In the closing months of M41 the forces of Chaos congregated galaxy wide in numbers only seen previously since the days of Horus Heresy. From all dark corners of the galaxy they came with blades in hand aimed at the worlds of the Imperium. As countless other systems were beset so too was the Nerio system. The small, unassuming star system had once before been attacked by the forces of darkness and, keeping with the promises made by those long routed heretics, the evil returned to do battle.
Leading the assault was the warband known as the Crusaders Once Crossed. Alongside them stood scores of other traitor marines, legions of slave-soldiers, countless mercenaries, and hordes of daemons. From all corners of the system the servants of ruination crept into realspace. Upon entry the chaos fleet had no hesitation and immediately began the assault by launching tarnished, ruined space hulk filled with explosives from stern to bow straight into the site of their previous failure. The Imperial forces were caught by surprise by this assault and were initially in a state of disarray. The local space marine chapter, the Tempered Souls, moved to intercept the chaos fleet and engaged in ship to ship combat for the initial part of the invasion.
After the brief naval combat the fight shifted to the brutal land battles that took place on the four planets of the system. For some time the Imperial forces within the system had to fight without any reinforcements and were very much on the defensive. It was shortly after the events on Necro that an Imperial fleet consisting of many servants of the Emperor was able to assist their brethren. After the influx of Imperial forces the battle, after much turmoil, swayed to favor the Emperor's people.
The simple Agri-World of Syprios was the first to find the hellish invaders on its lands. The local PDF, the Syprios Militia, tried to man their trusty defensive installations but quickly discovered the preemptive bombardment from the marauders had rendered their planetary weapons useless. The fighting quickly became quite dire as the PDF found themselves unable to repel the enemy via their traditional methods. To make matters worse, the defenders were forced to expend a great deal of resources securing the impact site of the bomb ship due to a great deal of intact munitions which couldn't be allowed to be recovered and detonated by the enemy forces.
The Cadian 517th were on their way home intending to make a brief stop to replenish their food supplies.
Their transport, the Advanae arrived at roughly the same time as vessels carrying The Blackwater Rifles and the Akoni 3rd Drop Infantry. The three vessels quickly formed a convoy and barely made it through the fleet surrounding the planet to deploy their regiments directly into combat only hours later.
Syprios The Siege of Mende
The Cadian 517th lacked any armor but their large numbers of heavy weapons broke the siege of Syprios' capital city Mende allowing the local Militia to fall back, regroup and plan their next move.
While Chaos forces were forced to withdraw a small group of assassins entered the city, intending to capture the planetary governor and broadcast his death to the planet from the flagship in orbit. They entered his palace cutting down many Milita troopers and Mende police before reaching him.
Escaping the city in a stolen truck they were quickly able to reach their transport several kilometers away. A rapidly deployed squad of Drop Troopers were able to kill the assassins, save the governor and return him to Mende before redeploying elsewhere.
The Blackwater Rifles and the Akoni deployed near a small town on Silve named Metius, their civilian followers doubling the population almost overnight.
The Akoni gunships ripped into the armored columns headed toward the town while the Akoni outmaneuvered the cultists behind them, letting the six hundred Ogryns in the Rifles finish them off, the Militia serving in a support role. While non combatants the Black Velvet Vixens were vital in keeping the morale of local militia intact and when Metius was secure they would travel with the armies, staying far behind the lines entertaining the sick, the injured and the demoralized.
Akoni Trooper Martyn Ailani and his squad deployed behind enemy lines soon faced ten to one odds. They held their ground for more than a day as they took cover in an irrigation ditch and accounted for 210 enemy dead before help arrived. He was given several awards for his actions that day including The Order of the Scarlet Wing for breaking his left hand on a low lying tree branch. Despite his own injuries he was awarded the Crimson Skul ,for carrying his wounded Sergeant to safety.
The fighting grew quite vicious with each side facing severe losses without seeing much progress. The once lush countryside fields and plains were sullied and burnt. What were once noble manors became encampments for mutants and cultists. The Syprian cities were arguably worse places to live than the heretic encampments as the besieged urban centers became filled with filth and the stench of rotting corpses. Already the world was marred and its people weary yet the battle would not soon be over.
