Sunday, October 24, 2010

War on Bastien 1810.010M42 - 3010.010M42

Valboris further infested by Tyranids

While Nemesis gradually consumed Betor and the forces of Chaos were locked in battle with the Imperium in the Perseus Deeps, the infestation of Valboris continued. By 2010.010M42 forces loyal to the Claws of Lorek had lost their hold on New Brent City and had been pursued to Inferno by the monstrous swarms of the hive mind.Ten days later another assault by the aliens smashed the Anticross defences in Inferno and began to infest Bartertown. Slowly but surely the Chaos world was falling to the implacable foe.

Bastien Latest

Bastien counter attack: Southern Front

While the Imperium was reeling in the north from the ferocity of the Anticross attack, their prospects in the south were somehwat better. The Chaos counter attack here was to be lead by the Claws of Lorek, with mercenary ork and Covenant support. As in the north the Adeptus Astartes were employed to blunt the attack, with the Space Wolves and Dark Angels working together to stop the Chaos assault in its tracks.

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...

Bastien counter attack: Northern Front

After months of inactivity the war on Bastien heated up once more in the second half of 10.010M42 as the forces of chaos launched a counter attack in the north and south of the planet, at either end of the barren acidic sea which dominated much of the western hempsiphere. The build up was not subtle behind the traitor lines and Imperial Intelligence knew full well that an assault was coming. To head this off General Veers received aid from no fewer than three space marine chapters, the Dark Angels, Space Wolves and Lamenters all sending a company of astartes warriors and support.

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.

Betor Latest

Tyranids progress on Betor

During 10.010M42 the situation in the south of Betor continued to deteriorate as wave after wave of Tyranids swarmed across the southern deserts towards Munchefeld. The city was defended by a company of the Caldon Guard, a regiment newly arrived in the Aleph sector and posted to Betor in the hopes of shoring up the Imperium's crumbling defences there. Although fresh and well equipped the men of the Caldon Guard were unprepared for the mind numbing horror and scale of the Tyranid attack. Their prepared positions were quickly swamped by the tide of writhing alien bodies.

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

Chaos Intrigue and Plot

With the Imperium hampered by Necron incursions and making little if any headway on Bastien, the forces of Chaos continued their efforts to consolidate their hold over their own forces and, if possible, secure new allies in their war against mankind.

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.

Tarsis Major Latest

Tarsis: Imperial offensive falls flat

Following the defeat of Strongspear's Tau forces in late 09.010M42 the Imperium continued to pile on the pressure, advancing east towards Tarsis Prime across the plains of Tuva. Two weeks into this advance however the Imperial high command began to worry. The Tau were giving ground in the worthless open plain but eventually they would make a stand somewhere before the strategically vital capital of the planet.

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

Perseus Deeps Current

Chaos in the Deeps

While Minos was under attack the forces of chaos were also in battle against one another. On Ares a mighty clash of daemonic hordes decided the fate of the planet, with Khorne overcoming Tzeentch to claim the prize. The psychic howls of daemons plagued the sleep of many psykers inhabiting the Deeps, and twelve on Corticant in the service of the Emperor had to be euthanised. Meanwhile on Bastien the internal rivalry between the various factions saw the forces of the Anticross decimate a human army dedicated to a mysterious new arrival to the planet. These fresh troops poured into Bastien's defences, but the the amazement and amusement of the Imperium seemed more intent on fighting with the other factions. Other Imperial analyticae worried that once the battle had been won the hierarchy would be established and once more the forces of chaos would be united in opposition to their invasion.

Chaos assault Minos

The forces of Chaos, aware of the Imperium's difficulties in the Perseus Deeps, but still reluctant to launch a major offensive against them and risk annihilation, chose to attempt to further complicate the Imperial cause by cutting their lines of supply. Once again Lorek turned his gaze to the small Tau outpost of Minos, and he was more than happy to turn the hordes of chaos traitors which had flocked to his banner against the aliens, rather than risk his own precious marine legions.

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.

Necrons plague Imperial crusade

As 10.010M42 began Lord General Veers was still keen to get the crusade against chaos underway once more. For months the advance had stalled and the front lines had barely moved on Bastien. The creation of a new daemonworld on Ares convinced the Lord General even more that action against chaos needed to happen now. However his resources were stretched and his supply lines under threat. Admiral Jellicoe's fleet had lost several ships which were forced to return to Caitlen station for proper refits, while the bulk of the fleet was on duty protecting and defending convoys to the forces on Corticant and Bastien.

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!