Sunday, December 18, 2022

Ergura's Fall strategic situation 1812022M42


Orks make progress on Haven

On Haven the orks were gaining the upper hand against the Imperium in the south of the main continent as 022M42 came to an end. In late 12,022M42 The Waagh boss himself, Grimskul Bloodfang, and his body guard of goff beast snagags were hunting a lone knight Lancer when the Shadow keepers attempted to come to its rescue. Finding this new army standing between him and his prize, the Waghboss brought up reinforcements in the form of speed freaks and the stompa "Hope killer".

The initial ork assault resulted in many dead speed freaks as well as squig cavalry, including the cybork big boss Bouser (who had lead the initial invasions onto the planet against the grey knights), to the fist of the telamon dreadknight. In return the orks had only managed to wound a few Custodes. However what this assault did gain, was a lot of ground for the orks who now proceeded to loot and destroy vital imperial supplies. The ork second wave then arrived including the mass of greenskin heavy infantry, which almost destroyed the Knight Lancer Grimskul had been chasing. With nowhere to go however, the wounded knight charged into the Stompa, hoping to take the beast with it. Unfortunately an ignominious end followed, as the Lancer was summarily crushed under Hope Killa's mega chopper.

The arrival off the Aalarus terminators stopped the onslaught and finished off 'Hope killer', reducing the war engine to scrap once again, but nothing that couldn't be reassembled by the ork mechs. Seeing this the ork leadership ordered a "takticul retreet", but still claiming a strategic victory, as the imperial defence had failed to hold back the ork army on their flanks and many imperial supplies and munitions had been looted by the greenskins. Grimskul Bloodfang left the field with a wide grin on his monstrous face.

Mordecai: Chaos offensive in the Central Sector

On Mordecai the seemingly never ending war of attrition continued as 022M42 drew to a close. By now the Imperium's strategic advantage from winning a key space battle had eroded such that the forces of chaos had almost recovered parity in terms of logistics, supplies and reinforcement, largely thanks to the presence of the daemon world of Astralis. The Emerald Serpent had received new allies in the form of the Night Lords, and despite some difficulties getting the traitor legion to respect a chain of command, by mid 12.022M42 the forces of chaos were strong enough to begin preparing for a new offensive.

The Thousand Sons led the new attack on the Central Front, once again targeting the Sathugar mines. This ground had been fought over time and time again precisely because control of the mining areas meant resources, and whichever side control most of the mines would eventually prevail in the war. The attack was not a sweeping offensive of manoeuvre but a brital head on assault into the westernmost portion of the mining complex. The Imperial Guard made a valiant stand but were outmatched by the firepower and chaos psychic powers of the followers of tzeentch. A regiment of Kutuzov's finest was eliminated, and the Imperium scrambled to retreat to more defensive positions. As the fighting died down the Thousand Sons had achieved their main objective, denying the Imperium complete control of the Sathugar mines. Now they considered their next move.

Erguras Fall: Necrons awaken in force

In late 12.022M42 the necrons who, had until now been attacking piecemeal from their tomb worlds, finally awoke in force on Ergura's Fall, intent on protecting their ancient tombs and ridding the world of the interlopers. The attacks by the ancient xenos came as a surprise, as neither the Tau nor the Imperium had given much thought to the necron threat, as until now it had been disjointed and largely reactive. In the meantime the Tau and Imperium had been skirmishing along their own front lines. Given the size of the world and the small forces involved, many of these had been small affairs where vicious engagements would erupt where two small patrols met. One such engagement saw the elite Adeptus Custodes engage the xenos race, narrowly defeating them and securing what the Imperial commander believed would now be a defensible perimeter from which to launch a major offensive against the Tau in 023M42.

The necrons attacked the Tau and Imperium almost simultaneously, demonstrating their strength to be able to fight on two fronts. The imperial garrison reacted by calling for assistance from the Dark Angels, who quickly launched an offensive against the wave of mechanical bodies now flooding towards the imperial HQ. The astartes mowed the necrons down in droves, but it seemed this was never enough, as they would repair themselves, stand up and once more begin moving forward. After hours of this and despite eliminating the necron commander, the Dark Angels realised their position had become compromised, and yielded the ground east of the main plateau to the necrons. The Imperium and necron territory was now separated by a ridge of terrain which would slow the xenos advance, but hopes of eliminating the necrons from the world had now been dashed.

Further north the Tau had been patrolling in force in territory thought to be controlled by chaos forces. These however had been dormant, uninterested in engaging the Tau in open battle on the plains, busy as they were excavating the tomb complexes they themselves had overrun. In addition, the forces of chaos could see very well what was heading straight for the oblivious Tau, and were minded to wait and see the outcome.

The necron army set upon the Tau hunter cadre at much the same time as the battle against the Dark Angels further south. Despite advanced firepower the Tau found themselves blocked from moving further south, and began to take heavy casualties. Once again the necrons seemed uncaring about their own losses, and by the end of the engagement the entire necron force had been wiped out. However the damage to the tau force was such that they were forced to retreat, before the forces of the dark gods took advantage of their weakened state. By the end of 022M42 the necrons had established themselves as a force on Ergura's Fall.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Erguras Fall escalates

Following the setbacks to the Tau and Necron objectives on Ergura's Fall, the next forces of chaos and the Imperium continued to pour more resources onto the world. The forces of chaos in particular committed more traitor astartes to the campaign, including elements from the Iron Warriors and Night Lords. The Iron Warriors had not arrived in force, but their scouting units encountered lead elements of the Imperium in the shape of Adeptus Mechanicus patrols in early 12.022M42 on the central plains of the planet.

The initial patrols clashed in no mans land, leading to an escalation by the Mechanicum following their defeat. Seeing a second patrol now coming their way, the Iron Warriors withdrew. This however was a trap, as the imperial force now ran straight into a small host of summoned daemons. The Adeptus Mechanicus agents had managed to take important objectives however, and despite taking heavy casualties in the second skirmish, defeated the daemons and prevented the forces of chaos gaining any further intelligence on the base now being constructed in the southern region of the continent.

Further north, the Night Lords moved in force against what they thought was a Tau formation, only to find yet another necron army trying to prevent the other races from despoiling yet more necron tombs. Their presence however actively engaged the Night Lords' curiosity, and the chaos force moved to attack the aliens in their path. The Night Lords attack was succesful, killing the necron overlord and only narrowly failing to to capture the necron cryptek Szeras, who was now apparently highly invested in protecting these necron tombs. Once again the necrons were unable to achieve their main goal and yet another tomb complex was ransacked by an enemy.

The reason the forces of chaos did not run into the Tau was because their main force was already engaged further south. The vast plains of Ergura's Fall turned the engagements into something more akin to naval battles, as armies roved across the surface trying to find one another to bring them to battle. Apart from tomb complexes and the occasional ruined settlement, Ergura's Fall had nothing in the way of cities or population, and the war on the world was defined by these shifting mobile battles.

