Monday, May 31, 2021

Hexis: Necrons push against Konev's defences

In late 05.042M42 the Imperium found itself under serious pressure from the Necrons in the Hadron Expanse. The system of Ceti with the tombworld Baal of Bones had fully awoken, and the Nagaesh dynasty had taken a keen interest in the events in the Aleph Sector. Further towards the galactic west or "spinward", the Harakhty and Charnovokh dynasties had returned to their slumber, but this was not the case in the galactic east. Here the Nagaesh dynasty had decided that the infestation by the lesser races was a significant threat as their people slowly emerged from hibernation, and having cleansed the tombworld system, they now moved on to Hexis.
Despite being strategically irrelevant to the sector now, the world of Hexis was still once a necron world, and under its barren rocky plains there were secrets for the younger races to uncover. Secrets which the necrons were extremely keen on keeping to themselves. At other systems the necrons would try to acquire all necron artefacts for safe keepin, but on Hexis and in the Expanse more generally, the anicent race had decided they would scour their old worlds of the infesting vermin and reestablich their own empire once more.
Konev's line came under severe pressure from the south, as the necrons moved around the city of Praxis across the plains. Despite being well equipped and well supplied, the war on Hexis having been quiet for months, the Lycanon guard that faced the new necron force struggled to keep those necrons they did shppt down from reassembling themselves and getting up again. Time after time the necrons reanimated, and gradually the imperial line began to fall back. Sensing real danger from this much larger force, Konev was forced to call on the astartes.
Fortunately for the Imperium, the Hammers of the Emperor maintained a company on hand at Hexis, and they sprang into action just as the Lycanon guard withdrew to more defensible positions. Charging directly for the centre of the Nagaesh force, the astartes identified a C'tan shard that was particularly dangerous to Konev's army, and made  a direct assault on the necron army's elite core. A savage battle raged for hours, but the space marines succeeded in their mission, driving the necrons back to across no mans land and allowing Konev to reoccupy his original defensive lines. The necron threat nonetheless concerned the general, and he made an urgenr request for more forces to his commander general Percival.

Mordecai: Kutuzov barely holds line

Following the encircling movement around Festergax the Imperium on Mordecai Secundus were expecting a forceful counter attack and it came at the end of 05.021M42. All along the new front line the imperial forces were hard pressed by the Emerald Serpent in the north and in the south, significant Death Guard forces. The northern thrust was defended by the Adeptus Mechanicus, and here the Thousands sons managed to obliterate one full Mechanicum detachment, but not before the chaos army had lost its HQ and some important and valuable units. This still represented a significant defeat for Kutuzov however, and the imperial general was forced to cancel the upcoming offensive into central Mordecai as his northern flank had to be rapidly reinforced with units he had been holding in reserve.
To make matters worse, the Death Guard were applying significant pressure on Kutuzov's southern flank, where a regiment of Tempestus Scions had to be deployed by the Lycanon Guard to stop the Host of Eschar from overrunning their lines. Even this proved to be too difficult, as by the time the Taurox mounted soldiers arrived the nurgle worshipping traitor astartes had already taken the imperial forward lines. The Lycanon Guard responded by sending in their reserves, but despite taking heavy casualties the Death Guard clung on to their objectives, forcing a tactical withdrawl by the imperial army.
By the beginning of 06.021M42 the Imperium on Mordecai Secundus was hard pressed to hold onto its recent gains, and general Kutuzov had to commit his reserves in a desparate attempt to prevent chaos forces from effecting a breakthrough. In this he was successful, but for now the chaos victories had blunted the Imperial advance.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

More imperial progress at Mordecai Secundus

Following on from the sweep into the Abrax Mines, the Imperial advance on Mordecai now had an opportunity. If they could move quickly, a push north encircling the city of Festergax Primus would outflank the chaos defensive line south of Fort Vengeance. These deep and extensive fortifications had held up the imperial advance since the appearance of the daemonworld in the Mordecai system, and now general Kutuzov had the chance to make them irrelevant.

The Imperium first had to find the forces to execute the plan. The astartes had taken the mines to the south, but the imperial guard had still not caught up. The vast majority of Kutuzov's ground forces comprised of infantry regiments, and these by nature were slow. If the Imperium was to effectively take advantage of the situation and trap several chaos armies now defending the Festergax salient, they would need to act fast and new forces would be required.

Fortunately for Kutuzov a significant force of Adeptus Mechanicus had just become available. The Archmagos in charge of this army agreed with the imperial assessment of the strategic situation and deployed from orbit in the area of the Abrax mines. Pushing north, the Mechanicum used their technological advantage against the enemy, deterimining that the flanks of the salient were only weakly defended by a force of Red Corsairs. In late 05.021M42 the warriors of the Omnissiah smashed through the Corsairs' defence and rapidly pushed north, reaching the northern imperial lines in mere days.

