Saturday, May 02, 2015

Stahl invades Minos

For more than a year the forces of chaos had failed to make much headway against the Imperium. Their attempt to invade Bastien had ended in defeat, and although they had managed to rid Zadoc of the worshippers of the corpse god, the alliance had intervened and now the Arch Cleric was firmly on the back foot. Worse still the Iron Warriors now had to contend with their ancient brethren in the Zadoc subsector, as the warp rift which had seen Admiral Haskell create the Federacy had once again brought forth ancient foes from the dark past.

Warsmith Stahl had been luke warm at best about the invasion of the Zadoc subsector. He yearned for the retaking of the Perseus Deeps, long a stronghold of the traitor legions and a base from which the Iron Warriors sought to eventually reclaim their destiny. The Harakhty Dynasty, which had swept all before it in previous years, now appeared dormant, and following General Veers abortive efforts to gain a foothold on Mordecai, and the defeat of Jellicoe by Admiral Thok, Stahl knew it was the right time to go on the offensive once more.

Stahl chose his original target, Minos, to launch his new crusade. He reasonedas before, that taking a base so close to the Imperium's vital bases in the Vastrid sector, would render them impotent against a later reconquest of Bastien. His forces set off in late 04.015M42, and on 0105.015M42 war came to Minos.

The invasion took place in the dead of night, and Stahl's arrival caught the Imperium off guard. throwing the Imperial defence plan into tatters. Stahl's enemy comprised of the Novgorod Guard and a force of Space Wolves, deployed to Minos on intelligence that suggested an imminent attack. Moving his Iron Warriors into the open, Stahl presented an apparent opportunity for the imperial forces to counter attack, and the followers of the Emperor fell straight into the chaos trap.

The Wolf Lord with his Thunderwolf Cavalry immediately assaulted the chaos spawn in the centre of Stahl's force, hoping them to be the first of many, however it was not to be - rather they were to be stuck fighting the invisible Spawn while there minds befuddled by magic for most the battle.

With the Wolf Lord trapped in combat, on the left the Rough Riders attempted to atone for their previous failures by destroying Rhinos containing the Iron Warrior Tank Hunters who were targetting the Space Wolves Murderfang and Vulnerable Dreadnought. Unfortunately the Rough Riders failed miserably. In return the passengers disembarked and destroyed Murderfang, while the Rhino Tank Shocked and broke the Rough Riders who were then run down by the Iron Warrior Bikers. At this point the order to break the foe came from Stahl who personally led the attack on the right flank. Hellbrute Mayhem packs and Helldrakes were released upon the field from orbit and in a coordinated attack, every unit that could fell upon the Imperials supported by fire from Vindicators, Obliterators and Havocs. The Skitarii forces attached to the Space Wolves attempted a rescue by drop pod assault to prevent the second wave of Maulerfiends from launching an attack, and they half succeede. However in return they were met with a storm of bolter fire and finally were torn to pieces themselves.

Meanwhile on the right flank a demolitions team mission to assassinate Warsmith Stahl went disastrously wrong due to grav-chute mechanical failure. The Imperials attempted to call on further air support but it was too little to late. During the hour of carnage the Wolf Lord was still trapped fighting ghosts. Realising the Iron Warriors had seized the forward positions, killed all other commanders, broken both flanks, flooded the centre and sent Maulerfields behind Imperial lines into the Mechanicum armour there was a risk of a general rout on the field and so called a tactical retreat to spare the Imperium further losses. Stahl now had a foothold on Minos, sending the Imperial high command into a frenzy of panic.

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