Saturday, December 29, 2007

Winter on Melberg

Both sides dug in over the Mellberg winter. The continent, lying across the planet’s northern hemisphere, cooled, bringing snow and storms to the northern countries, while the south enjoyed more tropical conditions. The weather, north of the mountainous central states, prevented strategic battles of manoeuvre, while snow in Terris kingdom brought the fighting to a complete halt.

Digging in meant different things for the Tau and Imperium. Lenord’s troops built elaborate entrenchments with the armour held to the rear. The Tau on the other hand withdrew from the front lines entirely, with sensor spines and drones alerting the alien forces to any movement on the Imperial side. For two weeks very little moved as snow and rain swept across the western half of the continent.

Apart from the odd raid on both sides the war entered a stagnant period. Neither side was strong enough to launch airborne operations, even when the inclement weather permitted. Lenord took time to redeploy his forces. Cunningham’s army, including the Librian 101st and 57th, held the line up to the river Stridius, while Alexander commanded Army Group Centre, which included the armies of Narmala and Whettis, and the remnants of the Terris Kingdom forces.

General O’Connor, nominally in charge of the Veraconia defence force, deferred to the Dark Angels who wintered on the Island. Meanwhile, General Auchinleck found himself without a command and was quietly moved to other duties. On the other side of No-man’s-land the Tau did similar.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Swiftstar annihilates Grand Admiral Thok

On 0212.007M42 Grand Admiral Thok led his fleet on a raiding mission against the Tau Empire, targetting the weakly defended Manir system, hoping presumably for an easy plunder. However his fleet, once again without any escort, soon found itself in trouble as Admiral Swiftstar's ships were in the vicinity. Tracking the Chaos ships to the Manir system neither side hesitated to engage after exiting the warp, but it was Swiftstar, with his experience of the Aurelis crossing, who kept his fleet together and soon made the first telling blow.

Thok's ships were spread wide with their Grand cruiser in the middle. Seeing this the Tau closed in on two of the Grand Admiral's vessels, Fafnir and Hati, a hades and slaughter class. As soon as they were in range all three of the Protector class vessels opened fire at the same point, immediately hulking both vessels to the absolute dismay of the Chaos Admiral. The firepower was immense and delivered seconds before a wave of seeker missiles and Manta attack craft finished off the blazing Chais ships. Hati skewed out of line while Fafnir drfited dead in space. hati exploded seconds later.

Following the early loss Admiral Thok barely managed to get a broadside at the Tau ships before they started a wide arc to starboard, away from the remaining three Chaos cruisers. Without escorts to worry them the Tau vessels knew they would be safe as they extended the range. As the Chaos fleet attempted to catch up, Swiftstar calculated, correctly, that before the enemy ships got into range he would have completed his turn. Only the other slaughter class, Skoll, provided any real threat.

Again Thok made an error, sending Skoll to close with the Tau fleet. She got one full volley off, doing some minor damage before the entire Tau fleet turned on her, destroying her utterly. Fenrirsulfr was next, leaving the Jormungandr at the mercy of Admiral swiftstar. She too was badly damaged before the Tau Admiral disengaged and headed back to the Manir base. The fleet of the Chaos renegade from Mordecai had been utterly destroyed and would not threaten Tau possessions in the Perseus Deeps for some time. This action in turn allowed Commander Sunstrike to consider diverting forces to Melberg to assist there.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

C.H.E.E.S.E Update

Melberg update

Having recieved reports of the imminent Dark Angels attack commander Shadowstrike decided that he could no longer wait to starve out the defenders in Terracon. As the temperatures in the north fell and the snow began to fall the Tau commander offered terms of surrender to the remnants of Army Group North under Colonel Jeffries. They refused.

The battle developed predictably as the varied forces under Shadowstrike's command gradually fought for each street and building of the city. After taking out the remaining armoured units the Tau were quite happy to bombard each defended construct with massed fire rather than risk Tau lives. Even so the defence remained dogged until 0312.07M42 when the defenders, having heard the Dark Angels were not coming to their rescue, surrendered.

Meanwhile in the South General Cunningham continues the advance south started by the Dark Angels. However commander Longstride ordered his sub-commander Eclipse to stall the Imperial advance. Using hit and run tactics the Tau were able to slow the Imperial Guard troops down.

A large battle developed around the oil depots in south Corona, as each side threw more and more troops into the escalating engagement, neither side willing to withdraw and leave the valuable resource to the enemy. Cunningham was patient, even when Lenord urged him to "get a move on". Ultimately this paid off as the Tau were forced to withdraw having lost the majority of their skimmer tanks to Imperial fire.

One notable change to the Librian Guard was the use of Hunter-killer missiles on their Sentinels, which proved very effective, particularly against devilfish using ambush tactics. Additionally the Librians now went into combat without their Chimeras, fearing the Tau would turn them into burning coffins.

The tactical changes and Cunningham's orders did delay the Imperial advance and Army Group South only managed to advance a hundred miles before the offensive hit the Tau second line. However, Cunningham had delivered a much needed victory for the beleagured Guard forces, proving that the Space Marines were not the only troops able to beat the Tau on Melberg...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bloodbath in space!

On 0112.007M42 the Dark Angels engaged the Tau in one of the most bloody space battles in Tau history. At the end of the battle three new cruisers and two battleships had been destroyed, while the Dark Angels themselves were reduced to two light cruisers and an escort.
The Tau fleet, made up largely of Coldsight's newer vessels, was well aware that the Dark Angels had entered Melberg space and attempted to form up into their most formidable "box" formation. However the Dark Angels were not falling for this. The chapter master had sent five strike cruisers and some fifteen escort vessels, knowing that manoeuvrability would pay dividends in a clash against the Tau.

As the Tau formed into their protective box, the Dark Angels split their fleet into three divisions, the largest of the three working their way around to the rear of Coldsight's ships.The first shots came as the Tau fleet began a lazy turn to the left, heading towards the second cluster of space marine vessels. The Tau poured all their firepower into this squadron, forcing the escorts to flee and the light cruisers to disengage, one limping out of the battle badly damaged.This was to be the high water mark for the Tau.

Coldsight had hoped, rather than truly believed, that the asteroid field on his right flank would be an obstacle for the space marines, but the remaining three cruisers and host of attendant escorts navigated through them with ease, catching the Tau fleet from behind. Swarms of mantas and barracudas duelled with thunderhawk gunships as the Marine fleet fended off Tau ordnance attacks. However in the end the slow and ponderous vessels of the Tau began to succumb to the firepower of the space marine fleet.

Pinafore, the Custodian class which had withstood so much and gained such a reputation steered violently to the left as it burned, before vaporising everything within 5 miles in a huge plasma drive overload. As the Dark Angels closed in for the kill, this would be a taste of things to come.The details of the next few minutes of the battle remain unclear, but the Dark Angels fleet suddenly realised, too late, that the Tau had slowed and they were within just a few tens of miles of the badly mauled fleet. Rather than overshoot and risk being annihilated themselves the space marines closed to point blank range before opening fire with all their weaponry.Then the Tau logic became evident.

One by one the Tau vessels detonated as their plasma drives went critical.Bright Hope and Diligence exploded spectacularly, destroying most of the Dark Angels' escorts. The region of space around the crippled Tau fleet then disappeared in a flash of light as a Tau warp drive detonated... As the fireball expanded and cooled all that was left was one lone Dark Angels escort, speeding away from the carnage!

Later the debris field was searched and the Explorer class battleship found out of action but intact. She was boarded and all the remaining Tau crew killed by the returning Dark Angels strike cruisers. However, the Imperial Vessels soon found that Commander Shadowstrikes fleet had not been engage din the battle and the balance of power had still not been tipped totally in favour of the Imperium. The losses the Tau had suffered ensured that for now the Dark Angels had secured a bloody and costly victory over the aliens.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dark Angels massacre Tau in the south

On 2411.007M42 the Dark Angels, having learned from previous encounters with the Tau, launched their latest operation, with the blessings of overall commander Lord Commander Lenord. The operation was to be limited in nature, intending to reopen the way to the Corona peninsular where the all important oilfields of Melberg lay.

