Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Necrons take Gamordal

After months of lessened activity the necron threat in the Perseus Deeps once again burst into life in the latter part of 02.013M42. On Parataea the necrons began to move south towards the populous Tau colonies, but were swiftly intercepted by the Shattered Silence kabal who effectively fought the Harakhty Dynasty to a standstill in a series of brutal actions taking place over a series of days. By 2702.013M42 the necrons had been halted but at terrible cost to the dark eldar, who evacuated their remaining forces. They had bought the tau some time at least.

On Gamordal the Dark Angels tried to emulate the Space Wolves by expanding the imperial bridgehead remaining on the world. Almost out of supplies the remaining guard formations would be unable to function unless the spaceport was liberated and a safe corridor opened for imperial landing craft to make deliveries. Despite a determined assault by the Dark Angels, they were unable to shift the necrons from their positions, and then faced a counter attack which appalled the commander of the astartes chapter. Cursing the aliens as abominations the captain of the Dark Angels withdrew his battered forces, ordering in as many transports as possible to rescue the remaining imperial guard troops. More than half of these were shot down with great loss of life, but a few companies of guardsmen were rescued, leaving Gamordal to its fate.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Astartes chapters active in the Aleph Sector

There are currently three Space Wolf companies active in the Aleph Sector. The great companies present as of 013M42 include those of Bran Redmaw and Erik Morkai, and the chapter are involved in operations across the Perseus Deeps and Zadoc subsector. They have been instrumental in the Imperial successes of the crusade against chaos, but have suffered losses of late. Never-the-less the Space Wolves are arguably the strongest astartes faction in the sector.

The Dark Angels have also committed a sizeable force to the Aleph Sector, with at least three companies usually available for operations. They are also active in both the Perseus Deeps and Zadoc subsectors, but they tend to lend their forces to imperial generals more sparsely and with less consultation than the Space Wolves. The Dark Angels fleet was severely damaged in battles against the tau in 008-011M42, and has not been seen in strength for quite a while. In addition it is believed the chapter have their own agenda for being so active in the sector, one not shared with the high command.

The Blood Angels have two companies in the Aleph Sector, but the chapter are very rarely involved directly aiding imperial campaigns. Instead the Blood Angels perform lightning raids or ally themselves with other forces with little warning, then tend to leave after an unspecified period of time. It is believed the chapter is searching for something in the sector, something of great importance to them.

The small force of Apocalypse Riders have only recently arrived in the Aleph Sector, but since their arrival they have worked closely with imperial commanders to make the most of their high speed lightning assaults. The Riders prefer to raid and destroy rather than take objectives, and they are most often seen cutting lines of supply or performing vital missions to reduce the capacity of the enemy to make war on the Emperor's armies.

The Salamanders have a significant commitment to the Aleph Sector including three companies, two of which are currently involved in bitter fighting on Hylas against the orks. The third company is also in the Zadoc subsector after a brief tour of duty in the Perseus Deeps. Their leader Fafnir was seriously hurt in the battle for North Vale by friendly fire, which has soured relations between the chapter and the rest of the imperial forces in the subsector.

The Red Angels have not disclosed their force distribution in the sector, but it is known that it must have been at one time almost half the chapter. Relatively lacking in heavy equipment, the largely foot soldier astartes chapter have suffered heavy casualties at the hands of all the emperor's enemies, mostly in battles in the Perseus Deeps. They Red Angels offer themselves for missions no matter the odds, something which may have contributed to their losses over the last few years.

The Raven Guard have only been active in the sector in recent months, but their appearance after sweeping the eastern rim has significantly bolstered the imperial defence of the Zadoc subsector where they are most active. The 5th Shadow Company is assigned to the sector, under Shadow Captain Corvane Valar.

Despite being close to the eastern fringe and within striking distance of Ultramar, the Ultramarines have never provided more than a company of marines at any one time, although Marneus Calgar did briefly intervene in the Melberg campaign in 008M42. The Ultramarines are almost fully engaged fighting further rimward, and have currently less than a company in the sector.