The Tau were engaged further south because they had been attempting to bring the Imperium to battle. Having suffered a defeat in the preceding week, the Tau now sought to "deprecate" Imperial assets, which in actuality meant destroy the imperial armies wherever they were found. Eventually the two sides met on the equatorial plains and a large engagement took place involving Commander Stormwatch and Aun'Tso. Opposing their huntre cadre were the Novgorod Hussars, once again supported by heavy tanks and cavalry, ideal troops for the flat featureless terrain of the planet.

The battle took place over several hours as the two sides clashed. The result was indecisive, with neither force able to cripple the others. By the time evening came both sides withdrew closer to their fixed defences, although the Imperium did lose one super heavy tank.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Hecate Gap strategic situation


Progress this week for the Imperium who move into second place on Haven and strip the orks of their overall majority. Tau setbacks on Erguras Fall but the Imperium are not yet in second place on this world. Ork and Tyranids on Haven would play Imperium (possibly with allies). On Erguras Fall it remains Tau vs. Chaos.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Mordecai: Ur'Ghar falls to the Imperium

On Mordecai the focus of the imperial campaign shifted south towards the city of Ur'Ghar on the shores of the Kuneus lava traps. The twin cities of Burroneus and Ur'Ghar were the gateway to the Sathugar mines and it was critical for general Kutuzov to take both and hold them. Burroneus had changed hands a number of times but was now firmly in imperial control, but Ur'Ghar still held out.

To take the city the imperial guard would make a strong flanking manoeuvre to cut the city off from supply, and the elite Adeptus Custodes would then conduct a frontal assault on the city. By late 11.022M42 it was determined that the forces in Ur'Ghar were weak, but that the forces of chaos would almost certainly summon daemons to do the fighting for them.

The operation to take Ur'Ghar played out as expected by the Imperium. As the Novgorod Hussars pushed north to encircle the city, a host of daemons was summoned in their path. Expecting this, the Hussars were well equipped, and although the army was not the largest imperial force to be sent on an offensive, the majority of the chaos army was being kept in the city itself as a frontal assault was expected. The Novgorod regiment performed its duty however, and reached the shores of the Kuneus traps on schedule.

With the city of Ur'Ghar now surrounded, the Adeptus Custodes launched their attack, knowing that direct reinforcement would not be available to the armies of chaos. Brutal fighting erupted in the streets of the city, and a great host of daemons was summoned to oppose the elite imperial attackers. These deamons included a greater daemon of Khorne and what appeared to be a manifestation of Belakor himself, but the Custodes force, supported by a legendary Telemon heavy dreadnought proved more than a match for the denizens of the warp. One by one the monstrous abominations were cast back into the warp, and the chaos positions in Ur'Ghar became untenable. With nowhere to run the battle became a slaughter, as the loyalists massacred anyone and anything flying chaos colours. No prisoners were taken, and the city was all but razed to the ground. Only a few that had stayed loyal to the emperor were spared the fire.

The chaos forces were not done however. Unable to retake the city, the Thousand Sons nevertheless took the opportunity of the concentration of imperial forces in the south to launch a series of raids against imperial defences further north in the central sector. Here they managed to draw the attention of the Dark Angels, who they defeated in open battle, killing a senior astartes commander. This did not result in territory gain for the chaos forces, but it reminded Kutuzov that his enemy still possessed strong and well equipped units, and the war although tipping in the Imperium's favour, was far from over.

Novgorod Guard advance on Haven

In late 11.022M42 the Imperium had begun to conduct their campaign in the Hecate Gap in a more organised way. Initial scouting missions by astartes forces had now been reinforced by Guard forces, and the imperial fleet under admiral Somerville. The Imperial strategy remained to establish strong bases on both Haven and Ergura's Fall, intending to gain footholds to survive long enough to bring the full weight of the imperial army against their enemies in 023M42.

With this in mind the Novgorod Hussars were deployed to Haven, and immediately encountered a strong necron force that had materialised to defend their ancient tombs. The sudden arrival of the "lesser races" had taken the necrons by surprise, as they had not forseen the strategic struggle developing in the Hecate Gap, and were now scrambling to provide a coherent response to the escalating conflict.

Supported by cavalry and super heavy tanks, the Hussars rolled over the necrons in short order, widening the imperial perimeter on Haven and forcing the ancient race to once again phase out or face annihilation. While the Imperium made gains, now being the second most powerful force on Haven, the necrons were left struggling for direction in the Rifts of Hecate campaign.

Erguras Fall: Necron and Tau setbacks

On Erguras Fall the Necrons once again attempted to intervene in the escalating Rifts of Hecate campaign as yet another race trampled all over their sacred tombs as the conflict increased in intensity. This time the Dark Eldar were their opponents, as the drukhari had opportunistically decided to involve themselves in the campaign. There was little strategic planning in the dark eldar raid, as the objective was in this case profit. The necrons were hampered by their lack of coherent planning, and the drukhari made off with several priceless artefacts to take back to Commoragh.

Further south the Tau engaged the Novgorod Guard, who had recently deployed on both worlds central to the Rifts of Hecate campaign. The Tau were seeking to shore up their southern flank before turning against the rising threat of chaos forces on the world, but found the newly arrived heavy forces of the Imperium a challenging task. The intended fast moving engagement quickly bogged down into an attritional struggle, as it became apparent the Imperium were now deploying in the Gap in strength. Unable to find a way to flank their enemy and facing punishing firepower, the Tau force was all but wiped out. The Tau advance south was blocked, and the Imperium now began establishing a strong perimeter on the lowlands just north of the Ergura Massif. The war on Ergura's Fall was now a truly three way affair between the Tau, chaos forces and Imperium.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Hecate Gap strategic situation

If the campaign first phase ended like this, the next phase would be Orks vs. Imperium for Haven, and Tau vs. Chaos for Ergura's Fall, unless other factions "gift" their points to others.

Orks, Tyranids and Necrons want to "open" the gap. Chaos, Tau and Imperium want it defended. Eldar want it destroyed completely and may have a "decisive tiebreaker" if different factions end up controlling different worlds.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Brutal fighting on Mordecai continues

During the match the dark angels terminators proved their tenacity by being resurrected from the dead a dozen times

During 011.022M42 the war on Mordecai Secundus had returned to its attritional state. General Kutuzov had hoped for a breakthrough following the decisive victory the navy had had earlier in the year, but in the ensuing months repeated setbacks had eroded the imperial strategic advantages so that by the middle of 011.022M42 the forces of chaos were able to hold the Imperium along the length of the front lines.

