Wurrshuv's Revenge - An ATT Campaign
Tragedy has befallen the Tau on M-88. While touring the embattled planet to raise spirits amongst its defenders, the Tau Ethereal Aun'el'Sa'cea Ol'Bentu'B was brutally murdered while inspecting a forward operations centre in the Empire Sector. In the early afternoon the renowned and cherished leader was viscerally ripped apart in the middle of a public address he was giving to an assembly of Fire Warriors, with the unidentified assailant taking the Ethereal's head and attached spinal column with them as they fled. The assassin is believed to have used Tau cloaking technology to infiltrate the facility and get within striking range of the Ethereal, as well as evade pursuing guards. After inflicting several more fatalities on the Tau security forces the assassin managed to escape into the wilderness of M-88. The exact means by which this was achieved are not yet clear, but initial investigations suggest that a poorly guarded waste conduit was used to facilitate the assassin's flight. Needless to say Ol'Bentu'B's shocking and graphic demise has been a devastating blow to Tau morale.
In space much needed naval reinforcements have arrived in the form of Operational Group Or’res’tel’K, which has since begun convoy escort and search-and-destroy missions against the marauding wolf-packs of Ork Freebootaz. This has taken considerable pressure off Kor'vattra fleet K-42, which is now able to focus all of its efforts in locating and destroying incoming Ork Roks. No additional Roks have thus far reached the surface of M-88, and more and more convoys are reaching M-88 intact.
Situation Updates - All Sectors
He'Sho Seas - ORK CONTROLLED
Acting on intelligence gleaned from rescued Tau stragglers, the Tau landing forces in the He'Sho Seas region have attempted a major breakout from their landing zones. Almost all remaining mercenary forces were marshalled for the offensive to bolster the critically low amounts of Tau manpower, and extensive air support was called in from any available Air Cadres. With the dual objectives of breaking through the Ork cordon and destroying additional nearby Ork oil infrastructure, the plan was a dangerous gambit, but the embattled Tau commanders at the beachhead felt they had little other option in the face of the relentless Ork siege.
Unfortunately the operation has proven inconclusive. Heavy damage has been inflicted to Ork oil refineries and storage sites in the areas surrounding the Tau beachhead at FFG355Y, but the Tau forces have failed to break out and expand their foothold in the region with fierce Ork counterattacks forcing the Tau breakthrough forces to fall back to their landing sites under heavy attack. Lack of effective air support was a major factor in the Tau's lack of success in this area. Faulty Tau intelligence vectored much of the air support assigned to the breakout attacks through areas the Orks had recently turned into air defence kill-zones, with the result that many of the Tiger Shark flights deployed in support of the operation were downed by Intacepta Rokkits or Fighta-Bommers flown by veteran Ork pilots before they could lend their support to the fighting.
With their plans for a quick decisive breakthrough dashed, the situation is continuing to grow increasingly dire for the Tau forces embattled in the He'Sho Seas region, and Tau Commanders at the FFG355Y Beachhead are desperately calling on Enclave Command and the ATT Shas'ar'tol for immediate reinforcements.
Ork Points: 84
Tau Points: 16
"It was an oil derrick too many."
- Shas'Ui'Vior'los Kles'ro'Kunas, commenting on the He'Sho Seas breakout operation
Mo'Hav Plains - ORK CONTROLLED
As Tau airstrikes grow fewer and fewer, the numbers of Ork warbands pouring through the Mo'Hav Plains towards battle in the Saal'vesa training grounds have swelled to ever larger proportions. For every Ork army defeated in the Empire Sector, it appears two more are gathering in the neighbouring Mo'Hav plains to take its place. With the Tau forces occupied in containing Ork offensives into the Empire and Enclave sectors, or in the desperate combat in the He'Sho Seas, Ork activity in the Mo'Hav plains has been left almost completely unchecked.
Like the neighbouring Ork-held territories in the He'Sho Seas and around Wurrshuv's Krunch, the Mo'Hav plains are showing extensive signs of complete Ork colonisation. Numerous Ork settlements have sprung up throughout the region to provide supporting infrastructure to the constant Ork traffic, alongside countless smaller refueling and resupply outposts referred to by the Orks as 'Trukk Stopz'. Large fungal forests have begun to invade the local ecology, supplanting the native ecosystems with ruthless abandon, aided by the vast quantities of toxic byproducts and pollutants from Ork industry in the He'Sho Seas and Wurrshuv's Krunch regions, which is beginning to inflict significant damage on the local fauna and flora of M-88. The once open skyline of the Mo'Hav Plains has become broken with the jagged silhouettes of gargantuan Ork idols constructed at major staging grounds.
