Murad Hamzah was born on 3 231 696.M41 in the hive city of Totallia, a bustling merchant center on the desert world of Morkai.
His parents were relatively senior officials in the Administratum, a social position that enabled them to send their first born to the prestigious Military Academy, sponsored by the sector’s Departmento Munitorum.
Hamzah proved an able cadet, a natural leader, and, upon graduation, easily obtained a military commission with the Morkai Planetary Defense Force (PDF) on his 18th birthday.
As a young lieutenant, Hazmadh participated in several minor pogroms against the planet’s restless mutant population. In 719.M41, he earned a commendation for leading the defense of his unit’s flank when, during a raid of the underhives of Charcharoth, PDF troops were besieged by rioting mutants.
Five years later, Hamzah was promoted to the rank of captain and given command of a company that participated in a campaign of retribution against the Bashda tribe, a nomadic people who populated the wastelands between the hive city of Charcharoth and the ruins of Vallbara.
The Bashda, who began attacking trade caravans approaching Charcharoth, ambushed a sizable caravan in 724.M41 and killed more than a 100, including women and children. Over the next six months, Hamzah led raids against small nomadic camps, and his company led the attack company during the largest battle of the campaign: the Bloodbath of Taqir Plateau, which saw 2,000 tribesmen killed and the tribe’s abject surrender.
By 736.M41, Hamzah had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel and was assigned command of the 17th Battalion, part of the 14th Morkai Regiment. The next four years were relatively quiet for the officer, with his battalion primarily involved in desert patrols and riot suppression in the Charcharoth underhive.
Sent to War
Increasing raids by mutants from the abandoned city of Ungolath forced military authorities to begin operations to contain the threat, and Hamzah was ordered in mid-740.M41 to march the 17th Battalion to the Nisa Ruins in the Thar Desert Basin. His orders were to secure the ruins, with the expectation that Imperial reinforcements would follow and create a forward base for more aggressive operations against Ungolath.
On 3 772 740.M41, Hamzah’s troops reached the Nisa Ruins, only to find them occupied by a equally sized mutant force. Immediately launching an attack, his battalion drove the mutants from the ruins, but powerful enemy flanking attacks forced him to abandon the ruins and withdraw south to the Madad’za Channel, a deep wadi that cuts across the basin.
Ten days later, mutant forces advanced on Hamzah’s command and launched a brutal attack. Using sophisticated ambush tactics, mutants manage to infiltrate the 17th Battalion’s flanks and cause significant Imperial casualties.
As losses mounted to unacceptable levels, Hamzah ordered a retreat to the Khazadan Tribal Lands. But, on 3 813 740.M41, the mutants sought to corner the withdrawing Imperials and give battle.
With troop morale low, the 17th Battalion’s combat effectiveness was low. Although troops managed to hold the front and center of the Imperial line, mutant troops successfully broke through the right flank, and elite mutant troops advanced deep into Imperial lines and directly toward Hamzah’s hreadquarters.
Although Imperial troops rushed to their commander’s aid, it was too late. Witnesses report that Hamzah fell to a huge, six-armed mutant who sliced him in half with a swipe of a razor-sharp claw. These mutants then charged nearby units, and the battalion broke and fled.
Defeat and Death
The failure of Hamzah in this campaign is attributed to insufficient troops being sent to the scene, but, privately, several senior officers have been critical of his battlefield competence.
“He knew how to deal with a hive riot, but clearly he proved inadequate on the field of battle,” one officer noted.
Whatever the truth, Morkai’s General Elector Fabius Nemetorius posthumously awarded Hamzah the Madallion of Bravery for “a lifetime of service to the God-Emperor of Man.”
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