Tuesday, December 24, 2013

+++Librian transmitting station Charro relay+++

+++Broadcast on all frequencies+++

People of the Libria system,

We have learned of heretical activity in your sector. The Emperor does not look kindly on your trade with the xenos filth.

Cease all contact with the enemy. Slay any that are in your midst. Deliver the heads of all conspirators and you may yet live.

Failure to comply with this decree will result in severe punishment.

You have until the dawn of the new terran year.

I am Boagrius, Master of the Carcharodons Astra, Bringer of the Emperor's Judgement, Reaper of Fallen Souls.

Fear and Death comes for you. 

Intercepted imperial transmission...

+++Date: LCL.1812.013M42
+++Monitoring Station: Hectorus Alpha
+++Astropath: Keben Alrayiah
+++Security Clearance: Extremis Ultra
+++Ref: Sec.Al.Sub. Zc.724vf.LBr.HRSY
+++Recieved: Inquisitor Lord Natalia Vorushko
+++Subject: Anomalous Imperial Tithe Libria
+++Thought for the day: Blind Faith is a just cause
+++My Lord,

For several weeks I have continued the most holy but labourious task of monitoring the Imperial tithe following your instruction. Despite resistance from the local administratum, who employed much obfuscation and other methods of concealment, eventually I managed to uncover accurate figures for the Librian tithe over the last twelve standard Terran month.

During the year 013M42 there has been no discernable drop in output from Librian manufactorums. The imperial tithe of guard regiments has been maintained, and arms manufacture contracts have similarly been met, greatly contributing to the imperial war effort. In addition there has been no significant drop in output in any sector of the Librian economy.

While the above may appear laudible given recent challenges faces by the system, it is anomalous. Libria has been a key importer from Tyranteous, Zadoc and other imperial worlds in the subsector for many millenia. In addition the system imports vast quantities of raw materials and goods from other parts of the segmentum, sitting as it does at the nexus of warp lanes in the subsector.

Over the last five standard terran years the imports by Libria have steadily fallen due to the deterioration of the imperial position in the Zadoc subsector. The loss of Tarsis Major in particular has seen a dramatic reduction in freight reaching the Librian system, as vessels from the rest of the sector must now brave the upper Perseus Deeps from Farport.

Since the beginning of the wars of Tyranteous and Zadoc, imports have fallen to less than fifteen percent of their pre-war levels, yet the manufactorum output has remained steady during this decline. Despite assurances from the administratum in the system that they were utilising reserves and stock piles, I have since discovered no such stock piles exist.

There can be only one conclusion. The Librian system is importing raw materials and goods from non-imperial sources. It is therefore engaged in heretical activity. I recommend further monitoring of system traffic including the siezure of cargo vessels and a thorough examination of their manifests. Once heresy is found, we must take swift action against those responsible.

This will clearly result in hardships for the population of Libria. Monitoring of the faith of this system should also be monitored for signs of deviancy.+++ 

Carcharadons strike fear into their own

Since the arrival of the Carcharadon Astra chapter in the Zadoc subsector, their leaders had not communicated very much, if at all, with the commanders of the imperial forces on Zadoc. They had aided imperial forces in a number of battles, but in the main they kept their own counsel, their strike cruisers staying at the endge of the Zadoc system like prowling beasts. Communication between the other chapters and the "space sharks" was also minimul, and when they did strike in battle, their arrival was swift, their tactics brutal.

At the end of 013M42 two alarming encounters with the Carcharadons struck fear into the imperial commanders on Zadoc. First, it was rumoured that the secretive chapter had actually challanged the Apocalypse Riders to an honour duel, a staged battle between two chapters which ran contrary to the Codex Astartes, and was only practiced by the most violent chapters. Details were scarce, but apparently the two astartes had selected forces and clashed on an uninhabited planetoid in the outer reaches of the Zadoc system, with the Carcharadons claiming victory. The rumours were backed up by reports that since the "duel" the Apocalypse Riders had been seen in close formation with the Carcharadons' fleet, indicating that the younger chapter had now become part of the older force's "inner circle". The Apocalypse Riders were certainly the only force seen to have real contact with the new arrivals before the end of the year.

The second encounter was no rumour. Without warning the Carcharadons fell upon the Corellian Storm Guard following their retreat from the tau and defeat at Todetto. After overcoming the initial shock, the imperial guard forces fought hard to fend off the attacking astartes, but were outclassed. By the end of 1812.013M42 an entire company of Corellians had been wiped out, and any who surrendered were put to the sword. General Brooke demanded an explanation and in a rare communication from the Carcharadons he was simply told that "failure will no longer be tolerated".

Furious, Wavell ordered that the Carcharadons be excommunicated and hunted down, and appealed to the other chapters in the Zadoc theatre for aid. None were willing to go after one of their own, and late on 2312.013M42 a hooded figure was seen to take the General to one side. After this encounter General Wavell rescinded all orders pertaining to the Carcharadons, signaling that the actions against the Corellians had been deemed "appropriate" by higher authority...

Da Verminator defeated at Hylas

With the ongoing defeats on Zadoc concentrating the minds of sector command, there was little in the way of reinforcement which could be offered to General Van Dorn on Hylas, who's war against the ork was now becoming an epic struggle, sidelined by the more dramatic and strategically important wars on Tyranteous and Zadoc. The imperial fleet had just committed its main force to Zadoc, and was unable to do anything about the ork fleets now swarming around the imperial planet. Fortunately for Van Dorn other help was at hand at the end of 013M42.

The presence of Da Verminator's fleet around Hylas provoked the intervention of the Adeptus Mechanicus. They already had troops on the ground helping the war effort since their excavations of the ruins underneath mount Flynn (and their possible alien technology) were far from complete. The Mechanicus had a vested interest in keeping the world imperial so not only had they responded to calls for aid by sector command, they now pro-actively engaged the greenskin menace ravaging the world.

The ork fleet around Hylas was sizeable, but the Mechanicus took the opportunity to ambush Da Verminator before he reached the inner biosphere. The imperial vessels confidently approached their enemy, and the orks, true to form, accepted the challenge with glee. However the greenskin vessels, though numerous, were no match for the Mechanicus fleet, and within a few hours the ork warlord's vessles had mostly been reduced to scrap metal (though with some ships it was hard to tell the difference).

The fleet of the Omnissiah was unable to remain in the Hylas system, and left before the lumbering ork hulk and her escorts in orbit around Hylas was able to react. The ork blockade of Hylas had not been broken, but the battle had given Van Dorn's men a respite from constant bombardment and had interupted the constant reinforcement of the aliens on the ground.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Zadoc reversals continue for Imperium

As 013M42 drew to a close, general Wavell was no more successful in stopping the rot on Zadoc than his predecessor. He did however request more in the way of reinforcements as it was becoming clear the eldar deployment in the alliance sector was significant, and the arrival of tau forces from Tyranteous shifted the balance of power even more in the favour of the alliance. To counter this the Iron Warriors had also increased their deployments, both by mass enslavement of the populace within the chaos zone, use of the daemonforge and resupply via the vast traitor fleets which had descended on the system.

Titus Luthor agreed to the reinforcement of Wavell's armies. He managed to secure the use of a new imperial navy battlegroup, commanded by Admiral Pendragon, which was dispatched to the system on 0612.013M42, arriving in good order on 1612.013M42. Meanwhile on the ground Wavell waited, his army set in defensive positions across the imperial held territory of the world.

