Friday, July 30, 2021

Disciples target Imperial Fortifications

The next set of attacks by the chaos forces on Mordecai were soon in materialising. As predicted, the Disciples of Be'lakor were once more at the forefront of the chaos offensives, which did not seek to breakthrough and exploit for territorial gain. Instead, important Imperial installations came under attack. First Fort Rhagrim in the north, then somewhat surprisingly and swiftly fort Arbrux on the normally quite north eastern front.
 
In the north, the Black Templars reacted to the arrival of the Disciples at the Imperial fortification. However the chaos forces were ready for this counter move and the battle was a disaster for the loyalist astartes. Overwhelming force descended on the Imperial fortification, which was raised to the ground. The Black Templars force that attempted to intervene was all but wiped out in the process, severely shacking the Imperial high command's confidence and troubling Luthor at the sector headquarters at Vastrid. Things were going very wrong on Mordecai Secundus.
 
Worse still, before the destruction of Rhagrim could be processed, a surprise attack on Fort Abrux developed on the eastern front. Here, not expecting significant activity by the enemy, Kutuzov had not assigned any rapid reaction force, and the Catachan Guard defending the fortress were on their own. Once again the Disciples of Be'lakor were at the vanguard of the chaos attack, swiftly encircling the fort and severely battering the guard regiments holding the line. The Catachan losses were great, and included a much respected senior officer, severely impacting Imperial morale. Surrounded and unsupplied Fort Abrux swiftly fell, but once again the chaos forces did not advance. Instead, as the Imperial morale sank lower as their defences were smashed to pieces and casualties mounted, the chaos forces bided their time for a decisive and overwhelming offensive.

Chaos forces grow in strength

Following the fall of Ur'Ghar on Mordecai Secundus, General Kutuzov was quick to move his Imperial Guard forces into position and fortify. Chaos forces, increasingly reinforced via the daemonic portal held open by the Daemonworld of Astralis, were likely to mount a strong counter attack and soon. Kutuzov couldn't know where, but in late 07.021M42 a double strike by chaos forces severely pressured the Imperial lines.
 
In the northern sector of the line, the Thousand Sons forced their way into the Imperial lines, scattering the guard manning the defences and requiring a swift intervention by the Imperial fists. A brutal battle between loyal and traitor astartes erupted, and the followers of Tzeentch managed to get the upper hand. Reluctantly after a stubborn resistance the Imperial Fists were obliged to withdraw or be annihilated but the Emerald Serpent did not exploit the breakthrough. After destroying Kutuzov's front line defences they withdrew once more to their own positions.
 
This pattern was repeated in the south, where the Adeptus Mechanicus of the forge world Lucius were defending a section of front facing the Mekken Plateau. Here the Imperium faced a new enemy, devotees of pure chaos in the form of the Disciples of Be'lakor. Once again the fighting was hard, but the chaos forces did not breakthrough and exploit their victory once they had defeated the Mechanicum in the field. Instead they went about causing maximum destruction to the Imperial defence lines before withdrawing to their starting positions. A pattern was now emerging and with the arrival of the Disciples of Be'lakor, known for their destructive capabilities and worship of chaos undivided, it appeared the chaos gods had a single will to reverse the losses on Mordecai.
 
Kutuzov called a war council as his intelligence reports suggested the chaos forces were now engaged in a systematic and planned attempt to reduce the Imperium's capability to resist a counter attack. Rather than take ground then over-extend, as different factions played to their own agendas, it now appeared there was a new level of strategic planning in the chaos attacks. The Imperial general ordered his forces to go over to the defensive and braced himself for the next onslaught.

Drukhari continue Hadron Expanse Raids

In late 07.021M42 the Imperium was coming under increasing pressure in the Hadron Expanse. Sector Commander Titus Luthor had become almost obsessed with the war on Mordecai and continually stripped back forces from other theatres. This left General Percival with fewer and fewer forces at his disposal, removing his ability to go on to the offensive and forcing the Imperium to defend the increasingly small holdings in the Expanse with ever decreasing resources.
 
