Monday, February 15, 2021

Death Guard counter attack from the East

Kutuzov's southern advance had left his northern flank around the Abrax mines relatively understrength, but Kutuzov was expecting the Death Guard assault from that direction when it came. In response, the Dark Angels were on hand to deliver a lightning strike against the traitor HQ units. By attacking the elite forces of the enemy the Imperium hoped that the chaos advance would collapse, but the Death Guard defended stubbornly. After hours of hard fighting, the Dark Angels were forced to admit their mission had failed, and they withdrew, bitterly disappointed at how close they had come to halting the chaos assault.

The failure of the Dark Angels was soon felt by the Imperial line, which fell back before the Death Guard assault. By 1202.021M42 the traitor legion had reached the main Abrax complex which the Adeptus Mechanicus were attempting to purify and use for the imperial war effort. The Adeptus Mechanicus forces, though strong, were unable to resist the unrelenting advance of the Death Guard forces. Overwhelmed, the Mechanicum forces fell back, and Kutuzov now faced significant forces on two fronts.

Novgorod Guard push for Kuneus

With the strategic situation still improving for the Imperium the Novgorod Guard continued their advance on the strategic city of Kuneus and the Sathugar mines as 02.021 began. General Kutuzov still hadn't managed to secure the eastern section of the Abrax mines, but Kutuzov was hoping pressure on the southwestern part of the front would allow his astartes forces to strike east shortly afterwards. 

The Novgorod Guard came up against strong daemonic and nurgle forces, facing an apparition of the primarch Mortarian himself, but the imperial army were well equipped and heavy fire from demolishers banished the giant daemonic entity from the battlefield in the early part of the engagement.

The Death Guard did try a counter attack on the imperial right flank, but the slow moving traitor legionaries were cut down by withering fire from the guardsmen as they disembarked from theor rhinos. Elsewhere the chaos forces were unable to stop the imperial army from overrunning their lines and taking key objectives, and by 15.021M42 the Imperium were once again at the outskirts of the city of Kuneus.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

World Eaters counter attack at Abrax

The offensive on the ground at Mordecai Secundus should have been entering a new phase following the victory over the chaos fleet, but the power of Astralis was finally beginning to have its effect. Due to the daemon world's proximity, while large armies could not be delivered to Mordecai Secundus without the support of a powerful space fleet, smaller units could. By daemonic ritual and then teleportation, since late 020M42 significant reinforcements had been joining the war on the ground, as roving warbands sought to prove themselves against the hated enemy.
The latest of these smaller military formations was a force of World Eater traitor marines. Enthusiastic to shed the blood of their enemies for their bloodthirsty patron deity, the World Eaters smashed into Kutuzov's lines on 1401.021M42, forcing the imperial army back and requiring the intervention of the Hammers of the Emperor as a rapid reaction force. The imperial counter attack did not go well however. The loyalist astartes were able to take back the centre ground in the salient the World Eaters had created, using their terminators to hold the position for some hours.
On the flanks however, raptors and beserkers ran amok, brutally tearing apart any enemy they could find, and penetrating deep into the rear areas of the front line, disrupting supply lines and making the ground held by the Hammers' untenable. The loyalist space marines withdrew, and Kutuzov pulled back his line to a more defensible set of positions, while the World Eaters caused carnage amongst any formations that could not retreat in time. Just days later the chaos warband had melted away, no doubt into the wilderness of the lava coated wilderness, and the Imperium was able to regain its ground. The damage to equipment and supplies however was extensive, and it would be many weeks before a decisive push could be resumed.

