Monday, October 31, 2016

Libria IV: Decisive Alliance push

With their position on Libria IV secured the Alliance felt it was time to try and land a knock out blow. Their offensive in the south had been highly effective, driving deep and drawing in the remaining Imperial reserves. Stretched thin the Imperium was in a poor position to react to a sudden change in focus.

Imperial HQ was a fortress, surrounded by rings of Aegis lines, bristling with gun emplacements and manned by crack regiments of loyalist Librian guardsmen. It posed a formidable obstacle for the Alliance who's military doctrine favoured mobile warfare and the destruction of the enemies ability to resist over petty territorial gain. Until now that had kept the Alliance focused on easier targets but now it was as vulnerable as it was ever going to be.

The Federacy unleashed its secret weapon. Long held in reserve, their existence long a strictly guarded secret legions of battle robots from the golden age of mankind marched implacably towards the defensive lines surrounding Imperial HQ. Impervious to light arms, incapable of fear and unquestioningly obedient the mechanical constructs could do what the other Alliance forces could not – fight a brutal battle of attrition.

The super human Adeptus Astartes might have been able to stop their advance but they were all in the south fighting the Alliance's thrust there. The Titan Legions of the Collegia Titanica could have blasted them to dust but they had been withdraw following the disaster inflicted by the Ultra Marines Legion. Mere men stood no chance and the Imperial defences folded before the relentless advance.

A company of Space Wolves was in position to attack the alliance mechanicum forces but their flanking assault was easily beaten off by the mechanised warriors. In addition the Space olves were forced to retreat to safer positions rather than be enveloped and destroyed by advancing alliance forces. By the end of 2810.016M42 the Imperial HQ had once again been seized by alliance forces.

With Imperial HQ secured the Tau launched a fresh offensive into the newly opened breach. Lightening fast mechanised units supported by suits and light skimmers thrust unopposed deep into the city, quickly securing the regions water plant. In a last desperate bid a company of the Blood Angel's Chapter was air lifted to Arbites HQ in an attempt to stop the advance but they were heavily outnumbered and had left behind most of their heavy equipment in the rapid relocation. Only a solitary knight supported them and although it wreaked bloody carnage on the Tau's most elite forces it was eventually surrounded and brought down, never seeing the Stealth team that ambushed it from the city ruins and fired a fusion beam into its reactor housing.

Arbites HQ fell to the Alliance. Their advance was now dangerously strung out, vulnerable to being cut off and encircled but the Imperium only had a narrow window to respond before the Alliance forces secured the main power plant and with it the last hopes for victory of the Imperium on Libria IV.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Genestealer rising "not a concern"

+++RECEIVED: Farport
+++DATE: 1011_016M42L
+++DUCT: Aleis Bogue
+++REF: HUR1610|Xeno1187#2
+++AUTHOR: Inq Huron
+++SUBJECT: Xenos threat; Perseus Deeps
+++THOUGHT: Suffer not the alien to live

Throughout the last few months I have been monitoring the growing reports of genestealer activity in the Perseus Deeps. Cults infecting the local populace have been idenfied on at least three worlds. The governor of Hemera has uncovered a particularly seditious group, which turned out to be led by foul Xenos. The Lycaon Guard were deployed at my behest and the cult annihilated. I took the extra precuation of monitoring other Xenos transmissions and have determined that not only are the Necrons suffering this plague among the indigenous population, the traitor forces on Mordecai have also had to deal with this problem. Once again it is my understanding that the forces of chaos had no problems in dealing with the xenos uprising.

From the sporadic nature of these uprisings I can only infer that they are not yet fully under the sway of the Hive Mind of Nemesis. yes, it is Nemesis. My own Magos biologis has proved this without doubt. The Hive fleet has sent out spores before it, and far from vanquished the vile Xenos are simply plying the void somewhere within the borders of the Harakhty dynasty. How long before the storm breaks I cannot say, but I have ordered General Veers to build up the defences of Bastien and Corticant. We will be ready.

Your ever faithful servant

Inqusitor Lord Huron


Shadowstrike intervenes on Libria IV

Imperial Intelligence had detected the deployment of fresh Tau forces into the northern districts of Libria IV. The site of recent Imperial victories the Tau hold in the north was tenuous and fragmented leaving the area ripe for the taking. Even more concerning were reports that the fresh Tau troops belonged to the Ksi'm'yen Sept, veterans of many successful campaigns in the Aleph Sector including Tarsis and Melberg.

