Sunday, May 26, 2019

Hussaria III invasion a step too far

With Hussaria II now in Tau hands their attention turned to its smaller cousin, Hussaria 3, which maintained an Imperial garrison and defence lasers. Hoping to avoid a protracted conflict heavy breakthrough cadres fresh from their victory on the landing fields of Hussaria II were airlifted up to the fleet and hurriedly resupplied on their journey to the third planet.

Although not ideally equipped to deal with static defences it was hoped that the speed of their redeployment and the blow to moral of losing the system's primary planet only days before would catch the human defenders still reeling from their misfortune.

In this they were to be disappointed. As they moved in on the Imperial defence lasers and shield generators they sighted massed ranks of Novgorod infantry supported by heavy armour. Fully committed the Tau battlesuits launched themselves into the Imperial lines and the two forces clashed in a brutal fire fight.

As both sides employed their heaviest weapons at point blank range casualties on both sides were catastrophic. Leman Russ tanks exploded and Riptides were brought down in a fusillade of plasma and small arms fire blazed around them. But in engaging the Novgorod in a battle of attrition the Tau were fighting on the Imperium's terms and they eventually found their fighting strength degraded to a point where it was impossible to make headway.

Realising there would be no quick victory on Hussaria 3 the Tau would have to play a longer game. Meanwhile the Imperium began the work of digging in and fortifying their positions. The Sky Lords had warned of the dangers of refusing to give up ground at any cost and the Imperium had lost all their forces on Hussaria II as a result of their stubbornness, but despite this setback the Novgorod's orders remained: Not one step back! Praise the Emperor and death to all Xenos!

Grey Knights raid Tarlius

With the tide turning once again to the Imperium, largely thanks to the Grey Knights targeted strikes against the Daemonic forces supporting the traitors, the Iron Warriors, who were long forced from the front lines, re-entered the fray. While fortifying the southern regions of Tarlius III word reached the Imperium that the Iron Warriors were reinforcing their position with daemonic constructs the Grey Knights mounted an elite strike of Paladins against the armoured century defending the southern fortifications.

To the surprise of the Grey Knights the armoured Century was exclusively comprised of Legion Astartes and no Daemon Engines. At sight of the Land Raiders of the Grey Knights the Iron Warriors formed an armoured defensive with their Rhinos instant barricades. The Grey Knights had a slim window of opportunity to strike before the guns of the Iron Warriors were truly brought to bear and so the mighty force of Paladins used their psychic might to hurl themselves into the Iron Warriors before their defensive positions were completed. The Grand Master in Dreadknight moved through the ruins in support of his terminator brethren levelling it’s weaponry and along with the Land Raiders Lascannons destroyed the lead Rhino forcing the Havoc team and Fire support squad to bail out into the cover of the ruins.

The Grey Knights focussed upon turning the defensive positions of the Iron Warriors against them, using Rhinos as cover against their fire. For a moment the psychic defences of the Grey Knights flickered as the Sorcerer attempted to rip away their defences, but the impressive might of the Sorcerer was rebuffed by the Grey Knights.

The Havocs levelled their Chaincannons at the Grand Master Dreadknight and, despite the glowing psychic defences, the Grand Master severely underestimated the firepower of the Iron Warrior veterans. In an endless hail of bullets the Grandmaster was not so much shot as sandblasted into oblivion, leaving only a few scraps of cabling and ceremite. The Lascannon toting Havocs fared worse against the Land Raiders who simply would not die despite repeated hyper accurate las rounds blasting into their hide.

Reinforcements teleported in along with the overall Company Grand Master and commander of the Grey Knights. The casualties began to mount but the Iron Warriors stubbornly refused to give in nor give ground. Line Captain Torrik, commander of the Iron Warriors, calculated his chances of victory and found the probabilities falling against him. Resigned to this, he sought to wound the Grey Knights as deeply for their arrogance. He ordered his Chosen veterans deployed and a counter strike into the the Grey knights. The Iron Warriors quickly formulated a fire pattern that wiped out the Grey Knight Strike teams leaving only the Grey Knight Commander alive, which the Chosen emptied their Plasma Guns into the heavily armed warrior in a horrifying display of overkill. The Commander was melted into a puddle of steaming goo. With that act of malice completed Line Captain Torrik ordered his Legionaries to fall back. The Grey Knights had won the day, and completed their mission, but with the death of their Commander, Grand Master and two full strike teams, they had paid a heavy price for their success.

