Monday, November 28, 2022

Hecate Gap strategic situation


Progress this week for the Imperium who move into second place on Haven and strip the orks of their overall majority. Tau setbacks on Erguras Fall but the Imperium are not yet in second place on this world. Ork and Tyranids on Haven would play Imperium (possibly with allies). On Erguras Fall it remains Tau vs. Chaos.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Hecate Gap strategic situation

If the campaign first phase ended like this, the next phase would be Orks vs. Imperium for Haven, and Tau vs. Chaos for Ergura's Fall, unless other factions "gift" their points to others.

Orks, Tyranids and Necrons want to "open" the gap. Chaos, Tau and Imperium want it defended. Eldar want it destroyed completely and may have a "decisive tiebreaker" if different factions end up controlling different worlds.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Brutal fighting on Mordecai continues

During the match the dark angels terminators proved their tenacity by being resurrected from the dead a dozen times

During 011.022M42 the war on Mordecai Secundus had returned to its attritional state. General Kutuzov had hoped for a breakthrough following the decisive victory the navy had had earlier in the year, but in the ensuing months repeated setbacks had eroded the imperial strategic advantages so that by the middle of 011.022M42 the forces of chaos were able to hold the Imperium along the length of the front lines.

The chaos forces were helped in part by the arrival of a small but elite force of Night Lords traitor marines, who engaged in terror tactics along the front lines, particularly targeting areas where loyalist astartes were operating. First they attacked in the north, drawing a response from the Imperial Fists, who they then decisively beat in the resulting engagement. No territory was taken, but it appeared the Night Lords were more interested in inflicting pain on their millennia old enemies. Later the Night Lords singled out a Dark Angels force and in a brutal engagement managed to overcome their loyalist enemies in a bitter attritional struggle.

These setbacks eroded the Imperial ability to conduct breakthroughs whenever the Imperial Guard achieved victory, but the Imperium still had the advantage on the ground overall. This advantage allowed General Kutuzov to switch his focus to the south with the intention of surrounding the southern city of Ur'Ghar. The Novgorod Guard conducted a frontal assault on the Death Guard positions defending the city, but were initially blocked from moving forward by a strong counter attack. the Nurgle forces posed a difficult opponent as they proved resilient to imperial firepower, although the Guard forces importantly dealt with the chaos artillery early in the engagement. This loss of anti-tank capability hampered the chaos counter attack, and although the Novgorod army suffered horrendous infantry casualties, their tanks proved more difficult for the House of Eschar to deal with.

As the battle raged on a decisive local engagement on the imperial left flank saw a unit of infantry overcome their plague marine enemies, taking a critical objective. The forces of nurgle sent in their elite terminator forces who seemed almost immune to imperial firepower, but the chaos lines had been unhinged and the Death Guard were obliged to withdraw towards the Kuneus Traps, a giant lava lake near the city of Ur'Ghar itself. There was no decisive breakthrough and the imperial victory had failed to completely surround the city, but this was progress at least.

Tau and chaos make gains on Ergura's Fall

On Haven, the Tau and chaos forces had already landed significant forces by 11.022M42 and it was only a matter of time before the two forces met. In addition, the Tau had been excavating and exploring ancient necron ruins and this, along with the desire by the Imperium to establish their own base of operations on the world led to a series of confusing engagements as 11.022M42 approached its end.

The encroachment on necron tombs led to a running battle between the Tau and small forces of necrons as the tombs tried to defend themselves. Although completely opposed to the necrons, the Imperium sought to take advantage of the difficulty the Tau now found themselves in, and sent a force of Adeptus Custodes to fight alongside the ancient aliens. There was no real "alliance", but the combined forces of the necrons pushed the Tau back for now, enabling the Imperium to thwart Tau exploration south towards their own base.

Later, the Tau clashed with the forces of chaos as they expanded their patrols west, and the chaos forces reacted by summoning a large force of khornate daemons, wiping out the Tau assault force. The Tau had been frustrated in their attempt to move south and west, but found more success in their move to the west. Here, there were no chaos or imperial forces and the only army standing in their way was a necron phalanx who were attempting to prevent yet more Tau incursions onto their tomb complexes. This time the Tau were successful, obliterating the necron army and looting the tomb complex.