Astartes create space corridor to Mordecai Secundus

With Kutuzov's army once again on the offensive, the strain on the logistics train from the jump point outside the orbit of Mordecai Tersius, now in Imperial hands, to the warzone on Mordecai Secundus, was becoming extreme. The Imperial war machine devoured equipment, food and lives at an insatiable rate, and the convoys to the inner worlds were always fraught with danger. Having to pass the chaos fleet installation with the baleful glow of the daemon world Astralis forever hanging above them, many crews simply went mad. In addition to this, there was always the constant danger of the chaos fleet making a sortie, scattering or destroying convoys and starving Kutuzov's men.
The imperial fleet made sure they adequately protected the convoys, but in early 01.021M42 the clamour for offensive action against the chaos fleet rose to a crescendo, and while the admirals of the imperial navy were unable to do anything meaningful that wouldn't result in a suicide mission against the heavily protected chaos base, the Hammers of the Emperor chapter came up with their own plan. Knowing that their fleet would be too tempting a target, and too much of a threat to go unchallenged, fully half the chapter's fleet strength arrived in the system as 021M42 began. They began their operations by hunting down and destroying raiders in the innermost parts of the Mordecai system, where the enemy would hide amongst the solar flares and radiation belts around the system's star.
Eventually the chaos fleet could no longer sit idle at their base, and moved in strength towards the radiation zone near to the star itself. Initially the Hammers' fleet appeared to be unaware of the threat, and the initial action saw a lucky salvo cripple a strike cruiser due to uncontrolled internal fires. The astartes fleet reacted quickly however, seizing upon the difficult conditions of the flare zone and managing to coordinate their efforts on a pair of carnage class cruisers that had wandered out of their assigned fleet position. Between them, three of the Hammers' strike cruisers managed to board and capture one cruiser, and set the other ablaze. The fires ran out of control on the chaos cruiser, eventually leading it to death spiral into the Mordecai star itself.
Meanwhile the astartes battle barge managed to weather a hail of fire from the rest of the chaos fleet, but the action itself was marked by poor accuracy and uncoordinated fire, exacerbated by the intra fleet communications difficulties caused by the close proximity of the star. Eventually the chaos acheron class vessel was heavily damaged, and as the three strike cruisers formed up with the fleet flagship, the chaos fleet, led by their own battleship, declined any further action. The chaos fleet melted away into the confusion of solar activity, and the Space Marines claimed a minor victory.
Minor as the success was, the defeat of the chaos fleet in the inner system allowed the armies on the ground at Mordecai Secundus to be supplied with much less danger to the supply vessels. This allowed Kutuzov and his allies to plan in earnest the next offensive. The chaos warlords on the ground however had other plans.
Fleet action losses:
Imperium: 2 strike cruisers destroyed plus escorts
Chaos: 1 carnage class cruiser destroyed, one captured, 1 Acheron class crippled

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Tau defend new gains from opportunist ork attack

It wasn't long before other forces in the Hadron Expanse attempted to take advantage of the new expansion by the Tau Empire. It may have been coincidental, or simply blind luck that led to a shambolic ork fleet arriving in the Echo Reach system just days after most of the Tau military forces had embarked on their invasion of Awarath, but the timing seemed deliberate.
The attack on Echo Reach's outer worlds by the orks was predictably barbaric and violent, but the Tau had left behind a strong defensive force, centred around kroot auxilliaries and Remora stealth drones. These forces proved ideally suited for dealing with the greenskin threat, and following a set of brutal battles, the orks were swiftly cleansed from the system. The tau had fought off the threat and confirmed themselves as now the most powerful faction in the Hadron Expanse.

Malkaor heads Arawath assault, captures Percival

For many months the Tau had been preparing for their next expansion of their Hadron Expansion Sphere. During 018-020M42 the Tau expansion had been a moderate success. The Empire had established a strong colony and military base at Echo Reach, acquired a number of other systems and taken Hussaria from the Imperium. The Alliance of the Tau, Eldar and Federacy had weakened since 018M42, and while the Aeldari pursued their own aims, the Tau became the driving force behind the expansion and conquest in the Hadron Expanse, as internal pressures and lack of resources forced the Federacy to scale back their participation in the expansion of their territory.

