“Send forth our followers. Throw ten thousand at the Imperial defenses . . . send fifty thousand. Let them die weakening the False Emperor’s lackeys, so the Death Guard can approach the city and bring it to ruin.“—Ghaz Tak, warlord of Nurgle.
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What follows is a summary of the fighting surrounding the city of Diaspar on 6 657 742.M41 and its strategic implications for the defense of Dozaria:
STRATEGIUM REPORT, Dozaria High Command
ALICANTE COMMAND CENTER – HQ 2i3/202.12
INPUT DATE: 3 664 742.M41
INPUT CLEARANCE: General Staff
ANALYST: Colonel Ricarde Nash
TRANSMITTED: Alicante Command Center, Intelligence Service, Q-3
TRANSMITTER: Astropath L’yash Ticorde
Having suffered a defeat at the hands of the Knights of Altair (Death Guard repulsed on Dozaria), the Death Guard required several months to regroup and concentrate sufficient forces for a second advance on the city of Diaspar.
This advance began at the end of 741.M41 and, for the next six months, the Archenemy’s forces engaged in a savage war of attrition, steadily forcing back Imperial forces through the ruthless expenditure of heretical cultists, traitor regiments, and foul daemon-tainted tanks and walkers.
By 6 652 742.M41, the enemy had reached the heavy fortifications on the eastern outskirts of Diaspar.
Strategium reports already have been submitted concerning the first two days of fighting, so this report will focus entirely on the third day of battle (6 661 742.M41).
This day saw the enemy launch their largest assault since the fighting began, with Imperial defenses holding but Imperial casualties estimated at 20,000 men and Trench Positions 31, 32, and 33 in the northeast quadrant of the city seriously damaged and dangerously undermanned.
Initial Enemy Efforts
An hour before dawn, at least 300 traitor artillery batteries began a three-hour bombardment of the city’s eastern defenses. The accuracy of enemy fire varied significantly, but the most accurate fire fell upon Trench Positions 31-33 and caused significant casualties to defensive forces and severe damage to anti-tank defenses.
At 07:07, an estimated 50,000 traitor infantry, supported by three battalion-sized armored units, launched a direct assault. It was reported by commissars that loudspeakers blared heretical, warp-tainted chanting across the battlefield, resulting in hundreds of guardsmen suffering nose bleeds, headaches, and, in rare cases, a loss of sanity.
Some commanders ordered their men to stuff their ears with cloth—even mud—to block out the sound. But this proved only partially successful, and the commissariat reported the execution of nearly 200 guardsmen who went mad.
Human Wave Attack
The enemy assault lacked any tactical finesse. Traitor infantry simply began running across the 1,000-meter kill zone before the Imperial trenches, and thousands of traitors were slaughtered crossing this open ground.
Unfortunately, the number of troops rushing forward exceeded the ability of defensive forces to kill them. This was particularly dangerous at certain points, where enemy troops began to concentrate. At these locations, friendly artillery fire could be seen killing a hundred enemy troops at a time, yet the heretics and traitors were clearly so insane that no amount of casualties would drive them back.
Enemy infantry managed to reach the eastern trench line in at least 17 locations. Point-blank fire and hand-to-hand combat resulted, and these attacks did not end until 10:20, when all enemy troops lay dead.
[Tactical Notation: There are no reports of the enemy withdrawing during the fighting. All enemy troops fought to the last man. This reality has ominous implications for troop morale, as there are already reports that guardsmen are unsettled by the enemy’s willing to fight to the death.]
Despite the utter destruction of the enemy’s first wave, the fighting did not end. At 12:07, the enemy opened with a second artillery bombardment—this time using biological weapons. Spore and virus bombs exploded on Imperial lines, spreading a green miasma that settled like a fog around loyalist troops.
The 423rd Cadian Regiment, defending Trench Positions 31-33, took the heaviest casualties, as guardsmen were slow to don gas masks. Hundreds died as their lungs literally melted from the toxic fumes. Within the hour, their corpses ballooned and burst open, and out of these wounds clambered a horde of plague flies that stung surrounding guardsmen and infected them with warp-tainted disease.
