Thursday, March 09, 2023

Rifts of Hecate battles continue

While the battle in the Hecate Gap raged with the Imperium getting the upper hand, battles in the Rifts of Hecate proper reignited. If the Imperium did secure the Gap, it would become all the more important for the other factions to secure bases in the Rifts to avoid being steam-rollered by the Imperial Crusade. At the same time the factions of heretics and xenos sought to undermine the positions already held in the region by imperial garrisons. 

The first of the renewed conflicts in the Rifts of Hecate flared up on Helos Majoris, the main imperial base in the Rifts themselves. With most of general Maximus' armies now engaged on Ergura's Fall and Haven, the Drukhari thought they would opportunistically raid the world, sending a force to obtain slaves and equipment while also damaging as much imperial infrastructure as they could.

Unfortunately for the Dark Eldar, a company of the Unnumbered Sons, not seen before in the sector, had quietly arrived in the area and responded quickly to the imperial garrison's distress calls. The astartes caught the xenos raiding force by surprise and quickly annihilated them, freeing the slaves and minimising the damage to imperial infrastructure.

On Pyrrho Zeta the Night Lords were pursuing their own aims for their dark gods, which mostly included raiding necron tombs for artefacts and supplies. Not realising the necrons were not in fact in suspended animation the Night Lords blundered into one such tomb and quickly found themselves in a violent firefight. The guns of the necron force overwhelmed the traitor astartes and this particular mission had to be aborted.

On Calthingum the chaos held bases found themselves assaulted by ork forces in early 03.023M42, as the continued violence in the area brought more and more greenskins flocking to the fight. This particular band of Bloodfang orks may have been part of a wider strategic operation by the greenskins, were destined for Haven and got lost, or had decided to make a detour to fight some chaos forces. In any event the brutal xenos race landed in force, and the chaos garrison on Calthingum resorted to summoning a horde of Khorne daemons to oppose the invader.

The appearance of greater daemons seemed to energise the orks however, and a violent and disorganised melee erupted around a major chaos held installation. Despite killing the ork Warboss, the appearance of another - or the same ork Stompa as the one seen elsewhere (the random spatial-temporal nature of ork tellyporta technology not precluding the possibility of the Stompa effectively being in two places at once) turned the tide for the greenskins as it bludgeoned a blood thirster from existence. Seeing this the ork boyz rallied once more and overwhelmed the rest of the chaos army, securing more than a foothold on the chaos held world.

Imperium bludgeon their way forward on Mordecai

While the war for the Hecate Gap raged in the galactic East, the ongoing attritional conflict on Mordecai Secundus did not take a back seat. Both sides were somewhat exhausted and although the Imperium held a slight advantage in terms of supply, having bottled up the chaos fleet in their anchorage, Kutuzov's armies were unable to take full advantage, lacking a safe passage across the Cicatrix Maledictum, and with Army Group Perseus still competing with Army Group Hadron for the precious reinforcements of personnel and equipment.

By late 02.023M42 Kutuzov had received new regiments of Librian Guard, even though their homeworld was now part of the secessionist Federacy. He was assured by the Commissariat that their loyalty was not in question, though their fighting ability had not been tested for some time. With this in mind the general assigned the 51st Mechanised Regiment the task of retaking the Abrax mines, knowing that should they fail, the strategic situation on the Eastern Front wouldn't likely be too detrimental.

The Librian force rolled into the now chaos held western reaches of the mine complex without meeting much resistance, but were soon opposed by an elite force of Emperor's Children. The mechanised troops forced their way forward, supported by Leman Russ, and although the traitor astartes were able to move into close combat with the armoured formations, the Librians proved extremely stubborn. Casualties soon mounted on both sides, but the chaos forces found it difficult to take down the heavily armoured imperial tanks, and after several hours of hard inconclusive fighting, were forced to withdraw due to worsening supply issues.

The battle hadn't been a stunning victory for the newly arrived Librians, but the inconclusive engagement ended up favouring the Imperium, and the guard regiment was able to hold on to a small section of the mining complex. Satisfied with the performance of the Librian regiments, Kutuzov drew up plans for his next offensive.

Tau suffer major setback on Ergura's Fall

While major fighting continued on Haven, the Imperium were still keen to advance on Ergura's Fall. the world had become a conflict between the Tau, Imperium and forces of chaos, but as the tide turned against the worshippers of the dark gods strategically, imperial command judged that a general withdrawal of chaos forces was now likely. The necrons continued to be a problem around their tomb worlds, but the Tau were the major force that needed to be dealt with.

