Sunday, November 29, 2009

Battle for Farport system

The battle for Farport was not just fought on the ground and in the atmosphere of the planet. In the Farport system itself, no less than five battle fleets took part in a conflict almost as deadly as the one on the ground.

The Chaos fleet comprised of a large force of around twelve capital ships. Just under half belonged to the Night Lords under Raziel, but the greater proportion belonged to a chaos admiral nto previously encountered in the Aleph sector, and intelligence would not find out the identity of the admiral and his ships until after the war was over.

The forces of chaos were already around the farport planet when the first Imperial fleet arrived. The Imperium's forces comprised of three fleets, numerically superior to the chaos ships, but lacking any overall command. The Dark Angels, Adeptus Mechanicus and Imperial Navy fleets would all engage the chaos vessels separately, though they did manage to work together enough to avoid being picked off one by one by the larger chaos fleet.

The Dark Angels and Adeptus Mechanicus fleets arrived at roughly the same time and made straight for the planet. The latter slowed, waiting for the arrival of the Imperial fleet, allowing the Dark Angels to move in to do what they could to halt the invasion. Aware that the Imperial fleet was also due to make an appearance the chaos commanders decided to engage the first two fleets on roughly equal terms, splitting their fleet, in order to combine once more when Jellicoe's ships arrived. So long as they defeated the two inbound fleets, the victory in the final battle would be assured.

Farport - War in the air

Report to follow...

Farport - Final results


Farport - Moonface's last gamble

By 0512.009M42, barely a week after the initial invasion, the Imperial counter attack had shattered the Chaos invasion plans. The Dark Eldar and the Claws of Lorek had abandoned the cause and it seemed the Orks, having looted Dirtside but told to leave by Moonface, were now losing interest in the venture. Only the Catechism and the Anticross and their summoned daemonhosts were still in a fit state to mount serious offensive operations, and even they had taken large casualties, especially amongst their legions of traitor guard. Some estimates put attrition rates at 70% for the untrained cultist forces.

The Imperium had also taken heavy casualties and General Gault’s Imperial Guard in particular had taken a battering. Casualty rates of up to 50% among front line elements meant that the Adeptus Astartes would have to lead the final charge to victory on Farport. This they were willing and able to do however, as the Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines and Castaways were all in good fighting shape. Inquisitor Nikopolidis and his indentured forces, while having suffered heavy casualties, were still in serviceable form and willing to expunge the taint of Chaos from the Imperial world.

Moonface gambled on one final attack to regain the initiative, ordering attacks on Homestead, Stocksdale, Carsonville and McKinley, while moving his own elite forces into the heart of Central to defend against the inevitable showdown with the Dark Angels. If victorious in these attacks the planet of Farport may yet fall into Chaos hands.

The Imperium planned defensive strategies, digging in on all fronts while preparing a major counter attack to retake Dirtside, the capital of Farport. When he received the news of the disasterous fall of central El'Zaharial had immediately redeployed his forces back to Orrland to launch an attack to liberate the captial. The fighting was brutal, epic and closely matched but eventually the Catechism’s finest warriors were forced out of the city, but not before poisoning large number of civilians and PDF forces with biological weapons. Yet another atrocity to add to the list of crimes by the heretical being known as Moonface.

Meanwhile on 0712.009M42 the daemons of Shaidar Haran were encountered by the Space Wolves after two days of skirmishing. This time the forces of the Chaos were decisively beaten in the ruins of a mining settlement in Desolate Moor, as for once the daemonic entities were wiped out by determined Space Wolf attacks.

In the Down Plains the Castaways attacked the Alliance’s Ork allies but after a few initial skirmishes the Ork resistance melted away. Later it was found out that the Ork warlord, disgruntled at the loss of “his” city by the Catechism, and irritated by Moonface’s attitude, had teleported the majority of his forces onto a waiting Ork Kroozer and simply left, two days before the Imperial fleet, fresh from its victory in the outer reaches, reached the planet.

Inquisitor Nikopolidis was also successful, with his Daemonhunters, backed by fifteen Farport PDF divisions, severely mauled the Night Lord’s attack on the city, precipitating their withdrawal from the planet. The Ultramarines in the south defeated the Anticross with relative ease and by 1012.009M42 the game was up. The Chaos forces on the planet had been decisively beaten on the ground and the Imperial fleet arrived in orbit on 1112.009M42. Using the Chaos Device the forces of the Catechism retreated into the barren wilderness of Farport’s darkside, met up with the remnants of their allies and made good their escape. Despite Inquisitor Nikopolidis’s urgings, the Adeptus Astartes forces were in no mind to follow them into what could be a carefully laid trap, and fortunately for General Gault his battered Guard regiments were in no state to either. Moonface would have to be allowed to escape, again.

Farport - Imperial counter-attack

With the Night Lords’ fleet driven off the impact of the loss in the air was felt less by Imperial forces, though marauding Catechism aircraft plagued General Gault’s forces for much of the remaining war. However, with the Chaos forces failing to make quick gains the General, Nikopolidis and El'Zaharial all agreed that now was the time for a forceful counter-attack to shatter the alliance.

On 2911.009M42 Captain Angelus El'Zaharial launched an attack on Carsonville after rapidly redeploying his forces. Disaster struck however when a planned drop of assault troops was cancelled at the last minute when the incoming thunderhawk was driven off by superior chaos air power. Despite this El'Zaharial inflicted sufficient losses to drive off the Anticross traitor legions and liberate the town. He drove off the sorcerer leading the chaos forces in single combat but the cowardly chaos minion still somehow managed to escape.

At the same time however the elite forces of the Catechism finally showed their hand on the ground, launching themselves at totally unprepared Imperial Guard forces in the recently liberated region of Crossroads. General Gault’s regiments faired badly, taking heavy casualties and retreating en masse to Beckley. The Chaos had once again succeeded in an engagement where no Astartes troops were present. This was a feature of the entire conflict on Farport.

As if to labour this point, while the Imperial Guard were retreating from Crossroads the Castaways were successfully leading an assault into the Barren Hills, a region which, while barely populated, had been identified as strategically vital to the success of the campaign. After a day of advancing on 3011.009M42 the Claws of Lorek rapidly redeployed in an attempt to halt the Imperial advance. They were unsuccessful however and Chaos resistance in the region collapsed on 0112.009M42. The Claws of Lorek then began to quietly organise their core elite forces for an evacuation of Farport. The Chaos Alliance had now begun to fall apart.

