Thursday, December 31, 2015

Minos: Stahl's new tactic

Minos had been at war for months, and while the tide was turning on the ground, the orbital blockade and scant resources meant food shortages among both the nomadic tribesmen and those living in the few towns were becoming more common. In the last weeks of 015M42 rioting broke out in one of the largest of Minos' towns involving hundreds of civilians who had succeeded in capturing several members of the Administratum. The Adeptus Sororitas were closest available military force and sent troops to put down the rioting and rescue the Administratum officials. Entering the town in the early hours of the morning the Sororitas came under fire from a captured Arbites Chimera. This was a prelude however as seconds later both the Immolator and Penitent Engine were struck with improvised explosives lobbed high above the town, quickly followed with an Earthshaker cannon fire from a cannibalised cannon, Fresh explosions wrecked the Sisters' Rhino transport and shattered the legs of the Penitent Engine.

Clearly this was not a food riot but an ambush. The Cannoness spotted an officer in an unfamiliar uniform who was clearly commanding the rioters, supported by unfamiliar soldiers. She immediately ordered that all haste be made to cut the head off the snake. This proved disastrous for the sisters as while many rioters were untrained civilians whose fire was wildly inaccurate, more than half had clearly been trained in military tactics. The Sisters were quickly surrounded and putting down a food riot had become a desperate last stand. With bolter and flamer the sisters took twice their own number down before falling; the last sister killed defending the Administratum officials they almost successfully rescued.

The Cannoness' last reports of the traitor human army forced Imperial Command to stall their advance and even cede a small amount of ground while they shored their defences against further attacks from this new and insidious threat.

Battles in the Minos system


Following the Imperium's defeat in the battle for the Libria system and Stahl's presence there some had began to wonder whether the Warsmith was preparing to quit his war upon Minos. The loss of Collingwood's fleet at Libria was a continued concern as it left the space lanes to Federacy territory heavily weakened. Imperial command still wondered what could have truly enticed the current apparent master of Chaos forces into an alliance with the Federacy, however temporary.

In the subsequent week the Inquisition's spies within the Federacy, as few as they were, received reports of visions and nightmares from many members of the populace, terrified of a beast of night hunting them; pockets of hysteria breaking out in some smaller towns on Hartak and Aleph. However as soon as these nightmares began they ceased and life returned to normal. Two weeks later, similar reports surfaced upon Parthenope. The Astropaths were the worst affected, screaming incoherently of the “ghost of night” coming for them. Again, just like Aleph and Hartak, these reports ceased after a day. A third time the reports of nightmares and beasts returned, this time being so persistent that the news reached the desks of the Imperial Commanders in the region. The nightmares continued for days, leading to Guardsmen complaining of acute insomnia, and others simply refusing to sleep for fear of the beast that awaited them. Again the worst affected were Psykers; even the Navigators of local patrol, not so far needed in significant numbers, reported a “maw” in the Warp that was slowly moving towards Minos. Despite increasing Psychic static, the Astropaths sent word to Bastien requesting additional fleet support to investigate. Naval Command feared the appearance of a Tyranid tendril or even a Chaos Space Hulk and so Admiral Jellicoe despatched two of their fleets to protect the system. This move was not universally welcomed, many scoffing at the Navy jumping at ghosts particularly when there was such a dire situation on Libria and any possibility of a Hive fleet would have to pass through the now very heavily defended Bastien space. Nevertheless, the fleets of Admirals Enkvist and Somerville arrived in the the Minos system 0512.015M42 with Enkvist's Fleet heading to the Sun and the source of the Warp anomaly and Somerville remaining in orbit of Minos.

Enkvist had been attached to Jellicoe after the catastrophic losses suffered by Collingwood and Pendragon, as Kar Duniash finally realised that the Aleph sector was not a sideshow, but a real warzone. Even then Jellicoe had to use all his efforts of persuasion with the naval lords, and it took him several days to get the reinforcements he needed. Jellicoe was also able to explain the situation with the "crusade fleet", although Kar Duniash was unwilling to take sides in an inquisitorail conflict.

The First battle of Minos

In the early morning of 1612.015M42 Enkvist's fleet passed the orbit of the Minos System's closest planet, detecting strange sensor readings as they did so. Enkvist, a practical man, believed this anomaly to be an enemy fleet and not some apparition or Bioship, so he ordered a concentrated sensor sweep of the area closest but in safe proximity to the Sun, paying particular attention to cold spots. By the Emperor's grace Enkvist was rewarded by spotting the enemy fleet of Warsmith Stahl, powered down and drifting towards Minos, apparently having come into the system from the far side to evade detection. Admiral Enkvist hatched a daring plan; as the Chaos fleet was spread out of order, he believed he could close upon them and attack before they had the chance to close into formation. This involved the tactic of circling on minimum power dangerously close to the Sun's outer Corona. However, despite the dangers, Enkvist carried out his plan and was rewarded by catching the Chaos fleet out of position.

At a little past 15:00 local system time, the Chaos fleet sighted its Imperial counterpart and, realising their plan had failed, activated full power and prepared for battle. Unfortunately for Stahl, the cruisers Iron Eternal, Strength Eternal and the Unbreakable Litany were split from his battleship Stahl's Vengeance, and faced the fleet of Enkvist alone. As Stahl's Vengeance, the Pride of Charybdis and Escorts rushed towards the Imperial fleet. The Unbreakable Litany scored first blood, destroying one of Enkvist's many Cobra escorts but was crippled in return. Enkvist, ordering fire upon the Iron Eternal, succeeded in crippling his a second vessel only minutes after the Unbreakable Litany. Then, at a little past 15:36 ethereal howls and screams echoed throughout every ship in the Imperial fleet; warning sirens blaring of a close proximity Warp translation. Fleet-wide reports of boarding actions were shouted at Enkvist, false reports of fire and magazine discharges, along with screams of beasts in the corridors of all ships in Enkvist's tight fleet formation. The Ghost of Rofocale had appeared off the Kirov's Port side and amidst the chaos caused by its appearance both the Iron Eternal and Unbreakable Litany were able to disengage.

Still recovering from the appearance of the Rofocale, Enkvist barely caught the distress call from the Poltora coming under heavy fire from the Chaos fleet, which was quickly crippled with concentrated lance and weapons battery fire. What had seemed like the perfect trap had been thrown seemingly into disarray by the demonic presence of the Rofocale who further compounded matters when the Narva refused to fire at the more distant Strength Eternal, instead firing its lance batteries at the incorporeal Rofocale. Sensing blood, the Ghost of Rofocale fully left the Empyream to fire into the crippled Poltora. Enkvist, fully aware that the demon ship was crippling his fleet but could not be fired upon due to its position, ordered the Captain of the Kursk to ram the Daemon ship to end it once and for all. However this was not to be the heroic end for the Captain as the Daemon ship managed to twist in space and the Kursk only succeeding in clipping the vessel although the bold move allowed Enkvist's fleet to place themselves beyond the daemon ship's crippling influence.

