Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grimlock: Tyranids held at Atlis

During 05.013M42 the war between chaos and the tyranids on Grimlock continued with brutal ferocity. mobile warfare had briefly given way to hit and run raids, bombing campaigns and chemical and biological warfare, before Nemesis launched a major assault on the strategically vital region of Atlis towards the middle of the month.

The chaos leaders hadn't expected an attack on this region, as it was protected on three sides by the Atal and Krendal seas. However, the armoured warriors of Nemesis showed that mere oceans were not a barrier, and turned up in force near the settlement of Eribank. Here an enourmous battle involving over a million defenders took place amongst the ruins of the once populous city, and titan's clashed with vast bio constructs. Eventually the encounter was settled when the chaos army's centre collapsed, allowing the tyranids to break through on all sides. Eribank fell and the defenders of Buttermont quickly fled south. It seemed all of Atlis would fall and with it much hope of a chaos final victory.

The Death Guard however were unperturbed, and holed themselves up in the rocky hills surrounding the former Imperial base of Hakargh. The base itself had long been converted to use by traitor Astartes legions, and the mighty fortress had been embelished with brass towers and monuments to the four powers of the warp.

Unimpressed with the display of martial prowess, Nemesis assaulted the fortress of Hakargh, finding the nurgle devotees defending the narrow passes to the installation both tough and stubborn. The tratior marines arrayed their forces in disciplined lines, sending a withering hail of accurate fire into their enemy's ranks as the hordes of tyranids tried to close with their foe. The weather was appalling and this seemed to slow the hive mind and the warriors themselves, and gradually the death guard thinned out the press of alien creatures before finally breaking the back of the attack.

having saved the fortress, the Death Guard set about leading the counter attack against an increasingly disorganised foe. Before the month was out the ruined cities of Buttermont and Eribank had been retaken, and all of Atlis restored to chaos rule. Nemesis would have to think again before considering the world of Grimlock ripe for consumption.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wider Sector Events

During the latter half of 05.013M42 the Aleph Sector as a whole began to see a steady upsurge in violence. The main arenas of the Perseus Deeps and Zadoc Subsector were the most active, and the war on Fort Sparcos between the orks and tyranids continued, with hive fleet Nemesis closing its grip ever tighter around the massive ork facility, while ork pirates and rok fleets vied with the tyranid bioships in a chaotic series of running battles around the planet.

Further afield the Dark Eldar of the Shattered Silence cabal continued their machinations in the Vastrid sector, continuing their construction of a secret base in the Radeon Cluster, putting their successful raid over the Death Guard to good use. In the Enceladus subsector, the Tau launched their first ever mission into the unknown, following a sudden calming of warp tides in the region. Commander Fastblade, finding a number of worlds infested by chaos and orks, put his new equipment and technology to the test, conducting a series of successful raids against the greenskins.

The most notable event came on 2405.013M42, when the Oberon class battleship Barham arrived at Vastrid after several months in the warp. The vessel had not announced its arrival, and the vast vessel, escorted by a flotilla of smaller craft caused some concern on the subsector capital before finally it was revealed that the new Aleph ruling council had arrived.

Lord General Roover and Lord Admiral Magnus had got wind of the changes several months previously, and were relieved to find an imperial governor appointed rather than a warmaster of a new crusade. They would keep their posts, for now at least. The new arrivals also included a Cardinal and a Lord Marshall of the Adeptus Arbites, as well as an inquisitor lord. The Adeptus Terra clearly meant business about bringing the rule of imperial law back to the sector as a whole.

The new Imperial Governor, Titus Luthor had chosen Vastrid as his seat of power after finding out in transit that the former capital Aleph 4 was no longer loyal to the emperor. This was of particular irritation to the current government of Vastrid, which found its government offices and imperial palace forfiet to Luthor's requirements, and they were forced to move their own seat of government to Cravenhead.

Luthor had had to spend his months journeying to the sector learning about the history of the sector, and why his new domain was half the size it had been a millenia previously. Luthor made good relationships with Cardinal Cassar and Lord Marshall Van-Gelt during the trip, and they agreed that the sector was in serious need of guidance. Luthor would be having stiff words with commanders of the Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy upon his arrival as well.

The Barham's most secretive new arrival was Lord Inquisitor Natalia Vorushko, who had kept herself mostly to herself during the trip. Upon her arrival she set up the Aleph Sector Convocation, of which she was head, and summoned all inquisitors to her from across the sector. This included the rivals Hathek and Xanthus, as well as Lord Inquisitor Huron. Vorushko was determined to "clear up" certain matters around the recent "inquisition war", and prevent any further outbreaks of violence between her colleagues.

