Sunday, July 29, 2012

Alphe Strategic 07.012M42

Gamordal latest

Rim Worlds; Imperial retreat, tyranid gains

General Alexander's second invasion of New Sparta was progressing well. The Claws of Lorek had proved as weak as expected and within a week of the initial landings lead elements of the Prozan Cavalry had reached the outskirts of the main inhabited settlement on the world, simply known as New Sparta. The forces of Chaos had significantly modified the city since the Imperium had been eradicated from the world in 008M42, and now the settlement was ringed by a set of high walls and watchtowers hewn out of the rough rock of the planet itself. Many had been embelished in typical heretical style featuring great carved skulls and other symbols, although skulls seemed to be a popular choice. Decoration aside the twisted walls presented Alexander with a problem, as the plan to simply assault the city now looked seriously in doubt.

Alexander pondered for a while, then decided that the forces of chaos were weak enough to risk an all out attack on the main gates of New Sparta. The Praetorian 27th, recently landed, were detailed with the main assault, while the Prozan Cavalry would act as mobile reserve should the chaos resistance prove more stubborn than anticipated.

The initial advance went well, but when the Praetorians reached the gate itself the chaos resistance did indeed become stubborn. The Claws of Lorek fought with renewed vigour and the Praetorians found themselves in a bloody stalemate, despite their numbers. Just as Alexander was about to order in the Prozans, a new threat emerged.

Having pinned his enemy at the gates of the city, lorek sent the Conquerers of Gorgoroth around the Imperial flanks, striking at the Imperial rear. General Alexander was forced to hastily send in the Prozan Cavalry against the new threat, splitting his forces. Unfortunately the Conquerers proved to difficult a nut to crack for the airborne units, without access to ground support, and they were forced to fall back to camp Alexander. This left the Praetorians, still stuck outside the city gates, dangerously isolated, and without the reserve in support they were beginning to suffer increasingly heavy losses. Faced with no alternative, Alexander ordered a retreat, finding himself pursued effectively all the way by Lorek and his allies.

By 2607.012M42 camp Alexander was beseiged and the general was finding himself having to explain events to his superior. Plans were drawn up for another evacuation, but on the 27th, everything changed.

The first sign that something was wrong was increasing difficulty in communicating with the fleet in orbit, followed by earthquakes, sudden atmospheric storms and a darkening of the skies above the planet. The ground commander, Colonel Barker, then received a garbled and barely audible transmission from Alexander aboard the task force flagship, informing him that the fleet was pulling away from the planet due to an unforseen Xenos threat. The tyranids had arrived.

The ferocity of the tyranid invasion shocked both the Imperial and chaos forces on New Sparta, but it was the chaos armies which faced their wrath. The Claws of Lorek lost an entire division, half their force on the world, along with several veteran astartes warriors to a vicious alien assault, before much of the inhabited portion of New Sparta was consumed by the tyranids - confirmed as hive fleet Nemesis. The Conquerers of Gorgoroth attempted to counter attack, but met much the same fate, taking terrible punishment and losses before abandonning half of New Sparta's useable territory to its unfortunate fate. Thousands died in the first hours of the invasion, as the landscape itself reacted to the biological assault it was now being subjected to. By the end of 07.012M42 the tyranids had established themselves across much of the planet, and both the forces of chaos and Alexander's battlegroup now had to decide whether the planet was worth fighting for.

Nemesis advances on Alphe

In late 07.012M42 the tyranids on Alphe once again resumed their murderous advance on the planet. By now most of the life on the world had been disolved by pervasive airborne viruses, and vegetation had been reduced to thick pools of nutrient ooze across an otherwise barren landscape. Some farming communes in the far south had so far escaped, but from space much of Alphe was now a brown wasteland.

Food shortages were avoided however, as Alphe was no longer able to export its surplus since the hive fleet came, and so the troops and remaining civilians on the world huddled in the southern cities eating, often for the first time, the riches of their own world.

General Percival had deployed his armies across the lowlands of Farthing plain, a vast region of flatlands raised on a slight plateau. His strongest forces were in the east, as Percival expected a manouvre aimed at joining up the two main areas of infestation in the east and north west. Unfortunately for Percival the tyranids don't think like Imperial Generals and promptly attacked in the west, aiming a ferocious assault at the next nearest centre of population, the city of Valgate.

the Praetorians defending Valgate were unprepared to meet the fast moving tyranids, and simply couldn't kill them quickly enough before their thin lines of red coated guardsmen were overwhelmed by a sea of alien creatures. Biting, hacking and clawing the Tyranids smashed through the Praetorian lines, devastating a whole division of Percival's defence force. The city fell after less than a day, which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians who were unable to escape the hive mind, but there was nothing Percival could do.

