Sunday, December 12, 2010
Veers planned to end the campaign by smashing the chaos forces once and for all in the plains of mid-Bastien. To ensure the Claws of Lorek and their followers would dance to his tune, Veers assembled the largest force he had yet deployed on Bastien and drew up his battle plan. Veers planned to advance on a wide flank on the road to Damnation, the most vital remaining chaos stronghold. To lose it would mean certain defeat for the forces of chaos so Veers was sure he would be met by everything the traitors had.
The land between Meshuggah and Damnation was general open and rocky, with scattered settlements and scrubby woods. From 0812.010M42 to 0912.010M42 the Imperial Guard marched forward without meeting much in the way of resistance, and Veers began to worry that the Claws of Lorek were going to resort to guerilla warfare and a slow lingering defeat, rather than the decisive victory he needed. This all changed on the 11th, when the forces of chaos made their final stand half way to the city of Damnation.
The Claws of Lorek had decided to make their stand in a specific location, knowing without any doubt that Veers had been planning an all out attack. Lorek could not have missed the arrival of the Lamenters and Red Angels, nor could he have failed to notice the deployment of so many guardsmen and warhound titans. Sure of Veers tactics, Lorek had set up his own armies barring the road to Damnation. In addition he had arranged for his very own "doomsday device" to be brought into the fray.
The device was similar to the one used in the early phase of the campaign which had proved to be a complete failure, however the design had been improved, and now Lorek had a powerful new weapon with which to meet his enemy. Backed by over a million guardsmen including the Covenant of Damnation, Lorek managed to assemble his own marines as well as those of two lesser legions, plus the help of the daemonic allies of the Anticross. Lorek deployed the Covenant on his right flank, opposite a region of scrubby woodlands, while his own forces protected the centre. On the left flank his elite marines prepared to smash the Imperial forces who had retreated into a defensive compound, while the killing fields of the central plains would be crossed by the brave, and expendable forces of his lesser rivals.
Lord General Veers had a simple battleplan once contact had been made with the enemy. He immediately withdrew his right flank where there were defensible positions available, aiming to hold the flank with Red Angel and Lamenter forces. A violent and bloody contest would erupt here, but the marines had but one job, hold the line and prevent Veers' army from being outflanked.
In the centre Veers deployed his Imperial Guard infantry, the Librians and Praetorians, backed up by Leman Russ battle tanks, basilisks and the might of the Legio titanicus. Here he would push forward slowly, bombarding the chaos centre and taking ground in a "bite and hold" operation. The main thrust however would come from the west. Whole regiments of mechanised Cerberex Guard as well as the mechanised elements from Libria and Praetoria, were being assembled behind the lines for a massive mobile flanking manouvre through the scrubby forests and the now ruined settlement of Skaep. Supported by two super heavy baneblade tanks, Veers hoped that this thrust would smash the forces of Chaos and turn the rest of the campaign into a mopping up operation.
The battle raged for a week over the mid Plains of Bastien. After initial success destroying Lorek's lesser marine rivals, Veers' forces suffered a setback as the first armoured thrust in the west was anihilated by the shock appearance of the Anticross, their soulgrinders wreaking havoc in the Imperial lines and smashing the first attempt to turn the chaos flank. In the east the Red Angels were suffering and the Lamenters captain died ignnominiously fighting an Obliterator. For hours Veers became depressed and morose, convinced the battle was lost, but his generals urged him to remain determined. The second wave would break the Covenant of Damnation in Skaep and the Adeptus Astartes would not let him down.
His generals were right. By 1312.010M42 the chaos assault on the defences in the east was faltering. Despite the appearance of greater daemons the marines had held the line bravely, with the most battle honours going to the captain of the Red Angels who personally slew a Bloodthirster in hand to hand combat. Meanwhile accurate fire from the Imperial battle tanks and baneblades had destroyed many of the soulgrinders and chaos armour, and the second wave of tanks and troop carriers, supported by a praetorian baneblade were making inroads into Covenant forces in Skaep, picking through the ruins of their own failed first attack.
The Chaos Doomsday Device was more effective than in previous engagements, and took its fair share of casualties. However it was unable to stop the Legio Titanicus and the Warhound titan in the centre of the Imperial line marched forward, Librian and Praetorian infantry in tow. Having dealt with a feeble chaos counter attack the Librians and Praetorians in the centre now rushed to the aid of the embattled Space Marines in the east, and by 1512.010M42 the chaos forces had been broken on both flanks.
Lorek, bitterly disappointed, realised the game was up. The rest of 12.010M42 became a scramble to evacuate as many forces as possible from the planet. The elite chaos marines were generally rescued, while the chaos traitor guard units were left to their fate. Entire regiments fled to the mountains of Bastien, where they were obliterated by concentrated lance fire from orbitting Imperial warships. Bastien had been taken back from the enemy and now the work of the Ecclisiarchy began to turn the inhabitants of the planet back to the Emperor's light.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
The offensive began well, and the Khornate units defending Reaverton soon crumbled before the Caldon guns. Meanwhile Claws of Lorek forces defending Meshuggah soonfound themselves overwhelmed by the highly mechanised guard units from Cerberex, and on 0312.010M42 Veers received news that both cities had fallen to the Imperium. The Cerberex guard had even pushed north as required into the mid plains. Then came the inevitable counter attack.
The Khorne marines proved to be more ferocious and had more forces than anticipated, and soon the Cerberex Guard on the mid plains found themselves defending themselves against a furious counter attack. Unable to set up defensive positions in the harsh desert conditions they were forced to retreat, surrendering much of the territory they had gained. However as the Khornate forces approached Meshuggah Imperial resistance grew more determined, and by 0712.010M42 their counter offensive had stalled. Veers continued preparations for his main assault, scheduled for the following week. The Claws of Lorek however had also been husbanding resources and preparing a surprise for Veers' "final phase".
As 12.010M42 began the campaign on Bastien increased in intensity as both sides sought to achieve final victory. Both the forces of chaos and the Imperium wanted to finish off Bastien and turn their attention, at least temporarily, to the emergent Necron threat. Both sides launched major offensives in early 12.010M42, with the Imperium concentrating their forces in the south, while the Covenant of Damnation focussed all their attention on taking back Imperious, or Heretic, in the north.