[Recommendation: Officers of the 423rd should be severely reprimanded for the regiment’s poor performance in activating biological-warfare countermeasures.]
One of the only units that did not suffer severe casualties from the biological attack was the 173rd Death Korps of Krieg Regiment, deployed in Trench Positions 52-54. These troops are noted for wearing gas masks at all times and extensive training in chemical and biological warfare. Only two Death Korps guardsmen were killed by enemy toxins, both deaths attributed to equipment failure.
The second assault was launched at 15:07. As enemy forces began advancing, enemy artillery switched from biological to smoke ordinance, with the goal of masking their troops’ advance from Imperial fire. This smoke screen proved quite effective, as Imperial auxpexes soon could not to provide accurate targeting data for defensive guns.
Although Imperial artillery and ordinance continued firing into the smoke, its accuracy was significantly less effective, and sufficient numbers of traitor troops managed to cross “no man’s land” and change into the eastern trenches of the city. All along the line, tens of thousands of loyalist and traitor troops clashed in close-quarters fighting that lasted for nearly three hours.
Multiple reports share tales of heroic efforts by Imperial troops to throw back the enemy. For the most part, the Imperial defenses held—with the exception of Trench Positions 31-33. There, two traitor Hellhound tanks found a gap in anti-tank obstacles, managed to roll forward through the crater-scarred ground, and bring parts of the trench line under fire.
Bathed in burning promethium, those guardsmen not consumed by Hellhound’s inferno cannons routed and abandoned their position, despite commissars desperately wielding whips and executing those they could in a bid to rally the men.
Steadying the Line
At this point, Col. Colano Caledine of the 23rd Arcadian Dragoon Regiment ordered his guardsmen from their reserve depot. Hurrying forward, the regiment managed to occupy the second trench line directly opposite the fleeing 423rd Regiment and create a solid defensive position to prevent a full breakthrough by the enemy.
With traitor troops right on the heels of the fleeing 423rd, Col. Calandine was faced with a dreadful choice. If he held his fire, the 423rd would screen the advancing enemy horde, and the enemy would hit his troops without having come under fire.
That was unacceptable, so he ordered his men to shoot. Eight thousand lasguns, 50 heavy bolters, and six lascannon opened fire.
The remaining troops of the 423rd died quickly, and the enemy force also began to thin. But still they came. What finally stopped the attack was the arrival of the 17th Dozarian Armored Battalion, whose 21 Lemon Russ tanks drove up behind the Arcadians and added fire to the defense.
The battalion’s battle cannons quickly eliminated the two Hellhounds that had allowed the original breakthrough and, once those threats were eliminated, the Aracadians rose from the trenches and countercharged. For the first time in three days of fighting, the traitors found themselves on the defensive, and they were quickly forced back.
By the end of the day, Trench Positions 31-33 were retaken, the enemy driven back into “no man’s land,” and the Imperial defenses restored.
The eastern defenses continue to hold, although the complete destruction of the 423rd Cadian Regiment and damage done to anti-tank and anti-infantry obstacles across the line have significantly weakened our ability to fend off a fourth attack.
Meanwhile, troop morale is shaken, and the continual fighting has left front-line troops exhausted. The enemy shows no apparent concern for casualties, and if the enemy have the resources to continue such attacks, our manpower reserves will be depleted.
Although their survival rate is low, recon drones continue to fly over enemy positions, and they have identified the presence of Death Guard infantry and armor concentrating 17 kilometers east of the city. An attack by traitor Astartes almost certainly would crack open the defenses surrounding Diaspar.
Therefore, it is imperative that loyal Astartes troops be summoned to the city. It is recommended that a contingent of the Knights of Altair, which have been regrouping approximately 200 kilometers to the north, be deployed immediately in a position that would facilitate a quick response to a traitor Astartes attack.
If the Death Guard attack, we must be prepared to counter them.
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Categories: Dozaria Campaign