Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Necrons awoken on Gamador

While Battlegroup apocalypse was engaging the Claws of Lorek on Sulidaan, the Imperium had also directed a significant proportion of the force to Gamador, in order to investigate recent strange reports of skeletal metal warriors, told to the Inquisition by terrified miners. The Inquisition was prepared to dismiss these stories until they heard that the Claws of Lorek had been defeated by a similar force while raiding the mines after the Imperial miners had left.

Realising the Necrons had been awoken on the planet, the Inquisition tasked Battlegroup Apocalypse to "pacify" the system, while uncovering records dating back millenia, pointing to centuries of activity from a once large alien Empire. They did not inform the commander of the Battlegroup of this fact however...

The commander of Apocalypse sent a force of Corellian Storm Guard, Porphyrians and the Groznian 4th Regiment (1503rd Groznian army), supported by a company of Reaper Angels. At first they encountered nothing except for overwhelmingly impressive ancient ruins in the dust. Then, as the archeo-magi investigated the ruins and the Guard regiments set up a perimeter around the abandonned mines, the Imperium came under attack.

Waves of skeletal warriors, supported by Monoliths, assaulted the Imperial forces on all sides. Caught off guard and shocked at the ferocity of the alien attacks, the Imperial forces were sent reeling. Casualties were appalling, with all three regiments taking in excess of 50% casualties. The Reaper Angels fared even worse and only managed to salvage half their company by abandoning the planet of Gamador to the Necrons.

Following a hastily organised evacuation - the third by Battlegroup Apocalypse since its inception - the Gamador system was quarantined and adeptus mechanicus monitoring stations installed near the jump point. The fear now was that the Necrons awakening would spread to nearby systems, and that once again the great Necrontyr Empire would enslave the lesser races.

By the end of 12.009M42 the exultation of the victory at Farport had completely ebbed away, and the Imperial high command in the Aleph sector once more had to deal with serious defeats.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Claws of Lorek expand Empire

In early 12.009M42 the Claws of Lorek were still reeling from the Chaos alliance defeat at Farport, but Imperial intelligence had overestimated the damage the faction had taken. The Imperium believed the Claws to be in rapid decline, a belief reinforced when reports came in that the Tau had successfully defended their outpost on Parius from a Chaos attack. It seemd the Claws were going back to raiding, and couldn't even manage that.

More intelligence on 0212.009M42 reported that a daemonhost, usually seen in alliance with the Claws, had fallen upon their forces on Sullidaan, badly mauling several elite formations as well as thousands of slave workers before finally returning to the warp. Now there could be no doubt, the Claws of Lorek were close to collapse and their Empire would be easily crushed by Battlegroup Apocalypse. The order was given and the fleet embarked for Sullidaan.

The battlegroup had at its disposal several regiments of Imperial Guard from Corellia, Porphyria and Grozny, as well as a company of Dark Angels, so their commander was confident of victory. The landings began in an orderly fashion on 1012.009M42 with 50,000 loyal troops establishing a bridgehead on the planet.

After establishing the location of the strongest forces the Dark Angels launched their attack, supported by GGroznian and Porphyrian units protecting their flanks. However as they advanced they soon ran into troops loyal to the Claws of Lorek, hidden in ambush on the road. Having chosen the place of battle, the Claws now threw in their elite troops against the Dark Angels at the centre of the Imperial line.

Here the fighting was particularly bloody, with both sides taking heavy casualties in a furious firefight which quickly disolved into bitter hand to hand fighting. Neither side was prepared to give an inch and by the end of ther 12th the two sides withdrew from contact to regroup. When the Dark Angels regrouped to their bridgehead however, they soon found themselves in serious trouble. While fighting the Claws of Lorek to a draw, the Chaos forces had driven into their flanks, devastating the Corellian Storm Guard and decisively beating the Groznian regiments. If they did not retreat now they would be surrounded.

The retreat to the Bridgehead was a bitter pill to swallow for the Dark Angels. They had faced a determined foe far more numerous and combat ready than had been expected, and their own Imperial Guard regiments had crumbled. The Dark Angels had barely evacuated the planet when on the 14th the Porphyrians guarding the landing zone were badly mauled by a surprise attack from the Claws. The Dark Angels escaped, taking with them as many Guardsmen as possible, but Battlegroup Apocalypse suffered a serious reverse, while the Claws of Lorek consolidated their power and influence not only in the Perseus Deeps, but within the ever changing and shifting hierarchy within the factions of Chaos.

