måndag 11 juli 2016

Battle 11: The Chaos Pit

This battle represent the Imperials finally locating a major entrance to the darkness below the city. Chaos fortifies the center, Krieg and Crimson Fists deploy opposite each other.

- Location: Sector Charon, the desert city of Tartarus, Cerberus XIII
- Imperial Forces: Marines of the Crimson Fists, Imperial Guard of The 602 siege regiment Krieg
- Chaos Forces: Wordbearers and Sons of Horus
- Points value: total of 1200 points on each side, 600 points per force
- Combat objectives: Slay the Warlord. Annihilate the enemy.
- Special: the side controlling the tunnel entrance at the end of the game adds 5 VP to their score. No points if contested.

[Authors: Mattias - prologue and battle, Torbjörn - End of Massawa, Jon - Dreadnought epilogue]

A well earned rest?

The space marines of the Crimson Fists had their orbital surveillance trained on the vast urban wasteland. After months of city fighting, there were few sectors of the desert city of Tartarus that still were left untouched, and fires raged unhindered everywhere. The Crimson Fists had set up camp in a group of undamaged factoria, where Chapter Master Pedro Kantor had ordered a respite in the advance. The equipment and vehicles were in dire need of more permanent repairs and a welcome refitting would give them time to locate the enemy main force.

Battle Brother Antonio exited the makeshift HQ, a datapad in his armored hand. ”We just received the latest report from the orbital survey, Chapter Master. The scans show enemy movement in sector Styx and sector Charon. Lesser forces, only a few platoons, some scouting vehicles. Nothing more.” Pedro removed his helmet. “That is good to hear, Brother. It gives us time to restock and coordinate operations with our Brothers of the Fleshtearers and the Dark Angels. Nothing will escape the Emperors Wrath.” He savored the chill evening breeze upon his bare skin, despite the acrid smell of acres upon acres of burning industrial complexes. Something moved in the distance, approaching fast.

The vox crackled in his removed helm: “Incoming vehicles my Lord, transponder code identifies as the Dark Angels.”
“Very well, let them through!” Pedro Kantor strode into the open, his sternguard falling in behind him as he waited for the messenger to report.
     A marine in the grim armour and skull mask of a Chapter Chaplain made the Aquila and bowed. “Interrogator Chaplain Isiah Wrath, Dark Angels 3:rd, at your service Lord Chapter Master. Our force ran into a chaos warband – traitor legionnaires. We broke through the sector, but we discovered something out of the ordinary. There was a great pit, into the bowels of the undercity. I cannot explain it better, we saw daemons, foul chaos sorcery and horrible machinery. The enemy was led by ancient elite and mighty champions.” The chaplain hesitated. Pedro Kantor steadied the Angel with his arm, and looked him in the eyes. “Tell me, Brother Isiah, so that we know what must be done. I see your hesitation, but there is no dishonor here.”
     The Chaplain drew a heavy breath. “We were decimated, our wounded had been picked up by ship, so we couldn’t remain to reengage the enemy. The site must be important, I came to you because you have your force within fast striking distance. We ... you cannot let the legionnaires complete what they are up to. Act fast.”

Pedro Kantor grew cold. This couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time – almost the whole mechanized force was receiving repairs and refitting. He had barely a handful of vehicles operational, and couldn’t leave the whole camp without means to regroup or withdraw in good order if the enemy actually had sizeable forces in the vicinity. He could spare two Rhinos, transport for three or four squads, at best. It would never be enough, but could they really wait for another day or two?

A soft voice interrupted his thoughts “The Death Korps are ready and eager to march, whenever you give the order, my Lord.” Kantor looked up at the expressionless breather mask of a Krieg kommissar. Had she been standing there all the time? Ilse Herzog was her name. Of questionable loyalty. After her repentance, he had been persuaded - against his own judgement - that demotion would be a sufficient punishment. She did loyal service in the subterranean assault upon the Daemon hordes of Zebaot earlier this month  though, so perhaps it had been a wise choice. The Emperor knew they had a shortage of competent officers for the support troops in this operation.