The Imperial fleet continued trading shots with the Strength Eternal until the other half of Stahl's fleet entered effective weapons range. At a little after 16:45 Stahl's Vengeance, the Iconoclast's escorts and the Pride of Charybdis opened upon the Imperial fleet, reducing the Petrova to a broken hulk with a devastating bomber run. The appearance of Stahl's flagship allowed the wounded Ghost of Rofocale to drop back into the Warp and the Strength Eternal to disengage. For the next two hours the fleet of Enkvist would take pot shots at the Chaos fleet with neither able to draw a bead upon the other, all the while the Ghost of Rofocale appearing and disappearing. Finally, Stahl, believing he had done enough damage to prevent pursuit, disengaged and rendezvoused with his fleet in dead space to make their next move.

The Second battle of Minos

The second battle for Minos occurred two days later in orbit above Minos itself. Rear admiral Somerville, having received warning from Admiral Enkvist, first detected the Iron Warriors when heading on in-system patrol. Somerville, aware of the enemy fleet's capabilities, was keenly aware of its superior range and sought to boldly close the gap as quickly as possible and bring his superior, but short ranged lance batteries to bear. At 18:09 the first salvoes of the Stahl's fleet fired, damaging Wyvern. In return Somerville launched a full spread of torpedoes into the oncoming path of Iron and Strength Eternal who were flanked by the carrier Pride of Charybdis. While Strength Eternal suffered minor damage from the oncoming torpedoes the Pride of Charybdis, intending to use its superior turrets to destroy most the torpedoes, moved into the path of the the remaining salvoes to protect Iron Eternal. This proved to be a terrible error, with the torpedoes tearing through its stern and crippling the vessel. At this point the Ghost of Rofocale broke from the warp, unleashing terror upon the torpedo crews of the Wyvern and Minotaur. Despite the torpedo spread, the main fleet moved to the Imperial fleet's starboard, save for Stahl's Vengeance who forged ahead into the teeth of of Somerville's fleet. At 18:35 a fleet-wide order from Stahl was broadcast to lock onto the Imperial fleet, with Stahl's Vengeance moving abeam of the both the Wyvern and the Falcon and opening all lance batteries. Concentrating his Prow weapons' batteries upon the smaller Falcon, Stahl smashed through the Falcon's prow lance battery and crippled her. The Unbreakable Litany led the fusillade against the Wyvern, and the combined fire from both the Litany and the rest of the fleet left the Wyvern crippled. This left the Unbreakable Litany in the sights of Somerville and most of the remaining Imperial Fleet who launched torpedoes, bombers and fired their lances with every ship available tearing through the chaos vessel's superstructure reducing it to a broken hulk that drifted and crashed into a large asteroid.

The Iron Warriors dismissed the Unbreakable Litany as an acceptable loss and continued their attack run upon the Imperials. First to suffer was the already crippled Falcon, which was torn apart by the predatory Ghost of Rofocale. Meanwhile the fleet were focussed on destroying the recently arrived Cobra squadron and Firestorm Escorts who, without the support of the larger imperial capital ships, were picked apart in short order. With the escorts destroyed, Somerville concluded that their attack had failed to stop the Iron Warriors and resolved to disengage at 19:59, leaving the space around Minos and the broken ships in the hands of the Iron Warriors. This was not as dire a situation as first appeared as Enkvist was repairing and within days able to take the fight to the Iron Warriors once again.

Third Battle for Minos

One week after the first battle for the Minos system, Admiral Enkvist of the Imperial fleet had facilitated enough repairs of his fleet to engage the Iron Warriors' fleet once again. The Iron Warriors themselves had not been idle, reinforcing their position with more ships from out of the system. This time Admiral Enkvist had neither time nor patience for careful ambushes and made all haste for Minos' biosphere. Stahl and his Desolator battleship were dropping reinforcements onto Minos and so delegated the role of command to Diodotus, commander of the carrier 'Sword of Charybdis'.

Battle commenced at 14:00 with the Iron Warrior fleet coming to starboard to avoid the closing Imperial fleet. A little over 30 minutes later the Nova cannon fire crippled the Iron Eternal which, having barely been rendered to working order, was crippled once again and forced to disengage. Having learned from their previous engagements, the Iron Warriors deployed massed fighter waves to intercept the impressive number of torpedoes heading towards their ships. The Idolators' escorts, ranging ahead of the main fleet, destroyed their Cobra counterpart, and the rest of the fleet began opening salvoes at battleship Kirov. The Nova cannons fired their salvoes again however this time the crews of the Chaos fleet were ready and braced against the cannons. In return, Diodotus and the Iron Warrior fleet focussed their fire upon the Kirov, destroying the shield generators and tearing the superstructure apart, crippling it and forcing Enkvist himself to disengage at 15:10.

Despite Admiral Enkvist's retreat, the Imperial fleet continued their attack, determined to break the traitors, focussing their fire upon one ship the Eternal Will. The ship was set ablaze, and after crews were unable to control the blaze, was reduced to a drifting hulk. The Imperial Fleet and Iron Warriors fleet both stubbornly refused to break from each other, however the damage was slowly favouring the Iron Warriors, with the Khal Kangal being reduced to a hulk and the Tsushima being crippled with a severely damaged engine. In a gambit to rescue the situation, the Falchion escorts used their superior agility to attack the Sword of Olympia at close range with an impressive spread of torpedoes and weapons fire. However, surprisingly effective turret fire bracing on the green crew of the Sword meant that the Falchions were unable to cripple the lance ship. In return the Iron Warrior fleet, having no other viable targets in range, focussed their fire upon the Falchions, destroying them. In the hours following the Ghost of Rofocale continued to shadow the Imperial fleet who, seeing the closing vengeful Iron Warrior fleet and the materialising Ghost, elected to disengage and leave the day to the Iron Warriors.

Iron Warriors Fleet
Stahl's Vengeance – Desolator Class Battleship (Warmaster)
Strength Eternal – Carnage class cruiser
Iron Eternal – Carnage class cruiser (Crippled in 1st and 2nd battle)
Pride of Charybdis – Styx class cruiser (Crippled in 2nd battle)
Unbreakable Litany – Hades class cruiser (Crippled in 1st battle, destroyed in 2nd battle)
Ghost of Rofocale – Murder class cruiser (Daemon Ship)
Two Iconoclasts Escorts

Iron Warriors reinforcements
Eternal Will – Carnage class cruiser
Sword of Charybdis – Devastation class cruiser
Shield of Charybdis – Devastation class cruiser
Sword of Olympia – Acheron class cruiser

Imperial Fleet of Admiral Enkvist
Kirov – Retribution class Battleship (Enkvist)
Kursk – Dominator class cruiser (crippled)
Poltava – Dominator class cruiser (Destroyed)
Narva – Gothic class cruiser
Boridino – Dictator class cruiser

Imperial Fleet of Admiral Somerville
Minotaur – Gothic class cruiser (Admiral)
Wyvern – Gothic class cruiser (Destroyed)
Harpy – Dictator class cruiser
Siren – Dictator class cruiser
Sparrow – Dauntless class Light cruiser
Raven – Dauntless class Light cruiser
Falcon – Dauntless class Light cruiser (Destroyed)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Zadoc: Alliance offensive lands on Ascobabria

Despite receiving less attention than the Libria campaign the war on Zadoc was still continuing, with the alliance slowly grinding down the forces of chaos. Since the departure of Warsmith Stahl and the disappearance of the Arch Cleric, the chaos armies had become fractured and disparate, with only pockets of traitor astartes support. this had allowed the alliance, particularly the tau, to downgrade their commitment to the war on Zadoc, secure in the knowledge that eventual victory was all but assured anyway.