It may have been intended as a limited attack, but the Dark Angels fell upon the Tau defenders with amazing ferocity, seeking out individual units and desroying them without mercy. It was clear as the Tau attempted to counter attack with their hunter cadres, that the Dark Angels had modified their tacics and chosen their equipment well. Each squad was now equippied with a lascannon, which put paid to Hammerhead and Devlifish attacks. Additionally the Space Marines utilised their scout and assault units well, bringing close assault to the Tau where they least wanted it.

Supporting the assault units were a number of recently refitted predators, equipped with lascannons to deal with Tau skimmers and crisis suits and sponson heavy bolters, which ripped Tau fire warriors to shreds. The Tau had no chance and despite some ferocious firefights the Dark Angels secured a badly needed victory. Later that day two companies were deployed to the snowbound city of Pelisium in Veraconia, after intelligence predicted that a Tau air assault was likely as soon as the blizzards lifted. Lenord would not be caught out again as he was at Coravus.

Eldar discover location of the "ball"

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Eldar activity+++
The Eldar of the Saim Hann craftworld and another, as yet still unidentified origin have continued their relentless search for the Solar Enslaver. In their latest move the Tau found themselves under major assault as a large Eldar force emerged from the webway and slaughtered thousands. The attack seemed random at first but as the Tau defended their colonists a small force assaulted and destroyed the Tau science facility, leaving with several artifacts and most of the Tau research. The Tau have backups of their data, but it is now certain the Eldar have finally out the peices of the puzzle together regarding the containment unit or "ball". They have ascertained the device is located on the UFP world of Hartak.

It is my belief they will strike the UFP next.It will be intriguing to see how they attempt this. It is almost certain the UFP are unaware of what they posses, but removing the ball will be difficult for the Eldar. Hartak is a fortress ice world of several million hardy squats, who will not simply allow the Eldar to carry out excavations on their homeworld. Perhaps they will try to approach the UFP directly and negotiate for the artefact, but the UFP's primary obligation is to the Tau, who have been the target of the Eldar in recent activity. Perhaps they will try a stealth mission. Agent 43 is in position to keep us updated. I ask once again if now would be a prudent time to inform our allies of the Enslaver device?
+++Message Ends+++

+++EA High Command Communication+++
+++Subject: Re:Eldar activity+++
Update appreciated. On no account inform the UFP of what they possess. They are allies but will try to use the device. We cannot risk Tallaxian scientists meddling with Necron devices. They are not yet experienced enough in the ways of the galaxy.
+++Message Ends+++

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

C.H.E.E.S.E. Tau under pressure

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Eldar activity+++
The Tau on Skera and Parius have come under attack from Eldar forces in two raids in the space of a week. The first hit the colony of Parius very hard, wiping out a Tau garrison before withdrawing. Commander Hawkeye's deputy was killed ant the Tau commander was distraught at the news. Hawkeye at the time was in transit between Parius and Skera, after several raids on that system had led El Shi to call for aid. Hawkeye landed with a small contingent and defeated the Eldar raiders who had lain waste to the colony. Hawkeye deliberately used Kroot "bait" to draw the Eldar into a carefully placed trap before ambushing the alien raiders. Skera was saved and Hawkeye returned to the smashed ruins on parius. However it seems the Tau are more concerned with colonisation now, their interest in the Solar Enslaver apparently secondary to their conquest of the Deeps.
+++Message Ends+++

Melberg Update

Cunningham’s “big push”
After more than a week with little more than sporadic fighting, general Cunningham prepared for his “big push”. Following his victory near Corunium the general, with Lenord’s consent, planned to use his strategic reserve in a narrow thrust towards the city, then fanning out to push the Tau away from the city. To help in this the Ultramarines chapter sent two companies, while the newly arrived “Emperor’s Justice” heavy tank division prepared to meet the Tau in battle for the first time.

The Imperial reserves were not brought in from another system. Instead Mellberg had begun to produce its own armour and equipment, under the close supervision of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Mellberg already had a large industry and produced Leman Russ for the sector, but the new Baneblades took longer to get right. Cunningham new that his new vehicles were not going to be mechanically reliable, at least for a few weeks.

Meanwhile Imperial intelligence scouted out the Tau defences. All along the front lines sentry towers and gun emplacements, all remotely controlled, kept vigil around the city. Any flanking move would be immediately detectable. For that reason Cunningham ordered a direct assault, a straight, unsubtle and overwhelming concentration of force directed at the city. He hoped to give the Tau a stark and impossible choice. Commit to a battle of attrition or flee Corunium.

The Tau meanwhile were not oblivious to the massive build up around the city. They waited patiently, and quietly removed most of their forces from the ruins. Commander Eclipse, recently posted to the Corunium sector, planned to allow the Imperial armoured columns into the city. Once they were enmeshed in the ruins and rubble he would attack, ambushing the Imperial force and cutting its supply lines. The one thing Eclipse couldn’t know was that the Space Marines would also be taking part.

By now the Ethereals were becoming concerned at the cost of Tau lives to take Mellberg. Over one hundred thousand Tau had died and projections estimated another 200,000 would be killed taking the planet. Even so Sunstrike pleaded that the cost was worth it, as a secure base on Mellberg would be the ideal launch pad for the next expansion into the Zadoc subsector. Without it, the going would be hard, even if the plans for the “C’Tau’pult” came to fruition.

On the eve of 1611.007M42, some four and a half months after the initial invasion, two armies prepared for the attack on Corunium, which had been in Tau hands since the second day of the invasion. Victory of the Imperium would put the Tau on the back foot, with the valleys of Genundis open to Imperial advances. Should they lose, the Tau would surely sweep down from the mountains behind the city and burst into the coastal plains, trapping the Imperial Army Group Centre (or rather its remnants following the defeat of Jeffries).

Corunium retaken
The attack began well with a massive bombardment of the city, followed by the rapid progress of the Librian 57th and 101st regiments, including the new Baneblade super-heavy tanks delivered so recently. The Tau defenders ignored the lumbering giants, prefering to attack the faster moving tanks of the Imperial guard. At the same time the Ultramarines, led by Marneus Calgar himself, swept into the northern and eastern sectors of Corunium, easily displacing the Tau.

Tau air superiority made life hard for the Imperium, particularly for the Basilisk batteries of the Librian and PDF regiments, whose accuracy was as woeful as their reputation demanded. Nearly all the Basilisks taking part were put out of action by marauding Baracudas, but by midday on the 17th the Imperium had almost retalen Corunium and were sweeping west towards the river Stridius.

The Tau then launched their counter attack, bringing elite Crisis suit units into the battle. However Commander Shas'Ite was rather hesitant to use the elite Tau warriors in risky drops behind the front line, and this in the end cost the Tau dearly. Though the reinforcements slowed the Imperial advance, and contributed to the demise of some of Marneus Calgar's finest Terminators, the Imperial advance maintained its momentum, with its rear intact. Had the Tau dropped their troops behind the Imperial lead elements they would have found the Imperial defences relatively light. General Cunningham had gambled and won.

By 2111.007M42 the Ultramarines had reached, and crossed the Stridius, driving an almighty wedge into the Tau front line. Racing behind were the Whettis and Coronia armoured divisions while the Librian regiments encircled the city of Corunium and push the Tau back. At midnight on the 22nd the two pincers met. Corunium was cut off.

The city officially fell two hours later when the remaining Tau who could not escape surrendered. Thousands were taken prisoner and Imperial propaganda made much of the fact that they had retaken a city the Tau had held for nearly six months. However, their celebrations were to be short lived.

Dark Angels push North
While Cunningham made good gains in the south the Dark Angels, now up to the strength of almost half their chapter, launched their offensive aimed at cutting off the besieging Tau army around Corunium. Their advance was swift at first until hit-and-run tactics by lead elements of Shadowstrike's and Elan Ro's Tau forces slowed the Space Marines.