Pedro looked down at the small woman. “Very well, Kommissar. I hereby reinstate you as senior officer for this assault. Since your forces already are ready to march, you will go north and approach the sector from the west. I will put Chaplain Tómas in charge of the main force – he will take the direct route to the eastern border as soon as ready. We attack from two directions simultaneously, and crush the traitors like a hammer and anvil.” The Kommissar did the sign of the Aquila and bowed low “The Korps is grateful for your confidence, my Lord, and is honored to die for the Emperor. We will march at once.”

The boots kicked up little clouds of ashes as the Kriegsmen marched in silence over the burned cityscape. Centaur tractors towed what little artillery they have manage to bring this far from the main deployment, while the men took turns to rest inside the crew compartments. As they neared the Charon Sector Ilse signed for the convoy to stop. She gathered her officers for a brief recap of the tactical plan “We wait here for the signal to attack. Keep the artillery towed. We all advance together and untow the artillery when within range – main platoon stay to protect the Quads. The Engineers mount their assigned Centaurs and scout up the flanks - here and here - to prevent enemy vehicles to reach the artillery. Set up a medical station within hab block C, I stay with the command squad as bombardment begins”.

The officers breathing masks showed no emotion, but she could FEEL how they all took heed, how they watched her, how they put their confidence in her. Ilse closed the folder and put the plans under her arm. “That is all, soldiers. Today we might all die for the Emperor.”

As the officers turned to their own troops laying up squad tactics, Ilse allowed herself a deep breath. Back in command, at last.

The Chaos Pit

A deafening hail of explosive bolter fire smashing into his chest plate and helmet hindered verbal communication, but the powerful sensors of his Terminator armor gave Chaplain Tómas information from his forces, which were all advancing as quickly as they could in order to get in cover further down the city block.
     The enemy was fortified within several buildings, with missile launchers positioned high in a tower, overlooking the whole battlefield. In the center of the main street, the legionnaires had dug a huge crater, steam rising from deep within the bowels of the city. That was the target, secure and hold, leave no enemies alive. Report to base.

Tómas gave orders to the troops: ”Hernando with the fifth, take the fortified building on the right, do not let their tanks skirt the rim. Santiago, lead the sixth down to the left. Draw enemy fire.” His order was drowned in a high – pitched scream, his suit shutting off the receivers, but still he could feel the scream within his mind. “Sorcerer – there! Quick advance!” As he continued to rush towards the ruins he saw Santiago's rhino him go up in flames, the squad spilling out from doors and evacuation hatches. The missile launcher in the tower got off another missile, but was brought down from intensive bombardment from the Krieg Artillery

On the northern flank several Chaos Dreadnoughts were in frenzied combat with the Imperial forces, wrecks lying in smoking ruin everywhere. The whole flank were crumbling, but the chaos forces didn’t dare to advance. They were protecting the pit. As the regular marines took care of the sorcerer and the sorry remains of his artillery-shattered squad, Tómas turned his Terminator elite towards the objective. A grinning chaos obliterator fell them in the back, it did little but slowing them down “Forward – for the Emperor”

Ilse stood rigid as her men fell around her. Traitor marines had killed the squads protecting the northern fortification, and she and the rest of the infantry were forced to retreat into cover of a building to the south. The field artillery was still intact, however, and the crews fed shell after shell into the hot barrels of the quad launchers. Despite the enemy’s advance, their attack had been slowed by the furious rain of shells – even power armour couldn’t cope with that amount of barrage fire, and the Death Korps knew it.

“Grind them down but leave time to destroy the quads before retreating if they get to close”
As the artillery turned the enemy fortifications into craters filled with red-hot shrapnel and torn bodies, Ilse led the remaining infantry through secure cover, realizing time was running out. They needed to take control of the hellpit while they still had the men to hold it. As the Korpsmen charged, she realized they came too late - Chaplain Tómas was hard pressed, trading blows with the Chaos General. Artillery shells rained death on friend and foe alike and Tómas stood alone as his brothers died around him. As the smoke cleared, they all saw the chaos general strike his unholy blade deep into the chest of their commander. Ilse screamed in the vox “Artillery – turn that pit to gravel - bury them! Fire at will” 

Everyone ran for cover as indiscriminate bombing destroyed what was left of the plaza and the buildings around it.

Eventually the quad launchers ran out of shells and the surviving imperials could approach the disintegrated street and caved in entrance. Could ANYTHING have survived down there?