Aleph Sector Ruling Council - Bloodmouth, Vastrid, Vastrid subsector
Imperial Governor Titus Luthor (Adeptus Terra) - arrived 2405.013M42
Cardinal Leoten Cassar (Adeptus Ministorium) - arrived 2405.013M42
Lord Marshall Severus Van-Gelt (Adeptus Arbites) - arrived 2405.013M42
Lord General Thaddeus Roover (Imperial Guard)
Lord Admiral Bova Magnus (Imperial Navy)

Aleph Sector Convocation
Lord Inquisitor Natalia Vorushko (Inquisition) - arrived 2405.013M42
- Lord Inquisitor Xanthus
- Lord Inquisitor Hathek
- Lord Inquisitor Huron

Hylas: Praetorians hold new ork offensive

On Hylas, while Uzfang had been fighting an agressive war in the west with the help of Da Verminator and the remnants of Snazzgubbins and Thruggnik's warband, Na'Porkleon had been doing very little in the east. Since his initial successes over the Salamanders, the ork commander (still widely rumoured to be two gretchin one standing on the other's shoulders) had sat with his army, sulking, behind a line of ork fortifications running from the Colleridge swaps to the Eden sea.

The ork warlord was sulking because since his defeat the Praetorians, in charge of the defence of East Hallen, Seaford and Arin, had built a parallel row of formidable fortifications blocking any ork advance. Na'Porkleon decided this wasn't sporting, and had sat sulking ever since, both sides refusing to come out and fight each other.

Uzfang grew increasingly frustrated at his ally and subordinate, so much so that in mid 05.013M42 he took a large force of orks south east to reinforce the eastern front, before launching his own ferocious attack on the Praetorian lines. Supported by Medusa artillery the Praetorians stood firm as Uzfang's orks swept across the plains and into the guns of the imperial guard. Refusing to retreat, the Praetorians died where they stood, stoically refusing to abandon their posts. The result was a bloody stalemate, with the orks failing to make a dent in the imperial defences. Collingwood and Eden't Landing remained safe and General Van Dorn urged the Praetorian commander to follow up on the failing ork assault. He refused.

Much to Van Dorn's frustration the Praetorians instead extended their lines of fortification, arguing to push forward now would simply expose them to another ork counter attack. Instead the Praetorian colonel planned to reinforce his line further so that the offensive, when it finally came, would be unstoppable. In any case the trench digging and bastion building continued, forming an even longer line of fortifications to further protect Eden's Landing. Meanwhile on the ork side, Na'Porkleon was unable to hide his amusement at Uzfang's failure as he returned to the greater part of his armies fighting in the north.

Tyranteous: Chaos final assault fails, Tau take Fallenvale

With the chaos position almost hopeless on Tyranteous, the imperial guard commanders were confident that now only the tau would prove to be their real enemy on tht planet, but still they were instructed to hold defensive positions against the forces of damnation, rather than launch an all out attack to finish them off. Little did they know that the fact that imperial intelligence were well aware that the strength which had so far been pitted against them by the forces of chaos did not represent the total strength of Lorek and his allies. Daemons had been used in place of conventional troops, and Lorek was in fact husbanding his valuable ground forces as he knew he was vastly outnumbered by his loyalist enemies.

The invasion of Tyranteous had taken a turn for the worse however, so Lorek ordered his entire strategic reserve, along with a massive daemon summoning, to attack by surprise out of the Granite hills in the shadow of mount iceclaw. Although the imperium were right about the chaos ground forces, arcane technologies and daemonic pacts had so far shielded the bulk of Lorek's marine forces from the imperium. On 1405.013M42 he committed them.

The imperium first learned of the new offensive as farming collectives and small settlements sent garbled pleas for help then stopped responding altogether. A PDF batalion was sent to investigate and did not return. Observation by air, resulting in savage casualties to the imperial navy determined that a huge force of marines and daemons was now moving north on Fernal Crossing. If this fell, the entire region of Ferval would fall to chaos and the final victory of the imperium over their arch-enemy would be set back once more.

The Librian 78th, 114th and 59th mechanised were sent to face this threat, assisted by half a company of Blood Martyrs astartes, representing the greater part of General Mikell Denham's southern armies. He was sure this was Lorek's last roll of the dice and was determined to smash his foothold on Tyranteous once and for all.