Malkaor was given overall command of all forces in the Hadron Expanse during 019M42, and he had learnt from previous expeditions. The war on Hussaria had been bloody and protracted, and the foothold on Boltarean against chaos had resulted in the strengthening of chaos defences, making further gains more difficult. Keen to avoid such long and drawn out conflicts, since mid 019M42 Malkaor had been planning the next phase of operations against the Imperium using the tau military doctrine of overwhelming force and surprise. Awarath was his target, as this was not only a key system in the line of Tau expansion, but it was also general Percival's sector HQ.

The invasion of Awarath took place as 021M42 began, with a massive tau battlefleet arriving in the system. Caught by surprise the Imperial battlefleet was unable to prevent the tau from landing a significant force on Awarath Prime, but general Percival had not been completely unaware of the threat from the Tau. Defending his HQ was a large force of imperial guard, as well as super heavy vehicles and a mighty Reaver Titan. In addition, as soon as the invasion began, space marine forces converged in order to defend the seat of Imperial power in the Expanse.

The assault by the tau was particularly brutal and decisive. Using Mantas to deliver kroot directly into the enemy trench lines threw the imperial defence into disarray, while overwhelming tau firepower was directed at the Reaver titan. The Blood Angels chapter responded by charging into the fray, but were soon bogged down in fighting stealth teams that stubbornly refused to die, blunting the impact of the astartes intervention. Seeing that General Percival was directing the battle from well behind his lines, Malkoar sent in his elite crisis suit drop teams, managing eventually to capture the imperial general and spirit him away from the battlefield.

Without Percival the command of the confused battle now passed to the astartes, with the Space Wolves attempting to deploy their forces via Thunderhawk into the heart of Malkaor's firebase. Disrupting this formation was key to throwing back the tau forces, but the Thunderhawk was soon shot down by massed firepower. Despite this, the Space Wolves managed to teleport their elite terminators into the heart of Malkaor's headquarters, with their librarian reaching Malkaor and severely wounding him.

By this time however it was too late. The astartes teleport action was too weak to disrupt the tau formations, and despite losing Malkaor's guiding hand, the tau had brought down the mighty Reaver titan, dealt with the astartes counter attack and broken the back of imperial resistance. Percival's HQ was overrun, and other hunter cadres were simultaneously establishing strongpoints all over the world. A few imperial forces managed to flee into the wilderness regions of the planet, and the space marines who remained were able to withdraw their forces. The Imperial system however had been totally overwhelmed in less than 24 hours, and as the tau fleet set up a defensive ring around Awarath Prime, the imperium were forced to leave the system. Now the tau began the process of rapidly securing their gains, as a multitude of Earth Caste vessels entered behind the war fleet, turning the system into a new stronghold colony for the tau empire.

The Imperium were in no shape to counter attack. With Percival now in the custody of the tau empire, the fleets withdrew to Dnatha and Vanir, desperately signaling to Sector Commander Titus Luthor that more forces were necessary. They had been saying for months that the weakening of forces in the Hadron Expanse to prosecute the war on Mordecai would have inevitable consequences, and they had been proved right.

Mordecai Secundus: Kutuzov pushes into mining complex

At the end of 020M42 the new momentum for Imperial forces continued to build. Enjoying fresh supplies and new troop deployments, general Kutuzov was able to push forward his front lines, aiming to recapture the Abrax mines from the traitors. Still relatively intact, the mines remained the essential strategic assets of the world. Initially slated as objectives as far back as 10.019M42, the Imperium had not managed to permanently secure them. Gone were the hopes of a swift conquest of the world, now even Kutuzov freely admitted the capture of just the second planet of the Mordecai system would take years. The whole system potentially decades, but eventually the Imperium would prevail. How could it not?

In response to the latest offensive against the Abrax complex, the traitor forces summoned a host of Slaaneshi daemons in the path of the Novgorod Hussars. The Greater daemons were dealt with by the imperial tanks, but the battle soon descended into a swirling melee of daemonettes and cavalry. The support of hellhound flametanks proved invaluable, annihilating many of the warp spawned abominations and allowing the loyalist horsemen to banish the remaining daemons back to the warp.

