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The Snowstorm

By Patrick Hegarty

Sgt. Marcus definitely didn’t like the way things were going. Thanks to a brief but violent snow storm, what was supposed to be a company sized patrol turned into a confused mass of squads groping blindly to reform. His fire support squad of three auto cannons was the first to reach checkpoint beta, an abandoned Guard strongpoint. He liked the fact that they were now allowing StormTroopers to operate in platoon sized units, but didn’t like being a support squad out on point! He had quickly set the squad up in one of the emplacements on top of the command center. The guns were packed tighter than he liked, but they had good cover and an excellent field of fire.

It would be bad enough to run into a patrol of those Emperor damned rebels while stuck out here alone, he thought disgustedly, but the Dark Angels were hunting us as well. The rebels had broken into a supposedly secure line and with a few carefully worded transmissions, made it seem that our Regiment was going over to their side. The Dark Angels commander screamed “TREASON” and have vowed to kill us all on sight. Until that was straightened out, the orders were to avoid contact but defend vigorously if necessary. Sgt. Marcus spat with disgust. The day a regiment of Imperial Guard from the Ultramar Segmentum rebelled against the Emperor would be the day after he jumped off his throne and started doing cartwheels. The day Storm Troopers from the Segmentum rebelled would be the day after he started worshipping Klack-rabbits! But there was no reasoning with the Dark Angels. It would take an Inquisitor to make them see reason. Until then, it was fight or die.

A movement in the ruined buildings in from of him caught his attention and yanked him out of his brooding thoughts. “Please let it be rebels” he muttered to himself as he focused his optics on the area. “Damn” he said out loud. You couldn’t miss the dark green armor against the white snow. “Man the weapons! Target: center building: dead forward” he ordered crisply. He saw that they were only scouts. However, every one of them had a sniper rifle, except for the one with the missile launcher. “Target: check” each gunner announced as they sighted in on the scouts. Although he didn’t believe it would happen, Sgt. Marcus silently prayed to the Emperor that they would not be spotted and they could avoid playing into the hands of the rebels by having two forces, both loyal to the Emperor trying to destroy each other.

As he watched, he saw them spot him and bring up their weapons. No help for it, he thought. “Fire at will”. Before the last word was out of his mouth, the air was filled with noise, smoke and autocannon shells seeking out the scouts. At first Sgt. Marcus thought they had cut them all down with the first volley. Then, from the corner of the building he saw… “INCOMING!” he shouted, ..the scout with the missile launcher shouldered his weapon and fired. The missile impacted on the front of the emplacement sending a shower of fragments up over the edge. The loader for #3 gun had been unfortunate enough to be standing, loading a fresh clip into the weapon. Bits of rock and shrapnel tore through his body and propelled it off the roof.

Sgt. Marcus’s comlink gave a burst of static and a familiar voice cut in. “Sergeant Marcus! Report!”. Thank the Emperor, thought the sergeant, Lt. Flynn is here and that means the rest of the company can’t be too far off. Lt. Flynn listened carefully to his comlink as he and the rest of his command section trotted forward to the abandoned base. “Sir” Sgt. Marcus began, “We’re under hard cover on the lower roof of the command center. We have a good field of fire, and view of the area. We’re trading rounds with a Dark Angel scout squad and have one casualty so far.”

“Good work. We’ll be joining you shortly” Lt. Flynn informed him. “I’ve made contact with Lt. Krause. He has linked up with the Sentinel and our Storm Trooper squad. He will be approaching your position on the left. I’ve got the anti-tank squad and the tank with me. We’ll be coming up on your right.” Lt. Flynn quickly came to the battle zone and made some quick decisions. The anti-tank squad he sent into a large building to the right with orders to get some height so that their missile launchers would have a clear field of fire. The Leman Russ was positioned just to the left of a small bunker, hull down to fire coming from the right. With his two plasma gunners he took position on the roof of the bunker. His two other men took station inside. Lt. Krause, in the meantime, was busy deploying the troops that he had been lucky enough to gather together after the storm. He ordered the StormTroopers to occupy the roof of the command center tower and the upper battlements. The sentinel was sent to sweep around left and get into the ruins on the other side of the killing ground. His own command section he ordered dug into the rocks to the left of the command center.

Inside the tank, the lascannon gunner spotted the Dark Angel scout as he ducked back around the corner to reload. “It’s a bit of overkill,” He thought, “but it’s the only target I have”. He sighted the weapon and fired. As the flash faded, he checked his target. He watched as the legs and lower body slowly toppled over into the snow. Of the upper torso and missile launcher, there was no sign.

“Sir!” Lt. Flynn’s comlink crackled to life with Sgt. Marcus’s voice. “We have a Tac squad of Angels heading for the ruins straight in front of us. We’ve also spotted a Rhino way off to your right”.

“Understood Sergeant ; Engage the Tac squad and leave the rhino to the AT squad.” Having given his orders, Lt. Flynn raised his optics and tried to spot the rhino. It wasn’t too hard. The Dark green of the vehicle stood out plainly against the white covered landscape. “How can you miss them?” he thought. He then frowned as he thought of something. Lowering his optics he looked at his StormTroopers in their black flak armor and red fatigues. Then he looked at the AT squad in their black flak armor and Ultramar blue fatigues. He shook his head and chuckled ruefully, “Who am I to talk, it seems” he thought. “Guess it works both ways. Pride before sense”. He watched as the AT squad continued to make their way to the upper reaches of the building. They would need time to set up before they could deal with the rhino and whatever was in it.

