Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chaos advance held on Sartano

While part the Catechism landed on Merrin, another headed south and eastinto the Ork held territory on Sartano. Disturbingly the Catechism, for thefirst time on record, summoned a vast Daemonic Horde to aid them againstthe teeming Ork army, and the gamble paid off. Very soon the Daemonic host had swept through the Orks east of the Sartano Heights and drove a wedge into the Ork lines through the factorium district of upper North Side.Thousands of Orks were enveloped, trapped with their backs to the Sartano Sea as the Chaos forces pushed ever southward.

By 2710.008M42 it looked possible that the Ork presence on Sartano would be eliminated. Fighting on two fronts, with Imperial forces dug in towards Southbourne, the greenskins had nowhere to go, but Nazghat's forces, the elite of the ork Waagh! were on the Island in strength.

Nazghat soon put an end to the Ork rout, stiffening Ork resistance andhalting the retreat. Two days later the line had stabilised and it was theturn of Chaos forces to find themselves enveloped as the Catechism over-reached itself. By 3010.008M42 a less mobile, more stable front line had been established, running from the north coast to the south just west of the main factorium district. For now, the Orks on Sartano had survived.

The Catechism lands on Merrin

On 2410.008M42 it became clear to everyone on Tarsis Major that the Night Lords had not come alone. The familiar sight of Catechism forces, and the familiar chanting, alerted Tau and Imperial forces to a change in their fortunes. These forces had not arrived by spacecraft, a fact which disturbed both high commands. The Orks didn't care...

On the night of 2610.008M42 the Catechism made their first move under the cover of an exceptionally dark and still night. On the morning of 2710.008M42, despite their sophisticated sensor equipment, the Tau found themselves under attack by Chaos forces which had landed during the night on the west coast of Merrin.

Furious battles erupted up and down the coast before the Tau could realise that the Chaos forces' objective was the Merrin mines, an area rich in natural resources and a major population centre. The Tau, caught off guard realised that if they defended their positions they would be slaughtered,and so were obliged to withdraw, leaving the Catechism the pride of Tarsis heavy industry and several million new slaves.

Elan Ro secures Tarsis Minor

While the Orks flooded into the Tarsis system Elan Ro was determined to rid the agri-world of Tarsis Minor of all other forces. The Imperial garrison had surrendered on the first day but continued fighting against Chaos and Ork forces were sapping his reserves of men and materiel. The war on Tarsis Minor had to finish, and fast.

With lightning speed Elan Ro struck the Chaos and Ork bases simultaneously, surprising both armies. Small teams raided the Tau enemies at night while hunter cadres secured vital strongholds in the Ork and Chaos controlled areas. Then, they dug in.

This was an unusual tactical decision for the Tau who preferred not to fight on these terms, but while some Tau defended these vital assets from the Ork and Chaos forces, Elan Ro's fastest and best troops harried their enemies, never allowing them to mount a significant or overwhelming assault on his defensive positions. The result was devastating.

The Chaos troops on Tarsis Minor took heavy casualties before withdrawing,but at least twenty thousand Orks had to be killed, one by one, before the Tau could claim victory. Losses were high, but Elan Ro had taken on both the forces of Chaos and the hordes of the Orks, and successfully secured a vital off world base for the continued Tau invasion of Tarsis Major.

Ork arrival

The Ork invasion of Tarsis Major, and of the Tarsis system as a whole was less of a planned invasion and more a series of crashes as hundreds of asteroids, accompanied by crude Ork war vessels, arrived in the system. Some missed their target, a few landing on Tarsis Major, at least two spiralling into the sun, but most of the Orks' modified Roks made it to Tarsis Major. Most made orbit, and the Ork Big Meks teleported thousands of Orks an hour onto the planet, most landing either on Sartano in the South, or on Merrin, near the Tau landing zone.

One large Rok however lost control, plunging into the sea just north of the Tuvan coast, sending an enormous wave which engulfed several towns on the coastal strip. Miraculously most of the Orks survived the impact and began swimming ashore. Very soon the East Tuva peninsular had fallen to the Orks and the mining complex of North Tuva had fallen. After the initial invasion the Imperial forces quickly dug in defensive lines against yet another enemy. Four powers now had to battle it out for control over the strategic heart of the Zadoc subsector.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tarsis Major update (maps)

Tarsis System update:
Tau defeat Orks & Chaos and take Tarsis Minor.