The initial Chaos assault took the Imperium by surprise. The main forces of Veers' crusade, including the Librian regiments, were stationed outside the city, and only a company of Space Marines known as "the Watch", and some reserve forces now guarded the psychologically significant, though strategically now worthless ruins of the city.
The traitor guard attack was so ferocious that within a day the Covenant had surrounded the marines sheltering in the ruins, and quickly oevrwhelmed them. Veers, embarrassed once again by the loss of the city, immediately responded, sending the Librian Guard into the ruined streets. When the loyalist troops met the traitors, the battle was savage, but the largely infantry based Covenant forces suffered badly in the now mostly flattened settlement. Leman Russ tanks and veteran guardsman mounted in chimeras, supported by disciplined ranks of infantry, mowed down the traitor infantry in droves as they pressed home futile counter attacks. By 0412.010M42 the Imperium had retaken the city once more.
The Imperial hold on Nova Imperious remained precarious however, as late on 0612.010M42 Imperial forces including the Red Angels chapter of space marines were outflanked, and seriously beaten just to the north of the city. The Librians and other guard regiments now holding the city remained in a dangerously surrounded salient of Imperial control.
The Necrons didn't have it all their own way however, as a lightning raid by the Rillietan eldar damaged their installations on Cathasaea and possibly delayed the full employment of the Necron fleet. Why the eldar chose to attack the Necrons remained a mystery, although the Inquisition knew enough of the history of both species to understand the deep hatred which existed between them. The Eldar raid had bought all the other races some time, but nothing more. The Necron offensive was still gaining momentum. Huron advised Veers on 0712.010M42 that if the crusade on Bastien wasn't brought to a successful conclusion before the year ended, they may face a war on two fronts which they had little hope of winning. Veers disagreed, pointing out the Necrons had so far kept their attacks to Chaos worlds, but Huron warned that this would not continue indefinitely. In the meantime Huron began searching the Deeps for signs. Which worlds would the Necrons claim as their own?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Brutal fighting ensued as the Necrons closed in on the major installations of the chaos base. Near the main landing strip the Claws of Lorek put up the strongest fight, but were slowly pushed back into a smaller and smaller perimeter around the base. By 2911.010M42 the Necrons had all but taken the strip.
Further battles on Scallius raged for a week, but by early 12.010M42 it had become a mopping up operation. With a large necron fleet in orbit around the world the forces of chaos didn't attempt to contest the system any longer. In just ten days the Necrons had conquered their first world.
The second raid caused similar damage and netted the Dark Eldar a similar number of slaevs. This time the targer was Ares, and once again the surprise of the raid meant an effective defence never materialised. Both the Imperium and Chaos now had two major threats interfering with their war, the Necrons and Dark Eldar.
The distraction on Blight may have contributed to the Covenant's subsequent defeat on Bastien, when the Imperium, lead by the Praetorian Guard, launched a major offensive in the south. Likely worrying about events on Blight, the leaders of Covenant forces reacted slowly, and by 0212.010M42 the Praetorians had taken significant ground off their enemy and had two of the remaining chaos settlements in easy striking distance.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Veers called an immediate conference of his generals upon hearing the news. Already Necron ships had been detected int he Cathasaea system and huge energy signatures had been intercepted. Worse, the other two necron tomb worlds were also showing heightened activity and for several days the Imperial fleet was put on high alert, fearing an invasion.
It did not come. Instead the Covenant of Damnation at their supply point on Scallius were the first to feel the might of the newly invigorated Necrons, their armies smashed asunder by a sudden and vigorous raid. The Necrons didn't stay however, phasing out after just two days on the surface of Scallius. Just as suddenly the energy signals vanished, but Inquisitor Huron knew this to be a bad sign. the Necron forces, travelling in their faster than light spacecraft were now abroad in the Perseus Deeps. An invasion would soon follow.
As 11.010M42 wore on there seemed to be no end to the fighting on Bastien. The deadlock remained and the two sides poured vast armies against each other without great success. On 1811.010M42 the Covenant of Damnation, who made up the lions share of troops on Bastien, began a well planned and brutally simple advance on the Imperial lines. Despite taking heavy casualties the Covenant forces ploughed forward, grinding down the Imperial Guard facing them in a war of attrition.
Unwilling to continue this death match General Veers accepted the aid of two Astartes chapters, including the Dark Angels. The Dark Angels moved in first, attempting to secure forward positions to allow the recapture of Heretic. The insertion mission was a disaster however, and the front line moved ever further away from the city. Many valuable Dark Angels were lost in the mission, but the other marine chapter was undeterred.
The section insertion mission followed a similar pattern to the first, but the chaos forces were taken utterly by surprise. They did not expect a second attack to be almost identical to the first. Suddenly key installations in Heretic had been siezed and the Covenant's supply lines cut. Now, with increasing pressure from Veers' guard regiments, the chaos army now found itself in full retreat. By 2311.010M42 the front line had returned to its previous position and Heretic was once again in the hands of the Imperium, the shattered smoking ruins being renamed "Nova Imperious".
Despite this return to fortune and overwhelming logistical superiority General Veers was unable to maintain the momentum. Once again the fighting bogged down into a familiar pattern and sweeping advances were replaced with trench warfare. The Astartes were recalled and the stalemate resumed. Veers knew he needed a new tactic and started planning for a "Big Push" to take place within the next couple of months...
Commander Fastblade was a veteran in defending Minos however and the Dark Angels were easily spotted and taken apart by his highly mobile hunter cadres. Few Dark Angels survived the massed pulse rifle and railgun fire and those who did lost all their heavy equipment. The Imperium quickly abandonned the idea of using Minos as a base for the crusade, but commander Fastblade ordered a strengthening of defences in any case. This time he was successful and in addition to the world's new defences, Admiral Swifstar's fleet was ordered to send a force to Minos to dissuade any further enemy intervantion.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Fighting desparately the Astartes chapter found itself outgunned and outnumbered, lacking sufficient support units and vehicles to fend off the crazed and determined traitor guard forces. By the end of 1911.010M42 the city of Imperious had fallen to chaos once again and the brave Red Angels defenders had been wiped out.