The success against the daemon horde allowed the slow but steady advance into the mining complex to continue, and by early 01.021M42 the imperium had won back more than half of the important mines. Concerns over the exposure of the imperial forces to daemonic influence was raised and constantly monitored, but it was assumed that none of the participants in the battle would live long enough to carry any taint off world anyway.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Hadron Expanse recent actions


Mordecai: Imperium retake Fort Diligence

Following the establishment of a front line at Abrax lake on Mordecai Secundus, the next logical step for Kutuzov was to retake the ruined complex of Fort Diligence. Standing on a vital strip of hardened basalt between multiple lava lakes, the complex was vital to the taking of the Abrax mines, and no meaningful assault on the mining area could take place until it had been secured. Unfortunately for the Imperium the move on Diligence was also obvious to the chaos forces, and the Emerald Serpent had already moved strong forces to its location. Worse, since the loss of the Nexus Arrangement, the Emerald Serpent was once again being directly influenced by Magnus the Red himself, as he used the power of Astralis to project manifestations of himself in multiple locations, heading up armies across the subsector. Kutuzov expected such a manifestation at Fort Diligence, and he was not disappointed.

Mass artillery fire signalled the start of the Novgorod infantry assault across the barren plains in front of the fortification complex, as shells rained down on the chaos positions for several hours. As the barrage rose to a crescendo, the powers of the warp launched a daemonic strike on the imperial batteries, but by then the Novogorod had already begun their relentless advance. On the left flank the Novgorod easily dealt with the lesser daemons and cultists opposing them, but on the right, larger daemonic warp entities stalled the infantry advance. The artillery kept firing however, frustrating Magnus and forcing him to move personally against them. This however left his own forces without his aid as the grinding infantry advance of the imperial fguard slowly began to crumble the resistance on their right. Eventually, slowly, the daemons were brought down, leaving Magnus alone and unsupported against the imperial army.

The daemon primarch, frustrated once more fled back to his daemon hold on Astralis, with its portal to the Planet of the Sorcerers. Without the Emerald Serpent daemonic entities to lead them, the remaining cultist army was easily brushed aside by superior imperial guard forces, and by 1612.020M42 Fort Diligence was once more in Imperial hands. General Kutuzov began once more planning the assault on the Abrax mining complex.


Aeldari secure Nexus Arrangement

The search for the Nexus Arrangement had gone unnoticed by the forces of chaos, and it had been by Aeldari design. Through their manipulation of the warp their powerful psychic energies had been concentrated on shielding all knowledge of the necron artefact from prying eyes, although they had been unable to deflect the Imperium, and the Necrons were bound to uncover what they were up to. Not until 1012.020M42 did Magnus the Red become aware of the eldar plans, and the deliberate psychic deception angered the daemon primarch. Yet, there was still an opportunity. Through his unrivalled mastery of the empyrean, Magnus and his sorcerers' had seen through the alien veils with which they had attempted to shroud their true intent, and their plans were now transparent to him.

Acting swiftly the daemon prince personally led a force of Thousand Sons across space and time, straight to the system of Cruthynia, breaking the very fabric of realspace and crashing upon the Ynnari and Harlequin forces on the surface of the barren world, supported by Ahriman and the Changeling himself. It was Magnus however, who was deceived. Magnus' pride had allowed him to believe he had uncovered the eldar plans all by himself and through his intellect, but it was a deflection. The Aeldari knew that when the Nexus Arrangement was unearthed, its mere presence would send a ripple through the warp, attracting the forces of chaos. Now, they had lured Magnus into a trap of their choosing, and in the battle that followed, despite losing their commander, the Thousand Sons, Magnus and Ahriman were all thrown back into the warp, the spirit of Magnus once again ejected from the mortal realm to brood angrily on the planet of the sorcerer's, and it's mirror, the daemon world Astralis.

