Sunday, August 25, 2013

Battle of Zadoc Narrows: Imperial decisive victory!

With the debacle of Celliano putting imperial forces firmly on the defensive on Zadoc, Imperial command of the subsector led by General Montgomery were appalled to find that a substantial fleet of Word Bearers ships were now on their way to support the chaos invasion of the subsector capital. The wisdom of the Imperial Navy abandoning, at least for the time being, imperial forces on Tyranteous, now seemed confirmed, as by 2008.013M42 the squadron of swords in orbit around the Zadoc system was joined by Task Force Sommerville, a force of five cruisers and the venerable Oberon class Battleship Royal Sovereign.

Commodore Sommerville was therefore well placed to intercept the inbound chaos fleet, which had been sized at seven capital class vessels. This turned out to include much of the fleet previously commanded by Lorek, the leader of the Claws of Lorek, whose remaining forces had since turned to the "Arch Cleric" now that Lorek had apparently disappeared. Imperial intelligence were still without any clue as to why the lord of chaos had vanished, but now his forces seemed to be flocking to the cause of the new chaos warlord.

The seven chaos vessels moved in system from the jump point in the outer reaches. Sommerville had positioned his fleet in the gas giant belt since its arrival at Zadoc, knowing that the halo of volatile plasma which surrounded the system had few navigable gaps, and that it was in one of these relatively safe zones that he would have the best chance of nullifying his opponent's superior manouverability. On 2408.013M42 Sommerville was proved right, as the chaos fleet appeared from the warp and immediately made for the safest route through the halo, a region of space known as the Zadoc Narrows.

The battle took place in this narrow area of space, surrounded by volatile plasma fields and strewn with rocks, debris and gas clouds. The two fleets approached on parallel but opposite courses, with the Imperial fleet initially passing down the starboard wing of the chaos vessels. Sommerville took his ships past a particularly dense area of asteroids, allowing his nova cannon equipped ships to fire a few volleys at the chaos vessels and crippling one enemy cruiser almost immediately. Then the two fleets turned towards each other, and a tactical game of cat and mouse ensued around the densely packed rocks.

Commodore Sommerville was careful in only exposing his vessels to the greater part of the enemy fleet when he had to. This meant the chaos fleet were rarely able to gain effective firing solutions on their enemy, and during the battle only the Mars class Glorious took significant damage from enemy shooting, although one Sword Class escort found itself too close to the chaos line in the early stages and was destroyed. As the battle progressed, the Fortress of Hate found herself totally exposed to the entire firepower of the imperial fleet, her captain rashly deciding to turn in towards the imperial vessels with no support from her consorts. Sommerville's ships accepted the easy picking, and the chaos cruiser was soon ablaze. Eventually she detonated in a spectacular plasma explosion, crippling the Implacable in the process.

Having already put one devastation class vessel out of action early on, the loss of the Fortress of Hate put the chaos vessels at a considerable disadvantage. Nevertheless their commander turned his vessels in a hard starboard turn, and the remaining chaos vessels buffeted the Royal Sovereign at long range before the imperial battleship slipped behind the asteroid belt. However this had been deliberate "bait" set up by Sommerville. While the chaos vessels had turned their attention to the imperial flagship, the torpedo equipped Hogue and Agincourt were able to come about, navigate through the asteroid field and employ a devastating volley of torpedoes through the flank of the neatly lined up chaos vessels.

This daring attack run hulked another chaos cruiser, leaving the chaos ships with just four cruisers facing Sommerville's three, plus two escorts and the Royal Sovereign. Worse still the bulk of the imperial fleet was now to the rear of the chaos vessels, who had little space in which to turn. Sommerville made the most of this, hammering the chaos ships from behind, hulking another and crippling two more which disengaged.

Eventually the chaos fleet lost another ship, her captain unable to disengage from the fight due to the bridge having been shorn clean off. The eventual tally saw the loss of five of the seven chaos cruisers, with the remaining two crippled. The imperium hadn't lost a single capital ship and Sommerville had delivered the imperium their most decisive victory over chaos for several years. The remaining two chaos vessels slipped away from the imperial fleet but Zadoc had been secured in space at least. Commodore Sommerville was quickly promoted to Rear Admiral, and the news of the victory was broadcast across the sector as an example of imperial victory by a greatful Imperial sector governor.

Chaos Losses
Fortress of Hate - exploded
Warp Revelator - hulked
Divine Anarchy - hulked
Agonise Demise - hulked
Unholy Flame - hulked

Sword of Ajax - crippled
Divine Anarchy - crippled

Imperial Losses
One sword escort  - destroyed

Glorious - crippled
Implacable - crippled

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Zadoc: The battle of Celliano (images)

+++Top: Corellian Manticore seeks shelter in a ruined building.+++

+++Librian Leman Russ tanks assemble before the main battle is joined.+++

+++Librian and Corellian units including the Stormsword "Lance of Divinity", later destroyed.+++

+++The myriad forces of chaos, supported by a large daemonic contingent, counter-attack the imperial advance.+++
+++Corellian Vendetta support moves in to support the Librian Heavy Tank advance. In the foreground the indistinct outlines of two of the three eldar Wraithknights can be seen.+++