Hussaria II rearguard ends in failure

Tau forces had rapidly advanced across the surface of Hussaria, making use of their highly mobile and flexible style of warfare to outmanoeuvre and encircle the lumbering Imperial war machine. As Imperial forces were forced back in to a shrinking pocket they were able to able to take advantage of the reduced perimeter of their defensive lines to dig in and fortify. The Tau advance ground to a halt, not defeated but unwilling to to endure the massive loss of life needed to breach such heavily defended positions.

As the stalemate stretched boredom began to set in amongst the Imperial defenders and their commanders devised regular surprise drills to keep them alert and prepared. But when the Tau finally made their move it was not to attack the fortifications frontally. In the dead of night wings of Barracuda and Remora launched seeker missiles into the anti-aircraft batteries and sensor posts stationed around the Imperial positions and AX-1-0 Tiger Sharks struck at hardened command bunkers and radar stations. Behind them the massive forms of Mantas and Orcas swept over the blazing positions, running blacked out to drop their payload into the heart of the Imperium's last position on Hussaria.The Mantas dropped off massed Cadres of battlesuits, supported by mechanised infantry and massive riptides. These heavy breakthrough Cadres immediately swept onwards to target supply dumps and cut off the humans from any hope of extraction. 

The Orcas penetrated even deeper to insert roving patrols of kroot and fire warriors into the open stretches of countryside with orders to ambush troop and convoy movements and provide intelligence to guide the powerful breakthrough cadres.

Realising that the Imperium stood on the brink of total defeat the Sky Lords mustered their remaining strength and fell back towards the extraction point. If they could seize it and hold their positions for long enough it would allow the withdrawal of Imperial forces to the fleet in orbit. Hussaria would be lost but the fighting strength of the regiments on its surface could be preserved.

The Sky Lord's Scouts crept ahead of the main body of their armoured convoy, silently killing the roving pickets they encountered but their luck didn't hold up and the alarm went up when a kroot warrior blundered into them around a street corner. With incredible swiftness a Tau breakthrough cadre responded and moved to head off the Sky Lords.

Abandoning caution the Astartes barrelled towards the landing pads visible in the pre dawn gloom but their enemy were even faster, the imposing forms of multiple Riptide class battlesuits barring their path. As the convoy was surrounded the Sky Lords made their final stand, but they were heavily outnumbered and outgunned and all that remained to them was to die with honour in accordance with their oaths of moment.

With the spaceport in Tau hands all hope of withdrawal from Hussaria was lost. Some Guard regiments fought to the death but many mutinied against their commissars and surrendered en mass. The Tau took tens of thousands of prisoners and secured massive hauls of armoured vehicles, equipment and supplies. Hussaria II would become a new Sept world for the Tau's expansion sphere in the Hadron expanse.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Grey Knights Strike at Mordecai

Having reinforced their position in the Perseus Deeps, the Grey Knights led by Hector Rex began their task of defeating the forces of chaos. First they deployed a significant force to Mordecai, while the remaining forces continued training exercises with the Novgorod and Lycanon Guard. General Veers was pleased to have the veteran astartes aiding his forces, but no matter the odds, his guard regiments were defeated in exercise after exercise. 

More alarmingly for Veers, rumours of cults on Bastien were reaching his level of command. Concerned that these may be the ruinous powers reacting to events, the Grey Knights agreed to explore the forgotten underhive of Meshuggah, where inquisition agents had only recently destroyed a khornate cult. However this time the astartes did not find worshippers of the dark gods, but something far worse. A genestealer cult had begun growing in the western hive reaches, no doubt carried on the ships from Hemera which had been lost to the xenos some years before. The Grey Knights put the aliens and their human followers to the sword in a bloody engagement that resulted in the quarantine of the city. General Veers only barely persuaded Rex from burning the entire settlement to the ground. 

