Wurrshuv's Revenge - An ATT Campaign
The storm on M-88 has broken in earnest. After months of preparation the Tau and Ork counteroffensives have been unleashed, running into each other head on. The result has been a blood-drenched stalemate with neither side able to gain ground against the other. Tau firepower and mobility is being offset by Ork mass and low cunning. Both sides have suffered heavy losses, with thousands of Ork warbands destroyed and hundreds of Tau cadres rendered combat ineffective by attrition. The Tau leadership now fears that further Orks may be drawn to news of the battles and may escalate the conflict even further. In an attempt to quickly gain the upper hand, the ATT Shas'ar'tol is seeking to hold the Orks in place with their current front-line forces while marshalling further Tau reinforcements for a series of massive air-landing operations that, it is hoped, will catch the greenskin hordes in a vertical envelopment. The plan has significant risk however, as it will denny immediate reinforcements on the front lines and could leave the Tau vulnerable should the Orks manage a successful breakthrough.
Tau naval forces are beginning to trickle into the system, but not at the same rate as the Ork Freebooter fleets lured by bloodshed and Wurrshuv's promises of riches for any that fight for him. This deficiency is further compounded by the exponentially growing numbers of Ork Roks approaching M-88, filled with new Invasion forces and carrying the threat of opening up additional fronts on the surface. Kor'vattra fleet K-42 has shifted focus primarily on hunting down the encroaching Roks, deeming them to be the greater threat. The Tau fleet has seen considerable success in this endeavour, and thus far no additional Roks have made it to the surface of M-88, but this has come at the cost of leaving the Tau reinforcement corridors vulnerable. Already a number of Tau convoys carrying fresh troops and supplies have been lost to roving wolfpacks of Ork freebooter warships.
Situation Updates - All Sectors
He'Sho Seas - ORK CONTROLLED
The Tau beachhead in the He'Sho Seas region continues to hold out against massive Ork counter-attacks, but they remain cut off and losses are mounting. Only a steady trickle of Mantas and Orca dropships making their way through the formidable Ork air defences in the region is preventing the Tau landing forces from being annihilated. A number of raids against nearby Ork mining operations and oil infrastructure have been attempted, but all have thus far ended in failure with the Tau forced to fall back under heavy enemy attack. Without further reinforcements, and with the unrelenting Ork pressure on the Tau landing zones, the Tau have simply been left with too few warriors to spare for these missions.
The Orks' Intacepta Rokkit networks in the He'Sho Seas have been instrumental in their defence efforts, and the Orks do not hesitate to pound the Tau positions with long-range Intacepta Rokkit fire when there are no Tau aircraft operating in the area. The allies and mercenary forces that arrived with the Tau air-landing troops have thus far suffered the worst losses, being placed in the highest-risk sectors by the Tau commanders. Morale amongst these mercenary elements is low, due to spiralling casualty rates and growing fears that Wurrshuv may retaliate against them personally should they continue to fight against him. The Big Mek has a notorious reputation amongst the outlaw underworld of the Eastern Fringe, and this has not gone unrecognised by the mercenaries and pirates fighting alongside the Tau, with many questioning whether the rewards promised by the Tau outweigh the grave risks involved.
Amidst the dire situation for the Tau landing forces, one small silver lining can be found in an unexpected area. Scattered Tau remnants are beginning to find their way back to the Tau landing sites in the He'Sho seas. A combination of survivors from the initial Ork assault on the region and surviving elements from Operation FARSIGHT, these Tau are found approaching the outskirts of the Tau beachhead at erratic hours, often waiting until nightfall to complete their journey. Occasionally they arrive in ragged bands of three or four, but more often they come in pairs or, most common of all, lone warriors who are the sole survivor of their unit. Fire Warriors and Pathfinders in these remnants frequently have at least their basic kit and weapon still with them, and occasionally FARSIGHT remnants will still have functional Stealthsuits, but more often than not these survivors arrive with little more than the combat armour on their bodies, all other equipment having been irreparably damaged or lost in their desperate flight to safety. Nonetheless, these remnants are a welcome source of extra manpower for the Tau landing forces, and the Tau commanders at the He'Sho Seas beachhead are eagerly collecting every scrap of intelligence they can gleam from the survivors for use in planning their next move...
