wavell ordered a retreat. The fighting continued but Todetto fell on 1812.013M42.

In the north the Darantine regiments had been largely moved to garisson duty following their losses in recent defeats to the alliance. One regiment had been posted to sentry duty on Anorigo, and these were the first troops to feel the full wrath of the new Iron Warrior offensive.

Supported by daemonic war engines and led by a mighty daemon prince of chaos, the Iron Warriors fell upon the northern isles catching the imperial forces completely by surprise. The Darantine regiments attempted to put up a defence, but with their backs to the sea they were hard pressed by a force whose component parts arrived in total synchronicity, while their own reserves arrived piecemeal. The chaos army simply cut up the imperial forces into smaller chunks, annihilating each one in turn. By the time Toddetto was falling to the tau, Anorigo's capital Andiselie, had fallen to the forces of damnation and the Darantine forces were atempting to cross the Peran straits to Foregi. Some forces made the crossing, but they were closely followed by the Iron Warriors. By the end of the year the chaos force had taken the northern isles and established a strong beachhead in the north of Foregi.

While the imperium continued a seemingly never-ending retreat on the ground, in the space above and around the capital of the subsector, the Imperial fleet of Admiral Pendragon had arrived. The force of one battleship and five cruisers was immediately challenged by a similar force of chaos warships, part of Lord Tragaen's fleet. In the ensuing action, neither side attempted any subtle tactics, and both forces simply closed on each other all guns blazing. The result was predictable, with neither force able to claim victory. Pendragon lost one cruiser, and had three more badly damaged, the chaos gunners proving particularly adept at aiming at the enemy vessels' bridge, killing the captain and senior staff. This posed difficulties for Pendragon in the latter stages of the battle, as his vessels proved less and less responsive to his orders.

Tragaen's fleet also took heavy damage, despite losing no ships. All but one of the chaos lord's vessels were badly mauled, and Tragaen was obliged to dispatch nearly half his fleet at Zadoc back to base for repairs. In that at least Pendragon had scored a victory. However with only two undamaged vessels, the imperial admiral was unable to break up the tau fleet now resupplying Zadoc, and for now the strategic initiative in space rested with the alliance.

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