Wednesday, 12 June 2013

First Battle of the Crossroads (Amalthean Crusade - 3a)

Captain Count Geranium of Bigbush and Littletree jumped from the side of his Vanquisher, the Flammeus Princeps, and, swearing loudly, threw his cap to the dusty ground.

“Lads,” he yelled to the crew of Charlie Three, still struggling with the thrown track that had prevented them from joining Task Force Lightning, “the bastard Xenos are on the move!”

His tankers and comrades looked up in surprise, their eyes shockingly white against their dust and grease stained faces.

Corporal Tansy pushed his forage cap back and looked hard at his Captain. “What did you say, sir?”

“The Xenos are coming! We need to get moving into our defensive positions, you fool!”

Tansy started, and looked again. Behind Flammeus Princeps, driving in column, were a mix of Astartes and Guard armoured vehicles. There were less than had driven out from Landing Zone Primaris that morning. The Chimeras were straining under the added weight of white-armoured Astartes, and as he stared, “Emperor's teeth,” he thought, “some of those Astartes are injured!

Tansy and his crew ran over to Count Littletree. He closed his eyes, and ran his hands through his hair. He straightened, suddenly, to his full height, and then slumped, a long breath sighing through his teeth.

“The bastard blueys have allied with some thrice-forsaken Orkoid scum. Our intel just didn't mention them at all. We rolled in as planned, and the first damn things we come across are Orks. Orks! The gropos blasted them apart, though, but the shock of it put me off, lads, it fair put me off. We had a bad time of it. The Astartes got the worst. They went head to head with the greenskins and the greenskins just rolled right over them. I saw them going down, boys, one by bloody one.

“Sure, they put up a fight, a damn good fight, but Throne! it just wasn't enough. Then they were through, and Ash and his chaps went up. Some big bastard with a... claw, it looked like a giant metal claw, he just tore his tank apart like paper, and he detonated something. The explosion took a few of the greenskins out, mind, Ash would've appreciated that, but the big bugger was just stood there with this grin on his face. And a chunk of armour plate through his chest bigger than I am, and he was just stood there grinning like it was the best thing ever.

“It wasn't long after that that the Astartes told us to fall back. We didn't even get past the crossroads. The Karaboudjani lads did their best, 'sblood, they fought like tigers, and died like heroes, but we just couldn't get through. The xenos spotted us withdrawing and pulled back a bit into the town – they were taking potshots, but the Astartes managed to get their casualties out. They seemed really angry that they'd lost one of their tanks though. I mean, lads, they were spitting mad about it. Their blood's up, I think, but... damn me, boys, damn me, they've got tactical sense. There's not many Guard officers'd've told us to fall back.”

“What now, boss,” asked Peony, Tansy's driver, “I mean the LZ's still fulla landers, it's not secure yet.”

“Well, P, and this goes for all of us, the orders I got this morning said that we need to fall back to Phase Line Alpha and dig in. So that's what we're going to do. It's where the Karaboudjani boys are going now,” he smiled, pointing down the road at the dust cloud, “and I think we need to follow. How's the track repair?”

“Nearly done, sir,” Tansy growled, “let's make those blue bastards pay for Charlie Three.”

Task Force Lightning: Karaboudjani X Kataphraktoi and Valachian MXI units
Force Priam: Elements of Strike Force Priam, 2nd Battle Company, Righteous Fists
(Prior to the first battle of the crossroads...!)

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