Meanwhile on Mordecai Tersius the Grey Knights set about challenging the forces of chaos, striking well behind enemy lines and destroying communications and supply lines ahead of the reinvigorated imperial army under General Kutuzov. This had the desired effect of eliciting a response from the Emerald Serpent, resulting in a bloody pitched battle as the Grey Knights then deployed their main forces against the daemons of the Serpent’s army. The daemons were banished and the Emerald Serpent resoundingly defeated, putting the imperium back on the front foot on their tenuous hold in the strategically vital Mordecai system. However, these gains would mean nothing to Kutuzov if the Foramen base were to be lost. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Traitor Ad Mech search for knowledge

While the forces of chaos were combatting the imperium on a number of fronts, Archmagos Cybixx, now no longer hiding his true allegiance, had sent out teams to further his own agenda. One of these teams was encountered on Corticant, a strange place for the agents of Cybixx. The adeptus mechanicus traitors detected they were being tracked by a unit of astartes, and set up an ambush. The Dark Angels were surprised by the sudden ferocious attack and were driven off, leaving the agents of Cybixx to continue their investigations in the wastes of Corticant, on a mission to radically change the balance of power in the sector.  

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Imperial exercises stepped up with reinforcements at Vastrid

With the Foramen open, Lord Maximus took steps to reinforce the imperial presence in the Imperium Nihilis. Along with the Lycanon regiments deployed to Mordecai, further Novgorod forces and Knight houses were transferred to Bastien and the command of General Veers in the Perseus Deeps. Veers immediately began exercises for the newly arrived troops, but this was greatly aided by the arrival of the Grey Knights and Imperial Fists. 

Newly equipped with land raiders, the Grey Knights tested their new battle-force against an array of other imperial forces, honing their techniques and defeating an entire Novgorod battle group in the process. The Imperial Fists were a harder test which the Ordo malleus forces only narrowly lost, but the overall effect was a boost in imperial morale. The Imperium were winning again - in the Deeps, the Foramen and the Hadron Expanse, and the appearance of astartes and fresh imperial formations on exercise in the deserts of Bastien solidified imperial rule across the sector. A new mood of optimism now permeated the Empire of Mankind across the Aleph Sector. 

Imperial Command Structure 05.019M42

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Counter attack on Mordecai Tersius

With supplies now arriving once again, albeit slowly through the still dangerous Foramen Interdictum, general Kutuzov was once again able to go over to the offensive on Mordecai. He was helped by the arrival of a fresh army corps of Lycanon guard, who were quickly deployed to the eastern sector of the front line, which had been holding out against minor probing attacks from the newly arrived Emerald Serpent forces. The city of Danyth still remained in imperial hands as well as the rugged heights of the Scorched Lands. 

Kutuzov planned his attack to retake Skrime, and the narrow isthmus connecting East Tersius to the main continent of the planet, to gain a bridgehead over the narrow sea and hem the chaos forces on a line running between the Valyin mountains and Lake Peri. He knew that the stiffest resistance would come at this narrow choke point. 

The terrain in this region was ideally suited to the Lycanon regiments, who were able to use their armoured formations to batter the chaos forces into submission. Recognising the threat, the Emerald Serpent, led by a powerful sorcerer who some claimed was Ahriman himself, conducted a counter attack at the head of the imperial advance, intending to halt the advance and hold the loyalist forces west of the Skrime isthmus. 

Summoning a host of daemons the Emerald Serpent initially forced the Lycanon tanks to halt and deal with this new threat. The battle raged back and forth across the Skrime gap and for a time Kutuzov was considering calling a halt to the offensive, but with overwhelming firepower the imperial guard eventually exhausted the chaos counter attack, the chaos sorcerer meeting an ignominious end to lasgun fire. 

By 0605.019 the imperial advanced had reached its planned objectives and taken up positions at the foot of the Vaylin mountains. The imperium celebrated their victory, but Kutuzov knew the war on Mordecai would not be over quickly.  

