XVIII Corps’ 28th Infantry Division, under 1* General Jelan is composed of five regiments raised as one founding from the world of Ketzok. The Ketzok 2nd Light Infantry are the Divisional Recce formation. This balmy summer evening finds 3/2KLI pushing through the commercial district of the town of Lealine. At the Northern end of XVIII Corps’ TAOR, Lt Col Daaler is in no hurry, he knows that XVII Korps to the north are also sending recce elements into the conurbation.
Lealine is thought likely to be occupied by the PLA and their new allies, the so called ‘Blood Pact’. Lt Col Daaler picks ‘B’ Company and its OC selects his lead platoon and they shake out into their skirmish formation and push into the ruins with the aim of securing a line along Glassmill Way, the main north/south road through the town, by nightfall and allowing the rest of 3/2LI to reinforce them during the night.
Tound ducked as the stubber slugs thumped into the doorway around him, he threw himself backwards in a shower of stone chips and dust, landing on his arse and skidding across the broken glass and smashed door. Stooler’s hand bit into his shoulder and pulled him further back as the smoky trail of the tread fether came through the ruined doorway and thumped into the now damp plaster.
Tound and Stooler both flicked their eyes up to the tail sticking out of the wall barely more than arms reach away from them, spring loaded fins quivering as the rocket motor fizzed out. Scrambling for his las carbine, barely catching the sling with his fingertips, Tound found his feet again. They ran pell mell back through the ruined kitchen show room, catching up with the rest of their squad, bunching, pushing. Feet skidded on the debris.
Their Sergeant stood her ground and shouldered her squad members aside as they broke around her like waves around a rock. Her right arm extended, flinging three grenades through the door opening back into the room Tound and Stooler had entered. Pins and handles tumbled onto soldiers diving for cover.
Keilbach was the first out of the back of the shop complex, running low and headlong he was heading for the picture window of the shop opposite, half way across he seemed to stumble and crashed face first into the showroom, leaving pink mist and the smell of charred flesh in the air behind him. Ramiphilon was moving too fast to stop, he also caught half a dozen las-rounds and fell backwards, back into the kitchen shop.
They were trapped. They had been the cutting edge of the battalion advance; the squad were a probing patrol moving deep into the urban area, combing through the commercial district. There were other squads also probing like they were, but these were spaced widely to avoid friendly fire incidents. They had taken a few targeted las shots and dived into a ruined shop to outflank the shooter, only to run into a better laid ambush; now their original way in was cut off.
If it was just another squad, they had a chance to fight it out. If it was a larger formation, their best hope was to dig in and wait for relief. Tound as an experienced soldier of some eight years active service, knew this and was cursing their luck; Sergeant Hunebuck’s squad were good at infiltrating through the urban battle field; they drilled for it extensively and had plenty of real life experience. Which meant that the veterans they were facing were even better.
The grenades went off, setting off the RPG and sending a tongue of flame shooting across the ceiling of the small space the remains of the squad were in. Sergeant Gelmaur barked orders to form up for a hasty attack and thumbed the activation rune on her chainsword. She stepped back into the burning room and instantly crumpled under bursts of las and stubber fire. Heavy bolter fire began to eat into the building from the back.
As the stonework of the building was being eaten away, heavy bolter rounds penetrated the ruin and began exploding in the space the squad were sheltering in, showering men with more stone flakes and killing three of them outright, including Josle the medic who was frantically trying to stem Ramphilion’s bleeding.
Brenus emptied his las rifle on full auto through the gap where Sergeant Gelmaur had fallen. Stooler followed suit. Tound threw his grenades through the doorway, past his two squad mates and then moved back again leaving the reloaded Brenus facing the outside world. There were a series of explosions from outside of the building and fiz and crack of las cannon fire. The three of them inched through the room, stepping over Sergeant Gelmaur and the three dirty red-brown soldiers who’d shot her and then been slain in turn.
Glancing outside they could see the hulking form of a Wolverine armoured car repeatedly blasting away with its twin las-cannons at the positions from which the squad had been ambushed. “Thank feth….” Began Tound, the sound of his voice being chocked off as a red covered arm wrapped itself around his neck, he felt himself being pulled over backwards onto the knife, a text book manoeuvre he’d used a few times himself. He could smell the dried blood that the assailant’s arm had been died red with. He felt the knife wielding hand wriggle and saw the knife as his own body weight was used to kill him. The jagged blade had gone in through his arm pit and was now scraping the inside of his body armour.
Stooler spun around and put a sustained burst of eight las rounds through the leering mask of the man stabbing his best friend. The second infiltrator flung his axe end over end, splitting Stooler’s helmet and buring itself in his head, almost but not quite bisecting it.
Brenus emptied his rifle into the second infiltrator and then dropped it and snatched up Stooler’s carbine. Through the back door, their original point of entry, he could see a Warthog nosing through the rubble, it’s autocannon slowly traversing, already spent brass tinkling on to the road off of the rear platform as the vehicle rolled forward, large low pressure tyres rolling purposefully and slowly over broken glass, smashed brick and Guardsman Ramphilion's las carbine without further damaging any of it.
Guardsman Brenus, suffering from a mild sweat, a coating of stone dust and the promise of downstream PTSD, is the last man standing. It’s another six minutes before he feels safe enough to quit covering the threat points and begin triage and first aid on his squad mates.
3/2KLI established itself along the western boundary of Glassmill Way, but not until after midnight and only after taking many more casualties than anticipated. 72AG had met the Blood Pact for the first time and found the skirmishes unexpectedly tough.
The rest of the Regiment formed up on the positions established by 3/2KLI. 28 Inf Div intended to form up and prosecute an assault on the inner districts of Lealine after 24hours of rest, re-organisation and preparation. In the event, Blood Pact counter attacks, under cover of the ruined buildings, continued, sometimes in strength, throughout the day, only ceasing when the Divisional attack was launched.
 Pop 13,000. Lealine is a western suburb of Xyphonica. Securing a foothold in the metropolis will give 72AG access to routes into the city proper; the main roads, highway access and disused rail network. Plus as each Corps rotates its divisions through their daily objectives, it gives them practice in operational FIBUA.
 At this time, the Blood Pact have not been in contact with any part of 72AG. The Only person in 72AG who has operational experience of fighting against them is 3* Gen Romos, who served in the Sabbat Crusades as a junior officer ~200 years ago.
 Sergeant Hunebuck had been their Sergeant for six years, being replaced by Sergeant Gelmaur four months ago as Sergeant Huneback finds himself as an RSM in a locally raised battalion.
 Wolverine armoured cars were used by Cadian 144th LRRR when they were first deployed to Devos IV. With a number of parts in common with both the Leman Russ MBT and the Chimera family, these vehicles soon found their way into most of 72AGs recce units. These ones, like the Warthog, were probably 17 Korps assets.
 This 36hr period had seen the fiercest fighting that 28 Inf Div had been involved in. 2KLI took more casualties than anticipated and 3rd Bn paid the lion’s share of the Butcher’s Bill. But the objectives were achieved and XVIII Corps had it’s foothold in Xyphonica.