Ork Points: 84
Tau Points: 16
Mo'Hav Plains - ORK CONTROLLED
The Ork Speed Freak warbands have now largely left the Mo'Hav Plains region, but this area remains no less heavily populated by Ork forces. The extensive network of roadways the Orks have constructed in the area continues to function as a major supply artery for the Ork invasion, channelling war materials, supplies, spoils and Ork warbands between the Ork-occupied sectors and the front lines, and as the road system reaches maturity more and more effort is being put towards security, with increasingly elaborate defences beginning to spring up across the region to guard the vital roadways against intruders.
In the wake of the Speed Freaks come hundreds of thousands of regular Ork warbands and Wurrshuv's own armies, forming a second echelon of the greenskins' southern offensive and acting as a follow-on force to the Speed Freaks to exploit any breakthroughs the speed-crazed Orks may achieve. Orbital imagery and footage from high-altitude surveillance drones shows unimaginably vast plumes of impenetrable black smoke blotting out the surface of M-88 as these forces flood the staging grounds and roads of the Mo'Hav Plains in preparation for their attacks on the Tau in the west.
Ork Points: 81
Tau Points: 19
Wurrshuv's Krunch - ORK CONTROLLED
Flying out of their airbases in the Krunch region, Ork flyboyz continue to wage a relentless air war in the airspace over the Tau controlled sectors. Though they have suffered considerable losses against the Tau air cadres, the Ork pilots are quickly learning Air Caste tactics and adapting to them. A number of fighta-bommer aces have emerged from the fighting and are now feared across M-88. It is believed that the significant disposition of the Ork air forces works to their favour in this regard, as their numbers leave more room to adapt and experiment with their tactics - any failures are simply absorbed as acceptable losses that the Orks can take. The Tau air cadres, with their limited numbers and much less expendable assets, do not have such a luxury.
On the ground, Wurrshuv has taken keen note of the success the Tau have had with their stealth technology in previous conflicts, and has started using it against his enemies in earnest. The heavy losses of Operation FARSIGHT combined with plundered Tau technology from battles in the west has left the Big Mek with an ample supply of salvaged stealth field components, which he has used to expand the ranks of his Spektas. Instrumental in the initial Ork victories in the He'Sho Seas, these feared Kommandos use looted stealth field generators to devastating effect. Newly formed Spekta mobs have been deployed to all major fronts, and have thrown many Tau forces into chaos with their deadly raids. It would also appear that the Tau are not the only ones to have fallen in the cross-hairs of the Spektas - several dissenting Ork warbosses have suffered gruesome 'accidents' after refusing to provide suitable tribute to Wurrshuv or challenging his authority.
Ork Points: 100
Tau Points: 0
Note: Due to heavy Ork defences and overwhelming numbers of Orks in the area, Tau players may not report games in this region.
Training Ground Saal'vesa - TAU CONTROLLED
In the south the Speed Freaks have struck the Empire Sector in full force. Thousands of speed-crazed warbands have descended on the Saal'vesa training grounds in an orgy of high-speed destruction, with the fighting becoming a grim reflection of the initial Ork landing. The Speed Freaks have lost none of their cunning or ferocity, and the week's combat has seen heavy damage inflicted on the southern Tau forces. The Tau's salvation thus far has been the lack of unity amongst the Speed Freaks - with individual warbands operating on their own leadership, no central coherent strategy has been followed by the Speed Freaks, allowing the Tau to redirect them with relative ease and defeat them piecemeal.