Tarsis Major Update:

Tarsis Major Tactical Map:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fighting Continues on Tarsis Minor

While the Imperium got to grips with Chaos on Tarsis Major, the small planet of Tarsis Minor with its 8 million inhabitants, abandoned by the Emperor’s forces, saw significant action. Elan Ro became determined to take the planet for the Tau Empire, but suffered a setback when Orks appeared and began ransacking outlying settlements, previously cleared of enemies by the Tau.

The arrival of the Orks was something of a surprise to the Tau, for although they had participated in the recent fleet action, the Tau command had thought this to be a one off. Even when the Orks appeared on Tarsis Minor, Tau intelligence suggested that it may be the remnants of Ork crews from hulked or crippled warships, seeking a refuge once their ships had been destroyed.

Elan Ro’s troops may have therefore been expecting an easy fight against the Orks, but were soon sent fleeing by some of the toughest Ork fighters they had encountered, equipped with bikes, dreadnoughts and elite Ork fighters. This was definitely not a rag tag naval crew.

Following defeat to the Orks the Tau knew they needed to re-take the initiative and launched a series of raids against Chaos forces still on the planet. Several were successful, if bloody, and the Death Guard elements in particular suffered heavy casualties. The Tau under Elan Ro had resecured their bases on Tarsis Minor by 1810.008M42, though they could not yet claim to have control over the whole world.

Librians push towards Maybourne

Since landing on 0210,008M42 the Chaos forces, led by a vanguard of Night Lords and their Death Guard allies, had made good gains to the south of the Border Heights, taking Maybourne early on in the initial phase of the landings. Raziel had set up command in the strategic centre of Sapphire Harbour, while another company of Night Lords had stationed themselves in Maybourne itself.

Commanding the forces on the continent of Tuva was General Cunningham, a veteran of the Librian campaign and still in favour with the high command, despite the surrender of forces there. His experience against the Tau had put him in good stead for the coming battle and follwing the initial invasion he had dug in his troops in the hills and mountains of the border heights.

Knowing Raziel was likely distracted with other events, Cunningham decided to go on the offensive and attacked the mostly infantry based forces around Maybourne. Cunningham used his Leman Russ and recently acquired Manticore artillery vehicles to good effect, and the veterans of Melberg found that while the Chaos Marines were a stubborn foe, their firepower proved effective against them. Lacking armoured transports the battle became one of attrition, one the Night Lords realised they could not afford.

By 1810.008M42 the Night Lords had fallen back to Maybourne, giving ground rather than taking any more casualties. Here Cunningham’s forces, aided by the Tarsis PDF, halted, knowing to follow into the city would be foolish until Astartes support had arrived. Even so, the Chaos forces, cut off from resupply, had been whittled down. In the north the Tau had not broken out, and the overall commander, Field Marshall Ney, was pleased with the initial gains.

Why Tarsis Major?

How Tarsis Major came to be an unlikely and chaotic four-way struggle is an interesting piece of history. Each of the three invaders had their own powerful and conflicting motives, motives strong enough to ensure that all four of the combatant parties on Tarsis Major became stubborn and unwilling to give ground in the war of 008M42.

The Imperial civilised world of Tarsis Major, with its population of 3.7 billion, is the key to the entire sector. It sits on the only navigable route from Libria and Zadoc to the Hub systems and Terra itself. Throughout the centuries it has been invaded twice, once being totally overrun by Orks, but in the main the planet has grown rich and a little decadent, profiting on rich trading from Terra to the outlying systems.

Since 006M42 its fortunes had declined somewhat, following the loss of the Aleph subsector, but trade between Zadoc, Libria and Terra had for the most part kept the planet content. However in 008M42 it became clear its invasion by at least one of the Imperium’s enemies was imminent, and it began arming for war.

The forces of Chaos were first to consider invading the planet. Gains in the Shadow Worlds and the Rim Worlds had been encouraging, but both the Catechism and the Night Lords wanted more, something grander, and their bases on Typhon and Priam meant the supply distances, prohibitive in previous years, were now short enough to make the invasion possible. In addition, the distance was short enough for the full scale use of the Catechism’s newly completed “Device”.
As it became abundantly clear that Chaos forces were about to invade Tarsis, the Tau considered their options. Tarsis lay on the only navigable route from their holds in the Perseus Deeps and Melberg, to the rich pickings of the Imperium hubward. Further expansion required, at some point, the pacification, conversion or invasion of Tarsis Major, but the Tau had hoped this would be some time away. Many were unwilling to commit to another full scale invasion so soon after Melberg.

The invasion by Chaos changed things. If Tarsis fell to Chaos the planet would become a corrupted fortress, of little material worth but still strategically vital to Tau expansion. Several Water Caste members were dispatched to the system to negotiate an alliance to prevent the Imperial world falling to Chaos, but the Imperial agents saw through their diplomacy and they were all killed out of hand by the Inquisition.

