Strategic Update

A Strategic Update (Events of 741.M41) – Part 1

The future of the Corvus Cluster looked grim at the beginning of 741.M41. Yet, through the sacrifice of our brave troops, the year ended with a glimmer of hope.“—Historitor Gregor Allemand, Galactic Backwater: History of the Corvus Cluster, published 013.M42

* * *

With the start of a new year, it is the tradition of the Corvus Cluster to review and summarize the events of the previous 12 months.

Many battles—both large and small in scope—were fought in 741.M41, and it’s difficult sometimes to look beyond the individual battles and see the broader picture. Thus this article will attempt to put everything in perspective. Here are the highlights:

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On Dozaria, Imperial troops panic at the approach of a mechanized Dearth Guard force. At the beginning of the year, such disgraceful scenes were observed across the Corvus Cluster—a worrisome sign that Imperial rule was seriously threatened.

• In one brilliant planetary campaign, the Knights of Altair smashed the Necron invasion on Tophet and sent the xenos fleeing.

• The Imperial defense of Hegira began to crumble, as the ork warlord, Rumlar, broke through the Imperial defenses around Hegira’s capital city—leaving the fate of the desert moon hanging in the balance.

• On Al’gel II, a brilliant strategm by the Tau finally led to an overwhelming victory against their ork opponents, and the blue-skinned xenos are looking at ending a years-long campaign.

• And, finally, the momentum of the Death Guard invasion of Dozaria appeared to have slowed as Imperial troops scored a number of critical victories.

On top of all this, one other development foreshadows a new and significant war. Seven years ago, when we began our narrative campaign, we set the calendar at 735.M41, with the intent that every year of the “real” calendar would represent one year in the campaign.

So, with the start of 2022, the Corvus Cluster enters 742.M41 and the launch of the Damocles Gulf Crusade.

Unofficially, the first shots already have been fired in this crusade. In late 741.M41, the Space Wolves were “encouraged” by the Inquisition to conduct a series of raids designed to gather intelligence for the crusade’s military planners.

In total, more than two dozen tabletop battles were fought last year (on average, one every two weeks), and I fully expect we’ll be as busy this year—particularly as Imperial troops prepare to cross the Damocles Gulf and take the fight to the Tau in a big way.

What follows is a more detailed analysis of the past year, designed for those historical scholars interested in a particular campaign.—TheGM

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A column of the 11th Armored Cadre advance against the orks on Al’gel II.

Tau break stalemate in Al’gel System

After five years of brutal fighting, the Tau finally seized control of the largest continent of Al’gel II, the most populated ork-infested world in the Al’gel System.

Long stymied by stubborn ork resistance, the Tau’s military leader, Commander Broadside, pondered deeply the Tau disciplines of war in search of a stratagem that would end the fighting. He ultimately came up with a bold plan: a strategic ambush on a massive scale.

He launched a mechanized attack on a narrow front on the western side of the continent. His goal was to reach Lake Kra’gor, a massive body of water that would protect his northern flank.

Once there, he knew the orks would be drawn to the fighting—and attempt to cut off his overextended vanguard by attacking the flanks of their advance. It was his hope that the fighting would become so intense that it would draw orks from across the planet and weaken the greenskin forces elsewhere on the continent.

Once he’d provoked nearly 2 million orks to the lake regoin, he hastily withdrew his forces and ordered the Tau fleet overhead to launch a devastating orbital bombardment that broke the back of the ork army. (And, as a side effect, did immense damage to the biosphere of the planet.)

With the loss of so many ork warrior (close to 2 million), and with the rest of the greenskin defenses thinned, the Tau went on the offensive in a spectacular way. By the end of 741.M41, the Tau finally conquered the entire continent. (Tau win major victory on Al’gel II)

Despite this great accomplishment, not everyone in the Tau High Command believes ultimate victory is at hand. Perhaps too little attention has been paid to the orks in the rest of the system, where millions of orks still pose a major threat.

For years, Tau naval superiority has prevented the greenskins from reinforcing their brethren on Al’gel II, but it is clear that the cunning orks have been hard at work building a naval force. That was made abundantly clear when a 20-ship greenskin fleet ambushed Tau naval reinforcements arriving in the system in late 741.M41. (Ork warships smash Tau naval flotilla in Al’gel System)

Although only two ships were loss, these vessels were prototypes of the latest in Tau military technology. Adding insult to injury, the ships’ hulks were dragged away by the orks, and it is expected that the Tau will see their advanced naval technology soon turned against them.

Blood Wolf raids alarm authorities

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A Terminator-armored Blood Wolf is spotted in the ruins of the Achaeon Suburbs on Hegira. What nefarious purpose could draw such traitor Astartes to an ork-infested world?

A traitor warband of Astartes, known as the Blood Wolves, occasionally have been conducting raids across the Corvus Cluster. This activity by  has raised concerns the motives of these traitors.

The twilight world of Volana has been attacked repeatedly, and the Blood Wolves’ last atrocity was directed at one of the planet’s isolated underground mining facilities.

Although PDF troops responded immediately to the facility’s desperate calls for help, the traitor Astartes were gone by the time of the PDF’s arrival. Also gone were a number of skilled technicians, senior Mechanicus personnel, and significant amounts of supplies, cogitators, and high-tech equipment. (Rumors of the Underhive – 6 430 741.M41)

Another disturbing incident occurred on the ork-infested moon of Hegira. A patrol of Skitarii ran into half a dozen Blood Wolves skulking through the “no man’s land” between ork and human forces in the suburbs of the moon’s capital, Susa City.

It appeared that the traitors were collecting abandoned equipment for reasons unknown. Alas, the Skitarii were driven away by the traitors, whose whereabouts,, as well as the reasons for being on Hegira, remain a mystery. (Skitarii clash with Blood Wolves on Hegira)

Click here to read Part 2 of last year’s strategic events.

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

Categories: Strategic Update

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