Naval Battles

Astartes retake mining base in Sculptor System – Part 1

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After arriving by boarding torpedo, Brother-Sergeant Quintas and his squad were forced to fight their way across the Decora Mining Station to reach their objective: the primary reactor control room.

IMPERIAL VOXCAST ( 3 138 741.M41)—A  boarding action to retake the Decora Mining Base, which was first reported last week, apparently involved fierce hand-to-hand combat —yet not a single Space Marine was killed, Imperial authorities say.

Not a single xeno survived, either, authorities add with pride.

The boarding action occurred simultaneously with the naval battle between warships of the Knights of Altair Space Marine Chapter and the Tau Navy for control of the void surrounding the mining base.

(All military operations at or near the space station transpired on 3 127 741.M41.)

“Four tactical squads of Astartes were launched by boarding torpedoes from the strike cruiser, Imperial Creed, and successfully assaulted the mining base,” Imperial authorities announced in a published statement. “Penetrating the outer hull of the station, the torpedoes penetrated approximately 50 meters into the interior before stopping.”

“From there, Astartes spread throughout the station, eliminating xeno combatants as encountered and taking control of what was originally Imperial territory.”

The Knights of Altair moved quickly through the mining base, and it is impossible to provide a detailed account of all that transpired. But based on pict-recordings from the station’s security sensors, as well as information obtained from military sources, several notable firefights concerning one tactical squad have been reconstructed:

The first serious opposition to the Space Marines was encountered in a power conduit station where Tau fire warriors had deployed in force. The Space Marines had little difficulty slaughtering them.

Power Conduit Station

After boarding torpedoes penetrated the outer hull, several sections of the mining base lost atmosphere, the vaccum of the void killing scores of Tau personnel.

One tactical squad, Squad Quintas, led by Brother-Sergeant Quintas, breached the third vertical pylon of the space station. Disembarking, the airless corridors beyond spared them any resistance as they advanced through a series of hatches until entered an area that still retained its atmosphere.

From there, Quintas directed his squad to a power conduit station that would eventually lead him to his main objective: the mining base’s primary reactor.

Upon reaching the power conduit station, the squad came across a score of Fire Warriors that had taken up position in whatever cover they could find.

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To negate the threat of powerful xeno weaponry, Squad Quintas deployed a front line of space marines equipped with Breacher Shields. Creating a shield wall, the squad was able to advance despite the deadly firepower it encountered.

Knowing that Tau weapons were a serious threat to power armor, Quintas had equipped half his squad with Breacher Shields. Ordering these Astartes to the front, his squad advanced under the cover of a shield wall, all the while firing at the enemy with boltguns and shotguns.

Although shield wall protected his Astartes, the Tau made good use of cover, and Quintas reportedly determined that the ongoing firefight was taking too long. Concerned that enemy fire would eventually cause casualties, Quintas determined to take a more aggressive approach.

He ordered his men to throw frag grenades and charge.

The change in tactics proved effective. Shrapnel took down several xenos, and others  ducked behind cover. With the xeno firepower easing, the shield wall moved to the right, advancing steadily as they tossed more grenades.

To the left, meanwhile, Quintas led his less-encumbered Marines forward at a run. Although hit several times by enemy fire, only one marine fell wounded. The rest swept forward with chainswords and assault blades and quickly cleared their half of the massive chamber.

These Marines then circled behind the remaining Tau, trapping them against the advancing shield wall. There were no Tau survivors.

Main Corridor

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Squad Quintas advanced up a defended corridor. Nearly halfway to their objective, the squad faced nearly a score of Fire Warriors that had built a series of hasty barricades. This slowed the squad’s progress and gave the xenos more time to shoot at the Space M rines. By the time it broke through, nearly half the squad were casualties.

To reach the primary reactor, Quintas next led his marines toward the central ring of the space station and to the main corridor that traversed the station.

Recognizing the importance of this passageway, the Tau responded to the Astartes advance by setting up improvised  barricades—essentially a series of defensive lines—using storage containers, piping, and industrial equipment.

With time being of the essence, Quintas determined he had no  time to bypass these defenses. He had no choice but to launch a frontal assault on these  defense works.

Leading the attack was his shield wall, Quintas again relied on the extensive use of frag grenades to force his passage.

These grenades played havoc with the xenos, but their use in a confined space was dangerous, and one Marine suffered injury when a grenade fragment hit the thinner-armored wrist joint of his power armor. But half the Fire Warriors defending the first line of barricades were killed by the time the shield wall reached it, and it only took seconds of hand-to-hand combat to kill the remaining defenders.

At this point, the Tau showed their true treachery. As the Space Marines passed what appeared to be an empty storage chamber, several Fire Warriors and a Stealth Suit  appeared out of the shadows and ambushed the Astartes.

Thankfully, their initial fire failed to penetrate the Space Marines’ power armor. Ordering his squad forward, Quintas took on the task of dealing with this flanking attack on his own. After a desperate struggle that left him with minor injuries, the veteran sergeant eliminated the threat.

By this point, progress up the corridor was slowing. One Tau was armed with a powerful rail rifle, and the xeno shot down two Astartes before the Tau was hit in the skull by a boltgun shell fired by Apothecary Simeon  Gauthier, who  arrived at the scene just in time to reinforce the squad.

(The apothecary, as part of the command squad, had been fighting elsewhere on the station. Learning of the stiff resistance Squad Quintas had encountered, he’d hurried to provide assistance.)

By the time the squad reached the end of the corridor—and the final defense line—only Quintas, Gauthier, and two marines remained standing. Although outnumbered two to one, the Astartes charged, broke through the makeshift barricade, and slaughtered the remaining Tau.

Click here to read Part 2 of this boarding action.

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

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