Monday, March 30, 2020

Inconclusive fleet action at Mordecai

Following the warp storm outbreak of 03.020M42, the fleet movements of the Imperium were curtailed, but not altogether prevented. The battlegroups that Lord Admiral Bova Magnus had control over became split up and difficult to control centrally, but Admiral Stark was proactive in ensuring he had access to the as many vessels as he could lay his hands on. Sending out instructions to muster at the outer marker of the Mordecai system, by late 03.020M42 Stark's fleet at Mordecai was substantially bolstered with the arrival of a flotilla of Dauntless class vessels from neighbouring subsectors, as well as the Emperor class battleships Centurion and Leipzig.
The substantial increase in Imperial vessels threatened the chaos supply routes from Mordecai Primaris to the inner planet, now invaded by the Imperium under general Kutuzov, so the Emerald Serpent was forced to act in order to inderdict the Imperial fleet, with the intention of engaging in attritional encounters. The chaos fleet had a fleet base in the system, whereas the Imperium did not, so any losses would be more keenly felt by the Imperial side.
The first encounter between the two fleets occurred on 2403.020M42, when a chaos fleet was detected approaching the Imperium's main fleet rendezvous point above Mordecai Tersius. Here the Imperium had their precious supply fleet, so Stark send a powerful fleet of six dauntless class vessels, supported by Centurion and Leipzig to intercept.
The battle itself was inconclusive. Two chaos cruisers were heavily damaged but managed to escape back to the Mordecai docks, frustrating the imperial admiral, although one Carnage class was caught and hulked by the combined imperial firepower. One dauntless class cruiser was put completely out of action in the engagement, but the Emerald Serpent had failed to inflict significant attritional casualties on the Imperial fleet. The dauntless class cruiser Phoenix was taken in tow and could be repaired to operational status within weeks, while the chaos losses could soon be patched up at Mordecai docks, with the exception of the cruiser destroyed. This however was only the opening salvo in a series of increasingly savage naval battles at the Mordecai system.

Corticant cleared of Eldar

By late 03.020M42 General Veers was close to victory on Corticant. The eldar were now holed up in the settlement of Fairmoor, in the western region of the inhabited zone of the planet. Veers wanted a quick win, and although the planet would never be fully rid of the eldar threat until all warp portals were hunted down and eliminated, clearing the world of eldar from Imperial territory would be a major step forward. Finding the webway gates could then begin.
Veers knew only a frontal assault would achieve victory quickly, and once again he turned to the blunt instrument that was the Novgorod Guard. The imperial force advanced on Fairmoor, opposed by a significant army of Ul'Staer warriors. The battle began with the Imperium concentrating their fire on an enemy wraithknight, but its demise caused the guard as many problems as it solved, as the giant walker exploded violently, killing many on one flank of their advance, including a company commander.
With this apparent success, the eldar then threw in their wraithguard reserve, wiping out the lead elements of the Novgorod advance. However, the Novgorod always have more men to throw into the fight, and attrition is the nature of their strategy. Supported by their largely intact armoured forces, the second wave of infantry swarmed over the eldar positions, breaking the defenders and sweeping into the settlement. Now displaced from their last meaningful territorial hold on Corticant, the remnants of the eldar forces drifted away, either into the wilderness or back into the webway. By 3103.020M42 General Veers was able to report that Corticant was fully back under Imperial control for the first time in years.

Necrons awoken on Vespae

While the Aleph Sector struggled with warp storms, the eldar encountered their old foe in the system of Vespae. The system had been quarantined by the Aeldari race in 019M42, fighting off the expansionist imperial fleets and warning their allies the Tau to keep away, occasionally using force to ensure compliance. Now, in 020M42, the necrons awoke.
The resurgent necron threat was countered by the Ul'Staer craftworld, after it was realised that if just one tomb city awoke to full wakefulness, there was the threat of system wide reawakening of the alien race, which represented millions of warriors the eldar would not be able to counter. Acting swiftly, the eldar attacked the necrons as they mustered in front of their ancient tomb. Although unable to defeat the ancient enemy, the necrons were unable to contact adjacent tomb complexes, and a protective corden was established around the awakened complex. For now the necron threat at Vespae had been contained.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Imperium close to victory on Corticant