The loss of Imperious was a huge blow to Veers. Once again chaos had wrestled a key city out of his grasp and the Imperium now controlled fewer than half the cities on the planet. Not only was this a setback but Veers knew his career, and perhaps his life, rested on the result of this campaign. Now more than ever he felt bitterness at the loss of the Corellian Storm guard to other campaigns... )
Jellicoe dispatched the newly arrived battlegroup Cardale to investigate the threat, assuming that the force belonged to Tragean, Thok or Shaidar Haran. The three largest chaos fleets known to exist in the sector.
Commodore Cardale led the battleship Agamemnon, the cruisers Glorious, Cressy, Aboukir and Repulse, along with three sword class escorts to the Parthenope system on 1111.010M42. There he was rather surprised, and somewhat alarmed to find the sensor returns of five capital ships, none of which had been encountered before.
After a detailed search of old Imperial naval records the ships were identified as the battleship Savage Messiah, the heavy cruisers Iron Juggernaut and Hand of Tartarus and the cruisers Devastation and Black Wolf. Somehow Lorek, the “Master of Chaos” had got his hands on a fleet.
Cardale immediately gave battle, informing Jellicoe before he drew up his battle line. The two gothic class vessels deployed slightly to starboard of the Agamemnon while the Nova cannon equipped Glorious and Repulse brought up the rear.
The two fleets approached each other with the chaos fleet attempting to close the distance quickly to avoid long range nova cannon fire. Despite taking several hits the chaos fleet made it, though Savage Messiah suffered some damage. Cardale, feeling the time was right began to prepare for his tactical move which he hoped would rake the chaos fleet’s stern and deliver him the battle.
Just as he was deploying his ships for the turn, a strange reading appeared of the fleet’s aft, throwing the Imperial force into confusion and losing valuable minutes. A daemon ship had appeared, and then just as suddenlty vanished.
This confusion allowed the chaos fleet to weather the storm of the Imperial battle line and at close range pummel the closest ship, the Repulse with devastating firepower. She attempted to break off but her fires picked her out against the blackness of space. Within an minutes concentrated chaos firepower had reduced the ship to a smoking hulk.
Having lost one of his capital ships Cardale now successfully crossed the chaos fleet’s “T”, swinging Agamemnon and her two gothic class consorts round the rear of the chaos battleship. Opening up with massed lance fire the Savage Messiah and Black Wolf were soon crippled. Fortress of Hate soon followed, a lucky nova cannon hit from the Imperial battleship causing horrific damage.
Then once again the daemonship appeared, but this time took on corporeal form. Identifying it as the ex-Harbinger of Pain the Imperial fleet opened up as she charged them in a suicidal action. The daemonship met the same fate as the Repulse reduced to a spinning, drifting hulk of metal which disintegrated against a wandering asteroid. Whether or not the ship would be seen again however, was not discussed.
Following the loss of the daemonship the chaos fleet disengaged its crippled cruisers. Soon the traitor forces were reduced to a mere two capital ships, facing a battleship and three cruisers, though Glorious was forced to disengage soon after the destruction of the daemonship as both remaining chaos vessels targeted the Imperial carrier as the closest target.
Taking no chances Commodore Cardale continued to shadow the two chaos vessels for some time, before they decided they had suffered enough losses and disengaged. The Imperium had won the battle, but the loss of Repulse, though her hulk was towed back to Caitlen Station some time later, left a bitter taste in Jellicoe’s mouth.
Harbinger of Pain hulked
Savage Messiah crippled
Black Wolf crippled
Fortress of Hate crippled
Veers asked for reinforcements, but was denied. The Tyranid menace was winning on Betor, the Tau were barely being held on Tarsis and the Inquisition were becoming decidedly edgy about the planets Cathasaea, Gamador and Malius. The Lord General had to make do with the forces at his disposal. Veers met with his tacticae in late 10.010M42 and unexpectedly asked for advice.
There were many voices clamouring to capitalise on this rare opportunity, but Veers favoured one of them, that of master strategist Hyram Alderbrand more than the rest, and he accepted a lot of the old man's suggestions. To defeat Chaos would mean ensuring their supply was cut off. Bastien would be given enough forces to hold the line but the Chaos bases around the Bastien system must be raided, overrun or destroyed. Meanwhile Corticant was becoming a bottleneck for the Imperium. Another base was needed in the Perseus Deeps to become the centre of operations for the peripheral raids.
Veers redeployed his forces. Most of the Space Marine chapters at his disposal joined the Blood Drinkers on the newly established base of Aganthus, which Veers ordered to be enlarged and fortified. Even the Lamenters chapter, shunned by many of their peers, was included in this. The Lamenters however based themselves on the opposite side of the world to the rest of the Imperial base, which by 0511.010M42 was a riot of construction activity and a logistics nightmare.
Jellicoe increased the fleet's presence in the Deeps, the only reinforcements the crusade received, moving the fleet that had been blockading Tarsis, with little or no effect, to Corticant, while Dreyer's battlegroup moved to Aganthus. With his new dispositions Veers now plotted the next course of the Perseus Deeps campaign.
The first part of Veers' new strategy called for the annihilation of their base on Aethor. The Adeptus Astartes agreed to this task, as it would be dangerous and well behind enemy lines. Their task was to render the base at Aethor unuseable and to scout out likely landing sites for an Imperial Guard ground crusade.
The Lamenters and Red Angels carried out their tak with great zeal and courage that is expected of the genetically enhanced superhumans. The Lamenters raided the southern hemisphere, destroying a company of Khorne Bezerkers who were soon to be embarked for the War on Bastien, before blowing up the main facility in the south and returning with most of their comrades to the safety of their orbitting strike cruiser.
Meanwhile in the north a small team of Red Angels successfully scouted a likely landing ground in the northern plains of the savannah which covered much of the planet. They were spotted however by a patrol of Chaos Marines, but held their ground when the traitors attacked long enough to escape with their valuable data. They also killed a score of some of the Imperium's deadliest foes.