Much like their progenitors, the Sons of Ultramar have also been recalled to the Ultramarine domain to protect it from tyranid attack. They briefly fought the tau in 006M42 at the time of the Protogonus crisis

The Blood Martyrs, a successor chapter to the Blood Angels, were once heavily deployed in the Aleph sector, particularly around the time of the formation of the Federacy. The highly mechanised and mobile companies of the Blood Martyrs took heavy casualties at the hands of the Tau at the beginning of the Perseus Deeps crusade and have currently withdrawn from front line duties.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Nemesis grinds to victory on Fort Sparcos

Since late 012M42 both the tyranids of hive fleet Nemesis and the orks had been building up their forces on Fort Sparcos. By mid 02.013M42 the former Imperial base had become a sprawling ork metropoplis now home to millions of greenskins, while all around the base in the badlands Nemesis was gathering an equivalent number of violent and savage beasts which simply existed to make war. Sparcos had been reinforced from space by the orks, travelling in all kinds of ships, hulks and harnessed asteroids, all of which had to make the short and relatively easy warp hop from Kallack. Nemesis' hive fleet stood guard over the world and over the preceding months several desparate void actions had taken place within the Sparcos system, but the ork reinforcement "schedule" was far too haphazard for Nemesis to stop even a meaningful fraction of the greenskins from joining their brethren on the planet.

Nemesis decided that before more ork infestations appeared behind their lines that the fort had to be taken soon. The hive mind gathered its forces and launched an all out massive assault on the outer defences of the fort on 2202.013M42, deploying hundreds of thousands of creatures and utilising their largest bio constracts - massive titan like creatures able to physically step over all but the highest fortress walls.

At first the ork defences held, and the greenskins poured forward to meet the alien assault. Employing their own massive war engines it appeared that the orks, lead by Da Verminator, would easily repulse this latest tyranid assault on their outer defences, but at a critical point in the battle the ork left wing unexpectedly broke under the onslaught of the alien tide. This was followed by the destruction of the orks's greatest war machine, a mighty gargant fashioned in the image of the ork gods themselves. This enormous beast dominated the ork battle line, and its explosive demise also wiped out much of the Death Skull clan who were advancing in its shadow.

The ork line decisively broken, Da Verminator ordered a general withdrawal to the second line of defences, and Nemesis pushed forward. Even so final victory for the tyranids still looked some time away, this advance being the first of many bloody battles which would be needed to overcome the entrenched greenskins.

New tyranid offensive on Grimlock

Following the abandonment of Grimlock by Imperial and eldar/tau alliance forces, the forces of chaos and Nemesis moved quickly to occupy the territory vacated by the two forces. This took some considerable time, and by 02.013M42 neither side had resumed serious offensive operations against each other. That all changed late in that month.

Nemesis launched a huge assault against Catechism forces in the north of Grimlock in the region of Sumadon. Strategically the area was not of major importance, but the area was known to be a marshalling ground for the vast numbers of troops being shipped to Grimlock by Moonface. The tyranid assault was savage and vicious, and saw for the first time Nemesis employing enormous bio-titans in their inventory of vicious beasts. Rather than face a prolonged battle the Catechism forces of the "pale forge" withdrew to more defensible positions, surrendering the region to the tyranids.

Imperium defeated on Mordecai Tersius

Following the disastrous defeat on Tyranteous in mid-02.013M42, it wasn't long before the strain on imperial resources was keenly felt elsewhere. General Van Dorn was obliged by Veers to surrender nearly a quarter of his forces, as Lord General Roover had decided that the loss of Tyranteous was more important than taking Mordecai quickly. HoweverRoover still expected Veers and Van Dorn to successfully prosecute the war on the agri-world with their reduced resources.

Van Dorn re-arranged his defences and eagerly welcomed the arrival of a Dark Angels company. No sooner had the new astartes forces arrived however than news came of a new offensive on the ground by the Iron Warriors. This faction had been noticeably absent from the assualt in the Zadoc subsector, and now the reason became all to clear. The Iron Warriors forces smashed through Van Dorn's line south of Skrime and tore across the southern plains. Before the Dark Angels could react Danythe had been recaptured by chaos forces and Skrime itself was relieved.

The Dark Angels then dropped into the battlezone from their orbitting strike cruiser, attempting to retake the city. In a bitter firefight the Dark Angels proved a much tougher enemy than Van Dorn's guard regiments, and the shock of their arrival clearly gave the Iron Warriors cause for concern. The battle raged for many hours in Danythe before mounting losses convinced the Dark Angels' commander to evacuate and regroup. Van Dorn had lost his most valuable prize to date and had been pushed back to his day 1 gains. The invasion of Mordecai now hung by a thread.