Outflanked and surrounded, the chaos forces within the Festergax pocket had no chance. With Kutuzov's guard armies now pushing in from the east, those mobile forces loyal to the dark gods, mostly traitor space marines, abandoned their positions and withdrew to safety. For the remaining chaos armies, there was only death, either in a last stand against overwhelming odds or by mass execution following capture. By the end of 05.021M42 Festergax had fallen, the chaos defences that had been a thorn in his side for so long were captured, and the Imperium looked towards a new offensive west as 06.042M42 began.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Hadron Expanse Summary 05.020M42


Tau sweep into Tanis V

 While Malkaor was overseeing the affairs at Boltarean, both the Imperial and Tau forces had reinforced their positions at Tanis. Far from their supply lines, both sides were looking to establish a base in the Hadron Deeps. For the Tau this would outflank and divide Imperial positions. For the Imperium, it would shore up their supply lines and effectively shut out the Tau from further expansion into the Hadron Deeps, and take the pressure of Vanir and Oreen.

The uninhabited system did have several habitable worlds, and in 05.021M42 the Imperium and the Tau Empire landed forces on Tanis V, a small world of rolling planes that naturally lent itself to armoured warfare. Unable to prevent one another from landing troops via naval action, the two sides now prepared for a showdown on the plains, which after several weeks of skirmishes led to a tank showdown.
The battle itself was extrodinarily destructive with both sides taking out each others' arnoured vehicles. As the engagement wore on however, the elite tau forces including a notable tau tank "ace" made all the difference. As the Tau drew ahead in terms of armoured vehicles destroyed, the Imperium found it increasingly hard to reply effectively, and after several hours of armoured warfare the majority of the Imperial army was a smoking ruin of wrecked steel and ceramite. With no prospect of reinforcement the remaining troops were hastily evacuated, and the planet of Tanis V became the newest Tau beachhead in the Tanis V system, where the Imperium were now firmly on the run.

Eldar raid Vanir

While the necron threat continued to grow in the Hadron Expanse, and the Tau continued their expansion plans, the Imperium faced other problems. General Percival was extremely starved of resources, and some of the forces he had to deploy to defend imperial assets were not top class.
One such force was a penal regiment detailed to defend settlements on Vanir. While the astartes were busy fighting the necrons, the eldar took advantage of the parlous state of Percival's army to pursue their own agenda. The eldar were still seeking ways to manipulate affairs, fight their own war against the chaos god Slaanesh, while preventing necron secrets falling into the wrong hands. Their alliance with the Tau had effectively lapsed, but the Aeldari in general preferred the Tau to be in control than the Imperium.
To further these aims one Eldar Wraithhost materialised from nowehere and assaulted the penal force protecting an installation on Vanir. The convicts fought hard, given their predicament, but the superior capabilities of the eldar proved too strong despite the imperial numbers, and the installation - dedicated to the study of necron artefacts found on across the world - was razed to the ground. In one pinpoint raid, the Aeldari managed to unbalance the Imperium in the favour of the Tau, prevent necron knowledge from being gained by the Mon'Keigh, and not aid their ancient enemies in the process.

Boltar III taken by Tau

 05.021M42 saw a concerted effort to accelerate the Tau plans to dominate the Hadron Expanse and complete the creation of their "Hadron Expansion Sphere". The Tau leadership devised two task forces, one to continue the war against chaos in the Boltarean system while a separate force was detailed to reinforce the foothold the Tau had gained in the Tanis system. The Tau plan was twofold. Boltarean was the final chaos dominated system in the Hadron Expanse and would only fall to a direct assault. The Imperium, with their bases at Vanir and Oreen, would first need to be stopped at the far flung Tanis. Doing this would isolate General Konev's armies at Hexis from the rest of the Imperium, which would then find itself flanked on two sides, unable to determine from which direction the Tau attack would come from.

The war on Boltarean progressed with a full scale invasion of Boltar III, a necessary stepping stone for the final assault on the main planet of the system, controlled by the Emerald Serpent. The forces of chaos were not in any hurry to abandon the second world however, and Commander Malkaor's troops soon found themselves fighting a bitter battle for control of Boltar III that lasted far longer than the Tau would have wanted. The final chaos positions surrounding their spaceport facility saw the hardest fighting, with high casualties on both sides. Malkaor lost a trusted commander, as the Empire's forces struggled to deal with an extremely stubborn enemy.
Eventually after fighting one another to a standstill, with both sides down to minimal strength, the chaos foothold was finally unseated, and the remaining chaos forces were forced into the wilderness. It would take weeks to mop up these disordered forces, but the planet of Boltar III now lay in Tau hands. The casualties taken did however delay the planned advanced onto the primary world itself.

Imperial Expedition to Baal of Bones Lost

 By 05.021M42 the news of necron stirrings in the Hadron Expanse had reached the ears of General Pervical, still the overall commander of Imperial forces in the region. During his tenure the Imperium had lost their holdings at Hussaria and Awarath to the Tau, had seen the expedition to Hexis fail to achieve its objectives, and still hadn't removed the chaos threat from Palantir. Percival was not removed however, as Titus Luthor was accutely aware of how starved of resources the Imperium was in the Expanse.