Sky Lords breakthrough on Goreen Alpha

Following the clearance of orks from the outer worlds the imperium turned its attention to Goreen Alpha. Major General Nikolai Ungern, in overall command of the imperial forces at Goreen, had received significant aid from the astartes in the clearing of the outer worlds and now the space marines played their part once more, leading the spearhead out of the bridgehead established by the Grey Knights in 018M42. Meanwhile Ungern concentrated on consolidating garrisons on the recently liberated worlds, and arranging for follow up forces to land at Goreen Alpha spaceport. 

The critical battle occurred at the settlement of Nova Osiris. The Sky Lords set up in a strong prepared position and waited for the inevitable Ork counter attack. They didn’t have long to wait, as the elite units of Von Bismork’s green tide approached through the ruined buildings. Battlewagons and other contraptions belched fumes into the sky as the green skins approached, but the Sky Lords drew the first blood by focussing their fire on the lead Ork vehicles. 

Led by Chapter Master Potitus, the Sky Lords had blocked the main road with their Repulsors, but had left the centre of the settlement open for the orks to take. The marine plan was to allow the orks control of territory, but to make them pay in blood for every yard. Then, once the Ork assault had been blunted, the Sky Lords would advance on the city itself. 

The Ork reply was savage, severely damaging both lead Repulsors, but crucially the vehicles remained serviceable as the orks made their main charge. Using psychic energies to teleport across the battlefield, a huge mob of green skins appeared on the Sky Lords’ left flank, obliterating the scouts holding Potitus’ flanks. However, in response the entire mob was mown down by Repulsors and Centurions, with the chapter master deciding now to deploy his Hellblasters. 

Plasma weaponry ripped into the remaining Ork vehicles while overhead Stormhawks prowled the skies, swooping in to kill the Ork warlord before being shot down by an incredible hail of mass loota fire. The Ork attack had been blunted, and now the Sky Lords began to move forward. However, having finally lost their Repulsors to sporadic Ork fire, the advance was slow, and the Space Marines became concerned that they would be unable to take the city before the orks regrouped and launched another attack. Potitus’ force would not have been able to withstand a second attack, but it never came. The Sky Lords took the city of Nova Osiris on 0605.019M42, holding onto it long enough for Ungern’s imperial guard to establish a strong front line. Only the wilderness zones now harboured orks, and the imperium now planned the final phase of operations at Goreen. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Goreen ork clearing continues

The system of Goreen had been quiet for much of 019.M42, following the Grey Knights intervention in 01.019M42. The local commander had been unable to press the advantage, lacking fleet support and short on supplies, so the imperium had been content to hold onto its gains in the system. 


This changed in 04.019M42, as the imperium learnt that the eternal plague of the sector, the ork known as "Von Bismork", had been building up his forces in the system. The greenskeens already had a presence on multiple worlds, often out in wilderness zones on the sparsely inhabited outer worlds. On the central world of Goreen Alpha, although the spaceport and major settlements were under imperial control, orks lurked in the forests and mountainous regions, and were growing stronger with each passing month.


Worried about his ability to defend the imperial zones from a concerted ork attack, the commander of Goreen called for aid. The appeal was answered by a company of Imperial Fists, who deployed in strength on the outer world of Goreen Delta, a cold and unforgiving world of rock and ice. The astartes hoped, correctly, that the presence of brightly coloured space marines would provoke the orks into an all out attack, enabling humanity's finest to break the greenskin threat. They were not dissapointed. As 04.019M42 drew to a close, a horde of orks, led by Von Bismork's trusted lieutenants, assembled and charged the imperial lines.


the orks had however over estimated their abilities and firepower. Their lootas, mounted in battlewagons, failed to have the devastating impact the ork warlord expected, and although the orks managed to bring the astartes' attached Knight down in close combat, the imperial line held. By 05.019M42 Von Bismork's forces had become scattered and the outer worlds were cleared of the infestation. The Imperial Fists' strategy had worked, and now the Imperium could look forward to taking the fight to the remaining greenskin presence on Goreen Alpha.