Worse was to follow for the Chaos forces as the Porphyrians launched their assault from Pottsland to the shores of McKinley. Realising the only forces defending McKinleyville were barely trained cultists, Moonface summoned a daemonhost to hold up the Porphyrians and drive them into Lake Potter. However the open terrain on McKinley ensured the Imperial Guard were able to employ their full firepower on the daemons, and the warp spawned abominations were sent back to their domain in a hail of heavy bolter and battle cannon shells. McKinley fell on 0211.009M42.

While the Chaos forces struggled in the east they made gains in the west. For some reason Moonface had given the task of assaulting the capital to the Orks, rapidly redeploying them using the Chaos device. Here Moonface employed the bulk of his air power, while General Gault had deployed his most accomplished Guard formations around the city and could call upon the support of the Dark Angels fleet to bombard the Ork forces.

Despite this, the fighting around the capital and the spaceport became desperate as wave after wave of greenskins swarmed into the carefully prepared Imperial positions, manned by veteran Cerberex Guard troopers. Tens of thousands of Orks died, but the tied proved unstoppable. On 0211.009M42 the Orks had made their way into the city and taken the vital spaceport, inflicting a severe blow to the Imperial cause.

At the same time Inquisitor Nikopolidis had redeployed to the Pinnacle mountains in an attempt to thwart the Catechism’s assault there. Once again the daemon host was summoned and finally the Ordo Malleus Inquisitor came face to face with his hated foe. Despite his efforts however the missile silos of the region fell to Chaos and the Inquisitor’s forces were lucky to escape.

In the south however the Imperium made a breakthrough. Seven divisions of Farport PDF, led by the Space Wolves, charged into the Homelands and the vital city of Homestead. Here the Chaos forces were thin on the ground, but included the traitor legions of the Night Lords under Lord Raziel. The fury of the Space Wolves was unstoppable though, and once the traitor marines had been broken the Farport PDF had little difficulty mopping up the remaining Chaos forces.

Battle in the balance

Following intelligence reports of Catechism activity in the Homelands Captain Angelus tasked Chaplain Gabreal El'Zekial with leading an armoured column to hunt down their nemesis. However the Catechism cowardly avoided contact, summoning a hoste of daemons to fight in their stead. The column was thrown into confusion as daemons began materialising all around them. Despite a truly heroic effort and staunch resistance leading to the banishment of many daemons the dark angels were eventually forced to withdraw with heavy losses and Chaplain El'Zekial himself was killed in the fighting. The result saw the forces of Chaos crossing the Salty sea into the Down Plains, threatening the Capital itself.

Meanwhile in the south the Ultramarines led the Imperial forces into the Home Hills and were also beset by hordes of summoned daemons. The Ultramarines however were able to defeat the greatest incursions and the Farport PDF made short work of the traitor guard units in the province.

To the east however the Anticross launched an attack from the Crossroads into the Barren Hills. Here there were no Adeptus Astartes forces to face the traitor marines and General Gault’s Imperial Guard regiments were severly mauled, pulling back to Haven. Here the Castaways had held off an attack from the Dark Eldar faction now known to be “Kraven’s Kabal”. The marines had taken heavy casualties but the Dark Eldar seem to have been more interested in enslaving as many of Farport’s population as possible, and failed to reach their specified objectives. Angered, Moonface rebuked the Dark Eldar leader, who, slighted, took his forces off the planet in disgust.

Further north the Claws of Lorek also found themselves in difficulty, running straight into Inquisitor Nikopolidis in their attack on Beckley. Bolstered by the words and deeds of a mighty Inquisitor, the Imperial regiments in the region refused to withdraw, and wave after wave of the Claw’s troops were annihilated in futile attacks. On 2611.009M42 after two days heavy fighting the Claws of Lorek were hit by a tenacious counter attack. By the 27th they were retreating and Crossroads was retaken by the Imperium.

This success was added to on 2811.009M42 as the Space Wolves successfully outflanked the Chaos forces Ork allies, who were defending the Claws of Lorek’s right flank. Seeing the Claws retreating and under fierce assault themselves, the Orks abandoned Brookeville and retreated to Carson. Four days after the initial invasion the Imperium had blunted the initial invasion surge, but the battle still remained in the balance.

War on the ground

Inquisitor Nikopolidis, recognising the superior strategic abilities of captain Angelus El'Zaharial of the Dark Angels, delegated overall command of the forces on Farport to him, much to the consternation of general Gault. The Inquisitor’s power however allowed him such indulgences, so there was very little the general could do about it. In the end there were few protests from the other space marine chapters, so the captain of the Dark Angels attended to the strategic decisions while the Inquisitor concentrated on seeking out and destroying the daemonic incursions now sweeping across the planet.

In the Chaos alliance there was only one leader. Moonface, leader of the Catechism and “master of Chaos” had by far the largest contingent of forces, although his elite traitor legions were no bigger than those of the Antictross or the Claws of Lorek. The legions of traitor guard units and the Catechism’s significant air power, plus their continued access to the Chaos “device” and alliance to the daemons of Shaidar Haran, meant the Catechism’s capricious leader took command of the invasion strategy.

Farport - Initial invasion

The first Imperial force to understand the true strength of the assault on Farport were the Dark Angels, learning about the true plans of the Catechism and other Chaos forces from catechism prisoners taken on Alphe. The company’s full strength aboard the Strike Cruisers Silent Hunter and Dark Dominion redeployed to Farport in readyness for the coming invasion. Although not in enough strength to prevent the spaceborn invasion they had sent an urgent astropathic summons for re-enforcements and as the fighting was under way the remainder of the Dark Angels fleet in the area arrived to contest the space around farport, well ahead of Admiral Jellicoe’s fleet, and that of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

By 2411.009M42 however, the Chaos forces, and their allies had landed in strength on Farport. The Claws of Lorek, Anticross, a huge force of Orks and even a force of Dark Eldar troops were reported on the planet, and soon the Imperium’s woes were added to as daemons were summoned across the planet.

