Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Zadoc subsector latest

Tarsis Major Current

Tau Breakout

Following the bloody attritional battle on the coast of Tuva the Tau were keen not to repeat engagements of that kind if they could possibly avoid it. Instead they developed a new strategy to break through the Imperial lines, which were now weakened thanks to the withdrawal of the baneblades and three Librian regiments, pulled out of the line to help against Snazteef in the north.Cunningham intended to build a series of defences along the Tuva coast, hundreds of miles deep, to slow the Tau and force them into battles he wanted, attritional ones, avoiding the Tau advantage in manouevre. However it all went wrong on 1703.009M42.

Earlier than anticipated, in the dead of night, a small force of Tau began a reconnaisance against the Librian positions. In the darkness a number of Armoured units were taken out immediately, and the Tau began to push inland across the half completed tench lines and fortifications. Concerned this was a new offensive Cunningham now made a fateful decision, throwing in his Librian reserves against the breakthrough, leaving his right flank, manned by the Porphyrians, dangerously exposed.

A day later, just as Cunningham realised that Elan Ro's assault was a probing feint, Shadowstrike's main force landed directly infront of the hastily erected Porphyrian defences. After a brief stand off Shadowstrike's forces broke the line and rolled over the remaining Porphyrians like a speed bump.Three days later the grand Tau tactic of manouevre and encirclement had been employed to the full and Cunningham's Librians were forced to retreat to the natural barrier of the border heights mountains. Meanwhile the Porphyrians and Tarsis PDF were forst ever westwards, forming a new defense line just to the east of Maybourne. In just a few days all the hard work of the previous weeks had been undone. General Du Prez was left asking some serious questions, and his high commander asking some even more serious ones of him.

Trebbians lose east of Tarsis Prime

The war for Tarsis Major soon took on an attritional aspect as the battle flowed back and forth in the subburbs of the city. Destruction from artillery on both sides was almost total in the northern district of Reinna, where the Praetorians had the Orks in a bloody trench standoff. Snazteef then changed tack.

Realising he could not force a breakthrough against the Praetorians he deftly moved a significant force overnight to the east of the city. On 2003.009M42 a massed charge by his boyz surprised the defenders and broke a hole in the Imperial line where the Trebbians were defending. Panic filled the streets and Du Prez and the governor had to evacuate to Coldside. By the end of the week only the western pocket of Reinna remained, defended by the Praetorian 43rd and the Librian 19th.

Dear Alizabeth, Being so far away from you and the children these past months has been so hard. Everyday I am terrified that something might have happened to you, I thank the Throne that Coldside has been been spared the horrors of battle that have torn across the rest of the world. It seems your Mother may have been right about it being a safer place to raise the kids than Tarsis Prime!

Speaking of which, our attachment here has finally come to blows with the vile xenos. Three days ago the greenskin charged our walls; they came through an industrial sector that the commander had deliberately left seemly unsecured. We caught them by surprise, as they charged into the city we opened fire from the cover of the broken buildings. Hundreds of the filthy creatures fell to our firepower; truly we made the Emperor Himself proud. The fight was hard on our regiment, we lost fully a third of our brave founding. Indeed, I am truly blessed to be able to write to you today, a bullet meant for me was stopped by the thick hide of Grim’ed, one of the ogryn abhumans of the Praetorians seconded to our commander. I fear I must recant my earlier disgust of these mutants.

We believe that the greenskin have been pushed back into the foothills, from what I understand the commander has requested that the marines of the Scions of Ra pursue them to assassinate their warlord. If they are successful perhaps their taint may be purged from our land for once and for all.

In mention of the ork menace, I am concerned by the glow in the sky you have written about coming from the other side of Tuva Bay. We can but pray to the throne that this is not some manner of xeno weapon.

Please write to me soon, your letters are the only thing that buoys my spirits in these dark times. Thank you so much for the dried meats you sent, it made a refreshing change from the ration packs we’ve eaten for six months now. Lieutenant Gander thanks you as well for you concern, he’s back on his feet again now. The doctors think he should be back in the field again in less than a week, much to Gander’s chagrin!

Tell Franz and Mika that Daddy loves them both very much, and tell make sure Franz knows how sorry I am I couldn’t be there for his birthday. Was he pleased with the helmet? You wouldn’t believe how hard that was to get off the quarter-master, he’d better look after it.
Remember me in your prayers, Alizabeth. Throne-willing this threat will pass soon. I love you so much, I can’t wait to see your face again.
Yours forever,


- From the personal effects of Sergeant Heller Adolphus, Tarsis PDF. (Missing In Action)

Daemons raze Ork land

Angry with the Orks circuitous arrival on Tyndareous, but not interested enough to send troops to reinforce the Chaos garrison on the planet. Moonface made a pact once again with his daemon allies. Less than a week after the Orks had overrun half the habitable zones on the planet, including a scouting force of Space Marines from the Scions of Ra! chapter, a gibbering horde of ethereal creatures fell upon the greenskins with wanton abandon.

The Orks stood little chance against the daemon horde, and the Catechism got their revenge on Da Verminator, forcing his army back to its original landing zone on the planet. The destruction did not end there however, as the daemons then ran amok, destroying everything and everyone, razing settlements to the ground and murdering even Chaos followers who had been sheltering from the Orks, mistakenly believing the daemons had been sent to save them. Moonface let them have their fun, as to him Tyndareous was a minor concern. He was already planning his next move in the Rim Worlds.

Dark Angels Mission

During 03.009M42 the Dark Angels were once again active in the Shadow worlds, pursuing goals of their own making quite outside the Imperial chain of command. While this was often frustrating for the Sector command under Thaddeus Roover, the Imperial General was well aware he had no authority over the Marines and had to let them get on with it.