The Pale Forge

Like his namesake, the power of Moonface waxes and wanes. The Imperium counted themselves fortunate that the Catechism had not been seen in great force for a long time. This ended on 0502.012M42 when guard forces encountered tank regiments arrayed against them on Mordercai Tersisus. The Imperial advance halted and General Van Dorn demanded to know where these armoured legions had come from.

A worrying answer from a report by the Adeptus Psykanum. One unfortunate scryer of their order had opened his mind to the warp just as Moonface's tanks were transported onto the battlefield using the mysterious device. The scryer's fevered ravings were hard to comprehend, but in his more lucid state he reported a great forge, as pale as death, in which imperial war engines are constructed in a mockery of the Adeptus Mechanicus' factorums. Thousands of men go willing to their deaths in the forge, all the time chanting the catechism of Moonface. As they are slaughtered their souls are allowed no release and are instead bound into the tanks themselves.

All over the sector reports are arriving of the ghostly pale war machines lumbering across warzones, spreading terror into the hearts of good Imperial men. Supported by local troopers swayed to the cause of Moonface, the tanks and titans march on, crewed only by screaming souls.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tyranteous: battle of North Vale

By mid 02.013M42 the war on Tyranteous had again scaled back to a watching brief by general Denham. The Death Guard still held Weybridge crossing, but showed no signs of breaking out. The plague was taking its toll on front line units, and as General Brooke, with the whole subsector to think about, was unwilling to divert much in the way of reinforcements to the agri world, despite its continuing importance to the survival of Zadoc, and the imperial position in the subsector as a whole.

In the north there was a known tau base, but astartes forces had forced the aliens back into the frozen wastes, and at some point the tau would have to leave or break out once again, and Denham was content that his forces were in good defensive positions to intercept any southern thrust. On 1202.013M42 Inquisitor Huron arrived on the world, and discussed the situation with Denham and the planetary governor, Diana Selken. He believed a new attack would come soon, but the imperial commander remained confident of his defences.

Unfortunately for General Denham, the enemy were already planning something audacious. Lorek, once master of chaos in the sector, was keen to destroy the imperial hold on the Zadoc subsector and take the sector capital for himself. To do this he needed to destroy Tyranteous, and starve Zadoc itself to the point of submission. His attempts to incite heresy and treason had not gone all that well, as the response from the astartes in the region had been overwhelming, but with the tau now in the system, Lorek sensed a rare opportunity. Over time during 013M42 the Tau and forces of chaos entered into a dialogue, and by mid 02.013M42 they had agreed on a combined operation to push back the imperial forces on Tyranteous.

For the tau the logic of such a temporary alliance was overwhleming. Together the tau and chaos forces would be able to gain a secure foothold on the agri world, taking the imperium by surprise. Once the imperium had been broken, the tau were sure they would be able to establish space superiority, land reinforcements, then wipe out the chaos forces in turn. For Lorek, his reasoning was similar. Use the tau to gain ground, then remove them once his logistics had been improved. Even if the tau were to eventually defeat his own forces in turn, the imperium would be obliged to divert forces away from other areas to defend against the tau, allowing Lorek to consolidate what was left of his empire elsewhere. Imperial intelligence had very little idea of what was about to fall upon them. On 1502.013M42 scouts reported tau forces moving west in the far north, away from inhabited areas, so Denham took little action. Then on 1602.013M42, the hammerblow fell.

A huge force of chaos cultists, rebel guard and traitor marines suddenly began rolling east from the cost of North vale. The army had appeared from nowhere and the small imperial garrisons quickly fled or were overrun. Unkown to the imperium, the device had been used once again, landing a well equipped and large chaos army on the shores of the continent before the warp tunnel collapsed drained. Even so this use of the device would not be enough. As Denham reviewed the reports as they came in he quickly judged that if he deployed his full forces in the north against the chaos threat, they would be annihilated. With this in mind he called a war council, inviting the commanders of the four astartes forces on the world, as well as the adeptus mechanicus, who had recently landed an entire titan legion on Tyranteous.

The Space Wolves, Salamanders and Blood Angels all agreed to be part of the forthcoming battle, relishing the chance to destroy such a large chaos army. The Apocalypse Riders however could add little to the fight since their losses incurred in earlier battles, Never the less they stood ready to lend what support they could should it be needed. To this elite force was added a single Warhound titan, the rest of the legio titanicus being ready to ship to Hylas to support the war efforts against the orks. However just one titan could make the difference, and Denham accepted the offer. Supporting the titan and space marines were three full regiments of Librian guard, as well as Zadocian and Tyrantean units on the flanks of the imperial army. Denham wheeled this massive formation across the plains of North Vale to face the chaos threat west of Fallenvale. On 1702.013M42 the two armies met, and General Denham got the nastiest shock of his military career.

