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
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”.
; 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.
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!!!” 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.