Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Libria IV: Alliance land in force

While the imperial forces on Libria IV were still clearing up after the eldar raids, the alliance initiated their invasion. Windgather was the head of this force and the eldar forces were once again in the vanguard. Utilising orbital deployment and the webway, the imperial defenders soon found their lines in chaos as alliance forces appeared from all directions.

While the local PDF collapsed and the Novgorod guard, badly mauled from their previous engagements retreated, only the Lunar guard put up significant resistance to the initial landings. Savage battles between the red liveried guardsmen and the forces of the alliance continued from 16-1908.015M42, but the alliance could not be prevented from establishing a bridgehead on the world. However, the imperial defence had prevented capitulation, for now.

Libria V: Sky Lords break Novgorod offensive

With the loyalists removed from Libria III and the surrender of so many guardsmen to the alliance, Inquisitor Vorushko was keen to get her revenge and launch a demonstration of strength on Libria V, where the war between the loyalists and crusade forces had gone quiet for several months.

In the end however she was beaten to it, as the Novgorod guard launched a new offensive along the Acronia valley on 1608.014M42. Her forces depleted, there was little meaningful resistance from the crusade, until the Novgorod reached the outskirts of Daralon. Here the Sky Lords launched a counter attack headlong into the Novgorod forces, while more substantial crusade units scrambled to get into defensive positions. The Sky Lords managed to halt the Novgorod attack in its tracks, holding off the imperial guard for two days while taking heavy casualties. At one point a loyalist and Crusade Knight met in the middle of the battlefield, and the titanic combat culminated in the spectacular detonation of both war engines, after the crusade knight had smashed through hundreds of Novgorod conscripts.

The gigantic explosion ripped the heart out of the northern district of Daralon, but also further blunted the loyalist offensive. By 1808.015M42 the Sky Lords themselves were utterly spent, with just one uninjured marine and one battered vehicle left in the fight. However it was too late for the Novgorod as they now faced a significant defensive force. By 2008.015M42 the loyalists had actually lost ground, as Vannaheim regiments dislodged and ground the Novgorod back past their starting positions. The Libria V war had gone hot once more.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Raids begin on Libria IV

Following the destruction of loyalist forces on Libria III the alliance wasted little time in continuing the offensive against the imperial forces in the system. Having been defeated on Libria V and still facing a significant crusade threat on Libria III, the alliance desperately needed a secure base from which to launch operations. Now that they had the control of Librian space an invasion of Libria IV seemed the most obvious, but first the alliance drew on their eldar contingent to assess the defensive capabilities of the forces on the ocean world.

A series of raids conducted by eldar and dark eldar forces all along the coastal settlements of Libria IV caused a great deal of collateral damage, while massacring an entire batalion of Novgorod guard posted to defend the world. Satisfied that the planet was ripe for invasion the eldar then disappeared via the webway, leaving the imperium to clean up while the alliance prepared their invasion force.

Libria III Current

New Alliance offensive destroys Launceston's Loyalists

While Launceston's loyalist army was still retreating across the northern plains Horon and Hevenia, harried all the way by Vorushko's crusade army, the alliance launched their next major offensive against him. Aware that much of the loyalist army was engaged in a fighting withdrawal in the west, the alliance quickly gathered a sizeable offensive force against the imperium in the east, facing the imperial lines across the Sederra Tundra Highlands in Far Hevenia.

The alliance force was potent. Committing their reserve to this assault in order to break through the Voral defensive line and take Chapel Cross before the crusade, the alliance boasted nearly one hundred librian regiment, the entire (or close to) Iron Warrior's legion led by Apollo himself, Commander Windgather's army and a large contingent of defectors from Vannaheim.

Commander Skyfall's army was sent north in the initial attack, along with much of the Librian force, and the offensive succeeded in creating a ywaning gap in the imperial lines. Into this Apollo lead his elite forces, and on 0808.015M42 the alliance met General Launceston's strategic reserve in the Voral highlands. The heaviest fighting took place at an outpost settlement in the mountain pass, which was the lynch pin of the loyalist defence. Here the imperium had placed their veteran forces, consisting of Novgorod Guard and the Adeptus mechanicus Warhound-knight maniple, the last loyalist mechanicum force on the planet.

In reserve Launceston had the Librian 8th armoured division and the Prozan 9th attack win, and these were quickly committed after the alliance began the assault on the outpost. Initially Windgather suffered horrendous casualties from the Warhound, but the knights in the maniple were quickly eliminated. For a time it looked like the imperium might hold on, as Apollo struggled to get his reserves co-ordinated in the mountainous terrain. Eventually though the ancient astartes commander teleported into battle, and despite losing many of his terminator comrades, Apollo himself survived the titanic energies unleashed by the warhound, and he created a legend for himself as he destroyed the towering war machine in single combat in front of the imperial lines.

