“More than 60 million years have passed since I first marched to war. War is unending.”—Agamunzu, Necron overlord of the Dryillian Regency, a vassal state to the Sautekh Dynasty.
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Exhaustion marks fighting on Dar Sai
The year M741.M41 did not see the Tau exploit the previous year’s seizure of Port Aruna on the agri-world. The xenos were overextended, with long supply lines, exhausted troops, and vehicles in desperate need of maintenance.
Still, the Tau attempted to keep the pressure on Imperial forces. Several small and forgettable battles were fought in the dense forests to the west of Aruna, and the xenos managed to push their lines forward a few hundred kilometers toward their next strategic target: the eastern port of Malifax.
Imperial forces, having invested heavily in defending Aruna, were hard-pressed to slow even this modest offensive. Vast stores of armaments and vehicles were lost in the fall of the port city, and Guard and PDF troops struggled to hold the line when Kroot auxiliary troops, born woodland fighters, led an attack in the forests.
In desperation, Imperial authorities finally—and reluctantly—agreed to support a major guerilla campaign. Arming civilian volunteers (despite the opposition of the moon’s aristocracy) and putting them under the command of veteran guardsmen, several guerilla groups began conducting raids to blow up bridges, enemy supply depots, and ambush small troop columns.
(One of those guerilla groups currently is led by the former High Mayor of Port Aruna, Petrov Konrad, and he will feature in future battle reports.)
This insurgency campaign has been so successful that the Tau are responding in kind. One of the more successful xeno guerilla leaders is a human sympathizer, Lecia Athena (aka “Ath), who last year earned the enmity of the 728th Cadian Regiment when she stormed an isolated supply depot and used its captured weaponry to arm other traitor farm menials who had been seduced by the lies of Tau propaganda. (Athena raids depot on Dar Sai)
The only significant military action of the year occurred to the north, when Imperial leaders decided to assault the Sandeep Plains and attempt to cut the supply lines of Tau troops advancing on Malifax.
Alas, the attack failed. Two Planetary Defense Force (PDF) regiments were severely mauled after confronting a Tau force of Riptides, Crisis Suits, and elite Tau infantry—with the support of a new and deadly xeno aircraft [Classification: Barracuda]. (Imperial forces mauled outside Sandeep)
Tide of war turns on Dozaria
One sign that the Death Guard invasion of Dozaria was losing momentum was seen in the Lorca Valley, a rich agricultural region that had been under attack for months.
Having advanced halfway across the Pattoa Flatlands, the Death Guard finally was repulsed by the battered 44th PDF Regiment. Badly depleted by casualties and disease after months of fighting, the regiment was reinforced outside the town of Pollock and decided on one last stand to save the region.
The Death Guard warlord, Ghaz Tak, send his columns of infantry forward in an uninspired attack column, hoping to simply wear down the 44th. But repeated volleys by the reinforced troops, supported by a flanking maneuver by troops under the command of Confesser Guidonis Bernard, finally won the day.
During the battle, Ghaz Tak suffered near-fatal wounds, and the Chaos force withdrew from the Lorca Valley and headed south, seeking easier prey. (Death Guard offensive stopped on Dozaria)
Another promising event of the fighting was the stubborn defense of the city of Mygor, one of the largest Imperial cities still held by Imperial defenders.
Two Imperial Guard regiments, three Planetary Defense Force (PDF) regiments, and a company of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter held stubbornly against eight major assaults of the city by a besieging traitor army that was estimated at more than 500,000 strong. (War of attrition marks battle for Mygor)
As the year progressed, Ghaz Tak recovered from his wounds, and by 6 714 741.M41, he and his forces were on the move again, advancing for an attack on the industrial city of Diaspar.
But he found his way blocked by elements of the 1st and 3rd companies of the Knights of Altair, commanded by Captain Alaric Galba, that sought to stymie the traitors’ advance by seizing a small town in Ghaz Tak’s path.
Both forces eagerly charged into battle but, after intense hand-to-hand melee in the narrow streets of the town, the Knights of Altair prevailed—and Ghaz Tak and his traitor lackeys were forced to retreat yet again. (Death Guard repulsed on Dozaria)
As the year came to an end, the Imperials also won a hard-fought victory to the south. On 6 911 741.M41, the 4th Imperial Guard Corps stopped the Death Guard from advancing up the Skardu Valley and seizing the strategically important city of Meradon. (Battle of Skardu Valley – Dozaria)
This string of defeats by the Chaos invaders is raising hopes among Imperial citizens that, after years of horrific war, the momentum of the fighting may be turning in the Imperium’s favor.
Mutant threat spreads on Morkai
After their victories in the Thar Desert Basin in 740.M41, the mutant rebels of Morkai ended military operations and essentially disappeared from view. Shocked by their defeats, Imperial authorities were content to let matters lie.
But fighting broke out again in the latter months of 741M41. This time, the mutants targeted the Chutnik Plateau to the east of the ruined city of Ungolath.
Their first target was the Tomada Oasis, strategically important as the only major water supply within 200 kilometers. In a pitched battle with Skitarii from a nearby promethium drill site, the mutants won a minor victory—forcing Mechanicus forces to cede ground. (Mutants seize Tomada Oasis on Morkai)
Sensing weakness, the mutants pursued the Skitarii and brought them to battle again. Using a mix of ambushes and mechanized assaults, the mutants devastated the troops of the Omnissiah and forced the Mechanicus to evacuate their drill site and flee south. (Mutants force Skitarii to retreat on Morkai)
Imperium strikes hard at Necrons
After nearly four years of war, the beleaguered world of Tophet finally saw its Necron invaders cast into the Void.
Constantly on the defensive, Imperial defenders were heartened at the beginning of the year by the arrival of the Knights of Altair, under the leaderships of High Marshal Adrias Ioculus himself.
The grim and experienced chapter master wasted no time, Within days of his arrival, he threw elements of his 1st and 2nd companies directly at the vanguard of a new Necron advance on the critical Cappadocia Manufactorums. After intense fighting, the battle was won when the Chapter Champion, Brother Torund Reinhart, struck down the xeno overlord. (Astartes smash Necron army on Tophet)
Not giving his enemy time to recover, High Marshal Iocuus pursued the xenos and gave battle in an agricultural region north of the manufactorums. The Knights rushed into melee with the Necrons, and tactical squads. Terminator-armored veterans of the 1st Company, and the high marshal with his Honor Guard driving attacked the xenos without mercy. (Knights of Altair offensive drives back Necrons)
Sensing that the xeno army was on the brink of destruction, High Marshal Ioculus refused to allow his weary Astartes to rest. As drop pods fell amidst the still-disorganized Necrons, a mechanized force of Knights assaulted the Necron’s defensive line—shattering the xenos and slaughtering nearly the entire Necron army.
After years of advancing across the surface of Tophet, Necron Overlord Agamunzu was forced to face the ignominy of defeat—and ordered his forces to abandon the planet. (Necron threat ends on Tophet)
Yet the Imperial victory did not end the Necron threat. Agamunzu swore to avenge his defeat. To buy time to regroup, he ordered his minions to begin a combination of naval and planetary raids designed to keep the Imperium off balance. (The bitter taste of defeat)
One of the most effective of these raids occurred on 6 714 741.M41, when Necron warships attacked the Melinoe Naval Base, where a new Imperial Navy flotilla was gathering ships to contain the Necron threat.
Nearly a third of the lmperial warships designed to patrol the quarantine zone were destroyed or severely damaged, gutting Imperial plans for a campaign against remaining Necron-held worlds. (Necrons raid Melinoe Naval Base)
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Categories: Strategic Update