Imperial Voxcast (6 913 740.M41)—The town of Antiem, a key agricultural processing center in the Lorca Basin, fell to traitor forces today.
Warriors of the Death Guard and Tainted Souls cult entered the town at approximately 19:30, just minutes after defending Imperial forces withdrew under heavy pressure from the enemy.
“The 44th Dozarian PDF Regiment fought valiantly for six hours to keep the traitor scum from entering the town,” announced military authorities in a written statement released an hour ago.
“Severe casualties were suffered by the traitors, but their numbers were simply too great to hold off.”
Sources requesting anonymity say, however, that Imperial forces actually outnumbered the Death Guard—but that, the traitor Astartes’ skill at arms simply was far superior to the hastily trained PDF troops sent to stop them.
The fight for Antiem began at approximately 13:20. Two battalions of the 44th Regiment were deployed just outside the eastern edge of the town, using a line of trees for cover.
In an unusual move, the Death Guard attempted a sophisticated, if risky, “double envelopment” of Imperial troops.
“Military convention says you’re not supposed to divide your forces in the face of the enemy, but the Death Guard are highly skilled warriors,” said one senior Imperial Guard officer who insisted on anonymity.
“They sent half their Astartes troops, supported by cultists, against the right flank of the Imperial line, moving through corn and woods to cover their advance from Imperial fire. The other half of their Astartes troops drove Rhino transports through the woods on the Imperial left and simply charged right into the heart of our defenses.”
A Stout Defense
Some observers say this two-prong attack almost failed. On the Imperial right flank, nearly a score of Death Guard warriors fell as they advanced through the woods and were ambushed by a heavy weapons squad armed with assault cannons. Supporting these heavy weapons were two companies of troopers that poured lasgun fire into the traitors.
Heavy mortar fire also targeted the enemy and, as one officer noted, “tore apart” a column of cultists identified as the Tainted Souls, a heretical war party that supposedly worships a heathen god of pestilence.
“It looked as if we had the enemy attack under control . . . until a Helbrute charged towards us,” one trooper said of the fighting. “The monster came straight at us. Our lasguns just bounced off it. When it reached our firing line, it just started ripping soldiers to pieces.”
One officer said the presence of an enemy psyker also turned the tide in favor of the enemy. “It looked to be a traitor Astartes; he was wearing tactical armor. He waved his arms, and this green cloud shot forward from him and swept over a nearby platoon. Soon, soldiers were screaming, grabbing at their eyes, as their flesh seemed to just melt.”
Such witchcraft was not limited to the fighting itself. For days, rumors had spread that hundreds of soldiers were suffering from illnesses contracted during the fighting on 6 905 740.M41. It is well established that most front-line troops are equipped with respirators and undergo intensive antibiotic treatments to limit the impact of the pestilence that is linked to the traitor Astartes.
These protective measures have not been made available to all second-line troops, including the 44th Regiment.
“There is a sickness surrounding the Death Guard,” one guardsmen shared. “Not everyone gets sick. But if you don’t have a respirator, the odds can catch up with you. You start coughing. Then you start coughing up blood. Next thing you know, you’re dead.”
Indeed, unofficial reports suggest more than 100 men in the 44th died in the days before today’s battle.
Seeing men succumb to the psyker’s witchcraft, falling to the ground in convulsions, bleeding from their noses and mouths, was the last straw for the soldiers fighting on the 44th’s right flank. As more men fell to the psyker’s witchcraft, and with scores of Death Guard warriors closing on the Imperial line, the remaining 400 guardsmen on the line simply turned tail and ran.
“The commissars were busy today,” said one embittered trooper. “But no matter how many men they shoot for running, a lot more would have died if they’d stayed and fought.”
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Dozaria Campaign