Thursday, May 28, 2009

Alphe Latest

During 05.009M42 an insidious menace began to plague the outer reaches of the Zadoc subsector. Near Betor, following the discovery of a tyranid hive fleet near the system, the Ultramarines send a strike force to hunt down the aliens, or at least determine their strength. The force, consisting of little more than a company, did not find the hive fleet itself, but recieved a distress signal from one of Betor's dependent colonies in the neighbouring system. When they arrived the inhabitants had been killed, and their brains removed. Shortly after arriving the force was attacked by Tyranids.

The Ultramarines, used to fighting this particular Xenos, fought ferociously and cleansed the small colony of the alien scourge. Upon receiving the Marines' report Inquisitor Hathek diverted to Betor to analyse the latest samples. It was clear the strain was new, and not part of Hive fleet Triton, but Hathek found the threat level of Nemesis, of which these tyranids certainly were part, to be marked as "low" on Imperial documents to which he had access. When he inquired further he found the information redacted, sequestered, or unavailable. Hathek resolved to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The Inquisitor's investigation took a new turn when more of Nemesis classified aliens were reported to be attacking Ork possessions on the extreme rim of the Mabb Nebula. Generally the Orks had faired badly, but Hathek was unable to confirm the identity of these Tyranids. They could easily be a Triton remnant and not related to the new classification. By the end of 05.009M42 the Inquisitor lord was becoming frustrated at his lack of progress. All he could find in the Inquisition logs was a brief report into the hive fleet:




Cerberex regiments close on Iron Warriors base

On 2505.009M42, while the southern Tuva front collapsed, the Imperium were making gains, in the far north of Merrin. Following VII Corps' daring landing on Horn island, General Arbuthnot had been given three more regiments to assist the push by General Du Prez, as the offensive seemed to be going well and was a welcome diversion from the bad news from the south. Du Prez deployed three of the ten Cerberex regiments he had available, including the 11th and 41st mechanised, to continue the advance on the Iron Warriors' fort, intent on getting there before the Tau.

The Cerberex regiments, refugees ever since the UFP and Chaos overran their homeworld, were keen to fight the forces of the Dark Gods who had lain waste to much of their home planet. Their highly mechanised units drove the Iron Warriors forces before them, and advanced on schedule along the north and west coast of Merrin, reaching the edge of the Chaos fortified zone on 2805.009M42. While the Imperium were on the defensive in the south, they were at least winning in the north.

Monday, May 25, 2009


“Correct strategy”

General Cunningham was devastated following the battle on the Teranno, as it became known. Having held the Tau in one of the bloodiest engagements on Tuva, a messenger rushed in to the Generals headquarters with the news that Silverbrook had fallen to Shadowstrike. Cunningham is reported to have thrown his cup of Caffiene at the poor unfortunate recruit bringing him the message.

If Cunningham had been devastated, Lord General Du Prez was in a more serious predicament. The Lord General soon had a visit from the Commissariat, who gave the overall commander on Tarsis Major a stark choice. Resign, or be removed. Somehow his connections prevented the Commissariat taking the ultimate sanction, and Du Prez simply “retired”, while General Cunningham received the unexpected, and somewhat unwanted information that now he was overall commander on Tarsis Major.

In the Imperial Navy the commander of Naval forces on Tarsis Major, Admiral Ozzel, who many considered the cause of the sudden loss of two of the Emperor’s cities, did not escape with his life. A Commissariat officer visited his chambers in Tarsis Prime and offered him the usual choice. Faced with a firing squad, the Admiral shot himself with his laspistol.

Cunningham’s first act as overall commander was to call a meeting of all generals and Astartes commanders, and all came. The Imperial Navy attended to, but with fewer than five hundred planes remaining it was clear they could provide little for Cunningham’s war effort.

Cunningham surmised the overall strategy on Tarsis Prime had been right. Force the Tau to take losses they could not accept, but that the tactical planning had been bad, as had the co-ordination of efforts. What was VII corps doing invading northern Merrin while VI and V Corps were hard pushed in south Tuva? Cunningham refocussed minds and drew up a plan which would hopefully prevent the total overrun of the planet by the end of the year...

Shadowstrike’s “left hook”

Cunningham had done well to halt the Tau advance on Tarsis Prime, though at a painful cost in men and equipment. He thought, wrongly, that the main thrust of the latest Tau assault had been broken, and Tarsis Prime saved. However, Cunningham didn't know that Elan Ro had fulfilled his objective, just, and that Commander Shadowstrike was about to assault Silverbrook, where defences were thin on the ground. Just two PDF regiments and a newly arrived Cadian regiment stood between Shadowstrike and the city.