General Maximus was unable to allocate any fresh troops to operations on Ergura's Fall, so Inquisitor Huron, having been rescued from his excursions on Haven, turned to his own contacts to defeat the Tau, securing the assistance of a force of Grey Knights, who deployed onto the world and immediately planned a shock assault against Tau positions.

The Tau were taken completely by surprise by the appearance of the elite forces of the Inquisition, and although they put up a strong fight, the battle in the rolling plains that characterised the system's only habitable world was extremely one sided. The Tau forces who engaged the Grey Knights were obliterated, and the xenos force lost an entire Hunter Cadre and were forced to retreat. The Tau forces on Ergura's Fall had now lost a third of their strength, and the Imperium now had breathing space to finish off the orks on Haven before turning their full strength to securing the second system vital to controlling the Hecate Gap.

Violent Escalation on Haven

In early 023M42 Inquisitor Esquerra had issued an edict for the Imperium to secure the Hecate Gap by taking the worlds of Ergura's Fall and Haven, while preparing to evacuate the Rifts of Hecate, closing the gap in the warp storms once and for all. In an agreement with Inquisitor Huron, also working in the Hadron Expanse, Huron would seek the remaining necron Nexus Arrangement in the Rifts of Hecate, oversee the withdrawal of imperial forces from the region, secure the necron Tomb complex on Haven where another Nexus Arrangement was holding the Hecate Gap open, and close the Gap.

The rationale for closing the Gap was clear. Although the Rifts of Hecate were rich in resources, the combined threats of tyranids, necrons and lately a powerful greenskin infestation put the Imperium at risk. Imperial forces were already overstretched and at the end of a tenuous supply line in 023M42, and Esquerra wanted to secure the Imperium's logistics before attempting a crusade into new or in this case long lost territories. Inquisitor Esquerra had left on urgent business elsewhere, leaving Huron to oversee events in the Hadron Expanse, but Huron had other ideas.

The tomb complex containing the Nexus Arrangement holding the Hecate Gap open had fallen into ork hands, but the orks as yet hadn't figured out the importance of their find. With the Imperial armies actually doing rather well on both Haven and Ergura's Fall, despite the supply situation, Huron made the unilateral decision to change Esquerra's edict, conquer both systems in the Hecate Gap, and move forward with the Crusade in the Rifts of Hecate.

To do this Huron, with one Nexus Arrangement in his possession, moved to Haven in order to scout out personally the situation around the necron tomb complex now in the hands of the orks. He didn't bother to tell any military personnel of the importance or even existence of the ancient xenos artefacts, reasoning that ignorance was the best defence. Unfortunately on this scouting mission, the Inquisitor and his retinue found themselves surrounded by orks of the Bloodfang tribe, who were now within touching distance of two of the most powerful artefacts in the sector. Huron called for immediate extraction, and forces were scrambled to his location in order to hold a perimeter long enough to rescue him and his important artefact.

Many imperial units rushed to his aid including the Sisters of Battle, Dark Angels (including what appeared to be the chapter master himself) as well as hastily diverted Leman Russ battle tanks from a Librian mechanised regiment. Fierce and confused fighting erupted with the Imperium calling in bombardments as the orks swarmed the location, while even the tau, surprised by the commotion, sent their own air force to inspect the action. A number of quite baffling events characterised this engagement, including the unexpected behaviour of the ork Shokk Attack Gun, which at one point managed to replace an entire Leman Russ crew with snotlings. This initial success was somewhat damped from the ork perspective as the snotlings then began operating the tank for the Imperium. Later, the ork warboss was infected with a "madboy" virus, confusing him long enough for him to be slain in combat, while Inquisitor Huron's attempt to use Xenos technology in the form of a man portable railgun was less than effective.

Fortunately for the Imperium, the perimeter held long enough to see the extraction of all important personnel, and critically the evacuation of the Nexus Arrangement in the Inquisitor's possession. 

With the ork strength now understood, Huron immediately convened a council with General Maximus. The focus was the Greenskins and the necron tomb complex. All available forces including the reserves were deployed at Haven with one aim, to force the orks back. If they failed, Haven and Huron's mission would lie in tatters, as would control over and access to the Nexus arrangement holding open the Gap. Success would put the Imperium in pole position to fully conquer both worlds and continue the Crusade both Huron and Maximus dearly wanted.