Ork Points: 81
Tau Points: 19
Wurrshuv's Krunch - ORK CONTROLLED
After weeks of attrition and in light of the important role Tau air support has played in a number of Tau victories, the Orks have determined that the time to strike in force is right, and have unleashed a massive all-out aerial offensive of unprecedented scale and ferocity. Referred to by the Orks as 'Roll'n Thunda', the air offensive has focused on decisively eliminating the Tau air threat, and has decimated Tau airbases and air-defence sites across Tau-held territory. Based on observations from the field and reconnaissance from orbital and aerial platforms, it is estimated by the Tau that the Orks are able to deploy an entire squadron of Fighta-Bommers for every individual combat aircraft the Tau are able to get in the air. This deficiency in force correlation has only been compounded by 'Roll'n Thunda', which has seen hundreds of Tau aircraft destroyed on the ground by intensive Ork air raids, guided to key Tau targets by the efforts of infiltrating Spektas, and the tempo of attacks shows no sign of slowing.
In addition to the widespread destruction of Tau airbases, a key component of 'Roll'n Thunda' has been the destruction of Tau air-defence systems. It appears that Wurrshuv is concerned the Tau may adopt a countermeasure against the Beepy Gubbinz countermeasures that have proven so successful against them, and has ordered his Flyboy warbands to dismantle as much of the Tau air-defence network as possible while they still retain this decisive advantage. The primary element of this endeavour have been flights of Fighta-Bommers entirely equipped with Beepy Gubbinz to close in on Tau air-defence systems and long-range sensor arrays unmolested and escape once they have destroyed their targets. Referred to by the Orks as 'Savage Squig' missions, these suppressive air-raids have been highly successful, and the Tau air-defence network has been critically compromised.
As their number of aerial victories grows, More and More Ork Flyboyz are attaining ace status against the Tau. Those Ork pilots with more than 15 confirmed kills against Tau aircraft are now known as 'Axe Eataz' (Axe Eaters) to the Orks, in reference to the AX designation for Tau aircraft, and the image of an Ork devouring an axe (often with a head shaped like a Tau airframe) is a common recurring motif in the decorative artwork adorning their Fighta-Bommers. A growing number of Ork Fighta-Bommer squadrons are entirely made up of these Axe-Eatas, though typically a Fighta-Bommer squadron will only sport one or two such aces among its number.
The Ork countermeasures known as Beepy Gubbinz continue to provide Ork aircraft equipped with them near impunity to Tau air defences and many Tau air-to-air systems employed against them, with an effective counter remaining elusive. Some Ork pilots have grown so confident in the safety the Beepy Gubbinz grant them that they have outfitted their Fighta-Bommers with high-powered speaker systems with which they loudly broadcast music in the Greenskin genres known as 'Evy Metal' and 'Goff Rok' during their attack runs. Demand for Beepy Gubbinz has skyrocketed amongst the Flyboyz on M-88, and furious brawls regularly break out in Ork settlements as Ork pilots and vehicle crew alike attempt to gain enough teef to purchase them. Their construction has consequently become an exceptionally lucrative enterprise for Wurrshuv and his Mekboy followers.
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.
"You'z gotta be zoggin me..."
- Flyboss Blitzgul, on being assigned to a Savage Squig mission
Training Ground Saal'vesa - TAU CONTROLLED
Tau morale in the Empire Sector has crumbled with the assassination of Aun'el'Sa'cea Ol'Bentu'B and the horrific devastation inflicted by Roll'n Thunda. The skies over Tau territory have become riddled with the dark trails left by Ork Fighta-Bommers, while the sight of Tau aircraft intercepting them is growing rarer and rarer. Tau forces face merciless bombardment from Ork airstrikes and superheavy artillery firing out from the neighbouring Krunch region. As ambushes and raids by Ork Spektas continue and contact is lost with more patrols and run'al observation posts, many Tau warriors are beginning to grow paranoid.
If there is one thing the Tau can point to to raise their spirits, it is their success in battles on the ground. In a series of well-planned ambushes and counter-attacks, Tau hunter cadres have achieved victory after victory over the Speed Freak warbands, and begun to push their advance back. Of particular note is the performance of the ATT battlesuit cadres, which in one especially decisive engagement succeeded in repulsing an attack by Ork heavy armoured formations. Though the Tau commander responsible for the defence was forced to resort to calling in whatever orbital support was available, the Tau were nonetheless able to scatter the assaulting warbands and hunt the survivors down at their leisure. In their pursuit the Tau were even able to capture a number of devices created by Wurrshuv and his Mekboy apprentices, and the confiscated technology is now under Earth Caste scrutiny. The Water Caste has begun an extensive propaganda campaign highlighting these successes in an attempt to bolster the deteriorating spirits of the Tau on M-88.