The end result has seen the Speed Freak assault blunted, but has also left the Empire Tau forces unable to push into the neighbouring Mo'Hav plains. The front line in the Empire Sector has been left a fractured mess as the belligerents have become locked in a vicious cycle of swirling manoeuvre warfare and mobile combat, with mechanised Tau hunter cadres chasing Speed Freak warbands in inconclusive running battles that leave the two forces increasingly intermingled. The ATT Shas'ar'tol remains confident that they can contain the Speed Freaks, but there are growing concerns about whether this can be done before the second echelon of Ork forces massing in the Mo'Hav Plains hits the Empire Sector in strength.
Ork Points: 34
Tau Points: 66
Training Centre Or'vesa - TAU CONTROLLED
The Tau have been dangerously slow to respond to the operational and strategic opportunities presented to them in the Enclave Sector, with Tau forces in the north paralysed as their commanders debate how best to exploit their regained initiative. The Orks, however, have been equally indecisive, making piecemeal attacks at both the Or'vesa training grounds and at targets outside the training areas as individual Warbands and warbosses direct their forces on the course of action they deem most suitable.
The result is another chaotic stalemate, further compounded by logistical complications as Tau Empire forces are moved back to the southern regions in order to engage the Ork assaults there, or moved up from the south to assist the Enclave troops. Renowned Guards Cadre commander Shas'O Da'Anuk is calling for the Tau to establish a clear and unified strategy immediately and with all due haste. In the meantime, the combat in the north continues to reach unprecedented levels of bitterness and savagery. Several longstanding hatreds and grudges have now formed between veteran forces who have fought each other on multiple occassions, and fighting between such rivals has become notorious for the scale of horror involved. The Enclave forces have gained particular infamy in this area - unfettered by the civilian control of the Ethereals and with a longstanding history of violence against the Orks, the Enclave warriors are continuing to attack the invading Orks with a level of brutality that has shocked observers from the Tau Empire.
Ork Points: 38
Tau Points: 62
Fio Starport - TAU CONTROLLED
With aircraft losses continuing to grow, the Tau are turning more and more to ground-based air-defence to protect against the incessant Ork fighta-bommer raids. The Tau have already established an impressive integrated air defence network in their occupied territories, and additional contingents of Tracer Missile batteries, Stingrays, Skyrays and Angelfish have been deployed to the surface to strengthen the Tau air defences. Though boasting formidable firepower, the ground-based efforts continue to be hampered by Ork aircraft carrying Beepy Gubbins, restricting the amount of weapons that can be brought to bear on them. The Ork countermeasure systems have become especially feared and hated by the Tau, and a number of research efforts have been initiated to develop an effective counter.
With the advent of increased Ork Spekta activity, the Tau have turned their attentions to counter-intelligence and counter-stealth capabilities. A significant quantity of advanced sensor equipment has been requisitioned by Tau forces on M-88, and many Pathfinder and Stealth Teams are being recalled to Fio Starport to receive additional training in counter-infiltration methods and tactics. It is believed by the Tau that these forces will then be able to hunt down the elusive Spekta mobs with the support of widespread gun drone patrols.
Ork Points: 0
Tau Points: 100
Note: Due to the extensive Tau defence networks in place within this region, Ork players may not report games in this territory.
Ork Campaign Points: 4
Tau Campaign Points: 4
Some disturbing reports have begun to filter through to the ATT Shas'ar'tol from Tau elements in the field. In a number of incidents in Tau controlled sectors contact has been lost with isolated Run'als and outposts. Investigating teams have found the installations reduced to blood-soaked abattoirs, their occupants massacred. No survivors have thus far been found, and no evidence of the identity of the attackers can be ascertained, save for crude Ork glyphs written in blood at each site and the missing heads and spinal columns of the Tau victims.