Shadowstrikes personal cadre had been held in reserve throughout operation Triton, ready to take advantage of the developing situation. When a route opened up to silverbrook his cadre was deployed from his command manta. As the only regiment mobile enough to intervene the Cadian 501st air dropped to defend the city. A screen of infantry in prepaired positions and backed by heavy weaponry barred the way. Forces sent forwards on reconnaisance were ambushed and annihilated by the tau before they moved up their heaviest units to begin pounding the imperial positions. Casualties began to mount and their sited heavy weapons positions were destroyed. The defences finally gave way when kroot auxiliaries, who had worked their way around the flank, attacked and rolled up the line. A last ditch effort to destroy the Tau's most valuable assets through an air strike by valkyries and air dropped storm troopers failed to inflict significant damage before Shadowstrike lead a counter attack in person. Defeated and cut off from loyalist forces all imperial resistance was destroyed or forced to surrender.

Push North

Having secured Maybourne Elan Ro regrouped his forces, adding additional elite units to his force, and prepared for the next phase. This was going to be a big push, so he enlisted the help of Aloh Va, a new commander in the Aleph Sector, and advanced. The Imperial forces under General Cunningham simply abandoned peninsular to the south west so the attack force swept northwards.This was deliberate. Cunningham knew a push on Tarsis Prime would likely end the war, and with his forces on the defences he couldn't afford another army being surrounded in the south Tuva peninsular as happened on Merrin.

As the Tau forces swept north towards the Tarrano river, they were met by the brunt of the Imperial force. Several guard regiments, Librian and Porphyrian, were there to oppose the Tau advance and prevent an advance into the Downside Desert. Elan Ro split his force into two, aiming to hammer the guard on the flanks and the crush them in the centre. The centre of the guard line was the Porphyrian infantry with Librian armour in support. On the right were Librian mechanised and armoured regiments, and more Porphyrian Infantry on the left, supported by Porphyrian armour. Cunningham meanwhile supported his infantry with Leman Russ and artillery support, intent on driving forward and pushing the Tau back towards the Border Heights.

Cunningham had three Librian regiments and two Porphyrian, along with the Tarsis PDF, but it was the Librian 4th armoured division and the Porphyrian regiments, newly replenished with reinforcements from Porphyria, which saw the brunt of the fighting near the town of Garrick, on the Tarrano River.

In the opening phases of the battle Elan Ro ordered the Fire Warriors to hold back, allowing suits and hammerheads to engage the enemy. On the right Aloh Va’s hammerheads obliterated the Porphyrian armour in short order. Conversely on the left Elan Ro’s hammerheads were much less effective as they failed to make a dent in the Librian 4th Armoured division. The guard advanced as one towards the Tau lines, securing the centre of the battle field and their right flank. Librian Leman Russ proved as ineffectual as Elan Ro’s hammerheads as the two forces exchanged fire to little effect.

Aloh Va’s stealth and Kroot units emerged on the Imperial left flank, tearing apart their advance. Elan Ro’s stealth units attempted to do the same on the right, but were counter attacked and driven off by Porphyrian Storm Troopers before they were in turn eliminated by one of Elan Ro’s Crisis units. Librian Sentinels managed to get behind Aloh Va’s hammerhead unit, taking it out as Prophyrian heavy weapon teams neutralised his Broadsides, leaving the Tau right flank without any railguns and Librian armour moving in. The reserve Fire Warriors smashed the Sentinels in retaliation, but the damage was done.

Cunningham meanwhile was struggling with communication issues. The Porphyrian regiments in the area had recently been reinforced with new recruits and apparently many of these new recruits were not given proper language instruction. This led to difficulties when orders were passed between the Librian and Porphyrian units, and made the co-ordinated use of both forces a challenge. Additionally the Porphyrian IIX Light Tank company was given incorrect co-ordinates, and was unable to arrive on the battlefield on time to seriously affect it’s outcome. After the battle Colonel Abbas announced that investigations would be undertaken to find out who was responsible for these errors.

In the centre a large force of Porphyrian infantry was dug in, daring the Tau to try and dislodge them from the central tower, a focal point which had commanding views of the town and the battlefield. Elan Ro had no intention of fighting them, instead aiming to take the objectives on the flanks, surrounding the Porphyrians and taking the town. A breakout from Garrick to the north could then take place, encircling the PDF units on Cunningham'r right flank. Upon hearing that there were no railguns on the left Elan Ro ordered an unusual tactic. Aloh Va and his Kroot and stealth units were to engage the Librian armour in hand to hand combat. Without any ranged weapons capable of harming the tanks only the strength of their alien allies and battlesuits stood a chance of damaging them.

Aloh Va set about the task with vigor, ripping into the Librian armour and doing significant damage. Seeing the success of Aloh Va’s units in combat Elan Ro ordered his units to do the same, as the Hammerheads and Leman Russ were still failing to damage each other. The Crisis Suit, which had just dispatched a squad of Storm Troopers in combat, charged in and drove his suit’s fist into the tank’s engine, causing it to explode. Librian mechanised troops replacing those that had been driven off by Crisis units avenged the tank by dispatching the Crisis unit with melta fire.