Instead of facing just the force of chaos, it was quickly realised that the enemy had united, and now the army ranged against them matched them for size and firepower. The tau had joined the traitors in common cause and the imperium now had a real fight on their hands. Cursing the alien and the heretic, Denham ordered the attack.

Denham's forces were organised with the Librian armoured regiment on his right flank in mostly open country, with the Librian infantry deployed in the centre of his line, opposite the undustrial complexes of Fallenvale. Between them a strong force of Salamanders stood ready to take the fight to the enemy. On his left flank (to the south) the bulk of the marine forces were deployed, with the Space Wolves holding significant forces back ready to drop from orbit where they would most be needed. The warhound was kept as a mobile reserve, while two super heavy tanks marked the very centre of Denham's line. Behind them all the ranks of basilisks and manticores were waiting to bombard the enemy positions. The enemy had deployed their army with much of the tau kept well back, but the traitor guard had also deployed large armoured units in the open country to the north of the settlement. Crucially the allied forces had planned in detail together, and intended to deal the imperium a knockout blow once the battle was joined.

With no choice but to fight, Denham's army moved forward. Initially the imperial army gained ground. On the right the librian tanks were less than succesful in their duel with the traitor forces, but were at least making forward progress, while the Salamanders raced towards their enemy taking little meaningful casualties. The super heavy tanks caused appalling casualties in the tau/chaos centre, and body parts and the remains of tau tanks soon littered the ground infront of Fallenvale. The space wolves too made rapid progress and soon there was fighting in the enemy held city itself, as drop pods delivered the emperor's finest to the heart of the enemy positions.

This initial advance was the high water mark of the imperial counter attack. After several hours the fighting bogged down. On the right the warhound titan had to be deployed from reserve as the librian tanks were decisively beaten in the armoured tank battle in the plains to the north. The Salamanders reached the enemy positions, but tragedy struck as captain Fafnir was taken out of the fight by a stray round from a librian Baneblade, an event which caused much acrimony after the battle. Meanwhile furthest advanced, the space marines involved in clsoe quarter fighting with the enemy were eventually overpowered by superior numbers, their supporting armour knocked out by two super heavy tanks, one of which managed to ravage the Space Wolves 1st company.

As darkness fell on 1602.013M42 the chaos and tau forces threw in their own reserves. Deep striking crisis suits and teleporting obliterators suddenly appeared behind the imperial lines, and although the imperial general had planned for this, the strike was still devastating. In one stroke the enemy destroyed almost all the imperial artillery, the one arm of the army which had been inflicting real damage to the tau and chaos forces. In addition the super heavy tanks were knocked out, and precious resources had to be redeployed to counter this new threat.

The strike itself proved to be suicidal, and none of the units taking part survived as chimera borne librian veterans armed with plasma and melta weaponry made short work of the intruders, supported by astartes elite units. However the damage had been done and the imperial advance had stalled. On the right flank the combined weight of fire from the traitor tank regiment overcame the Warhound's void shields and it was reduced to a hulk. On the right the line buckled, then broke as the kroot arrived, shattering the space wolves' hold on the settlement.

Angered, Denham began to lose his control, of the battle and of himself. Increasingly enraged the thin wiry imperial general began shouting at his subordinate commanders. He ordered Colonel Piper, commander of the tanks, to sweep around the enemy's right flank and support the salamanders, despite the fact they had lost all their vehicles. Becoming hysterical he vented his fury at colonel Potter of the librian infantry. Dutifully the unsupported infantry advanced on their objective, only to be cut down by railgun, plasma rifle and heavy bolter fire. Finally General Denham admitted defeat, cursing the astartes and his subordinates he ordered a withdrawal, but not before reserves had been called up from the eastern province of Odinvale.

This move made the defeat even more catastrophic. The tau immediately took full advantage, launching a new attack in the east. By 1802.013M42 Smallgrove had fallen before the line stabilised. At the same time the tau extracted themselves from Fallenvale, establishing a closely watched front line between the aliens and the traitors. Almost a quarter of the planet had fallen with heavy losses and General Denham now found himself having to answer a number of difficult questions. His position as overall command was becoming more and more vulnerable.