The chaos forces were helped in part by the arrival of a small but elite force of Night Lords traitor marines, who engaged in terror tactics along the front lines, particularly targeting areas where loyalist astartes were operating. First they attacked in the north, drawing a response from the Imperial Fists, who they then decisively beat in the resulting engagement. No territory was taken, but it appeared the Night Lords were more interested in inflicting pain on their millennia old enemies. Later the Night Lords singled out a Dark Angels force and in a brutal engagement managed to overcome their loyalist enemies in a bitter attritional struggle.

These setbacks eroded the Imperial ability to conduct breakthroughs whenever the Imperial Guard achieved victory, but the Imperium still had the advantage on the ground overall. This advantage allowed General Kutuzov to switch his focus to the south with the intention of surrounding the southern city of Ur'Ghar. The Novgorod Guard conducted a frontal assault on the Death Guard positions defending the city, but were initially blocked from moving forward by a strong counter attack. the Nurgle forces posed a difficult opponent as they proved resilient to imperial firepower, although the Guard forces importantly dealt with the chaos artillery early in the engagement. This loss of anti-tank capability hampered the chaos counter attack, and although the Novgorod army suffered horrendous infantry casualties, their tanks proved more difficult for the House of Eschar to deal with.

As the battle raged on a decisive local engagement on the imperial left flank saw a unit of infantry overcome their plague marine enemies, taking a critical objective. The forces of nurgle sent in their elite terminator forces who seemed almost immune to imperial firepower, but the chaos lines had been unhinged and the Death Guard were obliged to withdraw towards the Kuneus Traps, a giant lava lake near the city of Ur'Ghar itself. There was no decisive breakthrough and the imperial victory had failed to completely surround the city, but this was progress at least.

Tau and chaos make gains on Ergura's Fall

On Haven, the Tau and chaos forces had already landed significant forces by 11.022M42 and it was only a matter of time before the two forces met. In addition, the Tau had been excavating and exploring ancient necron ruins and this, along with the desire by the Imperium to establish their own base of operations on the world led to a series of confusing engagements as 11.022M42 approached its end.

The encroachment on necron tombs led to a running battle between the Tau and small forces of necrons as the tombs tried to defend themselves. Although completely opposed to the necrons, the Imperium sought to take advantage of the difficulty the Tau now found themselves in, and sent a force of Adeptus Custodes to fight alongside the ancient aliens. There was no real "alliance", but the combined forces of the necrons pushed the Tau back for now, enabling the Imperium to thwart Tau exploration south towards their own base.

Later, the Tau clashed with the forces of chaos as they expanded their patrols west, and the chaos forces reacted by summoning a large force of khornate daemons, wiping out the Tau assault force. The Tau had been frustrated in their attempt to move south and west, but found more success in their move to the west. Here, there were no chaos or imperial forces and the only army standing in their way was a necron phalanx who were attempting to prevent yet more Tau incursions onto their tomb complexes. This time the Tau were successful, obliterating the necron army and looting the tomb complex.

By the end of 11.022M42 the Tau had managed to establish the largest force on Haven, but were now vying with the forces of the dark gods for domination of the world.

Orks take ground on Haven

The orks had arrived late in the Hecate Gap but their landing on Haven had already made significant progress by mid 11.022M42. Responding to this threat the Imperium, keen to expand their own hold on the world, sent a force of Adeptus Mechanicus to reduce the ork infestation on the world. Unfortunately the orks once again deployed their Stompa, and the effect was decisive. the orks overwhelmed the imperial force and continued pushing south from their initial landing positions on the north west of the main continent. The Stompa, now a feared war machine was informally christened "Hope Killer" by Imperial forces on the planet.

Further north, a small team of Angels of Vengeance marines discovered and eliminated an emerging genestealer cult related to the tyranid infestation in the far north, and the Imperium discovered the tyranids were for the moment at least, not a significant threat to the occupation of Haven. The primary concern now for the coalition of imperial forces on Haven was the growing strength of the greenskins under the control of the Blood Fang Tribe.

This threat was further underlined when the Tau, led by commander Stormwatch, made a landing on the northern continent between the forces of chaos and those of the orks. The Tau had made progress on Ergura's Fall but Stormwatch was still tasked with setting up a forward base on Haven. More than once the Tau had tried to establish a presence on Haven, but commander Stormwatch could not have chosen a worse landing area. The orks immediately attacked, and once again "Hope Killer" led the charge. The Tau were successful in reducing the mighty war engine to scrap, but were not able to contain the ork assault. Stormwatch managed to extract himself along with his battered landing forces and the ethereal Aun'tso, but the ground was yielded to the orks. That success meant the destruction of Hope Killer would be short lived, as the orks immediately began reassembling their terrifying war machine.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Hecate Gap strategic situation

Chaos make gains at Ergura's Fall

The forces of chaos were not acting in unison in the Hecate Gap campaign, but for the moment at least the various factions of the worshippers of the chaos gods recognised the importance of controlling the Hecate Gap. By mid 11.022M42 it was difficult to predict which faction would ultimately prevail, as strong Tau, Imperium and Chaos forces had been committed to the region, and the Orks had landed from the Rifts end of the Gap. For now the activity was going favourably for the worshippers of the dark gods, as the feared tide of Necrons, Orks and Tyranids had not materialised. This at least reduced the risk of a wave of xenos pouring into the Hadron Expanse, threatening the Tau, Imperium and Chaos plans.

The Chaos forces were not content to let the Tau or Imperium gain control of the Gap however, as this would make the exploitation of the valuable Rifts of Hecate much harder for them. Small Death Guard and Thousand Sons forces had already landed at Ergura's Fall and Haven, and as 11.022M42 progressed these forces gradually started to consolidate their power.

The Death Guard on Haven carried out a series of patrols, noting the positions of the Tau forces to the west but concentrating on disrupting the movements of the Imperium further south. One patrol managed to encounter a similar sized squad of Sky Lords, and proceeded to annihilate them in a one sided disaster for the astartes. The Sky Lords must have been unsettled by the appearance of the Death Guard patrol, as one marine even managed to make the basic error of not arming his krak grenade before throwing it at his enemy. All but one of the five man squad were eliminated by the Death Guard, and the Imperium were denied vital intelligence on the movements of Chaos forces on Ergura's Fall.

Later, the Thousand Sons began setting up a base of operations on the world. The Death Guard were content to allow them to do this, but the Dark Eldar perceived an opportunity to disrupt the chaos domination of the Hecate Gap, and take from them valuable sorcerous artefacts. As the Drukhari raid unfolded, several of the xenos race began to suspect this perceived opportunity had been deliberately confected by agents of the chaos god Tzeentch, as the fates seemed to conspire against the Eldar's dark kin. Their fire was inaccurate, and their raid quickly turned into a catastrophe. The Thousand Sons easily brushed aside the Drukhari attack, causing horrendous casualties to the raiders. With nothing to show for their efforts, the Dark Eldar abandoned their attack, allowing the forces of Tzeentch to widen their influence on Ergura's Fall.

