Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tarsis Major Latest

Tau inch forward on Tuva

Operation Triton had suceeded in its aims of securing a hold on southern Tuva, claiming Maybourn, Silverbrook and the strategically important Tuvan Industrial Complex for the Tau. Shadowstrike needed to ensure these gains stayed in Tau hands and that Saphire Harbour was protected from any Imperial attack. To this end he needed to eliminate the salient of Imperial resistance that could form the base for an Imperial counter attack.

Shadowstrike wasn't expecting a massive breakthrough - the attack was obvious and Tau intelligence detected that the Imperials were well prepaired and deployed in strength. Still, only a small advance was needed to close the pocket and cut off the Imperial supply lines.

Cunningham had indeed predicted the attack and no sooner had the Tau commenced offensive operations the Guardsmen of the 101st Librian Regiment mounted a strong counter offensive. Unwilling to risk the high casualties that would result from taking on this offensive head on, Shadowstrike opted to harry the advancing spearhead, attempting to wear it down enough to launch his own push. The Guard of the 101st were veterans of the Melberg campaign, highly experienced and knowledgable about Tau battle tactics. They sustained few casualties in their advance, but were likewise unable to inflict any serious casualties on Shadowstrikes crack Cadres. Still, the advance gained ground through the shear presence of massed Tank and Infantry companies which the Tau were unwilling to take on in a battle of attrition.

In order to achieve his objectives Shadowstrike called in other assets to hault the Imperial advance. AX-1-0 Tiger Sharks launched from bases around the Tuvan Industrial Complex and began destroying Imperial supply convoys, guided by intelligence collected by stealth and pathfinder teams. Shadowstrike also began inserting commando teams and manta bourn cadres into the Imperial rear areas. With no air cover Cunningham faced a simple choice - pull back his men or allow them them to be annihilated, stranded deep in Tau territory without fuel or ammunition. He withdrew the Imperial 101st back to the safety of the main Imperial line and surrendered the pocket. Shadowstrike had removed the Imperial salient and with few casualties, but had failed to push back the Imperial battleline or inflict a defeat on the proud 101st.

Operation Atmosphere

Immediately following the word that Pryford had fallen to Chaos forces, Imperial commanders at nearby Pryford Meadows airbase enacted Phase I of the prepared Operation Atmosphere. Marauder bombers were scrambled, their target the many Anti-Aircraft emplacements surrounding Pryford. If the bombers could destroy the AA guns before they fell into traitor hands then the Imperium could continue their current dominance of the airspace and rely on air support in their attempt to retake the city.

Phase I was a success. The Catechism struggled to bring enough AA guns online to stop the bombers and whilst numerous Marauders were damaged 94% of the emplacements were destroyed. Chaos air forces attempted to intercept the slow moving bombers as they returned by Thunderbolt escorts easily shot down the meager Chaos efforts.

With ground defences taken care of Phase II of Operation Atmosphere commenced. In this Phase Imperial fighters were ordered into strafing runs on Catechism troops. If supply lines could be cut and traitor forces thrown in chaos, the Catechism would not have time to prepare defences for the Imperial counter-attack. Some of the top Imperial pilots on Alphe were sent to ensure the mission was a success.

Low resistance was expected, so it was a devastating surprise when Hell Talon fighters ambushed the Imperial squadrons. It appeared that Moonface had committed almost the entirety of the Chaos air force, and knew exactly where the Imperial fighters would be. The weight of Chaos numbers took an early toll as the Imperial forces were unable to avoid the sheer mass of firepower directed at them.

After early casualties, including a number of pilot aces, the Imperials were forced to retreat back to Pryford Meadows airbase which was now looking in danger should the Catechism expand southwards. The Imperial counterattack was halted for now as Imperial Commanders struggled to explain exactly how Moonface was able to predict their attack.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Alphe latest

Dusk Raiders Breakout

At the same time, in the north, the Dusk Raiders began their attack, aided by the mercenary Dark Eldar to provide much needed numbers. The northern advance focussed its attack to the east of Wheathaven, driving a wedge quickly through the PDF forces and surprising the Librians to the west who had been guarding the obvious breakout route to the south and west.

