Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Boltarean secured by Tau

While the focus of the main factions in the Hadron Expanse remained fixed on events in the Rifts of Hecate, the tau had only deployed three of their five recently arrived Hunter Cadres to the Rifts. The remainder they now consolidated under the tau commander Malkaor, and took advantage of the focus elsewhere to pursue their main agenda, the Hadron Expansion Sphere. 

Having built up a significant force and colonised a number of systems alread, they now turned to finishing off the war at Boltarean. Striking without warning the tau used their logistical advantage to overwhelm the defences of Boltar Prime, and despite the intervention of the Thousand Sons, the fall of the world took less than a day. For some time the tau were worried that the daemonworld "Fecus Major" would intervene to help, but this did not happen. Instead the daemonworld and its attendant fleets simply vanished from the system. If the forces of Nurgle had an agenda in the Hadron Expanse it did not appear to include helping the Emerald Serpent.

Having secured Boltarean the next target was clear. The imperial system of Palantir, and from there, the rest of the Hadron Expanse would be added to the Tau empire.

Battles on Mezria VI

The situation on Mezria VI escalated rapidly as 06.022M42 began. As predicted, a stream of new spores began to rain down onto the planet, and the world itself began to experience earthquakes as the influence of the hive mind affected reality itself. Three major engagements followed, as the tyranids launched themselves at hastily prepared imperial positions. First, hive fleet Poseidon clashed with the Dark Angels, forcing the astartes into retreat, as another strain of the xenos launched a major assault on the main imperial lines.

Here the main fighting took place all along a front line that had been set by the local imperial commander. He had support from the Imperial Navy and the Adeptus Mechanicus, in the form od a warhound titan squadron. Initially the air support did well, mowing down hordes of xenos creatures, but the swarm kept coming. In a desperate attempt to hold the alien advance, the titans charged into the fray, only to be overwhelmed by the smaller creatures, which then ended up swarming all over the rear of the imperial lines. Their defences compromised, the imperial guard were obliged to retreat

The second line of imperial defences faired better, as yet another strain of tyranid genome sprung forward through the gap created by the first frontal assault. As these tyranids crashed into the imperial lines once more, the same story almost played out once again, were it not for the bravery and skill of the imperial rough riders. The venerable cavalry charged their foes at great speed, outflanking the xenos advance, crashing through alien artillery, swarms of smaller creatures and shrugged off concentrated fire from alien exocrines before reaching the rear of the tyranid assault. thus compromised, the tyranid offensive was stopped for the moment, but now the aliens controlled much of the world, and spores were continuing to rain down on the planet

Mordecai: Novgorod Guard retake Sathugar Mines

The response to the loss of the southern Sathugar mines on Mordecai Secundus was not long in coming. General Kutuzov met with his generals and they considered the strategic situation. Fully recapturing the lost ground would be almost impossible given the current logistics problems being faced by Kutuzov's armies, but a tactical victory could be achieved if the mining installations could be retaken.

With that objective in mind the Novogord Guard launched an attack on the weakest portion of the chaos defences, identified as the non-astartes elements of the nurgle aligned "House of Escher". this force, now defending the mines, comprised of a traitor guard formation, including large numbers of Leman Russ battle tanks and several super-heavy vehicles.

The Novgorod were similarly equipped, and the loyalist shadowswords scored an early victory by incapacitating the enemy super-heavy tank formation. On the imperial right flank, the forces of chaos advanced, and at one stage looked likely to overwhelm the Novgorod defenders who had taken positions in the mining facility at the outset of the battle, while on the left, the main thrust of Novgorod mechanised forces attempted to outflank the traitors. Both sides utilised air support, but anti air defences were unusually succesful in downing enemy aircraft.

The outflanking move was a success, as the fast moving chimeras overwhelmed the lightly defended chaos lines. In the centre and on the right flank however, the entire battle hinged on whether the Novgorod could hold onto their positions. As the battle continued, the House of Eschar launched ever more desperate attacks againts the dug in imperial infantry, culminating in a tank assault into the mining facilities themselves. This did not succeed however, and the stubbornness of the Novgorod guard broke the morale of the traitor guard, securing victory for the Imperium. By the end of the first week of 06.022M42 the Imperium had regained the Sathugar mines, achieving their limited objective as they searched for ways to redress the strategic imbalance.