Increasingly the Zadoc alliance forces saw major participation by ex-imperial guard formations, chiefly Librian, Zadocian, and Tyranteousean, but with elements of Novgorod and Lycaon Guard as well. These units had been integrated into the alliance army by federal representatives to fight alongside the tau for the "greater good".

By late 11.015M42 an agreement had been reached about the future of Zadoc and more importantly the subsector as a whole. In return for Libria joining the federacy, the tau would get the rest of the subsector, although there would be significant self rule on Zadoc overseen by federal officials. this agreement cemented the tau-Federacy alliance, at least for the time being.

The close alliance and working partnership between federal and tau forces allowed the tau a lower commitment on Zadoc, but by late 11.015M42 the alliance had still managed to advance to the shores of Ascobabria. Now only the Gontina Sea stood between the alliance and the chaos heartland. The plan was to take the Ascobarbrian landmass before isolating the heavily fortified and virtually impregnable Iron Warriors citadel of Gerzonne.

The assault on Ascobabria was a complete success. led by Skyfall's capable commanders and supported by numerous "Gue'vesa" human formations, the highly mechanised and well equipped alliance force stormed the shoreline south of Sartignay. The defenders attempted a counter assault but this failed, despite the summoning of daemonic entities. The alliance had established a bridgehead on Ascobabria and their final victory was in sight.

Hylas: Old warzone flares into life

After almost six months of near inactivity the war on Hylas became an active warzone once again. General Van Dorn had received much sought after reinforcement in late 09.015M42 and by late 10.015M42 he was ready to go on the offensive. Fresh Novgorod Guard regiments and the Adeptus Sororitas of the Crimson Veil Order prepared to move forward in the south, while the northern front was held on the defensive, the Voscians deployed here along with small units of Imperial Fists to bolster the guard regiments shoudl anything untoward happen.

The first assault went as planned as on 1810.015M42 large formations of Novgorod Guard assaulted the remaining ork fortress south of Brockley. Experienced ork fighters by now and supported by a knight war engine, the Novogorod army smashed apart Von Bismork's defending forces and razed the ork fortress to the ground. The risk to Brockley had been removed and the second phase of the operation could begin, an advance on Desmond in the south.

Before Van Dorn could exploit the Novgorod success however, news reached him of a new greenskin offensive in the north. Well equipped orks loyal to Na'Porkleon and ork Warboss Kogh, delighted to be in a "shootin war" once again were carening across the West Coast plains annihilating anything which got in their way. Within hours the Volscians, unused to fighting the orks, had been smashed apart, and the Imperial Fists were desperately trying to hold the line by plugging gaps.

It was a straegy doomed to failure. The elite forces of the astartes were simply overwhelmed by the number of ork boyz, lootas and trukks the greenskins threw into the offensive. Within days the Imperial Fists had withdrawn completely, leaving the Volscian guard to fend for themselves. Van Dorn knew this was an untenable position and he withdrew what forces he could to the Shifting Isles defence line in front of Sarina. North Eton was left to the orks, as well as the thousands of imperial guardsmen now trapped in West Coast.

Having gone over to the defensive in the north Van Dorn pressed ahead in the south, and managed to secure further support from the Minotaurs chapter of space marines. On Hylas, the Minotaurs had no issue with Van Dorn's loyalty to Vorushko or Hathek, and so here, deep in the Mabb nebula the imperium acted as one. Not finding an ork fleet in orbit the Minotaurs were able to strike into the heart of the battle between the Order of the Crimson Veil and the greenskins in the suburbs of Desmond.

They arrived in time to throw the orks off balance, and despite taking moderate casualties the elite imperial forces were eventually able to mop up any greenskin resistance by 2911.015M42, returning the outskirts Desmond to imperial control. The orks still controlled Finlay and the centre of Desmond however, and Van Dorn now planned a new offensive to take these settlements to turn the tide of the war on Hylas.

Libria V: Mechanicum sweep into Timberhill

With the failure of the crusade fleet to drive off the loyalists, the space around Libria V became safe enough for loaylist forces to begin landing reinforcements. There would be a significant time delay however before the imperial guard regiments would be deployable in the field, and this gave the crusade forces on the ground the initiative for at least two weeks. Immediately the crusade armies pressed the loyalists hard on Libria V, especially on the northern front, as they tried to take as much ground as possible prior to the arrival of fresh loyalist troops.

The target for the attack was the cold tundra plains to the north of the capital, Louxin city, with the crusade mechanicum leading the advance. Less prone to the cold and icy weather conditions the mechanicum were deemed ideal for the push south. Defending the northern front the Volscian guard regiments found it difficult to counter the superior crusade technology, and by the end of 11.015M42 the loyalist forces had been forced back to within 50km of the capital itself.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Dark Eldar raids resume

Alliance relations with the eldar and dark eldar had already become strained in recent months. With the disappearance of the Rillietan the dark eldar found themselves less and less bound to the cause of their kin and the rewards from their actions on Libria were becoming smaller and smaller given the risks and costs. The kabals involved in the "aleph sector venture" soon found their standing falling in Commoragh as rival kabals scorned them for dancing to the eldar tune.

The Shattered Silence had already withdrawn from the venture and decided to prove their wisdom by an orchestrated raid on Apollo's fleet in the Librian system. Because of their previous involvement in the alliance they had easy access to the system, but if the dark eldar had expected the Iron Warriors to be taken by surprise by their raid they were in for a shock.

Apollo, ever the contingency planner, was well aware of the waverings of the untrustworthy aliens and kept his fleet on alert at all times. The resulting raid was severely damaging for the dark eldar as the massed alliance gun batteries put up a storm of defensive fire. The Shattered Silence broke off the action after less than an hour realising the venture was no longer profitable.

Meanwhile in the Perseus Deeps another dark eldar kabal raided the Disciples of Y'nead on Sentinel. Neither side had been actively involved in the alliance and it showed that the two factions worked together only when it suited them. The raid was a success and very profitable for the dark eldar led by Vlokarian, and the kabal decided to continue their venture in the sector, but with no alliances. In the alliance itself the federacy along with Apollo's Iron Warriors made it clear that the eldar and their dark kin were no longer welcome at alliance meetings.

Libria V: Daralon falls to crusade

On Libria V there was no official news regarding the clash between imperial fleets, but rumour was rife. Somehow a rumour that the loyalist fleet had been crushed managed to get out and morale in the loyalist ground forces slumped even further. With expert timing the Dark Angels then attacked.

reful to dissociate themselves from either the loyalists or the crusade for many months, but had come under criticism from the inquisition and other astartes for not taking a stand. Irritated by this and further irritated by the Space Wolves' refusal to staunchly defend Inquisitor Hathek's position, despite the fact that Vorushko had been within her rights to declare the Librian edict, on 1211.015M42 the Dark Angels had committed themselves to the crusade cause within the Librian system.

The Dark Angels attacked Volscian positions on 1611.015M42 around the city of Daralon which had held out against the crusade for a considerable period of time. At first it appeared the guard forces might hold on, as the astartes failed to take key strategic positions in the city. Then it became apparent why. Fueled by burning anger from the stinging criticism of others the Dark Angels vented their fury on the loyalists. The attack soon became a slaughter and by 2011.015M42 the remaining loyalist forces had been utterly routed. Those remaining in Daralon were simply disposed of and Daralon fell.