The speed of the advance panicked the high command, and within hours Nikopolidis had redeployed the majority of his forces to face the new threat, blocking the route to Westlake in lake spotted lands of Hulme Island. Nikopolidis influence also convinced the Ultramarines to send a company, and the Inquisitorial and Astartes troops planned an operation which would cut the Chaos forces off from their supply base and destroy the entire Chaos operation in the north of Alphe.

The inquisitorial troops and some regiments of PDF took the brunt of the fighting at first, as the Traitor Marines and Dark Eldar closed with the Imperial army, but this had been the plan. These defenders were the anvil, the Ultramarines the hammer. And on 1706.009M42 the hammer struck as several units of marines used drop pod insertion, cutting off a large portion of the Chaos army from its supply base.

There was however a narrow corridor of resupply remaining, and the Dark Eldar simply used their own webway portals. While the Ultramarines fought for their lives behind enemy lives, trying desparately to cut off the last supply route, Nikopolidis' plan began to unravel spectacularly. Summoned daemons only added to the confusion, and prevented the Inquisition from linking up with the Astartes troops. Despite Grey Knight intervention once more, the corridor remained open and by 2006.009M42 the Ultramarines were forced to evacuate to the Imperial controlled zone of Alphe. While Westlake had been saved the battle had chewed up a great deal of men and materiel, and the Chaos forces were now less than one hundred kilometres from Westlake, thier next objective.

Pryford Falls

It wasn't long after Nikopolidis' lifting of the siege of Pryford that the Catechism launched their next attack. On 1306.009M42 the elite forces of the Catechism advanced once again on the settlement, this time attacking in a narrow front and driving directly at the Imperial Guard's defences without trying to surround the city first.

Initially Nikopolidis and the local PDF and Imperial Guard commanders had trouble understanding the new tactic, and brought in reinforcements, confident the line would hold against Moonface's best troops, and that the Chaos warlord had made a dreadful tactical blunder. Then, at 08:42 the daemons were summoned with a psychic squeal which tore at the very fabric of the universe.

Summoned directly into the battle area the daemonic hordes added much needed numbers to the Catechism's own lines and very soon the two forces were face to face, too close for the Imperial artillery to have a decisive effect, and nullifying any air advantage.

The battle became very brutal, neither side willing to give ground and surrender the city. After several hours of close in fighting the battle came to a climax as the Imperial Colonel Strafcher of the Librian 18th Infantry faced a mighty daemon prince in hand to hand fighting. Though Strafcher performed admirably and wounded the unnatural beast, the Daemon Prince eventually dispatched the Imperial Colonel, just as the right flank of the Imperial defence, which hinged on Nikopolidis' troops, unexpectedly collapsed.

With Strafcher dead and their defensive positions compromised, the remaining Imperial troops were obliged to withdraw or be caught and slaughtered by Catechism forces, which were now rapidly pushing south towards Barren bay. Percival ordered a retreat to the second line of Imperial defences, abandonning the remaining citizens of Pryford to an unknown but doubtless hideous fate. It was a frustrating result for Percival, who blamed Nikopolidis for the defeat, as the outcome had been in doubt for some time and a Catechism victory had been in no way certain.

Inquisitor Nikopolidis arrives on Alphe

While General Percival was securing the defence of Hulme Island against the Dusk Raiders, who by 1106.009M42 had not made any attempt to breakout of their bridgehead, he received unexpected aid against the Catechism in the south. On this date a significant force arrived by Inquisition black ship, in the form of Inquisitor Nikopolidis and his indentured Guard regiments. The Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor, having been rebuked for his many diversionary expeditions against various xenos, was finally getting to grips with those who had turned to Chaos, tipped off by the Dark Angels that the head of the newest Chaos threat to the Imperium was present in person on Alphe.

Nikopolidis and his fresh troops were welcomed by General Percival and Imperial Governer Torak, who, in discussions with commanders on the ground, discussed where they could be best used. Eventually it was agreed that the siege on Pryford needed to be broken again, and that this action may prompt the Chaos warlord, the enigmatic Moonface, into action. Nikopolidis would then be able to teleport his elite warriors into the fray, and chop the head off the Catechism.