On Corticant, despite the increasing difficulty in securing logistical supplies, the imperium were still actively pursuing their campaign against the illusive eldar. The settlement of Blackhollow was next on general Veers’ objectives, and on 2003.020M42 the Imperial Guard began sending scouting expeditions to the hills surrounding the settlement. Finding nothing, the Novgorod Guard moved into the settlement. Then the eldar attacked. 

Led by forces if the Ul’Staer Craftworld the Aeldari came up against well equipped and experienced Novgorod soldiers, and the attack, though savage, was repulsed. By 2303.020M42 the settlement of Blackhollow, now devoid of a human population, was back in imperial hands. 

However, just a few days later, the Ynnari launched a savage surprise attack. Falling upon the Novgorod supply lines the new Aeldari faction caused severe damage to the imperial supply lines, putting back Veers planned assault towards the last eldar stronghold of Fairmoor.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Chaos battle Aeldari on Paradorn

Now united in purpose, the eldar race immediately used their advantage of the webway to take the fight to the forces of chaos, the main enemy. The Ynnari along with their Ul'Staer Craftworld allies launched an assault against the forces of chaos still holding significant territory in the Paradorn system. Although the main goal of the Ynnari was not to take territory, the systems dominating the Foramen could not be allowed to remain in chaos hands.
The defence put up by the forces of chaos, notably the Emerald Serpent was far greater than the Aeldari expected. The Ynnari, despite having the element of surprise, found the resistance from elite Thousand Sons  difficult to overcome, and it seemed the tzeentch sorcerers had been forewarned of the attack. The Ynnari assault did manage to achieve its objectives, but the element of surprise had well and truly been lost when the Craftworld eldar of Ul'Stear appeared. The Emerald serpent pushed the eldar back, forcing them to abandon much of the territory gained, with the result that as of 2403.020M42 the Aledari alliance had actually lost ground.

Cicatrix Maledictum pulses dangerously

As 03.020M42 progressed, all races in the Aleph Sector began to notice some worrying signs within the Cicatrix Maledictum. It began in the Hadron Expanse, far to the galactic east of the sector, as the warp around Hexis began pulsing, sending waves of warp energy across the Expanse, disrupting interstellar travel and leading to localised "warp afflictions", with some planets experiencing an upsurge of psychic phenomena.
Initially, it was hoped that the warp effects being felt in the Expanse were due to the local destruction of the mysterious necron "device" on Hexis, but gradually the pulsing effects of the great rift began rippling all along the warp anomaly. All races using the warp for travel were affected as even the Foramen became unstable, trapping or sending off course ships trying to traverse the Cicatrix. Psychic phenomena began affecting worlds nearest to the rift, and like an unstoppable contagion, psykers became attuned to the pulsing effects, transferring the warp affliction even further afield.
By 2003.020M42 the Imperium was forced to suspend all interstellar travel between worlds in the vicinity of the Cicatrix Maledictum. Not only between to and from the Imperium Nihilis via the Foramen, but even between neighbouring systems. Only the eldar had forseen this psychic awakening across the sector, and the webway stayed, for now, relatively stable. For the other races, supplies became a critical concern as warzones found themselves isolated from their logistic hubs. However, the wars continued.
A new reality dawned across the sector, one that had escaped the worst effects of the coming of the Cicatrix. Wars became more desparate and grand offensives on a planetary scale became ever more difficult to organise. The wars on Mordecai and elsewhere would continue, but on a far less grand scale. Meanwhile, the eldar, realising the Ynnari were right all along, now began to act in unison for the good of their race.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Ynarri attack and defeat Craftworld Eldar

