Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Mordecai Secundus - The Fotta Rhan offensive


During late 021M42 the Imperium and Chaos forces had been engaging in the southern sector of the front line on Mordecai Secundus. Here the Death Guard had been putting up a stubborn defence against a determined offensive from the armies of general Kutuzov with astartes support. The Imperial plan to take Burroneus and secure the Sarkar traps had been at the centre of the Imperial strategy for some time, but as 12.021M42 progressed, Imperial intelligence detected a significant build-up of chaos forces in the central sector across the Mekken Plateau.

This area of rugged raised terrain was ideal for the forces of chaos, led by the Emerald Serpent, to prepare for a new offensive, but it was impossible for them to disguise their intent. Regular scans of the region by imperial naval forces saw in some detail the increase in chaos force, and general Kutuzov was forced to react by building up his own defences to defend against what appeared to be an inevitable major offensive.

It was known, on the eve of battle, that the forces of chaos had built up significant forces centring around the mighty Warlord Titan Astralis Invictus, as well as the Aether Striders and a full army of Darrantine Guard. Kutuzov could also be sure that the onslaught to come would feature the Thousand Sons traitor astartes as well as a host of summoned daemons. to counter this, the Imperium deployed the Sky Lords astartes chapter, the warhound titan "Warspite", another undisclosed astartes chapter as well as the Corvus house of imperial Knights. This force was set up to counter what Kutuzov felt was the most likely axis of advance, towards the strategic city of Festergax, supported by his strategic reserve - the entire Librian Guard force deployed on Mordecai Secundus.

The main offensive

The storm broke on 2812.021M42 as Astralis Invictus led te forces of chaos in a frontal assault on Festergax. This was the largest offensive on Mordecai Secundus by chaos forces to date, and the amount of men and equipment involved was colossal. On the chaos right, a host of daemons surged into the suburbs of the city, meeting House Corvus and the Sky Lords head on. On the chaos left flank, the Thousand Sons elite terminators engaged the warhound titan "Warspite" and the <redacted> loyalist space marines, while in the centre, the Aether Striders and the giant warlord titan bore down on the Librian regiments, which tried their best to deal with the mighty war engine's support before dealing with the enormous titan.

On both flanks of the offensive the chaos forces found it difficult to make headway. On the left, the Sky Lords and imperial knights were easily able to stop the daemonic forces from making progress, but the tight confines of the terrain and settlement were actually a hindrance. Too late, Kutuzov realised a mistake in his deployment, as too many of his precious forces were now bogged down in a stalemate, unable to assist elsewhere along the front. On the chaos right, the attack by the Thousand Sons appeared to be a feint, and after a brief engagement involving terminators and the destruction of the chaos Warhound titan, the Imperium had no difficulty in stopping this advance.

In the centre however, the full might of Astralis Invictus was employed, and although the Librian artillery and super heavy batteries were able to cause carnage amongst the Aether Striders, there was never any hope in stopping the warlord titan while it had so much support from the Darrantine Guard and Emerald Serpent. The Sky Lords tried to intervene, sending in a Thunderhawk to catch the Emerald Serpent HQ off guard but this proved futile. Astralis Invictus, with the bulk of the imperial forces tied up on the left and right, forced its way through the imperial lines.

A salient now developed in the front line centred on Astralis Invictus. Unable to disengage from the flanks to close this hole the mighty titan had now punched in the Imperial lines, imperial high command realised there was now a very real danger of an exploitation move by the forces of chaos. If the Emerald Serpent followed up, they would be able to encircle the imperial forces fighting on both flanks, all but destroying a third of the entire army deployed on Mordecai Secundus.

Knowing this was a potentially catastrophic situation, Kutuzov risked his reputation and honour and ordered a withdrawal. He could afford to lose the city of Festergax, but he could not afford the loss of one third of his army, including two space marine companies and an entire house of imperial knights. After several days of hard fighting the imperial army withdrew, abandoning Festergax to the forces of chaos.


The aftermath of the Fotta Rhan offensive was mixed. It had undoubtedly been a great success for the Emerald Serpent, and a key city had been taken back from the Imperium. A vast salient of territory had been created in the imperial lines and communications between the northern and southern fronts of Kutuzov's theatre on Mordecai Secundus had been made more difficult. However, the mining installations remained in imperial hands, and although the Imperium had been unable to prevent Festergax from falling, a much larger disaster had been averted. Kutuzov had kept his armies intact, the Librian Guard had fought well, and the Imperium had not suddered a fatal loss of men and equipment. The Fotta Rhan offensive had been a major setback for the Imperium on Mordecai, but the war would continue.

Order of battle

Warhound "Warspite"
Knight detachment of House Raven
Sycoraxian Shadow sword regiment
Librian 14th armoured regiment
Librian 6th artillery regiment
Sycorax 23rd Infantry regiment
Imperial navy air support
<redacted> chapter detachment
Sky Lords spearhead detachment
Sky Lords air wing
Warlord Titan "Astralis Invictus"
Aether striders knight detachment
Emerald serpent (Thousand Sons astartes)
Warhound Titan "Terminus Rex"
Darrantine Guard Armoured regiments
Darratine Super Heavy detachments
Daemonic hordes