The Chaos fleet around the planet was large, consisting of some fifteen capital ships led led by the Night Lords under lord Raziel and a force of traitor vessels not previously encountered in the sector. This force moved quickly to the system’s jump point to prevent further Imperial intervention, while the Night Lords stayed in high orbit, assisting the invasion and preparing to meet the Dark Angels fleet.

On the ground the Home Hills and Homelands were soon overrun, along with the eastern settlements of McKinleyville, Carsonville and Brookeville. Fierce fighting also saw the strategically important region of Crossroads taken by the 25th, while the Desolate Moors in the south had fallen on the first days of the invasion. The Imperium, reinforced just in time by Inquisitor Nikopolidis of the Ordo Malleus, as well as the Space Wolves, Ultramarines and the enigmatic “Castaways”, prepared to make their stand against the mighty Chaos alliance arrayed before them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Farport Campaign

Campaign System

So how does this work?

The map is divided into regions. Some regions are worth Victory points. At the start both sides have the same number of VPs.

There are three rounds. In each round there will be a number of 40K games determined by the number of players (if there are 12 40k players thats 6 games). For each game of 40k in each round, the Chaos player group/leader rolls off against the Imperium (+1 to roll for current winner on VPs, chaos get +1 at the start) for each game (6 roll-offs in the example). After each roll the winner of the rolloff decides a region to attack from and an enemy region to attack. He places an arrow on the map to indicate this. This is then repeated for the other games. NB - there will be time to "plan" strategy before the roll-offs.

You aren't allowed to place an arrow between two regions already indicated for a battle, otherwise any arrow combination is allowed. You can place more than one arrow into the same enemy region (pincer move!) from different attacking regions.

Each arrow then represents the battles. The winner of the battle takes the region at stake (if the attacker loses he loses the region he came from). Clearly its better to attack from low value regions into high value ones! Draws are won by the player with the initiative (chaos at the beginning).

Once the battles have been decided each side allocated a player to one of the arrows. Clearly its better to have your elite/best forces attack the important places/defend the high VP regions!

VPs decide the campaign result. In addition to VPs gained for regions games themselves may yield VPs for destroyed enemy forces. Consult the chart called "roll to destroy". A big win is more likely to yield extra VPs in this way.

Gothic games.

At the start the Chaos force is already invading when the Imperium arrive. The first gothic game will be a "surprise attack" by the Imperium. The winner of this game will be allowed one bombardment in the second round in a game of his chosing (see master of ordnance in Imperial Guard Codex).

They will keep this if no more gothic games are played. If a subsequent game is played in the second round they should be convoy - the side which lost the first gothic game being the convoyer - then in the final 40k games the winner will be allowed to "re-cycle" one non HQ unit in one game in the third round.

In addition gothic games are worth 20VPs each.

Gothic games in the final round will yield 20VPs to the winner.

AI Games

The winner of any AI games (overall) in round one will either be allowed a ground attack or have the effect of Master of the fleet for one game in round 2.

Ground attack: Each turn the player may use his HQ to order a ground attack. If a Ld test is passed the attack will occur just before the opponents shooting phase. Bombs (an always scatters battlecannon shot) or Napalm (hellhound attack - scatters - pointy end points to a point in own deployment zone). Place the template on an enemy unit (max models) and scatter 2D6. The enemy may attempt to drive the enemy off instead of shooting that turn. The plane counts as 12 inches away, T6 and 6s to hit. Any "wounds" drive off the aircraft and the attack has no effect.

If no subsequent games are played this effect continues in round 3. Subsequent games in round 2 have the same effect on 40K games in round 3 for the winner.

Games of AI in all rounds count for 10VPs per win.

Sublots: There will be some. I will be handing notes to players with them (dark Eldar, Chaos factions, Dark Angels and Space Wolves in the main). If you want a specific one let me know on Saturday and I'll fit it in. There are a possible 3 points of subplots to gain on the day. These will be used to determine individual success as well as team success...

Farport Map

Battle for Farport - buildup

Following their success in the Rim Worlds and their recent gains in the Perseus Deeps, it became obvious during 009M42 that the civilised world of Farport would naturally become a tempting Chaos target. Capture of this world would isolate the Perseus Deeps, cut off both the Vastrid and Zadoc subsectors from the fastest route to Terra and put the worlds of the Vastrid subsector at risk from a two pronged attack from the Deeps and Kendrenec. It would also put a limit on further Tau expansion.

The Imperium knew all this, as did the forces of Chaos, but until late 11.009M42 the myriad factions of Chaos had not been sufficiently strong nor united to launch such a campaign against a large and strongly defended world. The invasion of Tarsis Major had been a costly failure, while the Catechism's invasion of Alphe, while progressing well, proved that even the Catechism could not quickly overwhelm an agri-world, let alone a larger, more populous system.

The various factions within the Chaos ranks did not help their cause either. Each factions aims had been different and pointing in alternate directions. In 11.009M422 however, their aims converged, and with the arrival of the fleets of Thok, Shaidar Haran and Lord Traegen in the Deeps, the forces of Chaos finally had the means and the motive to conduct the invasion of Farport, with a little help...

Despite being stronger in the sector than they had been for many years, the forces of Chaos, including factions such as the Catechism, Night Lords, Claws of Lorek and the Anticross, still lacked, alone, the forces sufficient to quickly overwhelm a large defended Imperial world. The Imperium were content with this analysis, and although they planned a vigorous defence of the planet once the invasion had begun, they were unaware that mercenary Ork forces and a Kabal of Dark Eldar had agreed to lend their support to the Chaos plan.

On 2011.009M42 Imperial intelligence, astropaths and even the Imperial Tarot indicated the invasion was imminent, and General Gault was given overall command of the various forces on Farport, while Admiral Jellicoe set out, aided by the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet with a force of the Imperial Navy's finest warships. Only time would tell however, if they would arrive in time. The fleet could not have stayed in the Farport system awaiting the invasion, else allow the enemies of the Imperium a free hand while they waited for the Chaos attack. And so the scene was set for the battle for Farport.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chaos held at Corticant

Only a week after the disasterous battles on SUllidan the battered forces of Battlegroup Apocalypse arrived in the Corticant system, a small unimportant outpost similar to those found all across the Perseus Deeps.Here General Veers intended to setup a strong Imperial base, since the attempted landing on Sullidan had been a total failure. Much of the fleet was withdrawn to face the imminent invasion of Farport, a fact which the powers of the warp could no longer conceal. This left the Imperial battlegroup vulnerable.

