Wurrshuv's Revenge - An ATT Campaign
A month has now passed since the latest conflict began on M-88, and the fighting shows no sign of ending soon. The Tau have ended their think-tanks and conferences with inconclusive results, which has left dangerous fault-lines in the Tau war effort. Acting on a possible solution to the relentless Ork air offensives, a number of Tau commanders have struck out on their own accord and reconfigured their air-defence networks themselves, reformatting the IFF software to treat unusually strong friendly signals as hostile. Their intent has been to circumvent the protection afforded by the Ork Beepy Gubbinz, and in this aspect they have succeeded - but at a terrible cost. Acting on their own without properly coordinating the operation has left the Tau IFF network on M-88 in a state of chaos, with differences in programming alterations making individual air-defence networks with software that is incompatible with each other, as well as other Tau forces. The individually reformatted air-defences now recognise Orks with Beepy Gubbinz as hostile, but they also target other Tau forces with differently configured IFF software as well. Several of the Tau's few remaining air assets have been downed by friendly-fire instances brought on by this.
The resulting breakdown in command and control has left the Tau air defences in total disarray, and the Orks have exploited this opportunity with glee. While the small handful of reconfigured air defence sites have inflicted considerable damage on the Ork air forces, those sites not reconfigured have been crushed by the overwhelming force of Roll'n Thunda. The Tau integrated air defence network is now all but gone, save for a few isolated pockets of reformatted air defence assets and the defences around Fio Starport. The Tau air forces on M-88 are likewise spent, and while they have recently managed to win a few significant aerial victories against the Orks, it has come too little too late. The recent Tau efforts have prevented the Greenskins from attaining total air supremacy, but the Orks have nonetheless secured a solid command of the skies over M-88.
In the face of this setback, the Tau can at least take comfort in the actions of their fleet, which has continued its superb performance in space. The vigilance of the Tau naval forces has meant no subsequent Ork spacecraft have reached the world, and not one reinforcement convoy has been lost in the last week. One particular success saw vessels from Operational Group Or'res'tel'K work in conjunction with the ATT Orbital to destroy a trio of Ork Kill Kroozas in low orbit as they attempted to provide ground support, the Ork vessels breaking up in atmosphere and crashing due south of the Saal'vesa training grounds. In light of these successes the Tau have greenlit a series of search-and-destroy operations further out in the system to proactively neutralise the Ork space forces.
Situation Updates - All Sectors
He'Sho Seas - ORK CONTROLLED
The Tau invasion force in the He'Sho Seas has managed to consolidate their expanded foothold, but their crippling manpower shortages have prevented them from expanding further. This has granted the Orks enough of a respite to form a new defensive line around the Tau held areas, and their grinding siege has resumed. The Tau expeditionary forces in this region now face continuous bombardment from Ork artillery and constant attacks by Ork warbands probing their positions for weaknesses. The situation has only been worsened by the Orks' newly attained air superiority. Dependent on air power for resupply, reinforcement and supporting attacks against the Orks, the Tau in the He'Sho Seas have found themselves in dire straits as more and more Orca dropships are shot down by the Orks. Only Mantas are now able to brave the airspace over the He'Sho Seas, and even they must be wary of concentrated fire from Intacepta Rokkit batteries. The close proximity of the front lines to the Tau landing areas compounds this situation, as demonstrated when an ATT Manta carrying much needed supplies was destroyed by long range Ork Soopa Zzap-Guns as it was touching down.
The height of the Tau misfortune in the He'Sho Seas lies with their mercenary allies. Infuriated at their role in enabling the Tau breakout, Wurrshuv has done what many have feared he might, and placed a massive price on the heads of any mercenary or alien seen serving with the Tau in the He'Sho Seas region. Word of this has spread to the Eastern Fringe, and bounty hunters, assassins and corsairs of all stripes have begun to flock to the He'Sho Seas region on M-88 in hopes of gaining a fortune by providing Wurrshuv with the corpses of the Tau's allies.