By the end of 2405.009M42 both sides had committed all their reserves and the battle drawing to a close. Elan Ro finally committed his Fire Warriors, who had been waiting for the rest of the Tau to weaken the enemy before engaging. On the right flank there was still half of the Librian armour that Aloh Va and his brave assaults had failed to dispatch. A unit of Fire Warriors deployed behind the tank, but failed to destroy it, as did the ongoing attacks. Simultaneously Librian Hellhounds deployed and incinerated half the Fire Warriors. In an attempt to stop Aloh Va’s continued attacks on the Librian armour, their command unit charged into combat, only to watch the Tau dispatch all of the body guards and wound the commander, who promptly fell back. He was then hunted down and killed by drones.

On the Tau left the remaining Librian Armour targeted the Devilfish having failed to damage the Hammerheads, knocking half out of the sky. The remaining got through with Crisis unit support and engaged Librian and Prophyrian mechanised units in a close quarter fire fight. Seeing that his right flank was a mess and the left a stalemate he could no longer allow the Imperials to have the centre uncontested. Lacking any other support Elan Ro and his second in command Ol Cha personally charged into a mass of Porphyrians alone.

Concentrated lasgun fire overloaded Elan Ro’s suit, but Ol Cha moved in, cleared the Ratlings from the central tower and stood boldly atop it, weathering a storm of fire from the Prophorians. Rather than being left unsupported Devifish that had deployed their squads moved to support. Aloh Va’s suit was also damaged from a Hellhound blast that drove off the last of the Fire Warriors on the right flank, which was now little more than a mix of wrecked vehicles and charred bodies. One the left the fire fight between Librian and Porphyrian mechanised units and Elan Ro’s Fire Warriors was inconclusive, as both sides took cover and dug in.

Eventually the commanders on both sides saw that the battle was over. Cunningham was unable to breakthrough to the coast and the Tau could not break out to the north. The Tau advance had been stopped, and Elan Ro and Aloh Va’s forces had taken a terrible battering. However, it was not a victory for the Imperium as the regiments that faced the Tau had been mauled just as badly. As Elan Ro’s suit was recovered he allowed himself a small smile. While his advance had been halted, he’d held the Imperium back, allowing Shadowstrike to slip past the main Imperial force towards Silvebrook.

Elan Ro strikes south capturing Maybourne

Secure in the knowledge that Shadowstrike had him covered from the air Elan Ro mobilised His Mechanised Cadres and moved on the city of Maybourne. Phase one of operation Triton had put Tau forces within striking distance of the city, and Elan Ro had volunteered to lead the attack. The and suddeness of Elan Ro’s manouevre meant that he circumvented the guard units in the area and drove straight into the city.

Only the Ultramarines had the mobility to react and a small armoured column moved in to counter attack. Hammerhead units were brought up and obliterated the Land Raider leading the column, leaving the terminators stranded and ducking for cover. Dreadnaughts were dropped near Elan Ro’s position, so they were swiftly abandonned as the Tau forces instead drove into the Ultramarines, leaving the walkers out of the fight, though not before doing some damage.

Close quarter fire fights between Fire Warriors and Space Marines ended favourably for the Tau, as their superior weapons forced the Emperor’s finest to withdraw. The Ultramarines did not just abandon the city however. As they fell back they continued to stall the Tau, forcing Elan Ro’s attack to simply secure the city, rather than press on beyond.

Air War of Annihilation

“There were more than we thought...”

Having been blamed for the landings of the Tau in south Tuva and the loss of the Teranno industrial zones, Admiral Ozzel of the Imperial Navy was determined to put the situation right. He immediately declared that he would be sending up the entire force of the Navy in a “big wing” to annihilate the Tau air force, gaining the Imperial Navy control of the skies over Tuva.

After a week of logistical planning the force of planes, some 3000 machines, took to the skies of Tuva on 2105.009M42, confident that the Tau could not match the power of the Imperial Navy. Behind the fighters several hundred bombers flew, ensuring the Tau would have to take the bait, else watch their airhead in the Border Heights get bombed to pieces. At 11Z on 2105.009M42 the first Imperial fighters reported contact and the game was afoot.

It soon became clear to observers that the Tau had many more aircraft than Ozzel had expected, as auspex stations at first detected a few hundred, then a few thousand Tau aircraft taking to the skies... Evenly matched, the Imperial Navy now had a real fight on its hands. As the reports of fighting came in it became increasingly obvious that the Tau Air Cadre employed on Tarsis were experienced veterans, as one by one the Imperial auspex returns winked out and anguished cries over the vox network indicated the loss of another Imperial fighter. The Thunderbolt pilots were cut to ribbons by Barracuda pilots who had learnt their trade on Melberg, while the only experienced pilots in the Imperial Navy wings were the Lightning pilots, and once again the agile Imperial fighter proved to have too little firepower, while the Thunderbolts failed to get into telling positions.

