Over the next months to a year, four players will duke it out over the region of space known as the Koronus Expanse beneath the faint glow of the Halo stars. As we move forward with the campaign, we will provide periodic battle reports of milestone engagements that will define the war in these wild territories at the ends of the galaxy. In today’s report, the fourth turn of the Koronus Expanse campaign brought the first engagement of the brewing war to come – the Skirmish at Salvation’s Gate. More to come from the campaign tomorrow!
Whispers of a Waaagh
Mounting rumors of an Orc Waaagh stemming from the worlds of the Undred-Undred Teef have raised concerns amongst Imperial fleet command. More concerning is the loss of trade and communication with several ‘free’ mining and agri-classed worlds within the subsector near Valcetti’s Salvation. Yet to be established under the aegis of the Emperor, the production and trade of foodstuffs and raw materials from these worlds are nevertheless critically important to the nearby Forgeworld of Barsuvian. As such, an Imperial patrol was dispatched to investigate. Exiting the warp at the Mandeville point known as Salvation’s Gate, a stable patch of space near to Valcetti’s Salvation, Imperial sensors immediately picked up multiple contacts which were quickly identified as massive Ork voidships – potentially the leading elements of the rumored Waaagh. Slightly out of position and surprised, the Imperial vessels came about to engage the now rapidly closing Ork fleet.
The Ork Vanguard Fleet – 690 Points
- Nob: 1 Renown – 1 Reroll
- Ol’ Thunda – Kill Kroozer
- Prow Heavy Gunz
- Mega Armored Orks
- Auxillary Power Relays (+5 cm movement)
- Hull Smasha – Terror Ship
- Prow Torpedo Launcha
- Teefrippa – Terror Ship
- Prow Torpedo Launcha
- Gork’s Teef – 3x Brute Ram Ships
- Mork’s Teef – 3x Brute Ram Ships
The Imperial Patrol Fleet – 600 Points
- Commander: 3 Renown – LD 8, 1 Reroll
- Sante Maria – Dominator Class Cruiser
- Additional Shield Generator (+1 Shield)
- Auto-Loaders (+1 LD on Reload Ordnance orders)
- La Pinta – Dominator Class Cruiser
- Cortez’s Ire – Dauntless Class Light Cruiser
- Picasso – Dauntless Class Light Cruiser
The Opening Salvo of a War
Moving rapidly to close the distance between the fleets, the Orks issued All Ahead Full orders and laid down a large barrage of torpedoes toward each pair of Imperial cruisers. In response, the still organizing Imperial fleet, anchored by a pair of Dominator class cruisers and their terrifying Nova Cannons, moved to engage the advancing fleet. The first Nova Cannon salvoes drew sight on the lead Ork Kroozer, the Teefrippa, however, the Imperial crews still reeling from the surprise failed to accurately track on the hulking ship and holes in the fabric of reality were harmlessly torn open well wide of the advancing Terror Ship. Worse, in the confusion, the Picasso failed to avoid the oncoming spread of Ork torpedoes, and after failing to Brace for the Impact, the Ork warheads proved effective and tore open huge chunks of the vessel, venting crew and atmosphere, and severely crippling the light cruiser. The other light cruiser, Cortez’s Ire, drew sight on the approaching Ram ships and was successful in destroying one of the suicidal escorts.
Sound the Collision Alarm and Brace!
Taking advantage of the early confusion in the Imperial fleet, the Orks continued to close on the crippled Picasso and the isolated cruiser La Pinta. Ork gunnery proved ineffective at this range, but successfully forced both Dauntless cruisers into a defensive position as the Ram Ships approached the Imperial flagship on the Ork left flank – lining up their run and intending to smash themselves into the fearsome vessel. Reacting to the worsening situation, the La Pinta attempted to cross the oncoming Ork fleet and bring its port guns to bear. Both crews, recovering from their initial panic, managed to rapidly reload the Nova Cannons for a second volley- this time finding their target with the trailing Terror Ship, Hull Smasha. The Ork vessel suffered a direct hit but managed to push through the ensuing rift without taking significant damage – the Ork crew aboard willing themselves to safety. Failing to fully unmask the port batteries, the La Pinta and the crippled Picasso were unable to slow the remaining Ork Kroozers. However, the flagship Sante Maria, having unmasked its starboard batteries, poured a broadside directly into the oncoming Ram Ships – destroying one and forcing the remaining escorts into a defensive posture and breaking their attempt to ram the capital ship.