The autocannons opened up again and he swung his glasses around in time to see three of the Marines get pitched violently to the ground and lie still while the others continued their advance. His comlink crackled to life on the command circuit. “Flynn!, Krause!, Report!” Col. Lorgett had finally arrived at the battle zone. The Colonel listened carefully as both of his lieutenants made their reports. When they had finished, Lt. Flynn requested permission to rejoin his platoon at the command center. “Denied Flynn. Fight with the troops you have. I can’t allow my command sections to go running back and forth while we’re up against Angels. Now listen up. I’ve got the mortar squad setting up behind the command center. Both of you can call fire missions as you need them. Flynn, I’m sending the Chimera up to the left of the building you have the AT squad in. I’ll set up the command post in the rocks to the right of the command center. That should be about the center of our line.”

On the left flank the autocannons continued to chew apart the Angel’s tac squad as they advanced into the ruins. Three more suits of shattered armor were left in the snow before they reached cover. The driver of the sentinel spotted the remaining marines through a gap in the buildings and changed course to intercept them. “All I’ve got to do is close range and they’re mine.”, he thought.


Life had suddenly become very uncomfortable for Lt. Flynn and the squads on the right flank. Roaring around from the back of a small hill there came elements of the Ravenwing. Two attack bikes were leading a squad of four bikes and a chaplain raced in front of them all. The rhino that had been on the fringe of the battle was now close at hand and discharged a devastator squad just to the right and in front of the building that held the AT squad. The AT squad still had not reached their assigned firing positions. Firing erupted from every weapon that could bear on this new threat. The chimera lashed out at the disembarking devastators, scoring hits, but their tough armour protected them from most of the damage. Only one team of the AT squad had a favorable position so they loaded a krak missile and let fly. From their elevation, the missile hit the squad Sergeant just above the left shoulder armor and exploded downward. It’s doubtful that he even knew he had been hit as his head and right torso ceased to exist. The tank swiveled its’ massive turret around and leveled the feared battle cannon at the on rushing bikers. A long tongue of flame shot forth from the barrel as it unleashed a huge blast of destruction. And when the smoke cleared… not a marine had been touched. The blast was not only off target, but had failed to even land anywhere close to anything. Shocked by the complete miss of the company’s most powerful weapon, the tanks’ lascannon gunner violated fire orders and engaged with the lascannon. A beam of solid light lanced out and connected with the lead attack bike, melting through both riders and the bike.

Lt. Flynn ordered down a mortar barrage that also was far off course and succeeded only in startling a squad of scouts that none of the Guardsmen knew were there. The last two missing squads finally checked in and were immediately sent in to support the AT squad. The Guardsmen took positions in the base of the building while the Ratlings went upward through it to find firing positions. And far off to the left, the lone sentinel continued his charge to glory at the Dark Angels between the buildings.

Undaunted by the loss of the attack bike, the remaining bikes surged forward. Behind them an assault squad rounded the hill and started making their way to the building that was the corner piece of the Guard right flank. The scouts behind the hill had assumed that somehow they had been detected and were the target of the mortars. They all knew that the best defense against mortars was to keep moving and so they did. They rounded the hill on the opposite side from the bikes and moved to link up with the tac squad in the ruins. The gunner on the remaining attack bike fired his multi-melta at the chimera and was dismayed to see it have no more effect than to melt deep gouge into the front of the vehicle. The devastator squad also unleashed on the chimera but everyone either missed or scraped paint with all weapons except the plasma cannon. The super heated matter caught the vehicle on the turret and reduced the multi-laser to white-hot slag. And far off to the left, the advance of the sentinel was noticed by the remaining members of the tac squad. The heavy weapons man casually lifted his missile launcher and sent a krak missile streaking toward it to remind the Guard that in spite of heavy casualties, they were still not to be taken lightly. The missile penetrated the fuel tank, and the resulting explosion was quite spectactular. When the fireball disappeared, all that could be found were the legs; and they had been blown some 15 meters apart.

The bikes were now close enough for Lt. Flynn to bring the plasma guns of his command section into play. Both gunners scored hits that reduced the last attack bike to a smoldering wreck. The scouts discovered that what works well against mortars doesn’t work against autocannons. When the whole squad was clear of the hill, there were completely in the open and in range of the support squad. Before they traveled 10 meters; they were cut down completely. The mortars found range on the bike squad and the lead bike disappeared in a cloud of multiple explosions and shrapnel. The remaining bikes braked to a hasty stop to avoid the sudden craters and the flaming pieces of their comrade’s bike and body armor. Before they could get moving again, there was the roaring of the fire from the battle cannon shrieking over their heads. When they looked to see where it had landed there were only four members remaining of the assault squad where only a moment before there had been ten.

“ATTENTION!!! ATTENTION!!!” Every comlink on all frequencies blasted out with a commanding voice. “This is Inquisitor Jakred. Cease-fire immediately! Withdraw back to your bases.” There was a pause on the battlefield as the two forces just looked at one another. Reluctantly, the marines turned their backs on the guard unit and departed the field. As the Dark Angel Chaplain looked over what remained of his force; he turned to look back at the Imperial Guard positions. “The battle may be done” he thought, “but this is far from over.


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