General Sackville was given charge of the force, designated West Army, as Denham re-organised his forces into four armies. Other than West there was North, defending against the Tau in North Landing, led by the Corellians, but made up of a range of forces. East, covering East and Grent, under General Illiani, commander of Zadoc forces and Centre, defending the capital and the Wendrick region led personally by Denham himself.

Sackville devised a brutal strategy to counter Lorek's advance, and one the Blood Martyrs fully endorsed. The forces of chaos were baited to fall upon the imperial armies, who had formed a wide front as they travelled north west, stretching from the Granite hills to the Lanwick sea. Sackville's advance was obvious, and as soon as the forces of chaos wheeled to meet him, he took up defensive positions.

The two armies clashed in the planes, the forces of Lorek and his daemons piling into the Librians with savagery. The 78th regiment was almost wiped out, the 114th lost half its strength and the 59th had nearly all its equipment destroyed. For a long time it appeared Sackville was losing, as horrific reports of casualties came in from the front. Sackville merely nodded, consulted with the Blood Martys, and threw ever more men into the meatgrinder.

The loss of life was horrendous, but the imperium could make good the losses, while Lorek could not reinforce his precious legionaries. Worse still while the daemons and traitor marines were orchestrating a massacre in the valleys, the Blood Martyrs met lighter resistance on the imperial left flank, taking the high ground and putting Lorek's forces at the disadvantage. After four days of fighting the daemonic entities began to weaken, and yet Sackville still had men to throw into the battle, though by now even his superior Denham was having second thoughts about the strategy. However, by now the Blood Martyrs had scouted the territory of the Granite hills, and quite by chance found one of the small cultist parties responsible for the summoning of the daemonhosts. The space marines quickly determined the source of the daemons from the screaming captives, before executing their prisoners and ordering a strike on the daemon portal from orbit. The strike cruiser Phoenix quickly ran the tau blockade, fired on the co-ordinates before escaping into deep space.

On 2105.013M42 the daemons allied to Lorek abruptly vanished, and the gods of the warp withdrew their favour from the venture. What was left of Lorek's legions made their way into the wildernesses, either teleporting back to unseen ships during night hours, or using warp portals to evacuate the planet. The chaos invasion of Tyranteous was finally at an end.

Meanwhile the tau had been highly successful in expanding from their initial beachhead but the Imperium still held out in the northern cities. If they could be driven out of their prepared positions in the major population centres Imperial resistance in the north would collapse. The honour of claiming the cities was given to the cadres of the Ksi'm'yen Sept, Shadowstrike's own Sept and veterans of the Tau's wars throughout the sector.

The meticulously planned operations were imperilled when poor weather covered the northern continent on the day of the attack. Rather than push back the operation and lose the element of surprise Shadowstrike ordered the attack on Fallenvale to go ahead anyway. At zero hour Stealth Suites and Kroot auxiliaries who had infiltrated the settlements overnight fell upon the defenders as Shadowstrike's Cadres moved into the city outskirts.

The defensive positions were manned by men of the Corellian Storm Guard, an elite and well lead unit but outnumbered as the Tau had been successful in keeping the point of their attack from Imperial Intelligence. The Corellian artillery and fortified positions were neutralised by stealth units before they could do much damage but before long re-enforcements began pouring in from throughout the city and the battle hung in the balance.

As the battle raged the weather worsened with torrential rain, lightning storms and high winds blanketing the city. The appalling weather kept the Tau atmospheric fighters grounded, unable to patrol the air over Fallenvale without exposing themselves to Imperial flak guns. Used to air dominance Shadowstrike's Cadres without ground based anti-aircraft weapons and were totally vulnerable to the strafing runs of the Corellian Vendetta gunships. The Tau's supporting armour paid a heavy price, utterly exposed to the aerial attack.

But in the fierce street fighting it was the infantry that held the key to victory and after many bloody hours the Tau emerge victorious. Fallenvale was taken and many of its remaining defenders forced to surrender, although the air mobile Storm Guard were able to make their escape under cover of the storm. In the south Hammerton was also encircled by an armoured push and cut off from friendly forces. The Imperial position in the north was looking untenable, only constant raids on the Tau's supply infrastructure preventing a total collapse.

Corellians counter attack on Ares

Following the Astartes failure in the preceding weeks, General Vasilevsky scrambled to prevent a general eldar breakthrough. He had been warned that the eldar were attacking in force and that to hold the line would be a challenge. However, despite not having overwhelming numbers, Vasilevsky could still call on elite regiments, including one from the Corellian Storm Guard. It was these elite troops the imperial general placed along the most likely axis of advance for the aliens, and it was the Corellians who met the eldar advance head on.