With the chaos forces distracted, the Ynnari carefully unearthed the ancient necron artefact and managed to steal it away into the webway before the necrons or Imperium had time to stop them. The Arrangement was safe in Aeldari hands, and the Ynnari now revealed to their Craftworld and Harlequin allies what use they would have for it. The pursuit of the necron device had not merely been to deny its use to the enemy, but for a greater purpose. There were still two necron devices needed by Yvraine, and the Arrangement now gave her followers the means to extract it, without the world upon which it stood immediately falling into the warp.

Skirmishes across the Hadron Expanse

While the Imperium and Aeldari battled the elements and the slowly awakening Necron forces on Cruthynia, the other factions active in the Hadron Expanse were not idle. The Death Guard, taking advantage of the much weakened forces of general Konev on Hexis, launched a major raid from their base on the planet's major moon. Devoid of natural atmosphere, the moon provided a secure base of operations for the Death Guard, and for months they had been laying the foundations of a significant military installation. Now the space port was complete, offensive operations against the planet below could begin. Attacking without warning, the plague marines moved relentlessly against Konev's forces, and the Adeptus Custodes, still in place on Hexis until they could be reassigned to a more valuable warzone, were unable to prevent the traitor forces from ransacking Konev's already meagre supplies. Having stripped the complex bare, the Death Guard returned to the moon,. With the Imperium unable to counter the chaos military build up, it seemed inevitable that the the traitor legions would attack the main planet in force at some point in the future.

The Drukhari meanwhile, freed from their obligations to the Ynnari and the Alliance, decided it was time once more to make the Hadron Expanse a profitable venture. Having secured a number of bases in the webway close to the subsector, the dark eldar struct first against the Tau Empire, which had been largely inactive for over a year. Believing this to be a sign of weakness, the forces of Commoragh were somewhat taken by surprise when their raiding force was met by a swift response from Malkaor's hunter cadres. Far from inactive, the Tau had been building up their strength, and Echo Reach was now a military installation of some significance. Clearly the Tau were planning something big, and soon. The Drukhari managed to extricate themselves from the precipitous situation, but not before they had suffered serious casualties for next to no gain.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Carchardons surprise eldar, but are counter attacked at Cruthynia

Following the defeat of the Guard forces at the northern tomb city of Cruthynia Prime, designated Ankht from translations by imperial scholars, the Ordo Xenos sent an urgent message to all imperial forces in the region. The Nexus Arrangement was found. It resided underneath the city and the order was given to take and hold Ankht at all costs.

Reacting quickly, and realising the Imperial Guard were in no position to undertake a new offensive, the Carcharadon chapter of space marines took it upon themselves to take and hold the city, dropping directly from orbit after having detected aeldari forces in an unusually vulnerable position within the ruins. Led by harlequin forces, it was clear the xenos knew where the Arrangement was, and were working to retrieve it.

The initial drop by the space marines was devastating. An uncharacteristic lapse of judgement by the aeldari had left their forces exposed to attack, and the Carcharadons struck without mercy. The battle was over almost in the first few minutes, as the eldar force was slaughtered. Having taken the position however, the astartes now had to hold it.

The response was not long in coming. Recovering from their initial surprise the eldar knew the counter attack had to be undertaken immediately, before the Hammers of the Emperor could reinforce the positions now occupied by the Carcharadons. This time the harlequin force made no mistakes, although the stubbornness of the astartes guaranteed a bloody melee as they were reluctant to yield their hard won ground. Accepting casualties, for the cause was vital, the aeldari pushed on regardless, and by 1012.020M42 the Carcharadon positions had been completely overrun, with almost half a company of marines wiped out. The eldar suffered heavy casualties as well, but were now within reach of securing the Nexus Arrangement. Having located it, they now only had to escape out of the city back to the webway.

Percival's task force arrives at Cruthynia

After several months, the task force sent by general Percival to investigate the ruins of Cruthynia for the suspected powerful necron artefact known as the Nexus Arrangement, finally arrived in system. The fleet consisted of an imperial naval battlegroup, and established that there were no threats from spacefaring assets in the system, and proceeded without incident to the newly established base in the northern polar regions of Cruthynia Prime that the astartes had created for them.

