Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tau airborne assault

With Saladin and his Porphyrians occupied in the landing against Chaos, Shadowstrike was quick to realise there was a potential opportunity in the making. Intelligence suggested that only two regiments of Guard had been left in the vicinity of Sapphire Harbour, and the Imperial Navy was busy bombing and strafing in the north in conjunction with their landings.

Hurridly a plan was drawn up and the Tau air cadre quickly prepared a landing force. Shadowstrike would insert a strong force by air and seize Sapphire Harbour, while Elan Ro, removed from activities in space for the time being, would land once the Harbour was taken and force the Porphyrian regiments off the Island and with luck, establish a landing zone on the eastern shore of Tuva.

It was an ambitious plan but the Imperium had its eyes fixed elsewhere. On 2302.009M42 the Tau air armada arrived at Sapphire Harbour. Imperial Navy fighters were scrambled and a vicious dogfight took place in the air. A large number of Tau bombers, more lumbering than the Baracudas, succumbed to concentrated fire from ground defences and Imperial Lightnings.

However the greater part of the air force got through and Orcas dropped several Hunter Cadres on to Sapphire Harbour itself, overwhelming the defenders and seizing the port in less than four hours. The Orcas themselves suffered terribly on the return journey, encountering fighters returning from the invasion in the north. Their surprise gone, less than one in ten Orcas made it back to their bases, but the damage had been done.

Later on the same day Mantas from the Tau fleet arrived and disgorged Elan Ro's entire force, which quickly launched an attack on the Porphyrians who had so far been unable to mount an effective counter attack on the captured base. Within two days the fast moving mechanised forces of Elan Ro had forced the Porphyrians off Sapphire Island and on 2602.009M42 the Tau made their landing on Tuva. Despite fierce resistance from the Tarsis PDF and Porphyrian troops the Tau would not be dislodged, and Shadowstrike had his beachhead on the main continent. From here he could strike southwest towards Maybourne or southeast into Sartano. General Cunningham, a veteran of Melberg, immediately called a crisis meeting to plan the defence against this new enemy.

Saladin lands north of New Southwick

Following their victory at Sapphire Harbour there was a new air of confidence about the Porphyrian regiments across the planet. They had contributed to wiping out the Chaos in the south and had now shed their reputation of being the whipping boys on Tarsis Major.

Eager to capitalise on this confidence General Saladin approached Lord General Du Prez with a plan to open a "second front" against Chaos. Du Prez analysed the plan and approved it. It called for a seaborne invasion of Merrin with fifteen of Saladin's thirty Porphyrian regiments, with support from the Tarsis PDF and Navy. On 1902.009M42 some 300,000 men and their equipment embarked from Sapphire Harbour in over two hundred vessels of all sizes, troopships, gigantic gun boats, missile cruisers and smaller escort vessels.

Two days later the fleet had crossed the Merrin Strait and excecuted a perfect amphibious landing. Secrecy had been maintained thanks to air patrols over the sea and superiority in space, and the Chaos forces were only able to mount a counter attack some hours after the Porphyrians had landed. By then it was too late. The overwhelming numbers and firepower of the Imperial Guard caused devastation in the Chaos defenders, and more than two companies of ancient and irreplacable Iron Warriors were wiped out in the assault. Beaten, the forces of Chaos had to yield the Merrin mines and retreat north. By the end of 2602.009M42 the Imperial landing had been consolidated and Saladin's Porphyrians were in sight of the Mertock mountains some 200 miles north of their landing zone.

General Du Prez was extremely pleased with the operation, which saw Saladin awarded the Crux Imperialis for his troops' victories over Chaos. In addition the Tau, also exceptionallyy pleased at the second front opened against Chaos, sent a bouquet of flowers to the Porphyrian general, which were immediately burned by the regimental Commissar!

Snazteef’s air Waagh! Butchered

In the north of Tuva Waagh! Snazteef's latest addition to his armed forces showed its hand during 02.009M42 with repeated attacks on aircraft flying near to the Ork border. After the loss of several transport craft General Du Prez ordered that all flights were to be escorted by experienced Navy fighters until the Ork air force could be smashed on the ground.