Against the horde of orks including the mighty war engine "Hope Killa" were arrayed the forces of the Novgorod Guard, an entire Knight Lance and a force of Adeptus Custodes. The battle raged over the southern plains of Haven as the Imperium pushed north from their second bridgehead. Casualties on both sides were vast and the orks, having numerical superiority were able to systematically wear down the imperial left flank, where desparate fighting took place to hold off an ork counter attack. This imperial flank eventually gave way, but the time bought by this valiant stand allowed the Knights and Adeptus Custodes to throw themselves into the middle of the ork horde in the centre of the front the imperial mission had created. Most of the Knights were lost in the melee, but on the right flank the Imperium secured their objectives, and in the centre the sacrifice of the imperial war engines was not in vain. the orks were gradually exhausted to the point where the Bloodfang tribe retreated to avoid being encircled and annihilated.

With the main action over both sides counted the cost. The Imperium were now in control of nearly 40% of the world and were now the preeminent faction on Haven. One more push against the greenskins and Haven would fall to the Imperium.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Aleph Sector Strategic Situation 023M42

Fig 1: Faction dispositions, Aleph Sector 2402.023M32

+++Date: 2402.023M42+++

+++Access point: Farport Station Astropathic Relay+++

+++Security Clearance: Gamma Epsilon+++

+++Ref: ALEPH-SECTOR-BRIEFING 02_023M42+++

+++Originator: Throne Agent <redacted>+++

+++Recipient: Cardinal Valentina Schumadz

+++Thought for the day: A coward always seeks compromise.+++


My Lord Cardinal,

As you have instructed the reorganisation of Imperial Command in the Aleph Sector is now complete. General Baran Price (Vastrid) has taken over command of all Astra Militarum forces and has made the following changes. General Alexander remains in command of Valitane Subsector. General Foche takes command of Vastrid subsector forces. Zadoc and Perseus commands have been consolidated into Army Group Perseus under the command of General Veers. General Kutuzov remains in charge of 3rd Army to prosecute the vital Mordecai campaign. General Mikel Denham takes command of newly formed Army Group Hadron, with General Maximus in command of 8th (crusade) Army in the Rifts of Hecate.

The general situation is much unchanged from that of 019M42. In the Hadron Expanse the Imperium seeks to reconnect with lost worlds and extend its influence and control of resources into the Eastern rim while denying those resources to the enemy. However, supply lines are long and insecure, and without a pathway across the Cicatrix Maledictum under the control of the Imperium, missions in the Imperium Nihilis remain challenging and fraught with danger.

To this end the imperial forces remain invested in the capture of the critical supply system of Mordecai, with its mining and industrial resources. Control over this system will ensure the success of the missions now underway in the Hadron Expanse, and make possible the retaking of worlds in the Zadoc subsector lost to us. In addition, a future assault into the Federacy can only be made possible by success in the Perseus Deeps and what was the Zadoc subsector.

The enemy pursue their own heretical agendas, though specific mention should be made of the renewed Tau activity in the "Hadron Expansion Sphere", as well as a renewed xenos threat particularly from the greenskins known as the "Blood Fangs". The forces of chaos, led in the most part by the Emerald Serpent continue to oppose us at every turn, but with faith and perseverance we shall overcome in the name of the Emperor.

Your faithful servant.

+++End Message+++

Fig 2: Imperial dispositions, Aleph Sector 2402.023M42

Orks gain more ground on Haven

On Haven, the orks were still the largest and most dangerous faction vying for control of the world. Unlike the other factions with the exception perhaps of the Tau, the orks had not attempted to occupy both Haven and Ergura's Fall. Whether this was a strategic decision, guidance from the ork gods or simple chance was known only to the greenskins, and they weren't telling. However in late 02.023M42 the orks had noticed the threat, or interesting shiny things to kill and loot, in the shape of the chaos forces, and the Blood Fang tribe set out to investigate the chaos sector.