Anxious to avoid the Tau securing their positions Imperial High Command requested that the Space Wolves re-enforce the Cathedral district, hoping to stall any Tau counter attack until massed Astra Millitarum formations could be redeployed to shore up the region.

The Tau offensive came sooner than expected, catching the thinly spread Space Wolves at their most vulnerable. Heavily outnumbered they were unable to control much of the area giving the aggressive and mobile Tau forces almost free reign to secure their designated objectives. Tau infantry was soon spotted stationed in the south but it proved to be a distraction force, the main attack fell in the north where Tau suites supported by Riptides bounded through the ruins and quickly overwhelmed the few defenders there.

Seeing the Tau success and temporarily left their distraction force unsupported and vulnerable the Space Wolve's commander decided that attack was the best form of defence. Hoping to turn the tide with a daring counter strike he teleported down from his orbiting Strike Cruiser hoping to crush the vulnerable infantry. But Shadowstrike had long taught that to defeat one's enemy one must first put yourself in the mind of that enemy. Picking up the energy spike from the orbiting cruiser the Tau were ready and jammed its sensors, flooding them with white noise. As alarms sounded in the teleportation chamber the Space Wolf commander and his elite retinue hung suspended in the warp for a moment before emergency fail-safes cut in and dumped them onto the planet far from their intended target and right into the path of the Tau attack. Helpless they were gunned down by the massed firepower of the Tau suites.

Unimpeded the Tau attack swept on, surrounding the remaining Space Wolves and cutting them down without mercy before pushing on deep into the city. It was a disaster for the Imperial cause and the Tau were able to secure large swathes of the north districts. Photo reconnaissance even picked up low quality and grainy images of Commander Shadowstrike himself supervising the attack although he must have long died of old age. Could Shadowstrike's prodigies be carrying on his tactics and legacy?

Libria IV: Loyalist advances swiftly reversed

After the destruction of the Warhaound in Porthaven, the loyalist forces quickly resolved to destroy the traitorous Ultramarines Legion and their crazed ideas about the imperial creed. Inquisitor Hathek was particularly keen that the news of the Ultramarines Legion joining the alliance was to be kept strictly secret, and the imperium began a campaign of propagada describing the Ultramarines as rebellious mercenaries and not true astartes.

Nothing could be further from the truth however, as many in the legion remembered the Emperor himself, and his edicts against religion, something whichthey could never forget. The Space Wolves volunteered to put an end to the Legion, as the Ultramarines chapter simply could not bring themselves to fight what were effectively their forefathers. The Space Wolves however almost relished the task, and put togetyher their most effective fighting force, dropping on the legion forces in the South Park area of the city.

A brutal fight developed between the astartes forces, as millenia old passions came to the fore. The savagery of the Space Wolves however could not be overcome by the equipment advantage enjoyed by the Legion forces, and the Ultramarines suffered severe losses. Withdrawing, the legion now had to consider how to add new recruits to its force, and where to base themselves going forward.

While the Astartes fought brutally in the southern region of the city, the alliance were already planning an outflanking move with the alliance mechanicum forces preparing elite forces in the Commercia district. Their advance took the Novgorod Guard vy surprise, and the loyalists found themselves pushed back once again. Porthaven was rapidly turning into a quagmire neither side appeared to be able to end.

Libria I: Crusade mount flanking offensive

With the crusade on the run on Libria I the loyalists could be forgiven for becoming a little complacent. Exploiting this the crusade forces, led by the Order of the Crimson Veil and the recently "recruited" Volscian Guard regiments, planned a daring attack which would, if successful, stop the loyalists in their tracks. Having lost hector, the crusade were now on the defensive in the west, but the cities of Careret and Kent City were in opposite directions and Hector was difficult to supply via the road to Novato. For now the loyalists were undertaking the massive effort of moving supplies and HQ units from the middle cities to Hector in order to continue the offensive. No immediate threat to the east and north east was detected. In the far west however, the cities of Freeburg, Blandon and Selmer looked vulnerable. While the loylaists looked west, the crusade husbanded their forces near Ansonville and planned to take the geopgraphically close Freeburg and Blandon, thus cutting off Selmer entirely.

