Current Date: 624.995.M41

Imperium: 3 Tyranids: 3

The Shield Crusade - a desperate fight to guard the outer edge of The Empire of Man against the terrors that wake in the darkness. We fight with no hope of victory, no thought of glory. We are The Black Templars.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

628.995.M42: Defence of the Shelldrake Silos

With it already clear that the tyranids were moving in large numbers out of the broken ground to the north of the Shelldrake Silos, the Black Templars moved quickly in an attempt to seize key points that would block any xenos advance on the complex. As the Templars advanced, the silos themselves were held by a scratch unit of Guild's Men and refinery workers.

Shelldrake Silos

Miners and Scott Guild's Men - a scratch unit holding the silos as the Black Templars advance

Even as the Templars moved on their objectives, a hoard of tyranids, composed mostly of genestealers and gaunts, broke cover, and raced to seize the same objectives which, if held by them, would open the way towards the silos.

Tyranid's break cover

Striking with speed, a Templar skimmer smashed a group of gaunts, which were close to gaining a low ridge which flanked the main approach. The tactical unit The Fist of Dorn moved quickly to hold the ridge, and control the right flank of the battle field. To the left, the Swords of St Clair, carried into battle aboard a razor back, secured a key hill. Between the ridge and the hill was a pile of abandoned storage canisters, a point where the Castallan and the Emperors Champion established a strong point to black tyranid advance.

The heart of the battle: Templar's and Tyranids lock for combat

On the left a broodlord led his retinue of genestealers up onto the hill, and, in a ferocious assault, swept the Swords of St Clair back towards the silos, routing them. The razor back moved to block the tyranid break though, holding the broodlord long enough for the skimmer from the right flank to cross the battle field, and break up the genestealer retinue.

In the centre, the strong point held by the Castallan and the Emperor's Champion was assaulted by a group of genestealers. At the same time a tyranid lictor attempted to infiltrate this position. In a clash of sword and claw first the lictor, then the genstealers were destroyed. This left the Black Templars holding the right and the centre of the battlefield with only scattered resistance on the left.

Emperor's Champion and the Castallan in hand to hand with the last genestealers.

The Black Templars had secured victory, but narrowly, and with some casualties. The Swords of St Clair all suffered wounds, and carried two of their number dead from the battlefield.

Monday, 14 January 2013

624.995.M41: Imperial Guard - Images!

After intelligence sharing between Crusade Command on Grettoris and the Imperial Guard units deployed in the sector, all data on movements beyond the Eastern Fringe is pooled for analysis. With tensions running high, tyranid movements clouded in obscurity, and battle reports from Shelldrake, false alarms are inevitable. A strong movement towards Shellack places the whole garrison on alert.

Elements of the Shellack Garrison waiting on the station walls. Built of Scott Guild modular manufacture 'porta perimeter' sections, and with only a handful of Imperial Guard to defend it, no one expects the wall to be held for long, should the tyranids come.

There are just a handful of men here to defend an imperial listening post, and they know that they have little chance should the tyranids land. After a few hours the movement towards the world is identified as an asteroid group and the alert is cancelled, however eyes are still turned nervously towards The Fringe. An automated distress signal, containing no information about what has befallen the ship, has been received from a prospecting vessel operating beyond Shellack.

The signal halts abruptly.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

617.995.M41: First Assault on Shelldrake - Images and Battle Report!

With civilian evacuation ships landed at Station Shelldrake's secondary landing pad, a surveillance skull spotted a massing of tyranids due south of the main field.

Massing tyranids, due south of the main Shelldrake landing field

Determined to buy time to protect the evacuation, and distract the tyranids from the civilian ships now being loaded, The Black Templars established a strong defencive position on the main field, openly manoeuvring a razorback and a skimmer into place. 

Behind the Black Templar defencive line.

With the tyranids still gathering under cover of spike-bushes in a shallow valley, the Black Templars, having learnt lessons from previous encounters, opened fire with heavy ordinance. Many genestealers were destroyed in this opening salvo. 

Tyranids sheltering after Black Templar missile salvo.