A combined regiment force comprised of the Khazamga 2nd Infantry and the 4th Rough Riders answered the call to battle and quickly joined the fray. They positioned themselves at a location known as Bardiros Hill which, due to the local geography, allowed them to keep enemy forces from crossing into the lush lands of the Vectian plains. They stood as a bulwark against several enemy assaults and fought valiantly; without their grit and fighting spirit the Vectian countryside surely have been pillaged. In the final battle of a valiant warrior from the Rough Rider regiment by the name of Valmiki Mehrotra Singh defeated an enemy commander and his unit killed 2400 demoralized traitors with little trouble.
An idyllic town that once appeared to be something from a postcard. Originally the town was of a moderate size and sported many factories and several breweries that churned out the famed Syprian wine. It lost its charm after the considerable fighting that took place in its boundaries during M41.999. The Xomia 7th Infantry “The Rock Hounds” defended the city from the would be Chaos Warlord Arrhoz Ardekai. Ardekai's rivalry with Kadire Ro'Gom proved to be his undoing, the Xomia's expertise in defensive warfare exacted a terrible toll on his army but his stubborn pride would not allow him to call for reinforcements.
While it was never taken by enemy forces many of the structures were reduced to smoldering heaps of rubble after the many exchanges of artillery between the local PDF, their Xomia allies and the invaders.
As the servants of Chaos lost their advantage they became more savage. Thousands of cultists were abandoned as their Astartes overlords and many traitor marines were left to die by their comrades. The remaining PDF soldiers made a final assault against the remnants of the invaders in an all or nothing move. Though the heaviest fighting was at the long contested crash site the entire world was awash in blood during the final confrontation between the defenders and the marauders.
The Cadians, Blackwater and Akoni on the world faced resistance as well- they were redeployed to the far north fighting in the icy wastes of the northern glaciers, having broken the siege of the world's cities while the PDF were still finishing their role in the defense.
The Akoni were completely unused to the cold environment but performed admirably all the same letting the cold work in their favor as they destroyed enemy food supplies and equipment. Like the militia none of the Imperial Guard were interested in prisoners, the Cadians least of all, simply shooting any prisoners and throwing the bodies into the sea.
Straggling into the cities after roughly three weeks of intense fighting the 517th was rewarded with a single day of rest before continuing on their way back home while the Akoni and Blackwater Rifles entered yet another campaign on the planet.
For additional information read: Syprios Militia
The prison world of Kri-os was a excellent target for the invaders. Hundreds of thousands of killers and reavers were imprisoned on the Death World and defended by a paltry amount of hired guards. A great number of Chaos craft landed on the irradiated sands of Kri-os to supplement their ranks and join in the slaughter of the guards. Much to the invaders' delight a detachment of loyalist marines was garrisoned on the world to attempt to halt the traitor's advance. The guards stationed at each of the four prisons could do little to stop their attackers and many fled to the Citadel.
All the prisons were now the domains of the invading hordes and the remaining loyalist Astartes and guards were confined in the Citadel. In a near constant series of assaults the Imperial forces in the Citadel were whittled down. If the Citadel was any less hardy of a fortress the defenders would have surely perished.
With the tide turned on Necro thousands of chaos warriors came to Kri-os hoping to regain the initiative by forcing the Imperial forces to storm the prison fortresses. Initially this proved a fruitful tactic as the counter attacking Imperials were forced into grueling siege warfare but the cowardice of a certain disciple of Slaanesh foiled the chaos warriors' defense. Those Imperial forces still surviving in the Citadel emerged to assist in the counter attack.
Read more: Krios
The temperate world of Corbonis was in turmoil even before the landing craft reached their land. Cultists drew forth from the shadows preying upon their colleagues with utmost savagery. The mobs of cultists destroyed segments of the local infrastructure and claimed many cities as landing positions for their yet to arrive dark brethren. The local PDF was caught by surprise at the traitorous acts of their one time friends and, in some cases, family. The initial city-fighting was costly for the Corbonis PDF who were much more accustomed to fighting in the expansive woodlands all over the planet.
The battle for Askalo began with an act of sabotage that brought down the power grid all over the city. A dozen Ruffians were on leave at the time, spending their evening watching the club's exotic dancers when they responded to the sound of a nearby bomb blast. They quickly fell back when they realized their means of escape was cut off, the saboteurs had taken every major road out of the area. Though they knew they could never defeat their enemies alone they would slow them down any way they could while they waited for help.