The situation grew worse as the day wore on, but Ozzel would not recall his fighters. He was to pay the ultimate price. As darkness fell less than two hundred Imperial machines returned to base, while reports and auspex calculations determined that fewer than three hundred Tau aircraft had been shot down. A loss ratio of 12-1. In less than a day the Imperial Navy had been annihilated, and the Tau now had absolute superiority in the air.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Catechism asserts Dominance

While the Catechism made solid gains on Alphe, the matter of Rim World dominance was still not settled. While Moonface was away the Night Lords and Iron Warriors began once again to make moves to assert their own will over the Chaos worlds in the Perseus Deeps. While the Night Lords preferred to play political games on the densely populated worlds of Grimlock, Bastien and Mordecai, the Iron Warriors, with a smaller military force, were less subtle, laying seige to the Catechism base on Daedalon.

This was something Moonface could not stand for. Postponing his latest offensive on Alphe and shoring up his defences there, the leader of the Catechism returned to the Rim Worlds with a force of his most trusted warriors, arriving on 1605.009M42 and launched an assault against the Iron Warriors. Within hours the siege was lifted and Moonface's authority over the Rim Worlds assured. Yet another giant monument was raised up in His image, while the Iron Warriors left Daedalon looking for a friendly base.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Imperial Reaction

Recriminations and repercutions continued at General HQ in Tarsis Prime for many days, with the analyticae of the Adpetus Mechanicus and the Tacticae of the Adeptus Ministorium taking much of the blame. Relations within Du Prez’s camp were strained and even Lord General Thaddeus Roover wanted answers.

In the days that followed the Tau’s surprise attack the analyticae finally realised the Tau had used the strong magnetic field of Tarsis Prime to launch Mantas from their bases on Merrin, via the planet’s south pole, to arrive at Tuva virtually undetected. However the Mechanicus sensori stations along the south Tuva coast should have picked up such a large air armada in sufficient time so that the significant Imperial Navy force could have been scrambled to meet them.
And they would have, had the sensori stations along the coast and well inland not been destroyed by Tau stealth aircraft immediately before the drop. The Mechanicus had known of the failure of these stations, but did not consider it “significant” enough to warrant the attention of Lord General Du Prez or the Imperial navy.

Several Mechanicus personel were removed following this incident, and General Cunningham immediately redeployed IV corps to prevent a breakout from the industrial zone. He knew that if the Tau were prevented from breaking out from the Border Heights, they would remain bottled up and eventually run out of troops and supply. He also knew that if the Tau did break out, the Teranno valley to the north and the important city of Maybourne to the south would be at risk. The loss of Maybourne would be serious, but the control of the Teranno river valley was vital for the defence of Silverbrook and Tarsis Prime.

Meanwhile in the North Jamieson now had to re-equip and refocus V corps and VI corps for combat against the Tau. All in all, Lord General Du Prez knew he was in a dire position, and the loss of yet another of the Emperor’s worlds looked a distinct possibility.

Aleph Sector Command Structure

Tarsis Major Latest

Operation Triton

Commander Shadowstrike knew that the continual attitional battles against the Imperium on Tuva could not continue, and conceived "operation Triton" in early 05.009M42. On 1505.009M42 that plan went into action. Phase 1 consisted of establishing beacheads in strategically important locations on Tuva, specifically the Ork held mines in the north, and the vital industrial heartland to the North of Maybourne.Shadowstrike knew the Imperium would not expect this, as it was supremely confident that any air assault would be detected, intercepted, and destroyed.

On 1505.009M42 in the south of the continent contact was suddenly lost with several listening posts. When scouting forces reached their location they found them blown out craters, destroyed by some form of air to ground missile launched from close range. Imperial Intelligence speculated that some form of stealth fighter must have been used for the listening posts to give no warning of an airborne intrusion. But it was already much too late - low flying orcas had already successfully inserted ground forces to the outskirts of the Tuvan Industrial complex.

Warned by their own Auspex station the Porphyrian regiments which had been pulled out of the line following recent battles, rushed to defend the outskirts against the Tau assault. Lead by Star Fire, the Tau identified the Porphyrian's left flank as weak and launched the bulk of their forces against it. Desaster struck the Porphyrians when precision railgun fire exploaded their Leman Russ support, engulfing their infantry in a rolling fireball and sending them fleeing from the field. The remaining units found themselves unsupported and at the mercy of lightning assaults by Kroot skirmishers and Vespid.

Resistance was fiercer on the right where the Porphyrians massed significant forces amidst the denfences of their base, but they had little answer to the elusive crisis and stealth teams that plagued them. Their defence finally crumbled when drones were dropped into the centre of their defensive position by Tiger Sharks. Although they repelled this assault the distraction proved fatal as the Tau suites moved in and finally the Porphyrian commander was given no choice but to conceed his position as lost and withdraw what few survivors were left.

Imperial HQ was sent into chaos and confusion as reports of the Tau insertion, well behind the front lines, came in from the Border Heights. General Cunningham quickly dispatched several Librian regiments to this zone, angered that Imperial intelligence had let him down so badly. He was right to be angered. Somehow the Tau had managed to insert a large force of troops, by air, right under the nose of the Imperial navy. Tacticae couldn't say how they had not been detected, only that all the vital sensori stations in the region had gone blank less than an hour before the landings...

