In the five years since the invasion of Dozaria, the Death Guard and its heretical allies have slowly but steadily expanded their control over the industrial world. At the beginning of 741.M41, these warp-tainted traitors had conquered nearly one-fifth of the planet.
Yet the tide appears to have turned. As 741.M41 comes to a close, the Death Guard has failed repeatedly to breach the defenses surrounding the city of Diaspar—and, in their most recent attempt, the traitors suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the 1st and 3rd companies of the Knights of Altair Space Marine Chapter.
This defeat has not meant the end of fighting. Major battles continue in the vicinity of Alicante, the planet’s capital city, as well as at the nearby industrial city of Mygor. What has happened, hover, is that the Death Guard forces have ended their costly frontal assaults begun to test the flanks of the Imperial line.
Yet even this modest shift in tactics has largely failed. For whatever reason, the Death Guard are lacking in tactical finesse. Most of their efforts are preceded by weeks of preparation—all easily detected by Imperial surveillance satellites orbiting overhead—and then begin with a massive bombardment of artillery that signals that Imperial commanders should put their troops on alert.
As a result, these attacks—while costly to both sides in casualties—are not succeeding in their goal of breaking through the Imperial defenses.
Acts of Malice
Seeking easier spoils, several Death Guard warbands have abandoned these costly battles in search of other opportunities to spread disease and malignancy across the planet.
One of the most notorious warlords, Ghaz Tak, abandoned the fight for Diaspar and headed southwest to the tropical jungles at the planet’s equator.
There, his much-depleted warband found a chaotic war zone where the jungles of the region did not allow for a continuous battle line—and the porous Imperial defenses offered opportunities for raids of horrific depravity.
Once such incident was the Slaughter of Redolence. This spice-producing agri-manufactorum was home to 10,000 menials who harvested a variety of plant-based spices for both agronomic and medicinal purposes.
On 875 892.M41, Ghaz Tak led 100 traitor Astartes and 4,000 heretical cultists more than 300 kilometers into Imperial-held territory and attacked the community. By the time Imperial forces arrived in response, every citizen had been tortured and either killed or left to die from a number of toxic biological contaminants that had destroyed a wide swath of farmland.
In an act of mercy, the nearly 1,500 survivors of the attack were put to death, and the entire manufactorum burned to the ground—along with thousands of hectares of diseased spice-bearing crops.
The Black Haze
Biological warfare has pervasive across the Dozaria war front, and one of the most horrific incidents occurred outside the Antiem Manufactorum to the southwest of Alicante.
Long defended by numerous regiments, included the famous Iron Alliance Regiment and 18th Skaros, the manufactorum was the target of a brutal attack by a 150,000-strong force of Death Guard Astartes and traitor regiments of the Ruinous Powers. It began on 6 882 742.M41, supported by nearly 1,200 Plagueburst Crawlers that lobbed thousands of artillery shells at the Imperial defenses—all loaded with a warp-tainted virus of immense virulence.
For a 15-kilometer stretch of the defenses, a black haze of contaminants rose like a thick fog, blocking visibility and leaving Imperial troops—despite being equipped with respirators and all inoculated with anti-viral serums—choking to death as the rubber in their masks dissolved along with their exposed skin.
Amidst this miasma of horror, several hundred Death Guard warriors, unaffected by the pestilence, used the cover of the black haze to avoid Imperial artillery fire and reach the Imperial trench with few casualties. There, the heretics and traitors slaughtered their way through the defenders.
Confronted by Astartes and choking to death, the Imperial line broke, allowing the Death Guard to advance nearly 50 kilometers before reserves could arrive to stabilize the lines.
A few days later, the Death Guard launched a new attack—but, this time, the Imperial defenders withdrew as the first enemy artillery shells began to fall, and casualties due to the Black Haze were limited. When the Death Guard advanced, they seized the trenches and continued forward—but, within three kilometers, they ran into a well-placed gun line that repulsed the traitor Astartes.
After several more costly attempts to use their biochemical weapons, the Death Guard attacks petered out.
Intermittent fighting continues across the planet. But there is a growing sense among the Imperial High Command that the Death Guard’s invasion is losing steam.
That’s led to the determination that Imperial forces should attempt a counteroffensive in 743.M41 and put the invaders on the defensive.
That is easier said than done, however. Hundreds of thousands of guardsmen and PDF troops are hospitalized with a range of illnesses, and there is a chronic shortage of anti-viral medicines that can keep soldiers in the field.
What’s more, the introduction of the Black Haze has made existing respirators and environmental protective gear obsolete and inadequate to the toxic environment around Death Guard Forces. As a result, the Adeptus Mechanicus is struggling to upgrade soldiers’ protective gear—and it will be months before this improved gear can be made widely available to units in the field.
Still, there are rumors that High Command is preparing plans for a offensive once this gear is made available—probably in the second half of 743.M41.
— END REPORT —
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Dozaria Campaign