While never intended for the purpose the club and the surrounding buildings became a Ruffian stronghold in the following days garrisoned by a dozen Ruffians and 41 Askalo citizens. They held for sixteen days with little ammunition and little food before the invading cultists broke through their makeshift defenses. The last left alive, a Ruffian by the name of Borusa Ulymar collapsed the building around him using explosives recaptured from their enemies, killing himself alongside them. Those excavating the site at the end of the Black Crusade counted 520 enemy dead, 43 of whom had died in the collapse.
But this did not slow the invasion, disorganized mobs of cultists and opportunists sabotaged roads, and launched petty attacks on the PDF convoys travelling them. While others targeted infrastructure, burning farms factories and power plants on the way to the hilltop city of Alafa
Pamelia Levine, a local madame and cult leader chose this moment to reveal herself. Her joygirls, organized into a crude mockery of the Adeptus Sororitas, ritually murdered their guests before donning their armor, collecting their weapons and attacking the city from within, supporting a mob outside.
Alafa fell despite a fierce resistance from the local Arbites garrison The cultists desecrated the Cathedral with sacrifices to the Dark Gods, and the few survivors were either enslaved or fled into the nearby forests.
Marconi Levine, Alafa's mayor and retired Corbonis Ruffian was among them and he was quick to organize a resistance, both sides waged a guerrilla war and in the final battle he was forced to kill his own sister.
While the initial firefights between the PDF and cult forces were costly they paled in comparison to the damage inflicted by the invading forces once they reached the planet. The pillaged cities quickly donned sinister appearances as all manner of vile monsters and mutants filled the streets with their ilk. Bodies swung from the light posts and the tanned hides of men adorned the sides of buildings.
The city of Jirot Bay was ransacked and desecrated until a detachment of Imperial Guard composed of the 2nd Olea Infantry, the Olea 2nd Light infantry, better known as the “Frag Dolls” the Olea 8th Light Infantry The “Nightbirds” and the Khazamga 14th Infantry were sent to take the city back.
The Chaos leader, a Sorcerer named Rulek Dydire was killed by "Nightbirds" sniper Giada Thorne in the midst of a ritual making use of a swimming pool filled with the blood of citizens sacrificed to the Dark Gods. His army turned on itself as his subordinates struggled for power.
The Ruffians would once more find their homeland beset by a domestic foe but not only did they face friends turned traitors as this time the fleets of the dark pantheon would reach Corbonis. The fighting on the planet's surface broke out quickly as the invading fleet entered the system vast amounts of local heretics showed their nefarious intentions. Most of the foul brigands poured forth from Varmim like fleeing roaches.
With swift action the PDF mobilized for the first time in centuries trying to stem the tide of destruction that would inevitably come to their home and hearth. From the many strongholds and watchtowers the PDF sent out assault squads to bolster the defenses of the many villages and towns on both continents. Even though out of their preferred surroundings the PDF still preformed their duty well as they fought in the cramped confines of small homes and alleyways. Despite killing many cultists and only losing a small number of Ruffians the PDF was largely unsuccessful in stopping the enemy force from carrying out their hidden goal of sabotaging the infrastructure of the planet.
The fight was considered well fought and the commanding officers of the Ruffians had believed they nearly had the enemy beaten as the weak cultists were hardly a match for the well armed and armored PDF soldiers. This was far from the truth though as after a week of fighting the oafish forces of the local cults the invading fleet reached Corbonis. The enemy ships landed with minimal resistance as the aerial defenses of the planet were rendered useless by the saboteurs. Harboring unprecedented numbers of cultists, daemons, warp spawn, and even numerous traitor Astartes of various warbands the new brigades of enemies at the PDF's home seemed nigh unbeatable.
The defending PDF soldiers fought hard as they garrisoned themselves within city strcutures but they were too lightly armed to deal with the far more numerous hordes of darkness. The capitol (Askalo) was first to fall as after weeks of siege the starving forces of the PDF were unable to put up sufficient resistance. They were able to amass quite the kill toll however as they were able to set up mortars and sniper squads atop the buildings.