On 1112.013M42 the alliance launched a much expected advance into the low lying west coast of Foregi, heading towards Todetto and the Tucciomua sea. The force was largely composed of eldar forces, with support from the tau commander Lightspear, employing large units of wraithguard and Wraithknight walkers. The Corellians facing them were well equipped however, and for the first time they deployed their much feared Stormsword superheavy tanks.

The massive war engines posed a severe threat to Lightspear and his eldar allies, but he had forewarning. The alliance had seen the massive war engines being deployed from orbit, and knew well their capabilities. Tau shielding technology was therefore used by the alliance army, and these forcefields provided much needed protection from the massive shells fired at them by the Corellians. Even so the tau took heavy casualties, but Lightspear's elite crisis suits managed to drop behind the Corellian lines using the tau superiority in the air. Almost all these deep insertion teams were massacred, but the super heavy vehicles were all knocked out of action or destroyed. Late intervention by imperial navy Vendettas caused some concern, but after a fierce and costly battle the Corellian line was breached in several places and Wavell ordered a retreat. The fighting continued but Todetto fell on 1812.013M42.

In the north the Darantine regiments had been largely moved to garisson duty following their losses in recent defeats to the alliance. One regiment had been posted to sentry duty on Anorigo, and these were the first troops to feel the full wrath of the new Iron Warrior offensive.

Supported by daemonic war engines and led by a mighty daemon prince of chaos, the Iron Warriors fell upon the northern isles catching the imperial forces completely by surprise. The Darantine regiments attempted to put up a defence, but with their backs to the sea they were hard pressed by a force whose component parts arrived in total synchronicity, while their own reserves arrived piecemeal. The chaos army simply cut up the imperial forces into smaller chunks, annihilating each one in turn. By the time Toddetto was falling to the tau, Anorigo's capital Andiselie, had fallen to the forces of damnation and the Darantine forces were atempting to cross the Peran straits to Foregi. Some forces made the crossing, but they were closely followed by the Iron Warriors. By the end of the year the chaos force had taken the northern isles and established a strong beachhead in the north of Foregi.

While the imperium continued a seemingly never-ending retreat on the ground, in the space above and around the capital of the subsector, the Imperial fleet of Admiral Pendragon had arrived. The force of one battleship and five cruisers was immediately challenged by a similar force of chaos warships, part of Lord Tragaen's fleet. In the ensuing action, neither side attempted any subtle tactics, and both forces simply closed on each other all guns blazing. The result was predictable, with neither force able to claim victory. Pendragon lost one cruiser, and had three more badly damaged, the chaos gunners proving particularly adept at aiming at the enemy vessels' bridge, killing the captain and senior staff. This posed difficulties for Pendragon in the latter stages of the battle, as his vessels proved less and less responsive to his orders.

Tragaen's fleet also took heavy damage, despite losing no ships. All but one of the chaos lord's vessels were badly mauled, and Tragaen was obliged to dispatch nearly half his fleet at Zadoc back to base for repairs. In that at least Pendragon had scored a victory. However with only two undamaged vessels, the imperial admiral was unable to break up the tau fleet now resupplying Zadoc, and for now the strategic initiative in space rested with the alliance.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Corsair Eldar smashed by Librian Guard. South road is retaken

The Imperium recieved some good news in 12.013M42 in the Perseus Deeps. While sector Lord Titus Luthor was given nothing but news of defeats by General Montgomery, overall commander of the Zadoc subsector, his subordinate General Veers was having more success.

The eldar counter invasion of Corticant, where Veers' men were already in a protracted war against the necrons, took the Imperium by surprise. However despite the aliens' recent games Veers responded with a robust counter attack in mid 12.013M42. While digging in on the western front against the necrons, he went on the offensive against the eldar, sending in two regiments of Librian Guard down the south road.

The eldar responded to the incursion, with Corsair eldar leading the charge. The Librians found their enemy to be determined, but pressed forward in the face of mounting infantry casualties. The eldar themselves had issues with the Librians' heavy armour, and Leman Russ backed up by basilisk artillery and veteran squads mounted in chimeras, broke the back of the eldar resistance. Casualties amongst the regular infantry were heavy, but acceptable. Unable to match the imperium's willingness to trade losses, the eldar abandoned their positions on the south road, pushing the front line back some three hundred kilometers by the end of the year.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sector roundup 0812_013M42

Bastien: Tyranids held back by Imperial forces

During the first half of 12.013M42 the tyranid menace once again showed its hand on the planet of Bastien. It became apparent that the infestation was centred on the mountains around Lacunis, and to the north of Liberatia, north of the capital Sanctum Nova. General Veers ordered a concentrated attack in this area, and managed to assign a formidable force to the operation. Librian regiments, backed by baneblades, as well as a sizeable Darantine contingent, were joined by raiding forces of the Carcharadons and Apocalypse Riders. They pledged their aid, intending to flush the aliens out of their brooding areas and into the guns of the waiting Imperial Guard.

North of Liberatia the Darantine Guard was soon ambushed by the tyranids, and the imperial force suffered heavy losses even before they reached their designated objectives. Worse was to follow as the Carcharadons raid soon faced heavier than anticipated resistance. The astartes put up a dogged defence as hordes of aliens poured out of the warren like terrain of northern Bastien, but by 1212.013M42 the northern mountains had to be abandoned, the region cordoned off and declared perdita.

In the Lacunis mountains the imperial operation progressed far more smoothly. The Apocalypse riders attacked the tyranids in the rough ground and soon stirred them into action, again rather more aggressively than they had bargained for. The Riders prooved a difficult prey for the aliens however, and managed to extract themselves from the mountains having inflicted serious damage on the tyranid horde. Then they ran east towards the plains of Liberatia, the creatures of Nemesis hard on their heels.

Once in the plains the Apocalpyse Riders retreated behind the Librian guard in a pre-planned operation. The Librians then waited behind their defence lines until the alien hordes appeared. Supported by heavy tanks, basilisk artillery and Baneblade super heavy tanks, the imperial line held even as the burrowing creatures of Nemesis appeared within their own ranks. The Librians had seen this before and were waiting for it, and as soon as the giant creatures erupted from the earth the Librian general sent in his reserves. Chimeras packed with plasma and melta weilding veterans made short work of the alien monsters, and once the larger beasts were felled, it was simply a case of mopping up. In Lacunis at least the tyranid threat had been eradicated.

Zadoc: Tau relentless advance

Following on from the losses on Foregi, the Imperium continued to retreat as 12.013M42 progressed. Once again Windgather's tau-eldar alliance was at the forefront of the tau advances, and the commander was becoming a significant hero in the Empire. For over a year he had enjoyed nothing but success, and his triumphs now put Shadowstrike's in the shade. However for the greater good, the alliance continued to use his forces as they battled on against the imperium.

On the chaos front the tau remained quiet, launching no offensives as they forged ahead against the imperium. The chaos forces too showed no interest in trying to defeat the alliance invasion, much to the vexation of general Brooke's successor, General Wavell. On 0712.013M42 the imperial front line reached Biordeosta, where imperial resistance stiffened, and for a while the tau advance was halted as they realised that a shadowsword was deployed in the outskirts of the city.