In 03.020M42 the Ynnari reappeared in the Aleph Sector in strength. Bringing prophecies of an impending calamity the youngest eldar faction appealed to the Craftworlds of their race for unity of purpose, and a change to their strategies within the aleph sector. While most of the Aeldari race complied, a few Craftworlds resisted, and refused to accept the "advice" of this new faction. One in particular refused to go to war as the Ynnari instructed, and remained set on their path of glorious isolation. This was unacceptable to the Ynnari, who demanded that all of their race answer the call to arms. Unable to defeat the Craftworld of Ul'Staer with logic, the Ynnari instead took direct action.
In a series of actions throughout the webway, the Aeldari race went to war, with itself. Two major actions saw the Ynnari defeat the Craftworld eldar decisively. Led by their warlock conclave, the first engagement was decisive, with a Ynnari Solitaire going after and killing the eldar farseer of Ul'Staer who the Ynnari held responsible for the failure of their Craftworld to listen to their demands. This first engagement broke the Ul'Staer resistance, but fighting continued through the webway for several days, as pockets of resistance were systematically defeated.
By 2403.020M42 the matter was settled. The Ynnari had proved they would take Aeldari lives in order to ensure unity of purpose, and all the Craftworlds in the sector were aligned to their new purpose. However, none outside the Ynnari yet knew what that purpose was.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Goreen cleated of orks for second time

In 019M42 the forces of the Arch-Heretek Cybixx were believed to have eradicated the ork threat on Goreen, but as the diretion of the campaign against chaos became focussed in the Perseus Deeps, Cybixx and his allies disappeared from the Hadron Expanse. This should have been good news for the Imperium, who now held the system uncontested, but a series of attacks on human settlements on the sparsely populated Goreen Alpha came under repeated attack from greenskin warbands. General Percival, overall commander of Imperial forces in the Hadron Expanse, having had many of his assets stripped for the war on Mordecai, could not immediately respond, and the loss of Goreen alpha appeared to be a real possibility.
Fortunately the Imperial Fists were able to lend assistance. Although small in number, the elite marine forces were able to efficiently hunt down and push the greenskin forces back into the wilderness zones. They then went further, pursuing the orks into their remaining heartlands and savagely destroying any pockets of xenos they could find. The sky of the planet was soon thick with the soot and smoke from raging forest fires, as the astartes relentlessly burned the greenskins out of their hiding places, and by the end of 03.020M42 the system was declared free of the ork infestation.

Mordecai: Lunge south cuts off Kuneus

The next move by General Kutuzov in the war against chaos on Mordecai was to target the major city of Kuneus to the south of the Abrax mines. A crucial supply point and intersection of routes, the city was the next logical place for the Imperium to attack. In order to avoid a brutal city fight, the imperial plan called for an encircling move, for which the Lycannon Guard was readied in early 03.020M42.
As the flanking move began, the guard were opposed by the traitors of the Darantine regiments, as well as the knights of the apostate Aether Striders. Loyal to the Emerald Serpent, the forces of chaos put up a strong defence against the imperial advance, and a major battle developed to the west of the city. The Lycannon regiments, well equipped and familiar with fighting the Darantine and Aether Striders in previous engagements across the sector, were able to overcome the chaos defences, and within days of the advance beginning, the city of Kuneus had been surrounded, with the tanks and infantry of the Lycannon guard reaching the shores of the great lava sea. Now imperial forces were within striking distance of the Saguthar mines to the south, but first the city of Kuneus, besieged, would have to be dealt with.