Inconclusive action between Crusade and Loyalist fleets

The imperial fleet found out about Inquisitor Vorushko's crusade fleet on 1411.015M42. Although Jellicoe had decided the imperial navy were neutral with regard to the crusade-loyalist war in the Libria system, he had not reckoned with the power of Vorushko's influence at Kar Duniash. For several months an eniter battlegroup under the command of Admiral Cornelius had been en route to the Aleph sector at the behest of the lord inquisitor. Vorushko had carefully pitched her request at the lords of the naval sector, who were kept blind to the real intentions of the crusade by Vorushko's agents. All they knew was that planets had rebelled against the imperium, the tau were involved and Vorushko needed ships.

Aided by the rabble rousing speeches of the Ecclesiarchy, who had become passionate supporters of the crusade in the segmentum, Cornelius' fleet of a few dozen imperial cruisers and other capital ships was soon being followed by a whole host of other vessels. Supply ships, converted liners, monitors and anything that could make warp jumps was soon commandeered by the priesthood to follow on a holy pilgrimage to the worlds of Saint Cybil - the Libria system.

Cornellius had become concerned by the rag tag convoy which had become spread out along a line from Kar Duniash to the Aleph Sector. He ordered the hot headed Rear Admiral Fernando ahead with the majority of the crusade fleet's naval vessels, while the admiral and his remaining ships attempted to apply some order on the mass of civilian ships following.

Vorushko was well aware the crusade fleet would soon run into Jellicoe's navy. Although defeated at the battle of Libria Jellicoe had already ordered Admiral Barham to the system, and the admiral's ships had already arrived near Libria V. She responded by placing agents with Fernando, who "explained" the situation. Finally Vorushko would be able to take the imperial navy under Jellicoe - who she quietly held responsible for treachery against her - out of the equation.

Fernando arrived and immediately found himself facing admiral Barham's patrolling vessels who had been scanning the solar flare region of the Librian star. Without warning they began to close in attack formation, agressively moving towards Barham's ships as he tried to frantically hail them on comms.

Barham fortunately had been prepared for such an eventuality by Jellicoe, who had made contingency plans for such an attack by a crusade fleet, although it still came as a shock to him that an entire imperial battlegroup had been commandeered by Vorushko. In the ensuing battle in the flare region both fleets got to within suicidal range, trading volley after volley and salvo after salvo of torpedoes.

Admiral Fernando lost six of his escorts as well as four of his cruisers crippled after an engagement lasting more than two hours, but Barham had lost the gothic class Kraken, which exploded in similar fashion to the gothic class vessels present at the battle of Libria. Once again the plasma routing for the powerful lance batteries of the gothic class were called into question, and the adeptus mechanicus began what would prove to be a long and exhaustive analysis of the perceived weakness. Following this battle all of Jellicoe's gothic class cruisers were relegated to patrol duty only.

Although Basilisk and Pegasus were crippled, the imperial fleet still had the upper hand against Fernando's badly mauled fleet. Realising if he continued the fight he faced destruction, the admiral of the crusade fleet disengaged, using the plasma discharges of the Librian star to cover his retreat. It was by no means a victory for the loyalists, and the crusade fleet was able to reach the forges of Libria I. Jellicoe, hearing of the action, immediately sent a message to Kar Duniash clarifying the situation. But the damage was done already, Vorushko was in command of the crusade fleet now and nothing the segmentum naval base did or said would make any difference.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Libria IV: Current situation in Porthaven

Libria IV: More loyalist defeat

With the space around Libria IV now clear of any orbital threat from the loyalist fleet, the alliance continued their push into Porthaven. On 0711.015M42 a large force of alliance mechanicum, loyal to the Iron Warriors of Apollo, stormed into the centre of the city. There they met fierce resistance from the Space Wolves and loyalist mechanicum, and for many hours it looked as if the alliance offensive would be stopped dead in its tracks. However eventually despite mounting casualties the Space Wolves were pushed back, and the alliance narrowly held on to vital objectives. Later on a surprise attack by the eldar caught the Novgorod guard unprepared, weakening the loyalist flank and forcing a withdrawal from the Imperial HQ in Porthaven. The loyalist command was now transferred to the Adeptus Arbites precinct and the mood was dire. Retreating inexorably without support or hope of resupply, it would only be a matter of time before the alliance secured Porthaven and control of Libria IV.

Battle of Libria System: Aftermath

The outcome of the battle of Libria had been a decisive victory for the forces of the alliance and chaos. The imperial fleet had been defeated and forced to leave the system. Admiral Collingwood had died with his ship and Admiral Jellicoe had lost six capital vessels. On the alliance side, damage was minimal and easily repaired. For chaos, Warsmith Stahl and Lord Tragaen had helped secure a victory over their common enemy, and now the pressure on their last bastiens in the Perseus Deeps would be relieved as Jellicoe switched force from there to carry on the war on Libria. Thok had come off worst. Not only had his super weapon been reduced to floating scrap, but the admiral himself was now marooned on a desolate planet, awaiting rescue. While he raged at the injustice, the rest of his fleet took the mauled Gotterdammerung in tow and left the system. At least the adeptus mechanicus had been unable to lay their hands on the prize.

Following the battle the fleets of Tragaen and Stahl left the system as previously agreed with Apollo. The Iron Warriors' leader received a great deal of criticism from the Federacy, but the tau were satisfied that the outcome was worth the risk of allying with an adversary. The eldar no longer turned up to alliance meetings.

On Vastrid, the mood at the imperial naval HQ was dark. Jellicoe wanted Pendragon to be court martialled, but his first order of business was to source more ships and another admiral to replace Collingwood. Fortunately for Jellicoe Inquisitor Hathek had started to exert his influence at the segmentum level, and soon Admiral Barham arrived along with replacement capital ships. This included the Retribution class battleship Leviathan, a much needed inclusion to the imperial fleet. This also meant Jellicoe was able to maintain his battlegroups guarding the Perseus Deeps, and Admiral Barham and Pendragon now had what was deemed "adequate force" pending repairs at Caitlen station, to make another attempt at removing the alliance blockade of Libria.

For the time being however the space around Libria belonged to the alliance, and this would ensure that loyalist forces would continue to suffer strategic disadvantages against the alliance and crusade forces. Fortunately the crusade did not have access to a significant fleet, but Jellicoe and Hathek were unaware that Inquisitor Vorushko had also been exerting her influence at the segmentum level, and had commandeered and imperial battlegroup of her own.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Battle of Libria System: Main Action

The battle of Libria began with the alliance-chaos fleet forming up in the outer reaches of the Libria system. Admiral Thok and the Gotterdammerung formed up on the left wing, while Tragaen and Stahl took the right flank. Apollo deployed in the centre as the entire fleet approached the incoming imperials around the rocky planet of Valbarin. Opposing him the imperial fleets of Collingwood and Pendragon approached in close order, with the Adeptus Mechanicus some way distant on their starboard wing.

Upon seeing the imperial fleet Apollo made the decision to deploy his fleet to port, with Tragaen at the rear, while Thok moved his fleet towards Apollo's flagship, closing the gap. Pendragon followed onto a parallel course, while the Adeptus Mechanicus stood off and begun firing their nova cannons.