The tactics used by the Tau prevented the Dark Angels from bringing their full weight against the Tau, allowing the aliens to build up forces and automated defences which further held up the advance. While less than a third of the way to the coast the Space Marine advance bogged down and the attack was called off. Several towns and villages had been recaptured but the strategic situation in the north remained the same, with Terracon slowly starving to death as its food and fuel ran out. The Dark Angels were furious at the Tau tactics, calling them dishonourable and cowardly. It made no difference. It had become clear the Tau would not come out and fight the Astartes unless absolutely necessary.

Shas’Ite recaptures Corunium
Despite having lost the city of Corunium and been pushed back into Gwendel, Commander Shas'Ite was already making plans to recapture all the lost territory. The Imperium meanwhile were celebrating a great victory, however nothing could actually have been further from the truth. Rather than accepting a slaughter in the city, the Tau commanders had withdrawn, citing battlefield conditions as "unfavourable". Then, while the Imperial General raced east and north across strategically unimportant territory, Shas'Ite husbanded his forces ready for a swift counterstrike.

The attack came so soon after the city had fallen the Ultramarines and Imperial Guard were caught completely by surprise. On the right flank the Ultramarines were kept in contact by a smaller Tau force, preventing the Space Marines from disengaging while the Tau pushed there main thrust across the river Stridius against the Librian armoured and mechanised units. Here the fighting was more furious than any seen on Mellberg to date. This time the Tau pressed home their attack apparently disregarding casualties, and before long the Imperial lines began to crack. Hundreds of armoured vehicles lay burning across the Coronia plains. Almost half were Tau but the Alien attak had smashed a fifty mile hole in the Imperial front line.

The Tau now found the going very easy as the Imperial armies had not expected the sudedn counter move. Corunium lay completely undefended and by 2211.007M42 the city once again lay in Tau hands as the Imperial and PDF forces south of the city raced back eat in an attempt to avoid the obvious cut off manouvre down to the south coast. Meanwhile a Dark angels company was rushed in to hold the line to the south to prevent yet another Imperial collapse.

Elan Ro Defeats Cunningham and retakes oilfieds
With the Dark Angels in place south of Corunium the Oilfields of the Coronia peninsular ought to have been safe, but before the Astartes had chance to organise their defences the cadres of Elan Ro followed up Shas'Ite as he consolidated his hold on Corunium. Longstridepoured more forces into the gap in the lines and turned his armies south, all the while conducting spoiling actions to keep the Imperial defenders pinned on their front lines. Another encirclement trap was about to be sprung.

The only hope for the Imperial defenders lay at Jacob's Creek, a small town to the south towards the Southern Sea. Here the battered remnants of the recently victorious Librian 57th joined forces with the Dark Angels to repel and slow the Tau advance. Elan Ro's mechanised army then appeared across the horizon.

A bloody and intense firefight then erupted with the Imperial tanks bearing the brunt of the desctruction. The Space Marines defended doggedly but they could not destroy the Tau vehicles quick enough. Once again poor artillery fire from the Librians cost the army dearly, and investigations into the apparent failure of Librian Basilisk began in ernest. The Space Marines faired little better as the Tau tanks simply shrugged of lascannon and plasma fire.

As the Tau closed their lethal close range firepower tore into the Marines and destroyed most of the remaining Imperial Tanks. Jacob's Creek began to become a funeral pyre as Elan Ro's skimmers glided, scorched, through the black oily smoke. The Tau commander didn't stay long, immediately continuing the advance while human "Gue'vesa" stayed to take prisoners. The Dark Angels immediately contacted GHQ to inform them that the Tau had broken through, but they were far too late. By the time the orders reached the remaining 50,000 troops in the Coronia pocket, the Tau were in sight of the Southern Sea.

On 2411.007M42 the remnants of Army group Centre surrendered. The oilfields of Coronia nad the city of Corunium had been in Imperial hands for less than a week. It was a devastating blow to Imperial morale. Infuriated the Dark Angels decided to take action and fully half their fleet set off for the Mellberg system...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eldar discover "Trumpet"

+++Agent 57 Communication+++


+++Subject: URGENT: Eldar discover element of Enslaver+++

My lords. It has happened. The Eldar have discovered and taken the "trumpet" part of the Solar Enslaver following a decisive action on Kendrenec. It appears the fortress world is no longer as strong without the Moonface Catechism. I fear the Saim Hann Craftworld and their unknown Eldar allies will soon have acquired the "ball" too. What they will do with the entire device is unknown, but it is unlikely to be benign...

+++Message Ends+++

Monday, November 05, 2007

C.H.E.E.S.E. More clashes see Eldar winning the race

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Perseus Deeps Activity+++

My lords, the search for the Solar Enslaver continues, though it seems there are now only two major players in the investigations. The Tau have much information on all aspects of the Enslaver, but they remain distracted by Melberg and are unwilling it seems to cross into unknown territory in the Perseus Deeps. This may cost them as the Eldar, who attacked and laid waste to the Tau base on Skera last week, have now ample information on the "Trumpet" and have landed on Kendrenec.

The Dark Eldar too have entered the fray, though they are far behind their kin in their investigations. The Saim Hann eldar we know to have a large amount of information on the ball, despite the Kel Sandros Eldar trying to shield it from them. Soon enough I am sure they will know its wherabouts aswell. I fear there is little we can do to stop them and hope that the aliens will not do anything rash.

The Necrons seem to have returned to their long slumber, probably barely aware how close the Eldar are coming to discovering the entire device! The Imperium too, demoralised no doubt by recent defeats, seem to have abandonned the search, at least for the time being. Only the Tyranids seem to be increasing their presence in the Deeps, primarily seeing it as a source of nutrients no doubt. There is now increasing evidence that a splinter hive fleet, designated "Scylla" by the Imperium, is actively seeking information on the Solar Enslaver.

Why the hive mind would want such a device is unknown, but they have attacked in a pattern which can only suggest they are looking for information. Last week they fell upon the Templars Redemptus on Vorta, but after driving the superhumans away from the ancient Necron ruins on that world they then left a short while later. This is not usual Tyranid behaviour. The hive fleet has divided into many parts and the invasion of Libria has stalled. All this points to their attention be diverted by activity in the Deeps.

+++Message Ends+++

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Melberg: Cunningham smashes Elan Ro

Following the advance west by Cunningham’s armies the Tau detected and obvious weakness in the Imperial lines as their newly taken territory represented a vulnerable salient. At its narrowest point the area recovered by the Imperium was only one hundred miles wide, with the southern coast providing an obvious target for Tau forces in Corunium. If the Tau could push south to the ocean, a large proportion of the Imperial force would be trapped in a pocket in the Corona Peninsular.

General Cunningham for once had good intelligence from his agents but even without it he couldn’t fail to see that there was an obvious place to pinch out the Imperial advance. Lenord realised this too and gave Cunningham a significant portion of his strategic reserve, including the Librian 7th and 9th regiments to defend this part of the line.

Meanwhile the Tau had assigned Commander Elan Ro to lead the push south. A new commander from the same sept as El Shi in the Perseus Deeps, Shadowstrike and Longstride were hopeful that his “unknown quantity” element would catch the Imperial defenders by surprise. They were about to be disappointed.

When Elan Ro attacked on 0311.007M42 the Imperium were waiting. The Tau were extremely mobile, their fire warriors all in Devilfish transports, but the Librian Grenadiers were waiting. Cunningham and the other Generals had learnt the lessons of earlier Tau mechanised attacks and placed their anti-tank defences well. As the Tau rushed forward in their lunge towards the coast the Imperial gunners picked them off one by one.

The battle became known as “The Great Corona Turkey Shoot”, as one by one the xenos vehicles were shot to pieces. Few excaped the massed lascannon and battlecannons of the Librian Grenadiers, and for once the quality of the ammunition, so obviously lacking in earlier encounters, was up to the job. The Tau commander watched in horror as round after round penetrated and downed his craft.