The other factions vying for power in the region noted this, and while the Tau prepared for their next offensive at the Tanis system and the forces of chaos continued to invest in the construction of a daemon base at Lysis, the Dark Eldar, aided by the bases prepared by Vlokarion, continued their raids against weakened Imperial targets. Percival was not entirely without allies however. While he was unable to secure Imperial Guard resources, his appeals for aid attracted the attention of the Adeptus Sororitas. The Adeptus Mechanicus already had an interest in the Hadron Expanse and its wealth of pre-Imperium human relics and xenos artefacts, but the Mechanicum was only interested in protecting its own. The Ecclesiarchy however was motivated by spreading the faith to the human populations of the Expanse, where Emperor worship was not as strong as in the rest of the Imperium.
 
Motivated by faith, the Sisters of Battle deployed in orbit around Vanir and waited for the next raid by Drukhari forces. When a Dark Eldar raiding party arrived the Sisters struck first, downing a drukhari flotilla in one fell swoop and obliterating half of the troops inside. The xenos force responded by sending in baron Stitch, his haemonculus and haemoxytes who then systematically worked through the sisters units, sewing them into fresh haemoxytes as they piled through their lines. More and more Drukhari fell to the Sororitas however, with the archon warlord being taken in the last moment by a crack shot from a damaged immolator. Ultimately, Baron Stitch and his haemoxytes ground out the victory, backed up by a team of Cronos Parasite Engines providing fire support. The Sisters' intervention had been unsuccessful and although Stitch had lost men and equipment, the raid proved profitable and the morale of the Vanir population sank even lower.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Grey Knights take Ur'Ghar

Despite the constant assaults on the Imperial lines, in late 06.021M42 the Imperium still held a significant strategic advantage on Mordecai Secundus. General Kutuzov was aware however that the drain on his resources in defending his lines was reducing that advantage as time went on, and the forces of chaos were growing stronger. To counter this, Kutuzov convened a war council to discuss how this might be reversed. The Grey Knights proposed a plan to take the city of Ur'Ghar on the southern shore of the Kuneus lava sea. If the Imperium could take this strategic settlement it would open up the possibility of taking the populated area near the Sarkar Traps, and consolidate the Imperium's hold on the important Sathugar mines.
 
The Grey Knights arrived without warning at the gates of Ur'Ghar, but quickly found that the enemy had recognised the importance of this city, and had chosen to deploy an elite force of Death Guard terminators in the city itself. Realising a quick victory would now be out of the question, the Grey Knights pivoted their strategy and began bitter house to house fighting for control of the settlement. Using their knowledge of the warp to full effect, gradually elite astartes force managed to push the traitor force back street by street. It was a hard slog, but by 0107.021M42 the Knights had taken the city, allowing Kutuzov's army to follow up and consolidate the Imperial hold on the southern shores of the Kuneus lava lake.
 
At the beginning of 07.021M42 the Imperium had managed to extend their line south, and Kutuzov was satisfied with the strength of his defences. However, the daemonworld of Astralis was now operating at full effect, and reinforcements were arriving directly to the chaos held territory on Mordecai Secundus via the efforts of the sorcerers of Tzeentch. The strategic advantage the Imperium had held for many months was rapidly waning, and the forces of Mankind braced for the inevitable onslaught.

Kutuzov faces increasing resistance on Mordecai

On Mordecai Secundus the Imperium once again had to resist a number of counter attacks by the forces of chaos during 06.021M42 and all major offensive actions on the world by Kutuzov's army had to be put on hold. The general was initially criticised, but his decision to hold firm to his defences would soon prove wise, as the enemy made a two pronged attack in mid 06.021M42. In the northern sector, chaos knights broke throught Kutuzov's primary line, requiring the intervention of the Wolves of Novgorod, an elite Astra Militarum Scion regiment. The scions fought extremely hard, but the firepower and sheer aggressiveness of the chaos knights proved difficult to contain. Both sides took casualties and heavy casualties, but the Novgorod were unable to prevent the destruction of key defensive posts in the northern sector as the Knights claimed victory.