At 14:20 system time the long range barrage from the imperial nova cannons began, and at 14:43 the Isoldr and Gotterdammerung were taking heavy fire. However the initial salvoes of the imperial fleet were generally inaccurate, and the alliance took little damage. One exception to this was the Basilisk, whose long range artillery crippled Niobium at 14:45.

The Gotterdammerung unleashed her first salvo at 14:55 as she closed and focussed her fire on Pendragon's flagship, but this gave the Adeptus Mechanicus a clear shot at the mighty weapon, and it was clear that the mechanicum were concentrating on destroying Thok's mega weapon. However the nova cannons took their time to get their range, and the "planet killer" was able to close with the imperial fleet. At the rear of the line, Tragaen and Stahl launched their escorts at Collingwood's cobras, who had become dangerously exposed in front of the cruisers. The results were spectacular, as Iwo Jima, Tobruk, Verdun, Vichy and Somme were quickly reduced to wreckage, all but annihilating the imperial escort screen.

In response to this Collingwood's fleet turned two points to port, closing with the alliance fleet. Their initial torpedo run was unimpressive however, as only Honor Eternal took any significant damage, and dropped out of line. At 15:45 firepower from Collingwood's fleet managed to cripple an additional carnage class, but now his fleet had become detached from Pendragon's his ships forming an effective salient. Apollo took advantage, with his ships, Tragaen's and Stahl's vessels concentrating their fire on admiral Pendragon's leading ships.

The barrage of fire from the alliance arc of heavy ships may have put the imperial torpedo guidance systems off, as the strike by the three gothic class on the middle of Apollo's van did far less damage than had been hoped. Only Honor Eternal was badly damaged by the imperial ordnance, and she limped away, disengaging at 16:20. The Gotterdammerung meanwhile took Pendragon to task. Sir Kay was focussed in her gunsights. The imperial vessel had no chance, and was soon heavily damaged. She tried to turn away but at 15:55 sheer weight of fire overwhelmed the imperial vessel, and she drifted away, her back broken.

Pendragon was firing back however, and a lucky nova cannon shot at Niobium crippled her at 16:30, forcing the Iron Warriors' cruiser to withdraw. Collingwood however was in trouble. His ships were now on an all or nothing charge against the centre of Apollo's fleet. Once again the ordnance strike was ineffective. Torpedoes missed and the bomber waves did little damage, leaving Wyvern, Manticore and Harpy in a perilous position. Wyvern was quickly crippled, but worse was to follow.

Meanwhile as the Adeptus Mechanicus continued to stand off, shelling the alliance fleet from range, Thok was closing in on Pendragon. Combined fire from Pendragon and the mechanicum crippled Valkurer, and then the Gotterdammerung herself, Sir Lancelot causing the most severe damage at 16:40. By 17:20 however it was clear Collingwood would not be able to extricate himself from the alliance guns. Manticore and Harpy were quickly crippled, and at 17:23 Manticore exploded after repeated hits from Stahl's flagship. The ensuing explosion further damaged Manticore, but at 17:45 more murderous fire, this time from Apollo's fleet, detonated Manticore's primary plasma drive. The Apocalyptic explosion ripped through Collingwood's fleet, setting of a chain reaction which resulted in the total destruction of Harpy, and Collingwood himself.

At about the same time, the Gotterdammerung was finally put out of action by the Valente Deo, but the destruction of THok's superweapon was of secondary importance to Pendragon as at 17:50, Collingwood's remaining ships disengaged. Pendragon now faced the full force of the alliance fleet, while the Adpetus Mechanicus still failed to close with the enemy. Pendragon began to wonder if their mission had been to destroy the Gotterdammerung while not risking their own vessels...

At 18:00 Pendragon elected to withdraw, but this proved less than an easy task for Sir Robin. Left at the back of the imperial fleet the alliance first crippled her engines then destroyed her at leisure. At 18:30 the action ceased as the imperium withdrew. The battle of Libria was over and despite losing the planet killer Apollo had secured Librian space for the alliance. The imperium had lost six capital ships and an admiral. Admiral Thok meanwhile had escaped the wreck of the Gotterdammerung and now found himself marooned on the planet Valbarin, although his hulk of a super weapon had been successfully taken in tow by the rest of his fleet.

Battle of Libria System: Order of Battle

Admiral Pendragon
Sir Lancelot (Apocalypse)
Sir Bors (Vengeance)
Sir Percival (Dictator)
Sir Kay (Lunar) - hulked
Sir Hector (Lunar) - crippled
Sir Robin (Dominator) - destroyed
2x3 Swords - destroyed
Admiral Collingwood:
Wyvern (Gothic) - exploded
Manticore (Gothic) - exploded

Kraken (Gothic)
Chimera (Dictator)
Harpy (Dictator) - hulked
3x cobras - destroyed
4x cobras - 1 escaped
Adeptus Mechanicus
Magos Vaspasian
Esto Perpetua
Valente Deo

Admiral Tragean
Doombringer (Hades)
Unforgiveable (Devastation)
Doomblade (Carnage)
Rapturous Agony (Carnage)
2 sqn Iconoclasts
Admiral Stahl
Unbreakable Litany (Hades)
Strength Eternal (Carnage)
Honor Eternal (Carnage) - crippled
Pride of Charybdis (Styx)
Infidels x3
Admiral Thok
Tannhauser (Carnage)
Valkurer (Slaughter) - crippled
Tristan (Devastation)
Isolde (Devastation)
Lowengrin (Acheron) - destroyed
Gotterdammerung - hulked
Admiral Apollo
Iron Victory (Desolator)
Niobium (Acheron) - crippled
Barium (Hades)
Titanium (Devastation)
Pollonium (Carnage) - crippled
Iron Without (Slaughter)
Iron Within (Slaughter)

Battle of Libria System: Prelude

By early 11.015M42 the alliance were fully aware that the imperium intended to reinforce the Libria system. Alliance spies knew that Jellicoe had sent admirals Collingwood and Pendragon to flush the numerically inferior alliance fleet out of the system, and they had a tip off that the adeptus mechanicus would be lending their support.

Outnumbered and outgunned the situation looked bleak for Apollo's Iron Warrior fleet. The tau were unable to reinforce in time, as they were continuing their blockade of the Zadoc system. The federacy, concerned with their own borders and still repairing several vessels after Pendragon's surprise attack were also unwilling to send a fleet. The Iron Warriors would have to face the imperial fleet alone.

Warsmith Apollo didn't like those odds. Without consulting the alliance council, who he knew would voice significant misgivings, the astartes legion commander took matters into his own hands. Using his contacts with his former brethren Apollo managed to convinced Warsmith Stahl to send aid. Although the two commanders shared no love for one another and had been enemies in the horus heresy, and more recently, Apollo wasn't above an alliance to defeat the imperium. Stahl would send forces, but it wouldn't be enough.

Apollo then struck another, more contraversial bargain. Realising the ends justify the means he contacted the mad admiral Thok, promising an opportunity to crush the imperial fleet who the admiral hated with intense passion. Thok, relishing the opportunity to face his nemesis Admiral Jellicoe, readily agreed, and prepared to bring the might of the Gotterdammerung. Apollo's agents didn't mention Jellicoe himself would not be present.