Windgather called on his elite units to counter this threat, and then advanced on the settlement, the largest on the continent. Eldar fire dragons were sent in on a near suicidal mission, while the rest of the alliance formation kept the imperial army at bay. The attack immediately resulted in serious imperial losses, as tanks and infantry were cut down by murderous tau firepower. The shadowsword proved to be hit and miss, firing widly inaccurate volleys before annihilating a mighty eldar wraithknight in one shot. Sensibly the tau riptides kept their distance, and only the eldar, in wave serpents or on jetbikes, proved brave enough to weather the storm of fire from the leviathan.

The jetbikes suffered intensely, and imperial tanks felled the central counter assault by eldar mechanised infantry. However the fire dragons weathered the imperial fire, advancing through the ruins of the west of the city, before unleashing concentrated melta fire. Sustained melta fire eventually overcame the shadowsword's armour, reducing the super heavy tank to ruined and twisted metal. A few guardsmen managed to get their revenge, but the fire dragons managed to complete their mission largely unscathed. The shadowsword felled, the tau felt able to advance once more, deep striking crisis suits taking out the centre of the line while the rest of Windgather's army now approached to deadly short range.

By 1012.013 Biordeosta had fallen and the tau advance was underway again. A second thrust of Windgather's forces simultaneously pushed south through the rugged terrain south of Monte Cressino towards Pereggor. The Apocalypse Riders attempted to intervene as the alliance force wound its way through the mountain passes, but despite concentrated fire obliterating a Wraithknight in the first moments of the engagement, the astartes force once again struggled against the enemy.

The Apocalypse Riders, now joined by Issodon, sprung an ambush on the tau-eldar alliance, giving them serious cause for concern. Fierce firepower was shrugged off by the astartes command squad, but elsewhere concentrated last ditch defensive fire kept the astartes at bay, just barely, while the eldar portion of the force took the fight to the imperial force. The chaotic encounter saw all concept of a front line disappear, as the tau held off outflanking forces while further south the eldar engaged in their own private battle with the marine rear, including Lias Issodon himself, who stood back trying to co-ordinate what had become a chaortic battle.

In the end however the alliance force shook off the astartes ambush and were able to draw up more forces from the north. The Riders withdrew, having given the allied force a bloody nose, particularly the eldar who had certainly come off worse than their tau comrades during the fight. Their sacrifice had bought the tau time to unleash their superior firepower, overwhleming the small astartes force, and allowing Windgather's army to start advancing once again. The imperium retreated once again, losing Perregor in the south by 1512.013M42.

Dark eldar activity plagues Vastrid subsector

In late 013M42 the activity of the newest Dark Eldar faction, the Kabal of the Venom Drake in the Vastrid subsector came to the attention of the Imperium and specifically the inquisition. The agents of the Emperor began to shadow the aliens, where they could, but by the end of the year they had still not managed to find their base, and were entirely ignorant of the existance of Slaughterpoint station so close to strategically vital resources.

The Inquisition did find out however that the Dark Eldar planned a strike on Imperial controlled Glossop V. They found out the time of the attack, and informed the Carcharadons operating in the sector. The astartes relished this news and immediately sent a force to Glossop V to intercept the alien incursion. The mission was a success, as the delivery of the Dark Eldar leader's head to the inquisition ably demonstrated.

At the same time the Venom Drake kabal also launched a raid on their neighbours on Drift, which they blythely assumed was a rival base belonging to the Shattered Silence. The new arrivals failed to understand the corporate nature of their enemy, or their relationship with the alliance and the Rillietan. It therefore came as quite a shock when they found Drift heavily fortified and ready for an attack, defended by their eldar brethren. The raiding force was all but wiped out and left the leader of the Venom Drake kabal both fuming and confused.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Zadoc offensive: Northern front

On the northern flank the tau-eldar alliance were concerned with pushing as far north as they could, as quickly as possible. The city of Antolovi, in the central plains of Foregi was a strategically vital location neither side could afford to lose. Knowing this, the eldar proposed to utilise their own eldritch forces to their advantage, and in the crucial battle of Antolovi in the hours to come, an unnatural darkness pervaded the battlefield, aiding the technologically advanced tau and hindering the imperium.

The Alliances forces attacked aggressively from the start, Eldar forces pouring into the city and capturing the strategically vital central plaza from the outset. The Tau advanced around the edge of the city, their railguns and broadsides covering the more open ground there and their disruption fields making them all but invisible in the blackness. Eldar waveserpents followed close behind, supporting their advance. A series of EMP missile strikes caused disruption to the imperial side, knocking out tanks escorting the superheavies but the baneblades themselves were too well shielded. Meanwhile a sudden tempest engulfed the Marines holding the foremost trenchworks killing some of their number in the eldritch electrical storm. The Luginia refinery on the left of the Imperial line was also attacked and occupied by Stealth teams who overcame the meagre forces holding it.

The Imperium then counter attacked in force, as they had been expecting the alliance to assault Antolovi. A massive alpha strike was launched against the Tau forces advancing through the city outskirts. In a carefully pre-orchestrated ambush drop pods rained down amidst the tau lines supported by flights of land speeders. They caused significant damage to the tau but failed to annihilate them as planned. However the Tau offensive ground to a halt as intense fighting erupted in the centre of the city. The Marines of the Raven Guard chapter sustained exceptionally heavy casualties with only a few small pockets left fighting by the end of the first day, but they succeeded in sapping the tau advance of all momentum and preventing them from advancing on their objectives. Meanwhile Carcharodon scouts backed up by Imperial Guard tanks recaptured the refinery, wiping out the Stealth teams occupying it. They then successfully held it against a counter attack by Kroot infiltrators and Eldar walkers.

It was in the central plaza that the battle for Antolovi and the central Foregi plains was decided. A massive air strike was launched by the Carcharadons which immediately ran into a storm of anti-aircraft fire and enemy interceptors. In a swirling dogfight almost all of the space marine attack craft were shot down and their occupants killed as they tried to extricate themselves from the wreckage. In a final last ditch effort to remove the alliance forces from the objectives they had secured, the Imperial guard unleashed a cataclysmic bombardment, indiscriminately carpeting the entire area in a hail of explosive shells and weapons fire as airborne forces moved in to recapture what was left. When the bombardment lifted the Imperial commander saw that, incredibly, most of the enemy forces appeared intact and ready to fight. Realising the battle was lost the airborne attack was called off the the Imperial forces retreated in good order to the north.

With Antolovi lost to the alliance, holding on to Chettalo was also impossible. The mobile alliance forces hounded the imperial retreat, ensuring that they were only able to regroup by 0512.013M42, surrendering much of the Foregi plains to the tau. Now the alliance had a secure foothold on Zadoc, and held the initiative. Chaos would need to be dealt with, but for now the intervention of the eldar had accelerated the tau invasion, although a complete collapse of the imperial line had not come about.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Zadoc offensive: The Southern Flank & Monte Cressino

In the south Brooke himself led from the front, an unfortunate decision which quickly led to his demise thanks to accurate Wave Serpent fire early on in the battle. Nevertheless the Imperial guard infantry marched confidently forward behind their smoke screen, supported by battle tanks and the space marines. Bravely over a million men faced off against titans and wraithknights, making their way over battle scarred ruins towards the enemy. And then the slaughter began.

The southern flank was marked by the level of slaughter. The Space Wolves became the focus of the eldar firepower, and on the imperial left flank where they were deployed in strength, the alliance advance was cripplingly slow, as the aliens focussed on the destruction of this dangerous force. On the imperial right flank the alliance made some progress, moving forward deliberately and carefully, refusing to act rashly and mopping up the imperial forces as they were hurled against their advance.

