Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Admiral Tragean Breaks out of Kendrenec

For several Terran months following the defeat of Jellicoe at Bastien by Admiral Thok and the Gotterdammerung, the imperial fleet had searched the vast and dangerous Perseus Deeps region of the Aleph sector for the dangerously powerful war engine and her escorting fleets. Aware of the power of the vessel, Jellicoe had ensured that he kept his forces together, preferring to leave some areas exposed rather than risk part of his fleet being cut off and devoured by the Gotterdammerung.

This policy of concentrating his forces meant the main bulk of the imperial fleet, save for admiral Pendragon's force (including Admiral Somerville) at Libria spend most of its time at Farport. Only escorts and light cruisers, capable of getting away from the chaos fleet were sent out, ranging far and wide to search - in vain - for Admiral Thok.

Fortunately for Jellicoe the eldar and necrons seemed uninterested in their usual raids, while the forces of the alliance were concentrated in the Zadoc subsector. The tau in particular were unable to take the opportunity presented by Jellicoe, as they desperately needed their fleets to protect their holdings and convoy routes.

Admiral Tragean however needed bottling up in Kendrenec. Since the overwhelming defeat of chaos at Bastien in 014M42, Tragean had not ventured out of the Kendrenec system, and it was widely believed his vast space docks were also home to the majority of the remaining fleet of the Arch Cleric. However time had past and by mid 015M42 Jellicoe knew that the forces at Kendrenec would now be much restored, and at least part of his fleet would be needed to maintain the blockade.

Jellicoe made his case to the segmentum command of the imperial navy directly, and just weeks later Admiral Collingwood appeared with a battlegroup of cruisers and cobra destroyers. This welcome force was immediately added to the blockade at Kendrenec, allowing Jellicoe to maintain his large fleet at Farport.

Tragean was accutely aware of the blockading fleet's and Jellicoe's difficulty, for he had worked with Thok on the new plan to wrestle the naval initiative away from the Imperium. With the naval blockade weakened, the chaos warlord decided to probe the imperial defences, and sent a force of five cruisers on a blockade run. They immediately ran into Collingwood's newcomers, and an engagement took place on 1007.015M42.

The imperial fleet approached prow on, adhering to standard imperial naval strategy when confronting chaos, while Tragean's forces formed a tight arc bringing their formidable broadsides to bear. In the first exchange of fire the chaos fleet managed to avoid serious damage, while Unicorn, a tyrant clash cruiser, was quickly hulked. Tragean then launched his escorts, five iconoclasts, through an asteroid fields for a surprise attack. Unfortunately two out of the five were lost in collisions with rocks, seriously blunting the attack. Only one escort survived the battle.

Collingwood now sent in his cobra escorts on a torpedo run. The chaos vessels however did not turn away from the onrushing destroyers, and the cobras faced the full weight of the enemy firepower. All were destroyed and Collingwood found himself on the back foot. The exchanges continued, with Doombringer and Unforgiveable crippled, but the two carnage class vessels remained largely undamaged and able to pour continuous withering fire on the imperial vessels. Collingwood too had two more capital ships severely damaged, and outgunned, was forced to disengage the remainder of his fleet.

The blockade had been broken, and although the result wasn't one sided, the imperium had suffered a strategic defeat allowing Tragean and his allies to leave the Kendrenec system. Jellicoe now feared that Tragean, Thok and the Arch Cleric might form up again, and with the Gotterdammerung be a force that only overwhelming superiority in numbers could defeat. Forced to concentrate his forces at Farport, Jellicoe effectively left the rest of the Perseus Deeps open to raiding by the forces of chaos.

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