During mid 02.009M42 ferocious air battles and dogfights were a common sight near the front lines, and even a Blood Martyrs Thunderhawk came under attack from the Orks. However, the escorting Lightnings and Thunderbolts usually obliterated the Ork craft before they could do much damage. The Orks showed a lack of experience, naive tactics and, most of all, terrible aim. By the end of 02.009M42 hundreds of Ork aircraft had been shot down and the sporadic air attacks died out. The Imperium was unsure whether this meant that the Ork air waagh! had been defeated or the Orks were massing for an all out attack.

Tarsis Minor raided by “The Verminator”

Despite the fact that most of the Orks had left the Tarsis system, some remained. In the northern peninsular of Tuva Waagh! Snazteef continued to cause problems for the Imperium, while the warboss known as "Da Verminator" had his own agenda which ensured the presence of more Ork forces in the Tarsis system.Da Verminator had plans, ambition and a good dose of Orky greed. Having defeated Chaos and taken Memnon for himself, he needed more raw materials if he was to accomplish his goal of becoming a rival to the most powerful Warlord in the sector, Nazghat. To this end Da Verminator cobbled together a significant force of greenskins and launched them at an unsuspecting Tarsis minor. However, things did not go entirely according to plan.

The Orks were expecting to surprise the Tau, but Elan Ro had left a competent sub commander, approved by Shadowstrike himself to remain ever vigilant on the strategically important agri world of Tarsis Minor. His drills ensured the Orks' arrival was no surprise and the Tau simply followed their drilling. Greenskin after greenskin was cut down as the superior Tau firepower made the difference, in a rather bloody and one sided affair. Within a day the orks had been removed from Tarsis Minor and Da Verminator had to rethink his overall strategy or else find a different source for his raw materials.

Memnon taken by Da Verminator

Following successes in the Shadow worlds Waagh! Nazghat moved on to its next set of objectives, leaving a number of vying warlords in his wake. One of these was known as "Da Verminator", and this ork had ambition. First he needed a base, then, he would build a series of giant war engines known as "Stompaz". These of course he would supply to Nazghat and therefore gain influence, and perhaps a chance to be at the vanguard of any new invasion. This was about as complicated as Ork politics got.

First he needed a base - a world which was not under the control of one of Nazghat's lackeys. One such world was Memnon. Here the Orks were disorganised after repeated fights with Chaos, but with the arrival of Da Verminator the greenskins on the small world were galvanised with a new purpose. With fresh reinforcements and plenty of looted equipment the new Waagh broke the Chaos defences and forced them out of their base. Most of the Traitor Marines left while those loyal to Chaos and unable to leave fled for the barren hills of Memnon. Now Da Verminator had a base, a world of his own, from which to launch the next phase of his plan.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Fiction Post


Tarsis Major Current

Fastblade exploits breakthrough

Following Shadowstrike's decisive breakthrough, the Tau high command capitalised on the situation as 02.009M42 wore on. They kept up the pressure by allowing Commander Fastblade, recently arrived with his Cadres from the Vastrid subsector, to exploit the gaping hole in the Imperial lines.

Fastblade's fast moving, highly mechanised forces quickly began encircling portions of the Imperial front line, but gradually their pace slowed as the Porphyrians put up a dogged defence to the west of the River Mer. The Porphyrians had realised that with the Tau destroying the few bridges across the wide river by air, if they lost the vital supply centre around the Merrin Mines, they would be cut off and isolated.

The pace of Fastblade's attack slowed, but the Tau pressure never relented, and they methodically pursued their objectives. By 1802.009M42, despite a gritty defence, the Porphyrians had their backs to the river and had run out of fuel and ammunition. Several thousand had to surrender, while a few managed to escape by swimming the river. By 2102.009M42 all territory east of the river Mer was in the hands of the Tau.

Hylas Falls to Nazghat

With Fort Aerin secure and Memnon and Fort Sparcos under threat, Nazghat's Waagh! turned its attention to Hylas, where fighting had been sporadic between the Orks and Chaos for several months. On 1202.009M42 the sky above Hylas was filled with ramshackle ork craft and the Chaos garrison on the planet were unable to hold out. The planet fell within a day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Sector Map

The old one was looking a bit tired and Tom found a great starfield...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


A sneak peak at one of the next planets which might be invaded - Alphe, target for Nazghat's Empire... Note that a win will get you more than one or two territories on this less populated, agri world.