Despite their concerns the Ethereals gave their blessings to a new invasion. If they struck now while the forces of Chaos and the Emperor were fighting each other, they would get a foothold on the planet at the very least, while the system was vulnerable. In addition if their foolish human enemies fought among themselves they would be less able to deal with a Tau invasion. Satisfied that this was the best time to strike, the Tau prepared once again for full scale war.

The Orks were the last to join the party. Warlord Nazghat had no intention of invading Tarsis, hoping the distraction of a three way war would enable his conquests of Zadoc and other nearby worlds to go more smoothly. Unfortunately Orks don’t always think strategically. While Nazghat was blessed with a superior Orky sense of strategy, his sub commanders weren’t and even went so far as to accuse Nazghat of cowardice when he declined to invade Tarsis major.

Many Orks saw the upcoming battle as too good to miss, with Tau, Imperial and Chaos fighting forces in abundance to test themselves against. Reluctantly, realising that to split his forces would be to invite disaster, he agreed to invade the system. It was just as well, as several Ork warbosses had already teleported aboard their ramshackle “invayzhon” barges and disappeared in the general direction of Tarsis…

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tarsis - Initial invasion and thoughts

The initial invasion of Tarsis Major had gone reasonably well for Raziel’s Night Lords forces, landing at the strategic Sapphire harbour, taking the port in amatter of hours. A lightning assault south and west saw the city of Maybourne fall to Chaos before the Imperial Guard could effect a serious defence. The Chaos forces were able to quickly gain a foothold on both sides of the Sartano Strait, landing on both Tuva and Sartano. After the initial invasion the Chaos advance slowed as the initial shock of the landings wore off, but Chaos now had a foothold on the planet.

Two weeks later the Tau arrived, They landed despite heavy anti-aircraft fire from the Imperial defenders, who had learnt from the invasion by Chaos. This invasion however involved far more enmy troops, and the hunter cadres quickly knocked out planetary defences from orbit before landing close to a million fire warriors in just two days. Against this overwhelming local superiority the Imperial defenders had little choice but to allow the Tau to land, this time on the northern part of Merrin, from where the Tau broke out and encircled Southwick, which was abandoned by sea by its defenders.

By 1410.008M42 the Tau landing had also ground to a halt, though both they and the Chaos invaders had established stron bridgeheads. While some in the Water caste feared a repeat of the Melberg attrition, the leaders of the Fire Caste, with superiority in space, were confident they could take the planet within 3 months, so long as the Chaos forces were unable to resupply. This would be an unfortunate miscalculation. Little did they or the Imperium know that the Chaos forces didn’t need reinforcement from space at all…

Meanwhile the Imperial high command resigned itself to the fact that another of its major worlds had been invaded. But this had been the plan. Let them land and then cruch them on the grounf, and the Imperial planners had good reason to be upbeat. The Imperium still held most of the cities and major resource centres, and the Imperial fleet was not vanquished. In the fullness of time they too were sure the invasion of Tarsis would see both Chaos and Tau finally over-reach themselves, leading to a reversal across the subsector. Even better if it a Chaos-Tau front could be ignited, before Imperial losses became severe… Let them fight one another!

The Tau arrived in the Tarsis system in early 10.008M42, finding the Imperial fleet absent, but space far from empty. The cat and mouse game between the three fleets developed in the coming days as the Tau fleet moved ever closer to Tarsis Major.

Jellicoe’s Imperial fleet, fearful of a reappearance of the damaged, but not vanquished Chaos fleet of Admiral Thok, merely shadowed the Tau after getting into position. Occasionally the Tau would send a flotilla of escorts to the rear, and each time the squadron of sword class frigates would flee, before returning to their picketing position to the rear of the Tau.

The Chaos fleet, outnumbered near the planet of Tarsis itself, and without the support of Thok’s massive battlegroup, knew the Tau posed a real threat. The Night Lord’s battlebarge was busy in high orbit, supporting the initial landings on the world, leaving just four Chaos cruisers and a marine strike cruiser to face a far larger Tau force. They decided to call in a favour.

In return for their help on Coronus the Orks had agreed to help the Chaos forces once, as payback. Lord Raziel called in his debt. As the Tau fleet approached an enormous and haphazard energy signature appeared ahead of them, in the shape of an Ork battleship, two cruisers and a host of smaller Ork craft. Further back the four Chaos cruisers lurked, near a rogue planet which orbited Tarsis’ sun in a highly eccentric manner.

