Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Mordecai Secundus: Burroneus besieged

Following the push south by the astartes on Mordecai Secundus, the Black Templars took over from the Dragon's Sons in a coordinated effort to keep the pressure on the Death Guard near to the city of Burroneous. The Black Templars rapidly achieved their objectives, cutting off Burroneus from the rest of the chaos forces and beginning a protracted seige. The Death Guard responded, with hordes of shambling pox walkers obscuring the elite forces of the devotees of the plague god from fire. Death Guard terminators entered the fray, securing key objectives on the chaos right flank, but were unable to make progress against a determined defence on the left.

Without shifting the Black Templars from key positions on both flanks, the narrow corridor of imperial control persisted, allowing general Kutuzov to move engineers and imperial guard regiments into the breach. By the end of 12.021M42 the corridor had been widened and the chaos counter attacks had stopped. Now the work began to slowly starve out the city before making an attempt to claim the settlement for the Imperium. Events elsewhere however were about to overtake general Kutuzov and the imperial campaign.

Dark Eldar raid imperial bases in Hadron Expanse

With the expeditions by the Imperium and other factions into the Rifts of Hecate taking up significant resources, the lords of Commoragh quickly spotted an opportunity for profit. The Drukhari had several bases in the Hadron Expanse, and although Archon Vlokarion was no longer concentrating on the exploitation of the Aleph Sector, plenty of his rivals were, and one faction reminded the Imperium of the power of the Dark Eldar in late 021M42.

Appearing from seemingly nowhere, using their advanced knowledge of the webway and emerging from unseen portals that dotted the world, the drukhari raiders fell upon the colonists of Vanir without warning. With general Percival's forces at full stretch, it took time for the Imperium to organise a response, and by then several settlements on the populated world of Vani had been burnt to the ground and their citizens enslaved. When the Novogorod Guard did eventually attempt to push back against the xenos invasion, the unweildy guard formation was unable to contend with the fast moving highly mobile raiding force, and suffered accordingly. At times it seemed the dark eldar were merely toying with the human troops, as they withered them with highly accurate fire before charging in to finish off the battered survivors.

Fortunately for the Imperium, this was only a raid. Satisfied with a most profitable expedition, the drukhari left the world and their destruction behind them, while the Imperium, and especially general Percival were left with difficult questions to answer about their ability to protect all their worlds while prosecuting so many campaigns.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Final Offensive secures Hexis for the Imperium

Having rid the surface of Hexis of chaos forces and pushed back the tyranid and ork threats from Konev's base of operations north of the city of Praxis, continuing reinforcements and the increasing importance of having a secure base of operations in the lower Hadron Expanse, put a renewed focus on the securing of the world for the Imperium of Mankind. This impetus was further aided by the disappearance of the daemon-moon of Fecus Major from the skies of the planet. If Hexis could be completely secured, then a facility of operations could be constructed, a large amount of troops and equipment could be freed up to be used elsewhere, and the Adeptus Mechanicus would be free to explore the tomb complexes without fear of being disrupted.

the main threats left on Hexis were xenos. the orks still occupied much of Menthoteph, the tyranids infested the northern hills and to the south, the necrons posed an obstacle to securing the city of Praxis itself. The necrons were made up of a number of factions which did not have the same aims, but this was unknown to the Imperium who drew up battle plans to sweep out of their territory sector and force an engagement with the three xenos enemies. As it turned out, the centre of the resistance occurred as the imperial forces drove north and west from their front lines in Menthoteph, led by astartes and House Stroganov knights, the imperial guard followed closely behind giving strong fire support to the Imperium's elite elements.

The main decisive engagement in this imperial offensive took place in between the cities of Praxis and Menthoteph in a place known as "Old Town". General Konev's main offensive had been to use General Andreyevich's 3rd army that was based in the Great Sand Sea, rather than advancing from the more predictable direction - Ivanovich's 1st army in the north, which was still recovering from the battles against chaos. This new offensive put the tyranids on the imperial right flank, which met endless swarms of the smaller creatures and struggled to progress. On the let flank, House Stroganov charged into the orks holding south Menthoteph, immediately encountering the Bloodfang orks' most dangerous foe a hulking, clanking giant "Stompa".

The Imperial Fists chapter led the central assault, through the ruins of the city of Praxis and straight into the heart of the necron counter attack that was by now developing to counter the imperial move. A ruined mining complex separated the tyranids on the right from the orks and necrons, so general Konev had the advantage. His forces were connected and working together, while his enemies' were not. The orks and necrons allied in opposing the imperial advance, but the tyranids worked to their own agenda, and for a time successfully held off the imperial drive north. In the centre and on the left flank, imperial guardsmen were surprisingly effective in their bayonet charges against the soulless necrons, and the Imperial Fists became an immovable fortress, centred on a Spartan tank, that was the fulcrum about which the imperial assault now hinged. The charge of House Stroganov had been costly, as they lost an entire phallanx of mighty war engines, but it had been effective. The orks had been checked, their enthusiasm for the fight not diminished, but their ability to pose a threat to the imperial offensive now definitely was.

The necrons also faced their own problems. The warriors and vehicles which turned up were not from the Skareth dynasty. The lords of the Library of Silence did not see the point of wasting great resources on a pitched battle, and preferred to "await developments". Those necron forces that did take part in the battle seemed to be suffering from the ill effects of recent re-animation, as time and again shots were missed and fire was generally inaccurate. This cost them dearly and over the course of 10-15.021M42 the xenos forces were overrun. The orks were cleared out first, then the necrons were completely pushed out of the city. The tyranids took a lot of effort to hold, but once the orks and necrons had been sufficiently dealt with, Konev launched a second assault, declaring the planet "clean" of tyranid infestation some weeks later.