Mixed Fortunes for Tau in the Hecate Gap

As 11.022M42 progressed the Tau continued with their invasion of Ergura's Fall, but tried once again to send a force to establish a base at Haven. The Hunter Cadre sent to Haven landed successfully in the central area of the main continent between the ork and chaos controlled regions, but found themselves immediately set upon by the greenskins of the Bloodfang Tribe. Once again the orks were lead by their mighty Stompa, which managed to survive the intense Tau firepower. The Tau, supported by their own heavy Riptide battle suits, were able to defend themselves for a while, but it soon became clear that the orks could not be prevented from overrunning their landing zone, and the Tau commander ordered an evacuation shortly before his own demise at the hands of the aggressive xenos.

With their landing attempts on Haven thwarted once more, success on Ergura's Fall became all the more important. The Tau had established a strong perimeter on the desolate plains of the world, and had begun investigating ancient necron ruins. This predictably led to a strong reaction by the necron race, with an army of soulless warriors materialising in front of the Tau force on 1311.022M42. The Tau were prepared for this, and sent in their Riptide battle suits. A fierce battle erupted around the necron tomb complex, and within hours the Tau had forced the older race to phase out their entire force, yielding the tomb complex to the Tau. 

Overall the Tau performance in the Hecate Gap had been mixed, but by mid 11.022M42 they had established a presence on Ergura's Fall, and had secured their supply lines into the Rifts of Hecate, at least for the present.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Orks land at Haven

Until early 11.022M42 the orks had seemed largely disinterested in the growing escalation of the war in the Hecate Gap. Whether this was strategic, or just down to the "organic" nature of ork strategy was unknown, but in early 11.022M42 the orks did finally appear in the Hecate Gap. A greenskin force of the Blood Fang tribe landed on Haven and began rampaging across the planet. Whether this was part of a strategic plan to control the all important corridor between the Rifts and the rest of the sector could not be determined, but the orks had landed in force and came equipped with a giant stompa war machine.

The Grey Knights determined that the orks were a significant threat, and if they could be eliminated before growing into a larger force, the ork "problem" might be contained. With this objective in mind the Knights launched a direct assault on the greenskins, still unaware of the exact nature or strength of the enemy force. The result was painfully predictable, as the orks steamrollered over the smaller elite astartes force, using brute strenght and numbers to defeat the advanced nature of their enemy. With the Grey Knight force obliterated, the orks set up camp, and began growing their numbers.

Tau shift focus to Ergura's Fall

The Tau scouting forces had gathered a significant amount of important information about enemy dispositions at Haven and Ergura's Fall by early 11.022M42, and the decision was taken that Haven might prove too difficult with their existing resources to conduct a successful invasion. Instead, the Tau sent a battlegroup to Ergura's Fall, and after successfully evading enemy fleets, deployed an entire Hunter Cadre to the world.

The initial landings went well, with the Tau able to set up a supply base for further operations. This was fortunate as the Imperium had also landed a significant force, and a confrontation on the rolling plans of the world was inevitable. The first encounter was with an astartes force, which was the first indication to the Imperium that the Tau were on Ergura's Fall in any kind of significant force. The battle turned into a rout, with the space marines all but annihilated. However, the Tau were also unaware of the full strenght of imperial forces on the planet, and were taken by surprise a few days later, by a counter attacking Custodes force.

The second engagement did not go well for the Tau, who lost their commanding officer and were forced to flee back to their more defensible positions near their main base. The Tau had managed to establish a presence on Ergura's Fall, but had by no means asserted control over the world.

Haven scouted by Tau

With the realisation that the Rifts of Hecate contained several threats, and the growing awareness of the possibility of the Hecate Gap being a strategically vital pathway to transit between the Rifts and the Hadron Expanse, in 10.022M42 the Tau made the decision to redirect their forces towards controlling the Gap. Initially this meant sending small scouting forces to both Ergura's Fall and Haven to establish the strength of other forces in the vicinity.

Stealth teams and pathfinders were sent to Haven to pave the way for a full Tau invasion, but while their forces had some success at Ergura's Fall, the results on Haven were extremely discouraging. One stealth team was ambushed by an eldar force without warning, which came as a surprise to the Tau who considered the eldar occasional allies. There was no attempt to parley, and although the eldars' aggressive attack led to initial heavy casualties, the eldar managed to secure vital objectives by sneaking through the Tau overlapping fields of fire. Unable to progress in that direction the Tau withdrew.

Meanwhile, another Tau fire team found itself receiving unwanted attention from the Sky Lords chapter of space marines. The Sky Lords were not on Haven in force, but the superhuman strength of the astartes forced the Tau to withdraw once again. Later, an Angels of Vengeance squad encountered and defeated yet another Tau scout unit, and it became clear to the Tau that Haven was already being probed by significant forces from other factions.

Erguras Fall sees increasing activity

With several forces now landing at Haven and battles commencing, it was only a matter of time before the war for the Hecate Gap began on Ergura's Fall. The Imperium already had a small base on the planet, and a detachment of space marines from the Angels of Vengeance and Hammers of the Emperor chapters were scouting the area around the base to ensure it was secure. It was in late 10.022M42 that the Imperium realised they were no longer alone on the world, as first a squad of Angels of Vengeance marines were engaged by a tau scouting force, while almost simultaneously the Hammers of the Emperor encountered the Death Guard.

The Angels were able to see of the Tau scouts, reporting back to their HQ that other forces had made their way to the planet. The Death Guard however wiped out the small force of Hammers, and that paved the way for a stronger force of chaos - this time Thousand Sons, to establish a presence on the world. Unfortunately for the Thousand Sons, they had decided to establish that presence directly under the shadow of and ancient necron city. Vexed by the appearance of the lesser races, the necrons roused to challenge the interlopers, only to be defeated in a very long and hard fought struggle. Now there were multiple factions vying for control of the important world.

Chaos counter attack on Mordecai

During the latter part of 022M42 there was little in the way of strategic change on Mordecai Secundus, and the chaos forces continued to suffer from an inferior logistics situation compared to their enemy. In one way however, the chaos forces were able to continue to pressure the Imperium under general Kutuzov. In 11.022M42 a reign of terror attacks, led by daemonic forces began up and down the front line, with a major incursion of Khorne daemons manifesting in the central sector at the beginning of the month. Although the Imperial Guard were unable to defeat the chaos force, and suffered horrendous casualties, there were some highlights thanks to the deployment of assassins and the tactical defeat was reported as a "brave stand" by the imperial propaganda machine.

For their bravery, the guard regiment were spared cleansing, although they would now never leave the Mordecai system. A decision was made by the Inquisition and Kutuzov informed. No imperial soldier, including the general himself, would be allowed to leave the system due to the risk of spreading unseen corruption. The bravery of the regiment's commanding officer was notable, as he had personally taken down a wounded enemy bloodthirster in combat, before being eaten by flesh hounds. His sacrifice and gallantry were lauded up and down the imperial lines to boost morale, distracting from the fact every single one of the guardsmen on Mordecai Secundus would now die there.

