Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Emerald Serpent counter attack at Slaydon

Following Kutuzov's advance, the imperial army was exhausted. However the imperial forces were keen to finish the chaos forces before they were able to launch a counter attack. This proved impossible, as the forces of tzeentch, led by Ahriman and manifesting a daemonic shard of Magnus the Red, launched an assault from the hills straight at the heart of Slaydon.

The Imperium reacted swiftly, sending in the Imperial Fists to defend the heart of the city. Unfortunately the Emerald Serpent had the initiative and the momentum, and no sooner had the astartes taken up their defensive positions, the thousand sons attacked.

Magnus immediately charged, flying over the Fists' defensive screen and unhinging the Fists' normally stalwart defence. With the space marines dealing with the daemonic incursion, the rest of the Emerald Serpent were able to move into the city relatively unmolested. Magnus, or at least one of his shards, was eventually banished back to the warp, but the strategic position for the Imperium had become critical. The remaining Imperial Fists fell back in good order to the Spaceport, which was successfully defended from the chaos forces.

Kutuzov received the news of the defeat with his usual sigh. Disappointed with the loss of the capital, the Imperial general realised that the war had been extended, but the overall position on Mordecai Tersius still heavily favoured the Imperium. The chaos forces were still unable to effectively reinforce their positions, and the imperial armies were now advancing on two fronts.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Kutuzov’s grand offensive takes Slaydon

Having taken a great deal of territory off the chaos armies on Mordecai Tersius, general Kutuzov was keen to keep the momentum going and take the enemy’s final stronghold of Slaydon itself. Taking the capital and space port would seal the remaining chaos armies’ fate and bring the war on the planet to an end. 

Despite having limited time to prepare, the Novgorod armies drew up an assault plan for the attack on the capital city. Although the operation was hastily planned, this also meant the forces of chaos had no time to dig in, and the forces defending the city were made up of Death Guard forces of the Host of Eschar, rather than the elite forces of Stahl or the Emerald Serpent. 

Kutuzov’s plan was brutally simple. Send in wave after wave of Novgorod Guard until the defences were breached, then exploit any gaps in the chaos lines with fast moving cavalry formations. The imperial general was however concerned to find out that the Nurgle defenders were better equipped than expected. Not only were Death Guard astartes present, but the Host of Eschar now fielded a large number of dreaded plagueburst crawlers. 

The imperial army launched their attack on 2707.019M42, and were forced into hellish close quarter fighting. Company after company of Novgorod Guard were cut down, many units melting and bubbling into biological goo as the gifts of nurgle were visited on the loyalists. For hours the chaos lines refused to break, and Kutuzov began to fear that he would run out of men before the city could be taken, or that the plague host would hold on long enough for reinforcements to arrive, undoing the imperial strategy. 

The imperial general finally committed his cavalry, even though the chaos defences has not been breached, but they had little impact on the battle. As the light of the agri-world’s day began to dim, it was the Host of Eschar who succumbed to the brutal war of attrition. With only isolated Plagueburst crawlers remaining and their poxwalker screen eliminated, the nurgle force no longer had the firepower to hold back the human tide washing into the city. The remaining chaos forces abandoned Slaydon, and on 3007.019M42 a relieved general Kutuzov reported the city secured for the Imperium. 

Grey Knights called in to deal with Tyranids

Very little had happened on the Hexis front for months as neither the Imperium nor the forces of chaos made any attempt to go on the offensive. Morale on both sides slumped, but general Konev still had to deal with the tyranid threat to his rear. By 07.019M42 with no end to the war and the hellish conditions taking their toll on his troops, he officially requested astartes support to deal with the frequent raids conducted by the alien xenos who now infested the hills to the north east of the imperial zone on Hexis.

The astartes who responded were none other than the Grey Knights, once again aided by the legendary Kaldor Draigo, who now had such a habit of turning up in the Aleph Sector, few knew his story or even suspected he was anything other than the chapter master of the astartes chapter.