The elite imperial guard formation absorbed the initial shock of the eldar attack, and then counter attacked using Vendetta gunships and chimera borne mechanised regiments. Attacking in force, sheer numbers overwhelmed the disciplined eldar, in a way the astartes could not. Backed by heavy artillery and air strikes, the Corellians stopped the eldar advance dead, and by 2305.013M42, despite ongoing bitter fighting, the eldar were once again retreating back up the Hellebron Valley and to within sight of the ruined capital. The Corellian's had stopped the eldar advance, but Vasilevsky now needed more troops to press home his advantage.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Zoggot falls to chaos

The eldar were not only active in the Zadoc subsector in their new policy of overt support for the orks. In the Enceladus subsector, far from imperial control, the orks were also under threat. Chaos had invaded the minor world of Zoggot, and should it fall, eldar farseers had predicted swift gains for the forces of chaos, with the possible collapse of the orks in the region. This in turn they predicted would lead to a further assault by chaos on the Vork Ork Expanse, leading to a new Waagh! which would draw orks away from the Zadoc subsector, and potentially put the orks themselves on a colision course with eldar ambitions.

The forces of chaos, united for once in their victory over the orks, chose the death guard to lead the advance on the last remaining ork stronghold, unaware that the eldar were now supporting their greenskin enemy. As the final battle was joined the eldar forces fought valiantly and almost tipped the tide as the ork commander smashed into the death guard ranks taking out the chaos lord himself, charging through the chaos lines and causing much destruction before being shot down by cowardly havocs with lascannon.

The battle itself hinged on a rather peculiar action near the centre of the ork settlement. In their attempt to prevent the chaos forces from breaking through the ork lines the greenskins had developed a new powerful weapon, capable of levelling entire city blocks. Based on unstable wormhole technology the first experimental firing unfortunately ended up firing an unlucky grot helper into a tree near the enemy lines. This was particularly calamatous as this particular grot had been carrying the ork "planz" to the device. One ork warboss immediately tried to use "stelth" to rescue the unfortunate creature before the enemy noticed what had just been fired into its midst, but his clumsy approach brought an entire death guard company swiftly onto his position.

The eldar knew this would be the key action, thanks to the prescience of their psykers, although they perhaps didn't forsee the loss of their commander to an unfortunate mishap with a shokk attack gun... Nevertheless the strange ork-eldar "alliance" held, and together they made a concerted effort to come to the rescue not just of a grot and a warboss, but of the planet of Zoggot itself. The ork boys, expecting to wade through the death guard ranks like their commander, crashed into a wall of plague ridden bodies and were hacked down. In the end the eldar forces were unable to save the grot or the warboss sent to retrieve him and had to withdraw. Zoggot had fallen to chaos.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New tau offensive besieges Fallenvale

General Denham had been right to fear a renewed offensive from the Tau. Since their initial invasion they had continued to build up their forces, and despite the recent imperial successes against chaos, the tau still controlled the outer reaches of the Tyranteous system and the strategically vital Tyranteous Moonbase, a desolate but vital installation orbitting one of the system's larger gas giants. Here the tau had already converted the imperial base, and having defeated a chaos incursion, were now at liberty to use it as an effective staging post for troops and equipment bound for Tyranteous itself. With Jellicoe's fleet still en route to Tyranteous there was nothing the imperium could do to challenge tau superiority in space, so Denham was forced to defend his recently won territory with the forces he had to hand.

The imperium fortified the important settlements and strategically significant positions on their front line with the tau, but when it came the renewed offensive bypassed much of these defences, out manouvering Denham's guard formations and driving deep into imperial territory between Fallenvale and Hammerton. The tau plan had been simple, to cut the imperial general's supply lines to the northern city and encircling a large portion of his army.

Initially the tau plan succeeded, but the Raven Guard had positioned themselves in the rear ready for such an eventuality. They immediately threw themselves at the "speartip" of the tau attack, aiming to blunt the tau advance and knock out their elite forces. General Denham would then be able to issue a general order to counter attack, catching the tau between two formidable forces.

The Raven Guard assault went wrong from the start, with strong warp currents blinding the chapter's librarians and causing the drop pod assault to go badly awry. One veteran librarian was almost overwhelmed by the warp turbulence, almost certainly caused by the frequent daemonic manifestations which had characterised the war against chaos on Tyranteous.