Unfortunately for Nikopolidis, Moonface did not appear in person as the invigorated Imperial forces pushed deep into the Chaos lines, brushing aside Traitor Guard units along the front lines and linking up with the defenders in Pryford just four days later. In the southern Pryford Meadows region all Chaos resistance crumbled and Nikopolidis lead a series of savage purges of the local population who had become “tainted”. Then, on 1606.009M42 came the counter-attack. Catechsim elite forces attacked from the north while from the west traitor guard units became embroiled in a confused firefight with Librian units.

However the decisive battle came when the Catechism’s best troops, traitor marine forces from a number of legions, encountered Nikopolidis’ best warriors. The battle became bloody as the Inquisitor’s forces were not willing to yield the lifeline to the city, and after a day’s fighting, the Catechism losses had forced them to withdraw, leaving the battered Imperial forces holding on to a narrow corridor out of the town.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alphe Latest

Catechism annihilated on Valboris, Orks in retreat

The increase in Tyranid activity was not limited to Betor as 06.009M42 progressed, but at the time Inquisitor Hathek, and the rest of the Imperium, were largely oblivious to the events taking place on Valboris and Kallack.

On the Ork planet Warlord Nazghat was facing increasing Tyranid incursions from the scrubby jungle which made up most of the planet. By 1706.009M42 these were becoming a serious drain on his resources, and an ominous psychic shadow began to appear around the planet, blocking out the normal chaotic Orky signature.

Meanwhile on the Chaos planet of Valboris, vanguard elements of Nemesis massacred an underprepared Catechism force which had arrived to procure a number of supploes needed for the prosecution of the Alphe campaign. Of the hundred or so veteran Chaos Marines dispatched to support and guard the trade envoy, none returned.

The Catechism however knew of the Tyranid threat posed by Nemesis and their soreceres had determined Alphe was in the latest infestation's critical path. Something had to be done to prevent their target world being engulfed by the swarm, so the sorcerers of the Catechism came up with a novel solution. Hiding the world from the Tyranid psyche was never going to be possible. Instead, the Chaos sorcerers modified the world'd psychic signature so that the Tyranid hive mine, although aware of the planet's existence, was not concious of it. The psychic machinations of the Catechism reduced the Tyranid interest in Alphe to nonexistant levels, and the hive fleet passed by a world teeming with biomass..

Betor Latest

Betor Infested

Inquisitor Hathek was joined on 1206.009M42 by his colleague Inquisitor Nikopolidis, following Hathek's general mobilisation order. He had arrived from Alphe after defeating the Catechism, and agreed to aid the forces mustering there. Already Porphyrian and Praetorian regiments, originally routed to reinforce Cunningham on Tarsis Major, had been redeployed to Betor and were taking up positions around the major inhabited zones.

Just as the two inquisitors were liaising with the planetary ruling council and discussing defence plans, the Tyranids suddenly burst from the arid inner regions of Betor and attacked the three major settlement zones with renewed vigour. In the south the aliens fell upon a newly deployed Porphyrian regiment, causing horrific casualties and forcing the Imperial Guard to abandon their newly created defences. In the northeast the Praetorians put up a brave fight to hold the line against the advancing horde, but here to the Imperial forces had to withdraw to second line defences. At the same time contact was lost in the north west as tyranid incursions were reported all over the sector.

Nikopolidis also narrowly avoided a horrible death as his column was assaulted by an overwhelming Tyranid horde near the city of Marsenberg which was overrun some hours later. Unused to fighting this particular Xenos, his Ordo Hereticus troopers were easy prey to the Tyranids, and Nikopolidis and his retinue beat a hasty retreat into the wilderness of central Betor.

Within hours of these renewed attacks Inquisitor Hathek convened an emergency meeting. He knew from his experience of Orvicare what was to take place, and his fears were realised as several astropaths suddenly screamed, vomited blood and died. Seconds later the sky went dark as thousands of mysetic spores rained down into the hinterlands of the planet.

The Tyranid invasion proper had begun, and Hathek raised the threat level to 6.
Intelligence from Hathek's blackship, silently orbiting the planet, reported at least five hive ships in orbit. These were concentrating their drops in three distinct regions in the region of the recent attacks. Hathek was unable to glean much more however as the blackships soon had to flee once they were detected by the hive fleet. they immediately made the short jump to Alphe to report the invasion to the Imperial High Command (IHC-Aleph). This was now a full scale Tyranid incursion.