Led by Waagh Boss Grimskul Bloodfang and Hope Killer MkIII, a new or perhaps reassembled ork Stompa, the orks soon came into contact with the chaos forces. Surprised, the chaos cultists summoned a host of daemons including a Lord of Change and a Keeper of Secrets. Despite a group of Storm Boyz suffering an unpleasant fate, first being caught in a warp storm then brutally shredded by screamers of Tzeentch, the orks charged fearlessly into combat with the daemonic horde. The Mega Nobz suffered at the hands of Tzeentch Horrors, but Hope Killer lived up to its name, crashing into the main chaos line, eliminating the greater part of the daemon threat and casting two greater daemons back into the warp.

By the end of the battle the orks had spread their influence further over the surface of haven, looting the chaos encampments and strengthening their forces still further. The greenskin presence was beginning to alarm general Maximus, the forces of chaos and other factions alike, and now all began plans to bring down the Blood Fangs including the monstrous Hope Killer once and for all.

Mordecai: Chaos Eastern Front Offensive

While the imperial forces on Mordecai were pushing west towards fort Parganath, the forces of chaos had massed significant assets on the Eastern Front. Having been pushed out of the Abrax mines in previous months, the chaos army enlisted help from the World Eaters space marines and a lance of chaos knights, intending to smash through the imperial front lines then drive deep into the strategically important mines area.

the Imperium hadn't managed to erect significant defences in the east since retaking the Abrax mines, so the initial assault by the traitor marines easily overran the imperial lines. In response, the recently rested Hammers of the Emperor chapter of loyalist marines launched a counter attack. the battle was violent as the two astartes forces clashed. The World Eaters emerged victorious, taking the mines close to fort Abruphus, and ensured the astartes would be unable to assist in the battles further south.

Near the shores of the Kuneus Traps, the chaos knights advanced. Again the chaos forces easily overran the initial defences, but were soon opposed by a loyalist knight force. the two sides engaged in a titanic clash of war engines, but the aggression of the chaos forces overcame imperial resistance. Within hours every imperial knight had been reduced to scrap, and the chaos forces drove deep into imperial lines, taking a significant portion of the Abrax mines before they had to pause to allow their infantry to catch up and hold on to the recently won ground. By the end of 02.023M42 however, chaos forces had once again taken three quarters of the Abrax mines complex from the Imperium, slowly degrading the logistical advantage Kutuzov had so painstakingly built up. Now the chaos fleets would need to do their part in turning the war on Mordecai in the favour of the Dark Gods.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Ergura's Fall operations

In 02.023M42 the Imperium were in a reasonable position on both Haven and Ergura's Fall, though not the dominant faction on either world. On Ergura's Fall the local commander subordinate to General Maximus had been concentrating his efforts against the Tau, but recent reports of fighting between the necrons and forces of chaos presented the Imperium with a problem. Their positions on the world were overlooked by a large plateau to the south east, which if either the chaos forces or necrons gained control over, would threaten the Imperial sector on two fronts, potentially making control of the planet untenable.

To investigate this threat the Imperial commander sent an Imperial Guard patrol into the area of necron activity, hoping to find the xenos merely a dormant and reactive garrison force, but when the patrol advanced on some ancient ruins including the tell tale xenos monoliths, they were ambushed. Skorpekh destroyers advanced into a hastily prepared killing zone and were cut down, but the implacable advance of a phalanx of immortals escorting a cryptek proved impossible to stop. The imperial guard patrol was wiped out to a man.

The guard patrol did manage to get off a series of increasingly panicked communications before their demise however, and hearing the screams over the vox network, a task force of Adeptus Custodes homed in on the signal. By now the necron force had increased, and a lengthy engagement around a line of monoliths ensued. Neither side were able to overcome the other, but the Custodes were operating beyond their logistic supply limits and were forced to withdraw. the necrons too retreated to regroup.

Realising the necrons posed a significant force in the east, general Maximus demanded more troops be sent to deal with the threat. However, the crusade general was informed no astartes forces were available as they were committed to missions already, and that all the experienced Novgorod regiments were similarly tied down on the two theatres of operations. With reinforcements dribbling in over a very long supply line through the Hadron Expanse, Maximus only had a green force of Imperial Guard to commit to Ergura's Fall, the Librian 18th Mechanised division.

This was not a force Maximus wanted to use, as the Librians were still both of questionable loyalty to the Imperium following the world's loss to the Federacy, and the regiments in question were inexperienced even if they had the newest equipment available. Nevertheless it was all the general had, and Maximus just had to hope the necrons were a spent force.

