Dar Sai Campaign

Imperial forces mauled outside Sandeep

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As the 11th PDF Regiment advances on the Tau defensive line, it is ambushed by a squadron of Crisis Suits that conduct an aerial drop in front of them. This unanticipated counterattack leads to the repulse of the regiment with heavy losses.

A major offensive to drive Tau invaders from the Sandeep Plains has failed, and Imperial troops  have been driven back with heavy losses.“—Imperial News Voxcast on Dar Sai, 3 572 741.M41.

Xeno firepower repulses Imperial attack

Heavy losses reported among PDF regiments

By Amicia Gellena
Bulletin Staff Writer

Two Planetary Defense Force (PDF) regiments were severely mauled today in a major offensive that was repulsed by the hated xeno invaders of our agri-moon.

The 11th and 14th PDF Regiments, supported by elements of the 728th Cadian Regiment, launched their attack at dawn against two Hunter Cadre of Tau deployed 20 kilometers west of the town of Sandeep.

“At 06:00, Imperial forces advanced in three major columns directly at the Tau, while an armored column attempted to outflank the xenos,” announced Captain Stevrous Stark, commanding officer of the offensive. “For the next two hours, we advanced steadily and inflicted heavy casualties on the xenos’ infantry forces.”

Multiple battles have been fought in recent years for control of this key crossroads in the arid and largely unpopulated central region of Dar Sai’s Great Continent. For the most part, Imperial forces have prevailed and stymied xeno efforts to seize the town of 20,000 residents.

This latest offensive was an attempt, Stark said, to ease the threat to Sandeep and force the Tau to divert troops that are advancing to the south in a bid to seize the port city of Malifax.

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Imperial forces attack in three large columns of men, while the 3rd Armored Battalion (top right) attempts to turn the xeno flank.

Xeno Reinforcements

As the morning wore on, however, the hard-pressed Tau were reinforced with armored forces that targeted the advancing PDF regiments with heavy ordinance.

“The advancing columns began taking heavy casualties as Pathfinder squads used sensors to direct the xeno fire of numerous Hammerhead tanks and Riptide walkers,” Stark said. “Despite their casualties, the regiments bravely maintained their advance.”

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The Imperial plan of attack was to send three infantry columns directly at the Tau and overwhelm the xeno defenses with numbers. Meanwhile, an armored column advanced to turn the enemy’s right flank.

The first serious reverse came at 10:20, when a sizable number of Crisis Suits conducted an airborne drop from overhead Manta gunships and landed with pinpoint accuracy directly in front of the 11th PDF Regiment.

“The regiment’s 2nd Battalion was nearly annihilated when eight of these armored battle suits landed only 30 meters in front of the troops and opened fire with 16 rapid-fire Bust Cannon,” Stark said. “Supported by the fire of nearby Fire Warriors and a Hammerhead tank firing high-explosive rounds,  the xeno battle suits slaughtered more than 400 troops in less than five minutes.”

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A new Tau aircraft, designated the “Barracuda class,” made its first appearance on the battlefields of Dar Sai. The aircraft appears to be faster and more powerfully armed than most Imperial aircraft.

New Xeno Aircraft

A different threat struck at the 14th PDF Regiment’s advance—a new and deadly xeno aircraft that has been assigned the designation: Barracuda.

By 11:00, the 14th’s artillery support had managed to punch sizable gaps in the center of the Tau infantry line, and PDF troops were closing on these positions. At this point, however, a dozen Barracuda aircraft swept across the battlefield and strafed Imperial forces.

Stunned by this unexpected attack, the advance faltered, allowing a half dozen Riptide battle suits—the xenos’ largest at nearly 20 meters tall—to counterattack and drive back the regiment.

“These aircraft have never been encountered before,” Stark acknowledged at a press conference this afternoon. “We believe they are part of a new wave of xeno reinforcements that have managed to reach the moon since the Imperial Navy’s blockade of Dar Sai was broken.”

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The Tau warlord, accompanied by bodyguards, conducts an aerial drop into the center of the 3rd Battalion’s armor column and savages its tanks with powerful Fusion Blasters.

Imperial Armor Savaged

By 02:30, Imperial forces were still in the fight. Senior military officials had hoped that the 3rd Armored Battalion of the 728th Regiment would outflank the xenos and turn the tide of battle.

It was not to be.

“Another wave of Crisis Suits dropped from the sky on the flank of 3rd Battalion and targeted our tanks and mechanized artillery with Fusion Blasters—anti-tank melta weapons  that are very effective at close range.  A score of heavily armored vehicles were put out of action, and our attempt to outflank the xenos was stymied.”

Although xeno infantry losses were significant, Imperial losses were equally high. What’s more, the xeno armored forces remained effective, while the 3rd Armored Battalion was in fullre treat—with the deadly Crisis Suits in pursuit.

“At this point, it is obvious that our attack has failed, and I have ordered the withdrawal of all Imperial forces,” Stark said.

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Tau weaponry dominated the battlefield. An aerial drop of Tau crisis suits (left top) devastated the 11th PDF Regiment, which suffered 90 percent casualties. The arrival of more Crisis Suits amidst the 3rd Armored Battalion forced the Imperial command to call off their planned flank attack. In the center, powerful shelling by Riptide battle suits and Barracuda aircraft stopped cold the 14th PDF Regiment.

Strategic Implications

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The Tau’s largest weapons system, Riptide-class battle suits, targeted the 14th PDF Regiment with highly accurate ordinance fire. Thousands of soldiers were killed long before they reached the Tau defensive line.

The severe losses suffered in this battle is worrisome to Dar Sai’s high command.

“Reserves are stretched thin across the moon,” noted one senior official. “That means the losses on the Sandeep front will be difficult to replace, and that raises the possibility of a future xeno attack to seize the town. And, if we lose the town, we likely will lose the entire region.”

Asked about such concerns, Stark angrily rejected such defeatist talk.

“Despite some setbacks, we have defended this world with our blood and guts, and with the Emperor looking over us, there is no possibility of defeat,” he said. “We have only just begun to fight.”

TheGM: What a one-sided battle! I’ve been trying a new Order of Battle for my Imperial Guard: large blob companies that can take all kinds of punishment thanks to the appointment of a commissar to each company of 30 to 50 men. I’m having some exciting success with these resilient formations.

Alas, the Tau’s firepower proved that a march across the table is too much even for my blobs. Although the xeno infantry suffered, the Tau walkers and tanks stayed in cover and were untouched throughout the battle.

What destroyed the Imperial forces, however, were a series of deep-striking Crisis Suits that landed exactly where they were needed—and their weapons fire was above average in effectiveness. One company of 40 guardsmen was wiped out in a single turn, and three tanks were demolished by Fusion Blasters.

This was an important battle. It gives the Tau an opportunity to attack the town of Sandeep. So, the next big fight on Dar Sai will determine the fate of the entire Sandeep Plains. If the xenos win, the momentum of the Tau advance will speed up, and I fear that Dar Sai could fall.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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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