Overall the strategic situation remained favourable to the Imperium, although the new wave of daemonic assaults on the front lines cost the chaos forces almost nothing, win or lose, and the victory was not intended to take territory, but to wear down their enemy until the strategic situation turned in favour of the traitor forces.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Forces begin landing at Haven

In 10.022M42 the strategic situation in the Rifts of Hecate began to change as all factions realised the importance of securing Haven and Ergura's Fall to either control or close the Hecate Gap. Initial scouting began in early 10.022M42 as the Tau started sending pathfinder and stealth teams to Haven. One of these scouting teams was met by a squad of Sky Lords astartes performing the same mission for the Imperium. The brief skirmish was violent and dramatic, with the Tau stealth team displaying excellent marksmanship. This led to the decision by the Sky Lords to charge their enemy, and they narrowly managed to force the Tau to flee once they had closed the distance through withering fire.

At the same time a larger force of Iron Hands found itself facing off against a much larger force of Necrons. Defeat seemed likely, but the arrival of the eldar ensured the Necrons were forced to abandon their mission. This was not without its difficulties however, as the astartes and eldar also exchanged fire and interfered with one another's aims. This was no "alliance". The eldar desperately wanted to ensure the Necrons did not find the location of the Nexus Arrangement, the device holding open the Hecate Gap, but at the same time they didn't want the Iron Hands to achieve an absolute victory. No negotiations or pleasantries were exchanged after the engagement, and the eldar withdrew to the coastal strip of the main continent, building a base there for further interventions.

The Imperium continued to build a base around the necron tomb complex in the centre of Haven's barren but habitable main continent, amonst the ruins of a long dead civilisation. Further north however, the Imperial Guard were scouting the area for the construction of a second base. On 1510.022M42 it became obvious this would be more challenging than first thought, as they encountered the first elements of the tyranid threat, confirming inquisition reports that the hive fleet or fleets within the Rifts had discerned the imperial plan and were now seeking to gain control over the Gap itself.

The battle against the tyranids resulted in heavy defeat for the Imperium, and the remaining Guard units fell back to the imperial base in the south. Now the Eldar, Tyranids and Imperium had established themselves on Haven, and the battle for the Hecate Gap had begun in earnest.

Astartes intervene to take Festergax

The daemon led advance on Festergax caused significant alarm in Kutuzov's HQ. He was very hesitant to expend imperial guard forces against an army mostly comprised of warp spawned creatures, as this would inevitable mean the loss of several Guard regiments. He appealed to his war council and the Hammers of the Emperor proposed a plan that would restore the imperial front line and take the city itself.

Attacking from both flanks and the city almost simultaneously, the Hammers of the Emperor chapter committed nearly half their chapter to this advance and the results were extremely favourable. The astartes cut through the daemonic hordes, which were already diminishing thanks to their inherent warp instability, sealing off the city once more. Meanwhile another company assaulted the city itself, still held by the Thousand Sons. Both parts of the complex mission brief were carried out exceptionally well, and by mid 10.022M42 the front lines had been restored and the city of Festergax was once more in imperial hands. Crisis had been averted, imperial guard regiments saved and the campaign for Mordecai Secundus once again shifted in favour of the Imperium.

Deamons lift Seige of Festergax Primus

Following the surrounding of Festergax in mid 022M42 the Imperium were expecting a push to relieve the city from the west and prepared accordingly. Behind the front line Imperial Guard troops general Kutuzov arranged for the deployment of two rapid reaction forces from the Space Wolves chapter of astartes and the Adeptus Mechanicus. This was deemed more than adequate to protect the front lines as preparations were made for starving out the Thousand Sons still holed up in the city itself.

Imperial high command had perhaps become a little complacent by this time, as the strategic situation was now in favour of their campaign and being felt by the forces of chaos. However, the daemonworld of Astralis still hung in the system, and rather than the expected attack by conventional forces, the traitors turned to the denizens of the warp to carry out their next offensive.

The sudden appearance of Khorne daemons took the imperial forces on the front lines by surprise and quickly caused a rout in the guardsmen. The Space Wolves responded quickly, but the daemon host was led by ferocious giant daemonic creatures which the astartes struggled to contain. In a battle that was fought by attrition, it soon became clear the elite astartes force would be unable to prevent the deamonic horde from breaking through to Festergax, and the space marines retreated.

A path had now been opened up to the beseiged city of Festergax, and this corridor was widened by another summoning of deamons, this time a horde of Tzaangors. The tzeentch daemons overwhelmed the front lines and the Adeptus Mechanicus were ill equipped to deal with such numbers. The Mechanicum forces were unable to deal with the sheer volume of enemies, their army being optimised for taking down large war engines and greater daemons. By the end of 09.022M42 the Imperium was in retreat once more and Festergax now formed the head of a particularly stubborn chaos salient.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Welcome to the Aleph Sector Campaign

Welcome to the Aleph Sector 40k (universe) campaign. This is a sector wide "pick up and play" campaign which is largely narrative, but now has a number of specific theatres to cater for different campaign styles.

Sweeping conflict between Chaos and the Imperium in the Perseus Deeps is an ongoing and apparently endless struggle between the warriors of the Emperor and their hated traitors. The campaign theatre supports all 40k universe games including 40k, Kill Team, Battlefleet Gothic, AI and Epic. The main "campaign system" allows players to simply find an opponent, play the game then record the results with the GM - this generates "points", which the overall faction commander (or the GM if there isn't one), can spend on territory, strategic raids, fortifications or anything else feasible within the campaign. The larger the game - the more points, but the better your faction is doing gives you a bonus to your win. The Perseus Deeps is the main theatre of war in the sector, as it is close to the Cicatrix Maledictum and is key to the control of the sector.

More information on the "system" can be found here (you don't need to know any of this at all, but the GM (Duncan) works with faction commanders to make best use of their wins, and acts as an advisor, warning against strategically "unwise" moves - though is often ignored!)

Meanwhile in the Hadron Expanse, a new campaign theatre has opened up. The Tyranids, Orks and Necrons are seeking to pour through the Hecate Gap - a passageway through a set of warp storms that once sealed them off from the rest of the sector - while the imperium, chaos and Tau forces try to stop them, and the eldar try to seal off the region once and for all.

The whole map is however "live" and players who want to get into the narrative can drive their own plots and perhaps even trigger the next major theatre of war. Any and all games from matched play to one off narratives can be played - its as much as you personally want to make of it.

More information here.

And if you want background - there is a ton on this blog to delve into. The campaign has been running now since 2001, and the blog since 2006. In this campaign - there really is only war...