The Hammers of the Emperor, unlike the Carcharadons, were more than willing to aid and work with the imperial guard who now began disembarking two regiments onto the planet. They were however, not above showing their contempt and disappointment at the paltry forces Percival had chosen to allocate to the endeavour.

Once the base had been secured and hardened against attack, the Novgorod Guard began offensive operations on 0712.020M42, moving south into an unexplored regions of the ruined necron city. Many of the guardsmen were visibly disturbed by the absolute silence of the world, save for a light breeze that would occasionally disturb the dust of the long dead world. Their resolve was bolstered however by the presence of the inquisitor Ivan Dostoevsky, who had come on the mission to uncover the secrets of the necrons and ensure they did not fall into the wrong hands. 

The silence was broken as soon as the guard moved cautiously into the larger of the tomb complexes that dotted the ancient city. Eldar forces suddenly appeared on both flanks, with the screeching of howling banshees audible for miles, while Wraith constructs appeared from nowhere to engage the slowly advancing infantry. The inquisitor handled the situation well, and at first the imperial guard held their ground and even managed to push further forward, especially on their right flank. On the left however, facing the awesome power of the Wraithguard, the Novgorod infantry suffered horrendous casualties and the entire flank collapsed. 

Dostoevsky intervened personally, identifying the enemy autarch, and launching himself at the enemy leader. However the skills of the aeldari outmatched him and the inquisitor was slain without uncovering the secrets he desired. After this the Novgorod resistance remained stubborn, but eventually with their inquisitor lost and no way to continue into the city, the battered guard army withdrew back to their bases in the polar regions. Meanwhile the eldar grew ever closer to discovering the Nexus Arrangement. It was here, underneath this tomb city, and they were determined not to be thwarted by the Imperium just as they had located their prize.

Novgorod Guard launch new offensive on Mordecai

On Mordecai Secundus the follow up to the Hammers of the Emperor victory against the Dark Mechanicus was a new offensive in the eastern portion of the imperial sector, once again targeting the all important Abrax and Sathugar mine complexes, pushing east towards the lava seas of the Kuneun Traps.

Lead by the Novgorod Hussars, general Kutuzov's army pushed implacably forward, meeting the bulk of the Dark Mechanicus forces on the outskirts of the now ruined mining complex. Fighting was intense, with the Hussars beginning the operation with a devastating artillery bombardment. Supported by valkyries providing close air support, the Hussars softened up the heretek forces before delivering a precisely timed cavalry charge, sweeping the enemy from the field.

By 1012.020M42 the imperial offensive had once again resumed its slow but relentless advance against the forces of chaos, reaching the outer reaches of the mines proper, and taking the northern shores of Abrax lava lake.

Necrons defeated by Astartes at Cruthynia

On Cruthynia the fight for the Nexus Arrangement continued into 12.020M42, with the Hammers of the Emperor astartes chapter once again launching an expedition onto the surface of Cruthynia. So far, every imperial attempt to establish a permanent base on the world had been resisted, so after a number of scans the Hammers analysed where the eldar had assaulted imperial forces in previous attempts, and ascertained that there was one area eldar activity had not been previously detected. Here, amongst the ruins of a long dead necron city, the Hammers made their initial scouting landfall.

Very quickly however, the astartes realised the necrons were far from long dead, as the armies of the Silent King reacted rapidly to the interlopers. An entire necron army, undetected from space, was in position and made a move directly onto the space marine landing grounds. 