The fleets arrived in the Libria system on 0311.015M42, ahead of the imperial force. Tagging along were a number of ships loyal to lord Tragaen, as the chaos lord was unwilling to let Stahl and Thok claim all the credit for the destruction of the imperial fleet. Tragaen also wanted information on the "planet killer" of Thok, the Gotterdammerung. On 0511.015M42 the imperial fleet arrived in system, and both sides drew up their battle lines for the ensuing engagement.

Libria III current status

Libria IV current status

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Libria V: Acronia Valley falls to crusade

Having lost the opportunity to break through into the Acronia Valley with her astartes forces, Vorushko turned to the order of the Crimson Veil and their ever growing imperial guard regiments - mostly Vannaheim but increasingly made up of Librian, Novgorod and even Volscian "defectors". Though these were nominally autonomous under Vorushko, in reality the Adeptus Sororitas made their decisions for them, and worked closely in every operation to ensure their continued faithfulness to the Emperor and the righteousness of the crusade.

Thus imbued with religious zeal and enthusiasm, the crusade guard regiments and the sisters of battle launched a frontal offensive against the defenders of the Acronia Valley on 0311.015M42. Well equipped and with their faith in the Emperor the crusade forces slowly but surely defeated the combined Space Wolf and Volscian defences. As the imperial line collapsed the Space Wolves managed to pull back to safer positions, but much of the Volscian army was destroyed or surrendered to the crusade. Finally Vorushko had wrestled back the initiative on Libria V after a hard slog.

Libria III: Minotaurs assault alliance

With the loyalists ably defending on Libria V, Vorushko requested a new assault on Libria III against the alliance. Against her small but elite forces the alliance had deployed carefully, with their best units, namely the tau and Iron Warriors elements, strategically placed to intevene in any assault on the northern cities and the industrial complexes of Cartasia. By contrast, Librian and eldar forces were known to be operating in the east, behind the easily defensible Varras Isthmus front line and the city of Lazurus.

The arrival of the Imperial fleet of Pendragon, Collingwood and the Adeptus Mechanicus was the opportunity the crusade needed. As the federal fleet departed to the jump point the Minotaurs made an astonishingly audacious assault directly at the heart of Lazarus from orbit. The counter attack came swiftly, and although the astartes were significantly outnumbered by their alliance foes, they held on admirably, allowing a strike from Vorushko's highly variegated convential non-astartes forces to push through the Fulmar gap and into the Varras Isthmus. Lazarus was abandoned within days and within a week the alliance had lost control of the Isthmus altogether.

Libria V: Loyalists hold on in Acronia Valley

The victory over the loyalists by the 12th Kalvor Expeditionary force allowed the crusade to effect a breakthrough assault on the defenders in the Acronia Valley. As usual the Apocalypse Riders were sent in to acomplish this task, and they saw immediate action as the Novgorod Guard regiments stood in their path. Past experience had taught them a lot however, and now the Novgorod were routinely backed up by Adeptus Mechanicus Knights.

The affair was bloody and protracted, and although the Apocalypse Riders inflicted massive casualties on the loyalists, the time for a breakthrough had long passed by the time Vorushlo called off the assault. Time was pressing and she couldn't waste her precious resources on frontal assaults. The Acronia Valley would have to be cracked another way.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Libria V: The 12th Kalvor Expeditionary force

The interception of loyalist communications mentioning a great skitarii host fighting alongside alliance forces caused a great deal of alarm amongst the higher ranks of the 12th Kalvor Expeditionary force, currently aiding Inquisitor Vorushko in her crusade. The leader of the 12th, Archmagos Phos, immediately relayed the new information back to Kalvor where the well oiled cogs of bureaucracy began to turn. Fabricator Locum Nulaati authorised the immediate commencement of recon missions to locate the rumoured forces. Meanwhile word had also reached Kalvor’s Fabricator General, Mekios, who was at that time seeing to his assets on mars. After analysing the available data Mekios ordered the dispatch of more Kalvor forces to the Libria system. These forces comprised of yet more skitarii and even knights and battle-automata from the Fabricator General's own retinue.

Given the go ahead, the 12th expedition mobilised for war and set off to the outer Librian planets to begin the systematic search for the traitorous disciples of the machine god causing havoc on loyalist forces. This exercise was kept secret from the war hungry Inquisitor, who would care not for the death of the so called loyalists. The Adeptus Mechanicus would deal with it’s own.

While conducting operations the advanced sensor equipment detected incoming forces near the settlement of Daralon in the Acronia Valley. Believing they had the advantage of surprise, the Space wolves and guard allies moved into position, preparing to unleash the fearsome might of their imperial knight upon the mechanicum. The element of surprise was however, not on the side of the loyalists. The mechanicus struck first raining down firepower upon the imperial positions without warning. The Wolves of Fenris took the firepower and struck back, their guard allies not fairing as well. The Thunderwolf leader valiantly led the charge into the mechanicus lines, smashing into the Knight atrapos. The loyalist knight followed them in but Archmagos Phos tapped into his forge world's immense data banks to find every detail about the enemy knight. using this information he was able to highlight weaknesses in its shielding which the kalvadorians then pummeled with wave after wave of firepower. The shields gave way and a wave of autocannon shells smashed the knight into a lifeless hulk. The wolves attempted to strike down the mechanicus knight in a similar fashion, but their thunder hammers couldn’t seem to hit the right places, the Knights attacks also struggled to make contact with the agile thunderwolves. The combat was eventually decided by a decisive charge into the fray by the squad of battle automata nearby whose attacks knocked the wolves off their mounts and incapacitated them. While imperial firepower has taken a toll on the recon force, casualties were light and the 12th drove back the loyalists, who suffered horrendous casualties.

After the engagement Phos received communication from Mekios. The Mars high command had deemed it necessary to send additional forces to help eradicate the new threat. Kalvor's only moon would become a new base of operations for Archmagos Inquisitus Voß. This would provide a stable footing from which the Mechanicums inquisitorial branch would remove the traitors. Coming with Voß were a multitude of forces who would join the 12th expedition including multiple tech priest assassins and a feared annihilator of heretic machines, the Atrapos.The primary operation of the 12th would be changed. No longer would their purpose to be to protect the forges of Libria and to continue the inquisitors plan. The new mission was simple, and in an instant uploaded to every member of the 12th. The mission from Mars high command simply read “SEARCH AND DESTROY”.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Libria III - current status

Libria III: Alliance retake Santo

While the alliance were continuing to make gains in Porthaven on Libria IV, the war on Libria III was far from over. Vicious fighting over the middle territories of Cartasia had already reduced Grisk, Santo and much of the rich industrial complexes to rubble, but now the battle had become ideological as well as a war for resources and territory. Implacably opposed to one another, the alliance and crusade faced each other in a bloody stand off neither would ever back down from.

On 2510.015M42 the alliance struck, deliberately targetting the Apocalypse Riders' positions without regard for the strategic significance, apart from the obvious damage to one of Vorushko's elite fighting forces. Deep in the plains of West Cartasia the battle developed with heavy casualties on both sides. Apollo's legion devastated the crusade astartes early on, but then had to face a concerted counter attack. Iron warrior after Iron warrior fell to the onslaught, but the alliance elite force would not be shifted, and the Apocalypse Riders were eventually forced to give up, exhausted. The alliance made modest gains, but the Iron Warriors were losing men and equipment at an alarming rate. Equally the losses in the Apocalupse Riders were becoming critical.

