Friday, December 12, 2008

Current Tarsis Map

Nazhghat Changes Tack

Bothorion had been fairly quiet for months, with the Eldar having ensured the Orks stayed away from their sacred sites and the Orks content to leave the Eldar in peace, given their numbers and the high cost of prosecuting a war on Tarsis Major. However on 0912.008M42 Warlord Nazghat returned, angry and determined, and ordered the Eldar to be removed from Bothorion so that the world could be geared up as a base of operations for the upcoming war in the Mabb Nebula.

The Orks were galvanised into action, and with Nazghat leading them a mighty Waagh! fell upon the sparsely defended Eldar positions. Surprised, the Eldar fell back but to their credit were able to respond with a meaningful counter attack late on 1012.008M42. However luck was with the newly enthused Orks and nothing the Eldar tried seemed to pay off, the Orks could not be stopped. Rather than continue the bloodbath the Eldar vanished via thier webway network, allowing Nazghat to begin construction on his new prize.

Tau Assault Orbital Docks

While Montyr' Shi was suffering at the hands of Axtes in space, the remainder of the Tau fleet were supporting the latest Tau plan to gain the upper hand in the Tarsis system. Elan Ro and the recently arrived Commander Fastblade were given the task of taking the Tarsis Orbital docks, a vast construct able to house thousands of men and home to the facilities which once kept the Tarsis trading fleet in working order.

The Docks were defended by several companies of Adeptus Sororitas, who had prudently turned the entrance ways into mini fortresses, meaning that any attack would have to blast its way in. The Imperium hoped that the Docks were too unimportant to assault directly, but too valuable to destroy out of hand . So far this had proved true, as the Tau had not attempted to take possession of the Docks nor had they turned the big guns of their fleet upon it.

On 0312.008M42 the attack began, with scouts dropped on the facility followed by swarms of manta-borne crisis suits and skimmers. However access to the Docks would prove difficult as the Sisters of Battle refused to give any ground, and forced a battle in the near vacuum low gravity environment on the surface of the facility. Here the battle was deadly, as any breach in the suits worn by tau and human alike meant certain death. Infantry units found it difficult to maintain their footing and many tau vehicles were destroyed by small arms, the slightest breach causing catastrophic decompression.

After several hours of fighting and at huge cost the Tau forces finally managed to get a foothold inside the station, forcing a slow and bloody street battle through the inner complexes of the station. Though they had succeeded in breaking in, it would be many more days before the complex was fully under Tau control, and once again concerns were raised of too much cost for too little gain.

Commodore Axtes raids Tau fleet

The Tau had enjoyed relative space superiority in the Tarsis system ever since their landings, and since 10.008M42 the Tau commander had been unmolested by attacks from any of the main powers' fleets. However, Admiral Jellicoe, aware that the Tau fleet had just been raided by a force of cruisers belonging to the renegade Admiral Thok, became aware on 0312.008M42 of a glittering opportunity to rob the Tau of their dominant position in space.

Jellicoe immediately contacted Commodore Axtes, who commanded a substantial force of cruisers and whose battlegroup had been shadowing the Tau in the Tarsis system, wainting for an opportunity. Commanding from the bridge of the mars class heavy cruiser Illustrious, Axtes also had the dictator class Redoubtable and newly refit dauntless class Ajax under his command, along with an escort squadron. This powerful carrier force was now ordered to raid and destroy as much of the Tau fleet as possible, since the Tau heavy carrier Vigilence had taken heavy damage against Thok's fleet and was unavaiable.Axtes travelled immediately to the inner biosphere region where his forec quickly located a force of three Protectors and three escorts on an intercept course. Axtes slowed his fleet, launched a defensive fighter screen and engaged with Illustrious's Nova Cannon. Meanwhile the Tau began frantically launching waves of Mantas and torpedoes, while closing the range.

However in the ensuing engagement the Nova Cannon won the day. Excellent shooting from Illustrious first crippled one protector, then another, forcing the enemy fleet to disengage before they were even in range with their main weapons. Worse was to follow for the Tau as one of the Protectors, badly damaged, could not flee, and another precision shot from Illustrious blew her apart. Only Ajax suffered minor damage from torpedoes and manta waves, the fighters from Illustrious and Redoubtable doing their job protecting the big ships.

At the end of the engagement, wary of Shadowstrike's fleet intercepting them, Axtes retreated once more to the outer reaches while his message was received to much rejoicing at Caitlen Station, home of Imperial Navy High Command, and on the bridge of the Vanguard. Axtes received news of his promotion to Rear Admiral on 0912.008M42.

Orks annihilated by Catechism

While on Tuva Chaos forces were retreating ate breakneck speed, and Maybourne was being liberated, the Catechism was concentrating on the Orks. Its best units were thrown against Nazghat's remaining forces, forcing the front line back towards the Ork landing zones. Then, at the appointed moment the daemons were released. The gibbering, capering monstrosities tore through the Ork lines before materialising amongst or even behind the greenskins' defences. In a very short period, less than a day, the Ork line, which had held strong for weeks against the best of the Catechism's troops, collpased catastrophically once they realised their leader and his best Nobz had "skarpered" to invade elsewhere.