Tarsis Major Latest

Cerberex Guard advance

Following recent defeats and overall strategic supply issues, General Cunningham was painfully aware in early 06.009M42 that a broad sweeping offensive was out of the question, but he desperately wanted a victory, something that the Imperium could get behind and shout about, to improve morale and the continued will to fight against an enemy which was increasingly being viewed as "benevolent". The commisariat became increasingly active in 06.009M42 rooting out defeatism and those who would talk peace with the Tau.

It was the Cerberex regiments which, through their commander, suggested a push on Silverbrook from the west. With Shadowstrike and his forces known to be in the east of Tuva, a push here may be less well defended, reasoned the General of the Cerberex contingent. The plan was given formal approval by Cunningham on 1006.009M42 and the offensive began.

Despite being defended by the lesser known Ol Cha, the fight to the outskirts of the city was by no means an easy one. Fierce fighting erupted to the west of the main Tuva mountain chain, but gradually the Imperial Guard advanced on the city, reaching the outskirts by 1706.009M42, having advanced fifty or so miles from their start lines. By 1906.009M42 the attack had petered out and the Tau halted the Imperial forces outside the city. Cunningham however had his victory, however minor, and began planning to retake Silverbrook over the coming months.

The difficulties Cunningham faced in 06.009M42 were becoming crippling. Few supply convoys were getting through, reinforcements were becoming unavailable and the Tau controlled the air and all the major industrial zones on the planet. Logistically all he could do was hold out until he could build up the force needed to retake some of these vital objectives. In the meantime he had to hope the Tau didn't try to end the war quickly.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Imperial threat level raised

In early 06.009M42 more reports of Tyranid activity in the north of Betor reached Inquisitor Hathek. This time several villages in the northern polar region had been wiped out, their populations massacred. Inquisitor Ximenez sent Hathek graphic details of the dismemberments, as well as new information over the genetic diversity of the tyranid swarm.

It appeared that these Tyranids were not only genetically distinct from Triton, but that they contained DNA which did not appear on the Inquisitorial records. In addition the diversity within the sample creatures found led Hathek's on biologis teams to estimate the size of the swarm to be at least three times that claimed by the Inquisitor Lord Varnius. This only added to the psychic evidence which suggested a fleet with at least ten hive ships.

For now Hathek did not let this information go any further.
As Hathek prepared to visit Betor himself, worrying news arrived from the system. The Tyranids had met the Imperial army in open battle on the northern plain near Zephron. Their numbers and the ferocity of the attack had done serious damage to the Cerberex troops defending that sector and more settlements had succumbed to the Tyranid swarm. Hathek raised the Tyranid swarm threat level to "level 5" or "inundation imminent", thus preparing Betor for an imminent invasion by Tyranids. Hathek knew this action would not go unnoticed in the Inquisition's higher ranks.

Phase 1: Isolated Tyranid creature/genetic remnant discovered
Phase 2: Live Tyranid organism encountered.
Phase 3: At least one region of a planetary system encountering Tyranid activity. No hive psychic signal.
Phase 4: Outbreaks of Tyranid attack/encounter in at least two regions of a single planetary system. Hive psychic signal detectable.

Phase 5: Sustained outbreaks of Tyranid attack in at least two regions of a single planetary system. Hive psychic signal strong/overwhelming.
Phase 6: Full scale Tyranid hive invasion
Phase 7: - Post invasion

- 7a: Tyranid activity post peak. Possibility of recurrance.
- 7b: World annihilated.

Phase 8: No further Tyranid activity expected.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shadowstrike links up to Sapphire Harbour

Before the all important advance on Tarsis Prime could begin, Shadowstrike was acutely aware that the Tau sector on Tuva was split in two, and that the Imperium were able to take advantage of this, keeping pressure on Sapphire Harbour while also freely transferring forces between Sartano and the main continent. If the Tau in south west Tuva could link up with Sapphire Harbour, Sartano would be cut off and Cunningham's room for manouevre would be seriously compromised.

General Cunningham knew this as well as the Tau and had gone to some lengths to prevent such a link up. In late 05.009M42 he had transferred two regiments of Cerberex troopers to Tuva, sending the Librian 346th to Horn Island. The Cerberex regiments, well equipped and respected as tough opponents were deployed immediately opposite Shadowstrike's Cadres.

