+++TRANSMITTED: Salamut IX; Achernar Sector
+++RECEIVED: Baal; Ultima Segmentum.
+++TELEPATHIC DUCT: Adept Maude Schumacher; Sabre of Baal
+++AUTHOR: Captain of the 3rd Ioannis Machiavi; Master of Sacrifice.
+++DESTINATION: Commander Dante; Lord of the Host; Master of the Blood Angels; Regent of Imperium Nihilus.
+++SUBJECT: After-action report Salamut IX.
+++THOUGHT: By His blood are we made. In His name do we serve.
Master, I present the initial after-action combat reports of 3rd Company operations in Salamut IX against the ork. Primary objective: To prevent the fall of Salamut IX for up to an estimated week for Imperial reinforcements to arrive.
>>ATTACHED PLANETARY DATA DOWNLOAD<<
Completed rendezvous with Raven Guard forces aboard the Sable Sword under Captain Yiraka within acceptable sidereal tolerances. Tandom jump to Salamut system completed successfully and in synchronicity. Initial approach in silent running. Established a force of five ork capital ships and an as-then unknown number of escort craft. Impossible to establish orbital superiority at that time thus operated on the basis of planetary appraisal and then hammerblow deployment of company to operate independently until assistance could be provided by the Imperium.
Results of contact made with Imperial Authorities were most unsatisfactory.
Governor Singhe was prisoner of ork forces in the besieged city of Tarno, her second was a nervous man unsuited to command and the General hadn't slept in four days. How
this state of affairs was allowed to occur and then indeed how it was allowed
to continue is beyond my understanding and care. The orks were demanding 100
basilisk artillery pieces for the Lord Governor's release. Unusual cunning but within
parameters for established ork intellect. Secretary Shikoba and Lord General
Nayeli were assured that her recovery would be a top priority for our forces. Raven Guard scout units were tasked to
infiltrate Tarno and identify the Governor’s location for extraction.
|long range auspex pict capture of Ork fleet. Capital ships marked out.|
It is worth mentioning at this juncture that had we not been there the Raven Guard would have deployed with no communication to planetary forces of any kind. They remain, as they always have been, secretive to almost the point of obstruction. I should point out, however, that Captain Yiraka proved most cooperative and was open to Blood Angel doctrine. I know we cost him men and machines encouraging him thus. For this I do not apologise, but do appreciate and acknowledge his sacrifices in the name of allied tactics and the defence of humanity.
With the Auspex grid broken we had insufficient data on planetary approach to make useful dispersal of our forces possible, without data on enemy movements and strength it would be a blind drop into chaos. Captain Yiraka and I determined that we would re-take these relays with overwhelming force and gain us useful data to plan formal deployment on second pass.
|Blood Angel and Raven Guard forces breach from boarding torpedoes.|
|Planetary deployment on second pass.|
|Raven Guard sortie flies over Blood Angel forces raiding an Ork column.|
|The liberation fleet of Laius Ortano|
There was now much to co-ordinate in little time. While ground forces moved to destroy both reinforcing columns of orks heading for Sathis, a rapid strike force was arranged to both cripple the ork artillery punishing Tarno and to distract ork forces so as to facilitate the governor's rescue. Aboard the Sabre of Baal and the Sable Sword, our terminators massed in teleportarum chambers to assist in the orbital battle and to be immediately available for deployment in rescue operations. As these engagements commenced, our vessels lit drives and joined Vice Admiral Ortano for the orbital battle.
I was planetside for the engagement, but Void-Captain Adeline has given her appraisal of the battle and I will summarise it here: Ortano’s tactics were superb. He committed in strength to the spinward flank of the engagement area in force. Imperial forces stripped the entire forward defensive screen of the orks before driving in to peel the bombarding capital ships from low orbit to allow their destruction and to protect the planet. Sathis reports that while the shields took multiple hits the city’s defences never fell thanks to this quick action. Our vessels engaged in the close-in, brutal fighting that we are made for while Ortano continued his sweep of the ork vessels. The Sabre of Baal came through almost unscathed. Sadly, we cannot say the same for the Sable Sword. I fear the Ravens do not practice a straight up fight as often as we do. Regardless, the Raven’s roost was still functional and we could proceed to phase two of the engagement.
