Result: Imperial Guard Major Victory.
- Nandoo Codex: Tau Empire 1500pts
- Harris 291st Death Korps of Krieg; Codex: Imperial Guard 1500pts
8 Praxedes IV days had gone past since the fall of Vidighese, 8 Days to retreat 40 odd Clicks to the next practicable defence line at the ridge known as the Malvairn heights. Locals with the regiment knew the place from their legends. It had an evil reputation as a place of monsters, where the dead walked at night and picked off the unwary. Then military expediency had never taken much account of local tall tales.
For 8 Days the Regiment had executed a text book withdrawal from the town, leap-frogging the 40 miles back to the Massifs, each Kompanie taking turns forming a rearguard while the regiment passed through the line. In the van of the column, Regimental and divisional artillery had kept up a harassing fire on their pursuers. Shoot and scoot fire missions of mixed smoke, nerve agent and White Phosphorus rained on the pursuit in order to break them up and blind their night vision. It had been a textbook withdrawal.
Now the Regiment had reached the Heights, it was time to turn, stand and face the pursuers. When time came to stand, the 17th Kompanie was in the line as blocking force.
They had stopped just outside ruins of a bombed out refinery and begun fortifying it.
Wind whipped up dust devils around Major Kurtz where he crouched in the crater just beyond the walls of the ruins. Kurtz had come down to the forward positions of 17th Company to personally supervise the destruction of their pursuers. And that destruction would take place very soon, already wired auspex units, carefully laid beyond the screen of Willie Pete and smoke, had reported the Tau approach to the factory. At any moment they would clear the screen and the Auspexes would light up with targets. But Major Kurtz had not come down here to passively sit on the defence, waiting for the Tau to attack, no that was not Kurtz. When the Tau breached the smoke screen they would be met head on, the 17th Company would advance from their bunkers and destroy the Tau Vanguard.
Sensing the Moment was approaching, Kurtz Raised his hand; to his right, Kompanie commander Lande of the 17th, noted the gesture; to his left Platoon Commander Leutnant Shutze readied his men for the assault; Watchmaster Zung, Commanding the Jagd-Russ shouted into his boom mike and the great engines of the heavy tank roared in response.
With impeccable timing Kurtz dropped his hand just before the first Tau infantry broke through the smoke screen, and all hell broke loose.
Fire streaked out from the Imperial lines, bright beams briefly connecting with the dim shapes of the individual Tau fire warriors. The great vanquisher cannon of the Jagd-Russ boomed, its shell smashed into the front glacis of a Tau Tank, skipping of the sloped surface and sending the vehicle skittering of course on its grav cushion.
All along the line Firewarriors scattered, making for cover, some headed up into the ruins of the Refinery, others scattered into the dubious shelter of a rock formation just in front of the Imperial lines. For many this would be a fatal mistake. Kurtz had had his Ordinance Master pre-register the rock. Just as the scattering Firewarriors reached the safety of the rock, the first salvo slammed into their shelter. Bodies and parts of bodies flew skyward, riding the expanding globe of the shock waves. Artillery shells screamed in a stream of High Explosive pounding to rock formation and the survivors of the first rush, All the survivors could do was crawl further into the cracks in between the rock and hope for survival.
Off on the right flank Firewarriors had scattered into the ruined buildings of the refinery, taking up positions in the ruined galleries of the first and second floor. Behind the refinery, Chmeras of the Grenadiers revved their engines and leapt forwards, dashing across the open ground in between them and the ruins, turning at the last minute to flanking positions at the rear of the building. The Back wall of the building had been demolished in an earlier unknown conflict, leaving the building open to the sky. One of the Chmeras slid to a halt and popped smoke to cover the dismounting Grenadiers. The other continued on racing towards the waiting Broadside suits.
Hypersonic slugs from the waiting Tau broadsides streaked on rods of ionised air aimed towards the Chimeras. One smashed into the turret of the still moving Chimera, penetrating the armour of the turret, spraying the narrow compartment inside, killing the turret gunner outright. More importantly it passed through the auto loader mechanism as it it were cardboard, shattering it irreparably.
The Watchmasters signalled back to Leutnant Shutze they were in position as arranged. Shutze confirmed this and ordered the Grenadiers to open fire with maximum fury. The Fire warriors, who were slow to react to this new threat, were cut down by a hail of Las Rifle fire.
Survivors of the Firewarriors returned a spattering of fire at the Grenadiers wounding two and Killing one. But the damage had already been done and the Tau scattered down out of the ruins and back the way they had come.
Tau return fire began to take its toll, 1st platoon was forced to take shelter from Tau small arms fire, while hypervelocity crowbars from Rail guns streaked passed the JagdRuss.
Three battle suits arrived of the port quarter of the Jagd Russ, decending from the sky on a column of fire. Their leg shocks had barely finished recovering from the impact before they had opened up with a co-ordnated ballet of fire at point blank into the side of the Jagd Russ,Paint chips and armour fragments flew from the flanks of the great metal beast. One Fusion beam struck the barrel of the Vanquisher cannon, super heating the metal in an instant, shearing off the barrel at the base and exploding the shell in the breach. The veteran crew, reacted quickly, slewing the tank around and opening up with the hull mounted heavy bolter, point blank into the battle suits. They could hardly miss. Mass reactive bolt rounds hosed down the suits cascasing off the Tau suit armour in a great arc into the sky. One suit staggered under the weight of fire, explosive bolts findinging, then enlarging gaps in the plates before detonating in amongst the delicate machinery behind the plates. The suit poped and fizzed before toppling to one side inert and unresponsive.
From behind the suits landing site, Leutnant Shutze led his command squad in an assault on the remaining suit. Firing as they came the two melta gunners turned the ravening beams of their weapons on the cluster of suits One struck the already falling suit, the other smashed a second Tau suit onto its face as the powerplant on the back of the suit came apart under the lethal carress of the meltas beam.
Thumbing the control on his Power sword he leapt across the gap between the rocks and the tau suit. He landed hard on the remaining suits shoulder, scrabbling for purchase with his freehand, he drove the tip of the powersword down into the neck joint of the sensor array, cutting through armour, electronics and and flesh alike.
By now, all along th line the men of Krieg were advancing. The Tau Hammerhead lay burning in a heap where Grenadier meltas had cut away a nacelle and caused it to crash. The remaining firewarriors sheltering in the in the rocks had been winkled out of their refuge with the baonette, and even the Broadsides had died under the guns of a Banewolf, Hidden on the flank of the Tau advance.
With the Deaths of the Broadsides, the Tau vanguard had been smashed. Major Kurtz and the 17th Kompanie had stopped them cold, and bought the time needed by the regiment to solidify their new defensive line.
Photos By James