Damocles Campaign

Tau rebuff attack by Imperial Crusade – Part 3

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A squadron of Piranha skimmers race to point-blank range of the Predator tank defending the Astartes’ flank.

Stand firm against the enemy. Many victories have been won simply because an army was resolute and determined. They pressed their attacks. They refused to give ground. They fought until the enemy simply lost heart. I’d rather have an army with 20 percent higher morale than an army with 20 percent more men.“—Colonel Nisri El-Rahman, commander of the 11th Tallarn Desert Rangers, the most highly decorated Imperial Guard regiment of M38.

* * *

Tau Turn Three

With the Predator tank clearly facing its doom, the Hammerhead commander decides to turn his attention to the approaching Land Speeder. Despite the skimmer’s speed, a shot of the xeno rail gun vaporizes the Imperial vehicle.

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The Tau commander, who has just triumphantly destroyed the Sicara Relic Tank, finds herself beset by two Assault Squads of outraged Astartes.

At the crossroads, the Piranha begin to work around the flanks of the Predator. But despite striking at thinner armor, their Fusion Blasters cannot kill the Imperial tank. The tank’s heavy bolter is blown off, and a deep gouge is dug into side hull. But the tank survives despite the impossible odds against it.

To the north, the Tau warlord fights against heavy odds, as nearly a dozen Space Marines pummel her armor. Finally, a marine’s chainsword manages to strike at a vulnerable seam  and brings her down.  Her last bodyguard also meets his doom.

Not far away, the retreating Crisis Suit team decides on a last stand. It fires at the Vanguard Squad. Several veterans throw themselves in front of Captain Vivant and Chaplain Numa. To the officers’ horror, the powerful burst cannons of the xenos strike down all the Vanguard and wound the captain.

Back at the stream, the Riptide finally breaks out of the woods and strides north in a bid to get a clear shot at the Imperials. The Barricuda makes a sharp turn to the west and attempts a long-range shot at the Vindicator tank. The shot misses.

The loss of the Land Speeder boosts the xeno victory point score by one, but the loss of the warlord does double damage, gaining the Imperials a victory point for a lost character/unit and a point for Slay the Warlord. The tally now is: Imperials: 6 victory points vs. 3 for the Tau.

Imperial Turn Four

A 10-man Crusader Squad disembarks from a Rhino and brings its firepower to bear against the last Crisis Suit team. So, too, do the two Assault Squads that jump forward into range. Captain Vivant and Chaplain Numa join in, as does the Vindicator, which takes a risky shot through the ranks of the Astartes.

Warhammer 40K blogWhen all is over, the xenos are wiped out.

The surrounded Predator fights desperately for survival, swerving wildly as it backs up and fires snap shots at the encircling xeno skimmers. One shot grazes the hull of one Piranha, but it’s not enough to bring the skimmer down.

To the north, Ancient Brother Quillicus stomps into the woods, chasing after the  Fire Warriors that begin to flee. He fails, however, to close and bring them to battle.

The loss of the final Crisis Suit team gives Imperials a total of 7 victory points, compared to the Tau’s 3.

Tau Turn Four

The sun is beginning to dip toward the horizon. While the Crisis Suits are destroyed, they have served their purpose: totally disrupting the Imperials’ deadly armored assault into the Tau flank.

There is only enough time to strike a few more blows against the humans. The Barricuda turns south and targets the Predator tank, but it misses. The circling Piranhas, however, fire into the Imperial tank’s flank and finally leave it a smoking hulk.

At the stream, the Hammerhead tank and Riptide have a clear shot at some of the Rhinos halfway across the battlefield. They take them under fire and immobilize one vehicle.

There is nothing the Fire Warriors can do, however, against the rage of the Imperial dreadnought. They abandon the woods, getting out of sight of the mighty walker, and attempt to cross a pasture to the relative safety of another copse of trees.

The loss of the Predator allows the Tau to whittle down their deficit of victory points. The score is Imperial: 7, Tau: 4.

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With the Crisis Suits destroyed, the Astartes’ attacks renews. Here, jetpack-equipped Space Marines race after Ancient Brother Quillicus,who has recklessly raced forward and unintentionally become the vanguard of a renewed push toward the enemy.

Imperial Turn Five

The Space Marines have won the battle of the crop field, but there is no time to reform. There is little time remaining to kill more xenos.

But they try: The remaining armor, the Crusader Squads, and the Assault Squads race forward to support the dreadnought’s reckless chase of the Fire Warriors. Perhaps the Tau flank still can be turned.

Meanwhile, Captain Vivant and Chaplain Numa race south, hoping to stop the Piranhas from turning north and hitting the Imperial column in the rear.

Using their jetpacks, the two mighty Astartes heroes barely reach the closest Piranha. The captain strikes a mighty blow against the skimmer, but it is the chaplain that smashes the skull of the Tau pilot with his Crozious Arcanum. The Piranha is downed.

Alas, the Astartes kill no units, so the score remains 7-4.

Click here to read the conclusion of the battle.

Click here to return to Part 2.

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

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