Tophet Campaign

Necron threat ends on Tophet (Part 1)

Sternguard with meltaguns land by drop pod in the midst of the Necron lines. Their first target was a nearby Doomsday Ark.

Imperial Bulletin (6 369 741.M41)—The citizens of Tophet are celebrating in the streets as news spreads that the Knights of Altair have won a great victory over the Necrons, and that other Imperial forces are taking advantage of this xeno defeat to launch a series of offensives intended to drive the enemy from the planet.

“Victory appears inevitable,” General Aldo Backus, senior commander of Imperial Guard and Planetary Defense Forces on Tophet, announced within hours of the Space Marines’ victory.

“The xenos are in full retreat, and it appears that their forces are beginning to evacuate the planet.”

Planetary military leaders are hailing the generalship of High Marshal Adrias Ioculus of the Knights of Altair, who led his Astartes forces in a series of attacks that shattered the Necrons’ years-long advance across Tophet.

“Since his arrival, High Marhsal Ioculus has led his Knights to victory after victory,” General Backus said. “For years we watched the Necrons seize more and more of our planet, but High Marshal Ioculus’s mastery of warfare immediately changed the course of the war.”

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Having pushed the Necrons out of the strategically important Cappadocia Manufacturums, the Knights refused to surrender the initiative in the war. They immediately pushed into the rural countryside and kept the attack going against the xeno invaders.

Breaking the enemy

The latest battle appears to have broken the back of the Necron army, military observers crow. Having pushed the Necrons out of the Cappadocia Manufacturums, a strategically vital industrial area outside the city of Rotenna, the High Marshal refused to let up the pressure on the xeno invaders.

Instead, he immediately pushed his forces forward and, on 6 369 741.M41, elements of the 1st and 2nd Companies of the Space Marine Chapter engaged the xenos in the rural countryside outside the manufactorums.

The first wave of the attack was spearheaded by drop pods, which fell from the skies to land in the midst of the Necron army, and that was followed by Astartes tanks advancing across the countryside to break through Necron lines and join up with the landing drop pods.

A mechanized force of Necrons quickly counterattacked, but “first blood” went to the Knights. A squad of teleporting Astartes in Terminator Armor appeared alongside an advancing Annihilation Barge and used their Power Fists to smash the xeno vehicle into the ground.

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Astartes equipped with Terminator Armor used their Power Fists to bring down a deadly Annihilation Barge that spearheaded the Necron counterattack.

But the Necrons revealed a highly sophisticated ability to maneuver. A unit of Destroyers dropped from the sky behind a Predator tank and blasted through its vulnerable rear armor, leaving the noble vehicle a smoking wreck. Meanwhile, a Necron aircraft, believed to be a Doom Scythe, disabled a Vindicator tank.

Amidst this fighting, the Necrons deployed their most destructive weapon system,  known as a Monolith. A massive pryamid-shaped hovercraft, which towered nearly 30 meters tall, transported in front of the Knight lines and opened fire with a slew of deadly weapons.

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The Necron defenses were thrown into turmoil when drop pods landed amidst their forces. Disembarking Space Marines caused havoc among the xenos, and Astartes armor and transports rushed forward to take advantage of the enemy’s confusion.

Yet, even the intimidating presence of the Monolith did not slow the Astartes advance, Gen. Backus said. “Scores of Rhino armored transports advanced directly at the xeno atrocity and engaged it in combat.”

Other sources say that assessment is inaccurate. One military observer,  who watched the Astartes advance through hovering pict-recorders, noted that the Knights’ forces targeted two key positions inside the Necron lines.

“Several squads of Astartes, supported by bikers, sought to gain control of a road in the northwest corner of the battlefield, while other squads pushed northeast to a forest near a xeno command post.”

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The Necrons responded aggressively to the threat of Space Marines landing close to their command center. Here, Necron “Wraiths” and a Ghost Ark filled with Necron Warriors attack a tactical squad that seized the woods near the enemy HQ.

Xeno resistance

Both objectives were hotly contested by the xenos. A wave of Necron infantry advanced to contest control of the road. Farther east, strange constructs known as “Wraiths” battled with Astartes infantry in hand-to-hand fighting that lasted more than an hour.

Witnesses to the fighting praised the resolve  of the Astartes. A squad of advancing bikers wiped out a unit of Necron warriors, while a tactical squad wiped out a group of powerful melee-oriented xenos [Classification: Lychguard]. The Terminators on the ground, although heavily outnumbered, stood off repeated attacks by Necron warriors.

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After destroying an Annihilation Barge, the squad of Terminators turned to face a horde of Necron warriors that disembarked from the towering Monolith. Although outnumbered four-to-one, the Terminators repulsed every xeno attack.

As the battle wore on, more Necron troops joined the fighting. In the eastern woods, the Astartes struck down the last of the Wraiths, but a Ghost Ark arrived to disembark a new wave of Necron Warriors. A spider-like construction, often called a “Spyder,” joined the battle against the Astartes troops on the road.

The Necrons also attempted to turn the right flank of the Astartes. After the Destroyers felled the Predator on that flank, a squadron of hover craft [Classification: Tomb Blades] arrived and joined the Destroyers as they sought to drive deep behind the Astartes’ lines.

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The Doomsday Ark in the northwest corner of the battlefield was destroyed by the combined fire of Sternguard and a Sicaran Relic tank. As more Necron warriors appeared in the center, the Space Marines were hard-pressed to hold their gains. To the northeast, a tactical squad held off every Necron assault, but in the southeast, a horde of Destroyers and Tomb Blades attempted to turn the Astartes’ flank.

The greatest danger to the Space Marines appeared halfway through the day’s fighting. A unit of Necron snipers [Classification: Deathmarks] teleported ahead of the flanking Destroyers and Tomb Blades—and surprised an Astartes squad waiting in reserve.

To meet this threat, High Marshal Ioculus, who with his Honor Guard was advancing to join the fighting to the north, ordered his personal Land Raider to turn around and meet this new threat.

Click here to read the conclusion of the battle.

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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