Libria IV: Eldar strike in the north

Shortly after the success in the south, a combined eldar & dark eldar force appeared unseen from the webway in the Mosely slums. This time the dark eldar were kept in check by the eldar, their excesses curbed, but still thousands of humans, mostly the dregs of librian society, were taken back to Commoragh. In return the dark eldar struck hard and fast against the Novgorod regiments defending the northern routes into the city of Porthaven. With their eldar kin backing them up the Kabal of the Glass Five annihilated the Novgorod regiment holding the loyalist defences and allowed alliance forces to move around the north of the city. The noose around general Dersky's neck was tightening.

Libria IV: Iron Warriors close the pocket & Shadowstrike holds on

On 2410.015M42 the federal Iron Warriors began their inevitable assault to re-establish contact with the alliance forces cut off by the Ultramarines' strike. General Dersky was well aware of the Iron Warriors' build up of force near Verder, and assumed, correctly, that Apollo would strike the Space Wolves holding the area before driving south into the Librians in East Commercia and South Park. This would relieve the tau forces in East Commercia and crush his remaining loyalist forces in the south. To prevent this Dersky ordered his most well equipped Librian units to converge on East Commercia and wipe out the tau before the Iron Warriors could arrive. The tau, mostly forces under Shadowstrike's command, would have to face newly organised Librian mechanised and armoured units, designed for fighting the tau.

In the north Apollo's assault, though predictable, proved unstoppable. Superior leadership, technology and an iron will to achieve ensured that in a matter of hours the Space Wolves defending Verder were all but annihilated, and the road south lay open. Further south the tau struggled, At first the Librians pushed into the East Commercia district, reaching their objectives and pushing the alliance forces back. The federal forces - Hartak elite units - were especially hard hit, with Punisher gatling cannons used indiscriminitely against the alliance infantry.

As the battle raged on it became a more evident that the tau, although taking casualties, were slowing the imperial advance. A moment of heroism then followed, as the federal fleet commander realised the only way to rescue a vital piece of intelligence from falling into enemy hands, would be to use the fleet teleporters. Although he managed to contact the orbital fleet, only his personal signal was strong enough to allow teleportation with that degree of precision. Bravely the officer teleported across to the location, right infront of the loyalist lines. Once there he placed the teleport homer on the critical intel and it was beamed to safety. Not even given a chance to surrender, the fleet officer was then targetted by the loyalists and executed in the most grim fashion imaginable, by Punisher gatling cannon.

As the day wore on Shadowstrike's tau forces held, denying the Librians a victory or a breakthrough, As the night drew in the fighting lessened as both sides assessed the cost. The Librians had come perilously close to breaking through to their comrades in the south, but the line had held. The next day Apollo's forces drove south and annihilated the Verder-South Park pocket once and for all. The alliance was once again free to advance on the imperial HQ.

Minos: Apocalypse Riders continue fight back

Following the losses inflicted on warsmith Stahl's Iron Warriors on Minos by recent imperial attacks, the leader of the chaos forces was forced to fill his defence lines with less than optimal reinforcements as 10.015M42 drew on. Unable to easily resupply his position, Stahl had no option but to agree pacts with daemonic entities in order to shore up the chaos lines. Silently detesting this, the warsmith was comforted at least by his use of daemons as cannon fodder. At least he wouldn't weep over their destruction.

With the Apocalypse Riders still maintaining a full company on Minos the imperial forces saw no reason to continue their advance against their retreating enemy. However on 1910.015M42 guard formations came under attack from daemonic entities and found themselves in difficulty. The Apocalypse Riders intervened once more, delivering a lightning assault at the heart of the chaos daemonic incursion. They did not have things all their own way however, and the daemonic hordes proved rather resilient. Several days of hard fighting were required with the battle in the balance on a number of occasions. Nevertheless by 2510.015M42 the incursion had been dealt with and more of Minos returned to the emperor's light.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Libria V: Minotaurs retake Daralon

On Libria V the fight for the strategic settlement of Daralon, gateway to the Acronia valley, escalated in intensity. The Sisters of Battle had already held the latest imperial assault, led by the Novgorod guard. Now the Minotaurs re-entered the fray. It seemed to outsiders that the Minotaurs were far more interested in defeating the loyalist forces rather than the alliance on Libria III, and they had already achieved a reputation for ruthlessness the rest of Vorushko's forces had not.

The Minotaurs struck from orbit, delivering marines and powerful dreadnoughts straight into the loyalist lines. With no fleet to protect them and the alliance fleet busy strangling Libria IV and III, the fast and agile astartes vessels were once again able to evade their enemies and deliver a decisive strike to the heart of the loyalist cause. Had the alliance fleet detected the Minotaurs' move to Libria V, they would likely have left them to it anyway.

Within mere minutes the battle was over and the Novgorod regiments had been crushed by the Minotaurs' assault. Leaving destruction in their wake the astartes departed once more, staying long enough only to allow the Vannaheim regiments to shore up the defences. Daralon was once again firmly in crusade hands, and the Acronia Valley was theirs for the taking.

Libria IV: Ultramarines cut off alliance advance

Thousands of troops had been cut off by alliance forces by the alliance in the "Verder-South Park" pocket. It would take at least a week for him to organise a significant counter attack. His Librian forces were being brought up to the front line, including fresh armoured companies, but his front line troops, mostly Novgorod and Volscian regiments, were all but spent, and could only be relied upon for defensive duties.

Fortunately the Ultramarines were on hand, and the astartes quickly established that a strike against the Dark Eldar would be the most likely to yield results. They knew of the divisions within the alliance and planned to take full advantage of it. Within 24 hours of the cut off the Ultramarines launched their offensive, striking hard in the Main Road district against the Guilded Blade kabal. The dark eldar, apparently still caught up in a wave of pillaging and enslavery, delivered a lacklustre defence. Within hours the dark eldar had simply withdrawn, leaving a 20km hole in the alliance line, and releiving the Librian defenders in Verder.

Now the tables had been turned. Vital supplies were delivered to the loyalists in the south east of the city, but further west, alliance forces, mostly tau and rebel librians, were themselves cut off. The Ultramarines were unable to hold the line against the expected counter attack however, as their numbers would be too small. Still unable to form a meaningful guard formation up to the job, the Space Wolves on Libria IV began preparing for the inevitable alliance assault.

By 2010.015M42 General Dersky was under severe pressure.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Disciples of Y'nead raid Lucardium

While the alliance continued their unbroken string of spectacular victories on Libria IV, the tau base of Lucardium in the Perseus Deeps found itself wholly unprepared for a surprise raid by the eldar knoiwn as the Disciples of Y'nead. On 1810.015M42 the eldar appeared from a hidden webway portal and immediately destroyed several training compounds and arms stores. In response the tau advanced to meet their foe, and were shocked to find their attackers belonging to the same race as their erstwhile allies.