Even so their actions proved useful to the campaign as a whole, as the Dark Angels established a base on Tyndareous, removing the forces of Da Verminator and landing on Coronus, where the Dark Angels had previously had a major base. This latter action proved the most significant as Coronus was Nazghat's primary base in the Shadow worlds. This slowed the Ork advance on Fort Sparcos as forces were redirected, and by late 03.009M42 the imminent danger to Alphe and Betor from Waaagh! Nazghat had been downgraded, thanks largely to the Dark Angels' actions.

Eldar Raids

In 03.009M42 the Eldar showed their hand in the Zadoc subsector - the first such appearance in a while. It started on 1603.009M42 on Farport in the Vastrid subsector, when a strong force of Eldar appeared from nowhere and attacked the Guard mustering station on Farport Primus. A full three regiments of Porphyrians were there embarking for the Zadoc subsector. All three regiments fought hard after recovering from the initial assault, but were unable to save their equipment and vehicles as the Eldar destroyed as much as they could in just four hours. They then vanished, leaving the Zadoc subsector 3 regiments of Guard short.

Just three days later more bad fortune hit the Porphyrians, who's time in the Zadoc subsector was becoming an epic tragedy. This time a regiment which had stayed loyal to the Emperor and moved to Sartano for rest and recouperation, was suddenly set upon by a strong force of Dark Eldar. Once again the Imperial Guard garrison was caught woefully unprepared and the slaughter was almost total. For the next week the Dark Eldar rampaged up and down the southern island chain of Sartono, killing thousands and abducting thousands more. When PDF reinforcements arrived a few days later, there was no trace of the Dark Eldar and almost all the settlements in the south had been razed to the ground.

New Force Arrives

Concerned by events in the Aleph Sector, not least the losses incurred first on Aleph 4, which he was prepared to overlook, but then almost a repeat on Tarsis Major, Perturabo himself sent a force of loyal Iron Warriors to establish just what was going on. A significant force in a traitor Strike Cruiser set out for the sector and reached it in early 009M42, intent on bringing back information on Iron Warriors activities, and punish those who had squandered the legion's troops, friend and foe alike.

Their first encounter came against the Dusk Raiders on Fort Sparcos. Unhappy with their refusal to cooperate with their Chaos brethren and disturbed by an earlier attack on the encumbent Iron Warriors force in the sector, the force set about raiding the Dusk Raiders' supplies and teaching them a lesson. Unfortunately their enemy was wise to this fact and defended their positions admirably, forcing the new Iron Warriors force to seek their vengeance elsewhere.

While their leader was having a set-to with the Dusk Raiders a second force attempted to opportunistically raid the Trebbians defending the fort itself. They underestimated the Trebbian defences however and were similarly defeated, leaving the Iron Warriors fuming. The force left the Sparcos system on 1103.009M32 and set course for the Rim Worlds.

Their first visit was to Typhon, where the Night Lords were putting the finishing touches to their new city "Rim World Prime", built from slave labour and intended to rival the cities of the Imperium. It was in effect the first part of their plan to reconstruct their own Imperium by their own rules, and the Night Lords did not appreciate the arrival of the new Iron Warriors force. After a brief angry encounter between the leaders of the forces, battle soon commenced.

If the Iron Warriors had intended to take the small planet for themselves they had underestimated the Night Lords' will to defend their new Empire, and once again the Iron Warriors were defeated with no new information and no secure base from which to launch their raids. It had been a hard shock to the system, but they had at least discovered that in general, the other Chaos forces were generally hostile to the Iron Warriors in general, who they blamed, often innacurately for failures on Aleph 4 and Tarsis Major.

Aornis Overrun

The Tau high command, reacting to the Catechism threat, deployed as many forces as possible to Aornis for its defence, but the surprise gained by the Catechism's use of the device meant reinforcements were limited to those in the immediate area.

The Catechism forces penetrated deep into the Tau compound, leading with their elite Traitor Marine forces, sending forces under Fastblade reeling. The Tau, obviously unnerved by the chanting troops facing them, found it hard to concentrate and some of the shooting was wild indeed. Though the railguns on the Hammerheads were accurate, marines on foot proved too difficult for Fastblade's Aornis Cadre, and they withdrew.

Shadowstrike's Aornis forces were the next to feel the might of Moonfaces' army, but away on Tarsis he was unable to intervene personally. On 2403.009M42 the Tau commander of Aornis realised the game was up and ordered an evacuation, destroying any Tau installations which the Catechism might find useful. By the end of 2703.009M42 all the Rim Worlds were under the control of Chaos and the Catechism announced the presence of a new City, named after Moonface himself, raised up in triumph on Priam following their string of victories.

Aornis Invaded

Aornis was the next target in the sights of the Catechism, and on 1003.009M42 a small scouting force arrived undetected in the system, landing two small teams of loyal marines on the planets surface. For two days they watched the activity of the Tau before activating their arcane devices.

The Tau, including commander forces under Or'es Kais, resting from their exploits on Tarsis, first noticed the power spike in the foothills of the massive mountain chain which ringed the planet. Immediately the Tau mobilised and moved towards the disturbance, sending a scouting group forward. The small force didn't get far however, as a host of daemons, summoned by the Catechism , appeared in their midst, wiping out the Tau force. The last thing their commander saw before he dies was the great hole in real space created by "the Device", and thousands of Catechism troops marching and chanting onto the surface of Aornis.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dusk Raiders and Death Guard continue advance on Fort Sparcos

The combined forces of Chaos on Sparcos continued to make gains after their run ins with the Iron Warriors, shrugging off those raids and probing the outer defences of the Fort itself. A company of Correllians, new to the subsector as part of Task Force Rapier, found themselves badly mauled by the Dusk Raiders and fled the field. Commander Anderson knew that unless he was reinforced they Imperium would have to fall back to its inner fortifications in a matter of weeks. He took little comfort from knowing that the Orks on Sparcos would also be fighting Chaos, as he had to fight them too.