Ork Points: 33
Tau Points: 67
Training Centre Or'vesa - TAU CONTROLLED
While the Empire leadership has been paralysed by the death of Ol'Bentu'B, Enclave command has acted. Unfazed by the loss of an Ethereal, the Enclave Tau have continued to battle the Orks with no pause or withdrawal, and their continued action has been instrumental in keeping the Tau position on M-88 stable. Indeed, the considerable efforts of the Enclave Tau forces have been almost the only thing preventing the Or'vesa region from being completely overrun, and their sacrifices have given many of the Empire forces fighting alongside them a newfound respect for those previously thought to have abandoned the Tau'va.
Taking advantage of the lack of Empire activity and consequent reduced oversight, Enclave Command has seized the initiative and salvaged the earlier Tau plan to undermine the Ork attacks in depth with a series of air-landing missions. Mobilising as many reserve forces as they could, the Enclave forces successfully staged a number of air-landing missions behind the main Ork front lines, with the scattered remnants of Auxiliary forces trapped in Ork occupied territory aiding the air-landing forces. The surviving Kroot kindreds in the area have been particularly useful in this regard, staging a series of lethal guerilla raids that compromised much of the Ork defences ahead of the landings, and continuing to provide support to the landing forces following their arrival. After Tau cadres moving over land successfully linked up with the air-landing forces a number of sailents have been opened up in the Ork lines, and a number of Tau forces are pushing further into enemy territory.
Ork Points: 37
Tau Points: 63
Fio Starport - TAU CONTROLLED
The death of Ol'Bentu'B has stunned the ATT Shas'ar'tol, and much of the Tau forces stationed around Fio Starport. Many have questioned how such an act could have been allowed to happen, and a full-scale investigation is underway into the Sa'cea forces who were responsible for the Ethereal's security. Shas'O'T'au Kais'Ka'Eoro'Da'Anuk, commander of the 42nd T'au Guards Cadre, has placed much of the blame on a breakdown in communications among the Tau leadership, citing several instances of Tau commanders failing to communicate and work together for the Greater Good. The veteran Shas'O has once again called for greater communication amongst Tau commanders active on the surface of M-88.
Under the onslaught of 'Roll'n Thunda' the Tau air forces have been stretched past breaking point, and the Orks have managed to secure air superiority in the skies of M-88. This culminated in the Orks doing what was previously thought impossible by the Tau - launching attacks on Fio Starport. With little remaining resistance in the air, and protected from ground-based defences by Beepy Gubbinz, several Ork airstrikes have hit targets around Fio Starport, One particularly reckless squadron of Fighta-Bommers even performed a suicidal air raid on the starport itself, inflicting considerable damage on the starport facilities before being shot down. The actions of the Earth Caste active in the Fio Starport region have been invaluable in limiting the extent of the long-term damage. Earth Caste teams have acted fearlessly to perform damage control, extinguish fires and incendiary attacks, clear debris, remove undetonated ordinance, conduct repairs, rescue survivors and provide medical aid to casualties. These courageous Fio have worked around the clock in the face of grave danger, often starting their duties moments after the Ork munitions have landed, and powered through their overwhelming grief at the loss of Ol'Bentu'B. "The Ores'la destroy, we rebuild," the Fio say, "The Oresla destroy, we rebuild anew."
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.
"More fighters inbound, heading 6-3-0-niner at 800 tor'kan. Grey 4 and 6, peel off, try to draw them away, Gry 3 and 8 form up and engage them from behind. Watch your fuel levels too, we're all running near critical. How many more can they have..."
- Kor'vre'Tau'n Doran'Shi'va, in combat over the Or'vesa training grounds
Ork Campaign Points: 4
Tau Campaign Points: 4
As another week of bloody conflict comes to a close, yet another disturbing mystery has reached the ATT Shas'ar'tol. Less than 20 decs ago all contact was lost with Outpost 84U, a forward operations centre established in the north-east of the Sal'vesa region. With no warning the base ceased all communications and all outgoing signals from the installation disappeared. It is as if the base simply vanished. The only clue the ATT Shas'ar'tol has as to the fate of the complex and the Tau present within it was the last known situation report from the area, which reported two unidentified sensor contacts at high altitude over Outpost 84U before contact was lost. Long-range reconnaissance units have been scrambled to ascertain what has happened to the base.
