ALERT TO ALL IMPERIAL VESSELS: Patrol 17-01 was attacked at 08:09 today by ork warships while engaged in a routine patrol of the central asteroid belt of the Sculptor System. One enemy capital ship was identified as “Da Butcher,” the xeno vessel that destroyed the Imperial cruiser, “Blessed Ignorance,” in 735.M41.
After the disappearance of the ork warship, Da Butcher, responsible for the destruction of an entire Imperial navy flotilla, and with the ongoing the Tau naval force operating above Media III, Fleet Corvus has maintained a rigorous patrol of Imperial-held regions of the Sculptor System.
One strategic concern has been the central asteroid belt between Sculptor IV and V. In 735. M41, Da Bucher defeated an entire flotilla single-handedly but escaped Imperial retribution by disappearing into the belt. In early 738.M41, the Tau seized the Decora Mining Base, also in the belt, after defeating an Imperial squadron.
On 3 963 738.M41, Patrol 17-01, consisting of the Lunar-Class cruiser, Spear of Argos, and three Firestorm-class frigates, was on routine patrol along the edge of the asteroid belt when long-range sensors identified a potential threat . . .
07:30—Long-range sensors offer warning of four unidentified vessels leaving the nearby asteroid belt. Their heading suggests an intercept course with Patrol 17-01.
07:32—All Imperial ships are put on General Quarters. All weapon batteries are armed and prepared for battle.
07: 43—Erratic energy readings from approaching vessels suggest the crude engine designs are likely of the ork species. Visual confirmation is soon acquired: Ork ships are on the attack.
Tactical Observation: On the bridge of the Spear of Argos, the patrol commander, Captain Iosis Hypatos, must decide on a course of action. His executive officer recommended the task force withdraw at full speed from the approaching ork ships. His argument: the smaller greenskin ships were likely designed for boarding actions, and it would be tactically sound to engage the orks at maximum weapons range.
It was a sound plan. But the orks had timed their ambush well. There was little time to react, and rather than turn his undefended rear to the enemy, the patrol maintained its heading and fired a broadside at the ork ships.
07:59—Ork ships accelerate. Sensors confirm that the configuration of smaller ships are not designed for boarding actions—but for ramming. All are targeting the Spear of Argos.
08:08—All combatants open fire at long range. No damage is done on either side, although the Spear of Argos and one Ramship suffer a temporary loss of shields to accurate fire.
08:17—After nearly ten minutes of targeting the Ramships, the Spear of Argos is struck by all three xeno vessels. Miraculously, damage is minimal, and two Ramships are destroyed as their hulls crumble against the thick hull of the Imperial cruiser.
08:19—The destruction of two of the three Ramships provides the Kill Kroozer with a clear shot of the Spear of Argos. The xeno ship’s powerful prow guns collapse the Imperial cruiser’s shields and causes minor damage to the cruiser’s hull.
Tactical Observation: The term “minor damage” is somewhat misleading. One of the destroyed Ramships created a 200-meter-in-diameter hull breach in the Spear of Argos, exposing 10 engineering decks to the vacuum of space and killing 800 crewmen.
The Kill Kroozer’s fire, in turn, caused structural damage to the thick plasteel spine of the Imperial cruiser.
For a five-kilometer-long warship, such damage did not immediately impact the combat effectiveness of the cruiser. Yet, if such damage continued to accumulate, the structural and operational integrity of the warship could be fatally compromised.
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