By the end of 11.022M42 the Tau had managed to establish the largest force on Haven, but were now vying with the forces of the dark gods for domination of the world.

Orks take ground on Haven

The orks had arrived late in the Hecate Gap but their landing on Haven had already made significant progress by mid 11.022M42. Responding to this threat the Imperium, keen to expand their own hold on the world, sent a force of Adeptus Mechanicus to reduce the ork infestation on the world. Unfortunately the orks once again deployed their Stompa, and the effect was decisive. the orks overwhelmed the imperial force and continued pushing south from their initial landing positions on the north west of the main continent. The Stompa, now a feared war machine was informally christened "Hope Killer" by Imperial forces on the planet.

Further north, a small team of Angels of Vengeance marines discovered and eliminated an emerging genestealer cult related to the tyranid infestation in the far north, and the Imperium discovered the tyranids were for the moment at least, not a significant threat to the occupation of Haven. The primary concern now for the coalition of imperial forces on Haven was the growing strength of the greenskins under the control of the Blood Fang Tribe.

This threat was further underlined when the Tau, led by commander Stormwatch, made a landing on the northern continent between the forces of chaos and those of the orks. The Tau had made progress on Ergura's Fall but Stormwatch was still tasked with setting up a forward base on Haven. More than once the Tau had tried to establish a presence on Haven, but commander Stormwatch could not have chosen a worse landing area. The orks immediately attacked, and once again "Hope Killer" led the charge. The Tau were successful in reducing the mighty war engine to scrap, but were not able to contain the ork assault. Stormwatch managed to extract himself along with his battered landing forces and the ethereal Aun'tso, but the ground was yielded to the orks. That success meant the destruction of Hope Killer would be short lived, as the orks immediately began reassembling their terrifying war machine.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Hecate Gap strategic situation

Chaos make gains at Ergura's Fall

The forces of chaos were not acting in unison in the Hecate Gap campaign, but for the moment at least the various factions of the worshippers of the chaos gods recognised the importance of controlling the Hecate Gap. By mid 11.022M42 it was difficult to predict which faction would ultimately prevail, as strong Tau, Imperium and Chaos forces had been committed to the region, and the Orks had landed from the Rifts end of the Gap. For now the activity was going favourably for the worshippers of the dark gods, as the feared tide of Necrons, Orks and Tyranids had not materialised. This at least reduced the risk of a wave of xenos pouring into the Hadron Expanse, threatening the Tau, Imperium and Chaos plans.

The Chaos forces were not content to let the Tau or Imperium gain control of the Gap however, as this would make the exploitation of the valuable Rifts of Hecate much harder for them. Small Death Guard and Thousand Sons forces had already landed at Ergura's Fall and Haven, and as 11.022M42 progressed these forces gradually started to consolidate their power.

The Death Guard on Haven carried out a series of patrols, noting the positions of the Tau forces to the west but concentrating on disrupting the movements of the Imperium further south. One patrol managed to encounter a similar sized squad of Sky Lords, and proceeded to annihilate them in a one sided disaster for the astartes. The Sky Lords must have been unsettled by the appearance of the Death Guard patrol, as one marine even managed to make the basic error of not arming his krak grenade before throwing it at his enemy. All but one of the five man squad were eliminated by the Death Guard, and the Imperium were denied vital intelligence on the movements of Chaos forces on Ergura's Fall.

Later, the Thousand Sons began setting up a base of operations on the world. The Death Guard were content to allow them to do this, but the Dark Eldar perceived an opportunity to disrupt the chaos domination of the Hecate Gap, and take from them valuable sorcerous artefacts. As the Drukhari raid unfolded, several of the xenos race began to suspect this perceived opportunity had been deliberately confected by agents of the chaos god Tzeentch, as the fates seemed to conspire against the Eldar's dark kin. Their fire was inaccurate, and their raid quickly turned into a catastrophe. The Thousand Sons easily brushed aside the Drukhari attack, causing horrendous casualties to the raiders. With nothing to show for their efforts, the Dark Eldar abandoned their attack, allowing the forces of Tzeentch to widen their influence on Ergura's Fall.