Strategically the decisive defeat was a huge blow to the imperium. The tau and forces of chaos were correct in their assumption that the imperium could not afford to lose Tyranteous. Almost immediately more forces were diverted to the region. The defences of Hylas were scaled back, resources due to be sent to Veers' crusade on Mordecai were diverted to the Zadoc subsector, and fleets and armies were hurridly mustered. This one battle had severely threatened the Imperium across the sector, and would prove a turning point in the aleph sector campaign.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Inquisition war re-ignites

in mid 02.013M42 the unity of the imperium in the alpeh sector, tenuous at the best of time, started outwardly fraying at the edges once more. The inqusition war which had erupted some years earlier had largely quietened down with the arrival of hive fleet nemesis, especially since inquisitor Hathek had travelled into the Hadron Expanse to investigate the origin of the alien menace.

This left the inquisitors of the sector largely free of the original cause of the schism, but Hathek's followers grew within the inquisition as the threats of the eastern rim became more and more apparent. With the imperium beset by aliens on all sides it made more and more sense to try to come to an agreement with the practically "benign" tau empire.

To inquisitor Xanthus and his monodominant followers this was of course abject heresy. In 01.013M42 word reached the Inquisitor lord on Bastien that an imperial force, probably led by the inquisition had been seen operating alongside a tau hunter cadre. Incensed, Xanthus demanded that the alien fraternisation be investigated. Deciding to test the Space Wolves, with whom he had never been entirely happy since arriving in the sector, he requested the chapter send their own forces to New Cerberex to destroy any aliens there.

reluctantly the space wolves of Erik Morkai accepted, but when they arrived on New Cerberex they found not only tau, but a force of grey knights in the service of an unknown inquisitor. Unfortunately the space wolves found this out only after they had engaged the tau in battle, and inevitably astartes ended up shedding brother astartes blood. Worse still, a force of Apocalypse Riders, responding to requests for support from the Grey Knights also became embroiled in some of the worst imperial in-fighting for years.

Finally the inquisitor managed to call a halt to the fighting, explaining his loyalty to the imperium and to the ordo malleus. He claimed no affiliation with Inquisitor Lord Hathek, and explained that tau physiogeny and their lack of presence in the warp made them ideal daemonhunters. Distrustful but satisfied all was in order, the Space Wolves retired, angering Xanthus by refusing to lift a further hand to destroy the tau. This was an inqusition affair, and one the Space Wolves no longer wanted any part in.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Battles rage on Mordecai Tersius

General Van Dorn was considering his next move on Mordecai Tersius following the Catechism's key victory at Danythe. In early 02.013M42 this major battle had checked Van Dorn's advance on the chaos agri world, and now, though fully deployed, his army was stuck north of the city in the badlands, bottled up by superior forces holding Skrime and the Skayloss plains.

The general had three companies of marines nominally detatched for the Mordecai operation, and the respective company commanders of the Red Angels, Raven Guard and Apocalypse Riders chapters discussed moving the war on in several meetings with the general and his aids. THe three chapters suggested different courses of action, but eventually it was agreed that the astartes forces would ensure the imperial war effort got underway once more by executing a devastating three pronges strike, carried out simultaneously. This would daze the chaos forces and allow Van Dorn's guard regiments to roll over them in short order.

The main objective of the offensive was the key city of Skrime. If taken, the chaos forces would be denied a critical supply base in the west, and the capital itself would be threatened. The Skayloss plains would be taken and the imperial bridgehead made all but secure.

The operation saw the Apocalypse riders attack the Iron Warriors in the south, while the Raven Guard attacked the Claws of Lorek holding the northern portion of the chaos line. The Red Angels held the centre and were in position to ensure that should anything go wrong in the south, Skrime would still fall.

The attack on the Claws of Lorek went well, and the devastating Raven Guard attack broke the chaos army in the north, and the heretic forces abandoned their city early on on 1002.013M42. Meanwhile the Iron Warriors came under attack, the Apocalypse Riders speeding to battle on their familiar bikes. And then it went wrong.

The Iron Warriors, adapting to the imperial forces on Mordecai Tersius, successfully ambushed the fast moving loyalist astartes, catching them in an unfavourable position. This was mostly down to ruthless use of the enslaved population of the system, who the Iron Warriors uncaringly used as a human "speedbump", slowing down the Apocalypse Riders and causing them to arrive at the elite units behind in a haphazard fashion.