The Grey Knights immediately assaulted the suspected tyranid nest north east of Praxis and Menthoteph, dealing swiftly with a horde of genestealers which appeared first to defend their territory. The firepower of the xenos took its toll, destroying one of the Grey Knights' land raiders. but the astartes managed to get into close assault, fighting the aliens in brutal hand to hand combat. Draigo led from the front, slaying the alien beasts and exhorting his men to follow his example. By the end of 2707.019M42 one nest of the aliens had been dealt with, but there were more.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Thunderbolt: Southern Push

In the south the Imperial Fists and House Eagleclaw moved towards the chaos front lines. Their objective was to move quickly east across the Vaylin plains north of lake Peri, with the intention of cutting off the chaos armies in the south. 

The chaos force opposing them however comprised of unexpected forces. While the traitors fielded a number of knights, presumably supplied by Cybixx, the traitor astartes were not the Host of Eschar, Iron warriors, nor marines associated with the Emerald Serpent. In fact the marines had never been encountered in the sector. Apparently “Red Corsairs” but in the clear livery of the Alpha Legion, the Imperial Fists hardened their resolve to defeat these new enemies. 

The push in the south did not start well. The Imperial Fists Typhon heavy tank quickly came under heavy assault from the chaos lines, as a heretical fellblade made its presence felt. On the chaos right, the alpha legion, equipped with rhinos, quickly made a move towards the imperial left flank, taking key objectives. With the traitor war dogs covering the chaos advance, the imperium were initially in deep trouble. The Typhon had been destroyed and on the Imperial right flank House Eagleclaw was under intense pressure from the traitor knights. The imperium had only made small gains all along the front and defeat here risked the entire imperial positions on the west portion of Mordecai Tersius. 

The Imperial Fists now advanced on foot, converging on the centre of the battle. The Alpha Legion were surrounded and crushed in brutal hand to hand fighting, stabilising the front line, but the Fellblade remained a potent force. The knight duel on the imperial right saw the loss of knights on both sides, but the imperial war engines failed to make headway towards the Helverins. By the end of the first day the risk of imperial collapse had been halted, but the southern push had barely penetrated a few tens of kilometres into the chaos defences, and after grinding their way to Lake Peri, the southern assault was called off. 

Thunderbolt: Northern Strike

In the north of Mordecai Tersius Kutuzov has amassed the most men, as this front would face the combined might of the Iron Warriors and Cybixx. The Grey Knights also planned to drop directly into the thick of the fighting, anxious to break the chaos front line and eliminate as many of Stahl’s daemon engines as possible. 

The Novgorod push made good ground, finding Mt. Harender and the Industria complex already vacated by Cybixx. The heretic tech priest having already found what he needed. The area was weakly defenced by cultists, but further south the Iron Warriors put up stiffer resistance. As the battle became more intense near to the planets secondary food processing plants, Stahl’s forces unleashed their daemon engines. 

On cue, the Grey Knights appeared. The guard forces were relieved at their appearance as the Iron warriors were threatening to overwhelm them. Attacking in tight formation, the astartes broke the chaos defence lines and Kutuzov’s forces streamed through the breach. By 0807.019M42 the front line had been pushed south several hundred kilometres. The offensive had met its objectives in the north but now the imperium were forced to slow and halt while their logistics train caught up. On the Vaylin plains the Iron warriors dug in, awaiting Kutuzov’s next move. 

Kutuzov launches operation Thunderbolt

The next move for Kutuzov was to go onto the offensive. The imperium, despite being pushed back in the north had been building up significant forces and had secured the support of two astartes chapters. Once again the Grey Knights and Imperial Fists had agreed to lend their support to the upcoming imperial offensive. 

Kutuzov now had the strength to launch a massive offensive in the north and south at the same side. Operation Thunderbolt would consist of two thrusts. The northern push would consist of a corps of Novgorod Guard supported by the Grey Knights. In the south, Kutuzov amassed several regiments of Lycannon Guard, with House Eagleclaw and the Imperial Fists. These forces began moving towards the chaos lines from their start positions on 0407.019M42. 

In the south, the Lycannon Guard regiments moved north east, towards the Chemical Plants near the Scorched Lands. Here the imperial forces met the Host of Eschar for the first time in months, but the experienced Lycannon force took positions on an escarpment overlooking the chaos forces and poured fire down into them. Despite their legendary resilience, the plague marines were unable to withstand the hail of fire coming from imperial positions. 