This tactic would prove effective for those stationed at Askalo until after weeks without supplies they lacked the mortar shells to sustain the bombardments they were conducting on the mobs of entrenched traitors. The Askalo regiment(s) were able to continue delaying the loss of the city for two more days armed only with a few measly emplaced machine guns and the standard issue long-las each soldier was equipped with. As the fighting ability of the regiments dropped the heretics drew in closer each day until eventually they finally breached the defenses of the city effectively and slaughtered civilian and soldier alike.
After the loss of the capital the rest of the towns on Heromus quickly fell. The few remaining elements of the PDF retreated back to their hidden fortresses bringing any refugees they could along with them. Luck would be on their side as they remained within their well fortified strongholds as they were more effective at combating the enemy in their natural environment. In addition to their tailored skills benefiting them as they fought in the vast forests their fortresses remained hidden for a lengthy amount of time due to their remote locations.
The situation would remain the same on Heromus for months as there was a linear ebb and flow between success and loss. The same could not be said for Toclus as the fighting on the eastern continent was much more costly for the Ruffians. Wyrham was the first of the towns to be pillaged by the foul legions of darkness as it was one of the more resource rich towns. The town was largely abandoned by the time the chaos fleet had arrived on the eastern continent and the only remaining civilians were the few that gathered arms to fight alongside the Ruffians.
When the first scouting parties arrived to Toclus the Ruffians were successful in destroying them before the could gather enough reliable intel to bring back to their dark overlords. The combat gradually became more difficult as each scouting party grew larger in numbers as the previous one was destroyed until eventually the Ruffians were unsuccessful at hunting them all down. They knew that the next wave of foes wouldn't be a motley group of cultist like the other times but a hardened attack force set on turning Wyrham to rubble. Alongside their citizen militia the PDF fought tooth and nail against mobs of ravenous cultist and foul warp spawn for days. The true valor of the Ruffians shone during these dark times as they held their ground against the tides of foes.
Fortune would run out for those at Wyrham rather quickly though as they had drawn the ire of the commanding chaos Astartes overseeing the assaults on the town. From the distance sentries atop the homes of Wyrham could see mighty war machines accompanied by a cadre of villainous chaos Space Marines. Those Ruffians at Wyrham were aware that they would be unable to prevent the loss of the town and sent away the remaining citizens who stood with them to fight. All that remained left to fight for the town was a measly few hundred Ruffians but they remained diligent despite they adversity the faced. Those brave soldiers fought to their last breath with the fury of the wilds in their hearts and bought their fellow soldiers a little more time elsewhere on Toclus.
Pándhrosos would be the final urban bastion of the PDF as retreating regiments and fleeing civilians filled the coastal city. Due to the very strong presence of the Ruffians and a couple squads of Tempered Souls Astartes stalwart defenses were set up quickly and the entire city was well protected from each side. Barricades and sentry post sprung up from the town square to the very edges of the urban jungle. The Ruffians in an effort to become even more dug in garrisoned all available structures and set up many teams of Sharpshooters along the rooftops and vantage points.
Those at the large coastal city were well aware they were the next target after Wyrham due to their close proximity and resources. After several hours of radio silence with those at Wyrham the Ruffians at Pándhrosos made final preparations for the undoubtedly gruesome fight ahead of them. They were finishing up bolstering their defenses as their lookouts would sound the alarm as heaps of cultists came from all directions but the sea. The gunfire soon started as the PDF attempted to delay the mobs of the lost and the damned from gaining a foothold in the ruins of the outer parts of the town.
During this early part of the battle the combat was lackluster but with each day became progressively worse as more sinister foes showed up each day. In the early days of the fighting at Pándhrosos the commanders of the PDF wagered it would be a easy fight but opinions swayed as the siege of the city continued for a week with no visible sign of stopping soon. It would appear that the attacking forces of chaos began to lose interest in taking hold of the city as they began artillery barrages with which the simply destroyed whole parts of the city.
Rather than waiting inside of their bunkers waiting to be skewered by the invaders it was decided that the PDF would take the fight to the enemy. with aid from The Tempered Souls. Several squads were sent out behind enemy lines to sabotage their artillery and cause general disruption in the enemy supply lines while the main Ruffian force would ready for the assault. Luck would be on their side as the strategy worked and the saboteurs remained unseen while carrying out their mission. With the constant shelling of the city coming to a halt the assault began with the Ruffians' tanks at the front making a charge at the lines with a clump of infantry and a couple squads of Astartes following behind.