The engagement which followed was totally one-sided, with the eldar brushing aside the tau defenders wth ease, despite their advanced battlesuits and equipment. After the massacre the Disciples of Y'nead continued their destruction before escaping into the webway in the face of superior numbers. The raid soon got raised at the alliance council, with the tau now angry at the eldar delegate. The hooded xenos, flanked now by amred guards simply shrugged, saying he was not accountable for the actions of all eldar, and that the matter was irrelevant to the Librian campaign in any case. This angered the normally calm and pateint tau, who now raised the question of whether any information about the tau base at Lucardium had been shared with the Disciples of Y'nead, but the eldar delegate remained silent, turned and left.

Following the eldar delegate's departure a furious argument erupted in the alliance council. Some hoped to retain the eldar in the alliance, as their military aid had been extremely useful, but the general mood was ugly. The future of the alliance now lay in significant jepoardy.

Libria IV: Apollo's advance

Following the success of the recent alliance offensives in Porthaven the commander of the "federal" Iron Warriors was keen to give the loyalists no opportunity to regroup. His forces were fresh, and had recently been augmented by Adeptus Mechanicum forces from a forge world loyal to Apollo's legion. This Forgeworld, as yet unknown to the Imperium, had sworn fealty to Apollo over ten millenia ago, and now honoured their allegiance, sending massive knight war engines to Libria IV. Three of these beasts were sent into the fighting on Libria IV and their effect was immediate. Apollo knew the Novgorod Guard had similar knights, but backed up by the might of the Legion itself Apollo was confident the lines could be broken once more.

General Dersky had been placed in command of all forces on Libria IV after the suicide of the previous commander . Dersky however deferred to the Imperial Fists in terms of tactical command, and the Imperial Fists themselves had committed a large force to stopping the alliance from entering Porthaven, So far they had failed. Nevertheless the astartes were once more present in the city, attempting to stall the alliance advance long enough for the imperial fleet to arrive with reinforcements.

Apollo's offensive into the East Commercia district was devastating, and the Novgorod defenders died in droves to the onslaught. There was little the Imperial Fists could do but they refused to retreat. IN two days of heavy fighting one of the imperial knights was destroyed, and the Novgorod massacred. The loyalist astartes took heavy casualties too, while none of the federal knights suffered significant damage. By the end of 2010.015M42 the alliance forces had broken through the Commercia district entirely and reached the sea port, cutting off thousands of Librian and Voslscian defenders in the "Verder-South Park" pocket. The loyalists would need to counter attack and quickly to save more of their dwindling forces defending Porthaven.

Libria IV: Apollo's advance

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Libria IV: Alliance follow up

With the Dark eldar strikes opening gaps in the loyalist defences, the tau and federal forces now took the opportunity to push into the centre of the town. The Imperial Fists tried their best to halt the advance of Skyfall's forces, but the elite tau formations easily dealt with the armour of the astartes, forcing the loyalists to pull back. The Imperial Fists hoped that Skyfall would have to pause to recover his strength, but more forces lay in reserve for the alliance, forces not seen in the system for some time. Those of the feared commander Shadowstrike.

Once spearheading the Tau expansion in the sector there had been no confirmed sightings of Shadowstrike or his Ksi'm'yen Sept cadres for some time. In their absence overall command seemed to have devolved to other commanders and the bulk of the fighting conducted by Cadres from their own Septs. The attacks on the centre of Porthaven represented the first re-appearance of warriors of the Ksi'm'yen Sept in the Aleph sector and long range surveillance showed them being deployed to various staging posts in large quantities. They appeared to be freshly equipped and Imperial Intelligence speculated they were withdrawn after years of fighting in order to be re-organised and re-supplied with new recruits and the latest technology. These new Cadres seemed to be the first to integrate Federal forces as embedded auxiliaries rather than as separate formations. One such Cadre was thrown directly into the fighting on Libria IV in order to continue the breakthrough started by the established forces there. The Federal forces appeared to be well practised and trained in Tau military doctrine, acting as bait to draw the Imperial Fists into a counter attack against what they thought was an isolated Federal reserve force, only to be ambushed and surrounded in a kill zone by hidden Tau forces. Not one of the Federal troops fell, laying down a withering hail of fire before teleporting out as the Imperial Forces finally reached their position and leaving them to the mercy of the Tau.

In addition to the forces of the Ksi'm'yen Sept, the alliance also forced a breakthrough in the south with rebel Librian forces, well equipped with the latest vehicles and armaments leading some in the loyalist camp to speculate that the rebels were now being supplied by the Federacy itself. Their performance against the Volscian loyalist forces was brutal, with the Librian armoured companies ripping through thr Volscian infantry with massed firepower. The alliance were now within a few kilometres of the main imperial supply base.

Libria IV: Dark Eldar strike

For many months the eldar had attended the alliance council meetings with their Federacy and Tau allies. Often a single hooded alien advisor would turn up, say nothing then leave, and mistrust of the motives of the eldar had been growing, especially amongst the human and squat members of the coucil. When they did speak, the eldar delegates' responses were often vague and condtradictory, but it was clear that on the battlefields of Libria very few actual eldar were fighting and dying for the alliance cause.

Instead the eldar arranged that their dark kin, the dark eldar, were at the forefront of the offensives. Quite what arrangement the eldar had come to with their kin was concealed from the council, and only later did it become apparent that the dark eldar were being paid in blood, the blood of the civilians on the many worlds of Libria. Something the eldar knew would be abhorrent to the Federacy, but they showed little if any regard for the suffering of the human population.

In mid 10.015M42 the dark eldar of a number of kabals were active on Libria IV. Their impact was immediate, as the fighting in the sprawling city of Porthaven had started to degenerate in vicious hand to hand streetfighting, something the tau at least were keen to avoid. As the loyalists were beginning to stabilise the front lines, three separate dark eldar kabals suddenly appeared, conducting lightning strikes against the imperial defenders. In the factorum disctict the Kabal of the Venom Drake overran the Volscian lines and their Ultramarine allies, while further north the kabal of the Guilded Blade, new to the sector, massacred a detachment of space wolves. Between these two assaults another kabal smashed the newly arrived Volscian regiments, opening a whole several miles wide in the imperial lines, allowing the tau and federal forces to once again begin sweeping offensives into the heart of the city.

Some eldar forces were also present, but they took little in the way of casualties and looked on impassively as the slaughter and capture of thousands of civilians began following the initial advances. The tau simply shrugged, recognising the military aid the dark eldar were providing, but the federal and rebel librian forces were aghast, demanding something be done about the excesses of their bloodthirsty allies

Friday, October 16, 2015

Libria V: Loyalists held at Daralon

On Libria V the fighting between the loyalists and Crusade forces continued, although the planet had become a minor theatre compared to the wars on Libria IV and III. Vorushko's crusade forces were mostly committed to defeating the alliance, but the crusade had left a large force of Vannaheim Guard lead by the Adeptus Sororitas order of the Crimson Veil.

In recent weeks the Novgorod Guard supported by the adeptus mechanicus had seen heavy fighting around Daralon, and in mid 10.015M42 the loyalist forces led a counter attack against the crusade. Initially this assault was successful, with the Novgorod units making significant games against the Vannaheim guard. The Sisters of Battle were forced to call in their strategic reserve, and a ferocious engagement developed around the outskirts of the city as the Imperial Mechanicum forces entered the fray.

After more than a day of fighting the imperial forces were halted from further andvance but the crusade were unable to turn the tide. Both sides dug in and the Acronia-Daralon salient had become the critical front for control of Libria V.