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Saturday, May 2, 2015

A report from Maracha

Segmentum Tempestus 999.M41
System: Fetian, Planet: Maracha

Two years.  Two damnable years we've spent trying to protect this near worthless rock.  Things were bad even from the start.  Chaos was a difficult opponent already.  Landings attempts by the Lankock XCI, CCXCIV, and DI Regiments suffered near-total casualties.  Cadian DXIX and Vatarian DLXXXIII secured the LZs, and pushed out against tremendous opposition.

We were sent down with a fellow Vatarian regiment: the CCXII.  Even to this day, I still don't understand why nine entire regiments of infantry were sent down to protect an entire planet with only a battalion of tanks, a company of artillery, and only eighty-three planes.

Somehow, we made serious progress in pushing back the enemy.  The locals, even though they were armed with bolt-action rifles, proved to be a great help in waging this war.  Despite only two of the nine regiments being mechanized, our efforts pushed the lines back over three hundred and thirteen kilometres in just a little less than a month.

Nobody expected the orks to show up to the fight.  Their transports managed to, somehow, evade the Imperial fleet in orbit and made unmolested landings behind the enemy lines.  Chaos formations swiftly fell into absolute chaos as the greenskins began their relentless assaults.  Those who could, threw themselves into our fire.  Our first engagements with them were fairly easy.  Their rushed to the villages we were holding, and we sprayed with tripod guns until they died.

Unfortunately, their leader was using those fights to learn about us.  Ork artillery batteries began their barrage on our positions.  Their ramshackle planes and vehicles started their around-the-clock attack on units caught in the open.

Major Carpenter led his Second Company in a daring raid which ended with the warboss' head as a trophy, the utter annihilation of their fuel and ammo depots, and several of the artillery guns that were causing problems.

Unfortunately, that would the last act 2nd Company did on the planet.  I had argued with Lord-General Von Sica against taking them to Arrakia, but lowly Knight-Commanders don't win arguments with Lord-Generals.  2nd Company departed with the four platoons of the newly formed composite Lankock DCI regiment and three-quarters of the fleet.

It turned out that the ork horde we faced was only a vanguard for the massive tide that crashed into us.  Despite the valiant efforts of the remaining ships, many roks made it past their blockade even before taking losses.  The battle for orbit went on for hours, but it ended with all ships lost.  True to my prediction, when the mass of bodies smashed into our defences, the hole created by the absence of 2nd Company was taken full advantage of.

Convoys of trukks loaded to bear with orks covered in armor (armed with their shootas) rushed through the gap, and only stopped long enough for their infantry to hop out, slaughter the defenders, and get back into their vehicles.  With that gap widened and secured, ork tanks made their breakthrough and swarmed the across the countryside.

We only managed to escape because we were mechanized.  Von Sica's command post was tore apart, and he had to retreat to 3rd Battalion's (of the Cadian DXIX) position.  These veteran troops were protecting a vital railway hub in the city of Shemu that connected to nearly all corners of the planet.  They were cut off from the rest of us by the vast ork air force.  The siege lasted for seven months; in the end, only thirty guardsmen and four-hundred seventy civilians made it out.  Lord-General Von Sica was killed two days before the escape attempt by a gretchin sniper.

As for us, the orks chased us all the way back our original landing zone.  There we made our stand with the Cadian's Command Company alongside their 4th, 2nd Battalion from the Vatarian CCXII, and twelve light tanks.  Even with the assistance of the aircraft launched by the vessels (before they were wrecked) and the timely arrival of the Vatarian DLXXXIII, the greenskins drove us back from our most heavily fortified garrison.

They chased us once more through the desert.  We had to use our APCs to guard the trains the others were using to evacuate their men.  Luckily we now had planes screaming overhead to protect our rout from the ork divebombers.  We couldn't halt the orks until we came under the shadow of the Maa-kheru Mountains.  There, I was able to coordinate an effective defence of the region from a position that my men and I have took to rename 'Charpelli Hill'.

A series of battles and sieges have occurred since then, but we haven't moved back much for all that time.  Of the planet, we retain control of only five towns: Kemet to the north, Kenbet just under Charpelli Hill, the fortress of Kadesh and the besieged metropolis of Kagemni to the east, and on the other side of the mountains lies Shemu.

Now, we only have twenty-five hundred guardsmen and less than two thousand support personnel left.  Out of the eighth of a million natives still alive, thirty thousand are assisting us in the fighting.  Shared between the five towns are thirty-three Devil Dog light tanks and twenty-one Leman Russ medium tanks, all without fuel and running out of ammo.  Thirteen Basilisk artillery guns cover the entire region from the cover the Maa-kheru Mountains.  Inside those mountains is the airfield that houses the last plane on Maracha.

This pilot has my recommendation for numerous awards for the service she has performed over the last year.  Nearly every day, she goes out in her lone Thunderbolt to defend everyone from the packs of ork bombers and fighters.  Her victories are helping to sustain the morale of the general populace and my men.  At the closing days of the year of our Emperor 999.M41, this pilot's count is an astounding 982 confirmed enemy kills.

If these records survive long enough for a loyalist in the Emperor's service to find them, I commend the bravery and resolve of everyone who has given their lives for the planet of Maracha.  May the Emperor watch over us all.

Signing out (hopefully, not for the last time),
Knight-Commander Zora of the Vatartian XII Regiment