Gen Tolstoy received the news that 905 Div’s HQ had been reduced to a smoking ruin by a PDF counter attack in a calm manner. He knew that the Palladian Divisional Commander and his staff would have stayed with the Leviathan. The loss of the Leviathan was not good, it was the only one in theatre and a more than adequate communication hub which had well served XVII Korps in the three years since it arrived. But it was still a Divisional HQ which was why it was forward in a position to be targeted by a sustained and powerful counter attack. It’s war. Shit happens.
XVII Korps made deputations directly to 72AG; Having had Legio Astorum support XVII Korps assault on Cudlip Lines, the destruction of six knights and evisceration of 905 Div, including the Leviathan, made a compelling case for their support once more.
902 Div was arrayed to allow 905 Div to pass through. Col Commandant Welbhann’s Division had provided the spearpoint of XVII Korps often enough and were confident enough that as they took over, there would be no abatement in the tempo of operations for nightfall, it was expected that they would be contact, reliving the parts of 905 Div still engaged, by local midnight.
Kloms to the rear, the masters of Legio Astorum, having a seat in 72AG’s Operations Room in Fort Nuttar, were aware of the situation and had two Reaver Maniples on standby. Honorium, with Canis Bellum and Canis Preator, was on stand by as the Leigon’s contribution to the 72AG’s reaction force. Astor Tyrannis, escorted by Pyladii Alpha and Pyladii Beta, would follow on within the hour.
Having given the parts of 905 Div who could move two hours to withdraw back to their start line, the tracks of 902 Div rolled. Guided by the fires of the tanks in front of them, they were able to catch the last parts of the counter attack as they tried to make their way back through their own minefields. PDF ridgebacks fell prey to fast moving Steel Legion Wolverines and stompahunter formations of sentinels. Silhouetted by the burning tanks of 905 Div, the tanks and taurox of the PDF were picked off by the vanquisher and executioners. Where they could, they targeted the enemy in order to block their line of retreat, allowing the conventionally armed Imperial armour to join in when they were in range.
|Battlegroups of 905 Div muster for the attack.|
The 22nd Tank Regt of the ASL had picked up one of the SOPs of their Krieg comrades. Every enemy tank hit once was hit another two times. Knowing that the PDF needed its experienced crewmen more than it needed actual tanks, pintle and coax weapons were liberally sprayed into the darkness.
Lt Col Threlfall, Commanding Officer of the Mordian 14th Medium Artillery Regiment, was, within two hours of the destruction of the Leviathan, appointed to be the new Divisional Commander of 905 Div. His orders were to keep Divisional Artillery in place and in action whilst ensuring that the elements falling back were re-brigaded in the manoeuvre area quickly set aside for the purpose immediately behind the gun positions. The Korps step up HQ was deployed to Brevet 1* General Threlfall’s location, primarily to provide him with the apparatus to run a Division, rather than as the next location intended for the Korps Commander.
902 Div was making headway, having located the gaps in the minefields highlighted by the fleeing PDF units. Where they encountered resistance in the dark, the front units of 902 Div would fire flares in the direction they were being fired upon, blinding the enemy gunners whilst then charging the enemy positions. 902 Div’s attacks, back along these routes by which the PDF had emerged to make its counter attack in the first place, were a study in maintaining inertia. Where breaches were made in the defences, these were secured, armoured infantry, either Krieg or Steel Legion, deploying crew served weapons in the available bunkers. The Division then continued to pour through these breaches, looking to exploit the space and cause havoc in the PDF’s rear, only to run into the next band of defences.
Again, the attackers were subjected to minefields which sought to channel their attacks into areas wept by multiple AT emplacements and all under a constant barrage from PDF artillery. In the darkness, the Imperial tanks would fire at specific fox holes; thunderer and demolisher engineer tanks were brought up. Once a number of AT emplacements and machine gun nests had been neutralised, the Steel Legion stompahunter formations would spearhead armoured infantry assaults. 902 Div was slowed but not stopped, again breaches were forced and widened.
As dawn broke the air battle seemed to die away. There was a lull of several hours as the weather cleared, the oddly pigmented storms which made many people feel off colour abated. When the next wave of Imperial fighters came on station, carrying air to air specific pay loads, they found that they were able to keep the PDF LIghtenings and T-65s at bay, very soon the last of the PDF air power had either been withdrawn or been shot down by the Thunderbolts.
With the second band of defences breached, the PDF had elected to abandon their positions, even those not engaged, in order to bolster the defences further back. By mid-morning on day three of the battle, the Steel Legion and Death Korps were again forcing breaches in the defence lines. The concentration of PDF artillery was more effective in the daylight and the defenders were able to shore up holes blasted by the Imperial assault teams. If the attack stalled, the relatively narrow passage forced by 902 Div was almost certain to be cut into bite sized pieces by defenders resuming their positions abandoned during the previous night.
As this was happening, the Honorium Reaver Maniple arrived. With titan weapons and the ability to look down on the defences, the success of the attacks was assured. Hits on void shields flared, even in the daylight, but the trio were ok for the first hour they were there. As the void shields were beginning to regularly breach, the Astor Tyranis Reaver Maniple caught up. The attack would not falter, its success was assured by the titans and the increased support from the imperial navy’s air wing.
 High Princips Magala. In addition to the Legio’s ‘normal’ deployment of ten Reavers and twelve Warhounds, she has brought her own Warlord, Tempetus Ultra and Warlord of her deputy, Princips Burgh, Ventii Omega.
 There were still elements of 905 Div in the fight, continuing to add their fighting power to the Imperial effort.
 905 Division’s artillery were in place and in action. The counter attack had specifically targeted Div HQ and largely ignored the artillery except where they were in the way. In this case, ‘immediately behind the gun positions’ means behind the Artillery Reserved Area.
 Col Ellyerion Carries is posted from being DCOS at Korps HQ to COS for Gen Threlfall, the new Divisional Commander.
 Just dropped that one in for any unemployed English teachers to enjoy/grind their teeth at.