The initial assault was led by the Order of the Crimson Veil. Lacking in guard defensive units, the rear guard of Lycaon and Novgorod Guard were quickly overrun, and the Space Wolves were unable to turn back the crusade push, while the Crimson Veil declared all Space Wolves "mutants" and heretics. The Astartes counter attacked but found themselves under too much fire from the zealots and were forced to abandon the settlements. Now the Volscians pushed through to Selmer and were astonished to find the city practically undefended. However, the loyalists then planned a counter assault in force. they unleashed the Ultramarines drop force onto the Volscians at Selmer, utilising the almost total air and space superiority still enjoyed by the loyalists, thanks to Admiral Jellicoe's fleet.

The drop on Selmer was intended to annihilate the Volscians. With the Ultramarines in control of Selmer General Zhukov would follow up from the east and force the crusade to abandon their recent gains or be caught with superior enemy forces on both sides. Somehow that didn't happen. Filled with righteous fury and denouncing the Ultramarines as "blind sheep" the Volscians held despite taking horrendous casualties. Not only did the Volscians not break, but the Ultramarines saw them working hand in hand with the Angels of Redemption, who they treated as gods or "true sons of the Emperor". In addition, the number of raw conscripts fielded by the Volscians was extremely high, and not all had functioning weapons. All however seemed to have an unshakeable faith in the crusade and its aims.

The faith, plus numbers, told very quickly, and the Ultramarines drop turned into a disaster. Valuable drop pods were lost as were Ultramarine lives, and the assault to retake the other two cities was quickly cancelled. The crusade had successfully managed to halt the overwhelming and seemingly unstoppable loyalist advance on Libria I.

Libria I: Hector falls to loyalists

Following the failed attack by the Angels of Redemption on the loyalist Guard forces stationed along the Hector road, the vital industrial complexes of Hector itself lay open to loyalist assault. Hectors garrison consisted of elements of the 16th Vannaheim Grenadier Regiment, supported by the 317th Vannaheim Heavy Artillery Brigade. Realising its importance, the Order of the Crimson Veil reinforced the garrison with its Convent of His Mercy, the few squadrons that could be spared from the very understrength 5th Vannaheim Armoured Brigade along with Knight-Warden Adalicia from the ecclesiarchy aligned House Xiphos.

Loyalist HQ wanted to avoid the meatgrinder that Hectors sprawling manufactories could become, knowing that the zealous, battle hardened Crusade forces would be almost impossible to dislodge in an urban battle. They instead sought to use the Crusades zealotry against them, to encourage them to leave the relative safety of Hector to be destroyed in the open by superior loyalist firepower. This difficult task was assigned to the 3rd Company of the Ultramarines, led by their Chief Librarian, Tigurius. On the morning of 1810.016M42, the loyalist operation began. Tigurius led small detachment of the 3rd Company along with Knight-Crusader Athanaric of House Gladius in a steady advance towards Hector. This force was spotted almost immediately by Crusade scouts, information that was transferred quickly to Hectors defenders. There was initial disagreement between the Crusade command elements about how to counter this threat. Canoness Sevilla of the Convent of His Mercy saw the apparently weak Ultramarine push as an opportunity to counter attack and break though Loyalist lines to retake territory lost earlier that month, whilst avoiding damage to Hectors industrial capacity an urban battle would certainly cause. The Commander of the 16th Vannaheim Grenadiers disagreed, believing that they neither prepared enough or had enough intelligence to attack, and instead should wear the Ultramarines down in urban combat, only attacking once additional forces could be marshalled against the Loyalists. Knight-Warden Adalicia, seeing a chance to test her abilities against another Knight, supported the Canoness, taking it upon herself to execute the Vannaheim Commander for cowardice and insubordination. With the dissent in the Crusade ranks squashed, their mechanised forces roared from Hectors relative safety, out onto the plains that surrounded the city. Instead of facing the Crusade forces, the Ultramarines instead retreated. The battle turned into a tail chase, with the Ultramarines refusing engagement, drawing the faster Immolators and Chimera’s away from the lumbering Leman Russ’s and Penitent Engines.

