IMPERIAL VOXCAST (3 042 757.M41)—A giant xeno totem has been spotted in the desert south of the Tarak Mines, report Imperial soldiers deployed to defend the immense mining complex.
Initially dismissed as rumors by Imperial High Command, Col. August Klein yesterday confirmed that there have been sightings of a 30-meter-tall metal structure in the ork-occupied Iron Spires.
Described as vaguely “ork-like” in shape, the xeno creation has been described by military intelligence officials as a giant “totem”—a statue “that likely has some religious significance in the primitive worship of their gods.”
That is the public stance of Imperial authorities, but several officers of the 728th Cadian Regiment indicate they are taking the sightings as a serious threat—and a possible upset to the military balance of the war against the ork invaders.
“High command may attempt to reassure the citizenry with talk of statues and totems,” offered one officer who refused to be identified. “But we’re considering the possibility that it’s a Stompa.”
A Stompa is the irreverent nickname that common guardsmen have given to what the Imperial Guard officially classifies as a bipedal, military-grade walker of the orks.
Ranging from 30 to 50 meters in height, these primitively constructed but heavily armored and armed walkers are the military equivalent of an Imperial Battle Titan of the Warhound or Reaver class.
If such a military asset has joined the ork invading force, officers warn, its presence indicates that the xenos have greatly expanded their military manufacturing capability in the southern hemisphere of Hegira.
“Until now, we’ve held onto Hegira by producing more guns and tanks than the xenos,” another officer shared with this reporter. “But if they can bolster the ork ferocity for battle with more firepower, we’re going to need reinforcements—and fast.”
Even the lowest-ranked guardsmen say that the Imperial defenses at the Tarak Mines lack the weaponry to counter a Stompa. Although orks appear incapable of any standardized construction—and thus every Stompa is unique—veteran soldiers in the 728th Regiment say that any of these massive walkers will be heavily armed and armored.
“One of those metal cans can carry a dozen massive guns or rocket batteries,” said one grizzled veteran sergeant. “Some even are built with arms mounted with close-combat weaponry. I once saw a Lemon Russ tank ripped in half by a Stompa that swung a giant chainsaw.”
There are few references to Stompas in the Imperial archives in Susa City, but one scholarly journal written in M39 indicates that the xeno walkers are designed in the image of the ork gods of “Mork” and “Gork.” As such, they have a religious significance that can incite the orks’ already fierce lust for bloodshed.
BANEBLADE TANKS NEEDED
The potential military impact of a Stompa on Hegira cannot be understated, several officers shared privately. The 728th Regiment is not equipped with Baneblade-class tanks—the Titan killers of the Imperial Guard—and if confronted by a Stompa, “we’ll basically have to send every Lemon Russ tank we’ve got into the fray—and hope that a couple survive.”
Col. Klein has acknowledged that air reconnaissance missions have been launched in order to confirm the presence of a Stompa in front of the Imperial defensive line—and will launch a air strike if a threat is identified.
It’s also been reported—although not confirmed—that Col. Klein has ordered the redeployment of every available Vanguisher-class tank (armed with long-range melta guns) to the front.
Additional information on this potential threat is expected to be limited in future days. Once aware of the media’s interest in the Stompa rumors, Major-Commissar Rael Dracos ordered a complete ban on guardsmen and officers talking to the media outside his presence.
TheGM—Yes, a Stompa has reached Hegira. Last summer, I prodded The Gaffer into buying one of the cursed models at a wargaming convention. Thankfully, it took him nearly six months to get a base coat of Leadbelcher on it—a hint of paint that will make it usable on the tabletop.
But never count me out when it comes to dakka dakka. Good new is I’ve countered by buying a Baneblade. Bad news is it won’t be ready before the Stompa makes its appearance in battle.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog that documents our wargaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.