Imperium win a pyrrhic victory: Victory Points 32 (Imperium) - 31 (Chaos)


The End Of Massawa

Massawas heart rate surged as he regained consciousness. His ears were still ringing from the intense close combat with the Crimson Fist Terminators and their Chaplain. The smoking ground around him was still shaking with incoming artillery from the Thudd guns, so the need for urgency forced his post-human glands to react - within milliseconds his body started pumping out pain suppressors and adrenalin into his blood stream. Massawa sat up with a jerk, surveying the battlefield from within his now broken helmet. One eye-lens was shattered, and much of his seemed to be lodged in his skull. Massawa blinked away the clogging blood, and focused on the shapes around him.

The battle had been hard fought, and many had fallen on both sides. Massawa had led squad Invictus  to the left flank, against mere human infantry. No glory there, just methodiacl mowing of the meek. "The Emperor Protects" they had called. "Not today weaklings!" had been Brother Adi Qala's response before he sprayed most of them full of burning prometheum, laughing as they ran and burned.
 After the flank was secure, he had assisted Lord Assab who went for the subterranean entrance in the adjoining street. The street was already littered with the dead and soon-to-be-dead. Near the deep hole the enemy stood waiting. Three lumbering Terminators, led by their Crimson Fist Chaplain, full of false notions of glory.

Squad Invictus and Lord Assab had charged the Loyalists, and in the melee Massawa had fallen against the Terminator Sergeant. The tip of a power sword had been driven straight through one of his lungs, and he had hit the ground. Before he lost consciousness he had seen Lord Assab felling the Chaplain with a mighty over-hand swing from his force axe. The Daemonic energies which imbued the old axe "Soul Sucker" glimmered and shone as the blade bit deep into the ceramite and unerlying flesh of the Loyalist fanatic. With a roar Assab had lifted the Chaplain, embedded axe and all, and tossed the mighty Terminator into a nearby wall. The Crimson Fist leader hit the wall with a booming crash, and slid to the ground like a wet rag.
Now everyone was gone, and dark forms shuffled around him. Friend or foe, Massawa thought, as he tried to activate his power fist. As the fist started to hum with power, something heavy pressed down on he arm, and his arm went limp. Massawa looked up, and saw a huge red fist reach down for him. He was hoisted into the air, and hanged dangling like a green-armoured bloody rag-doll, from the power fist of a wounded Crimson Fist Terminator.

"Sir! We have a survivor here. A Son Of Horus by the looks of him. I did not think they were around anymore?" the Loyalist called with a voice much too loud. Probably shell-shocked, Massawa thought as he tried to find his mag-locked combat-knife to stab his captor in the face-plate. Before he could reach the knife, he was thrown to the ground again, and got a heavy foot planted on his chest. No getting up now, Massawa thought, and tried to remember if he had reloaded his bolt pistol.

Another Crimson Fist closed in, looked at Massawa and muttered "Their leader, Assab, I think, crawled down into the underground along with the Word Bearer Dreadnought. We will follow.".

"What of this one Sir? the Terminator asked.

"No prisoners. said the other voice.

The Stormbolter lit up, and Massawas once beautilful Cthonian face became one with the gory ferrocrete on the ground.

The escape

As Volac the Blessed retreated down the tunnel, his missile launcher fired missile after missile into the roof of the entrance, until it collapsed and blocked the tunnel behind them.

His sarcophacus swiveled to face down the path and his heavy steps began to echo.

"Our Lord will wish to hear the details of the battle. Preparations will have to be made." His voice hissed and echoed.

Damage indication runes flickered in his sight. Cracks in the carapace. Autocannon feeds damaged. There was a flicker in the sensors that indicated further damage to his systems that failed to show up in the runic signs. Repairs were necessary.

The victors

Ilse unstrapped her breather mask and sat down on a piece of twisted metal that once was part of a rhino. Or perhaps a dreadnought. Or an abandoned washing machine.

“Send request for a hades drill. And report back to main camp that we’ll fortify the site. Then we will drill downwards until we get a breach, before following through”

Ilse wiped the grime out of her eyes. “May the Emperor protect us.”


Additional images contain images of heavy losses and theological monstrosities. Unsupervised viewing could imply a curious mind open for heretical thought.

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