It is suspected that these attacks are related to a number of similar incidents that have also begun to surface. Isolated patrols and teams of Tau and auxiliary troops have, from time to time, disappeared into the wilderness of M-88. In all such cases contact is never reestablished and search parties have found only mutilated remains of the team members scattered over their projected route of march. Again, all victims have been found missing their head and spine.
The ATT Shas'ar'tol is convinced that the same party is behind all of these attacks, and a full-scale investigation is underway. The Tau leadership only hopes that the culprits can be found before they cause more serious damage...
Gogsnaga remained motionless in his perch on the rough knobbly branch of a tree, carefully positioned so that none of the leaves peeling off it would land on him and betray his location. He had learnt the right way to do so long before, after it ruined an ambush against some Humies he was a part of. He had been the only survivor of his Kommando mob that day, and he was determined not to see it happen again. He would have preferred to have taken position in a tree that wasn't shedding anything at all, but that was not an option for him. All of the trees in this copse of woodland were deciduous, and leaves continued to swarm and dance in the air like a flock of birds. Not that Gogsnaga could see them at the moment, seeing the world through the lurid oranges of the false-colour sensor readout his goggles were showing him. What was visible, however, was the brightly glowing radiation signatures of his quarry...
Shas'Ui'Sa'cea Rra'Myr stalked along the winding woodland path, focusing on any detail that might seem out of place, his pulse carbine raised as he scanned the surrounding trees. The rest of his team of Fire Warriors advanced cautiously in front and behind of him as they too scrutinised the foliage for any danger to the convoy they were escorting. Rra'Myr struggled to listen over the heavy scream of turbine engines from the Devilfish and gunships that crept alongside their dismounted escorts. The Shas'Ui would have preferred to keep moving while mounted, but knew that an advance on foot gave them the best chance of flushing out any ambushes the Ores'la might have set up. Rra'Myr hated these woods. The trees pressed in on both sides, and left him feeling suffocated. Still, the trip through them had thus far been uneventful. The Pathfinders at the head of the column had reported nothing out of the ordinary, and even the sensors on the cadre's battlesuits had not detected any enemy presence yet...
Gogsnaga noiselessly slunk down from his perch in the trees, carefully lowering himself to the ground so as not to disturb any of his surroundings. All around him the world was a riot of acid oranges, an alien vision to his eyes, but one he knew was necessary in order for him to see at all through the looted Stealth systems he and his fellow Spektaz wore. Wurrshuv had explained to them that the invisibility afforded by the Tau gubbinz made everything invisible to them too, and the only way to see while they were cloaked was through the use of special kustom goggles Wurrshuv had provided them with, fashioned from looted stealthsuit optics. The stealth gubbinz, Wurrhsuv had shown them, would hide them on every colour save one, which was whatever colour they set the goggles to using a toggle on the side. Gogsnaga had discovered that Orange was a colour the Blue gitz didn't usually see at first, so that was the colour he had ordered his Boyz to use. Even now he could see the shapes of the Spektaz as they crept out of the woods with him. Gogsnaga slowly, purposefully stepped closer to the nearest unit of Tau warriors... carefully... closer... quiet now... closer... yes, that's it... he was very close now, almost able to reach out and touch the diminutive alien, and still they were completely oblivious... closer...
Shas'Ui'Sa'cea Rra'Myr stood poised as he waited with the rest of his team while the Pathfinders returned to the column from their advanced scouting of the path ahead. What unnerved Rra'Myr most was his inability to hear anything over the noise of the vehicles' engines. Without a good set of ears the Shas'Ui felt like he had an arm tied behind his back. He had no way of hearing an approaching adversary, nor could he tell if any of the woodland's natural life had fled or made some kind of response to an intruder. He doubted he would even be able to hear an incoming Ores'la fighter-bomber. It was why Rra'Myr had chosen to leave his helmet clipped to his utility belt, leaving him free to taste and smell the air. It wasn't ideal, but it was better than relying on vision alone. The Shas'Ui just wished he had more of a basis of comparison to know if any scent was different. Still, despite his gnawing unease, Rra'Myr could at least take solace in the fact that nothing had happened yet, and it seemed like nothing would as he turned to start walking forwards. Before he could begin to take a step, however, he felt the strangest sensation on the back of his scalp, a gust of warm moist air that blew forth in an oddly rhythmic pattern, almost like... breathing!