The tanks broke the enemy's defenses and provided hard hitting firepower while the infantry cleared buildings or makeshift bunkers. This move would be costly for the PDF as the bulk of their tanks were destroyed or rendered irreparable and many troops were killed in action. The push did successfully route the scum laying siege to the city so it was considered a Pyrrhic victory but because of this counterattack Pándhrosos would remain in Imperial hands for the duration of the battle.
The Grand Push
After the seemingly progress lacking months of the exchange of artillery and small arms fire all across the continents the PDF's generals along with the other commanders drew up plans to route the enemy in a single massive charge. The plan was to have all garrisoned forces not essential for the operation of the Ruffian's strongholds charge the enemy as a single homogeneous force.
After the proper logistics and communications were established the Ruffians poured forth from their fortresses and bunkers taking vast amounts of ground. Those heretics who weren't slain retreated back only to find themselves encircled on all sides by a seemingly never ending mob of savage warriors. Eventually after several weeks of continued combat this tactic proved to be fruitful on Heromus more so than Toclus as the PDF eventually retook all of their major assets on the Western continent.
The Grand Push was not as effective on Toclus due to its many rolling hills and craggy mountains which halted their advance and provided many places for the hostiles to lay in wait for attack. As a result of the impassable terrain that the infantry faced on their advance the PDF resorted to heavy artillery barrages to deal with their foes. By the time the almost constant shelling was completed after two weeks many of the vast forest on Toclus were barren crater filled wastelands littered with debris.
After the earth shattering artillery strikes any surviving traitors put up very little in the way of a fight. After much toil the bulk of Toclus was reclaimed by the PDF. With both continents relatively secure and the last of the enemies retreating to Varmim the Ruffians now sought to finish the fight. Gathering all able bodied soldiers and supplies possible the commanders formulated a plan to assault the scum filled islands of Varmim.
A part of the fighting on Heromus, it involved a group of inexperienced Ruffians operating near Corbonis's North Pole. They were sent out on a scouting mission where they encountered a force of Heretics, taking several prisoners and forcing the rest to flee. Upon interrogating them they learned that reinforcements were on their way, more than they could hope to defeat and so they quickly fled after killing the now useless traitors in order to travel faster.
The Heretic warband, far more experienced after months of fighting than the newly minted Ruffians, led them into an almost perfect ambush the next day, several malfunctioning enemy weapons kept the surprise attack from destroying them in the first salvo. The Ruffians responded quickly acting on superior local knowledge setting up defenses and fighting on the run. They used their snowshoes to traverse through the rough environment, giving them an enormous advantage over their underequipped enemies. Despite this it ended in a draw, both sides retreated back to their respective bases of operations later that night. However this was not a useless battle, the Ruffians had able to determine the location of the traitor's stronghold. It was leveled only days later when a single squad of Tempered Souls assaulted the location, leaving none of them alive.
With Imperial forces finally coming to aid the PDF was turning the tide of the battle on their planet. Scores of murderous traitors were slain and those who survived fled to the islands of Varmim. A full on assault of the island was all that had to take place for the Ruffians to remove the last heretic from their pristine planet. Quickly the forces of the Ruffians and their allies prepared for the undoubtedly difficult task that they had to complete.
In the hours of dusk the combined forces of the PDF and many of their Imperial allies began the assault on Varmim. While the majority of the Ruffians would arrive by commandeered naval craft there were a few that were flown in alongside their Imperial Guard and Astartes comrades. Those brought in by aircraft were dropped deep behind enemy held ground and were assigned the task of destroying the enemy's defenses before the arrival of the rest of the force. As quietly and efficiently as possible the deployed squads crept stealthily to their targets taking out sentries and lookouts along the way.
In a almost synchronized fashion the Ruffians set off their explosive charges destroying the vast majority of the emplaced guns set up by their foes. As the demo squads of the PDF pulled back from the piles of slag they'd just made the rest of the force arrived on the beaches of Varmim. Like ants teeming from a colony the now alerted mobs of degenerates bearing the banners of chaos were darting towards the beach. Trying to get off the shore as quickly as possible the assaulting Ruffians wasted no time getting into the woodlands neighboring the beach.
