Our seven-year-old narrative campaign has just entered 742.M41--the first year of the Damocles Gulf Crusade. We've just fought our first battle in this setting.
“You have learned a great deal about tactics, maneuver, and leadership at this institution. These were important lessons. But understand this: You don’t win a battle solely through good tactics, maneuver, and leadership—you win a battle by killing your enemy.“—retiring Admiral Aldous Collymore, speaking to graduating officers of the Belliose Naval War College, 347.M40
+ + Tactical Briefing Z-02-Omega-111-DGC + +
+ Entry 17-B – Text Continues +
+Recording / / Metascrivener 1st Class +Oudia Paladius
+ Nguyen Naval Base, Admiral Hausu Dinola commanding +
+ Security Level Ceti-1 +
Preface: This report on the initial naval action near the Garrus Colony arrived five standard hours ago aboard the Imperial message runner, Faster Than Light. The vessel already is undergoing refitting and resupply, and it will be departing for the Damocles Crusade Fleet at 14:30 tomorrow. All communications to the fleet must be submitted to Admiral Dinola’s headquarters by 24:00.
++ Report Begins ++
The Damocles Gulf Crusade Fleet arrived in the Timbre Sub-sector on 6 207 742.M41 without incident. No serious damage or casualties were reported in the fleet as a result of its passage through the Warp.
Although a small detachment of ships was sent to deal with the rebellious Namatos Colony (its suppression the responsibility of the Knights of Altair Space Marine Chapter), the majority of the Crusade Fleet continued onward to the larger Garrus Colony.
Upon entering the Garrus System (6 221 742.M41), Imperial sensors revealed the presence of several small Tau ships but no evidence of a significant xeno naval military force.
Despite these findings, Admiral Jallaque, commander of the fleet, was not inclined to take chances. He ordered a force of four cruisers and five destroyers—under the command of Rear Admiral Castinus Durven—to advance in front of the fleet and conduct reconnaissance.
Accelerating ahead of the main fleet, Durven’s flotilla moved deeper into the system and briefly inspected an outer gas giant to confirm there were no xeno warships hiding among the planet’s numerous moons. No such threat was found, and the flotilla continued toward the planet Namatos.A xeno surprise
As the Imperial warships moved within 3 million kilometers of the planet, sensors aboard Durven’s cruiser, Marcharius’ Blade, identified a previously undetected body of ships moving out from behind Namatos.
The ships were quickly identified as Tau warships: three cruisers and six destroyers.
Undeterred by a force of equivalent size, Durven ordered an immediate attack. The Tau responded in kind, accelerating aggressively toward the Imperial flotilla.
At a range of 80,000 kilometers, five Tau vessels launched torpedoes. In response, Durven launched fighters from the cruiser, Death’s Hymn, to intercept the xeno’s heretical AI-controlled ordinance.
More than half of the xeno torpedoes were shot down by fighters and individual ships’ anti-ordinance weaponry. Only three managed to reach the Imperial ships, with only a destroyer, Arrow of Truth, suffering modest damage.Battle joined
Once the combatants had closed to within 60,000 kilometers, Marcharius’ Blade opened fire with its lance, striking a Merchant-class Tau cruiser and collapsing its shields. As other Imperial warships came within range, they added the fire of their prow weapons batteries, and it is estimated the xeno cruiser was hit at least 40 times..
Sensors indicated the xeno ship was suffering serious damage, as two weapons batteries ceased firing and energy readings on the ship decreased by 20 percent.
Once recharged, Marcharius’ Blade fired its lance again, resulting in a catastrophic explosion that tore apart the Tau cruiser. Soon after, a Tau Orca-class destroyer was struck by a torpedo attack from the Imperial cruiser Revenant of Light and appeared to suffer a complete loss of power.
Tau fire was equally fierce. A second torpedo attack by the xenos overwhelmed the defenses of the Imperial cruiser, Justicar, destroying an entire weapons battery and igniting a subsidiary ammunition magazine that exploded with sufficient force to tear off 20 percent of the ship’s port-side hull. Nearly 2,000 crewmen were killed as five levels of the ship lost atmosphere within seconds.
Soon after, the destroyer, Golden Dagger, was crippled by ion cannon fire from two Tau destroyers.The tide turns
At this point, Durven ordered all ships to target the lead Tau vessel, a Hero-class cruiser, with every weapon at their disposal. Soon, the xeno vessel was hammered by a lance strike, a dozen weapons batteries, and more than 15 torpedoes.
The attack eventually overwhelmed the xeno ship’s defenses, and sensors registered numerous explosions aboard the ship. Suddenly, the ship was consumed by a massive explosion—the likely result of an overloading reactor.
The ship’s loss apparently took the fight out of the xenos. Their warships broke off their attack and attempted to disengage, but Durven ordered all ships to follow at best speed. As the flotilla passed a stricken Tau destroyer, a broadside by the Revenant of Light turned the vessel into a lifeless hulk.
The next few hours saw Durven’s flotilla engage the retreating Tau in a long-range firefight. Another xeno destroyer, damaged in the fighting, began to fall behind the rest of the Tau flotilla, and Imperial ships took advantage of their misfortune to shell the ship as they closed. Raked by Imperial fire, it eventually lost all power.
It was later destroyed by a lance strike from Marcharius’ Blade.Victory
Over the course of the next few hours, Imperial ships managed to destroy another Tau destroyer. Alas, a final torpedo attack by the Tau managed a strike against the Imperial destroyer, Emperor’s Javelin, killing more than 100 men but otherwise doing no significant damage to the ship’s combat effectiveness.
Durven pursued the xenos to the system’s Mandeville Point, whereupon the last surviving Tau destroyer appeared to attach itself to the surviving cruiser and, soon after, the vessels entered the Warp.
During the battle, the remainder of the Crusade Fleet advanced on Namatos under full combat preparedness. Stopping outside the range of the planet’s two small orbital defense stations, Admiral Jallaque began broadcasting his demand for the complete surrender of the rebellious government.
[No response from the rebels had been received when the Faster Than Light left the Garrus System.} Strategic Evaluation
Given the overwhelming military forces of the Crusade Fleet, there was never any doubt of an Imperial victory. Still, it was gratifying to Jallaque that, in a roughly equal fight, the performance of Durven’s flotilla proved the superiority of Imperial ships and tactics versus those of the xenos..
Although the Imperials had suffered damage to one cruiser and three destroyers, the xenos lost two cruisers and four destroyers—an overwhelming lopsided kill ratio in favor of the Imperials.
Although not anticipated, a counterattack by Tau naval forces is possible, and Admiral Jallaque has communicated that defensive measures will be in place for a xeno response. What’s more, it is almost certain that the Crusade Fleet has time to enter orbit over the Garrus Colony and, if necessary, use force to restore Imperial rule.
In conclusion, the crusade against is proceeding on schedule.
+ Report Ends +
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