“Fenris breeds heroes like a bar breeds drunks – loud, proud, and spoiling for a fight.”—Grand Master Belial of the Dark Angels
Sometime in the next few days, Cardinal Esau Gurney of Brimlock will make a historic and momentous speech in which he will call for an Imperial crusade to purge the insidious Tau.
He will curse this xeno species for infiltrating numerous Imperial worlds and encouraging them to turn from the Emperor’s light. He will demand that this heresy and treason be stamped out.
This military campaign will become known as the Damocles Gulf Crusade.
In anticipation of this speech, a shuttle bearing Approbator Adonai Drusus—an acolyte of Inquisitor Georgene Serillian of the Ordo Xenos—made a visit to a Space Wolves strike cruiser commanded by Great Wolf Lokaar Fell-Hand.
The visit was unwelcomed, as the Space Wolves have a troubled history with the Inquisition, and the Great Wolf was openly hostile as Drusus negotiated an audience with Fell-Hand.
The two men met, and Drusus explained that the Inquisition would forego any questions as to why Space Wolves were operating in the Corvus Cluster, half a galaxy away from Fenris.
But the Ordo Xenos wanted something in return. The Great Wolf would take his Space Wolves to the rebellious Garrus Colony and conduct a series of intelligence-gathering raids.
Drusus wanted information on Tau military forces on the colony, as well as information on hostile troop deployments and Tau sympathizers within the colony’s government.
Refusing this “request” was not an option.
* * *
++ Ordo Xenos Departmento Analyticus ++
+ —Mission Report, Grassus Colony, Timbra Sub-Sector— +
+++ Testimony of Approbator Adonai Drusus [0983-Xf5-83/q/23.736], Ordo Xenos, Xeno-Convlave of Vigilia +++
+ Truthsayer: Brecius Joduc, Sanctioned Psyker, Terio Grade, Ordo Xenos, Xeno-Conclave of Vigilia +
As per your instructions, the Wolf Pack under the command of Lokaar Fell-Hnd was recruited to conduct a series of intelligence missions designed to facilitate upcoming military operations against the Tau.
On 3 873 741.M41, elements of Fell-Hand’s Wolf Pack arrived at the Gallus Colony and launched a series of raids with the following objectives: To gather intelligence on Tau military troop strength, the deployment of troops, and the location of key military logistical and commander centers.
A secondary objective was, as possible, to discern the loyalty (or disloyalty) of PDF commanders—and also identify Imperial government officials engaged in heretical and treasonous activities.
The Wolves’ initial mission occurred on 3 876 741.M41. A small Space Wolf force—consisting of a 10 Gray Wolves (a tactical squad), five Blood Claws (assault troops), and five Wolf Scouts—attacked an isolated Tau encampment on the arid Mories Plateau in Garrus’ southern hemisphere.
This mission was led by Great Wolf Fell-Hand himself.
The Space Wolves managed to close within 50 meters of the enemy camp before the Tau were alerted to the presence of hostile forces.
The xenos responded with alarming efficiency. Their entire contingent—consisting of 10 Fire Warriors, a 10-strong Breacher Team, four gun drones, a Devilfish transport, and two Piranha skimmers—were deployed for action within 40 seconds.
Yet that quick response was too late: The Wolves initiated combat, their first volley of boltgun fire killing three xenos.
The Wolves divided their forces and attacked from the north and south of the Tau camp. For simplicity’s sake, I have taken the liberty of foregoing an entirely chronological description of the battle and, instead, will focus on each attack force separately.
Attack from the South
Great Wolf Fell-Hand led the Gray Wolves into battle. This squad was responsible for the initial xeno casualties, but it quickly found itself confronted by a counterattack.
A Devilfish-class armored transport raced at the squad and, to avoid being crushed by the vehicle, the Space Wolves were forced to divide into two groups as they moved out of the path of the xeno vehicle.
The Tau quickly targeted the five Space Wolves isolated to the right of the transport. First, three Stealth Suits used their jump packs to descend in front of the Astartes and open fire. At the same time, a 10-strong Breacher Team disembarked from the transport and added the fire of their powerful pulse shotguns.
Four Space Wolves, including the Terminator-armored squad leader, were brought down with this initial volley.
Although a devastating reverse, Great Wolf Fell-Hand responded with the aggression typical of a Space Wolf commander. Activating his power fist, he smote the xeno transport a fatal blow, causing an explosion that engulfed the remaining Space Wolves and the entire Breacher Team.
The Space Wolves, blessed with power armor, survived this explosion with no apparent damage. More than half the Tau warriors, however, were killed, and the rest were shot dead by the outraged Astartes.
The Stealth Suits attempted to withdraw but were quickly pursued by Fell-Hand and his warriors. Boltgun fire killed the armored suits before the could escape, and the Space Wolves then advanced on a handful of Fire Warriors deployed amidst some supply crates about 30 meters away.
These xenos were quickly killed.
Attack from the North
This attack was led by the five Blood Claws and a Rhino transport carrying the Wolf Scouts.
In their advance, the Blood Claws managed to reach their target: a squad of Fire Warriors defending this side of the camp. Two xenos were killed by a Blood Claw’s flamer. The rest fell back, as heretical AI-commanded gun drones moved forward to screen their flesh-and-blood masters.
The Space Wolves did not hesitate to attack the drones. The melee was a draw: the Tau drones fought poorly, but they were well armored. There were no casualties on either side.
But the drones had served their purpose. They allowed the Fire Warriors to regroup and form a firing line. The drones withdrew, and Tau fire killed one Blood Claw.
To the east, the two Tau Piranha’s targeted the Rhino, but the transport’s armor deflected the fire of the xenos’ powerful fusion blasters. Frustrated, the enemy skimmers turned and targeted the Blood Claws.
The combined power of a second Fire Warrior volley, supported by the Piranhas and gun drones, took down the remaining Blood Claws.
Space Wolves Triumphant
This victory was too little, too late. Although the Tau had put up a formidable defense, the xenos now found themselves in a vice–caught between the disembarking Wolf Scouts and the delayed advance of Fell-Hand and his remaining Gray Wolves.
One officer of unclear rank, later identified as a Shas’ui, was captured. All other xenos were executed without mercy.
Despite being downed, only one Space Wolf suffered fatal wounds. The resilience of the Astartes is truly astonishing.
This raid and subsequent raids conducted by the Space Wolves gathered several valuable prisoners, as well as a sizable collection of what can only be described as the Tau equivalent of data crystals, data slates, and cogitators.
Using unique and highly classified translation technology, our team of intelligence analysts have examined numerous Tau documents and conclude that the objectives of these raids have been satisfied.
We now can provide Imperial commanders with a detailed understanding of Tau military efforts—and, once Gallus Colony is conquered, the information will allow our Inquisition stormtroopers to identify, capture, and/or execute civilian heretics and traitors who are in league with the xenos.
— End Report —
TheGM: This 600-point battle was an opportunity for The Gaffer to test his Space Wolves against a new foe. The Tau proved a formidable opponent, but Fell-Hand’s counterattack and the explosion of the Devilfish was decisive.
The Space Wolves have struck an early blow for the upcoming the Damocles Gulf Crusade.
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Categories: Damocles Campaign