With the majority of the assault force having already made their way inland the squads and platoons of Ruffians began attacking the occupied cities and towns. They were met with stiff resistance by their foe but with the assistance of the combined might of Astartes and Imperial Guardsmen they broke through the invaders' defenses Once the defensive lines of the foe were broken Imperial forces swarmed inside of the cities.
The fight devolved into grisly close quarters fighting inside of the cities and resulted in enormous amounts of damage to the structures that were still standing. The cacophony of battle was constant as cannons shattered ear drums and machine guns screamed in a hellish staccato. It was evident to the Ruffians they were beginning to drive their foe back as more and more clumps of cultists and mercenaries began to retreat to the center of the island.
Marching triumphantly over shredded corpses and tons of rubble the PDF chased the retreating enemy into the dense forests. The battle went much better for the Ruffians now as they were fighting in their typical environment. The starving disoriented masses of combatants put up very little in the way of a fight as the almost shadow like troops of the PDF picked them off from a distance with their rifles and mortars.
Varmim's forests and beaches were drenched in the blood of both the damned and the blood of the blessed. At last the lush world of Corbonis was free of conflict and the soldiers of the PDF were allowed to lay down their weapons. Their Imperial allies moved onward to elsewhere in the system to free the other worlds still embroiled in war.
Their long standing friendship with the people of the Nerio Sector led House Wahrheialte to rush to their aid when they were attacked during the 13th Black Crusade- lending one of their warship squadrons, three Dauntless class Light Cruisers and nine Firestorm Frigates to battle the invading fleet while sending their household guard into battle alongside the Bellatorum in Tenebris where they faced the might of The Chaos Sorcerer Abathal "Prophet of the Undivided".
Deployed on the Western Flank of an advancing mass of cultists their path took them through the bioluminescent Forest, where a force outnumbering them four to one lay in wait. The 525 men of the House Guard held firm against waves of attacks, including something worse than any of them had ever seen.
Many of these cultists were living bio weapons infected with terrible plagues and their bodies burst under sustained fire, killing Line Commander Tyrezian Reese and several others. The rest stood firm, leaving behind no survivors. Amareo, a chain dagger in each hand, dueled an aspiring champion with a chainaxe and won.
They emerged from the burning forest covered in blood and with their armor badly damaged and unsure of their health. The took advantage of their enemy's distracted state, overwhelming the few guards left behind at their camp, burning it and freeing hundreds of slaves. They had lost only fifteen men in the entire exchange and so they kept pushing, taking the liberated slaves back to the Fortress of Light before going into battle again.
Barely capable of supporting life, The Embershard Islands still contained the city of Embershard, home to tens of thousands of people. With all other defenders deployed elsewhere it fell to the House Guard to defend it. They and the Arbites in the city fought from atop the city walls and skyscrapers, buying time for reinforcements to arrive. They never did and so they fought alone, holding for four days. The battle killed 12,000 cultists and hundreds of innocent Imperial citizens. Enemy artillery tore large gaps in the defensive wall and destroyed the top floors of many of the skyscrapers but reconstruction began almost immediately after the battle ended.
They joined the 31st and 32nd Fidea Infantry at the Battle of The Cobalt Channel. Abathal's surviving forces some 6000 men intended to cross, loot and burn the meager fishing villages along its banks and then poison the city of Sol-Crystalis with debris and the bodies of the civilians they planned to murder.
Kyösti Rehn of the Fidea 32nd was among those killed in the fighting. His death was not in vain as it came only after he killed the Sorcerer. Abathal used his last breath to conjure a bolt of lightning that hit the unfortunate soldier but the damage had already been done, without their leader the Cultists scattered and were cut down by other Fidea soldiers who hoped to avenge their fallen comrade The House Guard sent a vox message to the city, asking for entry and somewhere for they, the Fidea and the suddenly homeless citizens, could stay. Their requested was granted and the battered Imperial forces remained there for the rest of the conflict.
(MORE TO COME)
The Fortress of Light was breached, allowing cultists access into the Reliquary, Inquisitors of the Ordo Scriptorum, tasked with protecting the Chapter's documents and artifacts became the last line of defense. Though never meant to fight, they fought well, holding their ground long enough for Bellatorum troopers to arrive and reinforce their positions.
Inquisitor Uriel Varus proved a capable leader and killed more than a dozen cultists with a Plasma Pistol he initially carried for looks.