Monday, September 26, 2022

Hecate Gap Campaign

In late 09.022M42 the situation in the Hadron Expanse was becoming critical. By this time, the Aleph Sector, cut in two by the Cicatrix Maledictum, had two very active warzones. In the Perseus Deeps the Imperium were locked in a titanic struggle with the forces of Chaos to control the strategically vital system of Mordecai. In the far east of the sector however, a new trouble was brewing for all the factions seeking to control the sector.

In 021M42 the Rifts of Hecate, an area of the Hadron Expanse that had been inaccessible for Millenia had become the focus of interest for the many factions of the sector, as the warp storms preventing navigation to the region had developed a navigable passage known as the Hecate Gap. This had been achieved by the machinations of the Lord Inquisitor Huron, who had discovered and activated the necron artefact known as the "Nexus Arrangement", which pushed the warp away from realspace using arcane and unfathomable technology.

The forces of the Imperium, Tau and chaos had sent expeditions into the region, seeking to exploit valuable resources or find long lost knowledge, but they had found the region less uninhabited than they would have preferred. In the Rifts, large ork, necron and tyranid forces had been discovered, and by late 09.022M42 it had become aparent that all three of these factions had become aware of, and intended to exploit the creation of the Hecate Gap. Lord Huron had not foreseen that by opening the Gap, he not only allowed a way in, but a way out.

Now the growing forces of the orks and tyranids in particular looked likely and capable of flooding through the gap and into the Hadron Expanse proper. From there they would threaten not only the Hadron Expanse, but the Zadoc subsector and then the Perseus Deeps. To counter this, Inquisitor Cyrus Esquerra, along with Lord Huron, issued an edict to imperial forces to pull back and fortify the gap while the Inquisition attempted to locate and gain control over all such Nexus Arrangements, as it had become apparent there was more than one such device hidden in the rifts. After obtaining them, the decision would then have to be made. Keep the Gap open? Or somehow close it, taking the Nexus Arrangements with them.

The Imperium however were not the only ones with an interest in this, and by this time all factions realised that the fate of the Hecate Gap, along with the course of events in the Hadron Expanse and perhaps wider, would come down to who held two critical systems. Ergura's Fall, and Haven. The focus of the rest of 022M42 would be a struggle to control these two isolated worlds.

Campaign system:

This is a very simple campaign which will run to the end of the year. For each win each faction will get points they can allocate either to Ergura's Fall or Haven. At the end of the year any faction with more than 50% of all points allocated to a each world will control that world. If no faction controls 50%, the two largest factions will nominate a player for a "play off" game for control of the world. If two different factions control each world, there will be a final "play off" arranged for one faction to control both worlds. That faction will then decide the fate of the Hecate Gap (which will likely be to hold it open for Necrons, tyranids and orks, CLOSE IT, for eldar and for chaos/imperial/tau they will need to assess whether they want to take the risk of keeping it open and taking the fight into the rifts, or close it for relative safety but fewer strategic rewards)

Alliances: If you believe your faction has an end goal that is in line with your own faction's goal (e.g orks might believe tyranids will keep the gap open, which is good for them) you may gift your points to that faction. On your head be it if it doesn't pan out as desired.

Points are gained as follows (for 2000 point games of 40k, 3000 epic, 1500 of gothic. Points scaled accordingly for different sizes)

Win (1500/2000): +3 points

Win and double VPs: +1 point

Table opponent: +1 point

Win kill team/AI: +1 point

While the Imperium were fixated on the war against the forces of chaos in the Perseus Deeps, and the emergence of dangerous forces in the Rifts of Hecate, General Percival's forces across the wider Hadron Expanse had been dangerously reduced. This necessarily meant Percival could not adequately defend all imperial holdings across the region, and he was forced to concentrate on holding Vanir, the Lysis system and Palantir. This did not go unnoticed by the Tau and during 022M42 they had already secured much of the far flung Tanis system, leaving the Imperium with a tenuous foothold on Tanis VII.

The guard regiment that held that inhospitable world came under assault in mid 09.022M42 with no strategic backup. Commander Malkaor's forces landed on the world and swept away all resistance, forcing the surrender of any remaining guardsmen who marched demoralised into Tau "re-education facilities".

Now the Tau had to make some decisions. the purpose of Tanis as an outpost had become almost worthless now the system of Lysis held no strategic significance with the closing of the Foramen Ignotum, a former pathway through the Cicatrix Maledictum, long gone ever since the Eldar had removed the necron device holding it open. Palantir however would be the obvious next move for the Tau in their aim to create the Hadron Expansion Sphere, but their expedition to the Rifts of Hecate had made them aware of the serious necron, tyranid and ork threat that could sweep across the Expanse if the Imperium were to be forced out of the region. The decision on how to proceed would need to be taken soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Fierce battles on Mordecai Secundus

The middle of 022M42 was characterised by a number of battles on Mordecai, following the significant strategic reversal of fortunes on the planet after the decisive fleet battle. Throughout 08.022M42 and 09.022M42 supplies and fresh troops had been deploying for the Imperium, and while general Kutuzov built up his armies, the forces of chaos attempted to grind down the front line troops of their enemy as much as possible, aiming to blunt any future offensives and buy time for them to reach a more favourable strategic situation.

The first of these attritional battles occurred in the south of the central front, as the nurgle faction known as the House of Eschar attempted to grind down the imperial guard in the Sathugar Mines region. Employing a number of super heavy tanks the threat was noticed by Kutuzov, and fortunately a recently arrived lance of Imperial Knights of House Eagle Claw was swiftly able to deploy in front of the nurgle force.

Ideally suited to the destruction of enemy heavy tanks, the knights were able to close the distance and wreck each in turn in close combat. Initially the battle looked to be developing into a close run thing as traitor shadowswords annihilated one of the knights as soon as it came into range of their volcano cannons, but the accuracy of the nurgle force wasn't maintained, and the remaining knights were able to despatch the powerful behemoths. With their heavy support smashed, the nurgle forces had to withdraw, allowing House Eagle Claw and the Imperial Guard to move in, retaking the rest of the Sathugar mines and improving yet further the Imperial position on the front lines of Mordecai Secundus.

Imperial intelligence had by mid 08.022M42 caught on to the chaos plan, and general Kutuzov asked his war council of lower ranking generals, astartes commanders and the adeptus sororitas for options. It was the Sisters of Battle who came up with the most attractive plan and also the most aggressive. Although the Imperium was still reinforcing, there was an opportunity once again to besiege Festergax by cutting off the large salient that had developed in previous chaos offensive. 

The plan approved, the Sisters of Battle would attack from the north, covered by the Imperial Fists and Adeptus Mechanicus forces. At fist this went well, as the Sororitas forces swept south with an army of faithful priests chanting the Emperor's name. Unable to resist this insult, the Death Guard resolutely closed with their hated enemy, only to face a wall of multi-meltas which devastated even the tough terminator armoured plague marines. Having smashed the strongest force to oppose them, the Sisters now brushed aside the rest of the chaos forces defending Festergax, encircling the city.