Much of Aethor was left untouched, though a great deal of damage had been inflicted by the raids and general Veers now had enough information to plan a landing. Then on 1611.010M42 a shocked Veers learned that the Eldar had repeated their attack of the previous month and raided Aethor themselves once again. The bloody raid, which decimated yet another company of Khorne Marines rendered the base of Aethor useless to the Chaos forces in the Perseus Deeps for several weeks.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
The Shadow Worlds had been relatively peaceful for much of 010M42. The Imperial crusade in the Deeps and the continued campaigns on Tarsis and Betor had meant a distict lack of focus on the Alphe and Shadow Worlds theatres of war. The Orks meanwhile appeared to be spending much of their time fighting among themselves, with both Waagh Snazteef and Waagh Nazghat apparently having both collapsed towards the end of 009M42.
The Eldar remained too weak to restart an all out war in the Shadow Worlds region, so instead used their webway portals to launch a punitive and successful raid against units of the Covenant of Damnation, based on Scallius. The Chaos forces were taken by surprise and the Eldar were able to obtain several important artefacts and deal the traitor units a heavy blow.
Exactly why the Eldar chose 11.010M42 to conduct this raid, and how it would ultimately help their cause remained unknown to outside observers, but the damage to the chaos forces certainly hindered their campaign against the Imperium.
Reports of the Blood Drinkers were sparse in early 11.010M42, but it is known that they carried out two raids against chaos forces in the Perseus Deeps. The first raid was costly, and unsuccessful, seeing the Astartes chapter soundly defeated by Catechism forces on Ares, but their second, against the Covenant of Damnation, was more successful.
The Covenant forces were still reeling from the surprise Eldar raid so when the Blood Drinkers appeared on 08011.010M42 the traitor guard units were far from prepared. In an operation conducted with lightning speed the space marines tore the rebel base apart, before withdrawing after just three hours on the planet.
Veers and the rest of the Imperium were unable to say what the Blood Drinkers' mission was, but the space marines were sighted upon their return to Aganthus, carrying with them something concealed in an ornately decorated casket in a procession which included several marines, all of whom had their heads bare and bound. Clearly the artefact concealed within was of great importance to be treated with such reverance by the Gods of humanity,
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
On 2710.010M42 the garrison on Aganthus was raided by Necrons who appeared from nowehere, destroying a key military base and settlement and defeating the Caldon Guard before disappearing once again. Later in the week Imperial spies heard of a similar raid against Blight, where the Clawes of Lorek took heavy casualties.
Admiral Jellicoe, commander of the Perseus Deeps Crusade fleet, searched in vain for any Necron ships in the vicinity, but General Veers was forced to reinforce his position on Aganthus, robbing the front lines on Bastien. The Necrons had become a serious thorn in the side of both sides contesting the Perseus Deeps. Neither side realised the real threat the Necrons faced however.
The Caldon Guardsmen didn't have to wait long for the inevitable assault. Wave after wave of Tyranids boiled through the narrow streets and headed directly for the defences. Flying and tunnelling bio-constructs ranged ahead of the main assault, seeking to bog down the defenders and reduce the fire power directed at the main swarm. The first defensive line quickly fell, buried beneath a writhing mass of alien killers. But there were two more lines and gradually the Caldon's firepower took its toll on the attackers. When the Tyranids reached the final position the depleted swarms lacked the strength to complete the assault and like a retreating tide the Tyranids withdrew, leaving only the uncountable corpses of their dead and those of the Caldon guardsmen killed in the attack. As the death count mounted for both sides the Caldon Guard grimly continued to build up their position, knowing there would be more carnage to come.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Imperial pre-emptive strike began well, with the Space Wolves ambushing the Claws of Lorek forces spearheading the drive towards the southern Imperial defence lines. Lorek knew that failure here would mean the loss of Meshuggah and Reaverton, which would be a severe blow. The Space Wolves knew this too, and after dispatching the lead elements of the enemy force, secured a path for the Imperial Guard following up to surround Mesuggah. They held on to this for several days, but due to events in the desert they would be forced to withdraw.
Further south the Dark Angels were looking for the Orks of Thrugnik, a new Ork warlord who had apparently accepted the pay of the "Master of Chaos" in order to secure himself loot, booty, glory and bloodshed. The Dark Angels succeeded in their task but were quickly overwhelmed by greenskin numbers. Imperial intelligence on this had been incorrect and the Space Marines barely managed to extricate themselves from the jaws of the advancing greenskin horde. The Orks then turned north, threatening to cut the Space Wolves off. Amid much acrimonious debate and cries of treachery by both the Dark Angels and Space Wolves, the latter were forced to abandon their forward position.
On 2410.010M42 General Veers took charge in the south, deploying the main force of his army here for a "big push", a war of attrition designed to grind down the Chaos forces in the knowledge that he could replace his losses the faster. Veers also quietly asked for no more help from the Space Wolves and Dark Angels, who were blaming each other for the lack of progress so far. Veers feared they would turn on each other, so it was the Imperial Guard who now moved up to deal what Veers hoped would be the final blow to the Claws of Lorek and their dominion in the south of Bastien.
The broad front advance went well to begin with as Caldon Guard regiments ground down the traitor guard units of the Covenant, opening a gap and allowing the Librian 99th Mechanised and Prozan 3rd Cavalry to push through to Meshuggah. The city fell after a brief battle on 2510.010M42, but the forces of Chaos soon responded. On 2710.010M42 the counter attack came as the Claws elite marine forces, backed up by Covenant reserves moving in from Reaverton, pushed into the city.
Both sides used heavy artillery extensively, levelling the settlement and creating a hellish battlefield of stray rounds and deafening explosions. The Librians, furthest forward, though supported by Prozan Stormtroopers, weathered the initial onslaught, causing carnage in the Covenant ranks. The Prozan Stormtroopers excelled too, charging enemy rhinos armed only with krak grenades, often destroying the transports heroically before being wiped out. One day into the fighting Veers ordered in the Prozan airborne units to bolster the line.
The air cavalry assault was less than successful as the Covenant and traitor astartes units were suddenly reinforced, at exactly the right moment, by deep striking obliterators which made light work of the thinly armoured vendettas and valkyries. Most were downed upon arrival and the obvious losses being taken by their comrades seemed to have an effect on the Librian veterans holding the Imperial right flank. Firing wildly at the approach of a force of land raiders, hitting nothing, the Imperial right flank wavered, then broke, allowing the chaos forces a foothold in the east of the city.