As if knowing the every move of their enemy the forces of Chaos, principally those led by the Claws of Lorek, arrived at Corticant just days after the Imperial battlegroup had arrived. Vanguard forces were landed and began probing the Imperial defeces. Twice the Claws of Lorek attacked, summoning foul daemons to aid their small numbers, but twice they were repulsed. First the Corellian Storm Guard narrowly defeated a daemonic assault on the Imperial perimeter, before the Porphyrian Guard inflicted a more serious defeat on the traitor forces at the small outpost settlement of Banyard's Cross.

Realising the Imperial forces of battlegroup Apocalypse would not be so easily broken, the traitor forces reluctantly withdrew from Corticant on 2111.009M42 when signals indicated that several heavy warships of the Imperial Navy had been dispatched to meet them. The showdown with the Imperial would come, but not on Corticant. For now the Chaos forces were content to allow the Imperium to build their base on Corticant. The successful invasion of Farport would render this base untenable in any case. All effort was now refocussed towards this goal.

Mabb Nebula

Nazghat renews expansion

In mid to late 11.009M42 the fortunes of Waagh! Nazghat began to change once again. The unending retreat in the Shadow Worlds appeared to be at an end and the long see-saw conflict on Bothorion was finally settled with a last ditch battle which wiped the remaining Imperial defenders from the face of the planet. No response from Battlegroup Alexander was forthcoming, as General Alexander had never thought that a prolonged conflict over such an insignificant world warranted the resources. Besides, attacks from Eldar raiders on the recently founded colonies of New Cerberex and Tyndareous had diverted resources and the attention of the Dark Angels, the most vocal advocates of the "Bothorion strategy".

With Bothorion sewn up it needed fortifying, and Nazghat secured much needed resources from one of the myriad dead worlds of the Mabb Nebula. KNown to be a Necron Tomb world the mining expedition was expected to meet resistance, and the attack by the shambling half dead aliens came as no surprise. In a series of intense battles the Necrons were fought off, and the vital resources acquired by Nazghat's Big Meks. Imperial intelligence is still none the wiser as to what was mined.

Meanwhile the three way standoff on Fort Sparcos was reduced to a straight contest between the Orks and Eldar as a final assault on the Blood Angel's bridgehead dislodged the Marine forces from the planet. Fort Sparcos had long been a target for Nazghat, and his troops attacked the Blood Angels with unbridled savagery. Few marines defending the world escaped uninjured, and the Imperial super-soldiers were forced to abandon nearly all of their equipment. The Reaper Angels meanwhile were evacuated in good order. The once powerful Imperial base, now a pitiful ruin concealing Eldar forces, stood there for Nazghat's taking. Once it fell the might of the full Waaagh! of Kallack's billions strong population would be unleashed.

Alphe Current

Catechism dominates Chaos

As 11.009M42 wore on the battles on Alphe showed no sign of decreasing in their intensity. By now the Dark Angels, Venerators, Blood Angels, Space Wolves and Ultramarines chapters had all send forces to General Percival's aid, such was the determination, at least by Astartes chapters, to rid the planet, and the sector, of the Chaos stain. Over and above this, the Inquisition was keen to strike a blow at the Catechism and its enemies, for they knew the danger and expansionist designs of Moonface's strange and heretical cult.

The space marines put together a plan which Percival approved of, though the Imperial general had little if any influence in such decisions. The plan however was sound, hitting the Chaos lines at the point where the Catechism and Anticross forces met. It was presumed that the integration of defences between the two forces would be poor, and that an attack at this point gave the Imperium its best chance for a breakthrough in the north.

The Space Wolves attacked Anticross forces on the left flank, achieving significant success, pushing back the traitor forces back, out of the devastated countryside of Hulme Island and back to the lackes of North Reach. On the right flank however the Blood Angels faced the Catechism itself, and Moonface quickly brought in his most elite troops. The Blood Angels found themselves unable to deal their cunning foe a crippling blow, and every advance was turned into a deadly ambush. Three days into the advance the Astartes troops were forced to call the attack off as the Catechism launched a devastating counter attack. While their allies floundered in the north the Catechism achieved a breakthrough on the Farthing Plain, devastating the PDF forces while they played cat and mouse with their Blood Angel opponents in the north. By 2011.009M42 the Catechism had penetrated to less than 100 miles from Crystalbeach.

Imperial intelligence now realised that the plan had played into Moonface's hands. Valuable Imperial military assets had been used up attacking his allies' forces, allowing the Catechism to not only close on their next objective, but also ensuring that the influence of the Catechism in the complex intrigue of the Chaos hierarchy had been vastly increased.

Raiders in the Mabb Nebula

In mid 11.009M42 increasing activity by alien forces became cause for concern for the major races in the Mabb Nebula, particularly those with colonies, or designs on colonies in the planets of the Shadow Worlds. The Imperial world of New Cerberex was attacked twice, ones by Dark Eldar forces, who were easily beaten by Cerberex Guard units as they arrived, clearly unintentionally, right in the gun sights of the armed forces of the colony, and then later by Eldar forces. In this second raid a force of Dark Angels was deployed from their base, but the Eldar were able to hold them off long enough to cause significant destruction and escape with badly needed supplies.

At first it was presumed the two raids were linked, and that the Eldar race were preparing an invasion of the world, but later intelligence suggested the Dark Eldar and Eldar forces had nothing to do with each other. More Eldar activity was reported later in the month as a Necron Tomb was ransacked on an unclassified world near Saim Lann. The Dark Eldar were also reported as active once more in 11.009M42 when Da Verminator's Orks suffered a major raid on the newly conquered Bothorion. This increase in Eldar and Necron activity made life hard for the major powers in the Mabb Nebula as 12.009M42 approached, although so far the Tau had escaped such attacks.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The battle of Sullidan

The pace of the game of chess between the forces of Chaos and the Imperium quickened to all out war in 11.009M42. Imperial strategists knew that the source of Chaos power in the Aleph sector lay in the dark systems within the lawless Perseus Deeps, an area of old dark stars which while falling within the Imperium's claimed territory, was largely out of control. At its centre, Bastien, Mordecai, Calliden and Kendrenec dominated the Deeps, Chaos systems all within easy reach of a known warp lane leading directly to the eye of terror.