Despite the setbacks the Raven Guard pressed home their attack, eventually assailing the tau commander himself in close combat with the superior genetically enhanced super humans. Overall however the tau advance was not checked, and the astartes could do little to prevent the xenos forces from linking up several hundred miles south of the now beseiged city of Fallenvale. The Raven Guard abandoned their mission, feelings of bitterness and unfinished business dominating their return to their strike cruiser.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Orks defeated in Mabb Nebula

In mid 05.0143M42, the tau realised that the continued ork victories on Hylas, while weakening the imperium, also posed a threat to their own ambitions in the Zadoc subsector. Were the orks victorious on Hylas, they would likely turn on the tau holdings in the Mabb Nebula, which put the entire aleph sphere expansion under threat. Rather than directly help the imperium, whith whom the tau were at war with on Tyranteous. Instead the ethereals determined that Fort Aerin, a powerful and important ork occupied base near to Va Doran, should be rendered ineffective. This would deter the orks from attacking tau worlds while not helping the embattled general Van Dorn on Hylas with his greenskin enemy.

Despite the war on Tyranteous the tau force to carry out the attack on Fort Aerin still had imperial allies, in the shape of the Knights of Dorn. This astartes force had been working with the tau for some time and recognised the dangerous shared enemies of human and tau, and had long ago decided that this far on the eastern rim, co-operation with the tau was a neccessity if either race was to survive. Pointedly the chapter forces had stayed well away from Zadoc command since re-appearing in the Zadoc subsector.

The raid would have been an unremarkable event in sector history, but for the strange appearance of the eldar at fort Aerin - fighting on the side of the orks. Though this perplexed the tau especially, the eldar had forseen that were the tau successful on Aerin, the orks may be weakened sufficiently to abandon their dogged defence of fort Sparcos against the tyranids. This would - eventually - threaten the eldar exodite worlds once more. With a small intervention now, the whole crisis would be averted.

Unfortunately the eldar chose not to even attempt to explain this to their erstwhile tau allies, and were unaware of the astartes allies in the tau forces. This surprising lack of foresight was a tragedy for the eldar, who found their forces outgunned and outmanouevered. Despite the usual violence expected from greenskins, the orks were defeated and fort Aerin ransacked by the tau forces, securing the tau right flank in the Mabb nebula and souring tau-eldar relations in the subsector.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tyranteous: General Patraeus takes Weybridge Crossing, Fallenvale abandoned

General Denham's much expected advance on Weybridge Crossing came just a week after the astartes raids on the settlement. The raids had devastated the infrastructure of the port, and the battle to take the strategic crossing point and last refuge of chaos in the south took place over a ruined and shattered landscape.

The main offensive was carried out by two veteran regiments of the Librian guard and Corellian Storm Guard. These were in turn supported by PDF and less experienced formations on their flanks, while the imperial Navy provided air cover. In the eventual conflict which lasted less than a week, the imperium enjoyed complete air supremacy over Weybridge, allowing the Corellians to emply their Vendetta borne infantry without fear of marauding chaos aircraft.

The conventional forces of Lorek had been severely damaged in the preceding raid, and now the imperial offensive, comprising of some 50,000 men faced no more than a hundred or so traitor marines and perhaps 5000 cultists. As Denham's forces closed in on the settlement, Lorek's forces once more turned to the malign powers of the warp to aid their cause.

The daemons summoned were numerous and powerful, but by now the imperial forces had become used to their tactics. The battle was tight and hard fought, but on day three of the attack the Corellians held the key high ground overlooking the bridge itself, and refused to relinquish control of it despite repeated and increasingly desparate counter-attacks. By the fifth day of the offensive the chaos resistance had been broken and Lorek's daemon allies vanished back into the warp, allowing the Librian and Corellian units to mop up the last defenders of the city. Chaos had been defeated in the south.

The imperium received some additional good news in late 04.013M42, as the beseiged city of Fallenvale finally fell to the imperial side, rather than to the tau. Now the forces of chaos had been forced back into the far north of the planet, away from any strategic areas or valuable crop yielding land. The only downside to the campaign so far had been the attrition, sometimes approaching 30%, in imperial guard regiments exposed to daemonic forces. Here despite rigorous attention from the ecclesiarchy nearly a third of some regiments had to be "cleansed" by the inquisition following battles against Lorek's forces. Even so this was an attrition rate Denham could afford, although he was keen to constantly rotate the forces likely to be exposed to daemonic taint.