The battle to the west and in the outskirts of Meshuggah was no less brutal, and here the loss of the airborne cavalry was felt the hardest. Although by 2810.010M42 the Imperial right flank had stopped running, it was clear to Veers that to stay defending Meshuggah meant being surrounded. The next day a bitterly disappointed Lord General ordered the retreat.
In the south the Imperium had lost thousands of men and hundreds of tanks and airborne carriers. The Dark Angels had lost a quarter of a chapter and the Imperium had taken just a few hundred miles of worthless desert. Even so, the Chaos counter attack had not been a spectacular success, and in fact the enemy had lost more ground than it had taken, and Lorek himself had lost some prestige amongst his fellow Chaos commanders. The war on Bastien would go on...
In the north the Lamenters attacked just at the time the forces of Chaos, led here by the Anticross, were about to launch their own offensive. The astartes forces ploughed into the cultist forces supporting the attack and made their way to the centre of the Anticross elite forces. However at that moment on 1810.010M42 the leaders of that chaos faction summoned a host of daemons which immediately fell upon the Lamenters. Outnumbered and cut off from supply, the brave if rash marines were cut down one by one in a costly action which allowed Chaos forces to surround and quickly take the city of Imperious.
By 2110.010M42 the Imperial line in the north, weakened by the loss of several front line units since 05.010M42, began to crumble. Soon cultist and Anticross forces had bypassed and cutoff a regiment of Praetorians at the original landing grounds of the Imperial HQ. Daemons were once again summoned and most of the Praetorians were butchered. The landing base was destroyed utterly and by 2610.010M42 the momentum of the advance was well and truly with Chaos.
The Lamenters however refused to admit defeat and devised a clever strategy to reverse the dwindling Imperial fortunes. On 2710.010M42 a small force of Lamenters assaulted Imperious from the air. Well behind the front lines by now, the city was defended by Covenant of Damnation traitor guard forces, no match for the Adeptus Astartes. The Space Marines tore into their lines and seized all the key installations in the city, allowing Imperial Guard regiments to land via specially modified barges. This flanking action undermined the Anticross advance and astutely they withdrew, abandoning most of their games in their haste to avoid being surrounded.
By the end of 10.010M42 the action had petered out and the lines returned to a more static affair. The assault had been costly for both sides and it had looked likely that the Imperium would lose control of the north. However, the timely actions of the Lamenters more than made up for their earlier errors, preventing the north and the city of Imperious from falling back into Chaos hands.
Munchefeld was packed with desperate refugees from the destroyed north eastern provinces. They had nowhere left to flee and the Tyranids marauded through the streets, slaughtering the populous and preparing them for absorption into the hive. As the feeding frenzy neared its height the surviving civilians barricaded themselves into the buildings of the central administratum district and Arbites courthouse. There they prayed to the Emperor for salvation and to their wonder and awe they were answered!
Descending on pillars of fire, angelic warriors of the Emperor's Space Marines dropped directly into the writhing masses of bio-engineered killing machines. There they set about clearing the infestation with bolter and power sword. In some of the most brutal close quarter fighting yet seen on Betor they cleansed the central districts one street at a time, leaving them piled high with xenos corpses. Then, as suddenly as they had arrived they departed, vanishing without comment and seemingly uncaring of the joyous citations of the grateful populous. Their unlooked for intervention gave the remnants of the Caldon Guard the opening they needed and they quickly moved to retake the city. Nemesis was still disrupted and confused from the brutality of the marine assault but even so it was hard going. Casualties mounted and slowly the guardsmen re-asserted their control on the cities central districts.
In an effort to sustain the counter attack a task force of Astartes of the Red Angels chapter arrived to continue the offensive. Their recklessness proved to be ill judged however when Nemesis proved to be less weakened than intelligence suggested. A forward reconnaissance patrol was ambushed and butchered by waves of Tyranids as they moved through one of the cities central parks leaving only a single survivor. Realising the danger of a break through the lone marine called in an air strike from the chapter's Thunderhawk gunships to contain the outbreak. Hundreds of Tyranids were obliterated in the bombing run but so to was the valuable gene-seed of the chapter's fallen.
The brutal fighting continued with the fate of Munchefeld held in the balance. There could be no retreat for the Imperial forces stationed there. There was nowhere left to retreat to. They would win or they would die.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The Claws of Lorek had already unsuccessfully attempted to bully the Dark Eldar in the region into joining forces with them, and the result was an angry Dark Eldar warband on the loose in the Perseus Deeps. Eventually however the forces of the Anticross caught up with them when they tried to raid Blight, inflicting a heavy defeat on the aliens.
Meanwhile the Claws of Lorek had troubles closer to home on Bastien itself. Millions of cultists, bandits and general outlaws had joined the crusade against the Imperium and the defence of Bastien. Now however some Guard units were getting out of control. Lorek decided to intervene, raising a host of daemons with the intention of putting down any rebellion before it could begin. He was disappointed however when the daemons he summoned were swiftly banished back to their non corporeal realm.
The Traitor Guard units on and around Bastien became less and less manageable in early 10.010M42 and many felt that the Claws were beginning to lose control over their forces. A potential pact between the forces of Chaos and the Orks was ruined on 1310.010M42 when traitor Guard units attacked the force of Orks Lorek was trying to engage with. The Guard regiment in question was defeated and an ork raiding party with its blood up was added to the woes of the Master of Chaos. The Imperium meanwhile continued to step up preparation for a new offensive on Bastien with extensive manoeuvres involving the Caldon Guard and Space Wolves.
Cunningham continued to advance on a broad front, knowing this would be the best plan to employ against the Tau, adding regiments of Caldon Guard to his forces in the north. The Caldons had recently arrived and unlike the Prozans were fresh and not battle fatigued. On 0310.010M42 Cunningham moved the Caldon Guard into the front line to continue the assault.
At the very time of the switch Strongspear counter attacked, throwing in his best hunter cadres against the new arrivals. In the centre of the new active front crisis suits advanced followed by Tau on foot. Against the veteran soldiers of the Imperium they faired poorly, torn to pieces by plasma shots and lascannons. However this was not Strongspear's main assault. That came to the north, with a wide flanking move employing devilfish troop transports and stealth suits, backed up by an ample supply of hammerhead and broadside railguns.