By the end of 1212.008M42 the Orks had fallen back to their crashed Rok's which made up their landing zone, and were desperately trying to work out how to get off the planet!

Orks renew offensive

Following the catastrophic defeat of Snazteef's Orks in late 11.008M42, the Orks in the north of Tuva were still not beaten. Recently arrived Praetorian units soon found this out when a renewed assault by Snazteef fell upon them on the early hours of 0612.008M42. Despite a valiant defence they found themselves outgunned and outnumbered, and the front fell back some fifty miles, much to General Jennings irritation. The planned celebrations of victory over the Orks had to be put on hold.

Intercepted Ork “Press release”
“Following the cowardly withdrawal of Warlord Nazghat from Tarsis major, Warboss Snazzteef has declared himself Kaptain Snazzteef, Grand Bastard of Tarsis Mayja. Despite a succession of knockbacks in the fighting recently, Snazzteef remains in the face of the humies re-occupation of his territory. With his sights firmly set upon Tarsis Prime and orkuppying the Mars Pattern Command there to built more warmachines for the Evil Sun WAAAGH! All other warbosses on the planet are ordered at pain of gettin' their runty 'eads kicked in to stop playing hide n' seek wiv da fish'eads and spiky chaos gits and start bashing the guard and marine forces in da norff.”

Chaos driven from Tuva

On 0511.008M42 General Cunningham launched his much expected major assault against Chaos forces on the southern tip of Tuva. With the recent arrival of strong Daemonhunters and Dark Angels units, Cunningham now felt he had the tools he needed to attack on a broad front, utilising the Dark Angels and other elite forces to crack the difficult nuts in the Chaos defence, while his own Guard forces would engage the weaker and less well equipped cultist legions.

The Catechism was off balance fighting Orks in the east, and the Night Lords had just recovered from the Tau attack on their base on Typhon, and significant resources had gone into their counter invasion of Rhesisus. Cunningham, Lord General Du Prez and the senior Commander of the Dark Angels all agreed that now was the ideal time to strike.

The Chaos forces on Tuva actually struck first, with Iron Warriors making progress on the north eastern end of the Barrier Mountains, before the major advance by Cunningham's army began. Then, as Guard units swept down to the sea, the Dark Angels encircled an entire Chaos army in Maybourne and wholesale slaughter began. The Daemonhunters too went straight for the city, intent on ridding it of the Chaos taint, and the two elite Imperial forces, their enemy surrounded them, hunted them like prey. By 1012.008M42 the defensive axis of Chaos on southern Tuva had been broken and the Imperial Guard had forced cultist forces back to the entrance to Sapphire Harbour.

Meanwhile in Maybourne the last elements of Chaos forces, both traitor marine and traitor guard units, had been annihilated. Then the ugly spectre of "cleansing" by the Inquisition began. Maybourne had been a city with a population of 10 million before the invasion, and the 4 million who had managed to survive the Chaos occupation soon wish they hadn't, as a further 2 million were executed at the merest suspicion of being tainted. Even so the Imperium hailed the offensive as a great victory and the bells of Tarsis Prime were rang for the first time since the invasion.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Current Tarsis Map

Rhesius falls as Tau gambit backfires

The plan devised by Shadowstrike to topple the Night Lords in the Rim Worlds had a sound foundation. It was only since their domination in this part of space that the forces of Chaos were able to launch their assault on Tarsis. Additionally the presence of strong Chaos garrisons on Typhon, Priam and Daedalon threatened the recent Tau gains of New Sparta, Rhesius and Aornis.

With this in mind a fleet of Tau warships exited the warp near to the planet of Typhon on 1711.008M42 and made their way to the Night Lords' base. Upon landing however it seemed as if somehow the defenders were expecting the attack, and soon after Commanders Hawkeye and Ores Kais had landed their Cadres, the Night Lords seized the initiative, advancing immediately on the Tau at their landing zone. Very soon the Tau found themselves pinned down in their beachead, and the bold plan became unstuck.

After several days of fighting on Typhon the Night Lords launched their final murderous assault, causing horrific casualties in the Tau defenders. Hawkeye and Kais, unable to manouvre and surrounded realised their task had become hopeless and began to evacuate. Less than half those who had landed returned, though casualties had also been high amongst their enemy's troops.
Late on 2711.008M42, as the battered armies returned to Tau space they received a worrying transmission. Without their normal defending strength and with the fleet away. a Night Lords Strike cruiser had penetrated the defences around Rhesius. There were fewer than 30,000 Tau on the planet's newly constructed base, and these were all slaughtered in a matter of hours by the marauding Chaos Marines. Changing course for New Sparta Hawkeye knew this was a bitter blow to Tau aspirations in the Rim Worlds, on Tarsis, and in the wider sector.

