Battle Report (Tabletop)

Tau fail to break Dar Sai blockade (Part 1)

The Emperor’s Fist looks sleek and deadly in this pict view taken from an observation portal aboard the massive battleship, which serves as the flagship of Fleet Corvus.


IMPERIAL NEWS SERVICE (3 820 737.M41)—A fleet of Tau warships today launched an attack against Imperial naval forces near the moon of Dar Sai, military authorities have announced. Fleet Corvus, under the command of Commodore Gadea Hennard, already is claiming that two xeno vessels have been destroyed in the fighting …

Strategic Background

On 3 280 735.M41, Fleet Corvus attacked a Tau naval fleet in orbit above Dar Sai, a moon in the Sculptor System that the xenos had invaded some months earlier.

Under the command of Commodore Gadea Hennard, the Imperial fleet defeated the Tau and forced them to withdraw to their stronghold in the system, Media III, an Imperial world that several years ago treacherously turned its back on the Imperium and offered its loyalty to the xenos.

Warhammer 40K blogFor the next two and one-half years, Fleet Corvus maintained a blockade over Dar Sai, cutting the logistical lifeline of invading Tau ground forces. Alas, due to the many competing military threats that the fleet was required to deal with—the continued Tau threat, as well as ork raiders—Hennard was unable to follow up on his victory and eliminate the Tau naval presence in the system.

In recent months, it become clear that the Tau were reinforcing their naval forces at Media III, which prompted the Nguyen Naval Base in the Belliose System to reluctantly divert scarce resources to Fleet Corvus and maintain, at least, a balance of power with the invading xenos.

On 3 820 737.M41, the fears of military authorities came to fruit. The Tau launched a 16-ship fleet at Dar Sai, undoubtedly to break the Imperial naval blockade and again seek dominance in the Sculptor System. The reinforced Fleet Corvus, already on alert, maneuvered to intercept.

The fate of Dar Sai—and, indeed, the Sculptor System—was at stake.


Imperial Commanding Officer: Commodore Gadea Hennard

Tau Commanding Officer: Kor’O Na’tar’a


Warhammer 40K blog

Note that all maps are somewhat “compressed,” meaning that distances and ship movements are somewhat skewed. So consider the map as showing the “relative” position of ships rather than their actual distances from one another. During the battle, the 35th Frigate Squadron was actually quite farther away from the battle then they appear on the map.

All combatants deployed as shown on accompanying map.

Two asteroid fields played a key role in the battle, forcing some ships to navigate around them and keeping them out of the battle at critical times.

TheGM: Imperial forces deployed first; the Tau second. After deployment, the Imperial players were allowed to redeploy two ships and/or squadrons to represent a redeployment as a response to long-range auspices indicating the Tau’s approach.

Both combatants deployed troops with the aim of flanking their opponents. This would have a key impact on the battle.

09:15 (Imperial Turn one)

Imperial auspices identify 16 Tau vessels approaching in two separate wings. All ships go on full alert and accelerate toward the xeno threat.

Enemy vessels are out of range of most ship weaponry, but The Emperor’s Fist fires its Nova Cannon and destroys a Tau Defender-class Starship (frigate size) belonging to Squadron Or’es.

All capital ships launch torpedoes. The Emperor’s Fist launches eight bombers (Starhawk Class), and the Sword of Retribution launches four fighter escorts (Furies Class) that advance under cover of the 18-torpedo spread that races toward the xenos.

On the Imperial right flank, the 35th Frigate Squadron and 22nd Destroyer Squadron were deployed on the far side of a sizable asteroid field, in hopes of avoiding Tau scanners and taking the xeno flank by surprise.

Alas, Imperial auspices quickly identified xeno scans of the squadrons, and with surprise lost, both squadrons accelerated to clear the edge of the asteroid field and join the fight as soon as possible.

On the Imperial left flank, the 117th Frigate Squadron is grossly outnumbered and faces destruction if it fights a traditional head-on battle. The squadron leader orders All Ahead Full to mitigate the accuracy of enemy fire.

09:45 (Tau Turn One)

On the left flank of Tau fleet, the Io’Pak and Io’Kor launch a total of 10 torpedoes and two fighters in an attempt to thin out the massive ordinance attack coming at them.

Twelve Imperial torpedoes are intercepted, but the surviving torpedoes and bombers continue toward the Tau fleet.

One frigate of Squadron Or’es comes within range and targets the Minataur with its railgun batteries, but the mighty Imperial cruiser’s shields absorb the high-energy shells before they strike home.

Fire from Squadron Mor’la turns one destroyer of the 99th Destroyer Squadron into a hulk. All hands are lost.

The Tau right flank, seeking to outflank the main Imperial attack, also orders All Ahead Full and passes through the 117th Frigate Squadron. Ships on both sides pass one another too quickly for auspices to lock onto targets.

Click here to read Part 2 of the battle.

Click here to see more great artwork from Michael Arenander (Taumich) at

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our wargaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

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