Since 12.008M42 the Tau-Chaos front on Merrin had been quiet, and the Catechism had taken the opportunity to rest their best units and pull their elite troops out of the front line. On 1001.009M42 these actions led to a reveral in Chaos fortunes on the Tau front.Shadowstrike, aware via intel that Catechism units were not on the front line, launched a daring and lightning attack. The Iron Warriors, allies of the Catechism manning the south western portion of the front, were underequipped and unprepared for the onslaught. Their forces were sent realing back by Shadowstrike, giving ground to the Tau and retreating back towards the Mertock mines.

At this stage, on 1202.009M42, after two days of retreat, Moonface could not accept this failure any longer. He had been failed by the Iron Warriors before, on a number of occasions stretching back years, and it was starting to feel like history repeating itself.Ordering the Iron Warriors to stop the retreat, Moonface gathered together his best troops and most experienced veterans.

This force then smashed into Shadowstrike's right flank with alarming speed, taking the Tau by surprise. Bitter fighting ensued but the Tau were unable to stop the Catechism's vanguard Marines' advance. Reluctantly Shadowstrike withdrew his forces back totheir original start lines. The Mertock Mines had been saved and Moonface had narrowly averted disaster. Now the capricious character had to decide what to do with his "allies" who were costing him so dear.

Dark Angels finish of Chaos on Sartano

The week of 1402.009M42 to 2102.009M42 saw the end of the Chaos forces on Sartano. While the Chaos Marines and Guard units faced off on the Sartano plain, the Dark Angels moved in to annihilate the traitors before any more set piece battles took place.While everyone was expecting another epic clash of titans on the Sartano plain, the Dark Angels moved in on the night of 1602.009M42, capturing vital supply stations and ammunition dumps, and causing chaos behind the enemy lines.

By 1902.008M42 Generals Cunningham and Jennings had taken advantage of the disorder in the Chaos lines, cutting their forces in two and taking much of the Sartano industrial zones. It was clear that by 2002.009M42 the remainder of the Chaos elite forces had slipped away to the north overnight and the mopping up began. The Chaos incursion on Sartano and Tuva had been defeated... For now.

Catechism re-takes Peraph

Moonface had become quite irked by events on and around Tarsis and in 02.009M42 decided to take matters under his own control. With the loss of the second Chaos invasion beachead the Catechism commander decided that the Asteroid belt of Peraph, now invaded by the Tau, should never have been left in the hands of subordinates and sent a significant force to the base to remove the invaders.

The effect was immediate. Soon Elan Ro's forces were fighting a life or death battle at the base as the Catechism's highly mechanised forces tore into them. By 1802.009M42 Ro realised the game was up and removed his force from the base, leaving it in the hands of the Catechism once again.

Ork fleet attacks Convoy

Following the fall of Aerin the Imperial high command knew that it would only be a matter of time before fort Sparcos, the nearest base to Keprok and protector of the argi-worlds Alphe and Betor, would come under attack.The first signs of Orks in the system came on 1402.009M42, when a convoy of eight freight vessels found itself ambushed in the deep space of the Imperial base.

The cruisers Conquerer and Redoubtable, escorting the convoy, soon went into action against the Ork raiders, which consisted of a number of small escort vessels and a large Ork Kroozer. By the end of the engagement the Imperial vessels had destroyed about a dozen small ork escorts, and the Kroozer, for the loss of two Firestorm frigates and four of the eight transports. Conquerer took heavy damage in the engagement.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tarsis - Dispositions

Subsector latest

Nazghat lands on Memnon

It was not only Fort Aerin which felt the power of Waagh! Nazghat in early 009M42. The Ork warlord, clearly intent on establishing an Ork Empire in the Mabb Nebula, landed on Memnon, the only world in the Nebula without an Ork presence, apart from the Chaos base of Tyndareous.

