Monday, February 17, 2014

Operation Sandstorm

By mid 02.014M42 the tau were making solid progress towards final victory in Zadoc. The imperium had been largely removed from the mainland continent and the forces of chaos had been defeated in the south. On the ground the front had been stabilised, but in the wider system there remained the imperial presence on the Zadoc trading outpost, a constant thorn in the side of the tau invasion and a potential springboard for an imperial counter-invasion of the planet.

On 1702.014M42 the tau command received reliable reports that an astartes strikeforce was gathering on the remote and barely habitable outpost. With their fleet already engaged in important duties the tau never-the-less felt they had to act. Contacting their eldar allies the older race agreed to allow some tau units to travel through the webway, so long as they were escorted, and planning for Operation Sandstorm began in earnest. Commander Windgather, his units being so used to being around their eldar allies, was selected as commander for the mission. In addition it was hoped that Windgather's unbroken string of victories would bode well for such an important mission.

The Tau and eldar forces managed to reach the outpost undetected, thanks to the webway, and immediately began sending in forces against each strategically significant point on the rocky and barren planet the tradins post resided on. There were a few skirmishes, but on the whole there was little serious fighting, the guardsman forming the garison at the trading post wholly unprepared for such a surprise invasion. However the Blood Angels were already mustering west of the main inhabited complex, preparing for an assault on Tau positions within the Zadoc system.

Windgather's forces immediately attacked, catching the Blood Angels by surprise. Caught out in the open the astartes were wholly outclassed by the alliance force, and although they fought doggedly, the most they could hope for was survival against a superior force. Even the rocky terrain of the outpost didn't serve them well for long, and in a few hours the Blood Angels force had been annihilated.

Receiving word of the attack, the Carcharadon's raced in to help their comrades, but unfortunately for the imperium weather conditions around the trading post proved challenging, and not only did the airborne elements of the Carcharadon Astra chapter arrive late, far too late in any case to aid their brethren, they also arrived piecemeal. The result was a disaster. Having finished off the Blood Angels the tau-eldar force now turned on the inbound marine force, dealing with each arriving wave in turn, and turning the counter attack into a bloody rout.

By 2002.014M42 Operation Sandstorm had achieved its stated objectives and the imperial military occupation of the Trading post had been eradicated, strengthening the tau hold on Zadoc even further. For the imperium the loss of their staging post came as yet another devastating blow in the war on Zadoc, which was looking like a defeat, much like Tarsis, Alphe, Betor and Tyranteous. With Libria declared heretic by the most senior inquisitor in the sector, some wondered if there would be an imperial presence in the Zadoc subsector at all for very much longer.

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