Iron Warriors In the Shadow Worlds

While the Iron Warriors dug in on Tarsis, their commander was able to smuggle out a small forces and link up with loyal Chaos forces in the Tarsis system. From here a rag tag band of forces travelling in small Iconoclast and Infidel raisers travelled to the Rim Worlds looking for support for their cause, and anything which would prevent their wholesale destruction on the planet. The Iron Warriors were not about to leave Tarsis Major, they would do anything to fortify their position and wait, for centuries if necessary, for reinforcement.

The roving expedition met with little success in 03.009M42 as it was beaten first by Necrons on a thought to be uninhabited world, then by the Dusk Raiders on Sparcos as they attempted to “relieve” them of some of their equipment.

Meanwhile on the continent of Merrin, commander Or’es Kais began to send small fireteam cadres into the Mountains, rooting out and destroying Chaos wherever it was found. These activities met with some success in the same month, as the Chaos lack of equipment began to tell heavily.

Tarsis Progress

Praetorians hold the line

Various regiments under Arbuthnot hold the Orks and drive them back from Tarsis Prime, saving the city. Later, the Orks attack the Imperial left flank and take back some ground when the Scions of Ra can’t hold them. Capital still under threat.

Between 1103.009M42 and 1703.009M42 the Orks under Snazteef launched their first assault against the capital, Tarsis Prime. Fearful of the consequences of its loss, General Du Prez had put veteran commander Arbuthnot of the Praetorian 42nd in command and the thin red line stretched along the north of the city, awaiting the arrival of the greenskins.

The Orks arrived, but were met with lasgun and bayonet, not to mention heavy weapons fire from the Praetorians’ tanks support. Under their guidance, the Tarsis PDF also began to open fire, and with the counter charge of the Praetorian Ogryn units, the Orks were thrown back from the city in disarray. Tarsis Prime had been saved and the bells in the Emperor’s Cathedral were rung to the cheering of the crowds.

However, Snazteef had played a trick on the Imperium. The Orks fled the city and, thinking they could be routed, permission was given for a company of Space Marines of the Scions of Ra! Chapter to follow up this victory, supported by Tarsis PDF.

Once the marines had advanced away from the protection of Imperial air support and artillery, the Orks sprung the trap, charging the mustard armoured Imperial soldiers. The supermen of the Scions of Ra! Fought bravely, but the fight was in vain. It was the Imperium who were routed and by the end of 1703.009M42 the Orks were once again knocking at the door of the Imperial capital, much to the frustration of the Imperial overall commander who was heard to say of Snazteef “Who will rid me of this meddlesome Ork?"

Carnage on the coast

Since the beginning of 03.009M42 it was clear that at some point the Tau would attempt to break out of their bridgehead on Tuva. Operation Poseiden had taken a lot out of the Tau, but as 03.009M42 progressed the steady in flow of resources and equipment being piled into Sapphire harbour meant a renewed offensive was only days away.

The Imperial high commander General Du Prez, aware of the impending attack, and his diminishing reputation, appointed General Cunningham to personally oversee the defence of Tuva from the Tau, while General Arbuthnot of the Praetorian Guard took personal command of the defence of Tarsis Prime from the Orks.

Cunningham however was given superior resources. Not only could he count on the three Librian divisions and an army of PDF, but Du Prez allocated three crack Praetorian regiments to his command, along with two Super heavy tank regimants from both Libria and Praetoria. This would mean Baneblades, kept on Tuva, would see action for the first time.

Cunningham and his Praetorian counterpart decided on a simple plan. The peninsular the Tau had invaded was fortified, and the heavy industrial zones turned into obstacles for the Tau to overcome. He spread out his troops in depth along the front, with half the Baneblades supporting a Praetorian infantry advance, and the other half in deep reserve, able to react to any devious Tau tactics.

On 1203.009M42 the Tau attack began, with combined forces of Elan Ro and Shadowstrike pushing out from their bridgehead, aided by over a regiment’s worth of Porphyrian Guard, who had declared their allegiance to the Tau. Shadowstrike was perhaps hoping that fielding traitor Guard would unsettle his opponents, though it is more likely he was using them as an expendable resource.

As predicted the Tau faced difficulties, penned in and unable to manoeuvre, they had to accept an attritional battle. This tactic had been used by Cunningham on Melberg and quickly began to pay dividends as the Tau advance ground to a halt. Then the killing began.

Determined to engineer a breakout and convinced the Imperial line was about to crack, the Tau continued to throw in their resources. An entire cadre of Elan Ro’s troops were wiped out in the furious battle, while Shadowstrike’s cadres fared little better. The Porphyrians suffered badly too, as the loyalist guard units delighted in demolishing their traitors with lasgun, lascannon and battlecannon.

On the second day Shadowstrike managed to infiltrate a large number of kroot into the Imperial lines, but the arrival of the reserve baneblade regiment annihilated the reptilian creatures utterly. The stench of shredded krootflesh hung about the battlefield, a ruined, rubble strewn wasteland awash with burning vehicles and dead bodies.

On the third day Elan Ro and Shadowstrike co-ordinated a mass drop by crisis suit, causing carnage amongst the Librian infantry and destroying most of their Leman Russ battle tanks. Further north the Praetorian slow advance was finally checked by dogged defending, but the Tau had little answer to the Baneblades, which slowly ground them into submission.

Five days after the attack had began the Tau were utterly spent, withdrawing from Tuva to their base on Sapphire Harbour. The Imperium had won their first victory on Tuva in months and had pushed the Tau off the main continent.