Mixed Fortunes for Tau in the Hecate Gap

As 11.022M42 progressed the Tau continued with their invasion of Ergura's Fall, but tried once again to send a force to establish a base at Haven. The Hunter Cadre sent to Haven landed successfully in the central area of the main continent between the ork and chaos controlled regions, but found themselves immediately set upon by the greenskins of the Bloodfang Tribe. Once again the orks were lead by their mighty Stompa, which managed to survive the intense Tau firepower. The Tau, supported by their own heavy Riptide battle suits, were able to defend themselves for a while, but it soon became clear that the orks could not be prevented from overrunning their landing zone, and the Tau commander ordered an evacuation shortly before his own demise at the hands of the aggressive xenos.

With their landing attempts on Haven thwarted once more, success on Ergura's Fall became all the more important. The Tau had established a strong perimeter on the desolate plains of the world, and had begun investigating ancient necron ruins. This predictably led to a strong reaction by the necron race, with an army of soulless warriors materialising in front of the Tau force on 1311.022M42. The Tau were prepared for this, and sent in their Riptide battle suits. A fierce battle erupted around the necron tomb complex, and within hours the Tau had forced the older race to phase out their entire force, yielding the tomb complex to the Tau. 

Overall the Tau performance in the Hecate Gap had been mixed, but by mid 11.022M42 they had established a presence on Ergura's Fall, and had secured their supply lines into the Rifts of Hecate, at least for the present.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Orks land at Haven

Until early 11.022M42 the orks had seemed largely disinterested in the growing escalation of the war in the Hecate Gap. Whether this was strategic, or just down to the "organic" nature of ork strategy was unknown, but in early 11.022M42 the orks did finally appear in the Hecate Gap. A greenskin force of the Blood Fang tribe landed on Haven and began rampaging across the planet. Whether this was part of a strategic plan to control the all important corridor between the Rifts and the rest of the sector could not be determined, but the orks had landed in force and came equipped with a giant stompa war machine.

The Grey Knights determined that the orks were a significant threat, and if they could be eliminated before growing into a larger force, the ork "problem" might be contained. With this objective in mind the Knights launched a direct assault on the greenskins, still unaware of the exact nature or strength of the enemy force. The result was painfully predictable, as the orks steamrollered over the smaller elite astartes force, using brute strenght and numbers to defeat the advanced nature of their enemy. With the Grey Knight force obliterated, the orks set up camp, and began growing their numbers.

Tau shift focus to Ergura's Fall

The Tau scouting forces had gathered a significant amount of important information about enemy dispositions at Haven and Ergura's Fall by early 11.022M42, and the decision was taken that Haven might prove too difficult with their existing resources to conduct a successful invasion. Instead, the Tau sent a battlegroup to Ergura's Fall, and after successfully evading enemy fleets, deployed an entire Hunter Cadre to the world.

The initial landings went well, with the Tau able to set up a supply base for further operations. This was fortunate as the Imperium had also landed a significant force, and a confrontation on the rolling plans of the world was inevitable. The first encounter was with an astartes force, which was the first indication to the Imperium that the Tau were on Ergura's Fall in any kind of significant force. The battle turned into a rout, with the space marines all but annihilated. However, the Tau were also unaware of the full strenght of imperial forces on the planet, and were taken by surprise a few days later, by a counter attacking Custodes force.

The second engagement did not go well for the Tau, who lost their commanding officer and were forced to flee back to their more defensible positions near their main base. The Tau had managed to establish a presence on Ergura's Fall, but had by no means asserted control over the world.

Haven scouted by Tau

With the realisation that the Rifts of Hecate contained several threats, and the growing awareness of the possibility of the Hecate Gap being a strategically vital pathway to transit between the Rifts and the Hadron Expanse, in 10.022M42 the Tau made the decision to redirect their forces towards controlling the Gap. Initially this meant sending small scouting forces to both Ergura's Fall and Haven to establish the strength of other forces in the vicinity.