The Orks landed with enthusiasm on 0702.009M42, with the Eldar taken totally by surprise. They tried to affect a counter attack but by the time they had marshalled sufficient force, the Orks were too many in number to remove with the forces available to them. Reluctantly the Kel Sandros Eldar on Memnon withdrew, ending their immediate hopes of securing the planet and hiding the Maiden worlds. It was a bitter blow.

Chaos suffer raids

The Chaos strategic position deteriorated markedly in 02.009M42 as did their hopes of a quick victory on Tarsis Major. While the Catechism were waiting for the snow to clear in the north and huge set piece battles raged in the south, the forces of Chaos found their supply chains under threat.

Thanks to the Imperial victory over the Night Lords’ fleet, and the non appearance of Admiral Thok in several months, the Imperial and Tau fleets were able, for the most part, to protect their supply routes and waystations from alien or pirate attack, and the raiders knew it. They went for softer targets.

Both the Tyranids and Orks attacked Chaos holdings in the Rim worlds and the Shadow worlds in 01.009M42 and 02.009M42, with the Tyranids ravaging Typhon and Tyndareous coming under attack from Ork raiders. Caught off guard and defended by some of the Chaos forces’ least battle ready troops, they suffered badly. Typhon was razed to the ground, though the alien menace moved on, and Tyndareous was unusable as a base for several weeks.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Chaos drive towards Southbourne

While their defences collapsed in the west, Lord Raziel, in command of the Chaos alliance in the south remained convinced his next attack would turn the tide. Months earlier the Orks on Sartano had been utterly destroyed, or so the Imperials thought. In actual fact thousands had been captured and, with little encouragement required, were swiftly inducted as ad hoc mercenaries working for Raziel.

In addition Raziel had massed several regiments of rebel Guard, and more than a legion of traitor marines, all aligned to the Night Lords’ banner. Now Raziel planned to use this force to strike east and south, annihilating the Imperial defenders and clearing the second front the southern theatre was facing.

On 0602.009M42 the expected attacked began, the Ork horde pouring out in front of regiments of well ordered Traitor Marines. The pace of the advance, led by Gargants and Chaos titans was swift, as Raziel knew the Ultramarines had landed at Southbourne a week previously.

On the broad plains between the tributaries of the Sarto river, the two forces met. In the north a huge tank battle erupted as Land Raiders and Predators fought with Ork Gun Wagons and traitor Land Raiders. In the southern portion of the battle fierce hand to hand assaults erupted as the Orks attacked first, annihilating themselves while inflicting horrendous casualties on the defenders. Then the Chaos Marines moved in and mopped up.

The Imperial forces fought furiously, massacring the Orks in an orgy of destruction, but behind them the Chaos Marines moved in, forcing the Ultramnarines and their allied contingents to withdraw after days of bitter fighting. Titans were employed on both sides, but once again they did not fight one another.

By 0902.008M42 the Chaos attack had taken the north of the Island continent and had advanced to within twenty Miles of Southbourne, cutting off the eastern Island chain and occupying most of the plains north of the Sarton Mounts. However to the south the lifeline to Southbourne was kept open, thanks to the Trebbians. Raziel had reduced the number of fronts to one, but that front now stretched along four hundred miles of mountainous terrain, all occupied by the Imperial defenders, who dug in.

Trebbian 9th continues Imperial advance

Following the rather surprising victory of the Porphyrians at Sapphire Island, General Cunningham wanted to immediately capitalise on their success. Seeing the forces of Chaos off balance and, according to intelligence massing forces on their eastern front, Cunningham immediately consulted with his commanders on the ground.

The Ultramarines had left, moving the bulk of their forces by Thunderhawk to Southbourne, as they perceived that the next Chaos attack would come towards the main city on Sartano. Obviously the forces of Chaos had realised fighting on two fronts was a bad plan.

This left Cunningham with precious few resources. Most of the PDF armies were ill equipped for an organised attack and the Librian Guard units were still re-equipping after painful attritional battles. The only force available were the relatively inexperienced Trebbians, several regiments of which had recently arrived with the Porphyrians.