Initially it seemd that the largely static lines of Caldon Guard, supported by plasma and lascannon weaponry as well as numerous sentinel scout walkers and Leman Russ tanks, would hold of the Tau advance. The casualties they caused in the Tau centre caused the aliens to waver, and a whole section of Strongspear's troops began to fall back. The decisive blow came in the north however, and once the railguns of the Tau began to get to grips with the Imperial Leman Russ tanks and sentinels the Guard forces could nto respond to the fast moving Tau. By 1110.010M42 the Tau had secured their main objective, the Imperial supply line on the main road to Tarsis Prime.
Realising his predicament General Cunningham reluctantly pulled his troops out of the line and retreated back to the mountains. The Imperium had suffered more heavy casualties and yet by 1610.010M42 the Tau were right back where they started some two months before. The Imperial attack of autumn 010M42 had failed.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
And so on 02.010M42 Admiral Thok's fleet arrived in orbit around Minos. The Tau were unable to match the chaos firepower in space and fled, as thousands of traitor guardsmen dropped, almost literally, into combat on the ground. Many cultists died in the landings, and the drop zones were turned into a hellish cratered wasteland. Rather than let them recover from the uncoordinated drops commander Fastblade sent his mechanised units in against the human armies, tearing their remnants apart with railguns, missiles and pulse rifles.
Despite bravery and accurate fire from the traitor guard units, their losses were appalling. Three days after the initial invasion the chaos fleet left, understanding there was no hope of capturing the Tau settlement. Thousands of traitor guardsmen were left to be wiped out by the Tau. Lorek and the other chaos commanders, though disappointed at the failed landings, grieved little for the loss of so much insignificant life.
By far the most troublesome thorn in Veers' side was the necron threat. Despite securing Aganthus, Cathasaea was now a known tombworld. So far the inquisition had not ascertained its strength or level of awakening, so Veers allocated two of his newest Guard regiments and a company of Red Angels to investigate.
The Imperium landed to no resistance on the ground, but as soon as Inquisitor Huron, leading the expedition, approached a forbidding complex of obsidian clad structures the dreaded necrons appeared from out of apparently nowhere. Fortunately Huron was prepared, supported by a brigade of Guardsmen, who managed to vanquish the first enemy wave sent across the harsh terrain of the planet's northern hemisphere. It was a close run thing however, and exuberance on the part of the Imperial Guard almost allowed the necrons to cut them off from their landing zone.
The victory did however allow Huron to continue his investigations. Then, on 0410.010M42, four days into the expedition, the Necrons attacked in force again, this time in greater numbers. Huron ordered the Guard back and began re-embarking his forces. There were too many Necrons for his small force, but the Red Angels volunteered to stay behind to defend the landing perimeter. The necrons showed them no mercy, and few of the chapter made it back to the Imperial base on Aganthus.
Huron's expedition had only half succeeded. He had found out the planet was indeed home to a mighty force of Necrontyr, and even a fleet of warships. How long it would before they fully awoke, if they awoke at all, he could not say, and Veers refused to give the Inquisitor any more of his forces, whatever his rank and privilege demanded!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
General Cunnigham was intent on winning the war on Tarsis. This had become a grudge match between the two species. Echoes of Melberg and Myrentas were clear for all to see. The spectres of those grim and hard-fought campaigns lingered in the collective minds of the commanders on both sides of the conflict. This was less a war and more a matter of pride.
General Stonewall had been tasked with “renewing the momentum of the war” against the Tau. He and Cunnigham conceived of a combined attack to re-open the front. The Prozan Airmobile Cavalry would strike deep and fast across the Tau lines and secure forward positions. The armoured ground forces would then further open and exploit these corridors in an attempt to engage to Tau army piece-meal.
On 02.010M42 Colonel Moore had the honour of leading his 7th Cavalry Brigade across the Tuva plain. At dawn’s first light the bugle call heralded the flight of scores of Valkyrie assault carries, escorted by Vendetta and Vulture gunships, spearheading across the front. Their mission was to capture Landing Zone Alpha- a township that, though practically destroyed by the months of war, remained a viable strategic point owing to its excellent road networks that would allow the rapid advance of tanks and mechanised troops across the front lines.
The airborne assault took Fish Face completely off guard. In perfect co-ordination the 7th Cavalry swept down upon the town to ambush the Tau armour that was defending that area of the front. The Glory Boys had proven today that their bravado was not idle boasting. Using their grav-chutes they dropped into the midst of the enemy and despatched several armoured vehicles before rushing for cover. As one wave, the gunships and assault carriers bore down on the outnumbered Tau.
Ol’ blue skin was not about to give up without a fight. A detachment of Broadside Battlesuits, concealed within the ruins of and old factory complex, showered the incoming cavalry with railgun rounds. They quickly downed several gunships and caused heavy damage to many more. The Tau recognised the threat posed by the gunships and lent the greatest weight of their firepower to bringing these down first.
The cavalry was unperturbed and forged ahead to the landing zone. With much of the Tau armour neutralised only infantry were left to stand in the way. As the hardened veterans of the 7th dismounted to assault the enemy positions the Tau called in their reinforcements and counter-attacked in kind- a most unexpected turn of events given this species predilection for ranged warfare. More Tau reinforcements closed in from the east, battlesuits of all designations bent on eliminating the assault carriers before more of the veterans could reach their targets.
By 1700 hours the skirmishing for Landing Zone Alpha had degenerated in bitter close-quarter fighting. Gradually, with dogged determination, the 7th gained the upper hand and the Tau infantry were put to flight. The Tau reinforcements, having been on the verge of closing in for the kill, saw their comrades break. As they attempted to consolidate and regroup for a second attack the surviving gunships and carriers of the 7th rounded on them. Suppressed by the great weight of fire brought against them, and without any air support of their own to counter this new threat, the Tau were forced to concede the field. The pennant of the 7th cavalry was raised proudly over Landing Zone Alpha at 2000 hours.
Moore surveyed the field; dozens of blazing and wrecked flyers and enemy tanks littered the town. He had lost no small number of his own men and the Glory Boys had taken heavy casualties, having driven hard into the enemy’s centre ground. But today the 7th Cavalry had proved their worth.