Further south, hordes of chaos forces simply overwhelmed the front line, and once again Kutuzov was forced to ask for help from his reserve forces. This time the Sisters of Battle threw themselves into the fray, desparately trying to plug the gaps in the lines that the chaos forces had opened. Despite mowing down great swathes of the enemy they too were unsuccessful, and it looked increasingly likely that the chaos forces would now exploit these northern and southern breaches in the lines.

The exploitation and breakthrough never came however. By now, the Emerald Serpent and its allies understood the strategic situation on Mordecai Secundus, and realised any territory taken now would only put them in a more vulnerable position. Kutuzov, with his improved supply lines would be able to attack their flanks and potentially win back all the ground as well as net vast numbers of their troops. Instead, the chaos forces pulled back, content with the losses they had inflicted and beginning a new war of attrition on Mordecai.

Air war on Tanis

On Tanis, the war between the Imperium and the Tau had ground to a halt by mid 06.021M42. Neither side had the resources to effectively reinforce the system and its many barely habitable planets, but the Tau were keen on maintaining the pressure on the Imperium. In order to do this the Tau air caste were deployed in strength to harass and raid Imperial settlements and bases on the worlds controlled by their enemy, but they initial reponse by a well prepared imperial navy took the Tau by surprise. Dogfights raged over Tanis VII, where the Imperium had established their strongest presence, and the Tau were found wanting. Losses were heavy, and to make matters worse, the Tau air caste were ambushed by a roving Ork fighta squadron on their return, and nearly all the first wave was destroyed.

Concerned by events, including the suggestion that ork forces may be in the system as well, Tau commander Malkaor considered calling off the attacks altogether, but was convinced to make one last raid for the pride of the Air Caste. This raid was much more successful, and the Tau fighters managed to down several Imperial thunderbolt fighters before returning to base. No real damage was done to ether the Imperial or Tau installations, but Tau pride had been restored.

Dark Eldar raids prove profitable

During 06.021M42 and 07.021M42 the Hadron Expanse experienced increasing numbers of raids by the Dark Eldar. In previous years the Drukhari had established several bases in the webway which gave easy access to the Expanse for raiding forces, but since the coming of the Ynarri the Drukhari had been drawn into the campaign to acquire the necron devices, and raids by the aeldari's dark brethren had generally reduced. By the first half of 021M42 however, the Ynnari had almost completed their mission with the necron devices, and no longer needed the aid of the Drukhari. Almost immediately the cabals of Vlokarion and newcomer to the area "Baron Stitch", were active in the sector.

The first sites to suffer at the hands of Stitch were Vanir, the most exposed Imperial outpost in the Expanse, and Hexis, where Hive Fleet R'Lyeh came to the attention ofthe dark eldar for the purposes of their "sports" held in Commoragh. The Adeptus Mechanicus forces on Vanir were taken by surprise by the sudden appearance of a Drukhari raidiing force, and ultimately were out-maneuvered by the fast moving Xenos forces. The dark eldar took many slaves, a great deal of equipment and did much damage to the installations at Vanir before stronger forces were able to be deployed to encourage them to return to the webway.

On Hexis, the tyranids were a more tricky prospect. The arrival of the Drukhari raiding force triggered the Hive Fleet's defensive mechanisms, and a horde od beasts came charging at Baron Stitch's forces. For some time it looked like the raid was going to end in disaster, but the dark eldar kept their composure and managed to weather the charge by the giant alien beasts, while dealing with the host of smaller creatures accompanying them. Eventually the tyranid charge faltered, and the Drukhari managed to capture at least two of the larger creatures for their entertainment in the dark city. Their raids in the Hadron Expanse were finally proving profitable.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Necrons under pressure on Hexis

The increasing threat from the necrons in the Hadron Expanse drew a response from the Imperium and Chaos forces in early 06.021M42, as both factions realised they faced a significant threat from the ancient enemy. On Hexis, despite the Foramen closing and the necron device having been lost, there was still inherent value in having forces on the world and in the system at a strategic level. Although general Konev was now relegated to a backwater war, the imperial presence on Hexis was nonetheless important. By holding the line at Hexis, his commander general Percival was ensuring the remaining imperial worlds in the Expanse (Oreen and Vanir) did not become outflanked and isolated. The Imperium could not risk the system falling into necron hands, and there were chaos forces that needed to be resisted as well.
 