The success of the encirclement was not to last long however as the chaos forces counter attacked strongly with significant traitor astartes involvement. The warband known as "Creations of Bile" clashed with the Imperial Fists, killing the imperial commander and opening up a corridor to Festergax. This was further exploited by the Iron Warriors, who fought in a protracted and tight engagement with the Adeptus Mechanicus, narrowly defeating the imperial force and widening the corridor to the chaos held city.

At this point in late 08.022M42 the imperial move to encircle Festergax appeared to be unravelling, as tenacious and stubborn fighting by traitor astartes forces had all but reversed the imperial gains. However, the imperial logistics situation was now vastly superior to their enemy's and by early 09.022M42 the Sisters of Battle had already resupplied and were ready once again to undertake a major operation.

The Adeptus Sororitas launched another major offensive to encircle Festergax on 1309.022M42. This the astartes opposing them were unable to hold back, and the forces of chaos were forced to summon a host of daemons in the hope that the creatures of the warp would hold back the elite Ecclesiarchy force. At first the appearance of a Bloodthirster caused some concern, as it obliterated two squads of retributors, but sustained multi-melta fire and finally krak grenades sent the creature back to the warp. In the centre of the engagement, a Lord of Change was cut down by the Sisters Repentia, and after the loss of the two greater deamons the task seemed more manageable for the Imperium. This was almost put in doubt by the arrival of a horde of flamers of tzeentch, which caused significant casualties to the back lines of the Sisters of Battle, but by that point it was too little, too late. The daemon army was cast back into the warp and the city of Festergax was cut off once more.

During the middle of 022M42 the change in strategic fortunes on Mordecai was now starting to be felt. Chaos forces were still able to achieve victories at the tactical level, but now every Imperial victory counted effectively three times as much in terms of gains as each stubborn and hard fought chaos success. Only time would tell if the Imperium could keep the momentum to make a decisive breakthrough - one that had not been achieved by either side in the many long years of the Mordecai campaign.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Adeptus Sororitas retake Burroneus

Following the decisive fleet battle in the space around Mordecai Secundus, supplies began to arrive on the surface within weeks, allowing Kutuzov to shore up his defences especially around the chaos salient that now existed with Festergax at its head. Soon, Kutuzov would go on the offensive, and the forces of chaos were very aware of this fact. Imperial intelligence picked up significant troop movements into the Festergax salient, and it was clear the Emerald Serpent believed this city, that had changed hands numerous times, would be the initial target of the Imperium's new offensive.

Knowing this, Kutuzov met with his generals and decided that Festergax would certainly not be the first priority. It was a key strategic position, but the troop movements made this an unpalletable first target for the renewed armies of the Imperium. Instead, Kutusov asked for options, and the Sisters of Battle proposed their own plan in the south to take one of the twin cities. Burroneus and Ur'Ghar stood like guardians of the southern passage between the Sarkar Traps and the Kuneus lava sea, acting as a bottleneck and keeping the imperial forces bottled up in the Sathugar plains. A strike here would hit the chaos forces while they were off balance, and potentially unlock the opportunity for a breakthrough to the south.

Kutuzov agreed to the plan and the Adeptus Sororitas charged the city of Burroneus on 1508.022M42, facing weaker opposition as the Death Guard had pulled back to Ur'Ghar. The Emerald Serpent quickly responded, using Astralis to redeploy rapidly, and a violent battle erupted on the narrow isthmus between Nazugral and the twin southern cities. In the centre the Sisters pushed their infantry supported by Immolators with dominions skirmishing on the flanks. It appeared the traitor forces underestimated the infantry push, as their terminators arrived not in the centre, but elsewhere to deal with the skirmishing forces, allowing the Sororitas infantry to push forward relatively unmolested. Eventually the Repentia squads moved into range to be able to unleash a devastating charge, overrunning the chaos centre and unhinging the defence of Burroneus. The city fell, and the Thousand Sons legion found their control of the warp severely hampered by the unshakeable faith of the Sisters of Battle. Frustrated, the Emerald Serpent withdrew to Ur'Ghar, leading to the recapture by the Imperium of the entire Sarkar Isthmus in the process.

Meanwhile the Iron Warriors were clashing with the Adeptus Mechanicus on the flanks of the Festergax Salient. Here the forces of chaos were launching continual skirmishes in order, they thought, to disrupt the Imperial major offensive. In actual fact, Kutuzov had no intention to launch an offensive here, but the spoiling attacks by the Iron Warriors were not particularly successful in any case. Both sides engaged in close quarter fighting, with stubborn resolve, but neither side were able to deal any real damage to one another.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Decisive fleet action at Mordecai


For over two years the Imperial Fleet at Mordecai had been engaging in a standoff with chaos forces, unwilling to engage directly, fearing that a decisive confrontation might lead to total disaster for the Imperial invasion of the system. The chaos naval forces in the system were strong, backed up by a fleet base and the power of the daemon world Astralis, and the Imperium had been focussing on a "fleet in being" to similarly deter the traitor forces from launching their own decisive operation. By 07.022M42 both sides had amassed a significant fleet presence, and Kutuzov's army was struggling with supplies and reinforcements, as each shipment had to be escorted by one of Admiral Stark's battlegroups to run the gauntlet from the jump point to the inner biosphere. All this changed with the re-appointment of Admiral Jellicoe to overall sector fleet command.

With the change of leadership, the cautious standing orders of the previous Lord Admiral, the timid and decadent Bova Magnus, were torn up. Instead Jellicoe made a proclamation stating that any well planned and reasonable offensive actions by his subordinate admirals would have his full support. At Mordecai Admiral Stark saw this as both an endorsement of the aggressive stance he had advocated for, and also as a challenge to show his worth as a commander of His Imperial Majesty's finest warships. In mid 07.022M42 Stark and Gorshkov decided to initiate a showdown with the Emerald Serpent in the primary biosphere of the Mordecai system. To do this, Admiral Stark put together a large force of capital ships, led by his battleship Kirov, with no fewer than four retribution class vessels and nine other capital ships. Moving these into place in the region of Mordecai Secundus, the closest habitable planet to the Mordecai star, would force the chaos fleet to respond rather than yield their hard won logistical control over the battle on the ground.

Admiral Stark's prediction of the response by the chaos forces proved correct, as the Emerald Serpent duly appeared with ten capital ships, and one vessel the Imperium had suspected was in the possession of the chaos faction, but had never confirmed - a ship simply known as "planet killer". Although it was uncertain as to whether the vessel was equipped with the same devastating planet destroying weapon that gave the class of ship its name, the ship itself was massive, and bristling with other weaponry. Seeing the Emerald Serpent fleet bearing down on him, Stark issued his orders and the largest fleet action in the Mordecai campaign so far soon followed.