+++Baneblade "IronJaw" rumbles over the ruins of Celliano. The tank was later overwhelmed by daemonic forces and destroyed.+++

Eastern Zadoc, 2408_013M42

Friday, August 23, 2013

Zadoc: Assault on Celliano results in chaos victory

For more than a month Imperial and chaos forces on Zadoc had been existing in an uneasy stalemate as both sides kept behind their defence lines, occasionally raiding each other, mainly at night. Despite having overwhelming air superiority the imperial navy conducted few air raids, finding few targets of value and as yet unwilling to level the great city of Celliano. As 08.013M42 approached however, Lord General Montgomery was anxious to make a fresh attempt on the removal of chaos forces from the city. This wasn't Hylas or Tyranteous, but the subsector capital itself.

By 0808.013M42 the imperial armies on Zadoc had swelled in size, with Librian and Corellian regiments flooding in from all parts of the sector. The imperial fleet, originally en route to Tyranteous, instead arrived in force over Zadoc, readying itself to play its part in the coming assault. By 1208.013M4, with over a million men and a staggering amount of munitions, General Montgomery was ready to start a fresh assault on Celliano.

On the eve of battle the Imperium received an unexpected boon, as a hooded and cloaked representative of the alien eldar race made himself known to the imperial command. He offered substantial aid, warning that the imperium had woefully underestimated the forces they faced, and that they faced annihilation in the morning. Somewhat reluctantly the imperial commanders accepted the eldar help, rather insulted by the aliens' presumption that they didn't know what they were doing, and on 1308.013M42, the second battle for Celliano began.

Initial progress by the imperial forces was swift, as the tank regiments assigned to the assault made easy progress across the fertile Zadocian plains. However upon reaching the city itself, the advance slowed, as the imperial guard began sweeps of each street supported by their heavy and super heavy vehicles. The eldar were in evidence as well, the imperium being treated to the rare sight of three wraithknights stalking the ruins of the city.

On 1508.013M42 the imperial scouts detected a large mass of chaos forces moving to counter their latest offensive, and Montgomery was able to take the chaos forces by surprise. On the advice of his eldar allies the imperial forces immediately opened up on the advancing chaos forces, although the initial bombardment by Librian artillery and other ordnance was poor and inaccurate.

The forces of chaos, led once again by the Arch Cleric and elements of the Word Bearers, were severely outnumbered initially, but in line with earlier encounters their army was soon swelled by ranks of other-worldly entities. Daemons of all the major powere suddenly spawned themselves onto the battlefield, ripping holes in space time and clawing their way out of the emperean to assault the imperial lines.

As if this wasn't enough to deal with the imperium soon realised the true horror of the situation in Celliano. Fully half the population had somehow been mutated into the service of the chaos gods, and now the same effect which had turned them began to turn their own forces against them. Without warning the eldar suddenly opened fire on their own side with their super heavy skimmers, destroying the super heavy tank "Lance of Divinity" in an awesome pyrotechnic display. Worse was to follow as the Baneblade "IronJaw" similarly turned on its comrades, its crew momentarily ovetaken by the power of the warp.

Instances such as these began to be reported along the entire front, and the imperial advance stalled just three miles into the city proper. The eldar found themselves assaulted by greater daemonic entities, and even more of these began to pour from portals across the settlement, engaging the allied forces in a deadly close combat slaughter which saw the destruction of both Librian Super Heavy vehicles.

Montgomery, realising this was a serious problem, threw in his reserves and ordered the imperial navy to bombard the city. The sky lit up with fire as Celliano was lanced from above by Jellicoe's fleet, the heavy weaponry reducing much of the city to molten slag and the rest to rubble, but the effect on the enemy's ability to fight was minimal. Still the daemons came on, supported by Word Bearers and cultists, and after three days of intense fighting Montgomery realised the assault would have to be halted.

Ordo Malleus agents then informed the imperial commander that the area around the city was becoming increasingly unstable, and as more and more daemons poured from the warp, the eldar informed Montgomery that all was lost, and that they would be leaving. This withdrawal left the remaining Librian and Corellian units int he vicinity of the city without support, and within just a few hours they were surrounded and utterly annihilated by the uncontrolled orgy of violence now ravaging the entire region.

The defeat soon became a rout, and the entire northern half of the continent Ascobabria was abandoned, the city of Chemart falling to the Arch Cleric and his followers by the end of 08.013M42. The uprising, unlike the one on Tyranteous, had now secured a solid foothold on Zadoc, and the imperium were in full retreat.

Order of Battle

Imperium & eldar allies
11th Corellian Armoured Regiment
27th Corellian Mechanised Infantry
9th Super Heavy Tank company
- Stormsword "Lance of Divinity"
- Stormsword "Divine Intervention"
23rd Librian Armoured Regiment
114th Librian Mechanised Infantry
12th Librian Super Heavy Tank Company
- Baneblade "IronJaw"
- Shadowsword
Rillietan Eldar forces

Arch Cleric forces
Covenant of Damnation
Word Bearers