There wasn’t even time for Elan Ro to make any strategic or tactical moves, the Imperial defenders were destroying his armour too quickly. Even his deep striking crisis suits found themselves isolated and unable to co-ordinate their attacks, and they were destroyed piecemeal despite initial early successes against the Librina Basilisk batteries.

In less than a day the attack had faltered and the Tau withdrew towards Corunium. Additionally Cunningham was able to keep Elan Ro within sight, forcing him to retreat further and allowing the Imperium to widen the salient “neck” to over 200 miles. In the south the Imperium now had the upper hand. However lack of fuel and equipment forced Cunningham to stop some thirty miles short of the city itself. Both sides now paused for breath.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Apocalypse on Melberg!

Operation "Northern Thrust"
The operation to take the northern territories in the Terris Kingdom was always part of Longstride's overall plan for Melberg, but the thrust towards Atlas Prime was taking priority.

Then an unexpected turn of events meant that the scheduled push to Terracon suddenly received immediate attention. Since the defeat of Jeffries' armes in Narmala the Tau had unwittingly passed over an Eldar Webway portal. On the eve of the 23rd a cloaked figure arrived at the Tau forward HQ, bypassing the security around the complex.

The very next day Commander Longstride had agreed with Shadowstrike that the help of the Eldar would be accepted, even though the aliens were opposing their efforts in the Perseus Deeps. The Eldar had assured the Tau that they wanted nothing in return and that they only wished to see the Tau victorious on Melberg. They didn't say why.

On the 27th a hastily prepared attack began, with the Eldar attacking troop formations along the coast while Tau Hunter Cadres penetrated deep into Terris Kingdom. Initially the Imperium fell back rapidly, alarmed at the sudden intervention of the Eldar, but finally an immense battle coalesced out of the confusion around the city of Terracon. Three Space Marine Chapters also came to the aid of the Imperium as they desperately tried to halt the allied alien advance. The Dark Angels massed in strength, bringing more than half their chapter to bear in the north, while the Templars Redemptus and Emerald fists also bore the brunt of the fighting.

The massed forces of the Tau and Eldar converged all around the city and the largest set piece battle of the war so far unfolded around the city. Lord Commander Lenord threw his entire northern defence force into the battle, including the Librian 101st, 57th, 7th and 8th Grenadiers, as well as the Whettis and Terris Kingdom armies. Several thousand armoured vehicles took part in an apocalyptic and devastating tank battle in the plains outside the city.

The Tau were badly mauled in the battle as the Space Marines held the centre ground, but Lenord's armoured thrust, aimed at delivering a fatal blow to the Xenos alliance was suddenly and brutally blunted by massed and manouverable Eldar forces. Hundreds of Jetbikes and othe Eldar vehicles, supported by a mighty and rarely seen Revenant Titan tore into the Imperial armou, destroying more than two thirds of their number. At the same time two Super-Heavy tanks detonated in a shower of debris and fire.

The apocalyptic battle raged for hours with utter carnage on both sides until the Imperial forces were spent. The remaining Marines, mostly Dark Angels, fell back into Terracon, now reduced to rubble, as the Emerald Fists and Templars Redemptus forces tried to assess just how bad their losses had been. Of the Whettis and Terris Kingdom armies there was very little left. The Imperial Guard and PDF forces withdrew north and south, leaving Terracon surrounded as the Tau beseiged the city. Then, just as suddenly as they had arrived, the Eldar left, leaving their broken and twisted remains of their alien equipment littering the battlefield among the hundreds of burning Imperial tanks. The Carnage had also hurt the Tau badly, but now the entire northern half of Melberg was almost in their grasp.

Operation "Xyston"
While the Eldar assisted Shadowstrike in the north, Commander Longstride began the mch awaited assault towards Atlas Prime. He had no Eldar support but was confident he could overcome the forces of General Cunningham in the South. Cunningham however had also received support from the Emerald Fists and Dark Angels chapters and just as the Tau began their assault he launched his own counter-attack.

The eastern front had been so quiet for so long that the Tau hadn't realised just how strong the Imperial forces had become. The battle started with an accurate artillery barrage from the Basilisks of the redeployed 14th AVR regiment. In contrast to the woeful accuracy of the Librian artillery the Basilisks of the 14th AVR took a heavy toll on the Tau hammerheads and crisis suits as they waited in their attack positions.

The battle developed in a confusing and fragmented way along a broad front. Reeling the Tau tried to make good their shaky start to operation Xyston but were all too soon reacting to events rather than shaking them. Crucially the Tau forces deployed to meet the threat of the 7th Coronia Armoured Regiment which threatened to break through their left flank, rather than concentrating their forces towards the trategic objectives in the centre of the front which were weakly defended by the Imperium. By the time they did, belatedly, realise their mistake the Imperial high command had brought in fresh reserves, deployed by drop pod, in the centre of the front running across Coronia.

In the south the Tau faired badly as the 14th AVR massacred thousands of Tau fire warriors using massed Hellhound and Stormtrooper attacks. Already by the end of the first day Operation Xyston was a shambles and the Tau were in retreat. Though taking severe casualties the Imperial forces, aided by Astartes units, had done terrible damage to the armies of Longstride, devastating his Hunter Cadres and eliminating hundreds of Tau skimmer tanks.

Using members of the Officio Assassinorium to confuse and disorient the Tau. The Imperial commander had gained the strategic upper hand and soon began to exploit the weakness in the Tau centre. By dawn on 291007 the Imperial forces had cut a swathe into the Tau lines, broken through and reached the Gulf of Gwendelia. Once again the oilfields of the Coronia peninsular were in Imperial hands and Corunium was in danger of being cut off.

In the north and south the bloody fighting tailed off as both sides tried to consolidate their lines and forces. Though they had lost a huge swathe of territory in the north the Imperium had successfully turned the war in the south into a war of attrition, something the Tau could not afford to let happen. While Longstride tried to shore up his southern front Shadowstrike was already planning the next phase of the war. It would not be just yet however as the Tau no longer had sufficient forces to mount a significant offensive on any front, though fortunately for them, neither did the Imperium. The bloody war on Melberg would go on.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

C.H.E.E.S.E. campaign - Key Systems...

SKERA - A New Tau colony?

The Skera system was colonised long ago during the first expansion of humanity. It resides in the Perseus Deeps, far from stable warp lanes and close to strange anomalies in the depths of the dangerous area. Skera has one habitable planet which is very close to Earth in its climate and size, probably du to terraforming. In the distant past the system was lost from the Imperium and its once great cities fell into ruin. Now, during the Tau exapnsion into the Deeps Commander El Shi has found a small medieval level population of humans, nestling close to the ruins of their ancient civilisation.

The Tau have immediately incorporated the planet into their sphere of influence, ruled from Cernunnos. However they have been beset by Eldar and Chaos raids as all races search for the Solar Enslaver. There are clues on the planet as beneath the ground giant and ancient alien caverns signal that once Skera was home to a Necron population. As the Tau excavate these ruins, Eldar and Chaos forces frequently raid from unknown bases in the deep forests of the planet.

Without Melberg, and the subsequent conquest of the Zadoc subsector, the Tau will be hard pressed to expand further into the Deeps, having already added Skera, Manir and Parius to their set of small colonies. With these new bases, Cernunnos is at ful stretch governing, and protecting them, and the existing new colonies of Lucardium and Paratea.

KENDRENEC - Chaos world and location of the trumpet

Kendrenec was once a lush and green world before its collision with an asteroid some 10 millennia ago. The impact was enough to destabilise the planet's orbit, bringing Kendrenec closer to its sun. Ever since the has been a scorched desert, devoid of all life, but still its atmosphere contains oxygen, as it will for a few million more years.

Kendrenec was founded as a penal colony some 300 years ago and soon developed a reputation for harbouring some of the most twisted and evil criminals of the sector. The inmates' lives were usually short and violent, forced to mine the planet for the few minerals it contained. Kendrenec was nonetheless one of the most productive planets per head of population, until two years ago.