Cunningham had guessed right, thanks largely to an improvement in Imperial intelligence and a gradual understanding of the Tau strategy on Tarsis, and the Tau attacked exactly where the Cerberex forces were defending. A furious battle developed as the Cerberex troops threw in their airborne reinforcements to halt the Tau.
The battle quickly became an attritional one where territory mattered little and the destruction of the enemy's forces became paramount. However, with the recent acquisition of the Teranno industrial zone, Shadowstrike knew that within weeks the Tau would be able to build new equipment on Tuva, rather than rely on existing production facilities on Merrin or reinforcements from the Tau Empire. Tau lives however were less easily replaced and Shadowstrike was careful to limit physical casualties.

Eventually accurate anti-aircraft fire told and one by one the airborne assaults faltered, the wrecks of Valkyrie airborne carriers littering the fields to the east of Maybourne. By 1006.009M42 the Cerberex resistance had been broken, at a cost, and the Guard army was forced to retreat north. This allowed the Tau to push east, taking the Imperial defences at Sapphire Harbour from behind and linking up with their troops on the Island. Sartano was now cut off and the Tau now controlled more than 50% of the planet.

Iron Warriors Overrun

By the beginning of 06.009M42 the Iron Warriors were in a desperate state. Their expedition to acquire resources in the Mabb Nebula had achieved less than had been hoped. The remaining Iron Warriors began preparations for a final defence of their fortress on Merrin as General Jamieson built his forces up to the north, swelled by the arrival of two Librian regiments, fresh troops with which he would lead the charge into the Chaos stronghold. Meanwhile to the South, Tau commander Ol Cha was preparing for an assault on the citadel. The Iron warriors were hemmed in on all sides.

Just as the Iron Warriors were preparing for their final stand an unexpected attack by Dark Eldar took them by surprise. The mercenary aliens attacked with a ferocious glee, destroying defence emplacements and slaughtering the Iron Warriors' elite troops. Hundreds of slaves were captured from the Iron Warriors' indentured masses, while the Chaos leader tried to work out the motive for the attack. In fact, the Dusk Raiders, bitter about their recent defeat, had bought the services of the Dark Eldar who had accepted all too willingly.
While still recovering from this raid, the Iron Warriors were attacked by the Imperium and Tau simultaneously. Unable to regain their defensive positions the Chaos commander had to make a choice. Who would he defend his fortress against? He could not hope to keep both armies from annihilating him, but the Iron Warriors would sell their lives dearly.

Unsurpirisingly the embittered Chaos marines elected to assault the Imperial Guard, pouring out of their mountain stronghold and charging down the mountains. The Librians fought back furiously and despite taking heavy losses, especially in armour, the Imperial forces slaughtered the remaining Chaos troops. However, the vicious fighting on the northern slopes of the mountains allowed Ol Cha to approach cautiously. Seeing his two enemies engaged in a brutal battle the Tau commander had no great inclination to join in, preferring to await events.

By the end of three days of fighting the Iron Warriors had been slaughtered. Not one Marine was left alive and the cultists who had followed them were being exterminated by Imperial reinforcements. Thousands of wrecked Imperial tanks and vehicles littered the northern slopes of the mountains, a testament to the savagery of the fighting. However, Jamieson was not pleased with his victory over the Chaos menace. The fighting on the north slopes had allowed Ol Cha to walk into the fortress without hinderance, and Jamieson's forces were hard pressed to keep their positions on the northern slopes as railgun and missile pod fire from the Tau army prevented any advance on the former Chaos positions. The Chaos presence on Tarsis had been removed, but as with the Orks, it had been the Tau who had benefitted.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Nemesis: Inquisitorial Request


My Brother Hathek,

Your recent data requests have been flagged and brought to my attention. Information on Nemesis has been classified Ultra Absolutum and is beyond your security clearance. It is believed that with the current threats within your sector knowledge of Nemesis would create undue panic and divert valuable assets from current warzones.

For your purposes it is sufficient to know that Nemesis is classified as a divergent splinter fleet and is believed to present little risk to the Imperium. We estimate its total biomass as sufficient for a only two Hive class bioships and as such it is not capable of threatening any defended Imperial world. The attacks in your sector represent futile probes to locate weakly defended sources of biomass. As long as these are resisted Nemesis will gradually die off.