R’Lyeh encountered in the Perseus Deeps

Although hive fleet R'Lyeh has been encountered on Hexis, it was believed that the tyranids of this particular strain were confined to the Hadron Expanse. It came as something as a shock then, when in mid 03.020M42 a large hive fleet was encountered by the forces of chaos in the Perseus Deeps. The Emerald Serpent, patrolling against incursions by Imperial vessels made contact with the tyranids in a neighbouring unpopulated system to Mordecai, and immediately engaged the interlopers.
The battle proved remarkably successful for the Emerald Serpent fleet, who were able to see off the alien fleet without taking any significant losses. Investigating the destroyed husks of some of the xenos vessels, the heretic biologis magi were able to ascertain that the genetic markers were indeed indicative of R'Lyeh, but that some elements of Nemesis were also present. This deeply concerned the Emerald Serpent, as it now appeared that the threat of hive fleet Nemesis, believed to have passed, had now morphed into something new and alarming.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Iron Warriors halt imperial advance

In 2902.20M42 the Ultramarines, having made planetfall days earlier, were prepared for an offensive on Mordecai Secundus. Unbeknownst to the Ultramarines however, traitors within the Imperial ranks had slipped their plans to the Iron Warriors who prepared their own attack before sons of Guilliman could even get on the move. On the horizon, the Ultramarines spotted a veritable horde of Daemonic Engines of all shapes and sizes and to their credit quickly prepared fortified positions centred around the ruins, creating a makeshift fortress for the Iron Warriors to assault. The Ultramarines expected little heavy firepower for such an assault focussed force, however, before their Devastator Lascannon squads could fire, Helldrakes screamed overhead and incinerating them. The Ultramarines stood firm and massed bolter fire shredded a Maulerfiend that had ranged ahead of the Daemonic pack.

The Ultramarines found losing fully half of their Lascannons left them at a disadvantage, but they adapted, using massed bolter fire to bring down a second daemonic beast and wounding several others, it was not enough however and the Daemon engines struck their line as one. In melee the Ultramarines found themselves woefully outclassed and underprepared for the heavily armoured daemon engines, had they had Thunder Hammers or Powerfists it may have been different, but combat blades and Krak grenades were no match. The Aggressors, having inflicted early engine kills, were the target of every Baleflamer weapon the Daemon Engine horde could bring to bear, and were incinerated one by one. The Ultramarines, were pinned to the ruins they had made their makeshift fortress and were slaughtered one by one.

News of the loss of the Ultramarine reinforcements was received with shock by General Kutusov’s staff. It was expected that their arrival would mean the purification of Mordecai Secundus could accelerate but for now, grinding warfare would have to continue. They had the manpower, but did they have the time?

Fort Rhagrim falls to imperium

Having secured their position on Mordecai Secundus and having taken the Abram Mines, Kutuzov now turned to the most difficult chaos position now facing his front line, fort Rhargrim. 

The chaos fortress lay at the western end of the line of fortifications that stood between the forces of the imperium and the major city of Festergax Primus. Rhagrim protected the the city and also provided an effective block on any outflanking move from the west. 

Defended by the Death Guard, the chaos fortress presented a substantial obstacle to the imperium, and the imperial army was able to call on an entire Novgorod army, as well as help from the Grey Knights. This gave the attack mobility, and as the Novgorod forces began a brutal frontal assault the astartes used this mobility to confuse and harass the enemy forces. After a lengthy battle, the fortress was finally isolated and stormed. Casualties were high, especially on the chaos side, but while the attack had unhinged the chaos defence line, the imperial army wasn’t immediately able to further exploit the success. Nonetheless, the fall of Fort Rhagrim was a significant breakthrough for the invading armies of the imperium.

Mordecai: Advance Continues

Following the successful destruction of chaos forces in the north, Kutuzov’s army was now concentrated in the north west of the imperial sector. Deciding to press his advantage and further expand imperial territory, and immediate large scale offensive was launched. 

As 03.020M42 began, Kutuzov’s army drove west into strong Death Guard forces, the Emerald Serpent having withdrawn to provide a mobile reserve. The Death Guard proved to be a stubborn in defence, but Kutuzov’s army proved to have superior firepower. Despite heavy fighting the Imperium pushed the chaos forces back ending a significant advance having further expanded the territory they controlled.

Heavy Fighting on Corticant

Following the loss of the device chamber the Eldar were on the back foot but it also freed them from the need to hold territory, and Kel Sandros immediately switched back to its preferred hit and run tactics. Rather than face the Imperial advance  as it approached Bymarsh directly, an aspect warhost attempted to strike the advancing forces from behind using hidden webway portals to bypass the main battle line.