The cost however was astonishingly high. Though the Imperial Baneblades had suffered little damage, the Librian and Praetorian regiments involved in the fighting had been badly mauled. Including PDF losses the five day battle had seen 150,000 casualties, almost half that taken in the entirety of the Merrin fighting. The Tau too had suffered badly, losing 31,000 troops, including some 20,000 Tau, their worst losses of the war and approaching those lost in the appalling attritional battles on Melberg.

Tarsis Major Latest

Admiral Doenitz arrives at Tarsis

On 0702.009M42, admiral Jellicoe received some good news. His fleet was to be augmented by that of Admiral Doenitz, a respected admiral and sometime rival to Jellicoe himself. The admiral had been ordered to the Tarsis system with his fleet, following Jellicoe's request some months previously, to reinforce the sector in the face of stiffening Tau resistance and growing Chaos number.

Doenitz was to arrive with a dozen capital ships, including the Emperor Class battleship, Malleus Trebbia, upon which he flew his flag. However, as the fleet jumped towards the Tarsis system, it was noticed. Grand Admiral Thok readied a large portion of his fleet, including the fast battleship Ragnarok, and headed out in search of more Imperial prey.

Doenitz had been briefed about the large Chaos fleet which plundered the void on the Tarsis run, so he wasn't particularly shocked when the augurs detected a large fleet of vessels approaching just as his fleet reached the inner biosphere of the Tarsis system on 0703.009M42. Doenitz turned his fleet towards the Chaos vessels and at 16:14 the first shot was fired.

Although the Chaos fleet had the manouevrability and speed, the formidable guns of the Imperial vessels, as well as the packed hangar decks of Malleus Trebbia, ensured the battle was an even one. During the three hour engagement several Chaos vessels were crippled and forced to disengage, though Ragnarok wasn't one of them.

Thokk however achieved the greatest blow when at 18:08 a large explosion engulfed the Von Der Tann, destroying the Imperial ship utterly. With damage on both sides the fleets withdrew, Admiral Thokk claiming a material victory, and the Imperial fleet headed towards the outer rim to the jump point, their next destination, Caitlen station.

Unfortunately for Admiral Doenitz, Thokk's fleet was not the only one in the Doenitz system. Just two days later the Imperial fleet, now scattered into three divisions, picked up the unmistakable readings of a Tau fleet bearing down on them. Admiral Swiftstar had seen the previous engagement and was now tracking the Imperial fleet like a wolf stalks his prey. He had managed to swing around part of the fleet, including Malleus Trebbia, and now faced it head on.
The Imperial fleet found itself in action once more, this time against a well disciplined and highly experienced foe. Waves of torpedoes and mantas together with precision fire concentrated on each ship in turn before moving on to the next. First the dictator class, reduced to a hulk, then, the Malleus Trebbia herself.

Swiftstar's entire fleet, flying in classic "box" formation, launched wave after wave of ordnance and gunfire, braving the incoming salvoes of Nova cannon from the Broadsword and quickly crippled the giant battleship. Burning and out of control the Malleus Trebbia was only saved by a nearby asteroid field which masked her retreat.

Sadly the Broadsword was less fortunate. Her bridge smashed by bombing raids she was unable to act coherently. At 19:36 she finally succumbed, her plasma reactors detonating. Of the fleet which had arrived at Tarsis barely half were now battle ready, and it would be a poor and battered fleet which arrived at Caitlen station. The engagements had been a boost for Tau and Chaos, and Doenitz was quickly demoted to Admiral and put under Jellicoe's command. Something which the old Admiral enjoyed immensely!

Vs. Chaos Losses:
Von Der Tann (destroyed)
Ozymandias (crippled)

Wyrmfire (crippled)
Skoll (crippled)
Skogul (crippled)
Fafnir (crippled)

Vs. Tau Losses:
Malleus Trebbia (crippled)
Bellerophon (destroyed)
Broadsword (destroyed)

(no losses to Tau)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tarsis Major Latest

Tyndareous overrun by Orks

Just as the forces of Chaos were celebrating their victory in the Rim worlds, the Tau invaded Hylas and Memnon in the Shadow worlds, endeavouring to open a second supply route to Tarsis Major. This had one rather unfortunate side effect from the point of view of those loyal to the Chaos Gods. In a strange twist the Tau invasion displaced thousands of Orks on Memnon, who fled, arriving at Tyndareous in a ramshackle fleet some days later.

The Chaos invasion of New Sparta had, in a round about way, led to the invasion by Orks of the one remaining world in the Shadow Worlds loyal to the Catechism. A useful outpost, Moonface was keen to keep it, and used the device one more time to send a small force to aid the garrison on the planet.

It was no use. The blood of the Orks was up and they quickly overwhelmed the small elite force sent by Moonface. Da Verminator’s green hordes marauded across the inhabited parts of Tyndareious, wrecking infrastructure and slaughtering the inhabitants. By 1003.009M42 half the planet was in Ork hands and Da Verminator contemplating a new Stompa construction facility.

New Sparta falls to Moonface

After the Catechism had left Tarsis Prime it didn’t take them long to make an impact in the Zadoc subsector once more. Perhaps driven by a thirst for vengeance, Moonface eyed the final inhabitable world in the Rim worlds with an envious aspect, and on 0103.009M42, landed in strength on the Tau outpost.

The Tau were shocked at the sudden appearance of the Chaos legions, naive to the warp technology that Moonface was employing in the device, but they realised the importance of the colony to the general campaign in the Zadoc subsector. One of Elan Ro’s recently promoted sub commanders was in charge of the garrison and fought hard to prevent the Catechism troops from overrunning the main Tau base while he called for reinforcements. Though taking heavy casualties, the Tau managed to fight the Catechism to a draw, enabling reinforcements to be landed on the planet.

