Naval Battles

Necrons ambush Imperial cruiser

The Golden Drake took significant damage from the Lightning Arc batteries of the Necron Jackals.

Imperial Voxcast (6 127 742.M41)—An Imperial cruiser was attacked earlier this week by a dozen Necron warships during a routine patrol of the Vorta System.

The Lunar Class vessel, Golden Drake, survived the encounter, destroying four of the xeno vessels and driving the rest out of the system.

“The Imperial cruiser, under the command of Captain Nicolas Quiéret, engaged 12 small Necron ships, the equivalent of Imperial escorts, in a two-hour battle,” said Captain Jamol  Wythe, a public liaison officer at the Nguyen Naval Base above Belliose III..

“Four xeno ships were destroyed, and the Golden Drake suffered moderate damage to one power reactor and to a starboard weapons battery,” he added. “Standing firm against repeated attacks, the cruiser proved too tough a target, and the xenos finally broke off the engagement and fled the system.”

The battle began in the late hours of 6 113 742.M41. The Lunar-class cruiser entered the system earlier that day on  routine patrol, part of the Imperial Navy’s efforts to contain the Necron xenos within the Dryillian Quarantine Zone.

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Despite Imperial Navy patrols around the Dryillian Quarantine Zone, Necron warships have launched attacks in the past beyond the zone’s boundaries. The attack of the Golden Drake occurred in the same star system as NuDawn, which saw its population slaughtered by a Necron attack two years ago.

Two years ago, Necron warships had entered the system—10 light years outside the quarantine zone—and ruthlessly attacked the colony world of NuDawn. There were no survivors of the xeno attack.

Although there was no reason to assume the Necrons would be present in the system, which was lifeless and of little strategic value, the Golden Drake transitioned out of Warp on battle alert, Wythe said.

Long-range scanners offered no hint of a xeno presence, but Captain Quiéret ordered the cruiser to visit each of the system’s planets, particularly NuDawn, the only inhabitable world (although currently lifeless after the slaughter of its 22,000 colonists).

As the Golden Drake passed by the system’s only gas giant, a nameless body classified as Vorta IV, the cruiser’s sensors detected a faint energy reading on the planet’s horizon.

“At approximately 21:17, the Golden Drake detected a dozen xeno warships, classified by the Imperial Navy as Necron Jackals, appearing around the edge of the planet and accelerating directly at the cruiser,” Wythe said.

The xeno ships broke into two attack columns, seeking to approaching the Imperial ship from directions that limited the cruiser’s defensive fire, the captain said.

“The xeno ships lived up to their names,” Wythe said. “Like the now-extinct predators of old Terra, the small warships didn’t seek to bring down the larger cruiser in a straight-up fight. Instead, the xenos engaged in a serious of hit-and-run attacks designed to take out weapons batteries, using their superior speed and maneuverability to avoid Imperial fire.”

The xeno weapons, known as Lightning Arcs because of the non-linear beams of their weapon batteries, first targeted the smaller defensive gun turrets specifically designed to counter small approaching threats, such as fighters, bombers, and torpedoes.

“The Necrons clearly were engaging in what naval officers call ‘death by a thousand cuts,’ ” the captain explained. “Despite their size, the Necron Jackals are well armed, and they clearly intended to take out the Golden Drake‘s defensive systems. Then, they could take their time in tearing apart the ship.”

At first, Captain Quiéret’s defensive fire proved ineffective. The Necron vessels moved so close to the cruiser that its larger weapons batteries could not track the speeding Jackals and were useless. The ship’s smaller defensive turrets were more effective, but as these were destroyed by the Necrons, the defensive capabilities of the cruiser began to degrade at an alarming rate.

“It was at this point that Captain Quiéret showed the true professionalism of an Imperial naval officer, “Wythe said. “He came up with a counter strategy. He began ordering erratic evasive maneuvers, something rather difficult on a ship as large as a cruiser.”

With every evasive turn, Wythe said, one or two of the Necron vessels would be forced to make a wider turn after their attack run, as the cruiser was positioning itself as far from the small warships as possible. As the xeno craft swung around for another attack, their distance from the cruiser grew, and that brought the xeno ships very briefly into the arc of the larger weapons batteries.

“Even then, it took a bit of luck—and all batteries firing a scattershot pattern at the point where they thought the Necron ship would turn—to hit one of the xenos.”

In fact, it wasn’t until 50 minutes into the engagement that the Golden Drake finally scored a hit on the xenos. The xenos continued their attack runs, taking out nearly half the cruiser’s turret guns before the second xeno ship was destroyed.

“Finally, about two hours into the battle, one of the ship’s gun officers calculated that two Necron ships were turning and would pass close to one another,” Wythe said. “Captain Quiéret ordered all available batteries to fire at that region of space. He also ordered a full spread of torpedoes.”

By concentrating the cruiser’s fire on a single point of space, even the highly maneuverable Necron ships could not escape the Imperial fire. Both ships were destroyed.

“At that point, the xenos broke off their attack escaped the system,” Wythe said. “Clearly the cost of continuing the fight was greater than they thought worthwhile.”

Although damaged, the Golden Drake was capable of Warp travel and made it safely to Melinoe Naval Base, the main Imperial Navy outpost near the quarantine zone. After ensuring the vessel is capable of a longer journey, it is expected that the cruiser will be sent to a nearby Forge World for months of repair and refitting.

As for the xenos, their purpose in the Vorta System is inexplicable, Wythe said.

“Who knows the xeno mind? Who wants to taint one’s soul by trying to understand the xeno? The enemy was there. We fought them. We prevailed. It is our fighting spirit, and our faith in the God-Emperor, that will guarantee us ultimate victory.”

End Voxcast Transmission

TheGM: Was this attack another component of the harassment strategy of Overlord Agamunzu of the  Necron’s Dryillian Dynasty?

Could be. As described in “The Bitter Taste of Defeat,” Agmunzu, after his defeat on Tophet, talked of a series of hit-and-run attacks designed to keep the Imperium off-balance and on the defensive. The Necron leader wants time to awaken more of his forces, which still slumber after 60 million years.

So far, this strategy is working. There have been no reported Imperial attacks against the Necrons since the xenos were driven off Tophet by High Marshal Adrias Ioculus of the Knights of Altair Space Marine Chapter.

Come to think of it, we haven’t heard anything about the high marshal since that victory. Was is he up to?

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

Categories: Naval Battles

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