In the Valgar valley, just to the south of the city, Percival retreated towards his Librian strategic reserve, and for once, Nemesis made a strategic mistake. The Tyranids eagerly pursued Percival's army into the broad rolling hills of the Valgar region, which rose gradually towards the south. Here, on the hill crests, waited the Librian 40th Armoured regiment, supported by dug in infantry. With a commanding view over the plains, the verdant forests reduced to twisted skeletal husks, the Leman Russ of the 40th regiment poured fire into the hordes of Nemesis. The tyranids were halted in their tracks, their flying beasts brought down by concentrated lasgun fire and finished off by Chimera borne veterans with plasma weapons. To add to the tyranids' misery, Hellhound flame tanks were then sent in, reducing much of the swarm to ashes.

Thousands of shells reduced the hive minds forces to soup, allowing Percival to retake Valgate, or at least its charred ruins. Shortly afterward the eldar appeared, committing themselves to aiding the Imperium in their struggle to rid the sector of the voracious aliens. However, no sooner had Craftworld Iyanden sent reinforcements to Percival's aid, than the tyranids attacked again. Vicious fighting followed and the eldar were soon trapped, then exterminated defending the ruins of the Imperial city. Valgate fell once again and by early 08.012M42 Percival was desperately trying to draw a new defensive line across the Neck.

Perseus Deeps action

In 07.012M42 the Perseus Deeps once again proved to be the most active theatre of war in the Aleph Sector, despite Alexander's crusade in the Rim Worlds and the ever increasing threat to the Zadoc subsector posed by hive fleet Nemesis.

The Tau were eager to consolidate their Empire, worried by the twin threats of the Imperium and the Necrons Empire, now known as the Harakhty Dynasty, but found themselves raided by the forces of chaos from the neighbouring system of Carnage. The Tau had plans to invade Carnage, something which wasn't a well kept secret, and so raids on their military build up became increasingly common in 07.012M42, as the chaos forces, lead by the Conquerers of Gorgoroth, attempted to postpone the inevitable while the Tau constructed a new massive starbase in the Parataea system.

On the ground commander Moonshine took charge of defensive operations, and his changes to the defensive tactics of the Tau Empire had significant positive effects, enabling the Tau to more effectively deal with small chaos forces landed in secret, by fortifying each key position. In addution Moonshine's ideas proved equally suited to the war against the Necrons on Parataea, as the Tau were able to penetrate the dark side of the planet, uncovering many previously unknown Necron strongpoints which were then eradicated. The Necrons launched a co-ordinated counter attack once the Tau intentions became clear, but once again the temporary fortifications erected by the Tau proved decisive in protecting them from the worst the Necrons threw at them. By the end of the month the Necrons had been cleared from 95% of the planet's surface, and the starbase was almost complete.

Elsewhere in the Perseus Deeps the Necrons ruthlessly pursued their campaign of expansion. On Gamordal the Necrons unleashed a massive new offensive, overwhelming the Librians & Prozans at Kerash Opticia and Southrine in a series of costly battles which saw the total destruction of the defenders. The Imperial forces were unprepared for the Necron attack and suffered badly, with Southrine and its mines taken within days of the offensive. Despite utilising the Prozan Air Cavalry, the Necrons controlled they skies, shooting down any Valkyrie or Vulture which attempted to enter the battle. The Librians suffered as well, losing their tanks and equipment, retreating in disarray to Gamordal, which by 0108.012M42 looked at risk of being cut off. On Corticant, General Veers began plans to reinforce the planet, which now looked at risk of falling to the Harakhty Dynasty.

On Calliden the implacable advance of the Necrons continued, with the cities of Hextrac and Durin falling after the Claws of Lorek were massacred in a major set piece battle in the plains between the two cities. As soon as the news reached the chaos cities of the disaster in the plains, many of the defenders fled, retreating to Iron Warriors held cities in the north, hoping the barren wastes of the Caldar plateau would protect them from the advancing metal warriors. With almost half the planet taken, the Necrons decided it was time to offer terms to the battered servants of chaos...