“Sir, sentry detail is organised, sir.” Moore turned to see Lieutenant Briggs standing stiffly at salute. He was dirty and bruised and his left leg was heavily bandaged, though he seemed not to notice. “Look-outs are in position in the munitions factory and the tower block, sir”
“Good work, Lieutenant” Moore’s drawl instantly betrayed his Catachan roots. Many in the Prozan 7th hailed from that forbidding world. Growing up their had made them tough fighters, every man of them. Today they had needed it, and the fighting was only going to get harder from here.
“As soon as General Cunnigham’s boys get here you tell the men to saddle up- Next stop, Landing Zone Beta.”
While maintaining a defensive posture on Bastien Veers continued his efforts to control all the minor systems he could, launching a simultaneous assault on Cathasaea and Aganthus, particularly against the forces of the eldar which had been identified on Cathasaea, and continuing the fight the Dark Angels had begun on Aganthus.
The new regiments of Guard performed well in this operation, overpowering the eldar defences on Aganthus and wiping them out on Cathasaea. By 2509.010M42 aganthus was wholly under Imperial control and it appeared that Cathasaea was also. Jubilant, Veers began the fortification of Aganthus and planned to land more forces to secure the unexplored regions of Cathasaea. He would never get the chance...
To ensure no interruptions to the rituals required, the Orks of Zog would need to be neutralised, and their ability to make war outside of their own system removed. Lorek chose to do this in the most efficient manner possible, sending a very small team in a sleek warship almost undetectable to Jellicoe’s warfleet patrolling the area.
After a week travelling through the immaterium with the Imperium in blissful ignorance, the ship arrived in the Zog system, disembarking its tiny force of five trusted warriors. These five however were about to unleash hell on the Orks of Zog.
Lorek’s small force had with them the ability to summon daemons, and beasts of the warp loyal to Lorek were duly unleashed in the unsuspecting Orks. In the battles which followed the daemons managed to wreak havoc in the factories and spaceports of Zog, despite eventually being banished back to their other-worldy domain. There was no massacre of greenskins, but Lorek’s raid had done just enough to ensure the Orks would not be a problem to the events now unfolding on Ares.
On 3009.010M42, with a psychic shreak which was felt by those sensitive as far away as Tarsis Major, the world of Ares became the third planet under Lorek’s control to ascend to daemonhood.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
While the war on Bastien continues, and with Lorek in the ascendency, the Anticross, chastened, pursued their own goals in the Perseus Deeps. An attack on the Tau colony of Minos launched from Parthenope was successful, and yielded a number of vital raw materials for the Chaos faction. A similar scouting raid on the known tomb world of Gamador faired less well as the Anticross found that the Necrons had not returned to their slumber. The forces of Chaos were attacked as soon as they landed and after an inconclusive firefight the Anticross left the planet to the strange alien race.
Meanwhile the Dark Angels continued what the Blood Angels had begun on Cathasaea. Using ancient technology under the guidance of the Adeptus Mechanicus the space marines systematically hunted down the Eldar forces hiding out on the planet. The Mechanicus were able to locate the planet's ancient wraithbone infinity circuit, and the Dark Angels would lie in wait while Mechanicus and Ministorium work parties attempted to destroy the circuit's nodes. Forced to protect it, the Eldar rushed in and were duly were surprised by the Dark Angels again and again, and by late 06.010M42 only a few pockets of resistance remained.
In 06.010M42 the Perseus Deeps crusade received a slight setback when sector and segmentum priorities saw several regiments under Veers’ command removed and redeployed to other duties.
The Groznian 1503rd were seconded into the service of Inquisitor Rogerson and were to be away on an extended mission of extreme importance to the imperium (to wit Rogerson was pursuing a rogue psyker through a series of barely inhabited planets and the Groznians were to be used to scour those planets and force the psyker out of hiding that Rogerson could confront him).
In addition the breaking point of the Porphyrian regiments in the Aleph sector had been reached. General Ibrahim had to inform Imperial Command that all remaining Porphyrian units in the sector were to be demobilised and hence no longer available for combat duty for at least a year.
At the end of 06.010M42 command of Operational Ground Forces on Bastion was passed from Major General Petraeus to the Cerberex Guard following Patraeus' redeployment. Crusader-General Mallius Maximus Veers, Knight Commander of Corellia retained his position as Overseer of the Crusade, but now with a substantially reduced force. The war on Bastien would not be over quickly now.
06.010M42 finally saw a meaningful counter-attack on Bastien. Following Lorek’s victory over the Anticross he was able to wield his authority over Bastien’s forces, and an organised counter attack soon followed. The Claws attacked in the north, where they had recently lost ground to the Porphyrians and Groznians. The latter had been withdrawn and the front line had been weakened. When the attack came Lorek unleashed his daemons once more and the Dark Angels rapidly moved to block them.
The Marines however suffered badly for once in their encounter with the daemonic legions of Lorek. Taking heavy casualties they withdrew, allowing the Claws to move rapidly along the coast of the boiling sea, outflanking the Damnation defence line and leaving the Porphyrian Guard dangerously exposed.
The Porphyrians, veterans in fighting chaos and daemonic armies could have been expected to hold firm and stop the counter attack, but their commanders knew they were about to be demobilised for refit and many saw no reason to waste Porphyrian lives needlessly. Much to the irritation of General Veers the Porphyrians withdrew to the Imperial base to the north of Imperius and left the crusade. The Claws of Lorek were stopped at the gates of the city, but much of the strategic depth of Veers’ northern defence had been lost.
As the full scale of the Tyranid infestation on Valboris became apparent the planet's chaos overlords desperately sought for a way to stem the tide. With the majority of the traitor legions engaged in the defence of Bastien and the Catechism notable only by their absence the warlords were left with no choice but to treaty with the Gods of Chaos themselves for aid. Through week long rituals of blood and sacrifice and the promise of immortal souls the Dark Gods at last saw fit to gift their repulsive minions with the presence of their power made manifest.