They weren't. As the mechanised force rolled into necron territory they were confronted by a mass of xenos infantry. Rather optimistically the division commander ordered the Librians to engage, overwhelm the necrons and take their rear supply lines. These orders were not credible given the strength of the force that opposed them, although the Leman Russ battle tanks in particular proved effective against the necron force. The mechanised infantry faired far worse however, as the necrons piled into the imperial force engaging them at close range with combat weapons.

Gradually, despite taking moderate casualties, the imperial guard were themselves overwhelmed, and the Librians retreated in disorder. The nerons advanced onto the high plateau, putting the imperial garrison and main supply base on Ergura's Fall in serious danger.

Meanwhile in the northern hemisphere the forces of chaos had turned to deal with the tau on their western flank. Once again a small force of cultists were deployed to bait out an enemy reaction, and when the tau army arrived a horde of daemons was summoned in front of them. Bloody combat ensued and the tau Hunter Cadre and the xenos force was overwhelmed. The tau retreated and the chaos forces established a new perimeter, now controlling nearly a third of the sparsely populated territory on Ergura's Fall.

Mordecai Offensives

On Mordecai as 02.022M42 progressed, general Kutuzov had now regained the momentum, but his imperial guard forces were largely spent following hard fighting. In order to keep the offensive going, the imperial high command proposed a direct assault on Nazugral, where chaos forces seemed to be small in number although of high quality. Requesting astartes aid Kutuzov found that the space marines were also in the process of rebuilding their forces, and the main astartes chapter in the sector, the Hammers of the Emperor, would not be able to mount offensive operations for some weeks.

Fortunately a small force od Adeptus Custodes remained attached to the imperial forces in the Mordecai system and offered to carry out the direct assault. Kutuzov then placed his best mechanised regiments behind this force in the hope of a breakthrough towards Fort Parganath if the Custodes found the defences at Nazugral weak.

The Custodes force smashed their way through the thin defences around the city but then found themselves face to face with a daemonhost of Slaanesh and Tzeenth. It was then the Imperium realised the forces of chaos had feigned weakness in order to trap the imperial army in a disastrous battle within the city. They had not however reckoned with the Adeptus Custodes, and the Emperor's finest troops smashed the daemon horde although this came at the expense of the death of their commander. Within days the daemons had been eliminated and the city had been claimed for the Imperium, but hopes of a breakthrough had been dashed for the time being.

More fighting on Ergura's Fall

Events on Ergura's Fall between the Tau and Imperium, as well as the second Imperial landing on Haven caused the forces of chaos to rethink their strategy. Instead of focussing on Haven, the worshippers of the dark Gods realised that the conflict on Ergura's Fall now presented an opportunity, and a small force of cultists was shipped to the world in order to carry out a new offensive for the chaos domination of the Hecate Gap.

While their forces on Haven consolidated their positions, waiting for an opportunity to advance, the cultists on Haven performed a dark ceremony, summoning a daemonhost and smashing into the necron lines to their south. The battle caught the necrons by surprise, and the ancient xenos were forced back, placing the chaos forces in a commanding position to take the high ground in the southern hemisphere.

Meanwhile the Dark Eldar, with no particular interest in the strategic situation of the Hadron Expanse, opportunistically raided the Tau forces. The engagement was brief, but the Tau were defeated, forcing them to withdraw forces from the front line with the Imperium. 

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Heavy fighting on Ergura's Fall

As 02.023M42 began and Maximus ordered a new landing on Haven, he bolstered his forces on Ergura's Fall by deploying a lance of House Taranis knights. The imperial forces had established that on Ergura's Fall, though there were some necron forces, and a significant number of chaos, the main adversary was the Tau Empire. the Tau had also realised that the Rifts of Hecate would only be exploitable if they controlled the Gap. Worse, failing to control the Gap or at the very least contest it, would put the Hadron Expansion sphere under threat, and risk the halting of the expansion of the Tau Empire in this direction.

The Tau high command understood it would be impossible given their logistics situation, to immediately occupy both systems, and decided to focus on Ergura's Fall. Seeing new imperial forces arrive on the world, the Tau attacked before they had a chance to deploy on the shifting and sparse front line between the Tau and imperial sectors. The Tau attack utilised their most experienced troops, and heavy fighting erupted in the no mans land between the main bases of the two factions. The fighting was brutal, and after an extended engagement the Tau wiped out an entire Guard formation. It was somewhat of a pyrrhic victory however, as the Tau had taken heavy losses in both men and equipment, and now were exposed to a strong counter attack.