The daemon prince of nurgle launched a revenge assault against the Lycannon tank lines, but even this was shrugged off by the elite guardsmen. The chemical plants were retaken early on 0507.019M42, allowing the main assault to begin. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Mordecai Tersius: Cybixx charges north

Having secured his flank in the early skirmishes on the plains north of the Vaylin mountains Cybixx began his main assault on Mt. Harender. The ruined city would need to be secured before he moved north to capture the Mechanicum Industria. For this operation the arch magos threw in his elite constructs as well as his regular Mechanicum troops. 

The initial resistance comprised of Librian infantry garrisoning the city. These units were rapidly swept away before the traitors’ advance with almost 100% casualties. Infantry alone were no match for the weapons of the Arch heretek. 

Colonel Dempsey rapidly threw in his armoured reserves as it became clear this was a major attack, but the Leman Rudd elements arrived peacemeal and the inexperienced tank crews struggled to hit their targets. The artillery were more effective, but were unable to stop the Ironstriders’ assault, nor meaningfully damage Cybixx’s robot constructs or heavy tank elements. 

The ironstriders were joined by more elite forces teleporting into the battle, and together they crashed into the imperial artillery. The subsequent melee resulted in many of the Mechanicum walkers piercing the imperial artillery with their lances, catastrophically detonating their stored ammunition. The resulting series of explosion wiped out the imperial guns but took a terrible toll on the assaulting forces, totally eliminating some of Cybixx’s best troops and weakening the attack. Dempsey’s hellhounds then arrived, obliterating the remaining walkers with their Prometheum flame cannons. The chaos light infantry also suffered at the hands of the flame tanks, but the dreadnought construct, code named “Telemon” by the imperial forces made short work of them. Cybixx eventually lost his heavy tanks to the remaining imperium Leman Russ, but this too succumbed to the Telemon. 

Cybixx’s forces had taken moderate casualties, but not quite enough to stop the advanced. Dempsey meanwhile had lost all his armoured units and was powerless to stop the chaos advance. Kutuzov ordered his armies north to prevent being encircled, and by 0607.019M42 the Magos Dominus had secured the Mechanicum complex and began harvesting its dark secrets. 

Mordecai Tersius: Encounter battles hold off Librian tanks

After the defeat of Cybixx on the broad plains south of Mt. Harender, the Arch Dominus made swift plans to retake the territory. Of interest to the heretical tech priest was the Mechanicum Industria - a plant on Mordecai Tersius which had long been in the service of the dark gods. The Factorium had fallen to the imperium along with the rest of the planet in early 019M43, but the loyalists had not had time to uncover its secrets. Cybixx decided he needed to retake the complex urgently, and push the corpse worshippers back as far north as possible. 

General Kutuzov had reinforced the front line following operation supercharge, but the Knights of Eagleclaw needed repair and refit. Similarly the Novgorod regiments were pulled out of the line for resupply, leaving the imperial general no option other than to deploy the Librian regiments to the sector of the front. 

Regarded as unreliable following their home planet’s fall to the alliance, the Librians were nonetheless well equipped and keen to prove their loyalty to the imperium. Adopting new symbols for their army and denouncing their homeland as traitors, new blood had entered the ranks of the Librian regiments, chiefly made up of other dispossessed men from conquered worlds. 

The Librians fielded one division on Mordecai. The 4th and 7th armoured regiments were deployed in the north while the 16th garrisoned Danythe. Colonel Dempsey was in command at the northern front and had deployed his main force of infantry in the ruins of Mt. Harender, with his main armoured force acting as a mobile reserve. Closer to the front line itself Dempsey had multiple units patrolling the vast green spaces which made up the agri-world’s landscape. 

Cybixx planned a straightforward assault. The traitor did not have access to many of his knights, but one was sent with a scouting force to probe the loyalist defences. Once a weakness was found the rest of his army would push through, on to Harender and beyond, threatening to encircle the imperial force and obliging it to withdraw. 

Cybixx began his offensive with wide ranging patrols across the plains, one of which ran headlong into a Librian patrol. A skirmish quickly developed with the Mechanicum initially making gains and forcing the Librian force back. This led Cybixx to order his main attack, but the frontier battle almost went very wrong. The Librians rallied after early setbacks, knocking out the enemy knight and wiping out the ironstrider outriders with well placed leman Russ firepower. The imperial force almost regained the ground they had lost and came very close to upsetting Cybixx’s main assault before it began. However the traitor Mechanicum just held on, enabling the main thrust to begin at Mt. Harender.