With the Necrons advancing on Gamordal and Calliden, the eldar campaign was in a shambles. Sentinel had been taken but the Calliden adventure had been a disaster. Mindful of the difficulty in attacking a major world, the eldar next targeted Carnage, a smaller world than Calliden, as the next in their line of conquest. The initial attacks went well, with the Conquerers of Gorgoroth defeated on the ground and a bridghead established. Only time would tell if the eldar could take the planet before the necrons turned their attention to it, while the domain of chaos shrunk ever smaller.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Perseus Deeps Influence Progress 09-012M42

Invasion of New Sparta; Imperium create bridgehead

Following the disastrous initial invasion of New Sparta by the Imperium, General Alexander was keen to try again with minimal delay. It was clear that the forces of Chaos in the Rim Worlds had been underestimated, but on 2007.012M42 Alexander heard he was to be granted double the forces to support his campaign in the Zadoc subsector. Encouraged by this the General summoned his Colonels and put together a plan to reinvade New Sparta.

This time the Astarted weren't invited. Alexander would do it all himself, with Guard forces, and allow the Space Wolves to take the blame for the first invasion. With this in mind the Prozan 8th and Librian 14th Regiments were chosen to lead the initial attack on the Chaos world, which had been substantially fortified since it fell to chaos four years earlier.

The Prozan and Librian Guard regiments landed on New Sparta at night in an uninhabited rocky wilderness. An entire base camp with defensive walls was set up within ten hours, large enough to accomodate a landing strip and hangers for an entire naval air wing. The ten thousand troops of the Librian regiment then moved out, leaving a small defensive force and the Prozan 8th behind at "Camp Alexander".

At first progress was good with negligible resistance, until the Librian forward elements reached a set of pre-prepared fortifications barring their way to the main hinterland of the world. After a brief reconnaissance it became clear that only a small force of Lorek's traitor marines held the fortifications, and that a full frontal assault should overwhelm them. To Colonel Barker in charge of the operation, it looked like a trap, but one he was prepared to spring...

As the Librians advanced on the defenders the air crackled and buzzed with unearthly energies, and Barker's hunch was very quickly proved correct, as the Claws of Lorek were suddenly reinforced by a surging horde of daemons, led by no fewer than three monstrous daemonic entities, which quickly moved to strike at the Librian's left flank.

Within minutes of the daemons appearing the Librian assault all but halted. The daemons mainly attacked the Librian left wing, and here they obliterated Leman Russ and massacred infantry squads who had scrambled in vain to take up defensive positions. Barker himself was cut down by a towering daemonic entity, and after several hours of fierce fighting the Librian nerve was beginning to crack.

Fortunatley before his untimely demise the Librian Colonel has sent for assistance. The forces of Chaos had shown their hand and now the Prozan Cavalry were sent in to finish them. Minutes later the scream of jets was heard over the battlefield as Valkyries, Vendettas and Vultures joined the fray. At the same time the Librian's reserve of mechanised infantry and hellhound tanks was thrown in to try to turn the Chaos flank, and the combined firepower of the Imperial tanks and aircraft was awesome to behold.

The larger daemons were dealt with first, sent back to the immaterium by concentrated plasma and lascannon fire. Then The smaller daemons felt the full firepower of the Prozan airborne cavalry, before the transport aircraft dropped off their infantry to secure vital objectives.

As evening approached the Imperial line had held, and a breach in the Chaos defences had been made and was now being exploited by the remaining Librian armour units. With the daemon threat largely lifted, the Claws of Lorek now started to suffer withering fire from the Imperial Guard on the ground, and before night fell they had abandonned their defensive line and fallen back to the next one. The Imperial advance had succeeded and Alexander had broken out of his bridgehead. The Prozan's lost a number of aircraft and the Librians a fair few tanks, but together the infantry had held firm in the face of a terrifying enemy and secured a foothold on New Sparta.

Calliden campaign continues

The war on Calliden continued into late 07.012M42 with the Necrons continuing their advance north. On 2007.M42 the Iron Warriors continued their offensive against the Eldar, pushing the front line back so that the Eldar controlled and ever decreasing pocket of land. By 2207.012M42 the Eldar realised that they would be unable to hold the Iron Warriors without committing thousands of troops, something they were not willing to sacrifice just yet, and abandonned the world, at least for now. The Iron Warriors had seen of the Eldar threat and now turned south west to face the Necrons.

Unfortunately for the Iron Warriors, while they were busy mopping up the Eldar, the Necrons chose to launch their new offensive hundreds of miles west, against the section of the line held by the Conquerers of Gorgoroth. Very quickly the human forces were overwhelmed by the alien advance and the traitor legions of Gorgoroth were required to counter attack to hold the line. The counter attack was however a disaster which saw entire units of traitor astartes wiped out, and their equipment turned into molten slag. Seeing this panic swept up and down the human lines and a section of the front fifty miles long simply collapsed, allowing the Necrons to exploit through the gap, trapping some 300,000 traitor guardsmen in the process.