Realising the threat this posed the Dark Angels immediately repositioned a battle company to block the thrust, fully aware that the cumbersome bulk of the Imperial Guard regiments would be unable to reposition and bring sufficient force to bear without additional time.

Sighting an advance party of Eldar scouts the Ravenwing screamed forward into the ruins of a settlement in order to force them out only to find themselves ambushed and almost entirely wiped out by a far larger force concealed amidst the dense terrain. Responding to their urgent distress call Deathwing Knights teleported down from orbit to aid their embattled brethren and battle was joined in earnest. Casualties mounted on both sides and the conflict eventually ended in a stalemate with neither side able to make headway, but for the Imperium such a stalemate was a strategic victory as it bought the Guard regiments the time they needed to respond to the new threat. Once again the Eldar withdrew into the webway hoping to remuster their dwindling forces and strike again before the planet was entirely lost to the grinding Imperial war machine.

As Bymarsh fell to the imperium in the north of Corticant, in the south separate eldar forces were patrolling near their webway portal, when they were attacked by genestealer cults once more. However the allied war host of drukhari and wraithguard were well prepared for the light cultist forces, and the speed of the genestealers did not save them. The eldar patrol called up reinforcements and swept the area clean of the infestation, ensuring vital webway entry points remained under the control of the Aeldari race.

Alliance suffer defeats in Hadron Expanse

For many months the war in the Hadron Expanse had cooled off as the fighting on Hexis stalled. However, with the strategic value of Hexis and the Lysis system now virtually zero, a large number of forces were now freed up for other duties, which immediately put the Alliance, who already had no significant forces committed to the Hexis campaign, at significant risk. 

The first hammerblow to the alliance fell at the system of Mimir. Without warning death guard forces launched a series of attacks against tau bases on the outer worlds, including the significant base on the planet code named “Gregland 100”. 

The tau responded with their highly mobile battle suit units, sending rapid reaction forces to the outer ice planets where the chaos forces had appeared. The alliance units were unable to remove the death guard invasion, as it became clear they were supported by fleet elements. A full scale chaos invasion of Mimir had begun. 

While the tau were struggling at Mimir, the imperium had free up forces to retake Hussaria. They had already taken Orebro, but now a daring mission conceived by the Imperial Fists planned to cut off the alliance forces in the remaining major cities. 

Landing behind Svartan, the astartes soon faced a force of Librians barring their way. Equipped with heavy armoured elements the traitor guard army ought to have posed a significant obstacle to the Fists, but after an early precision strike that took out the leading Leman Russ and the most dangerous artillery units, the response from the Librians was farcical. The Librian general ordered a flank attack with his hellhound flamer company, which met with some success, but to the dismay of the federal forces some of their weaponry simply failed to work as intended. 

Manticore storm eagle rockets fell amongst the space marines but failed to explode, the only casualty caused as one missile landed directly on an unfortunate battle brother, driving him several feet underground. A second marine died to a rocket as it fell on him during a close assault against the launch vehicles, but this did not count in the statistics. 

The astartes, especially the Primaris, proved a difficult foe for the Librians, who were shocked to discover that even volleys of battle cannon fire didn’t stop the genetically enhanced humans, while their Repulsor Executioner battle tank proved lethal with its precision shooting. 

The federal forces responded to this threat with a precision drop of their elite forces behind the astartes lines, intending to take out the Executioner and force the space marines to turn to face the new threat. However, once again faulty weaponry came into play, and the grav tank, although heavily damaged, was not destroyed. It then turned its many weapons on the storm troopers, wiping them out and destroying any hope for the federal army. 

As the Librians were being mopped up outside Svartan, more forces landed in the east, sealing the alliance army’s fate. By 0103.020M42 the main cities on Hussaria had been secured by the Imperial Fists, and the entire alliance presence in the system was close to collapse.