The fight was however in vain. Despite the reinforcements the Catechism, who’s rhinos were destroyed in quick succession by the Tau railguns, resolved to walk towards their opponents. Pulse rifle fire was no match for aeons old armour, as this army was the elite, the cream of Moonface’s forces, and millennia old Space Marines ripped Tau bodies apart when they reached their lines.

The gritty heroic defence was of no use and on 0803.009M42 the garrison was abandoned by the Tau. Now Chaos controlled all the Rim worlds and Moonface had a solid base to launch further campaigns. Meanwhile the Tau put into action a plan to maintain their supply routes to Tarsis Major.

Zadoc Subsector latest

Nazghat intervenes on Hylas

By 0703.009M42 Nazghat himself was back in the Shadow worlds. Forced to abandon his attempts to capture fort Sparcos for the time being, Nazghat was keep to prevent the new Tau force from taking any more of his empire in the Mabb nebula. However the Tau had the element of surprise, and he was powerless to prevent them from landing on Hylas in force.

Hylas had not been held by the Orks for long and their defences had not been repaired. With the Ork fleet mostly in orbit in the Sparcos system the Tau had free reign and landed in strength. They found the human population working as slaves for the Orks and realised they could turn this to their advantage.

In the end however there was very little need, as the fierce fighting was over in three days, the remaining Orks fleeing into the hills. Hylas had been taken by the Tau task force and the inhabitants hailed the new Xenos as saviours. Shadowstrike’s operation on Tarsis Major, opposed by some, now had a second supply route. Nazghat meanwhile had suffered his first reversal in months.

Da Verminator almost loses Memnon

In early 03.009M42 the Tau high command had realised the vulnerability of their supply lines to Tarsis Major. Tau ships, slower than their Imperial counterparts, needed regular waystations from their holdings in the Perseus Deeps to reach Tarsis Major. This meant New Sparta and Aornis were the only route of supply to their operations on Tarsis.

Elan Ro was the first to suggest a second supply route be opened by an attack through the Shadow worlds. These systems, mostly occupied by Nazghat’s Orks, would link Tarsis Major and operations there, to the recently acquired base of Melberg, and ease the pressure on the Aornis-New Sparta route.

The idea, backed by Fastblade, was considered but shelved, until the Catechism arrived on New Sparta on 0103.009M42. Immediately the Tau organised a task force and dispatched forces to Memnon and Hylas, considered the most vulnerable by their commanders.

The attack on Memnon by Ol Cha, one of Elan Ro’s subordinates, went well and the Orks were unprepared for such an organised assault. The planet, defended by Da Verminator, fell in just three days and the Ork Warlord was forced to abandon his new base, taking his incomplete Stompa with him. Unfortunately for Chaos the renegade Ork warlord was about to make an unscheduled visit to the neighbouring system of Tyndareous.

Never-the-less the Tau now had a foothold in the Shadow worlds. As they celebrated, the second phase of the operation swung into action on Hylas.

Librians fail to halt Snazteef

On 0303.009M42 Snazteef’s Orks once again launched a major assault towards the capital, Tarsis Prime. General Jamieson could hardly believe the Orks could continually launch assaults with no respite, and his army was caught off guard. In the main line of defence the Librian 57th and 96th regiments fought hard, but the Orks wethered the storm of fire and were soon causing carnage amongst the Imperial lines.

For three days it looked like the latest assault would turn into a rout, as defence line after defence line fell to the Orks. There was panic in the capital city as rumours of the Ork advance reached the general populace, and several incidents in the city led to arrests and injuries.

Meanwhile on 0603.009M42 Jamieson’s army was finally getting a grip on the situation. They had fallen back, but the Ork advance had run out of steam, and their latest high water mark had been reached. By 0703.009M42 the Orks, who had been within 12 miles of the capital, had been pushed back to a distance of 35 miles. Here the Librians dug in and hoped that reinforcements would turn the tide against the green tide threatening to overrun the seat of power on Tarsis Major.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tarsis Major Current

Porphyrians fall back again

By late 02.009M42, the Imperium had reached somewhat of a stalemate against the Orks still present in northern Tuva. The Orks of Snazteef were no more than an annoyance in strategic concerns, and their chances of overrunning Tarsis Major on their own were next to nothing, but their persistant attacks were draining the Merrin fronts of badly needed resources. Eventually General Du Prez was forced to weaken his defence in the north, leaving just a few Porphyrian regiments facing Snazteef.

This turned out to be an unfortunate decision. On 2702.009M42 the Imperial commanders on the front reported a large beam of light shoot up from somewhere in the Ork occupied zone. About an hour later the sky was lit by burning fire, before an asteroid, 100 metres in length, smashed into the Porphyrian marshalling area north of Tarsis Major.

The damage was immense. Where there were ammunition yards, equipment sheds and barracks now lay a smoking crater, one mile wide. Just as the Imperium were relating this impact to the beam of light from the Orks, Snazteef attacked.

The latest assault quickly overran the stunned Porphyrians, who put up a brave, if uncoordinated defence. Suddenly Du Prez was worried. The Orks on Tarsis obviously had a weapon capable of mass destruction, and were now only 100 miles north of the capital, Tarsis Major. Something had to be done about Snazteef, and soon.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Operation Poseiden

The Tau Leaders Plan

On 2002.009M42 Shadowstrike called his other commanders to a hasty planning meeting. With the catechism gone resistance in the north was seen as weak and the Tau commander had identified an opportunity to make major gains against Chaos for the first time since the start of the war. With the strategic situation in relation to the imperium the best it had ever been following the capture of Sapphire Harbour it was also a good time for a major push in the south. All tau cadres were mobilised and preparations made for operation Poseidon, with the aim of rolling back both fronts and making major gains in a lightning Blitzkrieg.

For the operation Shadowstrike prepared to use almost all the Tau armed forces on Tarsis he could spare. The strategic reserve was allocated and the bare minimum left on occupation duties. Some in the Tau camp feared that were the attacks to go wrong, they would find themselves at the mercy of the Imperium.