With the Rim worlds under Chaos control and the war on Alphe in the balance, Imperium high command directed Battlegroup apocalypse, supported by several of Jellicoe's cruisers to head for the system of Sullidan, a small base in the Deeps nomincally controlled by the Imperium, though there hadn;'t been any official contact with the population of some 10,000 in many years. The force would include a large army of around half a million men from Corellia, Libria and Porphyria, as well as a whole regiment of super heavy vehicles. This would be the first vanguard force intended to secure the planet, before building up an even greater force to support an invasion of Calliden. Once Calliden had fallen the crusade would move on to the other Chaos worlds, finally leading to an all out assault on Kendrenec. This great move would finally crush the rising power of Chaos in the sector. The Night Lords however declined the invitation, sensing a trap.

As Battlegroup apocalypse got underway, they could not have known that their plans were known to the enemy. The Claws of Lorek, having recently conquered the system of Yaasha, gathered around them as many allies as they could, even luring Da Verminator's Orks into the fight with the promise of loot and a good scrap. The Claws convinced Shaidar Haran and Admiral Thok to convey them to the Sullidan system, and even the Catechism sent a force, albeit one of expendable traitor Guard from Cerberex, to ensure that any Chaos victory would not be achieved by the Claws of Lorek alone. Moonface would have some of the glory. Another force, now known as "The Anticross", also joined the force of arms, ensuring that when the Imperium arrived they would face overwhelming force.

On 1211.009M42 Battlegroup Apocalypse had arrived in orbit around the planet of Sullidan and had disgorged their massive force on the planet, finding unexpected welcome from the citizens who were apparently glad to see such a force. Had they known what was coming, they may not have been so welcoming. Days later the Imperial battlegroup received reports of a massive Chaos fleet arriving in a neighbouring system. Believing Sullidan to be secure the battlefleet moved towards the system jump point in order to give battle, only to find the Chaos battlefleet apparently leading them in a strange game of chase around several star systems for nearly two weeks. They soon found out why.

With the Imperial warships drawn off, the forces of Chaos easily brushed aside the picket ships left to defend Sullidan when they arrived a few days later. After a brief skirmish in space, the Claws of Lorek led the landings on the planet itself, somewhat surprised by the strength of the Imperial force already landed. An apocalyptic showdown was inevitable and occurred on 1411.009M42. Both sides understood what was at stake. The victor on Sullidan would hold the initiative in the Perseus Deeps, and the warmasters of Chaos had their own invasion plans to consider.

The battle itself was a violent affair as the Imperium drove towards the Chaos lines with a simple yet brutal plan - to pour as much firepower into the Chaos forces as possible and to annihilate them utterly. On the left flank the Corellian Storm Guard moved forward through wooded terrain, while in the centre the Librians gave fire support from the edge of Sullidan's one city, blasted to rubble by an intense preliminary bombardment. On the right, the Porphyrian Guard prepared to hold the line against a horde of orks.

The Chaos plan was more subtle. Thanks to poor shooting, especially from the super heavy tanks, the rhinos of the Anticross weathered the storm of Imperial firepower, and the Catechism forces were able to move their armoured units forward, duelling with the Librian tanks. On the Imperial right flank, despite suffering horrendous casualties, the Orks closed with the Porphyrians. On the right, some dithering by Porphyrian and Corellian units meant that the traitor forces were able to hold them at bay with barely more than a few squads of grots.

As the day wore on the Imperial commander, General Veers, felt victory was inevitable. A formation of Hellhaounds on the right immolated most of the Orks and finally the super heavies were advancing on the enemy, with the forces of the Anticross suffering at last. Meanwhile the Librians were locked in a titanic struggle with the Catechism Guard units, concentrating their fire on the traitors, though the support from their baneblade was largely inaccurate. Then disaster struck. On the Imperial left a flank attack by airborne Catechism units, something Veers had not anticipated, was supported by Ork deathkoptas caused mayhem amid the Corellian Storm guard, halting their advance. On the left the Claws of Lorek, shielded by the Orks, barelled into the Porphyrians and almost broke the Imperial lines.

Then, as the Imperium was reeling, the killing blow came. The Claws of Lorek mounted a massed teleport attack by Obliterators, and though many were lost in the assault, the carnage inflicted was enough to halt the Imperial advance cold. Soon the Catechism Guard units had regained the initiative in the centre and poured into the Librian lines. Mega armoured Nobz joined in, destroying a super heavy tank, and two more exploded in catastrophic magazine detonations, causing heavy casualties on both sides. One of these had been the intended prize of Da Verminator, the Catechism artillery making sure the Orks would not get their hands on such a machine.

After four hours of chaotic fighting General Veers realised he had lost control of the situation. The Catechism had taken the centre of the city, badly mauling the Librian regiments. On the right the Claws of Lorek had completed their advance and on the left the burning remains of a Shadowsword bore testimony to the savage fighting. Here too the forces of Chaos were in control and reinforcing their positions. The Anticross forces too had recovered from their losses and the Imperial commanders knew the battle had been lost. General Veers retreated his forces into the wastelands of the planet, abandonning the system to Chaos. Four days later the battered remnants of Battlegroup Apocalypse were evacuated from the surface of Sullidan.

The outcome of the battle was felt immediately. The invasion of Calliden was postponed, and the Imperium began reinforcing systems close to the Perseus Deeps, including Farport in the Vastrid subsector. Later a psychic scream in the warp bore witness to the creation of a daemonworld, named "Carnage", where Yaasha once existed. Concern grew that the power of Chaos was rising and some in the Imperium began considering an alliance with the Tau, though not openly. The battle of Sullidan had been the opening shot in the great war against Chaos in the Aleph sector, as the power of the great enemy grew to heights not seen in a millenia.

Necron activity increasing

With the activity of the major powers in the Perseus Deeps increasing, it was inevitable that the older denizens of the cold dark systems of the cast galactic space between the Perseus and Orion spiral arms would be awooken to some extent. During late 11.009M42 both the Imperium and Chaos encountered the Necrons awakening from their ancient tombs.