Using an uprising by the prisoners to good effect, the Chaos traitor Tragaen (calling himself lord) overthrew the few Adeptus Arbites on the planet and claimed it as his own. The prisoners found themselves no better off than before, and conditions on the planet have deteriorated since the invasion. Lord Tragaen's history can be found elsewhere. The traitor controls a significant fleet and army of plague marines and from Kendrenec has launched several attacks into Imperial territory over the last few years. The planet is considered a major threat and is the source of the warp gate attacks which crippled Aleph 4.

Kendrenec is now too powerful to retake and is a potential launch pad for a black crusade into the sector. However recent abortive assaults by the Iron Warriors and Dark Exterminators have lessened the Chaos threat and reduced the Chaos fleet to a shadow of its former self.

However, the Kel Sandros Eldar have placed the Trumpet, part of the Solar Enslaver, deep within the fortress world's capital, a haven of Chaotic forces and Traitor Marines. Many have left to join the Moonface Catechism, but the city of Kel'Ahir is still heavily guarded and fortified. Only the Eldar know that it also harbours part of the most powerful weapons in the galaxy.

Longstride's call to Arms - Melberg

To my Brothers and Sisters of the Fire Caste, The planet of Melberg has been the focus of a significant Tau military build-up, and now we are ready to launch Operation Xyston; an attack east towards the Imperial capital city, Atlas Prime. This strike will see our forces clash with the Imperium of Man on a scale never before seen in the campaign. Our victory here will consolidate the foothold on Melberg, deal a crippling blow to the Imperial war-effort, and ensure the ultimate triumph of the Greater Good. Commander Longstride.

Friday Night - Apocalypse!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Melberg: Army Group North surrenders

Narmala Airlift

Over one thousand planes took off on the first day of the airlift, transporting over 500 tonnes of supplies on 1210.007M42. It was as if the entire Imperial Navy, fighters, bombers, transports and troop carriers had all sortied together in one giant wave, which wasn’t far from the truth. The bold act, sending up practically the entire force, caught the Tau completely by surprise. Most of their air crews were resting when the airlift began at dawn, and even by the end of the first day the Tau had only mounted a piecemeal response.

32 Imperial aircraft were shot down on 1210.007M42 out of over a thousand. However the next day things began to change. Realising the Imperium did not intend to abandon Army Group North to its fate the Tau high command attempted to take the initiative, throwing up a wall of Barracudas in the path of the supply convoy. It still wasn’t enough. By the end of the second day the Imperium had lost 57 more aircraft but another 718 tonnes of supplies had got through.

In a final gambit the Tau air caste put up their entire force, including those defending the fleet, determined to destroy the Imperial Navy once and for all. Fully two thousand craft swirled above the skies of Narmala on the 13th and 14th, with carnage over the plains. On this day the battle was bloody. Only 23% of Marauders, and 34% of Valkyries got through with their cargo and only 312 tonnes of supplies were delivered to the troops in the pocket.

However, despite shooting down 318 aircraft the Tau also suffered losses, losing over 300 of their planes. Neither side could hope to sustain such casualties and on the 15th only a small night convoy of transport aircraft delivered 60 tonnes.

It was now obvious that the Imperium could not hope to supply the trapped men indefinitely, but they had bought them some time. The Blood Ravens had landed in the pocket, their Thunderhawks left unmolested as the air battle raged around them. The Adeptus Astartes would now be able to carve a supply route into Terris Kingdom and Whettis, if only they could destroy the Hunter Cadres holding the narrow strip of land which separated Army Group North from the rest of the Imperial Command.

Meanwhile the air supply train continued, gradually increasing back up to the levels seen in previous days. Then, on the 20th, the Tau launched one final attack on the Imperial Navy.

This attack took the Imperial Navy by surprise and centred on the Airfields around Terracon. Despite barve and heroic efforts the Tau air caste massed co-ordinated assaults on the Imperium and by the end of 2210.007M42 the Imperial Navy had lost over two thirds of their strength. No more supplies got through and on 2710.007M42 General Jeffries met with Commander Longstride where he offered the surrender of Army Group North. Longstride accepted and over 100,000 men were led into captivity.

C.H.E.E.S.E. Campaign

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Perseus Deeps Activity+++

My lords, the situation in the Perseus Deeps is becoming desperate. Already the Eldar, from the Saim Hann craftworld and another, as et unidentified group, have discovered the location of part of the device. I am certain of it. What they plan to do is uncertain but agents who have infiltrated their ranks (no mean feat) have discovered that they are massing in the webway, destined for Kendrenec, the Chaos fortress.

Additionally a number of races have encountered the Tyranids in their investigations, and few, save the Eldar, have bested them. It is the Tau however who, after the Eldar, are making more discoveries.

The Tau now have foothold bases in the Manir system, having defeated a Blood Ravens scoutin force. They also hold the Parius system, the enigmatic commander Hawkeye having seen of Chaos and Eldar threats. Now we see the Eldar attacking their one time allies. On Skera the situation is less clear cut as El Shi and another Tau Shas'O have been in action against both the Death Guard traitor Chapter and the mysterious Eldar. Something of note must exist on that planet, but what?

As ever I will keep you informed. If the Tau were to harness the power of the Solar Enslaver I fear for the delicate balance of power in the sector, even against the might of the old foe. We might find Tau natural allies, but I still harbour misgivings over their expansionist policies, even though they have been checked in the Aleph sector by the UFP, the one force taking no interest in the Deeps! Perhaps our agents should contact them and warn them?
+++Message Ends+++

Librian V - Acronia Valley Cleansed

On 2210.007M42 the Blood Ravens landed on Libria V to rapturous applause. Three companies then advanced through the debse swampy vegetation in the Acronia valley, systematically wiping out all Tyranid creatures they came across. At one point they were assaulted by some of Hive Fleet Triton's most powerful creatures, but the marines took them down in close combat after using lascannon wielding dreadnoughts to obliterate a winged Hive Tyrant. In one day, with minimal losses, the Acronia valley was cleansed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Libria V - Hive Fleet Triton's latest target - Map

C.H.E.E.S.E. Update

Coravus falls. Army Group North surrounded

Unfortunately for Tau planners the Navy didn't show up. Anti-aircraft defences were bolstered and air raid procedures introduced in the North, but the Imperial Navy kept its planes in their concrete bunkers. Not only were the Imperial forces already running low on fuel they knew that the Tau were trying to achieve air supremecy for something special. Imperial planners decided they would need all their airborne defenders when that "something special" materialised.

On 1010.007M42 it did, but not in the way Imperial high command had anticipated. In the end, when the airdrop came, it came in low, and quietly from the sea. Rushing in from the North West, barely ten metres above the waves of the Great Melberg Ocean, fifty Mantas and over two hundred Barracudas unleashed a storm of firepower on the shoreline of Coravus, the Capital of the Isle of Cor.

The Tau had caught the Imperial defenders completely by surprise, having dropped from orbit on the other side of the planet and flying several thousand miles at wavetop height. This feat required extra fuel for the Mantas to carry, reducing the amount of troop carrying capability available, but the Cadres that landed quickly secured a beachhead.

These troops were followed by reinforcements carried by Orcas and soon the western portion of the city was under Tau control. Then, the Cora Defence Force under General Brooke launched a counter attack. Units of The Defence force attacked the Tau forces as they fanned out across the city. The firefight became an extended and confused affair with a great deal of inconclusive fire exchanged between the two forces. However by the end of the day the Tau had managed to partially encircle Brooke's men in the city and he was forced to abandon it to the Tau.

Meanwhile Jeffries' army charged towards the northern coast, attempting to secure the Hanibus straits before the Tau could. The hope was a forlorn one though, as when the first elements of Army Group North arrived, they could see Tau forces securing the port of Dechanel on the southern shore of the Isle of Cor. Infiltrating stealth units had sabotaged the docks during the night and low flying mantas delivered fire warriors to mop up once daybreak arrived. The port of Dechanel, Jeffries' last supply point, had been cut off.