The counter attack was not long in coming, as House Taranis launched a reconnaissance in force against the flanks of the Tau army. Encountering a Hunter Cadre, a fluid battle erupted with both sides having to react quickly to events. The flexibility and firepower of the knights overcame the technological superiority of the xenos however, and the Tau force was wiped out. This defeat made the Tau forward positions untenable, and they withdrew to their defensive positions further north, while the Imperium extended their territorial control westwards. Ergura's Fall was quickly becoming a battle between the Imperium and the Tau for control of this vital system.

Imperial Guard make second landing on Haven

In the Rifts of Hecate the imperial strategy was not subtle. Inquisitor Esquerra had issued an order that no more exploitation of the Rifts of Hecate was to take place, and that the Hecate Gap was to be secured. The inquisitor had concluded that the safest option for the Imperium would be to hold the Hecate Gap long enough for the Gap itself to be sealed off, utilising necron technology (or rather destroying it), to prevent tyranid, ork and necron forces from sweeping into the Hadron Expanse and potentially into the sector more widely.

Since this order however, the inquisitor had travelled away from the region on urgent business, leaving inquisitor Huron to modify the edict. Seeing that the forces of the orks, tyranids and necrons were not perhaps as strong as Esquerra had judged, Huron visited the commander of all forces in the Hecate Region, general Justinian Flavius Maximus, who still hadn't moved his HQ from Helos Majoris in the Rifts of Hecate. Using his inquisition power, he reorganised the region, placing Maximus in charge of all forces in the Hadron Expanse, placing General Percival and his forces in the wider expanse under the command of the Crusade General. He then informed Cardinal Shumadz, and overall commander of sector forces, General Price at Vastrid, of the changes to the command structure. Huron did not inform his fellow inquisitor.

With Maximus now in command, he decided both Haven and Ergura's Fall should be taken and occupied by imperial forces, allowing the Imperium exclusive access to the exploitation of the Rifts of Hecate, rather than sealing the Rifts off. With this as the new objective Maximus stripped Percival of his Novgorod units and made a second landing on Haven. Once landed, the Novgorod Cavalry found themselves ambushed by a genestealer cult coming from the northern region of the main continent. The well equipped cavalry were able to defeat this attack, despite swarms of genestealers rushing the commander and his retinue of cavalry. The Novogord commander survived this assault though was later killed by a cultist sniper. The cultist however were unable to meaningfully threaten the Novgorod heavy armour, and they were killed in droves as they tried to rush the tanks, before being finished off by he cavalry's frag tipped lances. The landing on Haven had been secured.

Later on, the newly arrived cavalry advanced west towards the greenskin controlled area, expecting their heavy armour to once again tip any engagement in their favour. However the orks were ready, and managed to get the jump on the imperial force utilising jet pack kommando units. These fell upon the imperial artillery, neutralising the imperial heavy firepower, leaving the rest of the army unable to halt the onrushing greenskins. The battle resulted in a significant defeat for the imperial forces and they were driven back to more defensive lines. Overcoming all resistance on Haven now appeared more difficult than Maximus had at first judged.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Novgorod Guard retake Abrax Mines

Following the chaos offensive in the east the forces of the Emerald Serpent were now over extended. Daemonic forces could not be manifested indefinitely and the Iron Warriors were brought up to defend the flanks of the salient into the Abrax mines. The position was still difficult however, and general Kutuzov acted quickly to redeploy regiments of Novgorod Guard, equipped with fresh tanks, to deliver a blow into this area, in order to reach the Kunues Traps and cut off the forces now entrenched in the captured Abrax mines. This was made possible by the continuing supply situation on Mordecai Secundus. Although the daemon world of Astralis still made it impossible to cut the chaos supply routes, the imperial navy were by now able to conduct logistics missions to Mordecai Secundus without too much harassment from the chaos fleets, which remained bottled up at Mordecai docks, unwilling to challenge Admiral Jellicoe's naval superiority.

