Strategic Update

A Strategic Update (Events of 739.M41) – Part 1

Speed Freaks managed a brief breakthrough of the Imperial defenses in the Sea of Dust.

A new year has begun, and with the turning of the calendar, the Corvus Cluster enters 740.M41. This is an exciting advance of the narrative campaign, as we are now just two years away from the momentous Damocles Crusade. (Shh! Don’t tell anyone. That’s a spoiler.)

As this website chronicles our adventures in this corner of the galaxy, it’s important to summarize the events of the past year (739.M41), so we have a background for events yet to come.

As usual, the most active battleground in the Corvus Cluster occurred in the Sculptor System, where there are ork invaders on the moon of Hegira and Tau invaders in control of Media III and fighting for control of the agri-world of Dar Sai.

Let’s review how things turned out.

Bloodshed and exhaustion slow fighting on Hegira

At the beginning of 739.M41, the ork invaders had been fighting on Hegira for five years. During that time, they’d seized the entire southern half of the desert moon and marched their armies to the doorsteps of Susa City, the center of Imperial rule and the greatest bastion of the Imperial defenses.

Some citizens were convinced that nothing could stop the greenskins. The Imperial leadership was worried but still hopeful. A tough Imperial defense, along with massive orbital bombardments of xeno positions, had thinned the ork hordes advancing to the north. With new Imperial reinforcements arriving daily, and massive defensive works being built, Gen. Tiberius Vectrix, supreme commander of Hegira’s defenses, saw the ork offensive falter.

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Individual ork warlords chafed under the lack of ‘ead bashing over the year, and their frustration would build to a point where they’d launch an uncoordinated but violent attack on the Imperial lines.

The orks’ momentum may have slowed, but the greenskins nature could not be halted entirely. The first battle of the new year occurred in the Sea of Dust, a desert wasteland infamous for tempestuous electrical storms and deadly regions of “lightning sand,” where men and vehicles can sink suddenly into the desert sand and disappear forever.

On 3 004 739.M41, a mechanized ork force, known to guardsmen as “Speed Freaks,” attempted to break through Imperial lines.

In this battle, Imperial infantry, walkers, and artillery pummeled the ork forces, but the orks actually contributed mightily to their defeat. An ork psyker attempted to cast “Vortex of Doom” on Imperial troops, but the spell backfired, consuming the psyker, the ork warboss, and a quarter of the ork force.

The battle ended soon after. (Ork probe repulsed in Hegira’s Sea of Dust)

After years of battling ork invaders for control of the skies over Hegira, Imperial forces tried a new strategy to deal with the threat: Early in the year, the squadrons of Valkyries, supported by bombers of the Imperial Navy, began targeting xeno airbases in hopes of catching their aircraft on the ground. This campaign also is believed to have contributed to the inability of orks to continue offensive operations. (Rumors of the Underhive: 3 026 739.M41)

Wrapping up fighting early in the year, on 3 058 739.M41, the orks made a final attempt to seize Susa City. A massive ork army slammed into the Imperial defenses but were repulsed by the immense firepower of the 728th Cadian Regiment. (Ork invaders pushed back from Susa City)

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A Killa Kan attempts to break through the Imperial defenses near Susa City.

A lull in the fighting

After these assaults, large-scale military activity ended on the front lines. Although smaller, inconsequential fighting broke out in the months to follow (sparked by the insatiable ork desire for bloodshed), an uneasy stalemate settled over the moon.

Although purely speculative, rumors suggested another reason for the unaccountable ork inactivity. It was said that the ork supreme warlord, Kaptin’ Rumlar, was preoccupied with a Warp portal he discovered in M738.M41 near the Barad Mine. Rumlar was fascinated with the “shiny lights,” and there are military intelligence reports indicating some lesser ork warlords are getting frustrated and mutinous at Rumlar’s distraction and seeming disinterest in the fighting.

Whatever led to the relative quiet on the front lines, it was inevitable that orks, being orks, would pick up the fighting again. On 3 671 739.M41, for instance, a sizable greenskin force probed the defenses of the Topac Manufactorum, the last major industrial complex still under Imperial control.

In a battle ultimately decided by an ad hoc reserve force of military cooks, mechanics, and support personnel, the orks finally were forced back. (Orks press Imperial lines near Hegira’s Topac Manufactorum)

Finally, in the last days of the year, 3,000 orks probed the Imperial trench line in the Sea of Dust. Although the greenskins managed a minor breakthrough, they lacked the reserves to exploit their minor victory, and they were forced to withdraw. (Orks test Imperial defenses on Hegira’s Sea of Dust)

A scout fires his boltgun at approaching orks.

Wars of Brother-Sergeant Taridon

Although these larger military actions dominated public attention, there were countless minor clashes between opposing forces. In the “no man’s land” between Imperial and ork forces around Susa City, for example, a scout squad of the Knights of Altair engaged in repeated skirmishes with ork patrols.

On 3 007 739.M41, Brother-Sergeant Karael Taridon, commanding a small squad seeking intelligence on ork military deployments, was attacked by an ork patrol that had spotted his camouflaged encampment in the ruins of Susa City’s suburbs. The orks managed to steal the squad’s cache of supplies. (Ork warband attacks Space Marine camp in Hegira ruins)

A few weeks later, Squad Taridon was bested again in those ruins by an ork patrol that took possession of several abandoned pieces of Imperial technology that the scouts had been sent to recover. (Space Marines bested again outside Susa City)

The next clash came on 3 271 739.M41, when an attempt to ambush an ork force failed spectacularly (Orks defeat Space Marine scouts), and there were rumors that Brother-Sergeant Taridon was in danger of being demoted for his failures. But he redeemed himself when he met the orks a fourth time in an ambush that finally bested the greenskins. (Squad Taridon regain its honor against ork invader)

The Strategic Situation

Although the ork threat was contained in 739.M41, no one in the Hegira High Command believes that the greenskins are contained. Indeed, there remains an element of pessimism over the future of the desert moon.

Over the past year, the orks have used the manufactorums in the southern hemisphere to turn out massive quantities of war equipment, as well as bolster their numbers with specialist forces, such as battlewagons, burna boyz, dakkajets, kommandos, meganobs, and tankbustas.

Imperial forces have built up to meet this threat, but Rumlar is acknowledged as unusually tactically astute for an ork, and the Imperium cannot afford to lose much more territory and still maintain a sustainable defensive line. The fate of Hegira lies in the balance as never before.

Click here to read Part 2 of this summary.

Click here to see more of the great artwork of The-Goo-Goblin.

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

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