The imperial forces wavered briefly after Brookes' death, and the counter assault to be led by the astartes never materialised. Instead the left flank of the isthmus was simply picked apart by a mass of wraithknights, leading to the demise of the wolves, the loss of nearly all the Librian infantry and the capture of Logan Grimnar. This focussing of force did however delay the eldar, who spent far to much time getting to grips with the fortress of Monte Cressino itself. This left Skyfall's deep strike behind enemy lines unsupported and on their own, and despite causing significant damage, even destroying a Shadowsword super heavy tank, the tau crisis suits soon found themselves the focus of Brookes' reserves, and were wiped out.

Eventually the eldar did move forward into the Isthmus and towards the fortress itself. In the battle for Monte Cressino the great structure was torn apart by massive weapons, with only the central tower surviving. The Novgorod regiments, assigned to defend the centre, were torn apart, losing their high command in the process, while shadowsword heavy tanks failed to deal with the titan threats. Two revenants were eventually destroyed by massed imperial artillery fire and heavy weapons batteries, but the third remained and dealt with the rest of the defenders of the fortress. Brookes' forces retreated into Mascata, abandoning the fortress, allowing the tau to follow up and make good the eldar gains.

The tau had not made overwhelming gains in the south as they had hoped, but the eldar had got what they wanted. Quietly and without ceremony they retreated from the front on 0312.013M42, leaving nothing of the fortess behind them.

Zadoc: Major Tau offensive

The planned Tau offensive against the Imperium began towards the end of 11.013M42. As expected by their imperial opponents, the eldar had joined the tau in force, apparently extending their alliance beyond the Perseus Deeps and into the Zadoc subsector. It was a large deployment in Alliance terms, with the tau massing their forces in the north, aiming to breakout of their narrow bridgehead around Guion. Primary objectives for the offensive were set as the cities and Antolovi, and Commander Shadowstrike was given overall command. With him the forces of Commander Moonshine were joined, with some tension, by Corsair eldar and Dark Eldar forces of the shattered silence. The tau welcomed their support, although the animosity between the eldar and their dark kin was evident.

The alliance also requested a second thrust, to the south towards the imperial fortress of Monte Cressino, lying on the flat plains of Foregi on the isthmus with Mascata. Here the imperium would prepare a strong defence, so the eldar committed their largest assets to this flank, including a large number of Wraithknights and three Reventant Titans. On the southern flank the armies of Windgather and Skyfall joined their eldar allies, although in reality the eldar controlled this portion of the offensive.

The Imperium under Brooke had amassed significant defences following resupply. In the south the Librian and Novgorod Guard regiments were joined by the Darantine 97th, 98th and 110th regiments, with the Space Wolves committing their strength to the defence of the fortress, led by Logan Grimnar himself. In the north the main strike force was organised, with elite Mechanicus formations joined by Corellian guard forces, the Raven Guard 5th company and the Carcharadons, who had not even bothered to talk to Brooke of their plans. This formidable force was supported by the 64th Naval tactical wing, and on both fronts Brooke intended to bring the fight to the enemy, forcing them to commit to a war of attrition he knew they would be trying to avoid.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Release the hounds...

Lord Titus Luthor stared at the images and text scrolling past on his vid screen. The latest reports from the Zadoc subsector did not make easy reading. The final surrender on Tyranteous was disappointing, but not entirely surprising. Now the focus was on Zadoc, the capital of the subsector. Half overrun by the forces of chaos and counter invaded by the alliance. At least the capitulation of Tyranteous left a window of opportunity. 

With the fall of Tyranteous, the alliance had found itself with a great army on the agri-world which needed transport. Leaving behind just a few escorts the tau had departed the Zadoc system, allowing the Imperium to reinforce without interference. Luthor had reacted swiftly, ordering Admiral Jellicoe to reinforce Zadoc from forces in the Perseus Deeps. Twenty Librian, four Novgorod and several other regiments had been hastily dispatched, and would arrive in days. Along with them the Corellians were sent, and help from the astartes had been confirmed, although strangely the Apocalypse Riders had not responded to the request. 

Luthor pressed icons on his console and the images changed. Flickering before the lord of the sector was a holographic image of the Perseus Deeps, showing Corticant invaded by Necrons and eldar, Ares fallen and the worlds hard won by General Veers beseiged on all sides. Bastien, largest world in the region, glowed purple, identifying Xenos infestation. 

A knock at the door of Luthor's cabin aboard the Iron Duke broke the Lord's concentration. 

"Come in". 

A graceful figure, hooded and robed entered the room. Pulling down her hood to reveal long flowing blond hair, Inquisitor Lord Natalia Vorushko sat down silently in the chair across from Luthor's desk. In the sector, only Natalia had the rank and privilege to treat Luthor as an equal, but the veteran politician didn't mind. Over the past year the two had forged a close partnership, not quite a friendship but a deep respect and recognition for one another. 

"So", began the inquisitor lord, "I gather we're still losing." 

A wry smile crossed the Lord Governor's face before fading into stern concentration. Luthor hadn't looked up from his screen and had barely acknowledged the presence of one of the most powerful agents of the segmentum. 

"Ares is lost, Tyranteous is lost, Bastien invaded. We carry on like this and there won't be anything left in a few years, but on Zadoc we strike back." 

"Ah yes, your plan for a double strike against the alliance and the heretics." Natalia paused and gradually leaned forward. Luthor finally turned his gaze towards her and saw the look of concern in her face. "I need to talk to you about that." 


General Brooke was angry. The reinforcements had arrived on time and he was halfway through planning a great offensive, and now everything had to change at short notice. The commander of all forces on Zadoc paced up and down the ornate hall of the manor house he had commandeered for his forward HQ. His aide simply stood to attention, ready for the inevitable outburst from his senior commander. 

"Imperial intelligence requires of you a change in dispositions", the general read from the paper in his hands, shaking his head in irritation and stopping mide pace. 

"Tell me why do they always find the least convenient time?" 

The aid remained silent, recognising the rhetoric nature of the question. Brooke resumed his pacing. 

"So, the eldar have come to Zadoc. No wonder the tau felt they could abandon the system and collect their troops from Tyranteous." 

The general sighed and finally addressed the aide directly. 

"Get me the comanders of the Librian, Corellian and Novgorod forces and request an audience with the captain of the Raven Guard. I know Erik Morkai's wolves will go wherever the fighting is thickest but..." The general paused, "see if you can contact these Carcharadons. Who are they? Why do the other astartes go silent when I ask? What are their intentions? I need to know if they are going to be a problem." 

"yes sir." 

The aide nodded briefly and immediately set to his task, leaving General Brooke to his thoughts. The alliance had shown its hand now on Zadoc and intended a major strike. He would ensure they would meet the best the Imperium had on the plains of Zadoc. The Iron Warriors and the cursed Arch Cleric would have to wait. 


"Brooke isn't happy" 

Titus luthor contemplated the general's mood while taking in the magnificent view from the admiral's quarters of the planet of Farport shining in the blackness of space. It had been eight days since Natalia had informed him that the eldar were deploying in strength on Zadoc. Now she had come to him again. The inquisitor lord sat in the shadows of Luthor's quarters, reviewing a data slate. 

"We don't need him to be happy, we need him to do his duty. I'm sure the general will acquit himself well in his new task." 