In the North Hawk Eye, recently returned from the Rim Worlds, commmanded the assault on the final pocket of Orks on Tarsis. Tau planners had identified the Ork territories as weak and an ideal position to launch a push on the capital from. However the Orks had position several 'oog missul launchas on the outskirts of their base rendering any large scale assault impossible as it would place the valuable Mantas at unacceptable risk.

A mixed armada of Air Caste fighters from the various Tau Septs present on Tarsis escorted a pair of Tiger Shark AX-1-0 to the target. The Orks proved surprisingly canny, forcing the Tau to engage them and offering fightas as bait to draw in their opponents. The Tau suffered initial losses but eventually Tau technology, discipline and teamwork began to tip the balance. Whilst fighters twisted and spiralled in the air the Tau Tiger Sharks dropped to begin their attack runs.

Disaster struck as one the the rare and valuable AX-1-0s was shot down by ground defences but the remaining bomber made its strafing run, aided by elements of its figher escort who had finally driven off the ork air force. 3 missiles were destroyed and one damaged. With 2/3rds of the Ork air forces destroyed and the missiles nutralised Hawk Eye ordered a full invasion of Northern Tuva and Mantas scrambled from the assembly areas around New Southwick. The Tau attacked in overwhelming force, rendering all resistance futile.


+++Date: 1405.009M42+++
+++Access point: Caitlen Station Astropathic Relay+++
+++Security Clearance: Gamma Epsilon+++
+++Ref: 140500920340-AS-ZSS-CStn+++
+++Thought for the day: It is better to die for the Emperor than to live for yourself. +++

Stratedic and Political Assessment of the Zadoc subsector, Imperial Calendar 05.009M42.

I shall break this report into two sections. First I shall report on the four great powers in the region, then discuss emergent threats and the activities of other races in the subsector.


The Imperium of Mankind are still the dominant power in the subsector, controlling the most populous and valuable planets of which Tarsis Major, Zadoc and Libria are by far the most important. Since its invasion last year Tarsis Major has seen much fighting with all four powers attempting to take control of the planet.

It is clear now that the Chaos and Ork gambits have failed, and the planet is contested by the Imperium, who control the main continent, and the Tau, who occupy Merrin. My analysts suggest the Tau will in all likelihood be victorious, however the war has entered a stalemate phase and recent actions between Imperial and Tau space fleets have put the issue in doubt. The longer the conflict goes on the more likely the Imperium will retain control of the planet, as continued heavy losses cannot be accepted by the invasion force.

Politically the Imperium is weak with little centralised control, with Space Marine Chapters and Imperial Guard units fighting unco-ordinated battles. However their overwhelming superiority in resources and manpower is for the moment preventing this lack of command and control from becoming a terminal issue (as it did in the Aleph subsector). However a new Warmaster is about to be appointed to the entire sector, so this may change.

The Tau suffered reverses earlier in the year, losing two bases in the Rim Worlds to the strengthening Chaos powers in the region. However they have now established supply points in the Shadow Worlds (Hylas and Memnon) by displacing the Orks who had controlled the systems.
On Tarsis the Tau are achieving their objectives but at a higher cost than would have been preferred to them. It is critical that a breakout on Tuva be achieved in the next six weeks or Shadowstrike may lose his ethereal support and the campaign may be called off.

Supply lines for the Tau are also vulnerable and all actions in the subsector would have to be curtailed should their bases in the Shadow Worlds be lost. However the Tau have the strongest central command and control and are united in their efforts. This is currently the primary reason behind their continued expansion in the Zadoc subsector, though fatigue and lack of supplies has seen the Tau activity drastically diminish over the last few weeks. However, our operatives believe the Tau are about to launch a new offensive which has the potential to end the war very quickly.

Those who have pledged themselves to the foul Gods have had mixed fortunes of late. The combined might of Chaos which looked likely to sweep aside all resistance on Tarsis Major has crumbled into a divided set of factions. The Night Lords have retreated to their Rim World holdings after disappointment on Tarsis, abandonning the Iron Warriors to their fate once the Catechism had left. These few remnants have fought on in Merrin but are now extremely close to utter capitulation.

The Dusk Raiders too began an expedition onto Fort Sparcos, which has seemingly come to an end, and another force of Iron Warriors arrived with much fanfare but has since not taken any action. There are plenty of brooding warlords sitting with their armies on the worlds of Typhon, Daedalon and Rhesius.

The only Chaos force to have been consistently threatening of late is also the largest. Led by the enigmatic Moonface the Catechism have established a bridgehead on the Imperial world of Alphe while crushing all resistance on the Tau worlds of New Sparta and then Aornis, completing the Chaos conquest of the Rim Worlds. They alone have made pacts with the daemons of the warp, and their legions of loyal followers follow their elite troops into battle and do the bidding of Moonface, most recently constructing a decadent and vulgar edifice in the new major city on Priam named Moonopolis.