|Raven Guard airborne sweep in to attack Ork looted artillery positions.|
|Mid campaign dispositions.|
Of course, as is always the way, this was the moment that the orks massacred the defenders of Relay 34 and knocked it offline again. Regardless, we had orbital track by this time and were more capable of acting independently of planetside auspex. With Tarno bleeding white, we attempted to access some of the forces corralled at as-yet un-attacked Apis to keep that fight going. We did not want Tarno to fall. At this time – and indeed throughout this phase of the war – Tarno was a tar pit in which the orks were trapped. We did not want thousands of greenskins free to roam wherever the whim took them. To my fury, not only did Lord General Nayeli refuse on the basis of fear of assault from the orks, she had also not undertaken any reconnaissance operations north of Apis to assess the level of that threat, considering it too great a risk. By this time I understand she had not slept for a week. Rather than wasting my time with a woman incapable of recognising mortal frailty we simply asked the Governor to set the Commissariat to force her to sleep and got on with the war ourselves. I want the record to show that the suffering of the people of Tarno was exacerbated by Nayeli’s cowardice and incompetence. Later, we would learn that the city of Apis could have defended itself against the orks hiding in the jungle even with the redistribution of forces we suggested. Her passivity is a disgrace to mortal soldiering.
|Blood Angel forces ambush an Ork armoured column|
|The Lost of the Death Company arrive to search for signs of life at Auspex 34.|
Simultaneously to these actions, Raven Guard scout units deployed to the woods around Apis to do the General’s job for her. I am assured that her 2iC deployed sentinels to support immediately she was asleep. A welcome gesture but one that should have happened a week ago. Of course they found enough orks that the General doubtless feels herself prudent. I maintain that a ¼ to 1/3 redeployment could have been tactically viable and saved many Imperial souls in Tarno. A small detachment was also sent to scout troubling reports of a “large fauna” attacking villages with descriptions that better fit a maelific entity of the warp than a local predator. We were fervently hoping for a fanciful description of a large beast, but this was not to be. The scouts found evidence of a large, obviously daemonic presence. With no idea how this could have come to be on the world at this time we hastily pulled together a force of terminators and both Chapter’s librarians to assault the beast once the Raven Guard had eyes on the target.
|Sanguinary Priest Israfael and Codicier Gabriel|
|Blood Angels forces trap a Speed Freak warboss and his retinue and destroy him|
While this was going on, we assaulted yet another armoured column of Orks heading to Sathis and conducted a major raid on the rear echelons of the ork forces besieging Tarno. This was partially to cover the insertion of Raven Guard scout units to co-ordinate orbital and air strikes on Ork forces in Tarno and to ascertain needs of the defenders. We packed four drop pods with ammunition, food and medical supplies and fired them into pre-determined co-ordinates. The Raven Guards acquitted themselves well in this role and I fancy would have liked to have been fighting in this fashion from day one.
|Major deployments to the west and harrying actions along the eastern flank|
The final action of the day was a co-ordinated orbital bombardment of a massive ork force heading for Bacca. A Raven Guard Damocles was to pin point the strikes and we sent several predators to aid in this effort. Had they settled for a single shot we would probably have got away with all materiel intact. But the men on the ground elected to put themselves to the hazard for an additional strike on the orks. This exposed them to Speed Freak elements at the ragged edge of the army. We lost a Baal Predator and the command tank of the Predator formation. Our forces chose to scuttle them rather than let them fall into eager Deathskull hands. The Raven Guards risked their own lives to recover our men and ferry them out in the Damocles. In return our men coaxed some speed out of the engine and advised on Ork psychology to get the Damocles and the covering Stormtalons away clean from the engagement.
|Entire companies worth of men and materiel form a thin black and red line.|
|The Orks assult on the entire front|
|A now deceased Warlord and his retinue|
In the days following, we liberated the Tarkan Oil-Fields as the Imperial Guard relieved the towns. With this done, my Brother Captain needed to return to Deliverance; the Sable Sword was in desperate need of refit and he had suffered many more casualties than we had. Total Blood Angels casualties at around 18% with 7% fatal. Will need to request several of the new scout formations. I am dispatching the Sabre of Baal homeward to bear our wounded men and machines to be treated and fitted with whatever bionics are required. Once it has been rearmed I request its return to my charge. My company shall remain here to assist Imperial forces with the mopping up process. With none of the Lost in my charge any more I am the ideal Blood Angel commander to meet with the Inquisition also.
I remain, as ever, your faithful servant and ready sword.