IMPERIAL NEWS REPORT—More than 200,000 orks attacked the siege lines surrounding the capital city of Hegira last week. The xenos managed to penetrate the outer trench line—and threatened to break through the inner trenches—to the south of the city.
At great cost, however, the greenskin attack was repulsed.
Advance warning of the impending assault helped defeat the attack, Imperial authorities say. Ironically, the warning was provided by the xenos themselves. Three days before sending troops forward, the orks opened a massive artillery bombardment on a 20-kilometer stretch of the southern siege line, just north of the ruins that once comprised the Caratice Housing Development.
“On one hand, it was disturbingly sophisticated for the orks to organize such a massive bombardment before their attack,” said Tiberius Vectrix, commander of the Hegira Planetary Defense Force. “But, at the same time, the effort they put into shelling that part of the line was a clear sign of where the attack would focus.”
Over the course of the xeno bombardment, dozens of regiments were redeployed into a reserve behind the targeted trench lines, ready for what was certain to be a life-or-death struggle for the fate of the desert moon.
For those in the forward trenches, however, the struggle to stay alive already was under way. Thousands of Imperial troops were killed over the three days of ork shelling, although the majority were able to weather the bombardment by retreating to the hundreds of fortified bunkers, redoubts, and underground barracks built over the previous two years.
The shelling stopped at dawn on 3 735 740.M41, and Imperial troops hurriedly took up their position on the trench lines—and not a minute too soon. The roar and bellowing of ork warriors could be heard in the twilight, and observation towers reported a flood of orks crossing “no man’s land.”
This first wave of the attack was estimated at 50,000 greenskins. The order was given immediately for Imperial artillery to open fire at pre-arranged positions, and thousands of Basilisks, Battle Cannons, Bombards, Earthshakers, Thudd Guns, and Wyverns dropped a rain of death upon the xenos.
The bombardment was so intense that guardsmen in the forward trenches reported that they could see nothing in front of them but flame, rising clouds of dirt, and smoke. But despite the hellish landscape, observers eventually discerned figures emerging from the dark haze that shrouded the battlefield. To the horror of the defenders, it quickly became apparent that the Imperial bombardment had not stopped the attack. Although xeno casualties from shellfire would later be estimated at 20,000, at least 30,000 orks were still advancing.
With a clear target to their front, the front-line troops had no time to worry about their fate. The order went out to open fire. Still a kilometer from the trenches, the orks were first targeted by the largest weapons in the Imperial arsenal: Battle Cannons mounted on Firestorm Redoubts and Vengeance Weapon Batteries. As the orks advanced, troops along the trench line finally opened up with their heavy weapons: heavy bolters, heavy stubbers, lascannons, missile launchers, and mortars.
When the orks came within 300 meters of the trenches, Imperial Guard and PDF troopers opened up with tens of thousands of lasguns.
Despite this intense fire, nearly 20,000 orks managed to close with the trenches. Ignoring the point-blank fire and their massive casualties, the xenos swarmed over thetrenches, and the greenskins finally managed to achieve their goal of getting into hand-to-hand combat with the defending humans.
Within another hour, the xenos managed to seize several kilometer-wide stretches of the outer trench line. One large mob, known as Warhog’s Warriors, swept aside the defenses of the 112th PDF Regiment and stormed Bastion #29, where Warhog, a monstrous four-meter-tall ork warlord, smashed open its front entrance with a Power Klaw. The bloodbath that followed need not be described. It is enough to know that the bastion fell.
Click here to read Part 2 of the battle.
Click here for more great artwork by Carl Holden.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Hegira Campaign, History
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