The Catechism shows no sign of division and it is single minded in their purpose. This Chaos force is easily the most consistently dangerous force of the Ruinous Powers in the subsector. Moonface's single weakness appears to be his inability to deal with greenskins, and his only holding in the Shadow Worlds, Tyndareous, was lost in the first half of the year to the Orks.

At the time of the Tarsis Prime invasion the Orks were at the zenith of their power in the subsector. Waaagh! Nazghat had brought the inhabitable planets of the Shadow Worlds to heel after a prolonged battle with the Dark Angels and the three major Ork warlords had put aside their differences to be involved in the biggest fight in the sector.

Since the invasion, which Nazghat opposed strongly, the Ork fortunes have taken a turn for the worse. Da Verminator's forces were crushed on Tarsis and those that escaped were routed from Memnon and Hylas by the Tau. Despite victories on Tyndareous over the Catechism the Ork warboss is on the run, his power greatly diminished.

Nazghat quickly abandonned the failing war on Tarsis and began the assault towards his original target, Alphe, with a landing on fort Sparcos. However events in the Shadow Worlds meant a swift retreat, and by 05.009M42 the ork warboss had lost overall control of all his holdings in the Mabb nebula, save the Ork world of Kallack, Fort aerin, and Bothorion. Even these are now under threat.

Warboss Snazteef did not give up on Tarsis Major however, and a bitter to and fro war has since raged across the North Tuva Plain. Twice the greenskin horde have reached the capital and twice they have been repulsed. For the time being the Orks are once again bottled up in the north, but this does not mean they wil not erupt once more.

The divisions and diverging objectives within the greenskin commanders have no doubt led to the collapse of the Ork power in the region, but with their powerful armies still largely intact, a full scale Waagh! is still possible, though unlikely, and the greenskin race now faces a more urgent threat.

At the beginning of 05.009M42 contact was lost with Betor, and reports from our operatives in the field described a new and alarming resurgence of the Tyranid species. Attacks by vanguard organisms were recorded on Kallack, Betor and a number of other small outposts and biological testing confirmed their DNA was not of the same root as those previously encountered in the sector. This was a new Hive Fleet, code named "Nemesis" by the Imperium. Its origins are unknown, though the fleet's eccentric path through the galaxy is extremely concerning as it appears to suggest an origin which does not bear contemplation.

We have now made contact with a senior Imperial Inquisitor, the Tau Empire, and the Eldar of the Kel Sandros craftworld in order to combine our efforts against this new threat. Kallack and Betor appear to be the likely candidates for invasion, but the bio-diverse planets of Alphe, Memnon and the Eldar Exodite worlds in the Mabb Nebula would also be logical targets, so there is a threat to all civilised races. The Orks have not been contacted, but this is not out of the question. In addition our Xeno-biologists are working hard to develop biological weapons which may prove useful in the countering of this new threat.

There has been little if any Necron activity of late, and the Dark Eldar, while conducting punitive raids on Tarsis Major, apparently in conjunction or with the approval of the Tau, they are of little consequence.

The Eldar themselves, following disasterous raids on the Chaos empire in the Rim Worlds, have been content to avoid conflict of late, but the threat of the Tyranids is clear. In addition any Tyranid attack on Ork worlds could unwittingly trigger a Waagh! which threatens the Eldar worlds in the Mabb nebula, since these have been accessible following the opening up of routes from Hylas and Memnon. For now the Eldar have tolerated the Tau presence on these key worlds, the gateway to the Eldar realm, but for how long?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Praetorians land on Horn Island

With the Orks falling back in the north and the Tau retreating in the south, the Imperial high command was eager for the Imperium to go on the offensive in 05.009M42, but few Imperial Commanders on the ground were enthusiastic for a renewed offensive outside of Tuva. Most wanted the fortification of the main continent and the continued prosecturion of a war of attrition against the Tau.

The only regiment offering a counter strategy was the Praetorian 42nd regiment. Following their heroic defence of Tarsis Prime they now volunteered for a new offensive, proposing a landing against the Chaos forces on Horn Island.

Giving the go-ahead, general Du-Prez was less than optimistic about the operation’s chance of success, but the reality far exceeded even the Praetorians’ expectations. With disciplined volley fire and heavy support from their tanks and artillery, the traitor forces on Horn Island, caught by surprise, were utterly annihilated. Three days later, the entire Island had been liberated, and the Praetorians began turning the place into a fortress, a bastion from which to launch further attacks.

Shadowstrike Regains Tuva beachhead

Just a week after the defeat of Elan Ro’s forces on Tuva, Shadowstrike entered the fray. He knew that the Tau could not afford the loss of the hard won Sapphire harbour, and that the Dark Angels needed dealing with.

With this in mind Shadowstrike drew up a plan to land a force back on Tuva before the handover between the Space Marines and the Imperial Guard had been completed. Therefore on 0805.009M42 a substantial force of Tau landed on the Imperial held continent.