Luthor raised his eyebrows, knowing that if he didn't Brooke would find himself without a command, and possibly without a future. There had been too many failures in Zadoc command, several by him. One more and that would be it. 

"Anyway, I have news on the astartes." 

The Lord Governor turned to look at Vorushko, his interest piqued. 


"The Apocalypse Riders are pulling out from conventional operations. I have spoken with their chapter master and they are certainly keen. Being of such a recent founding they feel the need to prove themselves, but I have found a different use for their aggression." 

Luthor simply looked at the inquisitor lord, marvelling at her cold beauty and the resolution behind her ice blue eyes. He knew that over the last year, the Apocalypse Riders had taken heavy casualties and taken criticism for their hot headed tactics, but time and again the situation had been salvaged because of their intervention. He was concerned at the prospect of losing such an asset. Natalia sensed his irritation and smiled. 

"Don't worry, I'm not removing them from the subsector. I have put them in contact with Lias Issodon of the Raptors chapter. At my request the remaining riders and the contingent of Raptors in the sector will form a new force. This new force is tasked with co-ordinating our new strategy." 

Luthor straightened up as realisation dawned. For some time he and the inquisitor lord had been considering ways to repair the strategic situation in the sector without being caught in open battle, where the imperium's many enemies were winning. Too many astartes forces were having to bail out the imperial guard and being sucked into the main line of battle. This was a waste of the emperor's finest and they needed to be used where they were most effective. 

"I see. So our guerilla war is to begin at last. Will the Raptor commander be able to coordinate the effort?" 

"Issodon has an exceptional record in strategic command lasting many hundreds of years and he may command enough respect to keep the Apocalypse Riders from self destructing. This new force will have access to the fastest ships we can find. They will strike hard, fast and without warning." 

Luthor smiled. "Release the hounds..."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tyranid menace resurfaces

As 11.013M42 drew to a close, the tyranid menace surfaced once again. Isolated incidents on Bastien now began to paint a picture of a tyranid vanguard force, and Inquisitor Hathek immediately set out to find out if the tyranids now being encountered on the world were of the same genetic stock as those who had annihilated Betor, Alphe and so many of the Rim Worlds. While he was en route, the tyranids attack again, this time in larger numbers, springing out of the rough mountains near Lacunia.

The force of aliens ambushed an imperial patrol on 2211.013M42. At first the guard regiment thought it was a regular insurgent attack, but soon the alien menace was revealed as hideous monsters from some kind of nightmare plunged down from the sky or burrowed up from beneath the imperial positions. Despite a hard fight the imperial guard units took heavy casualties and were forced to retreat back to the city. This seemed to be a classic tyranid "testing out" of defenses, assessing the imperial strength before the main invasion. As a precaution, Admiral Jellicoe moved the fleet to the system in order to intercept the hive fleet.

Meanwhile on Memnon, a separate splinter fleet of Nemesis was ravaging the tau settlements on Memnon. To the north the tau faced Na'Porkleon's orks and to the south the tyranids swept all before them. At Duran'Demlock, the last tau settlement remaining in their hands, they made their stand against the tyranids.

The battle escalated as both sides threw in more and more reinforcements, the tyranids swarming towards the tau as they put up a desperate fight. At first the tau succeeded, killing a Mawlock which suddenly appeared in their lines and annihilating a brood of ravenors before they could reach the tau lines. However the tau could only postpone the inevitable. Soon the main swarm and its attendant monstrous beasts, descended on the tau defences. Tau broadsides were ripped apart, and the tau Riptide soon found itself in close combat with the xenos abominations. Though badly damaged, the giant suit did manage to tear apart a Carnifex before being taken down by a tervigon. Even a brave last stand by fire warriors who managed to kill a charging Trigon was not enough to stop the horde of aliens from finally breaching the tau defences. Seeing their lines broken, the tau retreated deeper into the settlement, and the street fighting began. The tau were now holding an ever shrinking pocket, with their backs to the sea and no where to run.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hylas: No sign of victory

Na'Porkleon's reaction to the loss of Berkeley by Da Verminator's forces was petulance and sulking. However after he had recovered, the ork warlord made plans to recapture the city, though the mighty fortress built to honour Uzfang had been reduced to ashes. Instead of attacking from the south where the imperial force was still strong, Na'Porkleon launched yet another offensive from the west, charging across the open plains with his boyz and headlong into the imperial guard regiments defending the flanks of the imperial advance.

General Van Dorn knew holding on to Berkeley would be a challenge, but he hoped the plains of West Coast would allow him time to respond to any attack from this direction. On 2011.013M42 Na'Porkleon's forces attacked along a one hundred mile front, penetrating Van Dorn's pickets and focusing their attacks against relatively inexperienced Guard units. The orks attack mainly on foot, but only once they had set up heavy weapons positions covering their advance. The orks would then charge their enemy while a murderous hail of Loota Fire pummelled the imperial positions. Leading the attack Mega Armoured Nobz and warbikers attempted outflanking manouevres, adding to the imperial guardsmens' difficulties.

Van Dorn's men were further hampered by the general imperial response. Local HQ in the west was unusually slow to respond to the threat posed by the new attac, and reinforcements were sent in piecemeal, arriving in an uncoordinated fashion at the front. Valkyries and Vendettas, arriving on their own and without support, were easily shot down by Na'Porkleon's numerous Loota Boyz, and the storm troopers dropped behind enemy lines were quickly mobbed by the ork infantry.

As the battle continued it became obvious the imperial guard positions in the west could not be held, and Van Dorn pulled back from Berkeley a few hundred miles, to the shortest line between Baldwin Bay and the Hylas Plateau. Here the retreat stopped and both sides considered their next move in the war which had now ground on for 450 days, showing no signs of coming to a resolution.

Zadoc: Hard fighting in the south. Calogne falls to chaos

The chaos-imperial front on Zadoc was becoming a slowly moving meatgrinder as the forces of chaos tried to fight their way around the narrow strip of land which ringed the southern ice cap. The main city in Mida was Calogne, and taking this city from the imperium became a key objective as 11.013M42 progressed.

The Arch Cleric and the Iron Warriors pooled their forces to the east of Calogne, with the Arch Cleric unleashing his elite forces on the Librians holding the defensive line in front of the city. While they did this the Iron Warriors outflanked the imperial lines and aimed for the city itself.

In the centre the Librians were easily overwhelmed by the Arch Cleric's forces. Despite being able to deal with the minor daemons incursions and the cultists following in the wake of the daemonic outbreak, the imperial guard struggled with the various larger entities the Cleric's chanting had summoned. Soulgrinders, forgefiends and all manner of flying monstrous daemons assaulted the Librian lines. For a while the proud guardsmen stood firm against this onslaught but they could not hope to prevail. When hell drakes arrived to finish the job the librian mechanised forces had already been reduced to scrap and the infantry massacred to a man. The remaining Librian defenders pulled back behind the city to reform the imperial line, while General Brooke put his faith in the astartes to hold the Calogne itself.

The Iron Warriors split their forces again as they approached the city. One force containing the bulk of Warsmith Stahl's elite astartes headed straight for the city. The other, swollen with cultists, moved even further north, attacking Calogne from the ocean side. The main thrust quickly encountered the Apocalypse Riders, while in the north, the Ultramarines stood between the Iron Warriors and the capture of another imperial city.