An investigation has been already been conducted under my own authority and my analysts continue to monitor the situation. Let your mind be at peace in the knowledge that mighter servents of the Emperor than you have taken ownership of this situation.

I remind you of your responsibilities as a custodian of the Emperor's secrets. Glory to the Imperium!

Lord Varnius

The information contained within this astro-telepathic communication is legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient inform the sender immediately. Unauthorised use of disclosure of this information may lead to your brutal termination.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tarsis Major Latest

+++Valboris Data Inload+++


+++OTHER CITIES/SETTLEMENTS: Purgatory, Inferno, Buffalo Crossing, Coyote Creek+++


+++NOTES: Valboris was colonised in the 33rd Millenium though never achieved a large population thanks to its relative distance from the reliable Imperial space lanes. A dry, arid world, Valboris is mostly used to farm herbivorous beasts and enjoyed a large export market to neighbouring systems. This trade however declined with the establishment of the Betor fish producing agri world, whose meat was both easier to store and far cheaper. Valboris went into decline from the 35th millenium and all contact was lost during severe warpstorms in M38. When the planet was recontacted it was declared heretical as the planet's inhabitants had begun worshipping the dark gods, apparently spontaneously. Plans were made to bring the world back into the Emperor's light but the priority of this action has not been deemed high enough as yet. Valboris currently acts as a major supply world for Chaos warbands, pirates, outlaws and other enemies of the Imperium, and trades a great deal with the now Chaotic Rim Worlds as well as larger Chaos systems such as Grimlock and Kendrenec. Valboris is also known to trade with the Ork world of Kallack, and occasionally goods from Valboris are found on Imperial worlds. Trading with Valboris or receiving goods from the system is punishable by death.+++

Nemesis: Encounters increase

During the latter part of 05.009M42 the number of contacts with the Tyranid xenos increased markedly, with more actions recorded in the sector than for the whole of the previous four months. Inquisitor Hathek, monitoring the situation, recieved news that further skirmishes with the xenos had occurred on the Ork world of Kallack, but that the Orks apparently had the situation under control and a major Tyranid incursion on the planet did not seem likely.

Meanwhile Betor reported its first planetside Tyranid encounters on 2405.009M42 when contact was lost with a remote settlement in the northern part of the planet's main contintent. Units from the 3rd Cerberex Regiment were sent to investigate, along with local Inquisitor Ximinez and shortly after arriving they found evidence of a slaughter. Dismembered bodies lay across the village main square and all had curious lesions to their head and neck.

Minutes after their arrival the Tyranids attacked the expedition, but Ximinez had been wise to demand a full regiment as escort. The Imperial Guard forces were too strong for the xenos attack and soon overwhelmed them, slaughtering the beasts and burning their remains. By the end of 3005.009M42 the pall of smoke was visible from over 100km distant.

As 06.009M42 began Inquisitor Hathek was becoming reassured by these reports. It appeared that the splinter fleet Nemesis had split into small groups and was now immolating itself against the much stronger enemy forces on Kallack and Betor. He postponed his plans to redirect forces from Librian and Zadoc and cancelled his secret meeting with an envoy of the Tau Empire. However, Hathek was unaware that a third world , a small and unimportant world controlled by the forces of Chaos, had been attacked and plundered. While not overrun, this attack on the third world would have caused Hathek to question his hypothesis and that of the inquisition, that the splinter fleet was small and easily containable. But on 0206.009M42, the Inquisitor General of the Aleph Sector was unaware of this latest development.

Tarsis: Elan Ro straightens the line

As 05.009M42 drew to a close so did operation Triton. The Tau had taken a large swather of territory in the south of Tuva, but hadn't broken the Imperial Army. Silverbrook and Maybourne had fallen, but the Imperium still held the vital Border Heights and threatened to split the Tau in two with a focussed counter attack.

The Heights had to be taken and on 2705.009M42 Elan Ro led a special task force into the mountains to remove the Imperial Guard forces there
. The Heights were defended by the Tarsis PDF, but on their right flank, along the river Teranno, the Porphyrian regiments were identified as a weak link in the chain.