The next few days allowed the Tau to mop up the remaining resistance within the confines of the Isle of Cor. The army of the Islanders, some 200,000 in total, surrendered when it found itself surrounded and unable to form a coherent defence. Now, Army Group North was surrounded in northern Narmala, and out of supply. The Imperial Navy, which had so far not intervened while the Tau took Cor from the air, now planned an airborne armada to resupply the trapped half a million men and their equipment, preparing them for their breakout.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Fleets Clash in Perseus Deeps

While the various powers increased their investigations into the CHEESE device it was inevitable that their fleets would collide. The first such action took place on 0610.007M42 as two Imperial cruisers from the Vastrid subsector, carrying the 223rd Vastridian Guard to aid Inquisitor Huron in his investigations, accompanied by a Dark Angels strike cruiser, were ambushed by three Chaos cruisers while navigating the Perseus run.

The three Chaos ships were clearly part of Lord Traegen's fleet, rather than those of Grand Admiral Thok at Mordecai which was a worrying development. The encounter itself saw the Dark Angels cruiser seriously damaged and the Invincible reduced to little more than a hulk. The Intrepid, carrying the Vastridian 223rd was obliged to withdraw, fleeing back to Port Canuck just on the edge of the Deeps.

On the Chaos side the heavy cruiser Plagueclaw, badly led and apparentley inexperienced, was crippled by a bombing run which took out her bridge. After that her manouevring deteriorated and she was blown up by fire from the three Imperial vessels. This was the only Imperial success and it was bittersweet as the shockwave from the vessel's detonation was responsible for the loss of Invincible.

The result of the engagement was significant, as with bases on Kendrenec and Mordecai the Chaos forces had now effectively sealed off the Perseus run, preventing forces from reaching the remaining loyalist planets in the Aleph subector. By the end of the month this had led to the capitulation of Banderossa and Pirinar to the UFP. It also impeded the investigations into the Solar Enslaver, as the Imperium could not now penetrate the southern and eastern portions of the vast area.

C.H.E.E.S.E Campaign intensifies

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Perseus Deeps Activity+++

It is with some trepidation that I report that the situation in the Perseus Deeps is deteriorating. The various powers in the sector are sending ever larger forces in their efforts to obtain the Solar Enslaver. What they will do with it should they find the device does not bear thinking about.

The Tau:The Tau have been by far the most organised in their investigations, searching each system in turn, spreading out with four small fleets under Fastblade, Hawkeye, El Shi and another as yet unidentified Shas'O. These forces have been searching the systems closest to the Aleph Expansion sphere though Fastblade has yet to encounter enemy forces. El Shi, having defended his position on Skera from marauding Chaos marines this week came under attack from the Blood Martyrs chapter. However the Tau noticed the Imperial landing zone and launched their own devastating attack. What few marines escaped were forced to flee to their strike cruiser which was pursued out of the system by the Tau.

Commander Hawkeye on Parius was once again attacked by Chaos marines, this time the Penetrators whose presence is always a portent of bad thigs to come. In the ruins of Kath'A dor, an ancient and abandonned Imperial city, the Tau defeated the traitor marines and continued their search of the ruins.

Meanwhile in the Manir system the Dark Angels uncovered another Tau investigation force apparently intent on excavating the ruins of Dargore, an ancient Necron tomb system. The Dark Angels sent a small force to dissuade them but succumbed to accurate Tau fire and were forced to withdraw. The Tau investigations continue in this region of the deeps and several Waystations have already been setup.

The Eldar:The old race has finally shown its hand in two fierce engagements in the Cerelium and Arastos systems. On the planet of Cerelium itdelf amongst the decaying ruins of an old human settlement two chapters of Space Marines, as yet unidentified were apparently investigating strange readings emmanating from the planet's core. However one they landed a lage force of Eldar from at least two separate craftworlds appeared as if from nowhere and launched a ferocious attack. Once again the Imperial forces were obliged to withdraw from the system without uncovering the mystery of the emmanations.

On the Arastos system the Eldar encountered the Sons of Chaos and defeated them. It seems the Eldar are intent on preventing any investigation of this barren system.

The Necrons:The Necrons have been awakened on the Imperial outpost of Enosh where the Silurian Guard had landed after the local governor had reported strange sightings on the planet. Unfortunately this heralded the awakening of the Necrons on that world and all contact was lost during a viscious battle between hordes of the metal warriors and the Imperial defenders. I shall attempt to regain contact with agent 34 but I am not hopeful.

I will as ever continue my observations, but it is becoming increasingly difficult as each race becomes more suspicious. It may lead to our operations being uncovered. We must not allow any of these races to discover our agents and our dealings in the Perseus Deeps.
+++Message Ends+++

Monday, October 01, 2007

Quicksword killed by Templars Redemptus

On 2909.007M42 the Tau learned that the Blood Martyrs were not the only Space Marines on Melberg. The little known Templars Redemptus chapter were also active on the planet having landed some three days earlier. Unlike the Blood Martyrs they did not discuss their plans nor general strategy as a whole with the Imperium and Lord General Lenord. It appeared that they had their own agenda, so when they chose to strike it came as much as a shock to the Imperium as it did to the Tau.

The first the Tau knew of the attack on their base in Kearnos, in central Gwendel, was the distinctive sound of Thunderhawks roaring overhead. The Templars Redemptus quickly established a perimeter around the Tau base which was packed full of supplies and was the main communications hub of Quicksword's Hunter Cadres. In fact on this day, Quicksword was there in person.

Speculation continues as to the motives behind the attack. The nature of the strike suggests either an attempt to gain valuable intelligence or a surgical assassination attempt on the Tau commander Quicksword. The later would seem more likely though why the Marines would go to such lengths to assassinate the least capable Tau commander is a point of much contention. Some suggest Tau agents gave away Quicksword's position in an attempt to remove him "for the greater good".

In any case the Templars were successful. Striking hard and fast the Marines used the terrain against the aliens, advancing their elite assault units under cover. While the Tau were able to blast away at the Marine vehicles the genetically engineered warriors closed with the Tau with ease. In addition one Hammerhead in particular proved singularly inept, failing to damage the Templar's Predator Destructor tank in a duel which should have been woefully one sided.

The Marines managed to get close to the Tau without taking too many casualties and then charged. The Tau stood no chance and any who were met in hand to hand combat were cut down by the super humans. In a desperate attempt to halt the Marines Quicksword himself charged into the fray, only to be brutally scythed in two by a power fist of the command squad's veteran sergeant.

The Tau were obliged to withdraw to regroup, allowing the Templars enough time to steal valuable information, maps and supplies, loaded into the holds of their Thunderhawks before lifting off, vainly pursued by the Tau air caste's Barracudas. A victory for the Imperium had been achieved and embarrassment caused to the Tau Empire, but not everyone in the Tau fire caste was in mourning for the loss of Quicksword.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

C.H.E.E.S.E Campaign begins

+++Agent 57 Communication+++
+++Subject: Perseus Deeps Activity+++

The various competing powers of the Sector have begun their forays into the Deeps in search of the Enslaver. It is as I anticipated. the Tau are sending out small scouting groups led by maybe one capital ship, carrying on board a half dozen Hunter Cadres each. Every system they visit they set up a small waystation, no doubt earmarking systems for further colonisation.
The Tau were unfortunate to clash with the newly rejuvenated Sons of Chaos Marines who themselves are roaming the Deeps in search of the artefact of power. Both the forces of El'Shis and Commander Hawkeye, sent out from Cernunnos just this week were in action, in the Skera and Parius systems respectively. Commander Hawkeye's Tau were able to see of the Chaos Marines and spent a considerable time searching the Ancient ruins on the planet's surface. El Shis was less fortunate and both his Cadre and the Chaos Marines withdrew from the Skera system, eying each other warily from a safe distance.