For the forces of chaos, the leader of the Iron Warriors, Warsmith Stahl, had retreated to his lair at the Charybdis system, far away from active warzones, and the Emerald Serpent was busy fighting the Imperium at Mordecai. For the Death Guard however, their plans involved the Lysis system where Hexis was the major world, as they built up their own base on Fecus Major, and their intent to create a nurgle deamon world within the system had now become clear to all factions.
 
To deal with the necrons, the Imperium attacked from the north, while the forces of chaos, led by the Thousand Sons, allied to the Death Guard in this effort, moved in from the south. Though not coordinated deliberately, these simultaneous assaults forced the necrons into a two front war, and they were defeated on both. In the north, the guard managed to overcome the strong necron forces after a protracted fight, led by elite units of the recently arrived Lycanon Guard. In the south, the Thousand Sons assault was more dramatic, wiping out a significant necron army on the Haknur plateau.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Hexis: Necrons push against Konev's defences

In late 05.042M42 the Imperium found itself under serious pressure from the Necrons in the Hadron Expanse. The system of Ceti with the tombworld Baal of Bones had fully awoken, and the Nagaesh dynasty had taken a keen interest in the events in the Aleph Sector. Further towards the galactic west or "spinward", the Harakhty and Charnovokh dynasties had returned to their slumber, but this was not the case in the galactic east. Here the Nagaesh dynasty had decided that the infestation by the lesser races was a significant threat as their people slowly emerged from hibernation, and having cleansed the tombworld system, they now moved on to Hexis.
 
Despite being strategically irrelevant to the sector now, the world of Hexis was still once a necron world, and under its barren rocky plains there were secrets for the younger races to uncover. Secrets which the necrons were extremely keen on keeping to themselves. At other systems the necrons would try to acquire all necron artefacts for safe keepin, but on Hexis and in the Expanse more generally, the anicent race had decided they would scour their old worlds of the infesting vermin and reestablich their own empire once more.
 
Konev's line came under severe pressure from the south, as the necrons moved around the city of Praxis across the plains. Despite being well equipped and well supplied, the war on Hexis having been quiet for months, the Lycanon guard that faced the new necron force struggled to keep those necrons they did shppt down from reassembling themselves and getting up again. Time after time the necrons reanimated, and gradually the imperial line began to fall back. Sensing real danger from this much larger force, Konev was forced to call on the astartes.
 
Fortunately for the Imperium, the Hammers of the Emperor maintained a company on hand at Hexis, and they sprang into action just as the Lycanon guard withdrew to more defensible positions. Charging directly for the centre of the Nagaesh force, the astartes identified a C'tan shard that was particularly dangerous to Konev's army, and made  a direct assault on the necron army's elite core. A savage battle raged for hours, but the space marines succeeded in their mission, driving the necrons back to across no mans land and allowing Konev to reoccupy his original defensive lines. The necron threat nonetheless concerned the general, and he made an urgenr request for more forces to his commander general Percival.

Mordecai: Kutuzov barely holds line

Following the encircling movement around Festergax the Imperium on Mordecai Secundus were expecting a forceful counter attack and it came at the end of 05.021M42. All along the new front line the imperial forces were hard pressed by the Emerald Serpent in the north and in the south, significant Death Guard forces. The northern thrust was defended by the Adeptus Mechanicus, and here the Thousands sons managed to obliterate one full Mechanicum detachment, but not before the chaos army had lost its HQ and some important and valuable units. This still represented a significant defeat for Kutuzov however, and the imperial general was forced to cancel the upcoming offensive into central Mordecai as his northern flank had to be rapidly reinforced with units he had been holding in reserve.
 