Ork Points: 83
Tau Points: 17
Mo'Hav Plains - ORK CONTROLLED
With the Orks in control of the skies over M-88 and Tau ground forces occupied elsewhere, the Ork supply arteries in the Mo'Hav Plains continue to grow unchecked. The second echelon of Wurrhsuv's forces have begun to pour out from the Mo'Hav Plains into the Tau positions in the south, and vast numbers of Greenskin traffic flood along the roadways the Orks have constructed. Two large roadways, known to the Orks as 'Root Sixty-Six' and 'Iway Sixty-Un' see particularly intensive use by the invaders as Ork warbands travel along them in the hundreds of thousands. Ork convoys carrying supplies are also growing in number and size as Wurrshuv seeks to stockpile resources plundered from the He'Sho Seas. To facilitate larger amounts of traffic and harden the transport infrastructure against future attacks, Wurrshuv has ordered that the road networks in the Mo'Hav Plains be upgraded, and extensive construction efforts are underway to reinforce the roads with pavement.
As Ork settlement becomes more entrenched, the ecological catastrophe befalling the Mo'Hav Plains is escalating rapidly. Many of the region's native ecosystems are now on the verge of total collapse, with native life facing poisonous death from the toxic byproducts of Ork industry spewed into the atmosphere or haphazardly dumped in the region. More and more native life in the region is becoming displaced by ravenous Orkoid lifeforms, the hardy fungoid life proving far more resilient to such deteriorating environmental conditions. As they grow unchecked, the invasive Orkoid ecosystems are in turn becoming more and more complex.
Ork Points: 81
Tau Points: 19
"Dey fink just a kupul 'o' fightz iz enuff ta send us pak'n? Dey fink dat'z all it takes ta beat us? Dey'z got a whole 'nutha thing coming, hurr hurr hurr. Ol' Wurrshuv knows wot's up. Dis 'ere'z a right full WAAAAAAGH, an' we'z just gett'n started!"
- Warboss Uzblitza, following the Saa'vesa counterattacks
Wurrshuv's Krunch - ORK CONTROLLED
Wurrshuv is pleased with the performance of his flyboys and the tremendous success of Roll'n Thunda in securing air superiority for the Orks. As the last remaining Tau air forces are mercilessly hunted down the Orks are beginning to make use of their newfound control of the skies to support ground operations. Free from the fear of interception by enemy fighters, the omnipresent Fighta-Bommer squadrons have resumed their deep strikes in the Tau rear echelons with terrifying force, hammering Tau communications nodes, sensor arrays and supply depots as well as interdicting Tau supply trains and reinforcements with murderous force. The Orks also continue to raid surviving Tau air defences, often using their new Squighawk stealth fighters for this purpose following the drop in effectiveness their Beepy Gubbinz countermeasures have suffered.
Recognising the increased difficulty of attacking those Tau air defences with reconfigured IFF systems, Wurrshuv has instead looked to destroying these assets from the ground instead. In areas close to Ork held regions this takes the form of massed Ork artillery fire, but beyond the range of Wurrshuv's biggest guns this task falls to the battle-hardened Spekta mobs that continue to operate in strength behind the Tau lines. To aid the Spektas - and their more conventional Kommando brethren - in their missions of sabotage and demolition Wurrshuv has begun supplying them with his latest innovation, a soft maleable but extremely powerful high explosive compound referred to by the Orks as 'Plaztik 'Splosivz'. Able to be moulded into vitally any shape imaginable, The Spektas and Kommandos have both found Plaztik 'Splosivz to be extremely useful in demolition and sabotage work, and delight in finding new and inventive ways in which to use them. The pursuit of finding the right shapes for Plaztik 'Splosivz to create the perfect explosions has become something of an art form amongst the Greenskins.
As the numbers of Orks on M-88 grows, so too do the numbers of Oddboy specialist Orks, and in particular the highly psychic Orks known as Weirdboys. The Orks have been quick to recognise the value these potent Ork psykers have against an enemy with little credible psychic defence, and Wurrshuv's Meks have begun creating larger numbers of the much-dreaded Weirdboy Tower war machines to best harness this powerful force.