Upon hearing the news of the collapse in the west, the Iron Warriors quickly moved to establish a new defensive line extending from Hextrac and Durin. This they achieved, stabilising and shortening the line to only a few hundred miles long. However, as the Iron Warriors began fortifying their new defences, it became abundantly clear to the beseiged citizens of Velorur that they were to be sacrificed. After a period of resistance to put on a show, the Necrons easily took the city, their fourth since the campaign began. The region of Midland had fallen and now the north of Calliden and the Caldar plateau lay wide open should the Hextrac-During line be breached.

Nemesis activity increases in the Deeps

Tyranid activity in the Perseus Deeps increased in the second half of 07.012M42, as it became clearer that 010M42 and 011M42's event on Enaloth may have been a precursor to a full splinter fleet rather than a rogue tendril. On 1807.012M42 the Tau colony of Parius reported alien activity, and the Hunter Cadre sent to investigate was badly mauled while trying to clear one of their settlements of the Tyranid menace. The Tau were forced to pull back and surrender the settlement to Nemesis, at least for the time being, until maximum force could be brought to bear.

Meanwhile a similar sized encounter was going on on the Necron world of Enaloth. After protracted fighting with the Necrons ont he predominantly barren world, the Tyranids eventually withdrew, even though they had bested the Necrons in the combat. It almost seemd to Imperial analyticae that Nemesis had no real interest in existing Necron Worlds, but was a direct competitor in resources regarding the rest of the worlds in the Perseus Deeps. Nemesis appeared to understand that the Necron Empire, or Harakhty Dynasty, was intent on dominating the Deeps and enslaving its population to its will, while the Tyranids were themselves intent on harvesting the natural resources of the region. These objectives being clearly incompatible, were apparently leading to Nemesis deliberately attempting to reduce the Necrons' war making assets. In other words Nemesis was participating in grand strategy.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Imperial Priorities

My lord,

As you requested here is a summary of our current strategic position in the Aleph Sector.

The Aleph Sector, divided into the Aleph, Vastrid, Zadoc and Valitane subsectors contains within it vast areas which are not designated to belong to a particlar subsector, such as the Aurelis Deeps region and the Perseus Deeps. In this summary I shall only consider the two theatres of war which are currently active, those of the Perseus Deeps and the Zadoc subsector.

The Imperium currently only has one loyal major world in the Aleph subsector, the rest being held by the rebellious Federacy, and while re-conquest of this region is desirable, it is not of the highest priority. Similarly actions in the Vastrid sector are minimal, while the Valitane subsector remains at peace. The Vastrid sector has seen greater security following the successful crusade against chaos and as such I recommend we keep strategic asset concentrations as they are. A single rapid reaction battlegroup should suffice, led by one battleship and containing no more than ten Imperial Guard regiments, although General Pollack will probably ask for far more resources.

The Zadoc Subsector
Primary Threats: Nemesis, Tau, Orks

Following the loss of Tarsis Major to the Tau we have seen nothing but reversals in this subsector. Betor has been consumed by the Tyranid menace and Alphe is now infested. This has lead to a 75% reduction in the import of foodstuffs on Zadoc itself. While Libria is marginally self sufficient in food, Zadoc, the subsector capital, is not. There have been a number of food riots and the average consumption of calories per day has shrunk to 1500 per person. Tyranteous has responded, exporting 135% of its normal yield, but we urgently need to open a new route for the import of staple foods, or I fear the population of Zadoc may look elsewhere for deliverance. Already chaos cults have been uncovered and there is a growing federacy leaning within the political elite. This may need intervention, but our forces are not strong enough to face the enemies within as well as those without.

The Tau continue to threaten expansion into the Zadoc subsector, but their strength has been spent in their Tarsis and Melberg campaigns, and their bases in the Perseus Deeps have come under threat from the Necrons. I do not forsee a new campaign in the Zadoc subsector by the Tau in the near future, but the loss of the Mabb Nebula would almost certainly see them attempt to wrestle Tyranteous from our grasp, with the obvious dire consequences for Zadoc and to a lesser extent Libria.

The Orks have been stirring of late in the Vork Ork Expanse, and the risk of a new Waagh! is increased. This would likely see aggressive ork actions in the Mabb Nebula and even threaten Zadoc and Tyranteous. Nemesis meanwhile continues to menace at the fringes of the region, and I fear that without decisive action to eliminate the core hive fleet, their projected paths will diverge - one laying waste to much of the Mabb Nebula, the other scouring the Rim World before passing into the Perseus Deeps. We must make a stand against the foul aliens soon.