The Trebbians had a bad record, and Cunningham knew it. Hoping that surprise would win out however he ordered the Guard into battle. Amazingly lightning managed to strike twice and the Chaos forces were in total disarray when the Trebbian units landed on the west of Sartano. They then made rapid progress, breaking through in the south and driving the rebel forces back towards their base in central Sartano. Briefly the Chaos position in the south looked perilous. Then came the main Chaos attack...

Porphyrians take Sapphire Harbour

Until 0502.009M42 the Porphyrians were held in some contempt by the Imperial Generals and other regiments alike. Since their arrival they had lost every battle they had fought, and usually badly. So when General Cunningham announced a new attack on Sapphire Harbour with the Porphyrians in the vanguard, it came as something as a shock.

Cunningham was not stupid however, rather he was a ruthless General who’s cold mind analysed every tactical situation and worked out the best possible result, even if that meant wholesale slaughter. On Melberg he had been the cheif proponent of the attritional strategy which almost bore fruit, even though it cost the lives of nearly one million Guardsmen.

Cunningham had been ordered by Du Prez to attack Sapphire Harbour, a strategically vital objective which the Chaos forces had occupied since the first day of the invasion. Cunningham considered this a foolish attack with little hope of success. After all the base was on an Island and heavily defended. With this in mind he ordered the Porphyrians to attack it. If they were massacred to a man, no great loss.

It was late on 0702.009M42 that Imperial intelligence became aware of something quite astonishing. The Chaos forces guarding the base had clearly not considered such a bold attack reasonable, certainly not by Imperial Guard forces, and their defences were not as strong as first thought. In addition the Porphyrians attacked on a broad front with skill and determination, which stetched the Iron Warrior defenders to the limit.

By 0902.009M42 the Iron Warriors had taken severe casualties to the heavy weaponry of the Porphyrian Guard, and they abandoned the Harbour, much to the disgust of Raziel and his Night Lords. The Porphyrians however were jubilant, and the Imperial high command, ever quick to capitalise on the psychology of success, allowed the bells to be rung up and down the continent of Tuva in honour of their newest heros, the Porphyrians... Cunningham of course, was quick to take the credit...

Fort Aerin falls. Praetorians hold the line

The Praetorians knew they had to hold at all costs. Their commander set up the “thin red line” and awaited the approaching Orks. In early 02.009M42 Nazghat’s forces arrived and charged into the Praetorians. Unlike the Porphyrians however, the Praetorians stood their ground, firing volley after volley of lasgun fire into the green tide.

Aided by their accurate mortar fire, the Praetorians quickly gained the Orks’ respect, and Nazghat was infuriated by his troops lack of progress. While the Praetorian’s continued to hold out the Administratum organised the evacuation like clockwork. Even the Praetorian withdrawal was a masterpiece of tactical planning.

Despite this, Fort Aerin fell on 0902.009M42 and Nazghat added another planet to his growing Empire. Immediately he dispatched a force to Keprok, informing the local Orks they were now part of Waagh! Nazghat, while another, larger force was sent hubward, deep into the Mabb Nebula to conquer the remaining Shadow Worlds.

Nazghat Closes on Aerin Victory

While most of the sector’s attention was focussed on Tarsis Major, the Ork Warlord Nazghat continued to pursue his campaign in the Mabb Nebula. The commander of Fort Aerin received reinforcements in early 01.009M42, with a Porphyrian and a Praetorian regiment bolstering the defences.

However the Porphyrians were inexperienced and had never fought Orks before. Nazghat’s veteran troops smashed into the front lines, causing chaos in the Porphyrian lines, and massacring over half of the regiment’s troops. The formation was quickly pulled out of the line and replaced with the tougher Praetorian Guard.
By now the Imperium realised that holding onto fort Aerin would be practically impossible. All they could do was hope the Praetorians could hold the line long enough for an evacuation to be effected.

Snazteef Grinds south once more

While the Imperium were grappling with Chaos in the south the Orks in the north still posed a serious threat and showed no signs of giving up. Even so General Jamieson found himself being ordered to transfer his best units south, to face the Chaos threat. Gradually the defences against Snazteef were thinned out, and Porphyrian regiments were rushed into the front line.