TO: ATT Shas'ar'tol
AUTHOR: Fio'vre'Dal'yth Ko'Kaara
SUBJECT: Analysis Report on Captured Ores'la Technology
I have compiled the following report based on the recently completed analysis my team has performed of the Ores'la devices recently captured by our forces fighting on the surface of M-88. As you know, Battlesuit cadres recently routed an Ores'la armoured spearhead pushing through the Empire Sector, covering the Saal'vesa training grounds south-west of the Ores'la landing site known as 'Wurrshuv's Krunch'. During the battle our troops were able to recover a number of unidentified devices abandoned by the Ores'la that have never before been encountered in our engagements with the Ores'la. I must commend our brave Fire Caste warriors fighting on the ground, they have proven to be tenacious defenders of our empire and have shown great skill and valour in the face of horrors I do not believe I would ever be able to stand before. After our analysis of the technology captured, I am not sure I would want to either - if these captured devices are anything to go by, the Ores'la we are fighting are a force to be reckoned with.
There are three kinds of Ores'la technology that have been recovered from the fighting in the Saal'vesa training grounds, and multiple examples of two of these kinds were captured. All three varieties are weapon systems of some variety, and all three are based on the tractor-beam and gravitic repulsor technologies employed by particularly advanced Ores'la warbands. We have identified these three devices as the 'Pulla-Aparta', the 'Traktor-Grappla' and the "Grav-smasha", based on their mention in intercepted Ores'la transmissions.
The Pulla-Aparta is a particularly inventive application of Ores'la tractor-beam and gravitic manipulation technology, closely related to the superheavy Ores'la energy weapon known as the 'Lifta-Droppa'. Like the Lifta-Droppa, the Pulla-Aparta appears to have begun life as engineering and construction equipment before being re-purposed for battlefield use as an offensive weapon. My team received examples of this weapon mounted on both static and mobile platforms recovered from the Saal'vesa training grounds.
Regardless of the platform mounted, the design of the weapon and its function remains the same. Unlike similar Ores'la weapons, the Pulla-Aparta features two sets of beam emitters and armatures mounted in parallel, linked to a central assembly of servos and hydraulics and aligned to converge on a single point in front of the weapon. When activated, the weapon fires two magneto-gravitic tractor beams with complementary polarities, both of which strike the target simultaneously. The operator then turns the armatures in opposite directions, and as the beams move with them the resulting forces rip the target apart, almost as if it were pulled in opposite directions by two invisible and enormously strong hands.
It is believed that the Pulla-Aparta played an instrumental role in Wurrshuv's initial successes in capturing and analysing Tau technology. The weapon would be ideal for salvaging technology after a battle, as its non-explosive nature leaves the vast majority of the target's smaller components largely intact (larger components and connections between components suffer the most damage as the target is violently ripped apart), while being powerful enough to dismantle even our largest vehicles and battle-suits. Armour density appears to offer little to no effective protection from a Pulla-Aparta attack, as the beams are able to energise metallic objects regardless of density or thickness, and can even dismantle reinforced Iridium plating. Fortunately the twin beams have only a very narrow focus, and can only lock onto a single object at a time. Our tests have determined that they also have only a negligible effect on organic matter, making them non-lethal to living organisms. This makes the Pulla-Aparta a highly dangerous anti-armour and anti-battlesuit weapon, but ineffective in an anti-personnel role, and it is thus our recommendation that any Pulla-Apartas encountered in the field be engaged with light infantry fighting dismounted to neutralise them before they can be brought to bear on heavy equipment.
The Traktor-Grappla is another application of Ork tractor-beam technology, and is a direct descendent of the Ork energy weapons identified as the 'Traktor Kannon' and the 'Magna-Kannon'. The key difference between the Traktor-Grappla and its siblings is that it features a different power modulation architecture that allows it to fire for longer durations of time, at a reduced power level. We suspect Wurrshuv may have derrived the power modulation design from captured examples of our plasma rifles, or otherwise been inspired by observations of plasma rifles in the field. That both our plasma rifles and this Traktor-Grappla technology both follow the same principle of trading energy yield for safer firing at sustained rates appears, to us at least, to be beyond coincidence.