Meanwhile in the far North-East of the Deeps, towards the Valitane subsector, the Penetrators were encountered once more. It seems that wherever there is intrigue and secret goings on this Legion is present. They landed on Vorielle shortly after the Templars Redemptus and were able to remove the Imperial forces before beginning what looked like extensive excavations. I can only assume they too are searching for the Enslaver.

As ever I will continue to monitor the situation closely. Reports from my juniors indicate increasing necron, Dark Eldar and Eldar activity. Indeed it may be the case that the Eldar have already clashed with the Tau which in itself would be an intriguing development. It would seem the Eldar have no wish for any of the races of the Aleph sector to gain access to the terrible power of the C.H.E.E.S.E.

+++Message Ends+++

Melberg - Namivus falls to Longstride

Commander Longstride quickly reinforced Shadowstrike’s victory by assaulting the city of Namivus, the capital of the now cut off state of Narmala. This city had been taken in the initial drop but lost to General Taves’ when Quicksword’s forces were annihilated. Lacking sufficient time to build defences the sudden retreat north by the Imperium meant the city was ripe for the picking.

Rather than encircle the city, as Shadowstrike suggested, Longstride planned a quick and devastating assault, utilising his cadres’ speed and mobility. His attack bagan on 2509.007M42 and immediately yielded results. From across the Namin river hundreds of pathfinders lit up the hastily completed Imperial bunkers and nearly all were destroyed by devastatingly accurate Railgun fire in the first minutes of the attack.
Following the loss of their main defensive positions the Imperial defenders, part of the Narmala and Terris Kingdom Alliance under General Alexander, called for support. That support came in the form of General Jeffries’ and what was left of Army Group Centre.

The Librians counter-attacked ferociously, scoring some success with their Hellhound flame tanks on the unprotected fire warriors and kroot of Longstrides initial advance. These were both quickly withdrawn once the Hellhounds appeared and Hammerheads made short work of the Imperial tanks.

By the time that General Jeffries could deploy his main battle tanks and stormtrooper units the battle was as good as lost. The Narmalan defenders had abandoned the second line of defences and the Tau had crossed the river in force. Such was the momentum of the Tau attack that they simply brushed aside all resistance as they first encircled, then assaulted the city of Namivus.

On 2809.007M42 the Librians held just the extreme northern portion of the city. Cut off from the Terris Kingdom armies and Army group north under Alexander they were obliged to retreat to maintain their coherency and prevent Longstride from an all out breakthrough. In the event the Tau commander was quite content to hold the city and withdrew from the field, ready for the next strike.

The new Tau tactics continued to bear fruit, striking hard and fast at the Imperium before withdrawing. Now Sunstrike prepared for a new operation, conceptualised by the new Shas’O Shadowstrike. An operation which would shatter Imperial resistance in the north west and see the Isle of Cora fall to the Tau Empire.

First, and most importantly the Tau would launch a massive air campaign, using their entire fleet of aircraft launched from their carriers in orbit. This attack would be designed to smash the Imperial navy irrevocably, paving the way for a massive airdrop on Coravus. This would cut the isolated defenders in Cora and Namivus into three unsupplied groups. Capitulation would be inevitable.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The end on Cerberex

Battle of St.Owen’s Basilica
The bloody battle of St.Owen's Basilica, which developed on 1209.007M42 signalled the end of Imperial resistance in Gulan and on Cerberex as a whole. General Kluge, in command of Army Group East, had held on tenaciously to the city despite numerous assaults since the first day of the Chaos invasion. The city was a thorn in Moonface's side and lack of progress in taking it had frustrated the Chaos general.

By 09.007M42 Moonface realised that with the rapid expansion of UFP controlled land coupled with the arrival of the UFP fleet, the capture of the planet's second major city had become the priority, and he diverted several legions from the war in the south to attack the Imperial stronghold. Led by Newo the Slaughterer the Chaos armies once again launched themselves against the forces defending Gulan. Well dug in and expecting attack the initial Chaos assault was a slaughteras tens of thousands of cultists died running at the Imperial trenches. However this was a diversion. A bloody one, but a diversion none-the-less. Moonface had identified the Basilica of St. Owen, on the west of the city, as a key strategic strongpoint. If it were taken the forces of Chaos could disable the cities defence shield and would also have access to a number of missile silos. The results would be disasterous.
It took Kluge almost a day to realise that he was being outflanked and by the time the first reinforcements arrived the Chaos vanguard had reached the Basilica.

Already a fierce duel had erupted around the entrance to the ornate building, with the wreck of a Chaos Land Raider burning furiously before the Imperial defenders. Chaos bikers moved around the Basilica's flanks, only to be ambushed by a Basilisk, used in direct fire mode as an assault gun. Despite the destruction wrought on the traitor forces they could not be stopped, and the Chaos marines which held the Basilica were able to access the defence shield and activate Gulan's missiles before they could be removed. Kluge had realised the danger too late and the trio of dark columns of smoke indicated that the missiled had been detonated. Gulan was now open to the enemy and a massive rain of artillery fire reduced the city to rubble in scant hours. Finally the Imperial resolve cracked and hordes of dedicated followers of Chaos swept into the city.

Meanwhile Kluge withdrew, allowing Chaos to take the remains of the city of Gulan. It was a devastating blow to the Imperium. Even so Newo the Slaughterer had lost many men taking the Basilica, including all but one of the squad of terminators he had been assigned. The damage was enough to earn Moonface's contempt, rather than his praise.

Imperial Collapse
The city of Gulan had held out since the initial invasion, despite hardships and crumbling defences the defenders had stood firm. Now that the city was lost the Imperial government moved again, this time to Grasx. The mood in the Imperial high command was at an all time low, with forces on the retreat on all fronts. Nowhere had their been an Imperial victory in the last month and it seemed like only a matter of time before the city of Grasx fell.

Imperial logisticians actually estimated it would take the UFP no more than three weeks to take the final Imperial city based on current fuel and ammunition stocks. With the loss of the Imperial fleet in the Aleph subsector, there would be no mass evacuation either.

Secretly, and without the approval of the high command, certain factions began negotiations with the UFP, particularly those under the command of the embattled Army Group South. General Von Paulus was particularly anxious to end the slaughter and on 2409.007M42 he found himself surrounded by the Hartak 8th legion. Despite orders to the contrary, he and Army Group South surrendered to the UFP on 2509.007M42, handing 400,000 troops and their equipment over to the UFP.

This also led to the swift collapse of the southern defensive line and before the day was out the logisticians had proved that the loss would inevitably hasten the end for the Imperial forces on Cerberex. In a desperate attempt to make his lines shorter Lord General Voss pulled Army Group North under Von Schlieffen and Army Group Centre under Model back some thousand miles towards the UFP front lines. This led to Model’s army becoming trapped between the planet's two seas, and only a brilliant escape plan saved his forces. Meanwhile the Great Villain Plain fell to the enemy forces who met roughly half way between the two great seas of Cerberex.

The Vennetta Heights fell next as UFP and Chaos forces closed the door on General Guderain’s Army Group West. This time there was no escape and his armies were wiped out, chiefly by Chaos forces while the UFP desperately tried to negotiate a surrender.

By 1610.007M42 the Imperial sector had shrunk to a tiny stronghold around Grasx and to the north. To the west Model fought tenaciously against the Chaos hordes while in the South the UFP gained on average 20 miles a day.

Meanwhile the Imperial forces ran short of food, water, oil and ammunition. On 2310.007M42 Govenor and Monarch Iyanen Serbellant ended the madness. He surrendered all his forces to the UFP high command. This effectively left General Voss with just a few thousand loyal Imperial Guard. A few units fought on vainly and were destroyed but most also surrendered to the UFP. Some collapsed completely, their coherency destroyed.

Following the final surrender of the Imperium on Cerberex there was heering on Tallax and Hartak as UFP units entered Grasx. There was no cheering within they populous of the city however as the fiercely loyal citizens looked on in despair as Squat Land Raiders and Tallaxian vehicles rumbled through the streets followed by thousands of jubilant worker peasants who saw the UFP as their saviours.

