Given that the battle lines on Hegira [Sculptor IId] have changed little in the past two years, it would be easy for casual observers to believe the ork threat has been contained.
That’s far from true.
It’s true that Imperial defenses have held, but given the reproductive rate of the ork invaders, time is, in fact, on the side of the xenos. Although reinforcements have arrived to bolster the Imperial defenders, future reinforcements are not guaranteed as new military threats arise elsewhere in the Corvus Cluster.
What’s more, the orks have been far more active in recent months, suggesting they are replacing their heavy casualties and preparing for a “new push.” One sign of this threat is the increased, if still modest, attacks testing the Imperial defenses around Hegira’s capital, Susa City.
Battle of the Bastion
A typical action took place on 3 116 340.M41 along the southwest quadrant of the city. The orks had built a new fortification, an eight-story bastion that solidified the greenskin siege line and provided an unwelcome observation platform from which to spy on the entire Imperial defensive line.
When artillery and air strikes failed to topple the heavily armored construction, the 5th Platoon, 3rd Battalion, of the 728th Cadian Regiment was assigned the task of seizing and destroying the position.
This limited offensive began before dawn, as the 5th Platoon advanced under cover of darkness. Striking directly at the bastion was a veteran squad armed with demolition charges and meltaguns aboard a Chimera, with support from a Lemon Russ Battle Tank.
To the right of this strike force, four infantry squads and a heavy weapons squad, supported by a Chimera, attempted to outflank the bastion and strike from the rear. To the left, a single infantry squad was assigned the difficult task of screening the armor.
Advancing against ineffective enemy fire, the 5th Platoon advanced quickly. Spotting a mob of ork boyz in some nearby ruins, the Lemon Russ tank fired its battle cannon and heavy bolter but caused no casualties.
The orks’ response was immediate. The ork mob moved out of the ruins to support the bastion, while an Imperial spotter aircraft reported ork reserves moving forward toward the right flank of the Imperial force.
Poor Fire Control
As dawn arrived, visibility improved greatly. Given the immediate threat of the ork mob leaving the ruins, the Lemon Russ left the bastion’s destruction to the demolition squad and focused on ther boyz. But, in a repeat of its first fire, the Lemon Russ’ fire was again way off target. The battle cannon’s shell landed more than 50 meters behind the boyz.
Meanwhile, the Imperial flank attack was ordered to halt. With significant ork forces advancing, the 5th Platoon’s commander didn’t want to risk exposing his flank to the xenos. This weakened the attack on the bastion by more than 50 percent, but the commander reasoned that an ork attack on his flank would be just as effective in stopping his assault. Better to limit his casualties.
The ork boyz that left the ruins crossed open ground and took up a position behind the bastion, shielding themselves from the Lemon Russ’ fire. With no other target, the Lemon Russ fired at the bastion, yet again its fire veered far off course. Its heavy bolter managed to kill a single ork that stuck his head out from behind the bastion to observe the Imperials’ actions.
The Chimera carrying the demolition squad stopped at point-blank range of the bastion, and two guardsmen opened the vehicle’s top hatch and fired meltaguns at the structure. Both shots hit, but the fiery plasma did little beyond blackening the bastion walls.
By 07:00, the Imperial right flank reported that ork reinforcements had arrived by Trukk and on foot. Spotting the sizable Imperial force, the xenos slowed and appeared to ponder their next move.
On the left flank, ork reinforcements also arrived, but they were met by the Imperial screening force. An exchange of long-range fire left one ork dead.
Near the bastion, the Lemon Russ turned its fire against the orks on the left flank, which themselves had taken up a position in the ruins, and, for the fourth time in the battle, the tank’s fire veered wildly off target. On the right flank, a Chimera opened up on the ork reinforcements and killed two xenos with long-range fire.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.