Sunday, May 31, 2015

Libria III: Alliance retake West Cartasia

The loss of the Dark Eldar from the alliance didn't seem to make much difference to the ongoing ground campaign on Libria III as 06.015M42 began. Although the loyalists were now in control of the space around the planet they were unable to turn that to their advantage, as the alliance still had a huge advantage in terms of atmospheric craft. With only one carrier following the destruction of Sir Bedeviere, the imperial navy simply couldn't compete. Orbital bombardments were helpful, but the imperial fleet had to both conserve ammunition in case they were attacked from space, and bombardments tended to lead to the ultimate destruction of settlements rather than their liberation, so were used only in the direst of situations. For the most part the imperial navies resources were spent ensuring supplies reached the beleagured General Launceston. They were no help whatsoever to the crusade, who Pendragon's fleet largely ignored.

The alliance launched their next offensive on 0105.015M42, moving a powerful tau force, led by commander Skyfall and his experimental riptide wing into the plains of West Cartasia. Here the land was generally flat, and the defending crusade forces were unable to match the alliance in raw firepower. The initial; assault quickly took the urban area of Krichten and swept the small inquisition indentured guard forces out of the area.

True to the crusade tactical doctrine, once the tau had committed their troops the elite counter attack followed. The Sky Lords mounted an armoured spearhead into the centre of the tau defence, supported by an Adeptus Mechanicus Knight. Initially the tau had severe problems countering the mechanicus war engine, and several precious riptides were simply ripped apart by the mechanicus leviathan. the sky lords too had initial success, their armour largely protecting them from the withering fire. However the battle turned in the city of Krichten itself, as the core of Skyfall's troops desperately tried to defend key positions from the onrushing astartes.

In the middle of the thickest fighting, a riptide finally managed to wreck the Sky Lord's command land raider, forcing the terminators inside to advance on foot. Not only did this slow the marines down, but the entire tau line was now able to open up on the infantry. Despite their advanced ancient armour the terminators were cut down by sheer weight of fire and prevented from reaching the tau lines. This was a significant setback for the astartes force, who now found their flanks beginning to buckle under tau pressure. The Knight continued to wreak havoc, but there was only one. Eventually the remaining Sky Lords, accompanied by the Knight, were forced to turn back to the coast, leaving Krichten and West Cartasia in the hands of the tau. A weakness in the riptide wing had been identified, but more territory had been lost to the xenos invaders.

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