The move seemed unwise soon after, as on 1601.009M42 the Orks launched their latest offensive. Taken by surprise the Porphyrians were massacred, losing nearly a third of their number before retreating some one hundred miles. Between 1801.009M42 and 0802.009M42 Snazteef’s Orks managed another good push, defeating the Porphyrians once again, before the Imperial commander ordered his forces behind their defences, and the Ork advance was halted. Snazteef’s goading remarks, accusing the Imperium of “Kowardiss”, had no effect.

Tarsis Latest

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tarsis Dispositions - 02.009M42

Shadowstrike Sweeps South

As 01.008M42 drew to a close and Elan Ro appealed for more troops at Peraph, Shadowstrike prepared for his first spring offensive in south Merrin. This was the real reason why resources were denied to the off world commander. Shadowstrike was beginning his strategic plan, to dissect the Imperial forces in Merrin in sizeable chunks, defeating his opponent, General Cochrane.

The plan had initially been to attack in the north, towards East Plainbrook, but Shadowstrike learned that to the south the Imperium had brought in new, fresh reinforcements, the Porphyrians. Analysis proved the Tau had never faced the Porphyrians and Shadowstrike would use this to his advantage.

The Porphyrians were warned of the Tau’s rapid and mobile battle tactics, but they had little chance to absorb the new information, for just 48 hours after their deployment to the Merrin front, the Tau attacked. Shadowstrike struck with perfect timing and the Tau soldiers carried out their orders with amazing precision. Using the river Fuller to prevent the Librians and Tarsis PDF from interfering the Tau subjected the Porphyrians to a devastating “left hook”.

The flank attack forced the Porphyrian commander, who’s units were fighting valiantly, if in vain, to order a general withdrawal. Even so the Porphyrians lost some 5,000 troops and a further 15,000 captured as Shadowstrike’s first advance of 009M42 forced the Imperium back some 500 miles in just ten days.

Ultramarines & Night Lords clash

While Moonface made plans for his next move the Night Lords and their allies were fighting a series of ferocious battles in south Tuva during 01.009M42. First, the Ultramarines attacked in force, forcing the Chaos armies to leave the continent and retreat to Sapphire Harbour. However, on 2801.009M42 the Chaos legions returned, landing in force and pushing inland. The Imperial Guard units fell back, allowing the Ultramarines to engage in force, this time with titan legion support.

The Space Marines hoped that the sudden appearance of a reaver and a warhound titan would stall the Chaos advance, but to their horror the Chaos forces unleashed their own monstrous perversion of a warlord titan in response, while deep striking traitor Terminators destroyed the warhound titan and forced the rest of the Imperial forces into a slow and bloody retreat.

It was the first Chaos victory for several months in the south, and the two Chaos sectors on Tuva and Sartano were now once again joined up. General Cunningham was disappointed, while Lord Raziel of the Night Lords was desparate for a victory of his own before Moonface took over command on the southern fronts. Raziel hated Moonface and his allies, but to maintain his independence Raziel needed to prove the Night Lords and those loyal to him were a force worthy of respect. Early 009M42 saw the first steps of this revival.

Elan Ro Lands on Peraph

While the Tau fronts on Merrin stayed quiet in 01.008M42, not least thanks to the heavy snow which fell in the north, the Tau high command were far from inactive. Having shown himself to be an able commander in off world activities with his successful invasion of Tarsis Minor, Elan Ro was tasked with taking the Chaos controlled base of “Peraph”, in the Tarsis system, just outside the orbit of Tarsis Major itself.

The base was strategically important, as while the Chaos forces were not using it to resupply, they were using its defence lasers to put off the Tau from reinforcing the planet except from the far side. This cost them time and effort. Elan Ro would take the base, allowing their convoys to approach from any angle, allowing them to slip past roving Imperial and Chaos raiders far more easily.

Elan Ro’s troops arrived in stealth and in small numbers. Furious firefights in the cramped corridors of the vast facility followed, sporadic small actions taking place all over the installation. After gaining a bridgehead near the main landing pad however, Elan Ro found himself besieged and unable to make further progress. He appealed to the Tau high command for further forces but with cold logic, the ethereal judged that his invasion force had effectively put the base out of action for the time being, and taking the base was not a priority. The fighting for Peraph would go on.