Not wishing to simply yield ground to the necrons, Percival sent a task force to the Ceti system, while recieving assurances from the Hammers of the Emperor that they would cover the Imperial system most at risk from the resurgent necrons at Vanir.

The joint Imperial strike force reached the Ceti system to find the necrons fully awake and assaulting the Adeptus Mechanicus base on the outer world of the system, sending wave after wave of necrons from the tombworld itself. The Imperial force attempted to turn back the tide but it became evident that the flood of warriors coming from Baal of Bones could not be held by the forces the Imperium had sent to the system. After a brutal battle that saw the Imperium lose their task force commander, the Imperium abandoned the world, retreating back to Vanir where the Hammers of the Emperor had successfully seen off the necron threat for now.

Hammers hold Necron advance at Vanir

The Hammers of the Emperor were aware of the threat from necron forces at the Ceti system, also known as "Ball of Bones". In 05.021M42 the astartes chapter took the decision to deploy at Vanir in case of necron activity, while General Percival send his own task force to the Ceti system to investigate just how strong the necrons were becoming.
The Hammers arrived just in time, as the necrons had already arrived in system and were systematically eliminating the small colonist settlements that dotted the planet. After identifying the strongest necron force, the astartes used their speed to charge headlong into the right flank of the xenos army, while harrassing the left flank with skirmishing bikers. In the centre of the action, terminator armoured space marines slowly advanced, while the right flank of the enemy was broken down by the bulk of the Hammers strike force.
The necrons did not yield easily however, as the centre ground saw the ancient aliens send in their strongest forces, with their elite units clashing with the terminators. The astartes fought stubbornly, but took heavy losses. Despite these casualties however, the astartes held key objectives and threatened to completely encircle the necron positions. Having been all but wiped out, the remaining necrons phased out from the Vanir system, leaving the battered remnants of the Hammers of the Emperor to tend to their wounded and fix what equipment they could. For now the necron threat to the Imperial system had been removed.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Tau expedition at Tanis gains ground

After the Tau had established their base in the Tanis system, they had prepared for a counter attack. General Percival was notified of the situation and sent a battlegroup to the system along with a number of Imperial Guard regiments with the intention of swiftly removing the Tau presence from the system. By 04.021M42 the Imperium had a forward base on an outer ice planet, while the Tau had established their own on a neighbouring barely inhabitable planet.
The Imperial battlegroup intended to wipe this base out, after marshalling their forces on the outer planet. However, upon arrival the local commander discovered the Tau had already moved into the system and started establishing a base on another of the system's many rocky planets. Quickly, the plans were changed to deal with this new threat, with one regiment of Guard being assigned to clear the new base.
Using their orbital firepower from the imperial fleet, the guard force had an advantage, but the Tau were already well prepared. After weathering the initial fire from orbit, the Tau forces were able to pick off the Imperial forces, leaving the assault force unable to take key primary objectives. Within a Terran day, the guardsmen had to be evacuated or risk being annihilated. the remainder of the battlegroup disembarked at the Imperial Tanis base to plan their next move, but it was clear the Tau now had a strong presence in the system that would take more than a quick clearing exercise to remove.

Adeptus Mechanicus raided by Death Guard

Following the raid on the Imperium on Hexis, the Death Guard constructing the Fecus Major base still required more raw materials. Since their last raid, the Imperium had not taken any particular steps to reinforce their positions, and it appeared that General Konev and his superior, General Percival, either did not know about the threat posed by the machinations of the traitor legion, or had insufficient resources to do anything about it.
Either way, the Death Guard determined that rather than expending naval resources shipping in their supplies, the weakness of the Imperium in the Hadron Expanse made further raids viable, and so in late 04.021M42 they once again launched an assault on the loyalist positions on Hexis itself. This time, the sons of Mortarion targeted their forces directly against the Adeptus Mechanicus. There was no feint or pretence, the traitors simply landed on the ground and moved in force against a Mechanicum installation defended by Skitarii and other forces the followers of the Omnissiah had deployed to protect their activities.
The installation was dedicated to the study and extraction of necron artefacts, many of which would prove useful in the manipulation of warp energy to bind daemons. This enhanced ability would speed up the creation of a Daemon World dedicated to the Plague God, the ultimate aim for Fecus Major. Landing in the barren wastelands of Hexis, the Death Guard advanced towards the Adeptus Mechanicus forces, who had deployed to meet this new threat. A ferocious battle erupted as the tech priests desperately tried to prevent their installation from being overrun.
The exchange, while brutal, was also very uncertain for long periods. At times it appeared the Mechanicus forces were gaining the upper hand, but each time the devotees of nurgle pressed on, able to absorb the immense firepower at the tech priests' disposal and continue fighting. Eventually the Mechanicum force was reduced to such a level, that they could no longer effectively hold a perimeter. With Death Guard forces breaching their defences, the facility was abandoned to the traitors with bitter regret. The raid had been costly, but the rewards would be worth it. Fecus Major continued to gain strength.