Following reports of Necron activity on Gamador, a secretive inquisitor managed to secure the help of the Space Wolves and led an expedition to the planet. During his investigations the force came under attack from the robotic forces known to be the major armed force of the Necron race, but the discipling and fighting prowess of the Space Wolves proved to be more than a match for them. The Inquisition party was able to complete its secretive investigations unmolested and return its findings to their superiors.

At roughly the same time the Night Lords found themselves under attack from Necron forces in the Rim Worlds. Appearing from nowhere the Necrons ravaged the planet of Rhesius before Moonface, angry at such interference in his realm, sent a force to deal with them. It also provided him with a golden opportunity to come to the aid of the Nigh Lords. They successfully defeated the Necron threat on Rhesius, where Lord Raziel's forces had failed. A convenient reminder as to who was in control in the Rim Worlds and in the invasion on Alphe, where both Chaos forces were in action. Moonface was infact ensuring that the waxing power of Chaos was moving to his tune and not that of any other Chaos warmaster.

Dark Angels return to Alphe

Captain Angelus and the Dark Angels 4th return to try and reverse the chaos advance on Alphe. Deploying from the Strike Cruiser Dark Dominion they met forces of the catechism head on, but either the Emperor had deserted them or some foul daemonic power protected the traitor marines and Captain Angelus withdrew his men after fierce fighting rather than face ever mounting casualties. The Catechism took advantage of the confusion to retake the settlement of Westlake for the second time, rendering the recent advance by the Imperium ineffective. Once again Chaos was in the ascendant on Alphe.

Porphyrians Re-posted to Betor

Following a succession of desasterous defeats a number of Porphyrian regiments were re-posted to Betor to fight in the Tyrannic war still active on the planets surface, a virtual death sentence. As if cursed, no sooner had they taken up their positions on the front lines Nemesis launched an all out attack. The Porphyrians were swamped and their positions overrun in a matter of hours. Suffering massive casualties they withdrew rather than face total annihilation, much to the displeasure of the Commisariate and Betor Theatre High Command. Of great concern to the Ordos Xenos is the fact that pict recordings of the horde show Tyranid Bio-organisms matching the "Mother" Nemesis sub-genotype. All Tyranids spawned by this Norn Queen were believed to have been purged earlier in the year, suggesting there are unknown birthing pools in the depths of Tyrannid infested territory.

Memnon colonised by Elan Ro

While the titanic struggle between Chaos and the Imperium intensified further towards the galactic hub, the Tau took the opportunity to consolidate their holdings in the Shadow Worlds. Elan Ro led the colonisation, intending to convert the small world of Memnon into the latest Tau world. This in turn would improve the Tau supply lines to the ongoing war on Tarsis.

First however Elan Ro needed to deal with the orks. Warboss Nazghat was still engaged in a fierce war with the Imperium on Bothorion, but had his eye on Memnon too. To disuade him from attacking Elan Ro led his cadres on a raid against the orks on Fort Aerin, his next target in his conquest of the Shadow Worlds. The engagement was confused and brief, but the Tau left as the victors, even though they failed in their initial objectives to destroy major ork supply bases on the planet. Deciding he had given the orks enough to think about, Elan Ro left the Fort Aerin system after two days, long before the Ork fleet had time to intercept his forces.

On 1811.009M42 Memnon was officially colonised by the Tau, adding the world to Va Doran as the second major Tau base in the Shadow Worlds.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Bothorion war

From 0711.009M42 to 1511.009M42 the war on Bothorion swung infuriatingly backwards and forwards. Finally accepting the war on the ruined planet was winnable, General Alexander moved his battlegroup to the Bothorion system. Three regiments of Imperial Guard from three different worlds were landed on the planet, and the force was joined by an ultramarines strike cruiser.

Seeing this build up of forces the Orks under Da Verminator launched an immediate attack, but were met on the smoking Bothorion plains, just to the west of the main Bothorion settlement, now a pile of rubble around the world's starport. The fighting lasted barely more than a day, as the highly trained and effective Guard regiments tore the Orks apart. The victory was added to later by the Ultramarines who launched a major strike on the key ork base on the planet, destroying much of the orks' supply infrastructure and bringing the planet to the brink of liberation.

However this situation rapidly changed as an enormous horde of orks numbering nearly one million greenskins loyal to Da Verminator suddenly appeared from nowehere from the Bothorion badlands. Destroying everything in their path the Imperial guard who stood in their way were almost wiped out, but dogged defending halted the ork advance on the perimeter of the spaceport on 1411.009M42.

By now very little of Bothorion's original infrastructure remained, and a mere 20,000 Guardsmen now attempted to hold off an estimated 2 million orks encircling the spaceport. With a large force of ork roks and even a few kroozer class vessels reported entering at the system's jump point, Alexander now had to choose whether or not to support the continued operations on the ruined planet.

Perseus Deeps Activity

While the Imperium fought the Orks in the Shadow worlds and the Tau on Tarsis Major, reports were starting to come in of new and vigorous Chaos activities in the Perseus Deeps. Imperial High Command, led by General Thaddeus Roover, was disinclined to take much notice, as they had enough problems on Alphe with Chaos. "As long as their in the Deeps making trouble, they aren't here are they now!" was the General's only comment. Inquisitor Nikopolidis however did not wish to "let things lie".

Gathering a force of Imperial Guard and the services of a company of Reaper Angels space marines, the Inquisitor set off on the dangerous trip to the Perseus Deeps at the end of 10.009M42. En route to Yaasha, a minor world where his psychic advisors had suggested something of great importance was occurring, the Inquisitor heard reports of several Chaos operations occurring in the Deeps.

On 0711.009M42 a small force of Imperial Guard supporting an Adeptus Mechanicus expedition on Sentinel was unexpectedly attacked and severely mauled by Chaos forces. Later on the same day there were reports of Night Lords forces battling with orks on Ares. However the main reckoning with Chaos came on 1111.009M42.

Inquisitor Nikopolidis landed his small but powerful force on Yaasha on that day, with the Reaper Angels securing a perimeter around the landing shuttles. Cautiously the Inquisitor approached the area containing the highest concentration of psychic aura, amongst the ruins of several failed previous human settlements. Then the forces of Chaos launched their ambush.