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.
"Blue Leader this is Blue Three, I'm on my way to assist... wait... what in... To'Tau'va! I've just picked up two unidentified contacts behind me, closing fast! Where in the Mont'au did they come from? They're all over me... I'm hit! I'm hit! Engines at critical, Altitude failing. I'm punching out..."
- Kor'ui'Kel'shan Lynu,in combat over the Saal'vesa training grounds
Training Ground Saal'vesa - TAU CONTROLLED
As feared, the arrival of Wurrshuv's second echelon of Ork forces has managed to break the Tau front lines. Recognising an opportunity to cause even more chaos amongst the Tau forces in the Empire Sector, Wurrshuv has authorised warbands to attack directly from out of the Krunch area, opening up a second front in the Saal'vesa training grounds and subjecting the Tau forces there to attacks from two quarters at once. The result has been a period of fluid manoeuvre warfare that has seen Ork forces advance to within a few dozen Tor'kan from a number of major Tau command centres deep in the central Saal'vesa region.
It was against this backdrop that the Tau managed to gain one of their first definitive air victories in over a month. Scrambling to meet an incoming Ork air raid on a prominent Tau command centre, the Tau defenders gathered together any airframes they could manage to get airworthy and cobbled them together into a makeshift squadron to repel the imminent Ork airstrike. In the face of desperate odds, the Tau proved successful, in no small part due to a hasty reprogramming of their IFF systems, and managed to down the incoming Ork bombers within two kilometres of their intended target.
The Tau efforts in the air over the Saal'vesa training grounds have been instrumental in preventing the Orks from achieving total air supremacy, but have come too late to prevent them from securing air superiority. Ork aircraft now swarm over the Saal'vesa region in larger numbers than ever before, drawn to the promise of worthy aerial opponents like sharks to the scent of blood. The lion's share of Squighawk Fighta-Bommers have been deployed over the Saal'vesa to maintain Ork air superiority, their looted cloaking fields once again giving the Greenskins a decisive advantage over their Air Caste adversaries.
On the ground the Tau have also seen considerable success in the Saal'vesa training grounds, launching a series of decisive counter-attacks against the Ork breakthroughs. Expeditionary forces from Sa'cea have proven instrumental in these victories, with their long-range scouting and raiding operations enabling the Tau to channel the Ork forces into a number of decisive set-piece engagements. The largest of these, now named 'The Battle of Blood Ridge' by the Tau forces involved, saw a force of ATT battlesuits spearhead a combined force of Hunter Cadres from T'au, Bork'an and Sa'cea that proceeded to rout a massive Ork offensive. The battle was a decisive Tau victory, and although Tau forces suffered heavy casualties during the combat, they have broken the back of a major Ork thrust in the region, and the fighting has hardened the relatively green Hunter Cadres involved into a new core of veteran forces, much needed after many experienced Tau cadres have been worn out from attrition. Combined with a number of other victorious set-piece engagements, the Tau have managed to throw the Ork ground forces in the Saal'vesa region into full retreat, and and plans are underway to attempt to cut off and annihilate the withdrawing Orks before they can link up with follow-on forces from the Mo'Hav Plains and Wurrshuv's Krunch.
Despite several prominent Fire Caste warriors, especially amongst the veteran Guards Cadres stationed on M-88, voicing concerns that these tactical-level victories may be masking lingering and serious operational and strategic flaws in the Tau war effort, the recent string of victories in the Saal'vesa region has been touted as a major achievement for the Tau on M-88, with the Water Caste using them as the basis for an extensive propaganda campaign to restore failing morale among the Tau. These recent tactical successes have been spun by the Por into tales of heroic feats and sacrifice, and several of the commanders responsible for them have been lionised as paragons of the Tau Empire, enjoying tremendous fame and fortune amongst wider Tau society.