The loss of the warhound seriously impacted the loyalist ability to hold the line, as the Novgorod were shredded by artillery and massed fire from Windgathers tau and eldar forces. on the right flank the Librian armoured regiment was battered by a traitor knight and eldar fire dragons, while in the centre the alliance were now able to advance unimpeded. By the end of the day the outpost had been taken, and the imperium were retreating down the southern slopes of the Voral mountains.

With his last defensive position compromised, Launceston's army was soon cut in two, with half retreating back towards Chapel Cross, and the other half caught in the wilderness of Hevenia between the crusade and the alliance. Two days later Launceston disobeyed his commanding office on Libria IV, and offered his surrender to Captain Apollo and the Federacy. The alliance accepted, although it took a while for the tau to agree the surrender to the Federacy and not the alliance. Meanwhile the alliance immediately sent forces to bolster the retreating loyalists against the crusade, allowing those who recognised the new situation to fight on for the Federal army. Most of the Novgorod refused, some even refusing to surrender, but nearly two-thirds of the Librian forces accepted the terms, after a clever ethereal managed to present them in a way consistant with the Librian book of law...

The loyalists had now lost control of Libria III, and the alliance only had to defeat the crusade now to take the prize of the Librian system.

Crusade take Pardula Bay

By the end of 07.015M42 the loyalists under general Launceston were in a terrible position. Their supply lines were cut with the defeat of the imperial navy in space, and on the ground the Iron Warriors were preparing their alliance forces for a renewed offensive. Meanwhile to the south and west of Launceston's rapidly shrinking empire, the crusade were pushing forward relentlessly.

Evading patrolling alliance ships with apparent ease the Minotaurs conducted the latest in their series of assaults on imperial positions, mostly held by Novgorod regiments. As 08.015M42 began a devastating strike against the loyalist positions on the Breaklen mountains broke the maine line of resistance to Pardula Bay. the Horon isthmus quickly fell and after a massacre of Novgorod forces the remaining imperial forces on the peninsula surrendered to the Crusade. now Launceston was forced to move his HQ to Chapel Cross, a small city on the shores of the Inner Sea.

In addition Launceston began building up a significant defence line in the Voral Mountains, and pulling back his forces from the largely unpopulated wildernesses in the north. Launceston's long march wasn't even half complete when the final blow was delivered...

Iron Warriors fleet mauls imperium

Ever since admiral Pendragon ambushed the federal fleet in 05.015M42 the imperium had controlled the space around Libria III and prevented the alliance from resupplying from off-world. Although the tau and federal forces had managed to resupply from the vast swathes of Librian territory they now controlled, the offensive to take the world had stalled and the crusade were making significant gains. Then on 0608.015M42 Apollo's pre-heresy Iron Warrior fleet, previously held in reserve, was thrown into the fray.

The entire Iron Warriors fleet was sent against Pendragon including at least eight capital vessels and one battleship. This ought to have easily defeated the imperial battlegroup, but unknown to the alliance only days before Admiral Collingwood had arrive with a significant flotilla, and now the two forces were evenly matched.

Apollo's commanding admiral handled his vessels skillfully, forming his fleet into a line which was aimed at neatly crossing the Imperial "T". Pendragon, aware of the damage a pre-heresy fleet's massed long ranged lances could do nevertheless resolved to meet the attack head on, intending to rush headlong at the alliance formation to deliver a devastating torpedo run, followed up by mass gun battery and lance fire.

A more conservative imperial admiral may have turned for the Iron Warrior's vulnerable rear, but Pendragon wanted a decisive result, to avoid the inevitable stand off should neither side be able to inflict significant casualties in the ensuing action. Unfortunately for the imperial admiral, despite some woefully inaccurate shooting on the side of the alliance, particularly with their lance batteries, the imperial attack failed to deliver a decisive blow, and the chaos vessels easily avoided the torpedoes which were launched.

Worse still the angle of approach of Pendragon and Collingwood's vessels was nowhere near the 90 degrees the imperial admiral wanted. The effect was to string out the imperial fleet at an angle to the alliance battleline, allowing the Iron Warriors to concentrate their fire on each imperial ship while half the imperial vessels remained out of range. One by one imperial vessels were picked off in this way, until the Manticore, Sir Bedeviere and Wyvern had been reduced to complete wrecks. The Sir Percival was crippled and four cobras destroyed before the remaining imperial vessels turned and disengaged, allowing the Iron Warriors to take control of space near Libria III. On the alliance side the damage was exceptionally light, with only the hades class Barium taking any significant damage. In their first engagement in 10,000 years the Iron Warrior fleet had scored a major success.