“The Astartes truly are a gift from the Emperor. How a handful of men, even equipped with power armor, can stand against hundreds of orks . . . even amidst the horrors of war, such a sight makes the heart soar.“—unidentified guardsmen, witness to the battle outside Susa City.
NEWS REPORT, Imperial Daily Bulletin to Citizens
Free-for-all erupts outside Hegira’s capital city
By Amicia Gellena
Bulletin Staff Write
The noble 4th Company of the Knights of Altair took on the ork invaders of Hegira yesterday in a battle that Imperial Guard observers describe as a “free-for-all of bloody slaughter.”
The eight-hour engagement, which took place in the embattled suburbs of Hegira’s capital city, saw both combatants tear into one another with abandon, witnesses reported. But there appeared to be a particular focus on bringing down combat leaders.
“Both orks and Astartes relentlessly charged at anyone who appeared to be in command,” said an Imperial Guard officer who observed the nearby battle through monoculars. “Any time an ork warlord bellowed orders, the Space Marines were all over him. Meanwhile, the orks appeared to take delight in rushing at any Space Marines whose armor appeared particularly ornate.”
The fighting began on the morning of 3 075 740.M41, when a squadron of Astartes armored transports [Classification: Rhino] advanced toward a recently constructed ork fortification in the no man’s land between ork and Imperial lines.
Supporting this advance was a platoon of Vanquisher tanks and several squads of Astartes bikers on the left flank of this advance.
“It was a stirring sight,” proclaimed Commissar-Major Rael Dracos, one of the most famous of the heroic defenders of the war-torn moon of Hegira.
The Orks Respond
The Space Marines were quickly challenged by the greenskin invaders. A number of Battlewagons, Trukks, and War Buggies broke free of the ork lines and rushed forward, accompanied by a horde of grots, ork mobs, and two Deff Dread walkers racing on foot to keep up.
This response was anticipated by the officer in charge of the Astartes attack, Brother-Chaplain Arnaud Sévin. As the lead Battlewagon approached the Space Marines, a fiery teardrop appeared overhead. It was a drop pod that landed on the flank of the massive ork vehicle.
Within seconds of landing, the drop pod’s petal-like doors dropped and out strode an ancient dreadnought, who fired upon the Battlewagon at point-blank range with its multi-melta.
Alas, the plasma of the weapon’s beam—as hot as the surface of a star—failed to melt through the heavy armor of the ork vehicle, which continued to rush forward toward the advancing Space Marines.
Not far away, as the orks closed the distance to the Space Marines, the advancing Astartes vehicles suddenly spun to a stop, creating a strong barrier of Ceramite and Plasteel between the greenskins and the Space Marines that quickly disembarked behind the vehicles and formed a firing line of boltguns.
An Ancient Hero Falls
Confronted by this obstacle, the orks uncharacteristically halted their charge, as if the xenos were unsure how to proceed. This pause was put to good use by the Astartes, whose bikers advanced on the weaker right flank of the orks. Supported by a Stormhawk Interceptor and the fire of a Whirlwind artillery piece, the Space Marines severely mauled a squadron of ork War Buggies and a mob of grots.
“The orks’ natural ferocity, however, soon overcame their confusion,” Dracos observed. “A mob of orks with anti-tank weaponry [Classification: Tankbustas], accompanied by a large warboss, leapt out of one Battlewagon and charged the dreadnought.”
The fight lasted nearly five minutes, observers noted. “The orks fired their anti-tank weapons at the metal giant, but their shells simply bounced off the walker’s armor. The firing stopped when the warboss reached it, and the two giants traded blows for what seemed an eon. But the warboss was quicker, and the greenskin leader finally sank its power klaw deep into the chest of the noble Astartes warrior.”
Meanwhile, another mob of orks charged the Astartes bikers. Over the course of the first few minutes of their advance, the bikers had nearly wiped out a squardon of War Buggies and slaughtered a mob of Grots. But, in their A fierce fight broke out as the warriors closed into melee and, to the horror of Imperial Guard observers, the bikers were eventually overwhelmed.
“They fell, but each Astartes took at least 20 of the green beasts with him to his grave,” one officer noted with tears in his eyes.
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