The UFP then braced itself for the onslaught of Chaos. They fully expected an all out assault on the now extended UFP lines. But it never came. Something odd was going on in the Chaos sector. UFP intelligence reported the Chaos forces digging in, constructing vast trench lines behind their front lines. Building bunkers, minefields and defences up to three hundred miles deep, denying the UFP their mobile battle. But they did not attack.

The Catechism leaves
In fact the Chaos forces, having defeated the Imperium on Cerberex, at least in part, had achieved their objectives. The Chaos overlord, Moonface, had uccessfully invaded the Imperial capital, something other warlords said could not be done. He had proved his worthiness and consolidated his hold over the Chaos forces in the sector. Further loss of life, or rather further loss of his war assets, would serve no purpose. The newly created Moonface Catechism began preparing to leave the planet, planning their next campaign of conquest.

This must have come as a bitter disappointment to those who had rebelled on Cerberex or had designs on a new order on the planet. Now their chief sponsor and provider was leaving, taking his best troops with him and leaving the remaining Chaos forces facing the UFP with old beaten up equipment. Many thought the UFP would quickly overwhelm them.

Then emerged a new leader, known only as Ashurman the Wise. No-one knows where he came from but he soon proved to be a canny and knowledgeable strategist. Identifying that the Chaos forces still had numbers and ammunition, even if they were lacking in ability and equipment, the wizened old Chaos Warlock made plans for the defence of the newly created Chaos Realm on Cerberex.

It was Ashurman who instigated the construction of the defences, reasoning that the UFP’s greatest asset was mobility. Take that away and they would be forced to enter into attritional warfare. Something the UFP were never inclined to do. While the Catechism left by an assembled warfleet the UFP didn't dare to challenge, Ashurman had ensured that the war on Cerberex would continue for several years, if not decades.

Stand Off in the Trenches
The UFP allowed the Catechism to leave. Intelligence suggested they were leaving the Aleph subsector so there was no need to intervene. On the planet the UFP general staff looked carefully at the new data in front of them. Many days of arguing and debating finally concluded that no strategy could win the planet quickly without an abhorrent cost in UFP lives. The war would go on, but slowly.

The UFP noe controlled the capital and the space around the planet. The subsector was now firmly closed to the Imperium and Federal Space was established on 2610.007M42. A new Empire was finally born. On Cerberex itself the border between the New Chaos Realm, as styled by Ashurman, and New Cerberex, as named by the UFP, became a no mans land where no-one ventured. Occasionally both sides would launch limited assaults on each other, airstrikes or limited offensives, but neither side could wear the other down. In the following years the planet would become more like a military training ground for the UFP, a live fire exersize area where new pilots and troopers could learn their trade.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Grand Admiral Thok shows himself in the Perseus Deeps

+++Breaking News+++
+++Inconclusive battle between Grand Admiral Thok's Chaos Renegades and the Imperial Fleet of the Vastrid Subsector ends with the distruction of the cruisers Corageous and Valiant. Glorious sees off Chaos vessels. Niddhog destroyed, Hati hulked. +++

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shadowstrike annihilates Taves

The mysterious and capricious Shas’O Shadowstrike launched a devastating assault on the Imperial lines after landing several more Hunter Cadres on the planet. There was nothing Lord Commander Lenord could do about the build up of forces, since the Tau fleet had total superiority in the Melberg system, so the Imperial Generals could only watch and await developments. Once again the Imperium was already on the defensive before the battle had been joined in earnest.

Shadowstrike used several ruses to disguise the main assault, attacking with small units towards the west coast and even launching limited diversionary air assaults east against Cornonian territory. In the end however the attack was preditable as the Hunter Cadres burst out of their salient near the Whettis border and struck out towards Narmala.

Within a few hours of the initial assault it became clear that Shadowstrike had changed the Tau strategy. Rather than attacking in a coherent fashion the Tau were delivering hammerblows to the Imperial lines before retreating. In some sectors there was no front line at all, with Imperial gnerals reporting Tau units in all directions. The confusion suddely put the Tau, with their advanced communications and fast moving equipment, at a massive advantage.

By the end of the firs day Lenord realised that his opponent had successfully cut a path between the armies of Taves, in Gwendel, and those of Cunningham in Whettis. Worse news was to follow. Most of the Librian 101st found itself surrounded as the 14th AVR collapsed on their eastern flank, losing much of their armoured vehicles.

Suddenly the focus shifted to a general withdrawal. Shadowstrike was concentrating not on territory and front lines, but on isolating Imperial units then annihilating them. This new tactic was devastating and the Imperium reeled at the ferocious assaults. Where the conditions were unfavourable, the Tau simpl melted away, refusing to give battle unless the odds were stacked in their favour.

The tactics achieved results as Army group North under Cunningham was forced to retreat into Whettis and Terris Kingdom. Meanwhile in the west General Taves and Jeffries narrowly managed to escape with their armies intact, abandonning Gwendel altogether and retreating to the border with Narmala. By the end of 2209.007M42 the Tau reached the northern coast, cutting the Imperial forces neatly in two. With one brilliant offensive the situation on Melberg had changed out of all recognition.

New Content

Current campaign status now in quick view on the right...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Campaign note

Incidentally even though Cerberex and Melberg are nominally "map" campaigns - don't be afraid to suggest a themed "operation" - such as airdops, sabotage missions and the like... I can easily fit them in eg:

Sabotage game or "kill team" against a city might make it unable to give supply for a game/length of time...Bombing missions in AI might do the same...

The Tau on Melberg may want to change thier strategy to one of "destroy enemy forces" rather than gain ground... This might mean that instead of planning a map move each victory gives you a number of territories - maybe double the usual but chosen by the loser instead of the victor - representing the retreat to shorten the defences...Or, the game gets no territories but the next game 1) limits the Imperium to 1 territory if they win and 2) doubles the gains of the Tau... If they win.

Libria: The Massacre of Acronia Valley

On 0709.007M42 there was no great concern in the Librian system over the recent encounters with Tyranid creatures on Libria V. Each time they had attacked the Librian PDF, numbering around 300,000 on the outermost planet, had easily responded to and dealt with the threat, though the images of butchered civilians was not going down well with the public. Even the shadow in the warp being reported by Adeptus Primaris psykers and the Adeptus Astra Telepathicas was considered an annoyance rather than a serious threat.

However this attitude changed on 0809.007M42 when scounting forces of the Librian 22nd Home Regiment reported massive activity to the north east of Daralon, in the broad and remote Acronia Valley. General Riddick, commander of all Imperial forces on Libria V, sent close to a third of his forces to the 75 mile long valley, with the intention of destroying the alien threat once and for all.

The Librian troops were surprised then to find that the Acronia valley was devoid of Tyranid activity when they arrived in the mid afternoon. In fact the valley was peaceful, though more than a few guardsmen noticed the strange sulphurous smell coupled with the rapid overgrowth of the natural Flora. Had they known Tyranids, hey would have left.

A screech from the sky alerted the Librian troopers to the danger, but before they could react to the sight of a winged hive tyrant flying above them the sky was filled with thousands of similarly winged Tyranid Warriors. The commander opened fire immediately but it was too late. Seconds later genestealers burst from the tangled undergrowth, surprising the Librians who had just seconds to try to figure out how they infiltrated their lines.

The battle of Acronia valley quickly became a one-sided massacre, as the winged warriors finished off what the genestealers had started. Even the destruction of a winged Hive tyrant was of little benefit, as lumbering monstrous Carnifexes crashed through the vegitation and bludgeoned their way through flesh and armour alike.

By the end of the day all contact had been lost with the Librian 22nd and the other troops in the Valley. The last sounds over the vox-net were anguished screams as more beasts tore through the Imperial lines. Shock at Imperial HQ in the Capital of Libria V was soon joined by terror as Daralon reported the sky filled with spores. Two ours later the town could not be raised on the vox-net. General Riddick sent a message ack to Librian HQ, requesting immediate reinforcement and assistance. The minor irritation had become a battle of life and death.