The Orks attacked at once, leaving the Chaos cruisers behind. This was not to Lord Raziel’s dislike however as he intended the Orks to take the brunt of the Tau firepower, while he outlflanked the Tau with his Chaos cruisers.

However, the admiral of the Tau fleet, Swiftstar, aided by an enigmatic character acting on behalf of Shadowstrike, was not going to fall for this trick. After skilfully reforming his fleet, Swiftstar slowed, forming up into his defensive “box” formation. The Ork fleet, outnumbered, took terrible punishment and it wasn’t long before they were in real trouble. After dealing with the Orks with massed bomber waves from the Tau Custodian carrier, Swiftstar, despite casting a pessimistic view on the battle, was about to complete a rout.

With the Ork vessels burning and out of control, and with a single merchant class cruiser tying up the only Nigh Lord vessel present, the Tau formed into a crescent, presenting their massive forward firepower towards the now unsupported Chaos fleet. After seeing Defiance crippled and the cruiser Kraken explode, the Chaos admiral disengaged, signalling the Tau fleet had broken through with the loss of just one cruiser crippled.

Raziel, irritated, withdrew his battlebarge in the face of the Tau superiority, but reflected on mixed fortunes. Despite losing two cruisers out of action or destroyed, the Ork fleet had been reduced, and in his service. The Tau would be able to land, but Raziel believed that the delay in their arrival had allowed him to gain a vital foothold on Tarsis, and though the fighting was heavy, he was sure he could defeat the Tau, and the Imperium, on the ground.

Tau Losses
Merchant class cruiser crippled
3 escorts destroyed

Chaos Losses
Cruiser Kraken exploded
Cruiser Defiance crippled

Ork Losses
Battleship crippled
2 Ork Kroozers hulked
6 escorts destroyed

Elan Ro on Tarsis Minor

After his successes in the conquest of Melberg Elan Ro was given the task of taking the small Agri-World of Tarsis Minor, orbiting more distantly than Tarsis Major, with a view to setting up a base while the main Tau invasion force fought the Chaos fleet.

The hunter cadres of Elan Ro’s advance guard arrived by stealth on 0610.008M42 and consolidated their hold over the next few days. However the Tau fleet soon detected a Chaos Marine battle barge in orbit and fled, warning Elan Ro to expect imminent attack. The Chaos assault duly arrived but the Chaos Marines seriously underestimated the strength and ability of Elan Ro’s troops, and the Traitor forces were forced to flee.

The success was short lived however as a battlebarge arrived some two days later, once again forcing the Tau task force in space to run and hide, shielded by their new advanced stealth technology. The Tau were soon assaulted by elite Chaos troops, though the night lords were conspicuous by their absence. Even so the allied Chaos force drove the Tau from the field and established a foothold on the planet. Abandonned by the Imperium as too distant to protect, the world of Tarsis Minor now became contested by Tau and Chaos forces.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


For Key see below

Aornis Falls

After weeks of inaction the Tau under commander Hawkeye launched their long awaited assault on the remaining Imperial positions on Aornis. The Tau knew Imperial Guard morale was low, cut off and alone while the Imperial fleet pulled back to defend Tarsis Major.

The assault was easier than even Hawkeye could have hoped. Badly led and badly trained, the Guard units' resistance was pitiful, and despite some pockets of stiffer resistance the Imperium gave up their hold on the planet with relatively little bloodshed. Realising the Imperial commanders were attempting to flee in their transport vessels, Hawkeye allowed them to go, preferring to consolidate the Tau hold without needless killing on both sides. Aornis became another in a growing haul of Tau conquests - connecting the recently won Rim world bases with those in the Perseus Deeps

The Imperium abandons the Shadow Worlds

Following disasterous losses on Coronus it was hardly surprising that the Imperial forces on Bothorion, abandonned by the Imperial fleet, supply and then the Dark Angels, crumbled in the face of renewed Ork pressure. By 1010.008M42 the Orks had overrun all remaining Imperial positions on Bothorion and were close to taking the planet.

Meanwhile on Memnon the Eldar launched a furious assault on the Chaos forces still garrisoned there. Having left to plan the invasion of Tarsis Major, the Night Lords were not present when the Eldar fell upon a mix of legion troops and Chaos cultist, wiping the Chaos taint from the soil of Memnon.

Elsewehere in the Shadow worlds the Chaos forced left there to maintain their hold in the Mabb nebula found themselves beset by a renewed Necron threat. The resurgent automatons also awakened on Bothorion, slaughtering an Ork encampment they happened upon. Concern grew in a number of camps at the sudden reappearance of this capricious foe.

Sunday, October 05, 2008