Detecting the incursion the Dark Angels immediately sent their forces to face the threat and a fierce battle ensued. However, this time the battle was on the Tau’s terms, and at a time and place chosen by Shadowstrike in contrast to the action a week previously. The result was similarly contrasting, with the Dark Angels suffering a defeat against Shadowstrike’s army, forcing their withdrawal.

Once again the Tau had a beachhead on Tuva, but the back and forth of the recent battles for little overall gain, had the Ethereals worried. Shadowstrike therefore began working on a new strategy designed to bring the war on Tarsis to a conclusion in a much shorter timescale.

Tarsis Major Latest

Jamieson drives north

In the prolonged campaign in the north of Tuva the front line between Snazteef’s Orks and the Imperium had ebbed and flowed several times, and each time the Orks were forced back north after bloody and expensive battles. Usually however, it was thanks to the intervention of the Space Marines that Tarsis Prime had been saved.

This rankled with General Jamieson, and following their defeat to the Dark Angels in 0405.009M42, the overall commander of the northern front devised a plan to pinch out the Ork salient and push the greenskins back to their bridgehead in the north.

Jamieson organised V Corps, made up of Librian regiments, to launch the offensive. The Orks responded in typical style, attacking the Imperial units, particularly in the north where the Librian 96th Infantry threatened to cut off the Orks on the Tuva plain by severing the narrow Ork salient.

Despite repeated attacks the Imperial Guard held firm and inflicted their first major defeat on the Orks of Snazteef since the beginning of the campaign, allowing Jamieson to mop up the remaining Orks on the Tuva plain with VI Corps, while V corps kept the pressure on the greenskins, reaching the edge of the North Tuva Mining Complex by the end of 1105.009M42.

Daemons on Danelloth

Sensing blood in the water in the Ork Empire, the Daemons of an unknown faction materialised on Danelloth on 0905.009M42 and immediately attacked the Ork forces there. After initial success the Daemonic horde suddenly faced Nazhgat’s elite force, which had been re-equipping there after recent defeats. After a prolonged fight the daemons withdrew allowing Nazghat to complete his refits and fortify his positions on the minor world, before the next Tau assault.

Alphe Current

Breakout from Eastby – Merridale falls

After their defeat to the daemonic host just one week before, the Imperial army on Alphe suffered an even greater reverse in the Catechism offensive which began on 0605.009M42 and climaxed on 1405.009M42 with the fall of Merridale.

General Pervical, overall commander of the Imperial army on Alphe deployed the Porphyrian 16th Infantry in the city and held the Librian 84th Mechanised outside for a swift counter attack. Meanwhile the Alphe PDF were broadly responsible for the defence of Pryford and the surrounding country.

Moonface struck simultaneously in both directions, driving south and encircling Pryford, while attacking Merridale at the same time. The assault in the south quickly overwhelmed the poorly equipped PDF, cutting off the city and taking back the southern territory lost to the Dark Angels assault some weeks earlier.

However Moonface personally led his elite troops in the more strongly contested front at Merridale, units of Traitor Marines clashing with dogged Pophyrian defenders. At first the attack on Merridale appeared to be going badly wrong as anti-tank fire decimated the Catechism’s heavy armour (mostly Land raiders), and heroic hand to hand fighting saw many marines slaughtered and the banishment of the Daemin Prince who had allied with Moonface.

While the Catechism centre suffered, the flanks faired better. Percival, realising the breakthrough was about to occur, sent in his Librian reserves, holding the Catechism advance in the west with the deployment of Chimera borne transports. Here the Chaos forces suffered badly, losing many marines and a number of their irreplaceable terminators.

However at the same time the eastern flank of the city was collapsing spectacularly, helped by some heroics by a squad of Chaos bikers, who single handedly routed the infantry units guarding this route into the city. Carnage wreaked by deep striking Obliterators and Rhino mounted marines soon left the eastern flank of Percival’s defence untenable, and while he tried desperately to counter attack in the centre and west, the city could not be held.

Percival received some criticism for his late deployment of his reserves, though the ruggedness of the Chaos transport vehicles was noted as a crucial factor, many Rhinos suffering several anti tank hits but shrugging them off. In contrast, the Libiran Leman Russ and Hellhound tanks were often observed to detonate at the first penetrating hit.

The battle for Merridale sank all Imperial Imperial hopes for a swift victory on Alphe and consolidated Moonface’s hold on the planet. With Pryford surrounded and Eastby in Chaos hands, a prolonged war now looked certain.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Ork Raids and Daemonic Incursions

The front lines on Alphe were quiet for weeks, much to the surprise of Imperial commanders, who feared an imminent breakout across the region known as “The Neck” and into the heartland of Alphe. However Moonface had secretly redeployed a large portion of his forces to Fort Sparcos.

Presumably looking to unite with the Dusk Raiders already in situ, the Catechism forces landed on Sparcos on 0205.009M42 and immediately attacked the small Ork force which had been landed some weeks earlier. These Orks were now out of supply, thanks to Nazghat’s problems elsewhere, and faced little chance against Moonface’s veterans.