Mid-afternoon, satisfied with the situation, Tigurius called in his reinforcements. The rest of the 3rd Company thundered from the clouds borne by drop pod and Thunderhawk. Simultaneously, the Ultramarine ground forces turned and engaged the enemy, catching he crusade force completely by surprise. Immolators and Chimeras were blown apart by the storm of fire from the Devastator Marines that strode from the drop pods, the Sisters and Guardsmen inside hacked apart by Assault Marines that leapt down from the Thunderhawks that swooped overhead. Her communication lines and command structure decimated, Canoness Sevilla attempted to pull her forces back. The 5th Vannaheim Armoured Brigade did not receive this order, and blundered into the chaos. They were quickly turned back by vicious fire from the Ultramarines and Knight-Crusader Athanaric, whose Battle Cannon reaped a heavy toll on the Crusade Armour. Seeing her target reveal himself, Kight-Warden Adalicia charged forward, ignoring Sevilla’s panicked attempts at ordering her to retreat. She cleaved through a squad of Assault Marines and blasted apart a dreadnought in her charge but, bogged down in the carnage, she received Athanarics full attention. Her ion shield was breached by a deluge of bolt cannon fire, exposing her to a series of catastrophic hits from his battle cannon which detonated her Avengers Gatling Cannons ammunition supply. Blown in two by the explosion, the destruction of Adalicia’s Imperial Knight marked the transition of the battle from an ambush to a full rout.

The survivors retreated to Hector in disarray, hounded the entire way by the victorious Ultramarines. The bulk of the crusade force continued straight through the city and out the other side, having lost the will to present any further resistance to the Loyalists. In the chaos, the 317th Heavy Artillery Brigade did not receive any order to retreat, having been left in the city that morning to provide fire support for the Crusade attack. When the Ultramarines arrived at the city outskirts, they were forced into a desperate rear guard action. Resisting the Ultramarine advances for over 24 hours, they bought enough time for Canoness Sevilla to rally her forces and set up a new line of defence protecting Carteret and Kent City, preventing the defeat from turning into a massacre.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Corticant: Ultramarines response

While rushing to the Libria system to reinforce the Loyalist forces pushing against the weakened Crusade, Chief Librarian Tigurius of the Ultramarines received a distress call from the Imperial defenders of Corticant. There had been sightings and raids by an unknown force of Astates, led by a brutal giant of a man. Disturbed by this news, Tigurius changed course and set forth to identify and remove this new threat.

Thanks to his powerful psychic prescience, Tigurius had a shrewd idea of whom the mysterious Astates were and where he should deploy his forces for maximum effect when the 3rd Company strikeforce landed on Corticant. Swiftly moving into action, Tigurius deployed his forces on the edge of an old Imperial base, the valiant Knight-Crusader Athanaric of the House Gladius, oath-sworn to the Ultramarines 3rd Company, forming the anvil onto which Tigurius' hammer would fall.

As predicted, figures clad in the white-and-blue of the Heresy-era World Eaters stormed forth from the warp, intent on killing all that lay in their way. Screaming cries of hate and heresy, they set upon the unexpected Ultramarine defenders with a viciousness unmatched. Before their attack could make any real headway, however, Ultramarine drop pods slammed in from orbit, delivering Devastators bearing Graviton weaponry. Tigurius' hammer had arrived.

The Devastators made short work of the elite Terminators of the World Eaters, their heavy armour crushing them as its weight was exponentially increased by localised gravity fields. Knight-Crusader Athanaric went to work on the rest of the heretics, his Avenger Gatling Cannon and Battle Cannon showing their worth time and time again. Reinforcements arrived for the World Eaters, but too late. With the main force crushed, the Ultramarines could destroy the treacherous Dreadnoughts as they arrived by drop pod, one by one. The battle seemed to be won.

However, unforeseen by Tigurius, the warp shimmered once again and more World Eaters came through, led by an enormous man. Tigurius recognised him as the immortal form of Angron, somehow before his ascension to daemonhood. In the surprise of this vicious counter-attack, Angron threw Tigurius to the ground and proceeded to rampage towards the Ultramarine strike force. Thankfully for the Imperial forces, Athanaric merely saw Angron as another heretic to be slain in contempt, and laid waste to the assault, the force of his battle cannon throwing Angron to the ground as the earth beneath his feet exploded. As the dust cleared, he was nowhere to be seen and not one of the traitors still polluted Imperial air with their breath. The Ultramarines had taken minimal casualties, and the day was theirs.

Corticant Raid

The raid on Corticant also ended in failure, but here a much larger force of Iron Warriors faced determined resistance from the Lycaon Guard and Cadians. The raid soon turned into a slog, as the Iron Warriors, while not supporting the raid at all, carried out their task with grim determination. Fortunately the Cadians and Lycaons prevented the Iron Warriors from entering Fort Bastion, and the imperial complex was saved from destruction.

Meanwhile a force of marines dedicated to Khorne joined the Iron Warriors in the raid on Corticant. There was no planning or strategy involved in this however, and after the devotees of khorne had wiped out several unimportant small communities, the Angels Repentent fell upon them in the ruins of one such town. Unprepared for such an assault and recieving no help from the Iron Warriors (who couldn't care less) the Khorne force suffered heavy casualties and was forced to flee.