The reduced power output of the Traktor-Grappla precludes its use as an anti-aircraft weapon, as the beam it produces is incapable of reaching an altitude useful for anti-aircraft work, and leaves it incapable of dealing direct damage to targets or lifting them more than a few dozen tor'lek from the ground, which again leaves it ineffective as an offensive weapon in its own right. Instead the Traktor-Grappla fulfils an extremely useful niche as a support weapon. Once its beam has been locked on, the Traktor-Grappla lifts the target a short distance into the air for ground clearance and then simply pulls the target directly towards the weapon itself. This has the practical effect of dragging a targeted object much closer to nearby Ores'la forces, where it can then be engaged in the close quarters combat Ores'la excel at.
The Traktor-Grappla thus provides the Ores'la with an effective counter to the superior range of our weapons and the stand-off attacks that are central to much of the Fire Caste's combat doctrine. A high-energy power supply gives the weapons a range that matches our heaviest tactical-level armaments (testing has shown the Traktor-Grapplas examined to remain effective at distances equal to an RX-58 railgun's maximum effective range), allowing Ores'la forces equipped with the Traktor-Grappla to neutralise our own long-range units by pulling them out of position or forcing them into ambushes and short-range engagements.
Like the Pulla-Aparta outlined above the Traktor-Grappla is suspected to have played a key role in Wurrshuv's earlier successes in capturing Tau technology. Neither of these two weapon systems have been observed in other Ores'la warbands thus far encountered, and it is suspected that Wurrshuv is the first and possibly only Ores'la engineer to have conceived of them. The limitation of Pulla-Apartas and Traktor-Grapplas to only those Ores'la warbands loyal to Wurrshuv also leads us to speculate that Ores'la warlord has restricted their proliferation, jealously guarding the knowledge behind their construction to prevent them from being used by rivals or rogue warbands against his own forces.
It is our conclusion that the Traktor-Grappla provides a serious force-multiplier to Ores'la forces equipped with them, and Fire Caste warriors should consider them priority targets, especially if using tactics where long-range combat is key.
Unlike the other two Ores'la technologies recovered from the Saal'vesa training grounds, only a single example of this device was captured by the victorious Fire Warriors. It is believed to be the only example present in the Ores'la armoured force that was defeated, and we suspect that the device is a prototype given to the Ores'la force by Wurrshuv for field-testing. Unfortunately, the device was also damaged to the extent of rendering it non-operable, so we can only speculate on its nature.
The device was enclosed within an aerodynamic casing, and although the casing itself was damaged, its overall shape suggests that the device was intended to be an artillery munition fired from a very large calibre gun (though it is certainly possible that the device could just as easily be attached to a suitable rocket motor and be used as a missile warhead instead). The device itself consisted of a strange combination of components from various advanced Tau defence systems. My team identified components from both the drone-mounted grav-inhibitors issued to Pathfinder teams and the Repulsor Impact Fields being issued to high-ranking Fire Caste commanders in increasing numbers (presenting an interesting case of the Ores'la adapting a foreign adaptation of their own technology) used in the device's construction. In addition to these parts were a number of Ores'la energy weapon components and subsystems. The lack of standardisation in Ores'la technology makes their exact nature difficult to discern, but similar subsystems have been seen in various force-field and tractor beam weapons used by the Ores'la (especially those identified as the 'Shunta' and 'Smasha Gun', but also the 'Bubblechukka' and 'Pulsa Rokkit').
Our current theory is that the device uses some combination of gravitic and force fields to produce a localised pocket of space in which trapped gravitons are forced into a cycle of constant collapse, ultimately resulting in a small artificial gravitational singularity. This gravitational singularity would be far too small to be sustained for a considerable length of time, and would quickly radiate its collected energy and dissipate. Needless to say, the immense gravitational forces of such a singularity and the blast-yield from its rapid energy radiation would be cataclysmic, easily able to annihilate an entire city within a few rai'kan.
If our theories are true, then the Grav-Smasha would be a horrific weapon, matching both our own developmental Nova munitions and Gue'la Vortex weapons in destructive power. This would mark a critical threat to the continued security and even survival of the Tau Empire and is a clear indicator of the severe danger these Ores'la pose. Our only comfort is that these devices make use of a number of exotic components that are extremely scarce, making them mercifully limited in number. It is unlikely that Wurrshuv has constructed any more than a small handful of these devices, likely as a strategic deterrent against attack from Nova or orbital weaponry, and we believe the chances of their use at the tactical level of warfare to be remote at best.
This concludes our analysis of the Ores'la technology captured in the Saal'vesa training grounds.