The result was a disaster, as any squad managing to hack and slash its way through madly capering cultists was ruthlessly shot to pieces by the Iron Warriors behind. After a few hours the imperial attack was first blunted, then annihilated. Just as the Raven Guard were taking Skrime itself, the Iron Warriors had turned north and were soon engaged in a furious battle with the Red Angels.

As darkness fell on the first day the Red Angels found themselves struggling to identify let alone shoot their enemy. Once again the shufflinf cultists were used to distract and divert the attention of their enemy, and the Red Angels struggled to engage the Iron Warriors in the darkness. In the end the battle degenerated into a large brawl, and one the Iron Warriors dictated on their turns. The Red Angels soon found themselves hopelessly outclassed, then surrounded, by the chaos legion. Very little was left of the Red Angels force by morning, and learning of the disaster to their south the Raven Guard hastily removed themselves from Skrime, which was re-occupied by chaos forces on the morning of the 1302.012M42.

The assault had not gone well. With superior strategic advantages the imperial front line had moved forward, but the main objective of Skrime remained in chaos hands, and the occupation of the Skayloss plains was small gain for the lives lost. Worse still Van Dorn had lost the initiative, and his armies were forced to go over to the defensive while the general requested reinforcements to replace the two badly mauled astartes companies.

Intense battles on Ares

Having lost Ares City on 0702.013M42, General Vasilevsky immediately organised a powerful counter attack. This time two Librian regiments supported by Praetorians and two massive war titans, one reaver and one warhound, moved against the now ruined city on 0902.013M42. At first their progress was unimpeded, and the massed infantry of the imperial guard, supported by tanks and artillery, made good progress into the hab zones around the city. Then without warning, an enormous eldar warhost appeared from the city centre, attacking out of the haze and smog which now almost permanantly hung over the heart of the settlement.

Reports from front line units were initially discounted, as they contained frantic pleas for aid and descrptions of eldar formations far larger than was believed possible. Various enemy titan sightings were assumed to be different units describing the same war engine, but as the fighting continued it became clear that the imperial attack was facing no fewer than five eldar titans, including three of the largest phantom class war machines.

Vasilevsky was determined not to retreat, and threw in his reserves. On the right flank of the imperial advance the open ground was telling, and despite heavy shelling of the enemy positions, superior firepower and the aid of a phantom titan overwhelmed the librian infantry and armoured formations, and after taking heavy casualties the imperial forces began to retreat.

On the imperial left wing Vasilevsky had more success. One by one the enemy titans were taken down, but at heavy cost. The warhound was the most fortunate unit on the battlefield, somehow destroying a much larger phantom titan in close combat without suffering any damage. The reaver titan was less lucky, being almost completely gutted by shot after shot from the eldar lines. Rarely seen eldar "knights" were also present, though these suffered badly at the hands of the reaver titan before it was crippled. By the end of over six hours fighting the imperium had established dominance on the left flank of the battle.

The one remaining eldar titan was still a concern however, as the collapse of the imperial right wing allowed the monstrous war engine to break through the imperial frontal positions to the more vulnerable artillery units to the rear of Vasilevsky's lines. However a lucky shot from the basilisks prevented it firing accurately, and without enough firepower to break the imperial army, the titan retreated.

By the end of the day both sides had fought each other to a standstill. The eldar had suffered crippling casualties, but Vasilevsky's army was in no fit state to pursue the eldar. The imperium had lost half its infantry, had a reaver titan crippled and lost all of its tanks. The remaining imperial forces dug in where they stood, some three miles further forward than when the attack had started and waited for the next battle...

Gamordal: Grey Knights massacred

Following their disastrous intervention on Ares some days previously, the Grey Knights now proceeded to Gamordal, where once again they informed the local defences, still beseiged and beleagured, that they would be carrying out their own mission against the "daemonic" activity of the necrons. This of course made no sense, but no one in the chain of command had any reason to suspect the agents of the ordo malleus, and the Grey Knights force dropped directly into combat against the enemy forces, some distance behind the enemy lines.

Why the Grey Knights were on Gamordal at all was never established. The inquisition denied all knowledge or simply refused to answer the questions put to them by the military or civilian hierarchy. Whatever the reason the mission was unsuccessful, with the imperial force suffering heavy casualties for apparently little gain.