The Imperial forces were not unaware of the build up for operation Poseiden, but very few in the high command realised quite what the Tau were planning. Not even General Cunningham, with his experience of Melberg, was aware that Shadowstrike was preparing to strike fast and hard, simultaneously against the Imperium and Chaos utilising practially all their strength.

Initial aims were modest, to cut off pockets in the north and south and move against the enemy held cities of Montgate and East Plainbrook. However Shadowstrike and his commanders were under orders to take opportunities where they saw them, in contrast to the dogmatic and autocratic style of the Imperial armies. In this way, the Tau could make best use of their assets, and overcome their apparent material inferiority with respect to the Imperium.

Assault on Chaos

After his successful attack out from Sapphire Harbour Elan Ro was once again mounting up his force into Mantas and relocating. This time he was placed against what remained of the Chaos forces. While he’d been off planet the might of Chaos had crumbled, and Shadowstrike intended to capitalise on this.

What Elan Ro found was an entrenched force of Iron Warriors ready to try and repel his advance. His mechanised units moved forwards and Stealth units in advance of the main force began to harry the defenders. The Iron Warriors were lacking in long range anti-tank weaponry, only as small contingent of Predators, which were suppressed and then systematically annihilated.

The main fighting occurred where the Iron Warriors decided to make a stand, and the Tau advance hinged on removing these elite elements before a mop up of cultists and other irregulars could allow the advance towards the Chaos held city, as envisaged by Shadowstrike, could begin. Only then would Fastblade, his forces in reserve, be able to assault the city.

Elan Ro’s initial advance was cautious, as he had intelligence suggesting that there was a division of Terminators ready to teleport into the battle, and the Chaos Lord could not be seen. If those elite troops were to arrive behind his advance the battle could be over. However, once he saw the Terminators teleport into position to shore up the faltering Iron Warrior line he pushed the attack.

Iron Warrior assault troops came under heavy fire as they moved to engage the right flank, and by the time they reached combat they were significantly outnumbered. A small force of drones moved to assist and dispatched them, allowing the Fire Warriors to continue their advance. The Terminators then came under heavy fire, all but annihilating them. Those that survived unleashed a brutal counter attack, killing half the Fire Warriors on the left flank with close range flamer blasts before engaging in combat. The same drone unit that defeated the previous assault moved in and eliminated them.

The remaining Chaos infantry made a valiant last stand, trying to hold back the Tau advance, but Elan Ros forces concentrated fire and destroyed unit after unit. In the final moments of the battle the Chaos Lord appeared, but an accurate railgun shot sliced him in half. When the dust settled the Chaos force had been killed to a man. By comparison the Tau had suffered minimal losses. A third of their transports had been destroyed, and another third damaged, along with a little over a quarter of the Fire Warriors. Their armoured and suit units were untouched, having suffered no losses in the battle. Elan Ro’s advance had taken the Tau to within striking distance of Montgate.

While Elan Ro showed the full flair of a Tau army advancing in sweeping battles of manouevre, Commander Fastblade was allocated a very different, and in some ways more difficult task. The veteran of the Vastrid Campaign was ordered to take Montgate once Chaos resistance south of the city had been wiped out. On 0103.009M42, Fastblade got his chance.

Elan Ro had opened the way for Fastblade's army, of similar size, to attack the city. The problems faced by Fastblade were all too obvious. Montgate was defended by deeply entrenched Iron Warriors who had no intention of abandoning their stronghold, and the city was flanked by wastelands and the coast to the east and south, and the high crags of the Mertock mountains to the north and west. The only option was a direct assault into the Chaos guns. Not a prospect relished by most Tau commanders.
As ever however Shadowstrike had chosen well in his selection of the conservative and patient Fastblade. The Tau commander moved his forces to the endge of the city by night, minimising casualties, then began the methodical process of destroying the Iron Warriors, and much of the city, with indirect firepower.

The Tau had overwhelming advantage in munitions and in just tow days much of the city had been levelled and its defenders forced to retreat to the Mountains. Depsite a last ditch deepstrike assault by Terminators and a Chaos Lord himself, the Tau took few casualties and took the city, or rather the rubble, in four days. Fastblade then pushed up into the mountains to prevent the city coming under direct fire from the remnant Chaos forces, then paused to rest, his mission complete.

Tau strike west

While Elan Ro and Fastblade forced the Iron Warriors into an irevocable defeat, Shadowstrike himself led an attack on the HQ and supply base for the northern imperial pocket. A specialist infiltration and special ops cadre was inserted by a low flying orca, bypassing the front lines and striking without warning at the Porphyrian command centre. It was lightly defended but the Porphyrians were unexpectedly well organised and re-enforcements arrived early in the operation.

Seeing that more forces would be needed to fully overwhelm the northern pocket and confident in his subordinates ability to carry the battle and capture the imperial base, Shadowstrike withdrew to call in further hunter cadres under the command of Elan Ro. After this action questions remained surrounding the conduct of the Tau commander in battle, as Imperial reports suggested his withdrawal was indeed swift and occurred after he came under heavy fire...

Closing the Gap

Shadowstrike’s drive into the Imperial beachhead in the north had fallen short of where he had hoped. There was still a thin strip of land through which the Imperial’s could communicate, a gap that needed to be closed. Shas’vre Ol Cha, a member of one of Elan Ro’s northern Cadres, volunteered to take a small strike force and close the gap.

Thus the Shas’vre, along with a mechanised unit of Fire Warriors and a small contingent of Stealthsuits raced towards the sea. They found their opposition on the coast in the wreckage of a Gue’la recreational facility, a platoon of Porphyrian Imperial Guard with a small mechanised contingent had been left to hold the line. Ol Cha’s force crept in close before engaging, the Stealthsuits engaging on the left, leading half the Porphyrian defenders on a merry dance as they cut them down with coordinated burst cannon fire.

