Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Libria I: Crusade mount flanking offensive

With the crusade on the run on Libria I the loyalists could be forgiven for becoming a little complacent. Exploiting this the crusade forces, led by the Order of the Crimson Veil and the recently "recruited" Volscian Guard regiments, planned a daring attack which would, if successful, stop the loyalists in their tracks. Having lost hector, the crusade were now on the defensive in the west, but the cities of Careret and Kent City were in opposite directions and Hector was difficult to supply via the road to Novato. For now the loyalists were undertaking the massive effort of moving supplies and HQ units from the middle cities to Hector in order to continue the offensive. No immediate threat to the east and north east was detected. In the far west however, the cities of Freeburg, Blandon and Selmer looked vulnerable. While the loylaists looked west, the crusade husbanded their forces near Ansonville and planned to take the geopgraphically close Freeburg and Blandon, thus cutting off Selmer entirely.

The initial assault was led by the Order of the Crimson Veil. Lacking in guard defensive units, the rear guard of Lycaon and Novgorod Guard were quickly overrun, and the Space Wolves were unable to turn back the crusade push, while the Crimson Veil declared all Space Wolves "mutants" and heretics. The Astartes counter attacked but found themselves under too much fire from the zealots and were forced to abandon the settlements. Now the Volscians pushed through to Selmer and were astonished to find the city practically undefended. However, the loyalists then planned a counter assault in force. they unleashed the Ultramarines drop force onto the Volscians at Selmer, utilising the almost total air and space superiority still enjoyed by the loyalists, thanks to Admiral Jellicoe's fleet.

The drop on Selmer was intended to annihilate the Volscians. With the Ultramarines in control of Selmer General Zhukov would follow up from the east and force the crusade to abandon their recent gains or be caught with superior enemy forces on both sides. Somehow that didn't happen. Filled with righteous fury and denouncing the Ultramarines as "blind sheep" the Volscians held despite taking horrendous casualties. Not only did the Volscians not break, but the Ultramarines saw them working hand in hand with the Angels of Redemption, who they treated as gods or "true sons of the Emperor". In addition, the number of raw conscripts fielded by the Volscians was extremely high, and not all had functioning weapons. All however seemed to have an unshakeable faith in the crusade and its aims.

The faith, plus numbers, told very quickly, and the Ultramarines drop turned into a disaster. Valuable drop pods were lost as were Ultramarine lives, and the assault to retake the other two cities was quickly cancelled. The crusade had successfully managed to halt the overwhelming and seemingly unstoppable loyalist advance on Libria I.

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