Nemesis encounters new hive fleet

During 02.013M42 the tyranid menace continued to plague the native species of the galaxy in the Aleph Sector. In the most distant regions rimward of the Aleph subsector on the very edge of the Aurelis Deeps, it was found that Hive Fleet Triton was not quite dead. The Raven Guard encountered a splinter force on an uninhabited world while they were attempting to verify the reach of the ork menace spreading out from the Vork Ork Expanse, while the forces of Nemesis also made contact with the older hive fleet. There was no brotherly recognition between the two hive fleets, and the tendril of Nemesis quickly put their cousins to death, consuming their biomass for themselves. How many more remnants of Triton remained in the wilderness zone of the Aurelis Deeps no one could estimate.

Nemesis also continued the pressure on the Imperium and eldar forces in the Zadoc subsector, raiding New Cerberex once more and weakening the imperial defences. Even the alliance between the tau and imperium, a rarity in itself and not something officially sanctioned by either side, couldn't prevent the aliens from establishing a foothold on the colony, which now waited with a sense of dread for the rest of the hive fleet to follow in the vanguard force.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Ares: Corsairs take Ares City

After being forced back into two small pockets of resistance in Ares city, the eldar were widely expected to withdraw once more. However to General Vasilevsky's displeasure the eldar seemed to be determined to hang on to the world, despite this invasion heading towards the same stalemate as the last one.

In late 01.013M42 after over a month of relative quiet, strange emanations were intercepted from the eldar controlled areas of the city.These were reported to the inquisition, and in early 02.013M42 a force of Grey Knights arrived on the world, stating that they had been monitoring the ongoing conflict for some time, and that they had evidence to suggest daemonic energies behind the forces the eldar were using.

The evidence was not presented or shared with the imperial guard general, but he was expected to give up control of the campaign while the Grey Knights were present. Vasilesvsky therefore had no authority to prevent the Grey Knights from charging into Ares City intent on banishing the eldar daemonic presence. The result was predictable, and avoidable if only the inqusition's own astartes had bothered to consult the imperial general. As expected when they sensed they were under attack the eldar countered swiftly and viciously, inflicting horrific casualties on the Grey Knights and their supporting units, which precipitated a general withdrawal from Ares prime by 0702.013M42.

Meanwhile further north the Red Angels continued to probe the eldar defences in the hills believed to contain a major webway portal, but the skirmishes which devloped were inconclusive. Vasilevsky, once he had control returned to him, now had a capital and a space port to retake.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Hylas: Salamanders' new offensive blunted by Da Verminator

By late 012M42 the greenskin assault on Tennyson had petered out on Hylas, and the war once again settled into a familiar pattern of minor probing attacks and skirmishes. For over a month the front line moved very little, and all the while more reinforcements arrived to bolster Gault's men.The imperial general called a war council consisting of the Salamanders, Raven Gaurd, Legio Gryphonicus senior princeps, and the colonels commanding his principle guard units. Together they agreed a plan which would be led by the astartes and titan forces, which would see a massive hammerblow of force applied to the heavily defended ork sector near Berkeley.

Sitting in a narrow strip of flat land between the steep sides of mount Flynn and the marshy brackish waters of the Sump Sea, the settlement of Berkeley had already been the scene of many battles since the orks invaded. Unable to take the city, warboss Uzfang had erected "fortifikayshunz" to the south and east of the city, blocking easy access too the plains of Beng and preventing an imperial breakout which would threaten the ork territory in Birego further east. If Gault could force a passage here, he could cut off the orks threatening Tennyson and bottle up the greenskins into Beng and West Hallen.

The new offensive started on 0102.013M42, as the Raven Guard mounted a fast moving assault against the fortifications. Uzfangs forces were present in large numbers, but the flexibly armed astartes were more than a match for the greenskin defenders. Within a day the line of ramshackle forts and gun emplacements had been torn down, and the lay way open for the next phase of the plan, the breakout to the south.

The titan legions led the way, followed by the Salamanders space marines. Together these elite forces attempted to drive a decisive wedge between Uzfangs boyz and the massed forces of Da Verminator, the only significant force now standing between the imperium and the settlement of Benger, some two hundred miles south east. Once this force was defeated, the elite forces would drive on to Benger, while the Imperial Guard surrounded Uzfangs forces, trapping them against the highland plateau which dominated the centre of the world.