On the right the Porphyrian’s put up much stiffer resistance, counter attacking with their mechanised elements, succeeding in immobilising the Devilfish, destroying its drones and driving back the Fire Warriors. However, Ol Cha then directed a renewed offensive, slaughtering the attacking unit and destroying their transport. All that remained was the lieutenant in command of this gap and his command section. Ol Cha offered a chance to surrender, but the lieutenant refused. They were killed to a man.

The mission was a complete success, with the enemy wiped out to a man, no Tau lives lost and only minimal equipment damage. Following units shored up Ol Cha’s gains. With the Porphyrian’s now cut in half and their supply base denied they had little choice but to surrender. The Chaos forces took this opportunity to seize a little more land, which the Tau allowed, feeling no need to expend the effort to deny it to them. There were no longer any Imperial forces in northern Merrin. Ol Cha received a promotion, taking Yr Doran’s position as Elan Ro’s second in command.

With the Merrin mines taken, and the Imperial beachead cut in two, there was no hope for the remaining Porphyrian regiments which had landed only weeks before. Commander Saladin himself was evacuated, wounded, to a hospital frigate offshore, while his troops desperately tried to re-embark on their transports. There were too few, and relentless bombing by the Tau air Cadre sank many of them, including Saladin's hospital ship. He was never found.

Leaderless and defeated, some 20,000 men, nearly two regiments of Porphyrians mutinied. Refusing to fight to the death they killed their commissars and then surrenderred to the Tau. The surrender was accepted and all those willing were pressed into the Tau's forces. The regiments were split up, being attached to Tau cadres and deprived of their heaviest equipment to fight as Gue'vesa auxilaries. The Porphyrians were now down to one third their original strength on Tarsis and had lost almost all their senior ranking officers. General Du Prez, dejected at such a sudden reversal of furtunes, pulled all the remaining Porphyrians out of front line operations.

The southern advance

It was actually the advance by Or'es Kair, the least experienced commander, which started the momentum of the Tau in the south. Shadowstrike had called for a limited encirclement against the mighty river Fuller, but as Kais moved her forces forward, she found the defences rather lighter than anticipated. Cautiously the Tau continued to advance, but critically, kept their flanks from being exposed. Then the Ultramarines sprung their trap.

The Ultramarines had intended to blunt this expected Tau attack by arranging for the Imperial Guard to fall back. this would encourage the Tau on then, when they were over stretched, the Adeptus Astartes would cut their supply lines and "pinch off" the Tau salient. However the plan began to fall apart immediately.

For a start not all the Imperial regiments understood the plan. On the right flank the Librians and Trebbians fell back, but the Tarsis PDF units, out of the loop, did not. They stayed put and assumed the Librians had retreated. Some 300,000 PDF troopers now found themselves in a pocket. If the Ultramarines plan went wrong, they would be captured.

It did go wrong. The Tau of Or'es Kais fought much harder than expected and displayed an excellent tactical appreciation for the super humans' tactics. In under two days the Ultramarines, taking heavy casualties once again, were forced to withdraw. This they did without consulting General Cochrane, which ensured the PDF in the pocket had no chance of withdrawing. Virtually all of them, and their equipment were captured by Kais' smaller force, and a huge area to the east of the Fuller river fell to the Tau with East Plainbrook less than one hundred miles away. General Du Prez hurridly signalled his subordinate, who stated that with the losses on the Fuller plain, he would be pushed to hold the city. Cochrane requested to pull out and form a defensive line in the South Shore Peninsular. His request was denied.

The Siege of East Plainbrook

Following the dramatic and astonishing advance by Or’es Kais, the Tau brought forward their timetable, moving their forces quickly and efficiently, deploying Elan Ro’s main force, which has been in the north, south to take advantage of the lightning advance, not allowing Cochrane’s battered forces to regroup.

Despite being in a position to attack Montgate that honour, as planned, was given to commander Fastblade. Instead Elan Ro, along with the majority of his force, moved south, to East Plainbrook. Or’es Kais, a new commander, had made a significant push south, putting the Tau in a position to take the city. Librians were entrenched in the city, and Elan Ro was more than willing to dislodge them.

General Cochrane, having lost almost a fifth of his forces thanks to the Ultramarines’ collapse some days earlier, hoped to slow up the Tau by forcing them to take East Plainbrook, at great cost. He knew the Tau disliked fighting in cities, and entrenched a large force in the city while he tried desperately to reorganise his Trebbian and Librian units to defend against this new Tau offensive. Imperial High Command could promise little in the way of support, as they were now hard pressed by the Orks of Snazteef in the north of Tuva, and were still recovering from defeating Chaos in the south. Now Elan Ro would take advantage of the Imperium’s compromised position.

His forces drove hard and fast into the city, with deep infiltrating Stealth units engaging the Librian heavy artillery and destroying it before a shot could be fired. Half the Hammerheads were tied up in a battle with entrenched Librian Leman Russes, becoming immobilised before destroying the Gue’la tanks.

After accomplishing their mission the Stealth units began to fall back, tacking heavy casualties. The Librian units on the left flank came under fire as Elan Ro tried to support the Stealth units, driving them off, but not before the Stealth units took over fifty percent casualties and moving at an exceptional pace rapidly disengaged.

A flanking unit of Storm Troopers caught a section of mechanised Fire Warriors completely off guard, annihilating their transports before assaulting the survivors of the crash. Other Fire Warrior units then pinned the Storm Troopers in place before they pulled back. Deeper in the heart of the city a vicious tank battle had begun. A division of Leman Russ tanks engaged mechanised Fire Warriors, blowing Devilfish out of the sky, before a unit of Hammerheads destroyed them with accurate railgun fire.

