Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Skyfall defeated on Zadoc

In mid 01.014M42 the Emperor's Children inflicted a rare reversal of fortune to the tau armies prosecuting the war on Zadoc. For months the tau had focussed on battering the imperial armies, generally avoiding the forces of chaos to the east of their occupation zone. For a while the chaos forces, similarly unwilling to fight on two fronts, had observed a tacit ceasefire, attacking the imperial armies only and jockeying for position with the tau by capturing various imperial strongpoints. However by early 014M42 the chaos high command, or what passed for one, realised that before long the tau would successfully "hem in" the traitor forces, cutting them off from the remaining imperial lines and forcing them to perform difficult amphibious and airborne missions to carry the war to the Imperium.

The tau had also laid siege to the chaos held city of Gyennt, and on 1801.014M42 the Emperor's Children legion led a large army against Skyfall's sector, attacking his forces on a narrow front where the tau army held a tenuous foothold on the southern continent across the straits of Chadana.

The ancient astartes led the attack, their elite warriors and ancient war engines proving a difficult opponent for Skyfall's seasoned veterans. The violence of the assault was enough to convince Skyfall to abandon the seige of the chaos city and withdraw north of the Chadana sea. For the first time in a good while the tau had suffered a reverse on Zadoc, although the defeat had been of little strategic significance.

New Ork Warlord pushes north on Hylas

Despite the Imperium gaining control of Hylas space in late 013M42, this didn't immediately translate into success on the ground. The Adeptus Mechanicus soon departed the Hylas system, leaving the Imperial fleet depleted. Only a handful of vessels remained close at hand to provide naval support to Van Dorn's hard pressed troops, and orbital bombardments against orks are often futile.

In early 014M42 the orks once again took the initiative on the ground. Na'Porkleon's gains into West Coast had been halted by 01.014M42, but new forces, delivered by Da Verminator's fleet before it was defeated, soon made their presence felt. A new Warlord, known as "Koghk", led his Bad Moons against Van Dorn's lines on the plains to the west of Mount Flynn. The Librian forces opposing the orks held a very straight defensive line, but had had little opportunity to dig in. On 2201.014M42 they ran out of time, as Koghk's forces powered across the landscape.

The ork force was similar to those faced on Hylas by Van Dorn's men, but contained a notably higher number of battlewagons. These ungainly looking constructs were none-the-less fast and well armoured, and the Librian forces found them extremely tough opponents. This armoured protection largely resulted in the orks reaching the Librian lines, although hellhound tanks proved lethal to any mobs who disembarked for too long.

With the Bad Moons now intermingling in the imperial lines, the librians began suffering heavy casualties, and air support proved impossible to direct. Van Dorn realised his line was untenable and ordered a retreat, allowing the new ork warlord to advance over a great swathe of the plains of West Coast. The imperial general now risked his forces being cut in two, with some forces withrdrawing towards North Eaton on Etonia, and others retreating east. Only the treacherous shifting isles linked the two imperial forces by 2901.014M42, and Van Dorn desperately needed time to dig in or blow the bridge from West Coast to Etonia.
Special mission: The next Imperial vs. Ork game should focus on the capture/demolition of the Etonia bridge

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Zadoc Latest

Carcharadons fail to halt Tau. Vieto, Morozzo taken by Skyfall

the beginning of a new Terran year didn't bring any respite for the beleagured forces of the Imperium on Zadoc. Although morale had been "stiffened" by the appearance of the Carcharadons, the front line defences had not. The Tau command saw fit to launch a dual new offensive in early 01.014M42, inviting commander Skyfall to plan and oversee the operation and execution of the new assault.

Skyfall immediately took to the idea of a dual assault. The tau, benefitting from internal lines of supply (as opposed to the external ones now faced by the Imperial, cut in two by the recent offensive to the Tucciomua Sea) could afford to launch an attack in the north and south at the same time. Seeing no immediate threat from a quiescent Chaos front, Skyfall made his plans.

The southern offensive saw the tau move swiftly west across the plains of Massatta in a headlong dash towards The Vett isles and the important city of Vieto. Using ambush tactics the tau overcame the Zadocian defences and circumvented the stronger Novgorod held positions, and by 1901.014M42 they had captured the city.

The only battle worthy force able to strike back was the Carcharadon force which had so recently chastised its comrades. However the space sharks did not shirk from their taks and launched an immediate and punitive assault on the tau - and human - positions on the southern Massatta plains. The Carcharadons massacred the inhabitants of village after village, to the distress of the local populace and the tau alike, but the xenos commanders would not be drawn. Eventually the Carcharadons were forced to assault the Tau directly, where Skyfall had built significant defences.

The critical battle occurred near Pereggor, as Skyfall's tau fought a desparate defence of their positions as they came under sustained attack from the astartes. Despite horrendous losses the tau gave as good as they got, and managed to fend off the imperial assault. Battered but unbowed the Carcharadons withdrew. They had caused material damage to the tau but failed to halt their advance.

Now the position in the south looked tenuous. One southern thrust would cut significant forces off in the east of Masatta near the Nanali Sea, and Brooke began looking at options for withdrawal to shorten his lines.

In the north things were no better. Pushing north from Todetto Skyfall's forces fought a bitter series of engagements with Librian regiments, and once again Wavell was not averse to fielding his heaviest assets in the form of a shadowsword company. The super heavy vehicle's Volcano Cannon proved lethal for any tau who got in its path, but Skyfall's tactics - which gave him his name - utilised the Tau air superiority to land elite crisis teams behind the imperial lines. This coupled with a serious failure of the Librian regiments' plasma weaponry, ensured that the imperial defenders lost too much in the way of men and materiel to hold the line.

By 2201.014M42 the front line had been squeezed back towards Morozzo, and on 2301.014M42, the city fell to the tau, leaving another tenuous strip of imperial land between the tau and chaos forces in the north. Wavell now had two withdrawals to plan. On 2401.014M42 Wavell gave the go ahead for operation failsafe, withdrawing all troops and equipment from the mainland of Zadoc and fortifying the island continent of Riontas and its islands. He waited nervously for the reaction of his superiors and the lord Inquisitor of the sector...