By late 12.021M42 the Imperium had fully secured Hexis, at least sufficiently to now proceed with the creation of a base, space port and various installations in the Lysis system to act as a jumping off point for wars in the Hadron Expanse. After many years fighting over the devastated ruined planet, Hexis was now in imperial hands... almost. Although the Imperium considered the planet now theirs, the Skareth Dynasty still had their own plans and both they and the eldar knew of webway portals the Imperium did not. Yes the Imperium could build a base, there was no question now of conquering the planet, but the fight under the surface for the riches of the necron tombs was far from over.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Ongoing activity in the Rifts of Hecate

The war on Hexis had become important once more because of the ongoing campaign to explore and exploit the Rifts of Hecate. During late 021M42 the various factions already in the Hadron Expanse continued to pursue their aims in the newly uncovered region, and clashed frequently. The forces of the Tau empire, building their own base of exploration on Garmenes, clashed with the Hobgobbos of Grunk Prime while trying to gather resources from Ferrosium. Garmenes was deficient in easily obtainable metals, while the tau had become aware that Ferrosium was in fact a large scrap planet. Millenia before this world had been occupied by humanity, and though now uninhabited, there were plenty of resources to be plundered. The tau overwhelmed the orks with their firepower, collected a large haul of metallic components and returned to Garmenes, their base construction much advanced.

Meanwhile on Ferrosium, the Dark Angels had noted there were two factions of orks looting the ruins of the larger world. They had not come into conflict as yet, but the Dark Angels followed an intelligence lead to where the "Bloodfang" tribe were based. The astartes made a lightning assault on an ork encampment, dispersing the greenskins and uncovering the Bloodfang orks' plans to construct a fleet of space vessels. Rather than simply attach weapons to asteroids to make unweildy ork "roks", these orks had their sights set on a mighty fleet of "kroozers" and even a "deadnot" - a giant battleship that if completed, would present a real threat not only to the Imperial aims in the Rifts, but wider in the Hadron Expanse.

More skirmishes continued throughout the rest of 021M42, with even reports of a confused engagement between the Death Guard, Adeptus Mechanicus and Imperial Guard elements. Reports of how this came about were difficult to obtain, as it appeared the Adeptus Mechanicus involved were pursuing their own agenda, and were not part of the overall Imperial effort to create a bases at Ferosium and Helios Majoris. the Imperial Guard reported back to the HQ on Ferossium Secundus that the Death Guard had been contained and the Adeptus Mechanicus had withdrawn, and the matter was officially closed and marked secret. If there was an agenda to be uncovered it was for the Inquisition to discern it.

Hadron Expanse - Lysis system, Percival raids Moon of Hexis

In the Hadron Expanse, while the Imperium had made great advances on the world of Hexis itself, the chaos presence on the Moon of Hexis was a constant thorn in the side of General Konev. In 11.021M42 the Imperium didn't really understand what the Death Guard were even doing on the moon, and decided to send a strong force, led by the Stroganoff house of Imperial Knights, to find the chaos forces and destroy them.

Konev and his force expected the Death Guard base on the Hexis moon to be far less organised and well equipped than the one they encountered. In addition, they noted that the moon itself had started to change. Not only were the Death Guard well entrenched, but the very surface of the moon was clearly undergoing a daemonic transformation. Tentacles writhed from rocky outcrops and pools of hydrocarbons had morphed into lakes of puss and bile. Too late, the forces of the Imperium realised they had landed on an emerging daemon world.

The Knights, driven by their honour, charged into the Death Guard lines anyway. They found themselves continually battered by accurate and overwhelming firepower from Plagueburst Crawlers, as well as assaulted by the deamon prince Gavinus of House Eschar. Empowered by the daemonic energies the devotees of nurgle had unleashed on the moon, the Death Guard concentrated their fire on each knight one by one, overwhelming their shields and melting through armour.

The defeat of the knights precipitated an immediate withdrawal of all their supporting forces, who fled back to Hexis itself. Expecting the worst, Konev watched from the major planet as the moon took on a sickly green hue. On 0112.021M42 Fecus Major was born, a new daemon world dedicated to the worship of the god of decay. Then, without warning, the world blinked out of existence - disappearing from the skies of Hexis into the warp. Where it had gone, the Imperium did not yet know, but the threat of chaos invasion of Hexis now seemed to be over.

Mordecai: Astartes push south

In late 021M42 the war on Mordecai Secundus remained finely balanced. With Astralis holding a dominant strategic position and the chaos forces having pushed forward on the central sector, neither side appeared to be able to make large strategic moves to progress their aims. Both sides however, intended to make significant efforts to change the strategic situation, particularly regarding the control of the system, in 022M42.

In the central sector, the opposing sides made several "sabre rattling" movements by conducting military exercised behind the front. Knight forces engaged in mock battles with the Ultramarines, while in response, the Iron Warriors - now no longer under the control of Warsmith Stahl - clashed in mock battles with the World Eaters, as the Imperium and Chaos forces displayed their strength.

Ultimately this suited the Imperium, as it disguised their intention to retake the now ruined city of Ur'Ghar, which the Dragon's Sons initiated at the beginning of 012.021M42. The Death Guard forces put up a strong defence, but the loyalist astartes were able to force a passage into the city, retaking it for the Imperium by 1012.021M42. As 021M42 drew to a close, the Imperium had retaken the key city on the shores of the Kuneun Traps, but until the strategic situation changed, neither side would be able to make any large gains at the expense of their enemy.