Some Hellhound flame tanks were looping round to engage the main Tau advance. Knowing the threat these vehicles possessed the immobilised Hammerheads opened fire the moment they entered line of sight, igniting the fuel tanks and destroying them in an enormous fireball.

Deep in the bowels of the city the real brutal fighting had begun. Fire Warrior and Crisis Suit units, covered by Hammerheads engaged the bulk of the Librian infantry. Mortar units took a heavy toll on the Fire Warrior units, before being silenced by Crisis Suits. A Storm Trooper mechanised counter attack faltered, and was promptly crushed. However, the reserve Librian infantry units caused massive casualties on the Fire Warriors and eliminated the forward Crisis Suits, including Yr Doran, Elan Ro’s second in command.

The Tau had managed to secure the edge of the city, despite a valiant effort by Storm Troopers to cut off the Tau’s access route in the closing hours of the first day, but the heart was still firmly in Imperial hands. Elan Ro pulled back his forward units as night fell on the city. Throughout the night there was some sporadic fighting, as Imperial Storm Troopers and Tau Suits tested the enemy lines, but no real gains were made.

As dawn broke it became apparent that the majority of the Imperial vehicles had been destroyed on the first day. The Tau vehicles had also suffered heavy losses, with most Devilfish destroyed, and those that remained were heavily damaged. However, there was still a functional division of Hammerheads, giving the Tau some serious mobile firepower. Thus began the task of sweeping the city street by street.

Under the cover of Hammerheads and Crisis Suits Fire Warrior teams would advance and enter buildings. Stealth teams would land on the rooftops and begin their cleanse from there, trapping the Imperial forces on the middle floors. Once the Imperials were pocketed the Hammerheads would slam railgun shots through the floors Imperials were on. It was a painstakingly slow process, and sporadic counter attacks from Storm Troopers that had to be met and seen off with Crisis Suits slowed the process further, but the Tau were advancing. It took a further four days to complete the sweep of the city, the Librians fighting bitterly for each and every street, but as the sun rose on the sixth day the city of East Plainbrook was under Tau control.

The attack on East Plainbrook, though successful, had stalled the Tau advance and proved once again that when forced into a battle where manoeuvre was difficult or constrained, the Tau found it hard going. Shadowstrike had allowed for this, but though he was pleased by the capture of the Imperial city, he had hoped for more. His forces had not yet reached the coast. Having planned for this, a force under Shadowstrike’s command was already sweeping south, bypassing the vicious fight in the city.

South Shore falls

In the south, by 2502.009M42, a mere five days into the operation, the situation was far better than the wildest of Tau hopes. Or'es Kais' forces were spent however, and could not press their advantage and Elan Ro was pinned down in heavy fighting on the streets of East Plainbrook. While the Imperium was struggling to pull together enough forces to hold the city, Shadowstrike saw an opportunity to deal a death blow to imperial efforts on Merrin.

Shadowstrike transferred his forces south by manta to the south of Elan Ro's position, which by this point had moved into the centre of East Plainbrook. There, bypassing the city's main defences, infiltration cadres slipped through gaps in the chaotic front lines to strike critical strategic points throughout the south shore region. These were defended by the Trebbian 9th but they mostly consisted of rear echelon units, poorly supported and equipped with few armoured vehicles. They suffered repeated heavy defeats and all resistance in the area collapsed by 0303.009M42, leaving a small pocket of Imperial resistance led by General Cochrane and his Librians on the eastern shore of the continent.


Operation Poseidon eventually ended on 0603.009M42, not because of effective enemy resistance but because the Tau were exhausted. There were no more fresh cadres to throw into gaps in the enemy lines and supplies of ammunition and fuel were almost exhausted leaving the tau incapable of mounting further offensive opperations for the time being.

The Tau offensive ended though mopping up continues and the fronts were fronts secured. An equally ambitious operation then began to fly in supplies and ammunition from the orbiting fleet and rotate out exhausted cadres for fresh ones recuperating on fleet transports and rear echelon areas. Poseidon was pronounced an overwhelming success with gains beyond the Tau's wildest expectations and a delegation from the ethereal caste sent its congratulates personally to all the Tau commanders on Tarsis Major. Almost immediately, HQ staff and intelligence analysts begin planning operations to take the war onto Tuva...

The effect on the Imperium was no less dramatic. Stunned by a 60% gain in Tau territory in just over a week, Du Prez was chastised by senior command. Du Prez blamed the defeat on the fact that the Tau were still able to ship in fresh supplies and troops, so the sector commander, Thaddeus Roover, approached the Imperial Navy. Within 48 hours Jellicoe's grand fleet was sailign for Tarsis, and a new battlegroup was arriving in system from hubward. The Imperial fleet was ordered to annihilate the Tau once and for all, blockading and trapping the aliens on the planet.

General Cochrane meanwhile was stuck, defending a small pocket of ground on the Merrin coast with just over five divisions. His supply lines untenable, he was still expected to fight to the last. The force, mainly Trebbian and Librian, was ordered to reject the surrender terms proposed by Shadowstrike. Cochrane then attempted to negotiate a withdrawal from Merrin.

Elan Ro was keen to accept this, but Shadowstrike overruled him. He could not allow five divisions and their equipment to be redeployed as they would need to face them again in subsequent fights. The negotiations were ended and the Tau prepared the final massacre.

The Porphyrians were badly mauled, with 10 of their 15 original regiments on Tarsis destroyed or captured by the Tau. Almost two regiments switched sides, swearing loyalty to the Tau. Fearing retribution the new commander, Colonel Abbas, immediately reaffirmed Porphyria's and Porphyrian's loyalty to the Emperor. Even so the shattered units of the Porphyrian Guard were gratefully removed from front line duties for the time being.