Hegira Campaign

Orks advance in Sea of Dust

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Imperial troops fire a volley at point-blank range at the assaulting orks.

IMPERIAL VOXCAST—A sizable force of orks has has broken through the imperial defenses in Hegira’s Sea of Dust.

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Although the majority of orks are fighting around Susa City (center-top), another horde of orks broke through the Imperial defenses in the Sea of Dust (right arrow).

On 3 825 741.M41, a xeno mechanized force estimated at 30,000 stormed the defenses of the 77th Hegira PDF Regiment, which was deployed at an oasis in the southeast corner of the Sea of Dust, approximately 100 kilometers from the Vastian Mountain Range.

According to military authorities, the orks took advantage of a depression in the normally flat desert plains to hide their approach to the regiment’s position. As a result, Imperial troops were unaware of the greenskin advance until the xenos were less than half a kilometer away.

“The orks caught us with our pants down,” one officer said. “Normally, we would spot—and start shooting—at the greenskins when they were still several kilometers away. This time, our troops barely had time to deploy for battle before the orks were upon them.”

Despite the xenos’ cunning trickery, the 77th Regiment is a combat-experienced unit, and its heavy weapons managed to bloody the nose of the xenos, officials report. Several greenskin vehicles were disabled before they could reach the Imperial line.

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Imperial troops complained about the lack of air support. In this pict, an ork Dakkajet strafes the Imperial line.

Bloody Scrum

Still, the majority of xeno vehicles did close on Imperial troops. Some ork transports screeched to a half right in front of the troops, and hundreds of orks disembarked and charged the Imperial line. Other ork vehicles simply rammed the infantry line, crushing scores of soldiers as the vehicles roared through and moved deep into the Imperial rear.

Over the next 20 minutes, the combatants were locked in a bloody scrum of hand-to-hand combat, military officials said. One monstrously sized ork, believed to be a Warboss, was seen crushing the front hull of a Hellhound tank with his Power Klaw.

Elsewhere, one mob of orks reportedly chopped its way through a conscript unit, which was deliberately sacrificed to slow the ork advance. As they were slaughtered, more veteran troops to the rear fired into the melee, killing both xenos and conscripts indiscriminately.

Another ork mob swarmed over a Chimera transport and eventually tore the armored vehicle apart.

“The orks fought like the maniacs they are,” one witness to the battle reported. “But the 77th stood its ground, its volley fire slaughtering thousands of orks and noticeably thinning the greenskin horde.”

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The tide of battle turned in favor of the greenskins with the arrival of a squadron of Dakkajets.

Strafing Run

The course of the battle changed with the arrival of a squadron of Dakkajets, officials say. Strafing Imperial lines, the xeno aircraft had the good fortune to kill the battalion commander and his executive officer.

“The loss of top officers left the 77th leaderless at a critical point in the battle,” one military analyst explained. “No one was watching the bigger picture and, when reserves were needed to plug some holes in the Imperial line, there was no one to spot the need—or to order the reserves forward.”

As the battle progressed, the ranks of ork and Imperials thinned appreciably. But, officials say, the arrival of a Deff Dread walker, a mob of Warbuggies, and a squadron of Deffkoptas on the Imperial left flank finally broke the Imperial line.

“Although the Warboss was killed by a shell fired by a Lemon Russ tank, the Deff Dredd managed to wipe out a Chimera transport and a squadron of Sentinels that anchored the flank,” an official said. “That created an opening that a squadron of Warbuggies raced through, and as the orks got behind the front line of troops, panic set in.”

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When the Imperial left flank is broken, ork Warbuggies sweep behind Imperial troops and cause panic throughout the regiment.

Panic and Defeat

With most commanders already dead, this panic spread to the rest of the regiment, and some soldiers began an unauthorized withdrawal from the fighting, another official added.

“Once men begin to fall back, it doesn’t take much for them to start running,” he explained.  “You need a solid command structure to organize a fighting withdrawal, and there were no senior officers left to provide that leadership. The regiment broke and fled.”

Although the Commissariat—through a liberal use of summary executions—ultimately brought order to the fleeing troops, the damage was done, officials say. 

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The orks managed to break through the Imperial defenses, but their numbers were too few to pose a major threat. Still, Imperial leaders could not deploy sufficient troops to destroy the bulge in the Imperial line, and troops were forced to withdraw 50 kilometers to restore their defensive line.

“More than 20,000 orks followed up behind the initial attack, slipped through Imperial lines, and began racing north,” one official said.  “To stop this threat, a general withdrawal was ordered for nearly 200,000 guardsmen. We are now attempting to get ahead of the ork advance, block it, and  the establish a new defensive line about 50 kilometers north of the battle  site.”

The defeat, coming so soon after orks managed to break through the defenses of Susa City, has some analysts questioning whether the Imperial army can hold back the ork invaders.

“There’s this sense of brittleness to our lines,” one military analyst shared, insisting on anonymity for fear of disciplinary action. “The troops are tired after all these years of war. The orks, on the other hand, are eager for another fight.”

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

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