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.

Cerberex: Moonface eases pressure

On the recently quiet western front between the Chaos forces of Moonface and the UFP, the federation forces finally launched their major offensive against the city of Calormain, in the heart of Chaos territory. In the vanguard of the attack was the inxperienced but highly motivated Tallaxian 8th Armoured Division, who launched th main armoured thrust while the Hartak legions rested from their trials against the Imperium.

The inexperience of the Talaxians cost the UFP dearly as the UFP troops were caught in an ambush as they advanced, to the frustration of the UFP high command. Worse still their fire proved poor in the battle, with their brand new Vanquisher tanks proving paticularly ineffective. The Chaos forces, led by one of Moonface's veteran lieutenants, fell upon the unprepared UFP troops.

The battle was bloody and the UFP were forced to withdraw. Fortunately for the Tallaxians their commanders proved tactically adept, even if their forces could not match this with combat ability. In addition the overconfidence of some of the Chaos units caused them to be badly mauled as they followed the Tallaxian retreat. The Chaos forces had acheived a much needed victory atgainst their primary foe on Cerberex, but in the end it proved to be no more than a tactical one, and the UFP lines were not broken.

While the UFP and Chaos forces bludgeoned each other in the east the Imperial high command was in turmoil. Generals argued and morale plummeted. Many Imperial observers now realised that in all likelihood the planet would be lost.

Jeffries Regains initiative

Following the Blood Martyrs' defeat Lord Commander Lenord was anxious to regain the initiative against the Tau forces in Coronia. Using what little fuel reserves he had left he ordered Colonel Jeffries to assault the forces of Shadowstrike in a bid to regain a bridgehead across the river Ornz, knowing that Shadowstrike's forces were relatively green and recovering from a recent bloody battle against Taves on the western front.

Jefries moved his forces forward cautiously, and Shadowstrike let him cross the river. Once half his troops were across leaving the other half on the west bank, the Tau commander attacked. What followed was a deeply confusing encounter with many units cut off and no real front line. Jeffries however had planned for such an eventuality, dividing his regiments into small battle contingents.

The fiercest fighting occurred around the town of Delinium, which received a hash pounding. Here the Tau forces were unable to give ground as the town guarded a crucial crossroads, and it was here that Jeffries poured in his main battle frces, intending to destroy as much of the Tau as he could.

The battle raged for almost a day and the result was conclusive. Accurate artillery fire surprised the Tau and destroyed their Hammerheads while Hellhound flame tanks were brutally effecive at removing Shadowstrike's forces from cover. Jeffries' forces also suffered, notably the front line stormtroopers who suffered a the hands of stealth suits. One unit fough bravely for the central town facory, but were destroyed by the Tau combined arms attacks.

By the end of 0909.07M42 Shadowstrike realised he could not hold the Imperial Guard and withdrew to safer defences. The Imperium had once again established a bridgehead over the river Stridius and were within striking distance of both Gwendelia and Corunium. While the Tau high command began an extensive review of their Melberg strategy, Colonel Lenord was promoted to General by a very satisfied Lenord, replacing General Cunningham who was redeployed to "other duties".

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Longstride defeats Blood Martyrs!

Fuel, or lack of it, occupied Lord Commander Lenord's mind in 09.007M42 and it was the Blood Martyrs who offered a solution. If Corunium could be taken quickly and decisively then resistance in the West Coronia Peninsular would collapse. This would yield the vital oilfields to the Imperium and force the Tau back into Genundis. Bottled up it would only be a matter of time before the Ethereals called a halt to the entire campaign, or so the theory went. With the plan settled the Blood Martyrs prepared their lightning strike on the city of Corunium, while Lenord planned a diversionary attack towards the river Stridius.

The attack, in the event, did not go according to plan for the Blood Martyrs. The landing, by Thunderhawk, went as planned, and the marines thought they had taken the Tau by surprise, but once again they had failed to understand Tau military philosophy. Commander Longstride had willingly yielded the city, which in itself was of no strategic consequence. Then, while the Blood Martyrs were bottled up in the narrow streets of Corunium, Longstride gathered his personal Guard around him and waited.

Tau intelligence was good, identifying the Marine breakout route. Then Longstride attacked. Longstride's personal Guard included veteran Crisis Suit operators, as well as Hammerhead and Broadside support. When battle was joined the heavy railgiuns made light work of the Blood Martyr's heavy support units, destroying their Predators and Vindicators with ease. Even the Marine Rhinos, racing towards their foe, were easy meat for the versatile Crisis Suits, and soon the Blood Martyrs found themselves in serious trouble.

Only Chaplain Ceralon of the 4th company saved Astartes pride. He personaly led his assault squad against the Tau, cutting down three Broadside teams, a unit of kroot, a Crisis Suit team and Commander Longstride himself before massed frepower killed him and his unit. Only a third of the Marines which went in to Corunium returned, fleeing north. The sight of the Blood Martyrs defeated and fleeing broke Imperial morale and by 0809.007M42 the Tau commander had forced the Imperials back across the Stridius and back to the borders of Whettis and Gwendel, despite the knock on the head he received in personal combat with the Marine Chaplain.