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.