Da Verminator's forces however proved stubborn to shift. The more firepower and forces the Salamanders and Adeptus Mechanicus poured into the crucible of war which had erupted in the south of the once populous city, the more the orks seemed to reinforce it. For hours the line barely moved as both sides took increasingly horrific casualties. As the hours became days it became obvious by 0302.013M42 that the meatgrinder which had developed would surely rob Gault of his most precious forces, so the attack was scaled down. Uzfang had lost his fortress and Berkeley had been made secure, but the much wished for breakout had failed to materialise. Both sides had taken staggeringly high casualties, but the front line had barely moved.

Necrons frustrated on Gamordal

Since 11.012M42 the battle for Gamordal had settled down into a siege. The necrons, having taken Gamordal city and the last remaining spaceport, simply had to wait for the surviving regiments of guard trapped in the Ventrax enclave to simply die of starvation. The imperium had lost control of the entire planet except for a small strip of land including the city of Ventrax itself and the Ventar peninsular. Here the population gathered while the imperial guard tried to hold back the advancing aliens.

Several times the necron lords attempted to offer the commander of the beleagured garisson terms of surrender, but each offer was met with stony silence, General Potter needing little reminder from the commissariat that merely communicating with the enemy xenos was a capital offense.

The forces under Potter's command, resigned to their fate, expected to meet a swift end at the hands of the invaders, despite their efforts to build a ring of defences around their remaining territory, but on 0202.013M42, the Space Wolves suddenly dropped from orbit, sowing confusion in the enemy ranks. The astartes force quickly established a perimeter around the Eastwier farming collective, and the imperial soldiers needed little encouragement to break out of their defences.

Caught between the sudden appearance of the space wolves and Potter's new offensive, the necrons, for once, fell back, giving ground and allowing the imperium to retake the vital food stocks of Eastweir. This turn of events brought much cheer to the imperium in the Perseus Deeps, showing that the necrons could be beaten on the field of battle. It also boosted the morale of the defenders on Gamordal, and although they were still almost certainly doomed, they made it their holy mission to hold out for as long as possible on Gamordal, making the necrons pay an ever increasing price for each metre of the Emperor's soil.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Imperial advance halted on Mordecai Tersius

With the bridgehead established on Mordecai Lord General Veers appointed General Van Dorn to co-ordinate the push on the small agri world. Van Dorn set about the task with the required sense of urgency and began to push east with five regiments of Librian and Praetorian Guard, with a further five in reserve. The remainder defended the bridgehead the Imperium had created, while reinforcements began the relatively short warp jump from Corticant.

By 0402.012M42 the main advance had raced some fifty miles east, enlarging imperial held territory, and there had been no sign of a further chaos battlegroup leaving the heavily fortified docks at Mordecai Primaris. This was a surprise, as the imperial navy had assumed Thok and Lorek would put up a vigorous defence of the outer reaches of their own system, but it seemed that after an initial foray they had returned to port or dispersed into the outer reaches of the system. The latter was a worry for Admiral Beattie, whose ships would be vulnerable when arriving in the Mordecai system after exiting the warp. Reinforcing Van Dorn on the ground would become very difficult if the imperial vessels were ambushed on arrival.

However, this did mean the imperial forces already landed ought to face a weakened defence. Unfortunately this turned out not to be the case. On 0502.012M42 the imperial advance ran into extremely stiff resistance from forces observed to be Catechism in loyalty. The array of forces apparently available to Moonface was staggering. Although not there in person the chaos force comprised of regiments of Catechism troops, led by an impressive number of Leman Russ battle tanks and super heavy tanks. Surprised by this highly mechanised force the Librian infantry regiments suffered badly, picked apart after their armoured support was badly mauled by high velocity tank rounds and an array of shells fired from a devastating battery of artillery.

For once the Librians found themselves outgunned, and even a Reaver titan was not enough to tip the tide of the battle, as its void shields failed under the onslaught of massed battle cannon fire. Its loss was felt keenly to the campaign, but even more so by the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Moonface's forces halted the imperial advance in its tracks and wrestled the initiative back from the Imperium. Once again his forces had utilised the mysterious device to transport their forces from far and wide, and the knowledge stolen from the forges on Cerberex had been put to good use in the manufacture of high quality imperial vehicled for use by the Catechism's own armies. For several years these forces had been husbanded, only now unleached on the Imperium. Now the Catechism had the numbers as well as the elite units of traitor marines, and on Mordecai Tersius this was in evidence. Van Dorn halted the offensive as the losses mounted, and dug in awaiting reinforcements. The forces of chaos would not give this world up lightly.