Taking evasive action, the Ork ram ships threatening the Sante Maria flew harmlessly past the cruiser, unable to attempt their ram. However, sensing the opportunity to smash, both the Ol Thunda and the Teefrippa ordered an All Ahead Full setting a collision course with the crossing La Pinta. The dual threat proved too much, and while the hapless ship was able to maneuver out of the way of the Teefrippa, the Ol Thunda caught the vessel full abeam – smashing through the hull and ripping into the gun decks of the ruined Imperial warship as the Ork warship carried forward with its full momentum. A testament to the might of the Imperial Navy and the Emperor’s warships, La Pinta badly crippled and losing its devastating Nova Cannon, attempted to carry on the fight while the Picasso maneuvered astern of the ramming Ork vessels. Badly damaged, the battle was looking grim for the Imperial fleet as the Sante Maria failed to reload its own Nova Cannon, even as it managed to down another, now badly out of position Ork escort.
The Positioning Battle
The ensuing turns saw the fleets move past one another exchanging pot shots where sight could be drawn. Badly mauled, the Ork fleet poured a final round of shots into the stricken La Pinta – destroying the vessel and leaving it lifelessly adrift in the void. Meanwhile, the Picasso escaped a final few shots from the Hull Smasha before maneuvering into a position of relative safety astern of the Ork capital ships. The Cortez’s Ire Light Cruiser doubled back in pursuit of the lone ram ship now escaping from the Sante Maria which pushed forward, deeply outnumbered, but in a dominant, raking position astern of the Ork fleet.
The Ork fleet, badly out of position, chose to continue moving for the asteroid field seeking to head off the Cortez’s Ire beyond. Seeing the massive ships bearing down around the asteroid field’s rim, the Cortez’s Ire maneuvered hard to starboard, keeping the protective shield of the asteroids between itself and the Ork Kroozers while delivery a broadside to the second squadron of Ram Ships cresting the edge of the field and destroying one. The Sante Maria and Picasso, keeping the trailing Terror Ship Hull Smasha in their sights, poured fire into its stern, crippling the previously damaged vessel and destroying its engines. The Sante Maria reloaded its prow Nova Cannon in preparation for a final shot as it worked to come about.
Giving chase to the isolated Dauntless, the Ork capital ships continued around the rim of the asteroid field. However, unable to draw a line, the Cortez’s Ire ordered an All Ahead Full, escaping from the lumbering Ork threats while the Picasso and Sante Maria attempted to bring down the final Ram Ship that had now lined up a second potential run but failing to penetrate the escorts thick prow armor as it powered up for its final suicidal mission. The retreating Hull Smasha’s engines suddenly flared back to life, apparently the Meks onboard affecting repairs.
Say a Prayer and Bring the Cannon to Bear!
The Ork fleet – now realizing that they were unable to engage the remaining Imperial cruisers instead attempted to break and run knowing that they’d won the day by smashing half of the Imperial fleet. They ordered an All Ahead Full and attempted to put the asteroids between themselves and the Sante Maria and its deadly Nova Cannon. Meanwhile, attempting to slow the Imperials, the final Ram Ship smashed the big red button and slammed itself into the Sante Maria’s armored prow – detonating on impact but dealing some structural damage. However, it wasn’t enough to cripple the mighty vessel which ordered a Come to New Heading. As the Sante Maria swung its mighty armored prow around and drew sight to the escaping Hull Smasha the whine of the mighty cannon powering up reverberated throughout the cruiser. With a word to the Emperor, and a blessing from the Omnissah, the Nova Cannon fired sending a shudder down the spine of the mighty warship. In the distance, the retreating Terror Ship was engulfed in a warp explosion – a direct hit! In moments the Ork ship emerged on the other side of the rift, flames engulfing the now lifeless wreck as its atmosphere vented to the cosmos.
Carried forward by inertia, the flaming wreck of the Hull Smasha detonated as its damaged warp drive overloaded and exploded – showering the nearby Ork flagship Ol Thunda in debris. It was the final action of a surprisingly deadly skirmish.
Taking advantage of surprise, the Ork fleet quickly closed the distance and hammered the disparate Imperial fleet elements. The Picasso was crippled in the opening shots by a mass of torpedoes while a brutal ramming of the La Pinta by the massive Ork Kroozers, taken full abeam, left the venerable vessel limping before being finally destroyed and left adrift by a heavy storm of Orc weapon battery fire. However, the superior training and bravery of the Imperial crews shone through – despite the damage, the Picasso fought on valiantly, maneuvering for position on the lumbering Ork kroozers, delivering what damage it could while the remaining Dominator, the flagship Sante Maria lined up a crucial Nova Cannon shot that ultimately broke the Ork attack and forced their disengagement. The Imperial fleet established their presence and fended off the Orks, but the Ork fleet will undoubtedly return and in greater numbers…
That’s all for today, but look for future updates as the war in the Koronus Expanse escalates! Until then, track the campaign progress with the campaign update Open Actions tomorrow!