Line of Battle:
Imperial Grand Fleet (Admiral Stark)
Kirov (Flagship, Retribution class battleship)
Vanguard (Retribution class battleship)
Resolution (Retribution class battleship)
Bulwark (Jovian class battlecruiser)
Malinovka (Dominion class cruiser)
Narva (Gothic class cruiser)
Tsushima (Dominator class cruiser)
Tanenberg (Dominator class cruiser)
Implacable (Dominator class cruiser)
Repulse (Dominator class cruiser)
Basilisk (Dominator class cruiser)
Medusa (Dominator class cruiser)

Emerald Serpent (estimate)
Planet Killer, Despoiler class battleship, 10 cruisers

The Battle 

The chaos fleet formed up into a a line, attempting to bring the long range broadsides of the heavy chaos cruisers to bear on Stark's battlegroup, with the carriers (at least on Styx class and several devastations)on the right flank, with the planet killer and a Despoiler class battleship on the left. In between these the rest of the chaos fleet armed with heavy broadsides formed the van of the chaos fleet. Stark positioned his dominator class vessels, armed with nova cannons, towards the back, with his battleships deployed at 45 degrees so that if the Emerald Serpent rushed his nova cannons, they would inevitably have to face the full broadside of these mighty vessels. The imperial deployment now put the chaos fleet into a difficult position. If they charged, their "T" would be crossed. If they went for the retributions, they would be forced to face nova cannon fire for an extended period of time.

Throwing caution to the wind the chaos fleet decided to charge into the centre of the imperial fleet. The chaos vessels took heavy punishment from the retributions and the dominators as they attempted to get to within close range, with the planet killer taking much of the fire, and being knocked out of the battle. Accurate fire from the imperial fleet also caused a significant amount of damage, as the imperial cruisers targeted the bridges and communications structures of the chaos vessels. The effect was devastating. Once the chaos fleet had managed to close, they now had the chance to strike at close range, evening the battle, but the damage to their communications now rendered coordinated actions all but impossible, and the return fire from the chaos fleet was haphazard and sporadic.

Eventually the chaos fleet did manage to position their five carriers behind the imperial fleet, but without gunboat support this was too little too late. The carrier attacks did limited damage to the imperial formation, and inevitably Stark's ships swung round to bring their firepower to bear on the last remaining functional portion of the chaos fleet. The Emerald Serpent commander gave the order to disengage, and those who could, did, but plenty of the chaos cruisers did not receive the order, or had difficulty obeying, such was the chaos wrought by the imperial hits to their bridge areas and communications centres. Several chaos cruisers did not disengage, and were pummelled for target practice by the imperial vessels while their comrades fled the battle.

At the end of the battle the Imperium had lost two cruisers, reduced to hulks by the chaos fleet, but the Emerald Serpent had lost five, including their flagship. The result was a decisive victory for the Imperium, forcing the withdrawal of Emerald Serpent fleet units from the system, and ensuring Lord Tragean's vessels stayed within the protective envelope of the Mordecai Spacefort's powerful gun batteries. This yielded full control of the space around Mordecai Secundus to the Imperium, allowing reinforcements and supplies to flood in to Kutuzov's army for the first time in two years. Pleased with the result, Admiral Jellicoe sent his warm congratulations to Admirals Stark and Gorshkov, and the pendulum on Mordecai swung decisively in favour of the Imperium f Mankind.

Chaos: 5 cruisers destroyed
Imperium: 2 cruisers destroyed

Rifts of Hecate activity

While the Imperium pulled back to the Hecate Gap, the other factions fighting in the Rifts continued to fight amongst themselves. The tyranids continued to move through space towards the Gap, while the necrons, furious at the sudden invasion by lesser races, decided to focus their efforts against the new chaos enclave that had been set up on the three worlds of Mendesum, Calthingum and Pyrrho Zeta. Seeing the latter as the most vulnerable system, the necrons launched their attack in late 07.022M42, taking the forces of chaos by surprise as they emerged from tomb complexes the worshippers of the dark gods had no awareness of.

The battle was brutal, and the chaos space marine force rapidly mustered to deal with the threat was woefully ill equipped to deal with the emerging necron army. Although they did manage to slay a high ranking necron noble, the battle was a defeat for chaos, and the necrons reclaimed several of their tomb complexes on the world, establishing a foothold to conceivably rid the Rifts of chaos forces.

Meanwhile, the eldar race were extremely concerned with events in the Rifts. Their overall goal, though concealed from the other races, was to ensure that the tyranids, necrons and orks that infested the region, did not find their way into the Hadron Expanse, and more specifically, the eldar were concerned if any one of these forces found their way into vulnerable webway nodes the eldar were aware of being in close proximity to the Hecate Gap. Should the fighting lead to any of the other races becoming aware of these effective "back doors" into the webway, the consequences would be dire for the eldar race.

Consequently, the dark eldar were also motivated to prevent this from happening, and willingly aided the Ynnari who orchestrated the campaign against their mutual enemies in the Rifts of Hecate. In late 07.022M42 eldar raids increased in intensity, as the Drukhari fell upon the forces of chaos at Mendesum, and the Ynnari attacked the orks at the critical system of Lodax.

The fighting at Lodax ended favourably for the Aedlari, as the superior Ynnari forces obliterated the orks on Lodax secundus, allowing the eldar force to occupy several critical areas of the planet and secure key webway nodes. On Mendesum however, things did not go according to plan, as the Drukhari were unaware of a recently refitted and heavily equipped phallanx of chaos knights on the planet. Heavy firepower and hard hitting close combat capability nullified the Drukhari speed and agility, and the dark eldar raiding force was severely mauled before escaping back to Commoragh.

Mordecai: Festergax Retaken

On Mordecai during 022M42 there was a growing pessimism in the imperial ranks. For months the forces of chaos had enjoyed superior logistical support thanks to their fleet base and the daemonworld of Astralis hanging overhead, and instead of one decisive push, the war of attrition had seen the territory the Imperium controlled slowly whittled away. For every imperial success, the ground gained was smaller, and every chaos victory claimed a little more of the hard won objectives Kutuzov's men had so far died in droves for.

Late 07.022M42 was no different, as a force of Thousand Sons supported by a powerful chaos knight launched a direct assault on the city of Festergax. The city was now little more than ruins, and it had changed hands many times over the course of the war. Kutuzov sent in his own Imperial Knights to defend the city, but the Thousand Sons had ample support, and gradually one by one the imperial war engines were toppled or blown apart. Unable to hold the chaos forces, Kutuzov was reluctantly forced to withdraw his administratum personnel from the city, which fell just a few days after the beginning of the chaos assault. There was no mass chaos breakthrough, but the tide was now firmly with the traitor forces. If something wasn't done about the imperial logistical situation and soon, the war on Mordecai Secundus would end in inevitable defeat for the Imperium.