As 05.013M42 the threat of chaos receded on Tyranteous, and Denham now had to hold his gains against a tau foe which had superior supply lines to his own, and was rapidly gaining in strength.

Hylas: Salamanders defeated, ork advance checked by Angels.

During 05.013M42 the ork warboss Uzfang resumed his offensive on Hylas after reorganising from the ork victory over the Librians. Since that battle, the Librians had been performing a fighting withdrawal, and General Van Dorn was sorely pressed to hold the greenskins at bay. As with Vasilevsky in the Perseus Deeps the imperial commander requested more forces, but his superior, General Brooke, had none to give. His reserve had now been committed to Tyranteous, and none of the worlds in the sector could provide any more regiments in the near future. Even the mighty Libria was being bled dry of its young men and stretched to breaking point to provide the vehicles and equipment needed to feed the imperial armies' voracious appetite.

Van Dorn was reinforced by the Salamanders, Dark Angels and Blood Angels. These three chapters at least had seen the many challenges the imperium was facing in the chapter, and had worked together to split their forces for maximum effect. Now all three chapters had dedicated forces on practically every active warzone in the sector, and more units in reserve. These flexible battle formations would now be able to react to events across the sector in a way the imperial guard could not.

Grateful for the astartes help, both General Veers in the Perseus Deeps and Brooke in the Zadoc subsector invited the three chapters to send representatives to their war councils, held on Corticant and Zadoc respectively. All three chapters agreed, and now for the first time in years the imperium had a consolidated command structure in both regions, it was only a shame that the imperium was now facing stronger enemies than at any time in the last 5000 years of sector history. The three chapters were joined by the Blood Martyrs in 05.013M42, who had agreed to deploy half their chapter strength to the sector to allow the Red Angels time to rebuild their shattered chapter.

The reinforcements on Hylas were almost too late, as another massive assault by the orks erupted on 0505.013M42, shattering Van Dorn's front line on the plains of West Coast and driving north towards Etonia. The Salamanders reacted first, driving straight towards the ork centre and focussing their attention on Uzfang's elite units. The space marines caused a great deal of damage to the ork warlord's most experienced troop, but at terrible cost. The Salamanders suffered heavy losses, and were unable to stop the ork advance, although they had bought the imperium some time.

Less than a day later, the Dark Angels and Blood Angels co-ordinated a strike on the same elements of the army targetted by the Salamanders. This time the astartes were successful, and after a bloody battle Uzfang's elite units were either destroyed or routed. Their leaders in retreat, the rest of the army followed suit, abandoning the offensive and reducing the pressure on the battered imperial guard regiments. The ork advance north had been stopped, at least for the time being.

Eldar breakout on Ares

The long running war on Ares had become something of a stalemate by mid 013M42, with the eldar holding Ares City and the Imperium holding the valleys and heights which protected the settlements of Hellebron and Caeralon. General Vasilevsky was content to hold the eldar at bay in this way, complaining his forces were not numerous enough to attempt another assault on the capital, but his superior, General Veers, was anxious to get the city, or at least its ruins, back into imperial hands. Most importantly the eldar were still in possession of the main starport, making it all the more difficult for Veers to reinforce his subordinate, not that he chose to in any case.

Vasilevsky stubbornly refused to launch another assault, and would have risked the attentions of the commissariat, had the Salamanders, Dark Angels and Blood Angels arrived and agreed to mount a large raid against the eldar. Following the raid, Vasilevsky would follow up with his imperial guard regiments, and mount another offensive on the imperial capital.

The Blood Angels, aided by a smaller force of Dark Angels in support, mounted the first reconnaissance along the shores of the Helion sea, a region populated by humanity for millenia, and home to a number of small and ancient settlements, their buildings dating back hundreds of years to Ares' "medieval period". The astartes force were taken completely by surprise by a carefully planned ambush by the eldar forces, demonstrating that the aliens had built their forces up on the planet once again. Despite a valiant effort, the Angels of death were forced to evacuate their force before it was surrounded.

The Salamanders now moved in to cover theit brother astartes' retreat, expecting to brush aside the eldar army with their renewed attack. They were disappointed. The eldar forces once again proved themselves too strong and too organised for even the greatest of humanity's warriors. Suffering heavy losses and despite checking the eldar advance for a time, the Salamanders were also obliged to withdraw, warning Vasilevsky that the eldar now had overwhelming force and would easily overcome his defences unless Veers provided more troops.