Elan Ro's task force would strike here.
Once again the mechanised forces of the Tau found the Porphyrians easy prey and by 0
506.009M42 the PDF had retreated from the Border Heights, removing the ever present threat to Maybourne and the Tau bridgehead on Tuva. Satisfied with this new gain in territory, Shadowstrike now prepared to smash the Imperial armies of Cunningham's newly formed Tuvan Army Group once and for all, and march on the capital.

Alphe: Imperial Navy defeats Chaos air force.

Percival's first offensive act on Alphe was dreamt up by his Naval attache. Alphe was a temperature world experiencing a planet wide summer, ideal conditions for flying, and the Imperial Navy commander reckoned the Imperium was superior in numbers and training to the forces opposing them. After presenting his logic, the Naval commander proposed a series of bombing raids, destroying vital resources and paving the way for a renewed offensive.

The strategy was to concentrate on holding the Catechism while wiping out the Dusk Raiders in the north. To contain the Catechism the air war against them was launched. Thousands of aircraft were sent against Merridale and other installations in Eastby, against the protestations of governor Torak, who argued laying waste to towns was tantamount to the murder of innocent civilians, his civilians. Percival argued they were now guilty of being corrupted by Chaos, and the bombings began.

Despite sending up strong resistance the Imperial fighter pilots were skilled and their shooting accurate, in contrast to the performance of air units on Tarsis. hundreds of Chaos planes were downed and the bombers were able to get through to their targets. Merridale was severely damaged and several vital supply dumps were destroyed or damaged beyond immediate repair. After three days of maximum effort the air campaign died down with Percival confident the Catechism would not be making significant gains in the near future. His attention now turned to the north.

Alphe: The Dusk Raiders arrive

With their war against the Imperial fortress garrison on Fort Sparcos going nowhere, the Dusk Raisers were pleased to receive an emissary from the Catechism in mid 05.009M42, who suggested the invasion of Alphe should be a joint one. The exact terms of this "deal" remain unknown, but the Dusk Raiders, who always intended to assault the Agri-World to spread their beloved contagion, accepted, and a new alliance of Chaotic forces was created.

With the Imperial fleet elsewhere the force of Dusk Raiders was unmolested leaving Sparcos, and although an astropathic message was sent to warn the Imperial command that a large Chaos army was on the move, if it was recieved, no action was taken. On 2405.009M42 the Dusk Raiders' small fleet arrived in orbit around the planet. The inhabitants of Wheathaven in the north were able to get away a short distress transmission as the traitor legions teleported their finest shock troops into the middle of the town, but little else was achieved.

Panicked, the Imperial governor Torak blamed the Imperial Guard regiments for not protecting his citizens, and all out war between the Guard and PDF was only narrowly avoided by the intercession of Inquisitor Hathek. By the time an Imperial response was mounted the Dusk Raiders had dug in, taken half of the North Reach and were advancing into Hulme Island, the heart of Alphe's great farmlands. Eventually they stopped to regroup, but the Chaos force, some thousand marines and a hundred times that in support and cultists, now forced the Imperium to fight a war on two fronts against a foe of almost equivalent numbers. General Percival's army had to start winning, and soon.

Iron Warriors return

During 04.009M42 and 05.009M42 the Iron Warriors had been conducting a number of missions in the Rim and Shadow Worlds in order to finance and supply their continuing (yet futile) struggle on Tarsis Major. Overall this expedition had not gone well and they had expended as many if not more resources raiding as they had collected as loot.

One noteworthy exception to this was the Iron Warriors raid on the Dusk Raiders forward base, located somewhere in the Shadow Worlds. They had used this to invade Fort Sparcos and following their invasion of Alphe their supply convoys now had to reach all the way to the Imperial space lanes. This meant more escorting warriors, and less left at the base for its defence.

The Iron Warriors spotted this, and had the added excuse that the Dusk Raiders had allied themselves with The Catechism, who had first abandoned the Iron Warriors on Tarsis, then attacked them when they returned to the Rim Worlds, declaring them "Catechism domain" and demanding an oath of alliegance.

Using this as a pretext the Iron Warriors launched their most successful action of their expedition, raiding the Dusk Raiders' supplies before razing the base to the ground. While this had little overall effect on the Dusk Raiders, the Iron Warriors were able to return to Tarsis Prime with more ammunition, fuel and other precious supplies, and they immediately set to work re-fortifying their mountainous redoubt.