In the east the Apocalypse Riders launched an immediate assault, once again demonstrating a sometimes reckless attitude to assaulting their enemy, but this time the move was a considered tactic, with the Riders attempting to trap their enemy. Fortunately for the imperium the Iron Warriors took the bait. Stahl's troops rushed forward to meet their foe, pouring fire into the marine bikers before launching an all out close assault. The Riders however, a successor of the White Scars, proved adept and skilled at dodging incoming fire, twisting their bikes to and fro in a show of impressive skill. Then, just as the Iron Warriors committed to assault, the Apocalypse Riders showed their skills again, hitting hard before withdrawing at speed from the melee... Leaving the Iron Warriors totally exposed in no-man's-land.

The loyalist forces now committed their reserves, outflanking the Iron Warriors according to a pre-determined plan. Now Stahl's main assault was in serious trouble, with the enemy to the front and rear. The attack petered out and survival became the focus. Stahl called in air support to aid his troops' situation, and hell drakes appeared breathing death from the sky. Even so the arrival of the malign creatures was not enough to salvage the assault and those few Iron Warriors who still lived retreated from the city. The Apocalypse Riders had won a memorable victory, though the cost im blood was high.

Ultimately however the impressive defence of Calogne was in vain, as the second Iron Warriors' force moved against the Ultramarines. The loyalist marines faced the cultists with grim determination and succeeded in massacring almost all of them, but the larger enemy constructs proved difficult to kill and exceptionally dangerous to the Ultramarine armour. Maulerfiends in particular took down the marine vehicles, and more Hell Drakes, summoned to aid the attack on the city, caused havoc in the loyalist ranks. Bitterly disappointed but recognising the war could be won another day, the astartes retreated, informing a vexed Apocalypse Riders' chapter master that the city had become indefensible. After a week of fierce battles the forces of chaos had their prize and had inched slightly closer towards final victory on Zadoc.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Power of Chaos: A recent history

Tyranteous falls to the Alliance

Following the Imperial advance on Renbow, the alliance forces were quick to respond. Less than a week later Windgather's forces attacked again, defeating the Apocalypse Riders and Cunningham's guardsmen where Skyfall had failed. The renewed attack saw the alliance retake the Renbow refineries and starve the imperial forces of badly needed fuel, but the Tau and Eldar hadn't finished. For too long now the war on Tyranteous had lingered on while the war on Zadoc was neglected. The alliance wanted it finished, and quickly.

On 1711.013M42 Windgather and the eldar launched what would be the last offensive in the Tyranteous campaign. The attack broke through the imperial defences at Yellowmouth, encircling the town and driving straight for Ashwater, the last imperial city on the planet. In their way stood a resolute force of Imperial Fists, who attempted to hold firm while Cunningham brought up reinforcements. The result was a massacre as the well equipped alliance force easily outgunned and outmanouvered the astartes, picking them apart in just a few hours. The wreckage of marine tanks and equipment littered the road to Ashwater, as tau grav tanks and eldar walkers made their way to the final objective.

There was no final battle. On 2011.013M42 General Cunningham could see plainly that to attempt to defend Ashwater was folly. Even defensive battles at this stage were simply a waste of resources, and at 10:18am he contacted overall commander Shadowstrike, with whom he had dealt before. Shadowstrike accepted Cunningham's surrender, and at 11am the Imperial guard on Tyranteous laid down their arms. Some battles continued however, as the remaining astartes forces battled their way out of perilous situations, those who could boarded thunderhawks and other vessels and ran the gauntlet of tau and eldar fighters to break orbit. In Deep Space many were picked up by a strike cruiser, which had been able to remain undetected in the system for several weeks.

In the west the Adeptus Mechanicus facility of Thraxicon still held out, but bottled up in the mountains with a handful of die-hard guard units and astartes warriors, they posed no immediate threat to the alliance control of the world. Tyranteous was secure and the tau could now concentrate their efforts on the conquest of Zadoc. How much support they would recieve from the eldar in this venture had yet to become apparent.

For Cunningham his wars were finally over. For over a decade he had fought the tau, most famously on Melberg and Tarsis Major, scoring a number of famous victories but always losing the war. Over that time he had come to respect the tau, and although he remained opposed to everything they stood for, he was treated well by his captors, as were the majority of the captured guardsmen. The one grain of hope the Imperium could hold on to from the loss of the agri world, was the pressure it removed from Jellicoe's fleet. With no need to supply the troops on the ground, the Imperium's supply lines were shortened and her strategic position slightly improved. This came as little comfort to the Sector commander, but Titus Luthor immediately redoubled his efforts to hold the line on Zadoc. He would not preside over the terminal decline of imperial rule in the Aleph sector.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The end on Ares

With the sudden expansion of the Eldar controlled territory on Ares and the loss of so many of his forces, General Vassilevsky was fighting a losing battle on Ares by the middle of 011.013M42. The Imperium occupied just once city, Forbestown, and by 1711.013M42 even the hills around the Forbes Valley had been occupied by the eldar who were now able to fire on imperial positions almost at will.

To save as many of his mena as possible and buy time, Vassilevsky organised his last remaining units, a handful of Librian regiments and half a company of Blood Martyrs, for a last ditch counter attack towards Pallian. If successful the hills around the valley could be cleared, and the north west turned into a fortress while the General waited for reinforcements.

The imperial forces moved out on 1811.013M42, encountering Rillietan forces on the Pallian road. Despite initial success with the long range destruction of some eldar armour, the imperial assault was soon blunted as the Blood Martyrs were taken down in close assault by a Wraithknight and avatar of the laughing god. With the astartes support gone the Librian forces tried to press home their attack. Hellhounds caused heavy casualties amongst the eldar infantry, but the Librian anti tank weaponry was sorely pressed to deal with so many eldar skimmers as well as the wraithknight. Fortunately for the imperial guard this was the largest alien walker seen on that day, the eldar having chosen to withdraw their titans now that the imperial titans had been dealt with, but they weren't needed. Unable to stop the wraithknight or destroy enough grav tanks, the Librians were soon picked apart by their enemy. By 2111.013M42 the imperial counter attack was utterly spent, and the road open to Forbestown.

A few units of Imperial Guard fought on, but in vain. Forbestown fell on 2211.013M42 and with it the planet of Ares, which was added to the eldar list of conquests. Now they turned their attention to their next target...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shattered Silence land on Corticant

With the end almost certain on Ares, the alliance quickly moved to their next target, identifying the Imperial base on Corticant. The world was already at war, with the Imperium barely holding the line against the necrons on the west of the world. The Shattered Silence , in agreement with the Rillietan, made the first move to capture the world, seeing in the invasion a chance to please the Harlequins, a chance to defeat their ancient enemy and a chance for profit.

The Dark Eldar force appeared on Corticant without any warning, cutting off the settlement of Ironhaven before systematically looting the city and enslaving its population. Alarmed at the sudden loss of contact with the southern city, General Veers quickly diverted his reserve force of Novgorod guard towards Ironhaven, meeting a determined resistance from the kabal on the Wildegate road.

The Novgorod regiment threw wave after wave of men at the dark eldar, to the point where even the depraved aliens grew bored of the killing, but were unable to break through to the city. On 2011.013M42 the offensive was cancelled as the regiment had become somewhat less than battle worthy.

Meanwhile a smaller force, led by the Inquisition, attempted to discover the aliens intent and force a passage via the Iron Road from Shadowshore. The dark eldar reacted nimbly to this threat, ambushing and wiping out the imperial column on the mountain passes through the arid plateau.