Ork Points: 29
Tau Points: 71
"It was chaos. Be'gel forces everywhere, firepower like you wouldn't believe. Our forces were outnumbered at least by two to one!!! Our survival was due to luck. Our victory was due to the enemy running out of bullets."
- Shas'ui Bork'an Xor'mont'yr L'has'tira Xux'gala of the 155th ORBIT Infantry Core, talking to a Water Caste reporter following the Battle of Kisun'Demlok (Props to one of the ATT participants for writing this quote!)
Training Centre Or'vesa - TAU CONTROLLED
In the northern Enclave Sector, Shas'el Kiv'rai'ka'nan's plan has borne fruit. His troops have succeeded in capturing a number of additional Sensa arrays from the Orks, and re-purposed them for Tau use. This has allowed Kiv'rai'ka'nan's operating sector to become one of the most secure areas in the Or'vesa region, giving the Tau a small haven free of Spekta activity while the Ork special forces regroup and assess their options. Having ordered the Fio under his authority to reprogram the IFF systems on his attached air defence assets, Kiv'ra'ka'nan has not suffered as much as other Tau commanders from the Ork's operational and strategic assets, with his forces facing only Ork artillery barrages when operating within range of the Ork guns.
This is virtually the only good news for the Tau to come out of the territory surrounding Training Centre Or'vesa. The Enclave counteroffensive against the Ork Northern Raiders has stalled, with Ork lines stabilising around the new Tau salients. Wurrshuv's two personal Stormboy Korps, the 'Screem'n Squighawkz' and 'Da Green Devulz', have proven instrumental in halting the Tau advances, staging a series of daring assaults behind Tau lines that crippled the Tau rear echelon infrastructure and fatally undermined the momentum of the Tau attacks.
The numbers of the Northern Raiders continue to swell with Ork warbands arriving from Wurrshuv's Krunch who have grown tired of Wurrshuv's technical mindset and planning. Chief amongst the latest new arrivals are several large warbands of hardened veteran Snakebites hailing from the notorious Ork-infested world of Gnarlborrow. Renowned amongst Ork civilisation for being phenomenally tough and fierce, as well as the iconic mildly-narcotic 'Spitt'n Squigz' they chew in battle, these rugged 'Gnarlborrow Boyz' are determined to test their mettle against the legendary ATT warriors and prove their superiority over any newfangled devices Wurrshuv can conceive of. So far the Gnarlborrow Boyz have more than lived up to their reputation, burning a path of destruction across the Or'vesa region and cementing a terrifying reputation amongst the Tau and auxiliary forces operating there. They have also gained a strong rivalry with the Snakebites of Old Smashafist, with the two armies of Snakebites competing to see how many ATT Tau they can slaughter.
Ork Points: 36
Tau Points: 64
"Wotcha gobb'n about us be'n surrounded for! We'z Stormboyz! We'z 'sposed ta be surrounded!"
- Urskraga, Stormboy Nob in the Screem'n Squighawkz, during the Or'vesa counterstrikes
Fio Starport - TAU CONTROLLED
While the haphazard reprogramming of the Tau IFF network has wreaked havoc on Tau command and control, it has allowed the Tau defences surrounding Fio Starport to target Ork air attacks to full effect, and the Ork airstrikes on Tau targets in the Fio Starport region have ceased. Earth Caste repair efforts have been remarkably efficient, and the starport has been completely restored to full operating capacity. As a further boon to the Tau forces on M-88, the latest convoy to reach the planet has delivered several dozen full contingents of Tracer Missile carriers and their attending support units, as well as several dozen contingents of Stingray heavy missile gunships, providing the Tau with a respectable force of long-range missile artillery.
It is expected by the ATT Shas'ar'tol that these valuable assets will be used wisely by the Tau forces on the ground, but in light of the scandal surrounding the botched reconfiguration of the Tau IFF network several prominent Tau commanders have begun to voice concern that the Tau commanders on the ground may not be coordinating themselves properly and that they may lack the unified strategy necessary to make the most of them.
