IMPERIAL VOXCAST (3 153 757.M41)—Rumors are spreading that Imperial authorities have suppressed news of a major defeat of Imperial troops at the Tarak Mines. According to sources, a massive ork army attacked several weeks ago and forced Imperial forces out of the mining complex …
Battle lines are drawn
The morale of the 728th Cadian Regiment was high as it prepared to face the ork onslaught at the vast mining complex known as the Tarak Mines.
The defenses included six battalions of crack infantry, bolstered by two companies of armor, and several squadrons of Sentinels. To bolster the left flank of the line, the regular guardsmen were reinforced with a battalion of eager conscripts.
Further enhancing the Imperial line were several kilometers of Aegis Defense Lines, strengthened with desert soil overturned and reshaped into vast trench lines reinforced with heavy weapons teams.
On 3 003 737.M41, a heavy cloud of dust on the horizon offered an early sign of the approaching ork army, and eventually the roar of engines, the clanking of walkers, and the bellow of warriors could be heard in the distance.
The ork force that appeared was vast—the greatest gathering of greenskins yet seen on Hegira. The sheer variety of forces also beggared belief.
The first wave of xenos was led by Trukks overflowing with ork Boyz, Warbuggies, and an overhead flotilla of Deffkoptas. Clumsily following behind were squadrons of Killa Kans and the larger and more menacing Deff Dreads, while the skies were filled overhead with the oily black contrails that signaled the arrival of Dakkajets.
Yet, the worst sight brought up the rear, as its sheer size made it dwarf the thousands of xenos ahead of it. It was a Stompa, literally a walking fortress of metal that bristled with a dozen massive xeno weapons.
Battle is joined
As the ork horde came into range, the combined fire of thousands of Imperial lasguns, mortars, heavy bolters, lascannons, and battle cannons erupted—and half a dozen Trukks and several hundred orks were torn to shreds. Yet, the greenskin advance didn’t slow. If anything, the Imperial fire seemed to goad the xenos to greater speed.
Leading the Imperial armor contingent was Captain Donian Tellis, a tank ace with an uncanny talent for targeting enemy armor. It was said he’d once put a battle cannon shell down the barrel of a rebel tank at 2,000 meters.
Having ordered his tanks to target the first wave of ork vehicles and walkers, Tellis had no need to worry that any vehicle of significance would reach the Imperial lines soon. So he turned his gun sights at the 30-meter monstrosity that was bringing up the ork rear.
Fiddling with the controls of his battle cannon, he brought the crosshairs of his tank’s auspices into line with the Stompa—and fired. On the grainy image of his video screen, he actually could make out the path of his shell as its supersonic passage pushed aside the dust-filled air over the ork forces.
What he saw next was not so satisfying. His shell hit true, exploding against the broad chest of the Stompa and temporarily obscuring the giant walker. To his horror, though, as the flames and smoke dissipated, the only sign of damage was a black smudge on the vehicle’s dirty steel panels.
“I think we’re in trouble,” he muttered to himself, before screaming to his loader to bring up a new shell for the cannon.
The Stompa roars
The commander of the 728th Cadians, Col. August Klein, was studying the Stompa through a pair of binoculars when Tellis’ shell struck the Stompa—and, for a moment, the veteran officer felt a wave of satisfaction sweep over him. But then he, too, was shocked and unsettled by the shell’s clear failure to damage the giant walker.
A moment later, however, he saw a second billowing flame explode on the Stompa—but this time from the firing of a massive gun attached to the walker’s mechanical arm. In less than a second, he heard the growing roar of the shell—and everything went black.
Klein was one of the lucky ones. Standing outside the sandbagged walls of the command bunker, he was shielded from the worst of the direct hit that killed nearly everyone in the regiment’s headquarters. He would later awake in a hospital bed—back in Susa City, two days after the battle’s end.
The presence of the Stompa quickly made itself felt again. Among the walker’s weaponry was a Supa-gatler, which tore up a squad of guardsmen every time it fired. Soon, nearly 200 men were dead, many ripped in half by the 30mm shells firing at the rate of 200 shots a minute.
Meanwhile, the ork Dakkajets made their presence known. Led by the ork “ace” pilot, Fast Eddy Rikken Orker, two squadrons strafed the Imperial lines with supa shootas.
Scores of guardsmen died before Imperial countermeasures went into effect. Hydra anti-air guns opened up on the Dakkajets, and a squadron of Valkyries swooped down in a bid to shoot down the greenskin aircraft. A handful of ork Fighta Pilots were brought down, although not before the battle-maddened orks targeted a unit of Hydras and temporarily suppressed their fire.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our wargaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.