By 2211.013M42 the dark eldar had a secure foothold on Corticant, and Veers found himself fighting a war on two fronts against two implacable foes. Desperately the general called for more support from his superiors, since Corticant remained the lynchpin of the Crusade's gains, but with the Zadoc subsector almost lost, there were few troops to spare.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hylas: Berkeley retaken, ork fortress falls

Following the recent gains by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Legio Gryphonnicus and Salamanders chapter based on Hylas now took over the offensive on Hylas. General Van Dorn was keen to keep up the momentum and with the Mechanicus and imperial guard units swinging into West Coast to face off against the forces of Na'Porkleon, the most powerful imperial forces were now redirected south towards Berkeley, and the ork fortress on the slopes of mount Flynn, defended by Da Verminator.

For many weeks Berkeley had been re-occupied by the greenskins, although the city had changed hands several times since its initial fall more than a year previously. Overlooked by the ork fortress, Van Dorn knew that retaking the city was only half the battle, he had to deal with the ork installation once and for all.

The force which led the attack was the strongest concentration of titans yet deployed on Hylas. Three warlord titans were in evidence, supported by a Salamanders company and imperial guard units. Appearing just to the north of the city, in full view of the orks, the imperial force waited, goading Da Verminator to come out and fight. Predictably the orks accepted the challenge, but the commander of the offensive had chosen his positions well, and the orks soon found themselves advancing across the Berkeley airstrip, an area of ground almost entirely devoid of cover.

This the Salamanders and the Titans had planned for, and the giant war engines and devastators opened up with all their weapons. A fearsome barrage pounded the landing pads, warping them out of all recognition and vapourising thousands of orks as they closed with the imperial force. Whole clans were annihilated, and those orks which did reach the imperial lines were easily mopped up by assault marines and veteran units.

During the engagement the orks continued to reinforce failure, emptying their fortress and annihilating themselves on the imperial guns. By the end of 1811.013M42 the ork tide had simply run out, and for the loss of a few predators the victorious imperial force marched into the battle-scarred city, while the Titans levelled the ork fortress. Berkeley had been retaken once again, and the initiative now rested with the Imperium on Hylas.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chaos defeats

The forces of chaos suffered a series of setbacks in early 11.013M42 on a number of fronts, bringing a half to a run of successful campaigns throught the second half of 013.M42.

On Grimlock the Tyranids had been quietly gathering strength following their defeat some six months previously, where they lost the important region of Atlis to chaos. Now ready for a new offensive the aliens amassed a truly vast host to land on the shores of the Krendal Sea, and as 11.013M42 began, there was brutal fighting on the coast as millions of bloodthirsty monsters appeared from the ocean.

Defending Atlis, based at the fortress of Hakargh, was a significant force of Death Guard, as well as more regular troops. Some say Mortarion himself was present, but such speculation remains unconfirmed. In any case the counter attack by the chaos forces was massive and brutal.

The main fighting took place around Eribank, where mighty bio titans clashed with daemonic war engines. By 1211.013M42 Nemesis had overrun the city and more reinforcements were joining the throng. Slowly but surely, despite fighting fanatically, numbers told, and the forces of chaos were pushed out of the Atlis region, abandoning Hakargh and the cities of the north.

On Zadoc the combined forces of chaos suffered similar reverses. In the west one of Commander Windgather's subcommanders launched the first tau assault of the campaign, driving south from the bridgehead and across the Chadana sea. The tau-eldar alliance then besieged the city of Gyent, defended by the Covenant of Damnation. The Covenant forces acquitted themselves well, but had no answer to the tau superiority in firepower, despite their destruction of at least on eldar Waraithknight. Steadilly the chaos forces were pushed back under the weight of fire, leaving them besieged in Gyent and cut off from the Iron Warriors.

In the south east, on the cold plains of Mida, the Adeptus Mechanicus launched a carefully planned limited offensive against the chaos front line. Facing off against Emperor's Children, the Mechanicus force managed to surprise the traitor legion, destroying much of their front line equipment and transports early on. Unable to manouevre the Eperor's Children struggled to hold the imperial advance, and were forced to retreat to avoid being surrounded. Even so the imperial attack was limited, althought the front line did edge back a few hundred miles. This was still a defeat however, and it was now two weeks since the chaos force had managed an advance. The prospect of Zadoc falling to chaos in 013.M42 now seemed remote.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tau frustrated on Tyranteous

As 11.013M42 progressed into the second week, the alliance could have been forgiven for thinking the war on Tyranteous was over. Despite Luthor's edict, the tau had control of most of the planet, and the imperium were bottled up into three small bridgeheads and under pressure just to hold the line. However as the tau attacks battered themselves against imperial defences in their impatience to complete the invasion and move on to Zadoc, Cunningham concieved a counter attack, against Luthor's edict.

The overall commander on Tyranteous was convinced by a young officer in the Novgorod Guard, and by the equally aggressive Apocalypse Riders captain. Both urged Cunningham to abandon the retreat and launch a new attack. After much persuading the general agreed, but the scope would be limited.

The plan was simple. The Novgorod Guard would launch a limited offensive in the east, tying down as many troops as possible while the Astartes went for the main objective, the Renbow refinery and its precious fuel. On 0711.013M42 the offensive began. For once the Novgorod units made good progress, though their own objectives were only mere miles from the front line. Even so the imperial regiment used aggressive tactics, swamping Windgather's Tau-Eldar alliance and forcing the tau to commit their reserve in the east. Now the Apocalypse Riders struck.

Using their superior speed and shock tactics, the astartes force raced out of the Tallengrove salient towards their objective, clashing with commander Skyfall's elite forces. Initially the astartes made lighning progress, and the tau fell back to gain time to gather their strength, correctly identifying the refinery as the principle objective. Here Skyfall made his stand, and for a while accurate tau firepower checked the Riders' advance, as pulse rifles and heavier tau weaponry saw casualties mount. In the end however it was the aggressive tactics and skilled riding of the astartes company which won out, and Skyfall was forced to abandon the refinery to the imperium. For the first time in weeks the imperium were celebrating victory on Tyranteous, but was it too little too late?

Hylas: Imperium regains West Coast

Following the loss of West Coast at the end of 10.013M42, general Van Dorn was not content to sit on the defensive. Instead with the help of the Apocalypse Riders and Adeptus Mechanicus, he worked on a plan to push forward once again. West Coast had been fought over again and again, with the front line moving north and south as the initiative changed sides. On 0811.013M42 with the main imperial guard units pulled out of the line into reserve, Van Dorn launched his new offensive.

The first strike was delivered by the Apocalypse Riders. Their elite formation targeted the enemy's best troops and the overall commander of Na'Porkleon's forces in the north. Led by their chapter master, the bikers rode into battle, challenging the orks to come out and fight. The greenskins of course accepted.

At the vanguard the astartes best led the way, but initially suffered from an immediate counter charge by the ork warboss, who hacked his way through several elite bikers, bellowing challenges to the Riders' leader. Instead of accepting, the chapter master disengaged, leaving his comrades to battle to the death with the ork meganobz. At the end of the fight only the warboss remained as the imperial raiding force opened fire with everything they had.

The ploy had been simple, to get the best of the ork forces out into the open, and it had largely worked. The astartes mourned the loss of their brothers, but the chapter master knew this was their best chance to decapitate the ork force in the north, and now the rest of the two armies were engaging. Relying on their skill and flamer weaponry, the heavily outnumbered marines took the fight to the greenskins, causing carnage in the ork ranks. Land speeders added long range firepower and fast moving scout forces took the orks by surprise, outflanking the loota positions and breaking the ork lines.