Nazghat’s Empire resurgent

With the Imperium's success in the defence of Farport a mood of optimism spread throughout General Thaddeus Roover's commanders and led at least one into a rather rash action. Whereas before General Alexander had been cautious in his approach to the pacification of the Shadow Worlds, in early 12.009M42 he became much more bold in his attitude and strategy, especially in regard to his prosecution of the war against Warboss Nazghat.

Consulting with the Reaper Angels, who agreed to help, the General steered his formidable battlegroup to the Bothorion system on 0212.009M42 with the intention of re-establishing an Imperial presence on the world and intending to once again wrestle the planet from Nazghat's grip. He thought that with the Astartes troops attacking first and with his overwhelming superiority in space, that the deployment of ten Guard regiments would scarcely be necessary. Once again Nazghat, and Bothorion, proved him wrong.

Since winning the world for the third time Warboss Nazghat had no intention of letting it go again and had stationed some of his best warriors on the planet. His followers, numbering hundreds of millions across the Mabb Nebula, had been in the proecss of fortifying the world when the Reaper Angels attacked. At first the Space Marines made good ground and established a perimeter, but is soon became apparent they had underestimated the Orks. As half a company sacrificed themselves to the bloody violence of the greenskin race on their small perimeter, the rest were forced to begin organising a hasty evacuation.

On the other side of the planet Alexander had landed three initial regiments of Librian Guard, including the Librian 45th Grenadiers, a fully mechanised regiment with a great deal of experience. Alexander hoped this mobile forec would be able to cross the barren southern hemisphere in just a few days and catch the Ork forces by surprise, from an unexpected direction. However after just four hours of being planetside the Librians found themselves under attack.

Not only had the "surprise" landing not taken the Orks by surprise, the Librians had landed amongst some of the toughest Ork formations, who were in the southern hemisphere constructing Nazghat's fortifications. Bad intelligence and poor regard for Orky intelligence had allowed Alexander to blunder into a hornet's nest. The fighting raged for over a week, with neither side making progress and taking heavy casualties. The Librian regiment (only the 45th ever managed to deploy) suffered nearly 50% casualties before it was withdrawn and lost much of its equipment.

Technically the fighting had been evenly matched, but by 1612.009M42 the planet was once again unmolested by Imperial intrusions and Nazghat set about completing his defences. Bothorion would now need more than a mere battle group to be returned to the Emperor's light.

Following the battle an almost unheard of and most secret agreement was reached between Nazghat, and the Eldar. After hours of wary bargaining the Eldar agreed to leave Fort Sparcos to the Orks, in exchange for the complete withdrawal of Ork forces from Mael Kithlan. Amazingly both sides kept to the agreement and no shots were fired. Mael Kithlan was returned to the Eldar while Nazghat finally got his prize, the second fortress of the Mabb Nebula. Of course, the Eldar made sure what was left of the Imperial fort was utterly unuseable before departing, easily outwitting the Ork Warboss and sabotaging the installations, lacing them with booby traps.

Nazghat was not overly concerned, and all around the ruins of the Imperial fort the screams of thousands of gretchin testified to the Orks efficient trap clearing methods...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The defeat of the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet was a blow to the Imperium as it appeared that the new chaos fleet's commander was not, as had been hoped, inexperienced and rash. The Imperium's fortunes were about to change however, as late on 0312.009M42 Jellicoe's fleet, comprising of the battleship Resolution and four cruisers finally arrived in the Farport system.

The chaos fleet, having driven off one Imperial force, now turned to meet the new threat. They could now call upon six cruiser, including two heavy cruisers, but would now face an immensely experienced admiral, whos previous successes against admiral Thokk and his predecessor's failures against the pre-heresy equipped UFP fleet would stand him in good stead.

The chaos fleet approached aggressively, in line abreast, while Jellicoe arrayed his ships two points to starboard, his vessels approaching slowly, keeping the short ranged Aboukir and Cressy behind gas clouds. The Repulse moved in behind Resolution, which took stations behind the six sword escorts. Glorious took her position in the middle of the Imperial battle line as Jellicoe attempted to fully utilise his Nova Cannons before the short range power of Repulse and the two gothics finished off anything which got too close.

The chaos fleet was organised as before, with the slaughters approaching quickly in an attempt to outflank the Imperial fleet while the Hades and Carnage provided heavy gunfire support. The Styx and Devastation kept close to their heavier consorts, ready to unleach waves of bombers or assault boats.

