Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Libria V: Daralon Massacre

For several months since the intervention of the Tau in the Librian system, barring the unfortunate incident at the Mid-Belt space station, the crusade forces had been largely quiescent, with very little new offensives on Libira I, and no punitive raids carried out. To General Abrahams this was a blessing, to Hathek a worry. What was Vorushko up to?

Never-the-less Hathek and Abrahams had Libria V to concentrate on. Since 07.014M42 the Tau-Eldar and rebel forces had suffered a number of defeats seeing their territory shrink to a small bridgehead in the now snow bound north of the planet. Only the settlement of Jutesberg and its space port remained in alliance hands. Abrahams believed that one more push would secure the city and drive the tau off the world.

Defeat at Libria V would mean a terrible blow to the Federal aspirations of the librian rebels. It would also make the acquisition of Libria as a friendly system a much harder task to achieve by invasion alone and might convince the Federacy that involvement in tau wars was no longer profitable. This outcome was unacceptable to the tau ethereals, and without the knowledge of the imperium, commander Windgather and commander Frostblade landed on Libria V at the beginning of 08.014M42.

During the first week or so of 08.014M42 the tau commanders watched as the Librian loyalists built up huge forces of men and equipment to start their offensive on Jutesberg. The build up was slow and obvious, and by a stroke of good fortune the tau even found out the date and time of the beginning of the offensive and acted accordingly.

The Abrahams plan was to conduct a frontal assault on Jutesberg preceded by a ferocious artillery barrage. The infantry would attack in force, while the Librian armour would outflank the city across the snow covered Jute Plain south of lake Silverwood. On 1008.014M42, minutes before the attack was due to start, the tau launched their own offensive...

More than three regiments of Librian guard were caught out by the tau surprise attack. Attacking in poor weather and sub-zero temperatures, the Librians found the tau forces perfectly adapted for cold climate fighting, and it became apparent that a new commander had been brought in who had experience of polar terrain.

The tau quickly dealt with the imperial artillery, the biggest threat to Windgather's forces, in an efficient manner which Skyfall had failed to do, to his cost. With the artillery neutralised, the tau were then on the lookout for the Librian armour, but as the hours went on, the armoured force failed to materialise. Meanwhile, out on the snow plains of the north, the Librians died in their thousands, most unaware of where the killing shot came from, as the tau poured overwhelming firepower into the infantry formations whose snow camoflauge was useless against such a technologically advanced foe.

General Abrahams frantically tried to contact the Librian armour, who should still have been in their positions to outflank the tau. However a ferocious blizzard had now blown in, and visibility around the tanks was down to just a few feet. The armoured units were blind and helpless, and were simply bypassed by alliance forces. By the time the blizzard cleared the imperial tanks were completely surrounded by tau and rebel Librian forces, and were forced to surrender.

In the centre of the Actonia Valley the massacre was complete. Three Librian regiments had been wiped out and the tau swept into the settlement of Daralon on 1408.014M42. The alliance had pushed into a long salient cutting off North Springley from the rest of the region while dealing a crushing blow to imperial pride and resources. Abrahams had thought on 0908.014M42 that one more push would break the Libria V invasion, now it looked like the war would go on for some time. Worse still the success of the alliance had fomented more riots and rebellion across the planet, and each day more PDF regiments sided with the alliance. The bulk of Librians still remained loyal however, at least for now, but with over 2/3 of the imperial strength on Libria comprising of Librian regiments, Abrahams feared a general collapse of morale if victory was not delivered swiftly.

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