To make matters worse, the Death Guard were applying significant pressure on Kutuzov's southern flank, where a regiment of Tempestus Scions had to be deployed by the Lycanon Guard to stop the Host of Eschar from overrunning their lines. Even this proved to be too difficult, as by the time the Taurox mounted soldiers arrived the nurgle worshipping traitor astartes had already taken the imperial forward lines. The Lycanon Guard responded by sending in their reserves, but despite taking heavy casualties the Death Guard clung on to their objectives, forcing a tactical withdrawl by the imperial army.
 
By the beginning of 06.021M42 the Imperium on Mordecai Secundus was hard pressed to hold onto its recent gains, and general Kutuzov had to commit his reserves in a desparate attempt to prevent chaos forces from effecting a breakthrough. In this he was successful, but for now the chaos victories had blunted the Imperial advance.



Thursday, May 27, 2021

More imperial progress at Mordecai Secundus

Following on from the sweep into the Abrax Mines, the Imperial advance on Mordecai now had an opportunity. If they could move quickly, a push north encircling the city of Festergax Primus would outflank the chaos defensive line south of Fort Vengeance. These deep and extensive fortifications had held up the imperial advance since the appearance of the daemonworld in the Mordecai system, and now general Kutuzov had the chance to make them irrelevant.

The Imperium first had to find the forces to execute the plan. The astartes had taken the mines to the south, but the imperial guard had still not caught up. The vast majority of Kutuzov's ground forces comprised of infantry regiments, and these by nature were slow. If the Imperium was to effectively take advantage of the situation and trap several chaos armies now defending the Festergax salient, they would need to act fast and new forces would be required.

Fortunately for Kutuzov a significant force of Adeptus Mechanicus had just become available. The Archmagos in charge of this army agreed with the imperial assessment of the strategic situation and deployed from orbit in the area of the Abrax mines. Pushing north, the Mechanicum used their technological advantage against the enemy, deterimining that the flanks of the salient were only weakly defended by a force of Red Corsairs. In late 05.021M42 the warriors of the Omnissiah smashed through the Corsairs' defence and rapidly pushed north, reaching the northern imperial lines in mere days.

Outflanked and surrounded, the chaos forces within the Festergax pocket had no chance. With Kutuzov's guard armies now pushing in from the east, those mobile forces loyal to the dark gods, mostly traitor space marines, abandoned their positions and withdrew to safety. For the remaining chaos armies, there was only death, either in a last stand against overwhelming odds or by mass execution following capture. By the end of 05.021M42 Festergax had fallen, the chaos defences that had been a thorn in his side for so long were captured, and the Imperium looked towards a new offensive west as 06.042M42 began.



Monday, May 17, 2021

Hadron Expanse Summary 05.020M42

 


Tau sweep into Tanis V

 While Malkaor was overseeing the affairs at Boltarean, both the Imperial and Tau forces had reinforced their positions at Tanis. Far from their supply lines, both sides were looking to establish a base in the Hadron Deeps. For the Tau this would outflank and divide Imperial positions. For the Imperium, it would shore up their supply lines and effectively shut out the Tau from further expansion into the Hadron Deeps, and take the pressure of Vanir and Oreen.

 
The uninhabited system did have several habitable worlds, and in 05.021M42 the Imperium and the Tau Empire landed forces on Tanis V, a small world of rolling planes that naturally lent itself to armoured warfare. Unable to prevent one another from landing troops via naval action, the two sides now prepared for a showdown on the plains, which after several weeks of skirmishes led to a tank showdown.
 
The battle itself was extrodinarily destructive with both sides taking out each others' arnoured vehicles. As the engagement wore on however, the elite tau forces including a notable tau tank "ace" made all the difference. As the Tau drew ahead in terms of armoured vehicles destroyed, the Imperium found it increasingly hard to reply effectively, and after several hours of armoured warfare the majority of the Imperial army was a smoking ruin of wrecked steel and ceramite. With no prospect of reinforcement the remaining troops were hastily evacuated, and the planet of Tanis V became the newest Tau beachhead in the Tanis V system, where the Imperium were now firmly on the run.

Eldar raid Vanir

While the necron threat continued to grow in the Hadron Expanse, and the Tau continued their expansion plans, the Imperium faced other problems. General Percival was extremely starved of resources, and some of the forces he had to deploy to defend imperial assets were not top class.
 