I recommend the increase of General Alexander's forces to two full battlegroups. The first is already at Alexander's disposal. The second should be pulled from General Veers, as I will explain in my analysis of the situation of the Perseus Deeps. I have also concluded that General Alexander's priorities are correct. We should strike first in the Rim Worlds then join up with Veers in an assault against chaos at Grimlock. This would open a second reliable route into the subsector free from Tau blockade, greatly easing the food shortages on Zadoc. In addition many of the Rim Worlds themselves are fit to be developed into agri-worlds. Since the Tau are as yet weak and the orks only stirring, Alexander has a window of opportunity to clear the Rim Worlds. Then his force can be redeployed to clear the orks and Tau from the Shadow Worlds in the Mabb Nebula. In time this will isolate Tarsis Major and make possible a new campaign there, thos analyticae suggest this may take a number of years.

The Perseus Deeps
Primary Threats: Necrons, Chaos, Eldar

The Perseus Deeps crusade has achieved much, and the strength of the chaos threat to the Vastrid subsector is now minimal. However the further prosecution of the crusade against chaos now seems detrimental to our overall short and medium term aims (much to General Veers' disapproval!). The threat of the emerging Necron Empire is of primary concern, as is the strange new campaign of the Eldar, who have already taken Sentinel and seem intent on taking a number of worlds in the Deeps. As yet (to no great surprise from me) our colleagues in the Inquisition have failed to discern the eldar motives, but it is of no consequence in my analysis of the Imperial strategic position in the region.

I recommend that the gains of Veers' crusade be reinforced with at least one hundred more Imperial Guard regiments. The Astartes are already providing a much needed rapid reaction force, and it is my recommendation that we fortify our hard won gains in the Deeps but at the same time strip Veers of one naval battlegroup, with our naval colleagues' consent, to deploy to the Zadoc subsector as explained above. It is critical that we fight for every inch of ground on Gamador and Ares, though their loss would not be catastrophic. Above all we must not lose Bastien and Parthenope, lest the Vastrid subsector come under renewed threat from an alien menace. I have neglected to consider the Federacy and Tau as a credible threat in the Deeps. The Federacy have shown no expansionist vigour and the Tau are as much under threat from the Necron advance as we are. If they should offer an alliance in the Deeps against the Necrons, we should accept. The Necrons are a far greater threat, and once they are eliminated, the Tau will be a trifling matter by comparison.

I hope you find this summary useful. I look forward to our meeting next week.


Drevin Lourd
Imperial Chief of Staff, Aleph Sector
Attache to Lord General Thaddeus Roover

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rim World Campaign

While General Veers remained on the defensive in the Perseus Deeps, General Alexander was keen to go on the attack with his newly reinforced battlegroup. His invasion of Rhesius was going well, and the general was looking for new targets to assault, keen to clear the Rim Worlds of chaos presence before moving on to his cherished aim, the invasion of Grimlock. After this, Veers could continue the struggle against chaos and Alexander would move on to the Mabb Nebula, clearing the Orks and Tau settlements there and then finally allowing a renewed camapign against the Tau held Tarsis Major.

If Alexander remained in charge of the battlegroup which achieved all this, his heroic status as a mighty Imperial warlord would be secured, but as of 07.012M42 Alexander hadn't as yet managed to achieve his first objective. In addition he hadn't accounted for the renewed vigour of Hive Fleet Nemesis in the Zadoc subsector, but as yet this was of little concern. The war on Betor was dragging on and the minor splinter fleet which had obliterated chaos forces on Typhon were insignificant in Alexander's eyes. Even the loss of Betor, which had by now caused food shortages on Zadoc itself, was a minor inconvenience to the General, who above all wanted his own share of the glory.

To achieve his first objective, Alexander called a war council which included his regimental colonels and a Space marine captain of the Space Wolves chapter. Within hours the council had their plan, and Clinton-Baker's naval battlegroup began to move out of the Rhesius system en route to the new target of New Sparta.

The Prozan cavalry and a few units of Space Wolves were given the task of assaulting the capital of Rhesius, Simius. This they began on 1207.012M42, against determined Anticross resistance. The Imperial forces were then stunned to find themselves fighting Tau units, who had apparently arrived unseen by the Imperial navy, and deployed an entire hunter cadre to aid the forces of chaos. The cadre was deterined to be one reporting to the Tau commander Moonshine, and Imperial intelligence correctly determined the Tau plans. Clearly the Tau understood that after the Rim Worlds, an assault on the Shadow Worlds would follow. In addition the Imperial domination of the Rim Worlds and Grimlock would allow them to completely blockade Tarsis Major, putting the entire Aleph expansion sphere under threat. While the Tau had no love for the forces of Chaos, their occupation of the Rim Worlds had been little more than an annoyance, and the Tau ethereals reasoned that it was better to fight the Imperium on chaos held territory rather than wait until the fight came to them.