The Claws of Lorek had seen the approaching Imperial vessels and had chosen to wait for them to land before unleashing their forces. Though the Imperial force was small, some 3,000 men plus a company of space marines, this force outnumbered th traitor marines raiding force on Yaasha. They would need reinforcements... Or allies.

In a secret blasphemous pact the leader of the Claws of Lorek promised the world itself to the powers of the warp and in return a major incursion of daemonic entities joined the traitor marines in their attack on the Imperial expeditionary force. In the brief but brutal battle the Reaper Angels were mercilessly hacked apart, while the Inqusition forces fell back towards their shuttles. Over one thousand were killed but the remaining forces managed to escape along with the inquisitor. Nikopolidis had indeed uncovered something rotten on Yaasha, but he was unable to prevent the Claws of Lorek from completing their ritual. As he left, Nikopolidis recorded that the world itself would fall under the sway of the warp in a very short period of time. quietly he marked the world for a later exterminatus.

Eldar at war

The Eldar continued to battle against the orks infesting Mael Kithlan as 11.009M42 wore on. Their initial assault had killed thousands, but like an eternal pestilence the greenskins kept coming back. On 0711.009M42 the infestation got worse, as warboss Nazghat tried to shore up his failing forces on the world. He needed a win badly to secure his position as leader of all the orks in the Mabb nebula, and he got it, defeating an eldar warhost supported by an enigmatic harlequin troupe.

However his success stopped short of ridding the world of the Eldar who held on tenaciously to a small bridgehead around the webway portal, fortifying it with booty acquired from a successful raid on Chaos holdings within the Perseus Deeps. This crude but effective stolen technology was battered again and again by the ork attacks, but the Eldar held on, willing to sacrifice looted weaponry and equipment in place of Eldar lives.

Tarsis Major Latest

Tarsis: Strongspear reaches north coast

Following the lightning advances during operation Neptune, the Tau were not about to provide the Imperial forces with a much needed rest. On 0411.009M42 Strongspear's hunter cadres neatly leapfrogged the worn out forces of Shadowstrike and Ol Cha in a well planned operation. Then the Tau launched yet another offensive, driving deep into the Imperial lines and quickly reaching the coast. By the 7th the North Tuva mining complex was under Tau control.

Cunningham knew a counter attack was desperately needed and called on the elite formations of the Corellian S
torm Guard. An entire mechanised and armoured army group, much of Cunningham's strategic reserve, supported by PDF units on the flanks, attempted to drive into Strongspear's flanks to cut off the Tau in the Hook peninsular.

Strongspear however was not fooled. As the armoured units rolled across the north Tuva plain, his forces withdrew, picking off the tanks and chimeras of the Corellian Guard while conducting a careful withdrawal. Gradually the Imperial advance slowed as stealth suited Tau wreaked havoc in the Imperial rear areas. Deep striking crisis suits finished the job, devastating the lighter armoured chimera troop transports and decimating the veteran guard units in them. Realising they were cut off without support the armoured columns of Cunningham's advance were forced to abandon the attack, and the Hook peninsular was surrendered to the Tau. Cunningham wondered how long this kind of retreat could go on.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Wider war

The Claws of Lorek already had other targets in mind when they decided to quit the fighting on Bothorion. A larger force of traitor marines, supported by loyal cultists and enforced slave labour had arrived via the warp conduit into the Perseus Deeps some weeks before. Now, on 3110.009M42 the force entered orbit around the minor world of Yaasha, an uninhabited Imperial world which had been used by the Imperium to garrison new regiments as a stopover before reaching the Zadoc subsector. On the day chaos arrived it was a luckless regiment of Porphyrian guard which soon found itself under attack from chaos forces. Before the appeals for aid could be acted upon by the Imperial fleet, the Claws of Lorek had annihilated the regiment, enslaving many for their own uses. Realising the waystation had been destroyed, General Thaddeus Roover coldly decided against sending any forces to rescue the remaining loyal guardsmen, still fighting a reargaurd action in the badlands of the planet, casually striking the regiment from the Imperial manifest without a second thought.

Meanwhile Imperial surveillance of the newely revealed exodite worlds revealed evidence of brutal and bloody close quarter fighting as eldar poured out of the web way portals on Mael Kithlann and began a merciless process of genocidal cleansing against the ork invaders. Several recently constructed ork settlements were raised to the ground and the exodites themselves hunted down any orks careless enough to wander away from the main concentrations.

Fort Sparcos

Following their landing on the world of Sparcos on 1710.009M42 the Blood Angels had noted with concern the mounting ork presence on the world. The greenskins were not approaching the fort as yet, where the eldar gave no sign as to whether they were still in possession of the Imperial fortress, but it would only be a matter of time. The Blood Angels decided they would need support. Fortunately they were contacted by the Reaper Angels chapter of space marines, who sent a company to the planet, noting the presence of ever more Ork Roks in the system. At the same time, working on intelligence gathered in secret, a small party of Blood Angels successfully raided a Necron tomb in the Perseus Deeps, apparently waking the slumbering aliens but successfully retreiving the item they were after.

It is not known what this artefact was, or why the Blood Angels decided to retreive the item and bring it to Sparcos, but before they had chance to use it, if that was there intent, and while the Reapers began their reconaisance into the fort proper, an enormous horde of orks attacked. The Blood Angels held their ground as best they could, but the tide of orks was overwhelming and the space marines were forced to trade land for time, edging back from the rocky valleys they had secured upon landing and fighting vicious battles all the way back to their final perimeter, where the impetus of the ork attack finally began to peter out. The orks dug in, readying themselves for yet another assault.

At the same time, on 0211.009M42 the Reaper Angels ventured into the ruins of Fort Sparcod itself. Initially they found nothing but tangled ruins, but eventually the eldar gave away their presence, ambushing the space marines apparently at random, probably whenever the marines approached the secret webway portals which had allowed them to take the fort so easily in the first place. Brisk fighting continued for more than two days, but the Reapers managed to secure half the facility in the name of the Emperor of Mankind, and prepared themselves for the next mission to retake the rest of the fort. Time would tell if the Dark Angels on the outside would give them enough time to complete their mission.