After a breif long range exchange which saw the Imperial escorts badly mauled, the Imperial vessels achieved their first success, hitting first the devastation and then the styx class vessels with their nova cannons. Repulse in particular proved accurate, crippling the chaos heavy cruiser. In just two plasma explosions the Imperium now had the upper hand.

Repulse herself took moderate damage as the Hades and Carnage vessels closed, but the Carnage class chaos vessel was brutally punished by the guns of Repulse and Resolution. Another chaos vessel was forced to disengage and long range lance shots from the Imperial battleship ensured the second chaos carrier would also pay no further part in the battle.

With three ships disengaged it looked like the chaos fleet would be obliged to withdraw. the chaos admiral however was determined to inflict some damage on his enemy, and he rashly ordered the two slaughter class vessels to full speed. At close range their gunfire did managed to cripple the Aboukir, but not before the lances of the gothic class cruiser and her sister ship, Cressy, reduced one of the enemy cruisers to a blazing hulk. The chaos admiral had his revenge, but at the cost of one of his ships.

By now, after nearly an hour of fighting, the chaos fleet was in no position to carry on. The Imperium had disengaged Aboukir, but with the Resolution undamaged the Imperium had four capital ships, including a battleship, to the chaos force's two. Realising the battle was lost the chaos fleet disengaged from the field of battle.

Jellicoe's timely arrival destroyed the last fighting force of the chaos invasion and essentially trapped the invaders on Farport. With only the Catechism's device to reinforce and resupply from. Although not a crushing victory the Imperial Navy had played their part in ensuring the Farport system remained in the shining light of the Emperor.

Imperial order of battle
Retribution class battleship – Resolution
Mars class battlecruiser – Glorious – light damage
Gothic class cruiser – Aboukir – crippled
Gothic class cruiser – Cressy
Dictator class cruiser – Repulse
6 swords – crippled or destroyed

Chaos order of battle
Slaughter class cruiser – unknown – hulked
Slaughter class cruiser – unknown
Carnage class cruiser – unknown – crippled
Hades class heavy cruiser – unknown
Styx class heavy cruiser – unknown – crippled
Devastation class cruiser – unknown – crippled
3 infidels – crippled
3 iconoclasts – crippled

Chaos reinforcements maul Adeptus Mechanicus

The defeat of the Night Lords fleet was a blow to the forces of chaos but not a crippling one. They still had eight capital ships undamaged and roving the system. The largest group of six capital class vessels, along with six escorts, encountered the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet between the orbits of Gideon and Phyragia.

Upon detecting each other the fleets formed up into their battle lines with the chaos fleet approaching abeam in line astern and the Imperial vessels approaching with their armoured prows and torpedo tubes aimed at the enemy. A lucky shot however would make all the difference.

As the two fleets approached the Hades and Styx vessels opened up at maximum range. To the horror of the Mechanicus observers the light cruiser Praesul suddenly broke in two and went dark as a lucky shot broke her back and disabled her main generators. Immediately the chaos fleet had the advantage and the luck stayed with the followers of the powers of the warp.

The Imperial gunnery was poor and the evasive manouevring of the chaos vessels was excellent. As the fleets closed only one slaughter class vessel took any meaningful damage while the chaos fleet crippled two of the Adeptus Mechanicus vessels. Even at close range, firing both her broadsides, the Mechanicus flagship could not hit her mark, and the chaos fleet barely recieved a scratch as the giant battleship fired at point blank range both port and starboard.

With the chaos fleet behind her, the Mechanicus vessel was now vulnerable. Rather than risk his valuable vessels any further the commander of the Machine God vessels abandonned the battle to withdraw the fleet back to Caitlen station where there was hope of salvaging the Praesul and facilities to repair his battered vessels. One of the three Imperial fleets had been put out of action and the battle for Farport system hung in the balance as the Imperial fleet emerged into realspace after the two week journey from the Zadoc subsector...

Night Lords driven off

The first encounter occurred when the Dark Angels arrived at Farport, catching the Night Lords still shepherding the thousands of landing craft onto the planets surface. Just as they completed their landing, the space marine fleet attacked.

The battle of Farport was a one sided affair once the Dark Angels' weapons found their range. Before long, having only managed to cripple one of the marine strike cruisers, the chaos vessels were struggling to disengage. At least one vessel was destroyed and another badly damaged before the fleet fled from the Imperial vessels. In less than an hour the Farport habitable zone was controlled once again by the forces of the Emperor.