Even with this reinforcement, the forces of chaos were unable to stop the irresistable advance of the Prozan Cavalry. The guard regiment worked well with the Space Wolves, and after a day of heavy fighting, Simius had been cleared, the remaining Anticross survivors melting into the vast hinterlands of the world. Their Tau allies were less fortunate. Despite losing comparatively few troops in the actual fighting, most of the Tau were captured by the Imperium, only to be put to death for consorting with the great enemy. A lucky few made it back to waiting Mantas to be evacuated from Rhesius, leaving Tau command to question their new strategy.

While Rhesius was taken, the invasion of New Sparta was an abject failure which enraged the Imperial general. Imperial spies had failed to notice that the Tau were not the only ally the forces of chaos had managed to recruit. On Rhesius the Claws of Lorek were ably aided by a large horde of ork mercenaries, and no sooner had the Imperium landed than they were subject to a vicious and bloody counter attack, led by ork warbikes. The bikes in particular caused carnage in the Space Wolf ranks, before obliterating the guardsmen who had landed with them. Despite a spirited counter attack from Librian veterans, who managed somehow to gun down a charging daemon prince, and an effective if rather late flank attack from elite space wolf units, on 1807.012M42 it became clear that the imperial perimeter was compromised, and Alexander reluctantly ordered a withdrawl, his dreams of lasting glory at least temporarily put on hold.

The Eldar Campaign

Following the successful capture of Sentinel in 05.012M42, the eldar forces in the Perseus Deeps had been occupied fighting necron forces and chaos on Calliden, so when the invasion of Ares came in 07.012M42 the Imperium were terribly underprepared. The settlement of Hephath station, so recently devastated by the fighting which liberated the world from chaos, fell quickly, and General Veers was forced once again to defend one of his newly won worlds from a new alien threat.

Within days of the invasion the local PDF, as well as a regiment of Librian Guard, on garisson duty on the small world, were reinforced by a company of Space Wolves acting as a rapid reaction force. The Space Wolves, supported by the Librian regiment, launched a frontal assault on Hephath station on 1407.012M42 and soon encountered strong resistance from eldar forces, including those of the Rillietan faction. The eldar counter attacked swiftly, collapsing the Librian right flank while the Space Wolves encountered heavy and withering fire from carefully placed war walkers. In a matter of hours the Imperial attack was in disarray, and the guard regiments pulled back to the capital. The Space Wolves fought on for some time, but realised the attack had failed and withdrew to the central plains of Ares from where they could launch new lightning assaults as needed.

By 1807.012M42 the eldar were firmly entrenched in the north of the habitable region of Ares, and Veers began fortifying the neighbouring cites of Ares city and Caeralon. All offensive plans in the Perseus Deeps were cancelled as the Imperium tried desperately to hold on to their hard won gains in the crusade against chaos, in the face of rising Xenos threats.

While the eldar made gains on Ares, another setback on Calliden brought their whole campaign on the major chaos world into question. The eldar needed to secure the world, along with many others, for reasons which the other races of the galaxy were not yet aware, and would fight tenaciously to do so. However on 1507.012M42 a combined assault by the Claws of Lorek and a summoned daemonhost resulted in heavy and protracted fighting in the Eldar occupied Midland region of the planet. The Claws and their allies raced along the western coastal strip, clearing the eldar away from the sea of Tarsh, and pushed the invaders back hundreds of miles from around the city of Durin. By 1807.012M42 after almost constant battles, the chaos forces had blugeoned their way to within fifty miles of the besieged city of Velorur, and the eldar territorial gains had been reduced to a shrinking pocket on the Velur isthmus. Now the strength and power of the eldar was being seriously questioned. Did they have the resources and manpower to sustain a campaign on two fronts on a heavily populated major world?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Rhesius Invasion

By early 07.012M42 General Alexander had managed to build up the forces of his battlegroup to go on the offensive in the Zadoc subsector. Alexander was acutely aware of the scrutiny he was now under from his superiors and the Commisariat. At his disposal Alexander had the naval battlegroup of Commodore Clinton-Baker, led by the powerful Oberon class battleship Royal Sovereign. His ground forces had swelled to include twelve Librian regiments, five Prozan regiments, several specialised reserve companies and the aid of at least two Space Marine companies from the Dark Angels and Ultramarines chapters.