The Fire Warriors watched as their Shas'Ui froze. They watched as their Shas'Ui whirled around on the spot and levelled his pulse carbine at the space behind him. Then they saw their Shas'Ui knocked reeling by nothing, his arm twisting on its own until it broke in two with a sickening crack. The blue-spattered black blade of a massive wickedly-fashioned knife sprouted from the Shas'Ui's torso, just below the shoulder, and hoisted the screaming Tau into the air before ripping him apart in a shower of cyan gore. The azure blood washed over a rippling shifting silhouette of a monstrous Ork warrior that immediately ducked to one side and rolled into thin air, leaving behind only a staccato beat of deafening gunfire as it unloaded a slugga into the Tau ranks and a single tumbling stikkbomb that struck the ground with an ear-splitting blast and a whirlwind of jagged shrapnel. The Firewarriors responded immediately, training their weapons in the most likely direction their assailant had travelled in to lead the target. It was already too late. Before a single trigger could be pulled the rest of Gogsnaga's mob attacked, butchering the Tau where they stood. Some were stabbed in the back, others had their throats split open. A couple of unfortunate ones were torn limb from limb. More still were struck down by slugga fire or blown apart by stikkbomb explosions.
The struggle had not gone unnoticed, and already the rest of the Tau were scrambling into defensive positions or training their weapons on the lopsided melee. As they did, one of the Devilfish towards the front of the column spontaneously detonated, erupting into a brutal fireball that scattered burning debris across the woodland trail. The surrounding Fire Warriors immediately turned at the sound, and were immediately caught in a hail of high-calibre bullets as a pair of unseen big shootas opened up on them at point blank range, the survivors also being slaughtered as the second mob of Spektaz pressed their attack.
The Tau grav-tanks pirouetted where they hovered in search of the invisible tormentors. A Skyray loosed a volley of smart missiles from its forward turrets, the guided munitions twisting and weaving through the air in search of targets before plunging down and detonating harmlessly on an empty section of leaf-strewn pathway. A Hammerhead had much better success, its target-lock guided burst cannons spraying the vicinity of the wrecked Devilfish with searing plasma pulses that systematically ripped apart one of the attacking Spekta mobs in a tempest of deep green blood, dirty yellow bone and burning brown earth. While the Hammerhead's target-lock dealt with that threat, the gunship's main turret swung around to the side and fired a submunition round from its railgun, smashing apart the side of the trail in a tremendous blast that left a series of dark green smears and sparking components where it had caught another mob of Ork ambushers.
A moment after the railgun fired, two screaming rockets erupted from the air on trails of thick black smoke behind the Hammerhead at point-blank range. One fractured apart in flight and corkscrewed wildly into the trees. The second impacted the grav-tank right in the side of one of its auxiliary fuel cells, detonating the vehicle's hind-quarters in a blistering explosion. menacing shapes shimmered in the burning wreckage as the Spekta mob swarmed over the ruined Hammerhead to tear open hatches and slaughter the surviving crew.
A trio of Broadside Battlesuits turned and shifted themselves back-to-back, then poured rockets into the surrounding woodland to clear it of any further attackers. They were too late to catch the mob of Spektaz that had crept up on them. Two of the Orks systematically dismembered one of the battlesuits with the high-powered cutting fields of their burnas. The Nob leading them tore open the chest of another with his power klaw. The final one was set upon by the remaining Spektaz in the mob with krak stikkbombs.
A psychotic grin filled Gogsnaga's face as he walked amongst the carnage. This was one hunter cadre that would not reach the Or'vesa training grounds.