Few Orks survived the ensuing battle, and those that did were destroyed as an effective fighting force. Helping themselves to the Orks remaining supplies, the Catechism forces returned to Alphe, leaving the Dusk Raiders to move in to the now unoccupied Ork positions. Moonface had ensured the Ork threat to his invasion plans had been removed, for now, and was about to get an unexpected boon from the powers of the warp...

While the Catechism were raiding the Orks on Fort Sparcos, the Imperial defenders, the Librian 14th Regiment, were suddenly and unexpectedly beset by a daemonic incursion, suffering the loss of a company commander in the first few minutes of the assault. The Imperial Guard responded well however, and reinforcements managed to banish the daemons after several hours of hard fighting. Casualties on the Imperial side were high and it was clear many of the daemons simply left, rather than being destroyed.

This action however meant stripping the front line of troops, as the daemonic incursion happened far to close to the Neck for comfort. This in turn meant the Imperial Commander on Alphe was forced to abandon his defensive line against the Catechism, allowing the forces of Chaos to advance one hundred miles with little opposition. Confusion reigned within the inquisition, as this was the second daemonic incursion of this type, and neither could be positively associated with the daemons normally used by the Catechism. In addition the Chaos troops seemed just as baffled by their arrival as the Imperial troops, and merely took advantage of the situation to advance. What was going on?

Spring Reverse

By 05.009M42 the Tau-Imperial front on Tarsis Major had been stable, with no real movement by either force, as the Tau attempted to consolidate their hold on their bases in the Shadow Worlds. However, after their massive victory in space over the Tau fleet, in late 04.009M42 the Dark Angels arrived with another company, bolstering the Imperial strength on Tuva.

Without consulting overall Imperial commander Du Prez, the company captain of the new force immediately sprung into action against Elan Ro’s holding force to the west of Sapphire Harbour. Surprise was total and, not having faced Marines in months, the Tau were very quickly in disarry. Casualties were high and Elan Ro was forced to hurridly evacuate the hard won ground on Tuva and retreat to the heavily fortified island of Sapphire Harbour.

The Imperial Guard regiments facing the Tau further west, were initially slow to react to the sudden disappearance of the Tau forces in front of them, an unfortunate fact which meant an opportunity to smash Elan Ro’s retreating force was missed. However, late on 0305.009M42 the Dark Angels reported they had reached the coast and the Tau pocket was available to mop up.

It was too late, the Tau had left. In the following week the Imperial Guard simply moved forward, encountering no trace of the Tau. Despite this missed opportunity the Imperium had scored a major victory, once again ridding the main continent of Tarsis Major of a Tau presence. What seemed like imminent defeat had been put off at least for the time being.

An Empire Close to Collapse

In early 05.009M42 Nazghat’s Empire was in trouble. Since the beginning of the year, when the Ork Empire was at its zenith, the greenskins had lost Memnon and Hylas to the Tau, and had suffered invasions by Dark Angels strike forces on Coronus and Tyndareous.

These two worlds had been initially contested by the Orks and Dark Angels in the previous year, but the Orks had been victorious. Now the Dark Angels were back and intent on taking the worlds back in the name of the Emperor of Mankind.

Meanwhile the Tau were also on the move, keen to expand their Shadow Worlds powerbase. On 0205.009M42 a Tau force under one of Shadowstrike’s protégés, landed on Danelloth with a heavily mechanised force. Nazghat responded personally, leading his army against the Tau beachhead. After heavy fighting however the orks were repulsed, Tau Railgun submunitions inflicting horrendous casualties and decimating the Ork horde. In only a week, the Tau had captured more than 50% of the major installations on the planet, and looked certain to capture the minor world.

While Nazghat was distracted on Danelloth, his erstwhile ally, Da Verminator, was in serious trouble on Tyndareous. The Dark Angels had laid siege to the Ork Warlord’s last stronghold, Flack, and on 0105.009M42 the Marines launched a ferocious offensive against the urbanised settlement. Thousands of greenskins were slaughtered and very quickly all strategic control was lost. By the next day the Dark Angels were conducting mopping up operations. Just as Nazghat was informed of this, eviscerating the gretchin who delivered the message, he heard that Coronus, the scene of bitter fighting in 008M42, had been reinforced by another Dark Angels company and were on the move.

Worse was to follow for the Orks. Since defeating the Imperium at fort Aerin, Nazghat had been using the major Ork world of Kallack to produce his munitions and war engines, and it had become a key strategic asset in his conquests. With his armies in retreat across the subsector, Kallack now became vital. It must have come as a blow then when fighting erupted on the planet, between the Orks and a new alien threat.

On 0305.009M42 the first reports of Tyranids on Kallack came in, and the Orks were not fairing well against the tendril scouts of Hive Fleet Nemesis. The Imperium got wind of this too, and determined the path of the alien invasion. Betor, Alphe, Kallack, the Shadow Worlds and then Tyranteous all lay in the Tyranid path – should it continue in this direction. Threat levels were raised, and plans were put in place to even aid the Orks, should a full scale invasion of Kallack occur...