The Hammers of the Emperor were prepared for such an eventuality however, as the scans had suggested that the area was too quiet, and the main strike force was called in to deal with the necron army. Dropping in via thunderhawk the elite forces of mankind landed right in the midst of the necron force, decapitating the leadership of the ancient xenos in one stroke. The necrons did not give up easily however, and converged on the newly arrived warriors of humanity. Gradually however, with unwavering stubborness and unyielding devotion to duty, the Hammers carved their way through the necrons, until only a pile of shattered mechanical detritus remained, before phasing out. Finally the Imperium had established a bridgehead on the world.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Confusing encounters on LV-426

As their journeys across the perilous landscape of LV-426 continued, the various factions marched ever onwards. Unbeknownst to any of the commanders leading their forces, each path was leading them into direct confrontation with one of the other patrols. As they neared the intersecting pathways, the great intellect rescinded the shadow that was clouding detection to one side of each confrontation. With enough notice to detect their foes, each of the still hidden factions began to make an ad-hoc ambush site, ready to deliver a swift and crushing blow.

Making their way through a swampy region of Hell, the forces of the Thousand Sons known as The Jade Fangs waded through waist high water, their landraider crushing both vegetation and animal life too slow to move avoid it’s treads. Without warning, gunfire blasted through the undergrowth and tore into the sides of the vehicles as Grand Master Corvendus gave the signal to attack. The Precision, Grey Knights, Daemon Hunters rejoiced at the sight. But their excitement was short lived. All of their weapons fire had passed through the transports and enemy units without effect. It was at this point that the veil that was hiding the true locations of the Thousand Sons was lifted and without warning attacked the now exposed positions of the Grey Knights. The battle was a fury of psychic might, deadly laser fire and brutal close combat, but by the end, the Grey Knights were in retreat. Satisfied that their forces could continue without interruption, Phosis T’Arr ordered the advance.

Northward on the continent, the forces of the The Rhana Dandra darted across the desolated landscape of LV-426. Hastily making their way towards their target, it was only the briefest warnings that forewarned the Aeldari as the forces of Blast-pit Brides unleashed their attack. Moving with preternatural speeds, the two Eldar forces delivered blow after devastating blow. As the two forces drew blood against one another, the ever present darkness of Hell began to cloud the Drukhari Wyches’ minds and one they began to fall. Before long, the Dark Eldar withdrew, the survivors licking their wounds, searching for easier prey.

One of the more unusual conflicts happened towards the south. For the better part of the day, the forces of the Dark Angels had been following signal anomalies that alluded to their prey. They were sorely mistaken. After surrounding the encampment where the signals were coming from, Aziraphael issued his command and the Dark Angels charged in, stoicism etched on their faces. After bursting through ruins and kicking down doors, the Space Marines gazed upon an empty site. Before consulting the machine spirit of the sensor equipment, with the traditional knock against a hard surface, the hand held detectors lit up with movement blips. A sizable force for Genestealer Cultist who were Definitely not the RA swarmed the Dark Angels and a bloody melee eschewed. Victory, if it could be called that, was claimed by the Emperor’s finest, but from the toll it had taken, it was pyrrhic at best.

As the mortals vied for the upper hand against their adversaries, Neferkara The Collector marched through a canyon in the rocky region towards the east, searching for his latest addition. As he guided his force through gale force winds, the tempest itself revealed his next task. Further ahead, sound carrying on the wind, the Necrons of the Mor'khaten's Will prepared for their ambush. Little did they know, however, that Neferkara was already moving to counter their ploy. Using sacrificial warriors, the Necrons of The Forbidden Archives sprung their kin’s trap, baiting Mor'khaten to show his hand. And that he did. From positions that no longer remained safe, the warriors of Neferkara clashed with Mor'khaten's until Mor'khaten was forced to retreat back to a nearby tomb complex to plot out his next move. With the warriors already beginning to reanimate, Neferkara continued down the howling canyon.

The last of the ambushes was from the Hammers of the Emperor. Using the still ripe corpses of the Genestealer cult slain earlier, the Space Marines set an ambush for a sizable force of roving tyranids. With a kill zone erected, it didn’t take long for Hive Fleet R'lyeh’s organisms to locate the site and began to explore the area. When a sufficient amount of xenos had entered the killing fields, the Hammers unleashed devastation upon the world of Hell. What would normally have been used to overrun a small town was deployed by the marines to remove all traces of the xenos from sight. After an engagement that could have been counted in seconds, the forces of the Hive Fleet R'lyeh’s were slain to a man. Fortunately for the xenos, the organism leading them, designated “Clive” by the marines was able to relay a message to others of the fleet, warning them of what happened.