Alphe Latest

Alphe - Imperial success in the north

After suffering dreadful reverses in previous weeks, an operation to retake the initiative on Alphe was carefully prepared by General Percival and his retinue. He managed to get the agreement of the Ultramarines who proved vital to the first real Imperial success in several months on Alphe. The plan was deceptively simple. Percival recognised that the Chaos forces in the north were the weakest of the three enemies on the planet, holding a long front with few elite troops and nowhere near the number of indentured cultists the Catechism could call upon.

Cerberex Guard regiments began advancing on the Chaos defenders from the west of Westlake on 2711.009M42. They found the going exceptionally tough, with the Chaos Marine forces holding on tenaciously to every one of the Imperial objectives, Progress was slow, but the Imperial regiments from Cerberex had plenty of experience fighting the forces of Chaos, and eventually managed to force their enemy to give ground. After 5 days they had surrounded the city of Westlake.

Rather than storming the city themselves the honour was left to the Ultramarines chapter, with their superior street fighting ability. The battle for the city was equally fierce, and it came down in the end to sheer numbers. The attritional, bitter, marine on marine fighting had more than a hint of hatred to it, and the forces of Chaos fought for every street corner, every ruined house and every bombed out grain store with maniacal stubbornness. However by 0611.009M42 the ultramarines had wiped them out, taking heavy casualties themselves. Westlake however had been liberated, and the Imperium once again held the initiative on the agri world.

Tarsis Major Latest

Tarsis Major - Operation Neptune

As 10.009M42 drew to a close, the Imperium found itself increasingly stretched on Tarsis Major. The recent failure of the Silverbrook offensive and the ongion war against Chaos elsewhere in the sector had sapped the strength of Cunnigham's army, as reinforcements reduced to a trickle. Much of Cunningham's reserves had been used up in the attack on Silverbrook and the Tau had regained the initiative, smashing the Porphyrians and reaching the capital.

Now, Shadowstrike took over, moving Strongspear to protect the eastern flank, and bringing up Ol Cha to his right. Operation Neptune began shortly after. Shadowstrike's main thrust drove straight at the ruins of Tarsis Prime, a city ravaged twice by orks. The battles raged for three days as General Cunningham deployed his experienced Librian 101st and 4th Armoured regiments, but during fierce street battles the Imperial forces faired badly, despite initial success with their dug in anti-tank batteries against Shadowstrike's hammerheads.

Bitter hand to hand fighting developed, with Shadowstrike personally leading the assaults, demonstrating that this time, territory mattered and the city would fall to the Tau. Many of the Librians, despondent at apparently losing their third war to the Tau, began falling back in the face of massed rail gun fire. Only the tank support remained steadfast, but even that faltered, the wrecks of Demolishers littering the Square of Faith. Worse was to follow on the 29th when several Leman Russ battle tanks were lost in a failed flanking manouevre, their heavy weight sinking into the soft ground of Tuva after it had been churned by weapons fire and then subjected to heavy rain. Tarsis Prime was officially abandonned on 0311.009M42, and the government moved to Coldside.

Ol Cha was even more successful, fighting a series of actions on the right flank of Shadowstrike's advance. The PDF units stationed there fled almost immediately, and only two small companies of space marines - Reaper Angels and Dark Angels - stood in the way of Ol Cha's mechanised cadres. Using experience learned painfully against the Astartes foes, the Tau almost annihilated the Reaper Angel company before outflanking and decimating the Dark Angels. Seeing the superhuman defenders falter the Imperial Guard and PDF retreat turned into a full scale panic, and several thousand surrendered on the spot. Ol Cha never paused, hounding the Imperial forces all the way across the Tuvan plain and the central forest, before finally running out of steam at the shores of the Merrin Strait. A swathe of Tuva the size of Sartano had fallen in just seven days and the capital had been lost. Cunningham was hard pressed to shore up his collapsing defences.

Imperial HQ was moved to Coldside, and serious consideration was given to an armistice. If the Tau could be pursuaded to allow the remaining Imperial forces to leave the system, some 2 million troops, not to mention the Adeptus Astartes units, would be free to fight other, more pressing wars elsewhere. Tarsis could be retaken at a later date once the resurgent Chaos threat had been dealt with. This sentiment, close to heresy, was soon stamped out with a combined warning from the Inquisition, Commissariat and at least two Space Marine chapters. No. This time there would be no armistice, no peace deals, no retreat. It may take years but Tarsis would be retaken and the Tau made to regret their invasion. Besides, pointed out the Imperial Tacticae, retreating here would allow the Tau to pursue their other aims elsewhere, which may involve more Imperial worlds. The war on Tarsis would go on.

Bothorion saga continues

Following the Battle of Bothorion the situation on the world was not settled. The orks made the first move. On 2810.009M42 ork forces led by Da Verminator began the assault on the Claws of Lorek base. The fighting lasted for more than a day and it was some of the most bitter and brutal fighting yet over the small, but strategically significant world.

Appalled by the losses his forces were taking, and in the face of overwhelming numerical superiority, the master of the traitor legion eventually conceded that Bothorion was not the place to make a stand. In an amazing turn of events he called a truce which, to everyone's surprise, the orks accepted. To the jeers of the Greenskins the Claws of Lorek quietly abandonned the world, resisting the temptation for some wanton destruction from their strike cruiser and heading out of the Mabb Nebula for the last time. They would have to build their base elsewhere.

No sooner had the Orks celebrated the reconquest of Bothorion, for the third time, the Dark Angels arrived. Protestations from the commander of Battlegroup Alexander where ignored and a company of Dark Angels, supported by their own loyal Guard units (something else General Alexander was appalled by) landed on Bothorion two days after the Claws of Lorek left, blasting several ork roks stationed to guard the entry to the system. Landing near the ruined Imperial settlement which had by now seen all four major powers fighting over it in the last year, the Dark Angels set about their Emperor divined task with gusto, assaulting the orks in a set of lightning raids and securing a significant perimeter around their bridgehead. By 0511.009M42 the Imperium once again had a presence on Bothorion. Meanwhile the Imperial high command, quesioning the value of continues fighting in the Mabb nebula while wars were being fought elsewehere, decided the activities of the Dark Angels needed looking into.