The Novgord tanks advanced in early 02.023M42, chewing up the chaos front lines. The Iron Warriors responded by sending in their elite infantry, holding their terminators back until their enemy had committed their mounted cavalry. This the Novgorod guard did, sending in their mounted troops on the right flank and in the centre of the imperial advance. The terminators were now deployed on the left flank, attempting to exploit imperial weakness here, but the imperial tanks had survived the initial engagement and now had a clear field of fire to pound the elite traitor astartes units. Taking heavy casualties the Iron Warriors fell back to the east, allowing the imperial forces to reach the shores of the Kuneus Traps. This cut off the remaining traitor units in the Abrax mines and over the following days these were mopped up by second line forces. In less than a month Kutuzov had re-stabilised the eastern front and restored the original front lines.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Chaos make gains on Haven

In early 023M42 the fighting for the two strategic systems in the Hecate Gap continued, with the forces of chaos concentrating on the world of Haven, as Ergura's Fall saw a crescendo of fighting between the Imperium and the Tau. Reasoning that to take both world would be impractical, establishing control over Haven became the consolidated objective for chaos forces in the Rifts of Hecate. To expedite this the forces of chaos knew their biggest threat came from the greenskins, who had also put all their energy (whether by design or by accident), into controlling Haven, and now were by far the strongest force on the world. In order to prevent complete ork overrun of Haven the chaos forces conducted an offensive towards the greenskins in 01.023M42.

The battle involved small actual chaos forces, but pacts with the dark gods enabled their recon units to summon not only lesser daemons but their larger brethren, including a manifestation of Belakor himself. The powerful greater daemons smashed into the orks, and though the giant apparitions were wounded by the greenskins the orks were unable to deal with the sheer violent power of the warp. The chaos forces smashed their enemy before withdrawing, having dealt a blow to the greenskins' aspirations to dominate the world of Haven.

Mordecai: Chaos offensive in the east but Imperium retake Sathugar mines

By early 023.M42 Imperial high command on Mordecai Secundus became aware of a large build up of forces on the Eastern Front just to the north of the Kuneus traps. At this time general Kutuzov was focussed on the recapture of the Sathugar mines and was unwilling to entertain the idea that the Emerald Serpent would be contemplating an offensive from this direction. For months the action had been focussed on the central and southern fronts where the bulk of the strategic resources were located, but eventually Kutuzov was pursuaded that an attack towards Kuneus would jeopardise the Abrax mines, vital to the success of the campaign on Mordecai. Reluctantly the imperial general granted permission for the build up of defensive forces in the area, allocating a lance of knights, several mechanised imperial guard regiments and support from one Warhound titan. This was just in time, as on 1601.023M42 the forces of chaos attacked exactly where imperial intelligence had predicted.

This attack did not stop Kutuzov from planning and carrying out his own offensive against the Sathugar mines still held by the enemy, as he believed the forces in the east were now sufficient to stop the chaos advance. Over reliance on mechanised forces and heavy armour however soon came to haunt the imperial defenders. The chaos forces moved in stubborn infantry formations including several units of daemonic plaguebearers, which quickly overran key objectives. The imperial guard counter attacked with stormtroopers and tank units, but were taken apart by chaos supporting fire and were unable to shift the chaos infantry from their positions. After several assaults resulting in heavy imperial casualties, the imperial force fell back, yielding much of the Abrax mines to the enemy.

Meanwhile further south a semi mechanised Novgorod cavalry regiment conducted its own offensive against the forces of chaos in the Sathugar mines. The chaos forces responded by sending in their chaos knights, expecting their war engines to be too much for the imperial guard. However determined cavalry charges by units equipped with melta tipped lances, as well as accurate fire from their supporting vanquisher tanks took down the chaos knights one by one, wiping out the counter attack and taking the rest of the Sathugar mines. By the end of 01.023M42 the Sathugar mines were in imperial hands, but at the cost of losing control of the Abrax mines.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Ergura's Fall strategic situation 1812022M42


Orks make progress on Haven

On Haven the orks were gaining the upper hand against the Imperium in the south of the main continent as 022M42 came to an end. In late 12,022M42 The Waagh boss himself, Grimskul Bloodfang, and his body guard of goff beast snagags were hunting a lone knight Lancer when the Shadow keepers attempted to come to its rescue. Finding this new army standing between him and his prize, the Waghboss brought up reinforcements in the form of speed freaks and the stompa "Hope killer".