Although this force sounded formidable, Alexander was still forced to fight a war on many fronts and two main theatres. He knew this wasn't something he could do simultaneously. His naval forces would have to be concentrated to achieve overwhelming force, and even then a concerted attack from his enemies may overwhelm Clinton-Baker's battlegroup.

In the Mabb nebula Imperial forces were fighting hard to maintain their bridgehead on Va Doran, but wider strategy made the Rim worlds a higher priority. By striking the last vestige of the Chaos Empire, Caitlen Station would be relieved of its constant watch against Moonface and his allies, and Grimlock could be invaded. If Grimlock could be taken, the Zadoc subsector would be cleared of the Chaos threat, and General Veers would be able to re-start his campaign in the Perseus Deeps, as the remaining Chaos strongholds in the region would be totally isolated. In the Mabb Nebula defeat of the Tau and Orks was desirable, but would take more careful planning and thought. For now the Imperial forces on Va Doran would have to wait to be resupplied.

Imperial strategists determined that Rhesius would make the ideal base of operations. The hot and mainly desert covered world was once a home for pirates and outlaws, before its invasion by the Tau in 008M42. That occupation itself only lasted three months, before the Night Lords established their dominance and set up a Chaos worshipping government. However, since the decline of the Chaos Empire's power, Imperial intelligence estmated that the belligerent forces on the world had dwindled to perhaps a company or two of Traitor Marines and less than a regiment of planetary defeders. As a Chaos world, there remained the danger of summoned daemons, and as Alexander's battlegroup approach, there was a heated discussion over what to do with Imperial regiments should they be exposed to the denizens of the warp.

The battleplan for the invasion was simple and centred around the two major settlements that the half a million strong population of Rhesius clustered around. The capital Simius, and the second city McCak, were situated close to the equator near tropical oases, the only sources of water on the otherwise barren world. In addition, Alexander knew that to take the world quickly, he would need to neutralise the threat from the defence lasers which covered the twin cities.

The Ultramarines chapter were sent in just ahead of the main force, peeling away from the fleet and speeding towards their target. The Astartes warriors landed on 0507.012M42 and began a lightning assault against the Rhesius defence lasers. The Conquerers of Gorgoroth reacted swiftly, counter attcking using their highly mobile elite marines, but the Ultramarines were able to block their advance. Vicious fighting erupted, but the defence lasers were destroyed, allowing Alexander's main battleforce to deploy and set up a defended perimeter between the major cities.

The next phase of the invasion saw a double advance. Intelligence identified that the major enemy force concentrations were situated in the city of McCak, so Alexander sned the bulk of his invasion force, the Librian 86th and the Dark Angels, towards this objective. Meanwhile the Prozan Cavalry were detailed to launch a lightning assault against the capital, as the defenders there seemed to consist of a few thousand poorly equipped cultists.

The assault on McCak started well, but the expected counter assault happened as the Imperium reached the ruins of the original Rhesius Tau base. Forces of the Anticross and the Claws of Lorek attacked in a wide front, advancing towards the Imperial forces across the jungle terrain. The Chaos forces however lacked significant long range firepower, and the Dark Angels and Librian forces worked together to maximise their effectiveness. The Imperial Guard forces were able to outflank the Claws of Lorek while the Dark Angels fought a vicious action in the centre of the front line. Meanwhile on the left flank Anticross forces wiped out the thinly spread Librians, but this had been the intention all along. The Anticross, despite the utilisation of the corruptig power of the warp, were unable to redeploy their forces quickly, and massed battle cannon fire from Librian Leman Russ battle tanks caused carnage in their ranks.

By 0707.012M42 Alexander's invasion force had captured the city of McCak with fairly light casualties, while decimating their enemy. Unfortunately in Simius the Prozan Cavalry were suddenly surprised by the summoning of a daemonic host, as Alexander had feared. The battle centred on an important icon of Chaos which the Imperium had identified was the reason so many daemons could be summoned so easily, but despite repeated attacks the Prozans were unable to wrestle the arcane device from the Chaos forces defending the city. Even so the Prozan's fought tenaciously and the majority of the daemonic forces were obliterated. However the Prozan's lost a large number of men and most of their airborne equipment, and the assault on the capital was called off. Alexander surrounded the city and began preparations for a second assault, hoping the failure of the Prozan attack wouldn't allow time for Admiral Thok or the Catechism fleet to intervene on Rhesius.