Catechism forced to shore up defences as Daemonhunters sweep in

During late 11.008M42 the battle lines in southern Tuva moved a number of times as General Cunningham's diverse forces fought a range of units employed by the Chaos forces along the southern coast. In the previous week the Night Lords had extricated themselves from a tricky situation by devastating Cunningham's Librian units around Maybourne, but Cunningham, in consultation with the commander of some freshly arrived forces in the area, agreed that a swift counter attack would undo the Night Lords' recent work.

Imperial intelligence realised that the Chaos forces, their eyes fixed on Merrin and the more dangerous Orks of Nazghat, had left weaker forces in the region of Maybourne. On 2711.008M42 a force of Daemonhunters spearheaded an assault into Chaos territory, brushing aside weak cultist forces and only meeting real resistance in the form of a company of Nurgle Marines. These were similarly destroyed, but at a higher cost. Even so the move brought Cunningham's army to the south coast once more and cut off the city for the second time since the invasion. Upon hearing the news Moonface knew he would have to sort the situation personally.
On 2911.008M42 the Catechism launched their attack. Towards Maybourne the assault was lead by the daemonic hordes the Catechism were now routinely summoning for battle, though for the second time their handlers lost control and much of the region descended into anarchy as the daemons feasted upon any soul they came across. Very little of eastern Maybourne was left by the end of the month.

Meanwhile Moonface's most trusted troops led the assault against the Librians defending the newly liberated territory further to the east of the city. The Guard units had been unable to dig in, but the Catechism still found the going tough as they were ambushed heading west. Several troop transports were immediately destroyed, forcing the Traitor marines to advance on foot into a withering hail of fire. Many veteran marines were cut down but eventually the genetically enhanced warriors reached the Imperial lines and ripped the guardsmen apart in ferocious hand to hand fighting.

Skirmished like this continued as Cunningham fought a bitter fighting withdrawal north west, making the Catechism pay in blood for every mile. By the end of 3011.008M42 the chaos forces had been halted before they had taken back all the recent gains.

Snazteef’s hordes blunder into trap

The continuing southward push by Snazteef's Orks became concerning in 11.008M42, and by the end of the month General Jamieson, commander of Tuva North, had consulted with overall commander General Du Prez to devise a strategy to push back the orks. The plan was as brutal as it was simple. As Snazteef broke out into the plains of Tuva and out of the bottleneck of the Northern Peninsular, his forces would have to spread out, allowing small, rapid forces to find and exploit any weakness.

On 2311.008M42 Snazteef's attacks were unceasing. For weeks now the Imperial Guard had tried in vain to slow his advance but now the Ultramarines waited patiently to make their move. Subordinate commanders in the Imperial Guard were not informed and the Librian 34th Regiment in particular took heavy casualties on the 27th as Snazteef's main force bludgeoned its way through their lines, led by unstoppable Mega Armoured Nobz.

However later on the same day the ultramarines found a gap in the widening Ork lines and, combining a frontal assault with an orbital drop, neatly cut the Orks supply lines and opened a gap over one hundred kilometres wide in the Ork front line.

Jamieson immediately ordered his armoured units, including the 17th Librian heavy tank division, to exploit the gap and hundreds of tanks rushed north before deviating east to cut off the Ork line of retreat. With no supplies and communications the Orks in the pocket began to lose their co-ordination, but still fought savagely. It would be many days before the pocket was mopped up but once it had the orks had been pushed right back to the Tuva Bay where they had landed.

Montgate falls despite heroic defence

The final nail in the coffin at Montgate came on 2711.008M42 when the final battle for the city began. The Catechism employed their elite Legions as well as summoning another horde of daemons to complete the destruction of Corchorans North Merrin Army.

The combined power of the Traitor Legions and their daemonic allies soon swept aside any lingering resistance from the shattered remnants of Corchoran's Librian, Zadocian and Tarsisian divisions, but the real fighting erupted as a large force of Daemonhunters, recently arrived having heard of the daemonic incursions on Merrin, engaged with the main force of the Catechism's strength.

Once engaged the second part of the Imperial plan came into play as once again the Ultramarines utilised their drop pod capability, arriving right at the heart of the action. As 2811.008M42 began ans the Catechsims' cultists prepared to move into the city proper, on the outskirts the violent battle between the Daemonhunters and the Catechism continued without pause. The Ultramarines were initially successful following their drop, but gradually the Traitor Legions and the daemonic horde began to gain the upper hand. Late on 3011.008M42, just minutes before the daemons faded back into the work, the Imperial resolve fell and the Catechism's troops managed to outflank the Imperial positions, forcing the Daemonhunters, minus several good men including an inquisitor, and the Ultramarines, similarly battered, to abandon the city of Montgate to its fate.

Thousands of Guard died and those that were captured quickly wished they had too.