One such force was a penal regiment detailed to defend settlements on Vanir. While the astartes were busy fighting the necrons, the eldar took advantage of the parlous state of Percival's army to pursue their own agenda. The eldar were still seeking ways to manipulate affairs, fight their own war against the chaos god Slaanesh, while preventing necron secrets falling into the wrong hands. Their alliance with the Tau had effectively lapsed, but the Aeldari in general preferred the Tau to be in control than the Imperium.
 
To further these aims one Eldar Wraithhost materialised from nowehere and assaulted the penal force protecting an installation on Vanir. The convicts fought hard, given their predicament, but the superior capabilities of the eldar proved too strong despite the imperial numbers, and the installation - dedicated to the study of necron artefacts found on across the world - was razed to the ground. In one pinpoint raid, the Aeldari managed to unbalance the Imperium in the favour of the Tau, prevent necron knowledge from being gained by the Mon'Keigh, and not aid their ancient enemies in the process.

Boltar III taken by Tau

 05.021M42 saw a concerted effort to accelerate the Tau plans to dominate the Hadron Expanse and complete the creation of their "Hadron Expansion Sphere". The Tau leadership devised two task forces, one to continue the war against chaos in the Boltarean system while a separate force was detailed to reinforce the foothold the Tau had gained in the Tanis system. The Tau plan was twofold. Boltarean was the final chaos dominated system in the Hadron Expanse and would only fall to a direct assault. The Imperium, with their bases at Vanir and Oreen, would first need to be stopped at the far flung Tanis. Doing this would isolate General Konev's armies at Hexis from the rest of the Imperium, which would then find itself flanked on two sides, unable to determine from which direction the Tau attack would come from.

 
The war on Boltarean progressed with a full scale invasion of Boltar III, a necessary stepping stone for the final assault on the main planet of the system, controlled by the Emerald Serpent. The forces of chaos were not in any hurry to abandon the second world however, and Commander Malkaor's troops soon found themselves fighting a bitter battle for control of Boltar III that lasted far longer than the Tau would have wanted. The final chaos positions surrounding their spaceport facility saw the hardest fighting, with high casualties on both sides. Malkaor lost a trusted commander, as the Empire's forces struggled to deal with an extremely stubborn enemy.
 
Eventually after fighting one another to a standstill, with both sides down to minimal strength, the chaos foothold was finally unseated, and the remaining chaos forces were forced into the wilderness. It would take weeks to mop up these disordered forces, but the planet of Boltar III now lay in Tau hands. The casualties taken did however delay the planned advanced onto the primary world itself.

Imperial Expedition to Baal of Bones Lost

 By 05.021M42 the news of necron stirrings in the Hadron Expanse had reached the ears of General Pervical, still the overall commander of Imperial forces in the region. During his tenure the Imperium had lost their holdings at Hussaria and Awarath to the Tau, had seen the expedition to Hexis fail to achieve its objectives, and still hadn't removed the chaos threat from Palantir. Percival was not removed however, as Titus Luthor was accutely aware of how starved of resources the Imperium was in the Expanse.

Not wishing to simply yield ground to the necrons, Percival sent a task force to the Ceti system, while recieving assurances from the Hammers of the Emperor that they would cover the Imperial system most at risk from the resurgent necrons at Vanir.

The joint Imperial strike force reached the Ceti system to find the necrons fully awake and assaulting the Adeptus Mechanicus base on the outer world of the system, sending wave after wave of necrons from the tombworld itself. The Imperial force attempted to turn back the tide but it became evident that the flood of warriors coming from Baal of Bones could not be held by the forces the Imperium had sent to the system. After a brutal battle that saw the Imperium lose their task force commander, the Imperium abandoned the world, retreating back to Vanir where the Hammers of the Emperor had successfully seen off the necron threat for now.


Hammers hold Necron advance at Vanir

The Hammers of the Emperor were aware of the threat from necron forces at the Ceti system, also known as "Ball of Bones". In 05.021M42 the astartes chapter took the decision to deploy at Vanir in case of necron activity, while General Percival send his own task force to the Ceti system to investigate just how strong the necrons were becoming.
 