The raids on the alliance and the imperium had been a complete flop, and had only served to prove how weak the forces of chaos were in the Perseus Deeps, something the Iron Warriors under Stahl had been slowly and painfully trying to reverse. Now new and arrogant chaos leaders had arrived in the region, potentially undoing his patient hard work and causing the retreat of the ruinous powers as with Moonface, Lorek and the Arch Cleric. These three had appeared, made brief gains for themselves, ascended, and left chaos worse off. Stahl was not content to see this pattern endlessly repeat.

Myrentas II Raid

The raid on the alliance world of Myrentas II was conducted by the World eaters. This raid Stahl certainly wanted nothing to do with, and the World Eaters, expecting an easy vicotry, were shocked to find the Ultramarines Legion from their own era fighting in the name of the Federacy. Both sides hurled abuse at one another as they closed, blaming each other for events which had long since fallen into legend.

The battle itself was a bloody affair which ended with the World Eaters aborting their raid on Myrentas' installations. The raid achieved nothing, but the Ultramarines Legion realised that the warp anomaly which had seen them jumpt 10,000 years into the future had affected not only themselves, but the very force they had been hunting all those millenia ago.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chaos plan raids on Corticant and Myrentas II

Following the successful invasion of Minos Warsmith Stahl of the Iron Warriors had been quietly and patiently preparing for the nextg assault. His plan was the long game, as for too long he had seen success squandered with over zealous attacks. Chaos was no longer strong in the Perseus Deeps and it would take patience to rebuild the empire.

However in 10.016M42 the ever more reclusive Lord Tragean of Kendrenec became superceded in power by the arrival of the World Eaters legion from the warp. Led by a manifestation of Angron himself, or so he claimed, the World Eaters quickly became the pre-eminent power over chaotic forces in the sector. Rather than pursue Stahl's patient preparations Angron demanded an immediate set of terror attacks against the Imperium and Federal forces in the Perseus Deeps.

Stahl did not like this, but none the less he agreed to provide troops for the missions. Stahl couldn't afford to appear "cowardly" in the face of an alleged Primarch.

Genestealers identified on Hemera

The rise of Nemesis, or at least its insidious Genestealer cults had spread further than the Harakhty Dynasty. On 1810.016M42 reports of rebellion on Hemera resulted in a significant force of Novgorod and Lycaon Guard being deployed to the Imperial outpost of Hemera. There the arrival of Imperial forces, far from settling the situation down, led to the "rebels" attacking in force.

Instead of alliance or Federal backed insurgency, the imperium were deeply concerned to discover a genestealer cult on the world. THis the Novgorod guard managed to surpress thanks to overwhelming manpower, but the news made its way to Inquisitor Huron, who abandoned his mission in the Valitane subsector to return to the investigation of Xenos threats in the Aleph Sector

Libria IV: Ultramarines Legion halt alliance reverses

On Libria IV as 10.016M42 progressed, the alliance council bolstered their holdings in Porthaven by sending in a large contingent of the Ultramarines Legion, fresh from their successful talks with Admiral Haskell. Now a full backer of the "Imperium 2.0" project in the Federacy, the Ultramarines legion deployed on Libria IV and immediately found themselves in the thick of the fighting. After being narrowly defeated by the Novogorod Guard, the Ultramarines now faced the Librians in the south, who were now supported by a Warhound Titan, who had decimated the alliance Librian forces in the Commercia district.

Fortunately for the alliance, the ultramarines had brought with them a venerable Falchion super heavy battle tank, and shortly after contact was made with the Librian guard forces, the Warhound was spotted. The Ultramarines quickly took down the Warhound's void shields with accurate Sicaran fire, and the Falchion opened up with devastating firepower. The Warhound's cockpit and rear canopy were vapourised and the mighty war machine toppled forward with a rending crash.

With the heart of the loyalist army dealt with, the Ultramarines moved forward. Even so the Librians now put up a tough fight, charging the alliance force with plasma and melta veterans, but eventually the superior alliance force carried the objectives forcing the loyalists back on a broad front, trapping some loyalist forces in isolated pockets in the southern East Commercia district.

Libria I: Loyalists push on to Hector

With the invasion a success the loyalists pressed their advantage, quickly pushing through the cities of Gratiot and Derwood and forging ahead towards the eastern cities. To assault these, the loyalists first needed to secure the Hector road, and while the Novgorod Guard protected the flanks from the northern strongholds, the Lycaon Guard deployed along the Hector road. Inevitably this meant coming under crusade attack, and once again it was the Angels of Redemption who led the crusade charge.

