Sunday, February 15, 2015

Libria III: Alliance and Crusade intervene in civil war

A new stage of the Librian campaign opened in mid 02.015M42. Having been defeated on Libria V, the alliance, now just the Federacy and the Tau, moved significant forces towards the system capital Libria III, a world of over a billion and the key to the entire system. The alliance move was anticipated however, and Vorushko's spies soon found out the exact date and time of the alliance intervention on Libria III. It would come in the north, near the strategically important loyalist held cities of Parth, Santo and Regina.

The alliance landed tau forces including Hunter Cadres under commanders Skyfall and Windgather, as well as a substantial force of Iron Warriors legion troops, now representing the Federacy while the federal fleet was still en route. Their objectives were for Windgather and the Iron Warriors to aid the rebels in taking Santo and if possible, a breakout to the strategically vital Tameron-Ocano industrial complex. Meanwhile Skyfall would move on Parth, and if possible surround Regina from the south.

Realising that such a defeat for the loyalists could see the alliance take Libria III and make her squabble with Hathek irrelevant, Natalia Vorushko acted swiftly. She convened with her crusade council and it was decided that the loyalists would be given support, and that her least homicidal forces would take part in the defence of Libria for the emperor, at least until the alliance situation was brought under control. Her agents contacted the senior commander on the ground days before the attack, so when it came the imperium was ready and waiting. At the same time, to throw the rebels off balance, the Lunar Guard attacked in force further south in South Vale.

The South Vale attack went well for the imperium, thanks to some strategic brilliance on behalf of the Lunar Guard commander, who had assumed command of the entire South Vale front. As the attack began the imperial general realised the rebels wouldn't be able to resist a counter attack if his line showed weakness. The Lunar Guard then made it appear that their lines were becoming stretched, leaving larger and larger gaps between units. The Librian rebels took the bait and threw their armoured reserve into the supposed weakness. Once the armoured columns had penetrated ten miles into the Lunar Guard lines, the loyalist general unleashed his reserves, which had been carefully hidden in selected terrain features. Demolisher battle tanks and veteran squads armed with melta guns smashed into the flanks of the rebel armoured column, cutting off its head and causing horrendous casualties.

The loss of the rebel reserve broke their lines, and only stubborn defence and careful tactical withdrawals prevented the defeat from becoming a rout. The Lunar Guard, who had performed so well in setting up the victory, now appeared to squander the chance for a decisive breakthrough, taking too long to follow up the retreating librians and allowing them to reform the line. Never-the-less the loyalists had a victory and the rebel city of Lazarus was now cut off from support.

In the north east the results for the imperium were not so good. In the far west the Dark Angels landed a small force to bolster the defenders of Parth, but the overwhelming firepower of commander Skyfall, who was trialling new Riptide configurations, caused intolerable casualties to the astartes and they were forced to withdraw. Parth did not fall, but the imperial lines were pushed back to the the city limits.

In the centre the main fight developed between the imperium, now backed by the Sisters of Battle and Mechanicum, and the main alliance forces under commander Windgather. Although Windgather himself was once again seen to withdraw his person from the battlefield early on, this was put down to strategic considerations, though it attracted the derision of the Iron Warriors in support. The battle then became intense and close matched, but eventually the forces of the alliance managed to gain the upper hand, pushing the imperial forces back and reching the Regina sea. This was critical, as now the imperium were split into two forces. Quickly the imperium managed to shore up their lines to prevent the Tameron-Ocano complex from coming under threat, but this meant sacrificing the city of Santo, which fell on 1902.015M42.

The alliance and Crusade forces had now arrived on Libria II. So far Vorushko was more concerned with defeating the alliance than with those who would disobey her edict, and the alliance, although victorious in their first actions in helping the rebels, were not able to achieve the decisive breakthrough which would shorten the war.

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