War on Calliden

The war on Calliden continued into 07.012M42 with vicious fighting on the Necron and Eldar fronts. On 0307.012M42 the Iron Warriors launched a concerted offensive against the Eldar incursion in the Midland region between the cities of Hextrac and Durin, driving towards the easternmost city in order to lift the seige it had endured for over a month. As usual the most powerful Chaos faction inflicted heavy losses on the Eldar and their line buckled under the relentless pressure. After a week the line had retreated almost a hundred miles and the siege of Durin had been lifted.

Meanwhile in the south the Necrons finally made contact with the Eldar blocking their advance into the Chaos heartlands of Calliden. The Necron invaders had surrounded the major Chaos city of Velorur, and in doing so reached the Eldar sector of the front in Midland. Before long the two forces clashed, but the Necrons proved to be stronger, gradually easing their way into the Midland region and reducing the Eldar perimeter.

On 1007.012M42 the Rillietan faction of the Eldar realised they needed to become involved to prevent the Eldar pocket on Calliden disappearing altogether. Calliden was still vital to the Eldar strategic plan, and loss of the planet to Necrons was just as bad to it remaining in Chaos hands. The Rillietan chose to attack the forces of Chaos in the north, outflanking the strong Iron Warriors force and assaulting the weaker flanks of the recent Chaos advance, defended by the Conquerers of Gorgoroth.

The Conquerers suffered badly to the Rillietan lightning assault, and suffered serious casualties. By 1207.012M42 the Chaos forces had retreated to shorten their defence lines, and the Rillietan had once again expanded the Eldar bridgehead on the world. They still hadn't managed to take any of the major settlements on Calliden, but the Eldar were now effectively the filling in a Chaos-Necron sandwich.

Nemesis penetrates Zadoc subsector

In the middle of 012M42 the tendrils of Nemesis reached ever further into the Zadoc subsector. Before too long Imperial intelligence identified at least two splinters of the main hive fleets, making different tracks through the region. The first made its presence known in the Rim Worlds as the minor agricultural world of Typhon, which had belonged to the Catechism since 008M42.

Since the disappearance of Moonface, Typhon had served merely as a garrison world for the many factions of Chaos, as well as a source of food for the Chaos armies. When the Tyranids attacked on 0207.012M42 the first meaningful resistance they encountered was from the Conquerers of Gorgoroth, but Nemesis had little difficulty in sweeping the Chaos legionaries aside and pushing on to the central facilities of Typhon.

Although a relatively moderate invasion, the Tyranids stills warmed across the surface of the planet, massacring inhabitants and sampling the local flora and fauna for genetic complexity. Nemesis had clearly identified that the Rim worlds were rich in biomass, both amount and complexity, and yet were relatively lightly defended in comparison to the major worlds of the subsector. To the cool unemotional logic of the hive mind, the Rim Worlds represented a profitable enterprise, so long as no side sent major reinforcements. In addition it seemed as though the Hive Mind had sensed the weakness of the Chaos empire, and chosen their moment to strike with careful consideration for the strategic situation. This highly intelligent behaviour was concealed from all but the most senior members of the Inquisition, as assigning so much sentience to the alien threat was heresy. Better that the masses regarded the Tyranids as mindless monsters to be slaughtered.

On Typhon, after the inital spectacular gains, the Claws of Lorek did manage to check the Tyranid advance and deal a heavy blow to the invading forces. Fighting stubbornly and even mounting a counter attack, the outnumbered traitor marines mobilised the local population, and fought tooth and nail for every farm and installation. By 1207.012M42 the invasion had stalled, but the capital Rim World Prime had fallen, and all but a few facilites had been overrun by the alien hordes.

The second splinter fleet made its way into the Mabb nebula, attacking the Orks on fort Sparcos. The Orks would have been utterly unprepared for the Tyranid invasion, had the Rillietan not stirred them up in a lightning assault just days before. Even so, the ferocity of the Tyranid assault took its toll on the Orks and in just a few days the greenskins had lost thousands of troops and much of their equipment. The remaining Ork forces turned tail and fled for the fortifications which ringed the Imperial fort itself, and prepared themselves for the next battle.

The Tau at War

The concerns raised by Tau analysts on increasing levels activity by the forces of Chaos proved well founded. In what was clearly intended to be a quick in and out raid Traitor Marines attacked a small outpost on Paratea. The Tau's surveillance network was quick to detect their incursion and a Hunter Cadre was deployed to the target site before the Marines could complete their raid and withdraw. In a brief but brutal fire fight the Chaos forces suffered heavy losses and the remainder withdrew. Conscious of the increasing number of threats developing in the region the Tau began work on a second major fleet base to shore up their holdings in the region.