Lacking any real support in the way of organised guard manpower, the Angels struggled to dislodge the Lycaon, and suffered heavy casualties. The loyalists took the road and began their preparations for an assault on the eastern cities, but it was noted that ther were a number of Volscian guard units supporting the Angels of Redemption, although not in strength. Had Vorushko found another source of manpower?

Gamordal: Charnovokh begin purge

The Necrons were defending a run down city with a manufacturing facility which they hope to convert to their own use against a genestealer insurgence. Waves of humanoids akin to guardsmen broke out of the cover of the jungle, supported by a Chimera transport and a mighty Leman Russ tank. Identifying the Tyranid mutation instantly the Charnovokh were nontheless taken aback by the creatures' ability to pilot vehicles and Overlord Arakamen soon realised that his garrison of warriors and immortals was not enough to handle a threat of this scale. Reinforcement protocols set in effect as the eradicator cannon of the Russ laid down it's deadly salvo, blasting the Immortal phalanx. The Necrons relentlessly marched forwards, the teal of their Charnovokh pattern gauss weaponry lighting up the smoke, thudding metal feet rhythmically shaking the ground. With a soul wrenching screech a shadow flared over the war torn terrain and lightning lit up the Leman Russ as a Doom scythe ripped across the sky. Arcs of blue-green danced across the flank of the Chimera as Destroyers descended down on their displacement platforms - the reinforcements had arrived. Disoriented neophytes scrabbled out of the smoking transport and beheld what was left of their battle tank. Losing morale, the humanoids threw themselves at the advancing Necron gun line, falling prey to the flesh rending shots. Yet the Cult had one last trick to play. The Patriarch, a mighty sinewy beast with a pack of purestrain genestealers rose up from the shadows and threw himself at the vulnerable Overlord of the Necron armies. The genestealer knew that while victory was out of reach it could still severely cripple the Necrons by taking out their chief in command.

Letting out a terrible shriek the beast bashed against the machine, flesh and claws colliding with hardened Necrodermis - living metal. Razor sharp talons flashed and tore across the chest of the ancient being, spewing metallic tendrils and tubes across the ground. The necron took a step back. The Overlord shuddered and seemed to fail yet even as its machine brain was whirring the advanced self repair mechanisms were already working. Liquid metal pooled and restored fractured surfaces and all the while the scythe of darkest black gleamed in a circle of death. Once, twice the blade whirled, the machine tirelessly executing complex manoeuvres, going through routine protocols of annihilation. The beast stretched and went for another strike but came to a halting stop as a clean, calculated blow separated its head from its body. Arakamen glared at the carcass of his enemy before wrenching its spine from its torso, kicking away the dead meat. Many warriors had challenged him in the past, some even coming close to claiming his soulless life yet this beast was not one of them. He did not cast a backwards glance at the pile of flesh as he raised his arm and decided the fate of the rest of the vile beings.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Libria IV: Alliance suffer reverses

In mid 10.016M42 the battle on Libria IV for the capital Porthaven, began to swing decisively in favour of the loyalists. The arrival of the Space Wolves gave the imperial commanders in the city a much needed boost, both to morale and actual fighting force. It was the Wolves who led the assault on 0910.016M42, attacking the newly deployed alliance Ultramarine Legion, relishing punishing their ancient brethren who in their mind had now turned against the Emperor. The battle was bloody, with neither side willing to give ground, but the Space Wolves overcame their opponent's material advantage, destroying their equipment and taking back the Imperial HQ for the loyalists.

Further south the Novgorod Guard pushed forward towards South Park, battering their way though the Federal defences. The Librians counter attacked, using their elite mechanised infantry divisions, but the Novgorod were waiting. An expertly timed flanking move by the elite of the Novgorod Guard turned the tide, although thousands of conscripts died defending against the initial Librian assault.