The initial ork assault resulted in many dead speed freaks as well as squig cavalry, including the cybork big boss Bouser (who had lead the initial invasions onto the planet against the grey knights), to the fist of the telamon dreadknight. In return the orks had only managed to wound a few Custodes. However what this assault did gain, was a lot of ground for the orks who now proceeded to loot and destroy vital imperial supplies. The ork second wave then arrived including the mass of greenskin heavy infantry, which almost destroyed the Knight Lancer Grimskul had been chasing. With nowhere to go however, the wounded knight charged into the Stompa, hoping to take the beast with it. Unfortunately an ignominious end followed, as the Lancer was summarily crushed under Hope Killa's mega chopper.

The arrival off the Aalarus terminators stopped the onslaught and finished off 'Hope killer', reducing the war engine to scrap once again, but nothing that couldn't be reassembled by the ork mechs. Seeing this the ork leadership ordered a "takticul retreet", but still claiming a strategic victory, as the imperial defence had failed to hold back the ork army on their flanks and many imperial supplies and munitions had been looted by the greenskins. Grimskul Bloodfang left the field with a wide grin on his monstrous face.

Mordecai: Chaos offensive in the Central Sector

On Mordecai the seemingly never ending war of attrition continued as 022M42 drew to a close. By now the Imperium's strategic advantage from winning a key space battle had eroded such that the forces of chaos had almost recovered parity in terms of logistics, supplies and reinforcement, largely thanks to the presence of the daemon world of Astralis. The Emerald Serpent had received new allies in the form of the Night Lords, and despite some difficulties getting the traitor legion to respect a chain of command, by mid 12.022M42 the forces of chaos were strong enough to begin preparing for a new offensive.

The Thousand Sons led the new attack on the Central Front, once again targeting the Sathugar mines. This ground had been fought over time and time again precisely because control of the mining areas meant resources, and whichever side control most of the mines would eventually prevail in the war. The attack was not a sweeping offensive of manoeuvre but a brital head on assault into the westernmost portion of the mining complex. The Imperial Guard made a valiant stand but were outmatched by the firepower and chaos psychic powers of the followers of tzeentch. A regiment of Kutuzov's finest was eliminated, and the Imperium scrambled to retreat to more defensive positions. As the fighting died down the Thousand Sons had achieved their main objective, denying the Imperium complete control of the Sathugar mines. Now they considered their next move.

Erguras Fall: Necrons awaken in force

In late 12.022M42 the necrons who, had until now been attacking piecemeal from their tomb worlds, finally awoke in force on Ergura's Fall, intent on protecting their ancient tombs and ridding the world of the interlopers. The attacks by the ancient xenos came as a surprise, as neither the Tau nor the Imperium had given much thought to the necron threat, as until now it had been disjointed and largely reactive. In the meantime the Tau and Imperium had been skirmishing along their own front lines. Given the size of the world and the small forces involved, many of these had been small affairs where vicious engagements would erupt where two small patrols met. One such engagement saw the elite Adeptus Custodes engage the xenos race, narrowly defeating them and securing what the Imperial commander believed would now be a defensible perimeter from which to launch a major offensive against the Tau in 023M42.

The necrons attacked the Tau and Imperium almost simultaneously, demonstrating their strength to be able to fight on two fronts. The imperial garrison reacted by calling for assistance from the Dark Angels, who quickly launched an offensive against the wave of mechanical bodies now flooding towards the imperial HQ. The astartes mowed the necrons down in droves, but it seemed this was never enough, as they would repair themselves, stand up and once more begin moving forward. After hours of this and despite eliminating the necron commander, the Dark Angels realised their position had become compromised, and yielded the ground east of the main plateau to the necrons. The Imperium and necron territory was now separated by a ridge of terrain which would slow the xenos advance, but hopes of eliminating the necrons from the world had now been dashed.

Further north the Tau had been patrolling in force in territory thought to be controlled by chaos forces. These however had been dormant, uninterested in engaging the Tau in open battle on the plains, busy as they were excavating the tomb complexes they themselves had overrun. In addition, the forces of chaos could see very well what was heading straight for the oblivious Tau, and were minded to wait and see the outcome.

The necron army set upon the Tau hunter cadre at much the same time as the battle against the Dark Angels further south. Despite advanced firepower the Tau found themselves blocked from moving further south, and began to take heavy casualties. Once again the necrons seemed uncaring about their own losses, and by the end of the engagement the entire necron force had been wiped out. However the damage to the tau force was such that they were forced to retreat, before the forces of the dark gods took advantage of their weakened state. By the end of 022M42 the necrons had established themselves as a force on Ergura's Fall.