The warband of Jarl-Captain Bolverk and the 55th Cerberan Armored Guard clashed in deadly combat again today. The battle this day was to deny the enemy valuable assets while waiting for reinforcements from the Fleet, who were engaged with the Imperial Navy further out in the system. The two combatants arrayed against one another in spearhead formation, fighting for three strategic points amidst the bombed out ruins of an outlaying settlement. The 4th Wælheim Free Company brought the 4th & 8th Assault Squads (8 Berzerkers, Champion w/PF&MB), The Jarl’s Comitatus (6 Terminators, 4PF, 1RAC, 1 PW), the 1oth Armor Squad’s Defiler, and the Jarl himself accompanied 4th Assault Squad “Bone Eaters” carrying his Bloodfeeder Axe. The Imperials brought 4 Leman Russ tanks variants, a Company HQ squad, a Platoon HQ and 3 squads of Veteran Infantry. The Chaos Marines won the initiative and rushed to seize the first objective as they set up to receive the enemy, and the Guard came rumbling straight in to meet them.
The first round of combat saw the 55th attempt to seize the initiative from the 4th and fail. The Jarl ordered his Comitatus to lay their Reaper behind the boulders on the hill and surround the first objective to protect it. The 10th’s Defiler swung out to position itself to bring its battle cannon to bear, and the 4th and 8th squads rushed toward a second objective in their Rhinos. The 55th Armored split off into two thrusts, each supported by two tanks in squadron formation with the infantry out in front. A few shots were exchanged by both sides, with the 4th drawing first blood, albeit not much. Most of the firing this round was ineffective, though the Defiler was stunned by some heavy blows from the Guard tanks, which may well have been decisive.
In the second round of combat the Teeth Grinders (4th Squad) and the Shield Biters (8th Squad) pushed forward in the Rhinos and debarked to screen the objective and manoeuvre into a position from which to assault. The Defiler crew were helpless from the hard hit they took the previous round and were taken out by the meltaguns of the advancing infantry. An assault on Rhino 108 was attempted by the Guard, which failed miserably. Some other shots were traded, the most significant result being the Teeth Grinders losing seven Berzerkers from a Demolisher strike.
In the third round of combat things got interesting. Rhino 108 cleared a path through the Guard making a mad drive toward the enemy tanks. The Shield Biters followed in its wake, completely bypassing the confused Guardsmen who had been pushed out of the way. The 8th rounded on the 55th’s Platoon HQ and ground them to pieces with bolt pistol and chain-axe. Rhino 104 manoeuvred a bit and downed a Guardsman with its twin-linked bolters, right before the Teeth Grinders, or rather the Teeth Grinder’s Champion and Jarl Bolverk, charged into them and unleashed the bloodlust of Khorne upon them with a startling number of attacks due to the Jarl’s Daemon Weapon. The Shield Biters were still hacking the Platoon HQ to paste when the 55th dropped a barrage of revenge down, annihilating them. The Comitatus and the Guard traded shots, and one of the Jarl’s Thegns was among the casualties.
Jarl-Captain Bolverk and Huscarl-Leftenant Gapthrossnir of the 4th Assault Squad (Teeth Grinders), journeyed to Wælheim this round courtesy of an enormous ordnance round. They died doing what they loved: chasing the enemy across the battlefield. Rhino 104 moved into the woods at the objective in attempt to both deny it to the enemy and gain cover from the big guns on the tanks. It was not enough, unfortunately, and 104 was finally blown up.
After four rounds of intense fighting the battle was unexpectedly ended. The 55th received word from the Naval Command that their fleet had been ordered to withdraw, so the battle would not be a decisive one this day. The Comitatus had held true to their oaths to the Jarl and were standing fast on their objective. The infantry of the 55th were dug in on the middle objective, and nobody was anywhere near the third objective except the remains of Huscarl-Leftenant Farmatyr and his crew scattered around the burnt out hulk of 104. It was decided that it was a tactical draw.
“The Thegn paused to watch as the Imperial lifter departed the battlefield as the Fleet’s transports came in low and fast. On the horizon the smoke glowed eerily with flashes as the orbital bombardment of the hive commenced. Whose bombs were falling on the city? It didn’t matter anymore, the entire system was doomed. Naval troopers from the transports were loading the fallen Astartes into stasis pods and thralls were scouring the wreck of the Defiler as fast as they could, overseen by an anxious tech-priest. The bombardment would be here in minutes, but they’d be gone. And then they would do it all over again in some other luckless system. Yes. The blood would flow again.”
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