By 1510.016M42 pockets of the alliance army had been surrounded in the Commercia district and the loyalists looked likely to continue pushing back the federal forces. With no Tau reinforcements expected for several weeks, the alliance was now in a precarious position on Libria IV

Loyalists invade Libria I

The loyalists, now composed of the Imperial guard unified under general Zhukov as well as the Ultramarines and Space Wolves in force, wasted no time in making use of the Crusade's weakness following their disastrous invasion attempt of Libria II. Utilising their superiority in space, the loyalists quickly prepared an invasion of the neighbouring Libria I. With the loss of the Carcharadons and their allies, and following the catastrophic losses in the Librian theatre, the defences on Libria I were particularly thin, comprising of some Vannaheim regiments and their Sisters of Battle allies, as well as the recent addition of the Angels Repentent chapter of space marines. The rest of the Crusade force on Libria I consisted largely of religious zealot ad hoc militia.

THe loyalist strike was precise and devastating. Concentrating in the north east of the world, the Ultramarines paved the way with an orbital strike against the defences of Freeburg. The Sisters of Battle rallied in force, but were cut down by the Ultramarines firepower. THis action was followed by the Space Wolves, who landed and pushed east into Selmer, while the main force of Novgorod guard pushed south into the heart of the planet. In the north, the Space Wolves easily dispatched the Angels Repentent, securing the loyalist flank, while further south the Angels 2nd company suffered a major defeat at the hands of the loyalist infantry, whose artillery barrage made the ground shake under near continuous ordnance impacts.

The loyalists pushed south, realising that nothing now stood in their way. By 1510.016M42 much of the southern Tundra region was under loyalist control, and the crusade were desperately trying to gather a coherent defence.

Necrons find genestealers on Gamordal

While the Imperium self destructed over Libria, there were unsettling rumblings in the Perseus Deeps. Since their arrival the Necrons of the Charnovokh Dynasty had been introducing themselves (and trying - successfully - to establish hegemony over) to the lords of the necron empire ruled by the fading Harakhty dynasty. On Gamordal the new arrivals were greeted warmly, as the local lord had already lost more than two-thirds of his fighting forces to the strange reanimation protocol virus, and his "cattle" were showing some disturbing signs.

The cattle were of course the former human population of the world, forced into slavery and daily worship of the Harakhty lords. Recently however, the humans had started rebelling, and the Charnovokh agreed to put down the revolt, and add the world of Gamordal to their own dominion.

What the Charnovokh found deeply disturbed them, as not only were the "cattle" revolting, but they had themselves been infected by the insidious Xenos of the tyranids, in the form of a genestealer cult, something the Harakhty had overlooked, or misunderstood. The Charnovokh were used to tyranids, and had faced them before, almost to their own doom. They assaulted the genestealer cult with a cold thirst for revenge only the soulless can understand, and the lord of the necron force personally destroyed the genestealer magos in one on one combat. With the cult destroyed the necrons then set about a "cleanse" of the native population, and the great cull began.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Xenos activity in the Perseus Deeps

In early 10.016M42 the Perseus Deeps flared up once again into bloodshed. The Charnovokh Dynasty had arrived in the sector and had begun re-invigorating the necron empire in the Deeps. This the eldar of the Disciples of Y'nead could not tolerate, and they began their long slow campaign against the necrons once again, raiding the former ork world of "Zog" on 0210.016M42. The raid was over a key portion of the webway the eldar hoped to close off in order to prevent necron access to a number of eldar worlds, including Sentinel and Ares. After a long and bloody encounter, the eldar were successful, but at a grim cost in precious eldar lives.

Meanwhil Inquisitor Huron found some alarming signs of genestealer and tyranid activity in the Deeps. Fearing a return of Hive fleet Nemesis Huron dispatched agents, including Deathwatch marines to a number of uninhabited and remote outposts. On one world the tyranids were found, narrowly defeated in a lighting recon operation, giving the Deathwatch enough time to gather vital Bio-intel about the Xenos. Huron was able to confirm the Nemesis genetic markers and quietly informed key Inquisition agents. Nemesis had returned.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Operation Sledgehammer: Initial assault

The Crusade attack, dubbed operation Sledgehammer came on 0110.016M42. Transported by the rag tag Crusade fleet, the usual element of surprise utilised by the Crusade was lost, as were the critical airborne capabilities of the Charcaradons and Minotaurs. Instead the Crusade landed in the desert, unopposed, then raced for their three key objectives.

The crusade had targetted the three main northern cities of Whitaker (the capital), Kaplinski and Wilhoughby. Taking these rapidly, the crusade reasoned, would quickly lead to the capitulation of loyalist resistance on the planet. To take the capital, the Cadian 9th regiment, supported by a small detachment of Grey Knights, would surround and cut off the city itself, which the crusade thought would be only weakly defended. Further west, the Cadians would be joined by the Sky Lords, in order to deliver a precision strike against the refineries of Kaplinksi, while in the east, Whiloughby was the target of the Vannaheim guard regiments.