The Hammers arrived just in time, as the necrons had already arrived in system and were systematically eliminating the small colonist settlements that dotted the planet. After identifying the strongest necron force, the astartes used their speed to charge headlong into the right flank of the xenos army, while harrassing the left flank with skirmishing bikers. In the centre of the action, terminator armoured space marines slowly advanced, while the right flank of the enemy was broken down by the bulk of the Hammers strike force.
 
The necrons did not yield easily however, as the centre ground saw the ancient aliens send in their strongest forces, with their elite units clashing with the terminators. The astartes fought stubbornly, but took heavy losses. Despite these casualties however, the astartes held key objectives and threatened to completely encircle the necron positions. Having been all but wiped out, the remaining necrons phased out from the Vanir system, leaving the battered remnants of the Hammers of the Emperor to tend to their wounded and fix what equipment they could. For now the necron threat to the Imperial system had been removed.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Tau expedition at Tanis gains ground

After the Tau had established their base in the Tanis system, they had prepared for a counter attack. General Percival was notified of the situation and sent a battlegroup to the system along with a number of Imperial Guard regiments with the intention of swiftly removing the Tau presence from the system. By 04.021M42 the Imperium had a forward base on an outer ice planet, while the Tau had established their own on a neighbouring barely inhabitable planet.
 
The Imperial battlegroup intended to wipe this base out, after marshalling their forces on the outer planet. However, upon arrival the local commander discovered the Tau had already moved into the system and started establishing a base on another of the system's many rocky planets. Quickly, the plans were changed to deal with this new threat, with one regiment of Guard being assigned to clear the new base.
 
Using their orbital firepower from the imperial fleet, the guard force had an advantage, but the Tau were already well prepared. After weathering the initial fire from orbit, the Tau forces were able to pick off the Imperial forces, leaving the assault force unable to take key primary objectives. Within a Terran day, the guardsmen had to be evacuated or risk being annihilated. the remainder of the battlegroup disembarked at the Imperial Tanis base to plan their next move, but it was clear the Tau now had a strong presence in the system that would take more than a quick clearing exercise to remove.

Adeptus Mechanicus raided by Death Guard

Following the raid on the Imperium on Hexis, the Death Guard constructing the Fecus Major base still required more raw materials. Since their last raid, the Imperium had not taken any particular steps to reinforce their positions, and it appeared that General Konev and his superior, General Percival, either did not know about the threat posed by the machinations of the traitor legion, or had insufficient resources to do anything about it.
 
Either way, the Death Guard determined that rather than expending naval resources shipping in their supplies, the weakness of the Imperium in the Hadron Expanse made further raids viable, and so in late 04.021M42 they once again launched an assault on the loyalist positions on Hexis itself. This time, the sons of Mortarion targeted their forces directly against the Adeptus Mechanicus. There was no feint or pretence, the traitors simply landed on the ground and moved in force against a Mechanicum installation defended by Skitarii and other forces the followers of the Omnissiah had deployed to protect their activities.
 
The installation was dedicated to the study and extraction of necron artefacts, many of which would prove useful in the manipulation of warp energy to bind daemons. This enhanced ability would speed up the creation of a Daemon World dedicated to the Plague God, the ultimate aim for Fecus Major. Landing in the barren wastelands of Hexis, the Death Guard advanced towards the Adeptus Mechanicus forces, who had deployed to meet this new threat. A ferocious battle erupted as the tech priests desperately tried to prevent their installation from being overrun.
 
The exchange, while brutal, was also very uncertain for long periods. At times it appeared the Mechanicus forces were gaining the upper hand, but each time the devotees of nurgle pressed on, able to absorb the immense firepower at the tech priests' disposal and continue fighting. Eventually the Mechanicum force was reduced to such a level, that they could no longer effectively hold a perimeter. With Death Guard forces breaching their defences, the facility was abandoned to the traitors with bitter regret. The raid had been costly, but the rewards would be worth it. Fecus Major continued to gain strength.