The Blood Axe warboss remained alive however, having weathered an impossible storm of fire from the Apocalypse riders. Smashing through the wreckage and corpses of his comrades, the giant ork eventually found his foe, the Apocalypse Riders' leader. Finally the ork had the mighty human warrior in single combat, but the fight was brutally short. Both combatants wielded incredibly powerful melee weapons, and in a few scant seconds both lay in a pool of blood and gore on the now silent battlefield. A few remaining orks in the retinue had fled, but the ork leadership had been destroyed. Na'Porkleon's armies in West Coast now had no one to direct them. Van Dorn's second phase began.

The Adeptus Mechanicus units pushed south towards Berkeley, encountering fierce ork resistance on several occasions. The greenskins were uncoordinated in their attacks, and the Mechanicus forces engineered situations to their tactical advantage, preying on the ork need for battle by deploying in defensive positions and waiting for the orks to run into pre-determined killing zones. After each slaughter the imperial forces moved forward, and by 1211.013M42 much of West Coast was once again in imperial hands, and the coast of the Sump Sea was in sight. Berkeley was still infested by orks and Na'Porkleon had sent a new warboss to the region, but the line had been stabilised.

Necrons regain initiative on Corticant

The response to the losses of territory on Corticant from the Harakthy Dynasty was swift. If General Veers had hoped the necron empire was in decline he was disappoined on 0811.013M42 as the necrons launched a two pronged offensive north towards the settlement of Violetwind Coast. In the east the necrons faced the Novgorod Guard, who fought tenaciously without support for four days before being forced to withdraw towards Fort Bastion. In the north West, defending the road to the settlement itself, the imperial guard faced the Dynasty's elite forces, and Veers expected them to simply roll over the guard defences.

In fact, the Harakhty Dynasty got a nasty shock as their advance was spotted by imperial scouts. The guard units in the vanguard of the defence took the initiative, and launched a counter-punch which put the attacking necrons off balance, inflicting heavy casualties on the first day. However as the battle wore on, air superiority and careful deployment of reserves gradually eased the guardsmen back from their defences, and by 1111.013M42 the line was close to collapse. Concious of the risk of a necron breakthrough General Veers grudgingly abandoned Violetwind, falling back to more defensible positions. After a brief success, the imperium were slowly losing once more on Corticant.

Kabal of the Venom Drake suffer reversals

Since 09.013M42 the Kabal of the Venom Drake had been raiding in the Aleph Sector. Drawn by what no one could say, but it quickly became evident they were not part of the alliance and were simply out for personal gain. In secret they had started construction of a base in the Vastrid sector, to make raiding in the region easier and more profitable, but to complete this they needed a great deal of raw materials which were hard to access.

The raids had so far provided the dark eldar with the resources they required, but in 11.013M42 they suffered setbacks. In the early part of the month the kabal landed on Aethor, defeating a Crimson Fist force sent to investigate the strange goings on in the mountains after the planetary governor lost contact with outlying settlements. Alerted the the presence of the dark eldar General Veers dispatched a single regiment of Corellian Storm Guard to the planet, which quickly annihilated the alien threat, uncovering a horrific scene at the recently constructed slave mines.

Having been shifted from Aethor the dark eldar instead raided the nearby tau colony of Protogonus, hoping to find the ores needed to complete their space station. However, the Kabal of the Venom Drake found that the eldar had become aware of their machinations, and a combined eldar/tau force awaited them on the planet, ambushing them and forcing them to flee. The Kabal would have to wait a little longer to complete their enterprise.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Massive eldar advance on Ares

After over a year of hard but inconclusive fighting in the Caeralon valley, at the start of 11.013M42 the eldar launched a massive offensive on Ares. Never before had Vassilevsky faced such a concentration of force, and there was no warning of the attack. Suddenly his forces were in full retreat from Hellebron, and his imperial guard units found themselves outgunned and out manouevered by an enemy fielding no fewer than three massive titans.

The Legio Gryphonnicus and the Salamanders attempted to rescue the situation. In the north on the road to Pallian the alien titans were confronted by three imperial warmachines, massive warlord titans not fielded in such numbers in the Perseus Deeps before. However the eldar ground down the imperial defenders and by 0411.013M42 the imperium had withdrawn from Pallian and were retreating towards Forbestown.

Worse was happening further south as the Salamanders faced the eldar alone without titan support. Sindon Station fell after a brutal eldar attack, which saw the half company of Salamanders blocking the road wiped out to a man. The southern settlement of Gorballs fell a day later after the last Salamanders to face the Rillietan attack withdrew from the town. The astartes forces regrouped, but recent fighting had taken their toll and the chapter master warned the imperium of his chapter's fading strength.

On Ares Vassilevsky had lost all of the settled territory barring Forbestown by 0611.013M42. After a year and a half of hard fighting it was a bitter pill to swallow for the Imperium. Now General Veers had to decide whether to fight to regain the planet or withdraw to strengthen his defences elsewhere in the Deeps. With the situation on Zadoc, it was certain any request for reinforcements would be denied.

Dogged defence on Tyranteous

Although the tau had all but defeated the Imperium on Tyranteous, at the beginning of 11.013M42 Luthor's order to defend had been followed by General Cunningham. Defences had been built in the two remaining imperial footholds left on the planet. Never the less the tau were keen to finish off Tyranteous to focus their efforts on Zadoc. At the beginning of 11.013M42, despite the defensive preparations taken by the imperium, the tau showed no sign of slowing their offensive.

Commander Skyfall's relatively fresh troops now took over the main thrust, giving those of Windgather a chance to rest. Initially the new tau advance stalled as the ultramarines launched a series of well planned and well executed raids against the aliens, bringing their offensive to a halt. However the ultramarines were few in number and gradually the tau superiority in numbers began to tell in the east, as Skyfall launched probing attacks, feeling out the imperium's weaknesses.

The tau commander felt he had found such a weakness in the far south of Grent. He managed to find an area more weakly defended and soon broke through. On 0211.013M42 the Librians counter attacked, supported by the Blood Martyrs chapter of space marines. The astartes immediately closed with the tau, ordering the Librians to cover their advance. In the ensuing action a number of incidents occurred which aroused suspicions of the loyalties and willingness to carry on of the the Librian regiments.

During the battle it was noted that at least one Librian tank, a Librian Leman Russ Executioner variant, fired upon and killed four Blood Martyrs at close range, claiming it was accidental. This on its own would have been put down to battlefield confusion, but moments later a Manticore artillery strike "accidentally" shelled a Blood Martyrs' Land Raider, instead of the enemy, in a show of astounding inaccuracy (which the Librian artillery corps has been trying to shake off for years) or something much worse.

After the battle several more incidents of "friendly fire" came to light, and the overall effect of these certainly blunted the Blood Martyrs' assault, allowing the tau to whether the astartes storm and advance into east Grent. His line compromised Cunningham withdrew north to prepared defences in front of Yellowmouth. The situation remained grave, and now there were suspicions that Librian regiments were trying to defect to the tau. Given that Libria was now the only secure base of operations in the Zadoc subsector, this was worrying news for the Imperial high command, and Lord Titus Luthor dispatched inquisitors and the commissariat to investigate the situation.