The assault on Whitaker soon hit problems, with the Space Wolves and Ultramarines already in position to defend against an assault. The Space Wolves soon battered the initial Cadian thrusts into the city, and the arrival of the Ultramarines wrecked the Cadian equipment and quickly discouraged the Grey Knights from intervening by neutralising and capturing their initial recon forces. The Grey Knights, shocked by the astartes defending a supposedly seditious world, soon began to lose faith in Vorushko's crusade. The Cadians meanwhile followed their orders, but after the battle many Cadian survivors, especially officers, were handed over to Inquisitor Hathek's "re-education" units. By 0410.016M42 the crusade attack on Whitaker had been completely wiped out.

At Kaplinski, the Lycaon guard were ready and waiting for the crusade attack. First the Sky Lords' armoured push into the centre of the settlement was rapidly neutralised by overwhelming and frighteningly accurate firepower, supported by a particularly fired up Imperial Psyker. The Sky Lords took heavy casualties and lost all their vehicles as imperial artillery and tank fire took its toll. With no air support, the Sky Lords were pinned down and within 24 hours had begun to withdraw what little forces they had left. The Cadians, following up, soon faced the full might of the Lycaon forces, and despite being well equipped and highly mechanised, once again the Lycaon firepower had the desired effect, and the assault on Kaplinksi collapsed. The remaining Cadians surrendered to the loyalist forces, and Vorushko lost all the Cadian forces deployed on Libria I.

Willoughby, assaulted by the Vannaheim Guard, was similarly a disaster for the crusade, as despite making initial gains on the city, the Vannaheim soldiers could not do enough damage quickly enough against the numerically superior Novgorod forces. Again well entrenched artillery proved decisive, and the Vannaheim attack floundered. The crusade forces began an orderly retreat, as Vorushko ordered an evacuation, but a flanking attack from the Dark Angels delivered the coup-de-grace for the final crusade forces left on the planet. By 0610.016M42 the entire Libria II assault force had been wiped out, and the Crusade had lost nearly a third of its fighting force. In this one catastrophic invasion attempt, the Crusade found itself on the verge of collapse.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Operation Sledgehammer: Prelude to battle

Following on from the failed attempt to secure Libria II Inquisitor Vorushko called a meeting of her Crusade council. The Raven Guard refused to attend, stating only that they did not want to participate in any actions which could lead to more conflict with their "brothers", referring to their battle against the Space Wolves chapter. However, Vorushko realised she badly needed to shore up her Astartes support for the crusade. It was clear now that Inquisitor Hathek and the loyalist faction had secured the ongoing support of the Ultramarines and Space Wolf chapters of space marines, and she had intercepted a worrying transmission which indicated the Dark Angels had similarly sent forces to the system.

Vorushko could count on the support of the Sky Lords, a young chapter keen to prove themselves in the service of the emperor, but the Minotaurs and Apocalypse riders had withdrawn without communication, and the Carcharadons had notified Vorushko that following their encounter with the Space Wolves, who they did not believe were traitors, the chapter would no longer be participating in the "crusade". This was now an internal Inquisitorial affair and had nothing to do with them.

Lacking such powerful Astartes support, Vorushko had managed to secure additional forces however. Upon her request, she had managed to add several regiments of Vannaheim and now Cadian guard to her armed forces, and a small detachment of Grey Knights, fearful (incorrectly) that the "insurgence" on Libria was chaotic in origin, had joined her side. With these new forces at her disposal, Vorushko decided to invade Libria II.

Libria II is a desert world with eight major large cities, dispersed around the planet at the sites of the best ore deposits. Marshall Zhukov of the Novgorod Guard was appointed in overall command of the defence of the world, and unbeknown to the crusade he recieved significant reinforcements prior to the invasion. For a start the Ultramarines and Space Wolves had agreed Vorushko was in the wrong, and that Libria needed to be defended from the crusade, even if that meant fighting their own astartes brethren. They had tried communicating with the crusade astartes, and this had yielded the removal of the Raven Guard, Carcharadons, Apocalypse Riders and Minotaurs, at least apparently. In addition to the astartes Zhukov was able to deploy Lycaon and Novgorod forces to many of the major cities, where he knew the crusade would attempt to land and launch lightning strikes. Then on the eve of the invasion, the Dark Angels arrived, pledging their support and declaring the Sky Lords a rogue chapter.