Stealth teams and pathfinders were sent to Haven to pave the way for a full Tau invasion, but while their forces had some success at Ergura's Fall, the results on Haven were extremely discouraging. One stealth team was ambushed by an eldar force without warning, which came as a surprise to the Tau who considered the eldar occasional allies. There was no attempt to parley, and although the eldars' aggressive attack led to initial heavy casualties, the eldar managed to secure vital objectives by sneaking through the Tau overlapping fields of fire. Unable to progress in that direction the Tau withdrew.

Meanwhile, another Tau fire team found itself receiving unwanted attention from the Sky Lords chapter of space marines. The Sky Lords were not on Haven in force, but the superhuman strength of the astartes forced the Tau to withdraw once again. Later, an Angels of Vengeance squad encountered and defeated yet another Tau scout unit, and it became clear to the Tau that Haven was already being probed by significant forces from other factions.

Erguras Fall sees increasing activity

With several forces now landing at Haven and battles commencing, it was only a matter of time before the war for the Hecate Gap began on Ergura's Fall. The Imperium already had a small base on the planet, and a detachment of space marines from the Angels of Vengeance and Hammers of the Emperor chapters were scouting the area around the base to ensure it was secure. It was in late 10.022M42 that the Imperium realised they were no longer alone on the world, as first a squad of Angels of Vengeance marines were engaged by a tau scouting force, while almost simultaneously the Hammers of the Emperor encountered the Death Guard.

The Angels were able to see of the Tau scouts, reporting back to their HQ that other forces had made their way to the planet. The Death Guard however wiped out the small force of Hammers, and that paved the way for a stronger force of chaos - this time Thousand Sons, to establish a presence on the world. Unfortunately for the Thousand Sons, they had decided to establish that presence directly under the shadow of and ancient necron city. Vexed by the appearance of the lesser races, the necrons roused to challenge the interlopers, only to be defeated in a very long and hard fought struggle. Now there were multiple factions vying for control of the important world.

Chaos counter attack on Mordecai

During the latter part of 022M42 there was little in the way of strategic change on Mordecai Secundus, and the chaos forces continued to suffer from an inferior logistics situation compared to their enemy. In one way however, the chaos forces were able to continue to pressure the Imperium under general Kutuzov. In 11.022M42 a reign of terror attacks, led by daemonic forces began up and down the front line, with a major incursion of Khorne daemons manifesting in the central sector at the beginning of the month. Although the Imperial Guard were unable to defeat the chaos force, and suffered horrendous casualties, there were some highlights thanks to the deployment of assassins and the tactical defeat was reported as a "brave stand" by the imperial propaganda machine.

For their bravery, the guard regiment were spared cleansing, although they would now never leave the Mordecai system. A decision was made by the Inquisition and Kutuzov informed. No imperial soldier, including the general himself, would be allowed to leave the system due to the risk of spreading unseen corruption. The bravery of the regiment's commanding officer was notable, as he had personally taken down a wounded enemy bloodthirster in combat, before being eaten by flesh hounds. His sacrifice and gallantry were lauded up and down the imperial lines to boost morale, distracting from the fact every single one of the guardsmen on Mordecai Secundus would now die there.

Overall the strategic situation remained favourable to the Imperium, although the new wave of daemonic assaults on the front lines cost the chaos forces almost nothing, win or lose, and the victory was not intended to take territory, but to wear down their enemy until the strategic situation turned in favour of the traitor forces.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Forces begin landing at Haven

In 10.022M42 the strategic situation in the Rifts of Hecate began to change as all factions realised the importance of securing Haven and Ergura's Fall to either control or close the Hecate Gap. Initial scouting began in early 10.022M42 as the Tau started sending pathfinder and stealth teams to Haven. One of these scouting teams was met by a squad of Sky Lords astartes performing the same mission for the Imperium. The brief skirmish was violent and dramatic, with the Tau stealth team displaying excellent marksmanship. This led to the decision by the Sky Lords to charge their enemy, and they narrowly managed to force the Tau to flee once they had closed the distance through withering fire.