With the situation in the Saal'vesa training grounds under control, the Guards Cadres on M-88 have been returned to reserve status. It is believed by the Tau coalition command that the successful Tau counterattacks in the south have removed the need to commit these elite forces just yet, and the Shas'ar'tol still wishes to use them in an offensive capacity instead if possible. Nonetheless, the Guards Cadres still remain forward-deployed on the edge of the Fio Starport region should they be needed.
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
Analysis of the image recovered from one of the mysterious ambushes has yielded results. By cross-referencing the image with archived Enclave reports gathered from across the Eastern Fringe, the Tau have finally managed to identify the unknown attacker that has been terrorising their lines and is responsible for the death of Aun'el'Sa'cea Ol'Bentu'B. It appears that Wurrshuv has unleashed one of his deadliest minions on the surface of M-88, the enigmatic Ork assassin known only as 'Da Predata'.
Little is known about this mysterious Ork, save that he is an outcast amongst all of Ork civilisation, shunned by even the Kommando subculture he is believed to have once belonged to, with other Orks fearing and reviling him as a 'Psykapaff'. Based on accounts from the scarce few individuals who have managed to observe this psychotic killer and survived to tell the tale, he is believed to be particularly bloodthirsty and unhinged even by Ork standards. Wurrshuv appears to be the only Greenskin to have any lasting association with Da Predata.
While the background of Da Predata remains shrouded in mystery, his exploits are not. Abhorred by wider Orkoid society, Da Predata is known to wander the Eastern Fringe, sowing terror and death wherever he treads. Da Predata has been identified in over a hundred incidents known to the various powers of the Eastern Fringe, and has gained an infamous reputation amongst the outlaws, rogue traders and free agents of the Galactic East. It is believed that De Predata has slain thousands.
Though largely illegible, what could be discerned from the unfocused image matches descriptions of Da Predata, most notably the consistently-reported feature that his head is covered with hair squigs. It is said that Da Predata adds a new hair squig for every worthy foe he kills, or every hundred unworthy ones. Whatever motivation Da Predata might have for his murderous quests is unknown, as he does not appear to value anything beyond his own weapons and wargear and claiming as many victims as he can, marking his triumph by taking their head and attached spine as a trophy.
Descriptions of Da Predata agree that this cold-blooded murderer makes use of some rare and unusual equipment for Orks. It is said that he makes use of some kind of ranged weapon, but its exact nature is inconsistent between accounts - some say it is an ordinary shoota, while others claim it is a kustom mega-blasta. Regardless, all sources are consistent in reporting that this weapon is shoulder-mounted on a special armature that enables it to track targets and fire without any physical input from Da Predata himself. It is believed that this armature may be based on looted Loxatl technology, with which it shares many characteristics. The use of such a configuration leaves Da Predata's hands free for fighting, especially using his favoured weapons - an arsenal of large and wicked knives, many of which are carried on forearm sheaths for quick access.
Aside from his weapons Da Predata is also known to make use of looted Tau stealth field technology. The similarity between this and the use of captured Tau stealth technology by Wurrshuv's Spektas appears to be beyond coincidence, and it is whispered by some that Da Predata is in fact the first Spekta, a flawed experiment created by Wurrshuv who went mad with the power of invisibility. Whatever the truth may be, it is likely that this stealth-field technology is the key to Wurrshuv's control over Da Predata, for Wurrshuv would be one of the only Orks with the knowledge to maintain this wargear.
There appear to be a number of strange discrepancies in the various descriptions of Da Predata and the storied history surrounding this creature. Most notably he appears to have lived far longer than would otherwise be thought possible in his circumstances, and he seems to have escaped certain death on numerous occassions. Indeed, at least one Imperial account exists claiming Da Predata was killed some time ago by a Kill-Team of Death World veterans formed by the Ordo Xenos for the specific purpose of his destruction. It is possible that Da Predata is in fact a hereditary persona that has been held by a string of successive Ork cutthroats. If so, this would also explain the inconsistencies in the weapons used by Da Predata.