Friday, June 03, 2022

Mordecai: Southern Sector chaos advance

In the Perseus Deeps the war for control of Mordecai Secundus showed no sign of any real change as 05.022M42. Both the Imperium and the forces of chaos were conducting their own secret missions in order to change the strategic situation in the Mordecai system, but by the beginning of 06.022M42 it was still chaos who held the slight advantage. This they put to good use as the Emerald Serpent launched a frontal assault against the Adeptus Mechanicus defending the Sathugar mines in the southern sector. The offensive was a decisive victory for the forces of chaos, as the Mechanicum withdrew rather than face annihilation. 

This allowed the Emerald Serpent to again control some facilities of the Sathugar mines, and link up the cities of Burroneus and Nazurgal via a land bridge north of the Sarkar Traps. This wasn't a breakthrough by any means, but it was progress for the forces of Chaos.

Tyranids take ground on Mezria VI and Garmenes

While the tau were fending off the imperial raid on Garmenes, the hive mind was making progress through the region. By now the various genetic strains were working together, and a fully fledged Hive fleet with at least three separate genetic lineages was now perceptible to any psyker in the region, heading roughly - and alarmingly - towards the Hecate Gap.

Mezria VI was the first to feel the full force of this newly formed hive fleet, as thousands of xenos creatures arrived via spore pods from outside the system. The Crimson Fists launched an attack into the heart of the alien horde but were driven off, losing their commander in the process. Bu the end of 05.022M42 the tyranids had established a larger presence on Mezria VI, and the Adeptus Mechanicus logicians warned of a stream of further reinforcements inbound to the planet.

The tau meanwhile had barely recovered from the imperial raid, when the expected tyranid spores began raining down on the planet. Depleted in defensive strength, the tau were unable to prevent the xenos creatures from establishing a foothold, and despite a vigorous counter attack, the tau were forced into retreat, with hive fleet Poseidon taking control of the deep forests of the planet. Here they would convert biomass into more creatures, and the tau would need a concerted eradication mission to defend their newly won foothold in the Rifts of Hecate.

Tau establish base at Garmenes

In 05.022M42 the Tau received significant reinforcements to their forces across the Hadron Expanse as the importance of the Rifts of Hecate became apparent. In addition to this, the Tau now felt the time was right too once again aggressively pursue their expansionist agenda in the Expanse, as the other factions that opposed them split their forces and focus across the sector.

The plan was drawn up and the Tau fleet escorted at least five Hunter Cadres into the Expanse. Three of these were assigned to the Rifts, and entered the Hecate Gap in mid 05.022M42, reaching their outpost on Garmenes late in the month. This new force was detected by the Imperium, and for the first time the Crusade Commander - general Maximus, perceived the Tau as a threat to the Imperial mission. As he readied his forces to strike agains the Tau base however, the Tau were already finding enemies on their doorstep.

Shortly after the arrival of these new forces the Tau detected xenos forces in the wilderness zones of Garmenes, and sent their troops out to deal with this threat. To their consternation, the xenos were found to be tyranid vanguard forces. The alien creatures were dealt with and the alien threat contained for now, but the Tau had reason to believe that a new wave of tyranids would be incoming, and spent considerable effort strengthening their air defences, something which would have almost immediate unintended benefits.

Just as the Tau had completed their defences against an expected tyranid invasion, general Maximus' strike force arrived. First, the Hammers of the Emperor launched an airborne assault against the Tau, straight into the airborne defences of the enemy. The result was a significant defeat, and the Hammers were obliged to withdraw. This was unfortunate for the Imperium, as the Deathwatch had also landed some distance away from the main Tau base, and now found themselves alone against their enemy. The Deathwatch fought stubbornly to hold their ground, and the battle inflicted heavy losses on both sides, including both commanding officers. However after several days of fighting, the Deathwatch too abandoned the world to the Tau. Battered but victorious, the Tau continued the construction of their base on Garmenes.