The only force with an uninterrupted journey was the Last Gasp of the Emperors Children. Whatever intellect was shaping the conflict across LV-426 had seen fit to allow them to travel without issue. They arrived at their waypoint ahead of schedule. Waiting, for the next indication of where to go.

Kutuzov returns to the offensive

Conditions on Mordecai Secundus had improved sufficiently by 11.020M42 for General Kutuzov to once again consider offensive actions. The first priority was the salient the chaos forces had driven into his lines, now occupied by forces of the Dark Mechanicus who were busy fortifying their new positions.
In order to disrupt the enemy progress, Kutuzov planned an envelopment, and the Hammers of the Emperor would provide the force that would spearhead the attack and cut off the salient from the rest of the chaos lines. The Imperial Guard would then mop up the pocket once the Dark mechanicus and cult forces were isolated.
The astartes led the way using the power of a land raider crusader. Driving into the heart of the Dark Mechanicus positions from an unexpected direction, the chaos force was thrown into confusion. Charging out with melta weapons and thunder hammers, the battle became a focal point, drawing in forces from the salient and weakening the pocket. By the time the Hammers withdrew from the battlefield the damage had been done. the chaos pocket had been pinched out and Kutuzov's follow up with an Imperial Guard advance spelled doom for the remaining forces inside the isolated enclave. By 2411.020M42 the Imperium had straightened their line and prepared to fight once more for the Abrax mines complex.

Hexis: genestealers surround Konev

In 11.020M42 the imperial forces on Hexis faced a new insidious threat from the tyranid menace on the planet. It was already known that hive fleet R'Lyeh had been using its hive mind to conduct asymmetric warfare, especially in the establishment of genestealer cults within dissident imperial forces. Having lost the strategic ground between Praxis and Menthoteph, the next threat to Konev's forces appeared when an entire regiment of guard deployed in the northern ruins of Praxis suddenly revolted, tearing itself apart as the genestealer cult that had been left to fester revealed its presence.
Before Konev had time to react, a force of crusading Adeptus Custodes took it upon themselves to quell the uprising, but were taken off guard by the number and ferocity of the cultists. A savage fight in the ruins ended with the Custodes abandoning their attempt to quash the rebellion, leaving Konev with no alternative but to draw a new defence line agains the rampaging irregular army. In late 11.020M42 the imperial sector on Hexis had been split into three parts, and Konev requested immediate reinforcement, otherwise there was a real risk of the Imperium losing the war on Hexis. Should the world fall to the tyranids, necrons or even chaos, then the inevitable fallout would be the compromise of the Imperial position in the entire Hadron Expanse. Winning the war wasn't the priority, but not losing it was.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Imperial Fists ambushed at Cruthynia

Events continued to go against the Imperium on Cruthynia as 11.020M42 progressed. With General Percival's task force still nowhere in sight, the individual astartes forces did their best to establish bridgeheads on the main world of the system, a dusty barren plain dotted with ancient necron ruins. However, the astartes forces were unused to working together, and this once again cost the Imperium as the Imperial Fists came under attack by Aeldari forces.
Highly organised and using the webway to conduct precision strikes, the harlequin forces allied to the Ynnari cause had already struck at installations being set up by the Sisters of Battle and the Carcharadon space marine chapter. Unaware of the extent of the webway portals on Cruthynia Prime, the Imperial Fists now found themselves ambushed by a strong force of agile xenos as they tried to establish a perimeter. Soon surrounded, the newest space marine base became untenable within days of its establishement, and by 1511.020M42 the latest foray into the necron tomb complexes by an imperial force had to be abandoned. Meanwhile, the Ynarri were getting ever closer to uncovering the mystery of the Nexus Arrangement.