At the same time a larger force of Iron Hands found itself facing off against a much larger force of Necrons. Defeat seemed likely, but the arrival of the eldar ensured the Necrons were forced to abandon their mission. This was not without its difficulties however, as the astartes and eldar also exchanged fire and interfered with one another's aims. This was no "alliance". The eldar desperately wanted to ensure the Necrons did not find the location of the Nexus Arrangement, the device holding open the Hecate Gap, but at the same time they didn't want the Iron Hands to achieve an absolute victory. No negotiations or pleasantries were exchanged after the engagement, and the eldar withdrew to the coastal strip of the main continent, building a base there for further interventions.

The Imperium continued to build a base around the necron tomb complex in the centre of Haven's barren but habitable main continent, amonst the ruins of a long dead civilisation. Further north however, the Imperial Guard were scouting the area for the construction of a second base. On 1510.022M42 it became obvious this would be more challenging than first thought, as they encountered the first elements of the tyranid threat, confirming inquisition reports that the hive fleet or fleets within the Rifts had discerned the imperial plan and were now seeking to gain control over the Gap itself.

The battle against the tyranids resulted in heavy defeat for the Imperium, and the remaining Guard units fell back to the imperial base in the south. Now the Eldar, Tyranids and Imperium had established themselves on Haven, and the battle for the Hecate Gap had begun in earnest.

Astartes intervene to take Festergax

The daemon led advance on Festergax caused significant alarm in Kutuzov's HQ. He was very hesitant to expend imperial guard forces against an army mostly comprised of warp spawned creatures, as this would inevitable mean the loss of several Guard regiments. He appealed to his war council and the Hammers of the Emperor proposed a plan that would restore the imperial front line and take the city itself.

Attacking from both flanks and the city almost simultaneously, the Hammers of the Emperor chapter committed nearly half their chapter to this advance and the results were extremely favourable. The astartes cut through the daemonic hordes, which were already diminishing thanks to their inherent warp instability, sealing off the city once more. Meanwhile another company assaulted the city itself, still held by the Thousand Sons. Both parts of the complex mission brief were carried out exceptionally well, and by mid 10.022M42 the front lines had been restored and the city of Festergax was once more in imperial hands. Crisis had been averted, imperial guard regiments saved and the campaign for Mordecai Secundus once again shifted in favour of the Imperium.

Deamons lift Seige of Festergax Primus

Following the surrounding of Festergax in mid 022M42 the Imperium were expecting a push to relieve the city from the west and prepared accordingly. Behind the front line Imperial Guard troops general Kutuzov arranged for the deployment of two rapid reaction forces from the Space Wolves chapter of astartes and the Adeptus Mechanicus. This was deemed more than adequate to protect the front lines as preparations were made for starving out the Thousand Sons still holed up in the city itself.

Imperial high command had perhaps become a little complacent by this time, as the strategic situation was now in favour of their campaign and being felt by the forces of chaos. However, the daemonworld of Astralis still hung in the system, and rather than the expected attack by conventional forces, the traitors turned to the denizens of the warp to carry out their next offensive.

The sudden appearance of Khorne daemons took the imperial forces on the front lines by surprise and quickly caused a rout in the guardsmen. The Space Wolves responded quickly, but the daemon host was led by ferocious giant daemonic creatures which the astartes struggled to contain. In a battle that was fought by attrition, it soon became clear the elite astartes force would be unable to prevent the deamonic horde from breaking through to Festergax, and the space marines retreated.

A path had now been opened up to the beseiged city of Festergax, and this corridor was widened by another summoning of deamons, this time a horde of Tzaangors. The tzeentch daemons overwhelmed the front lines and the Adeptus Mechanicus were ill equipped to deal with such numbers. The Mechanicum forces were unable to deal with the sheer volume of enemies, their army being optimised for taking down large war engines and greater daemons. By the end of 09.022M42 the Imperium was in retreat once more and Festergax now formed the head of a particularly stubborn chaos salient.