As reality stretched thin a tear in the fabric of the material realm opened, vomiting a stream of gibbering daemons into the heart of the Tyranid swarm. Their target was a massive winged Tyrant who seemed to be directing the attack. The Tyranids, incapable of fear, responded with single minded purpose attacking the daemons head on. Despite succeeding in bringing down the Tyrant the cost to the forces of chaos was impossibly high and all the daemons were banished back into the warp, barely slowing the waves of Tyranids that washed over them. The warlords of Valboris would need to make further sacrifice to stand any chance of stemming the tide, and next time the price demanded by their capricious gods would be higher still.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
After a long period of stalemate the recent gains on Tarsis had been lost to a renewed Imperial offensive. As it began to gather momentum the Tau coalition on Tarsis received fresh re-enforcements. The Ethereals had decreed that whilst the Tau held overall control of Tarsis the continuing low level war was becoming a drain on the Empire's limited resources and that the Greater Good could best be served by bringing the war to a swift and decisive end.
With the material to launch a significant offensive at last at his disposal Commander Shadowstrike devised a plan to turn the Imperium's successful offensive against them. Predictably the humans, with their obsession on claiming territory and locations of political significance were grinding towards the planetary capital, Tarsis Prime. The drive was horribly vulnerable to encirclement but the Tau were prevented from exercising their air power by a newly constructed defence laser silo surrounded by a defensive bunker complex called Fort Frontera.
A contingent of Shadowstrike's own cadres and Commander Moonshine's newly arrived forces were tasked with capturing or eliminating the complex. An initial bombardment of guided seeker missiles destroyed some of the complex and forced its evacuation before the Tau attack commenced. As one of Shadowstrike's Emergent Crisis Cadres made its way through the ruins of the complex, one of Moonshine's more heavily equipped Heavy Blocking Cadres attacked across the planes to the south.
The attack began well as a blizzard of incoming missiles and railgun munitions suppressed the fort's garrison. But then orbital satellites and surveillance drones picked up an incoming wave of Valkyrie and Vendetta gunships scrambled to help the beleaguered garrison. The air caste were unable to intercept the attack whilst the fort was still active leaving Shadowstrike helpless to intervene. The initial blow was heavy as the airborne attack, Imperial commandos hiding within the ruined complex and fire from the heartened Librian's destroyed or incapacitated much of Shadowstrike's tank support. Shadowstrike's Kroot auxiliaries who had been spearheading the attack also suffered heavy casualties and were forced to retreat or face annihilation.
Just as it seemed that the attack would surely fail Moonshine's cadres responded. As they roared towards the bunker complex the Prozan's ran into a virtual wall of railgun and missile fire. Maintaining fire discipline the Tau brought down the Prozan gunships one after another whilst the Librians also began to suffer heavy losses to their tank formations. The fighting within the complex became brutal as Shadowstrike's suites and fire warriors, largely untouched by the Prozan attack, fell upon the confused survivors without mercy as they tried to escape the wreckage of their crashed gunships.
But despite the massive casualties taken by the Prozan cavalry and Librian tank regiments they had succeeded in blunting Shadowstrike's attack, allowing mechanised units of veteran Librian infantry to recapture the bunker housing the defence laser. Although they were trapped within the bunker by the resurgent Tau forces Shadowstrike knew the attack faced failure if the defence laser could not be neutralised. Understanding his duty to the greater good, the commander of one of Shadowstrike's last remaining hammerhead gunships rammed the defence laser itself, damaging it.
It wouldn't take long to repair but the Imperials would never get the chance. Mantas waiting at air bases around Silverbrook took to the skies to deliver their assault cadres to strategic points throughout the region. With the majority of strategic positions around Fort Frontera in Tau hands and the complex itself compromised the Librian's and last remnants of the Prozan cavalry withdrew rather than face encirclement and capture. Soon the Tau had regained the ground they had lost to the Imperial offensive and once more threatened the Grenton mines.
The Voice of Freedom!
In an attempt to bring the war to a swift end and secure support amongst the civilian population and weary guard regiments the Tau water caste have launched “Vox Freedom”. Despite constant attempts by Imperial intelligence to jam the transmissions Vox Freedom continues to broadcast its unique mix of news, current affairs, music and documentaries about the amazing lifestyle enjoyed by the citizen's in Tau occupied territory.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Tau commander Moonshine had made the initial landings on Sartano and unlocked the door to the south, but it would be Strongspear's forces, in late 05.010M42 far more numerous than Moonshine's, who would be expected to continue the advance. Once Strongspear's cadres had moved through those of Moonshine, the newer commander withdrew back to Tuva and Strongspear's forces began moving further inland, heading for the industrial capital of Sartano.
Strongspear's forces were highly mechanised and covered ground quickly. The main Imperial strongpoint lay ahead, where the jungle and wetlands of the coastal region gave way to a wide river valley where factories stretched from horizon to horizon. If they were allowed to get into the built up industrial zone, the Imperium would have trouble shifting them, so Cunningham sent in COlonel Moore's Prozan 7th cavalry at the vital crossroads of Farinelli.
Strongspear's armoured spearhead was making its way straight towards the vital strategic objective of Farinelli, and at first only a few units of scouting strom troopers were encountered. The Tau easily dealt with these and the sporadic artillery which was being launched, rather speculatively, from the industrial zone in the valley below Farinelli. However, at 0900 on 3105.010M42 the Prozan cavalry arrived, determined to ensure the Tau did not break through to the Sartano industrial zone.
The Prozans faced difficulties from the start as their Vulture gunships were caught at long range by Hammerheads as they dealt with infiltrating Tau stealth suits. Most were disabled or destroyed. Next a wave of Vendetta gunships raced into the heart of Strongspear's formations, opening up and annihilating the Tau hammerhead tanks but facing the entirety of Strongspear's firepower. Their retribution was swift and the entire wave of Vendettas was lost. The Tau were now without tanks support, but were still moving closer to the crossroads.As night approached the remainder of the Prozan regiment arrived, moving their Valkyrie transports directly to the vital objectives of the town. There they hunkered down and blew apart any Tau forces which attempted to break into the settlement. The Tau had been stopped. Over the next few days. with the Tau pinned at Farinelli, General Cunningham was able to outflank Strongspear on both sides, and the 7th Prozan Cavalry, despite taking heavy casualties, were involved once more. The regiment had its first victory over the Tau and Strongspear, frustrated, was force to abandon Sartano and the hard won gains made by Moonshine just days earlier.