As the dust settled the surviving genestealers, led by a broodlord, broke cover. At the same moment gaunts, armed with fleshborers, swarmed over a low ridge, and surged forwards. The skimmer engaged the gaunts, and slowed, but failed to stop, their advance.

Tyranids charge for the Black Templar lines.

The lictor emerges...

As it seemed that the tyranid advance might be stopped short of the defencive line, a lictor emerged from concealment, close to the barricade, and tore into the closest templar unit, the Swords of St Clair - veterans of the taking of the Longsight Facilty. The Swords held their ground, engaging the lictor fearlessly in hand to hand combat, holding it on the far side of the defences.

Genestealers and broodlord assault the barricades.

As the lictor pressed the attack, savaging the Swords, the remaining genestealers and broodlord battered the tac squad 'Eastward Crusaders', which took heavy casualties. For a brief moment the defence line wavered, but the 'Swords' brought down the lictor, even in the face of further casualties. The 'Eastward's' flamethrower incinerated the broodlord, and the Emperor's Champion leaped onto the defences, felling a genestealer. The tyranid assault broke, and the remaining creatures fled the field. In the distance three columns of vapour rose skyward as, loaded at last, the evacuation ships lifted off, leaving only a volunteer civilian team to assist the Templars.

The main field is too far from the principal structures of Station Shelldrake for prolonged defence, and with the evacuation complete, the Templar's abandoned their positions, retreating back towards the secondary field and the control bunker. 

Three brothers fell in this battle, and will be commemorated by their order for all eternity. They gave their lives to protect the civilians now lifted to safety. May the Emperor bless their sacrifice.  

Saturday, 15 December 2012

592.995.M41 Approach to Shelldrake - System/Base Schematics and Image

The BB-993 system

Guided by intelligence flowing from the Longsight facility, unmistakable tyranid movement towards the BB-993 system was confirmed. This system is home to Station Shelldrake a mining facility consisting of a cluster of bunkers and silos on the sixth world, and maintained by the Scott Guilds. A Black Templar strike force has been dispatched to defend the facility in an effort to block the tyranid advance into the sub-sector.

Schematic of Station Shelldrake

The Templars have entered the system, but as they did so scout skulls observed tyranids landing on the system's earth-type jungle world. The Templar strike force have secured the station, fortified the landing areas, and are ready to face the assault that must now come.

Black Templars fan out to secure the main landing field of Station Shelldrake

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

520.995.M41 Tyranid Splinter Fleet Confirmed - Map Update!

The ageing machine minds of the Longsight facility have been coaxed into life by the Research Clerics of the Shield Crusade. Slowly they have yielded raw data, long range telemetry and motion tracking schemes. When analysed, this information has revealed a tyranid swarm, a splinter fleet, but powerful enough to wreak havoc through the Eastern Scatter and across the Nor Sub-sector. The splinter has been code named Hydra. Initially, Hydra seemed unfocused, the swarm moving in great, inconstant swirls in the empty region beyond AA-572. However, prolonged processing revealed a general 'drift direction' in the swarm, Hydra heading slowly in the direction of BB-993. On the strength of this intellegance, Detached Command Grettoris has deployed a full strike force to this system, identified as the most likely target for the next tyranid advance.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

459995.M41 Battle for The Longsight Facility (Images!)

The Longsight Facility

The Black Templars deployed to the south of Longsight, the Swords of St Clair tactical squad on the left flank, embarked on a razorback, a skimmer armed with typhoon missiles to the right. The centre was held by the Fists of Dorn, a tac squad equipped with assault and heavy ranged weapons. As this formation approached the facility tyranids emerged on mass from the ruins, gaunts charging the skimmer, and genestealers charging the razorback. At this point a broodlord emerged from the broken doors of the main structure with his retinue of gene stealers, and it became apparent that Longsight had become the home to a small hive of tyranids.

 Tank attack!

A skimmer approaches the facility

The Fists of Dorn established a solid position under cover in front of the main bunker, whilst the skimmer engaged the gaunts. On the right, the razorback 'tank shocked' the genestealers, breaking through and driving on towards the facility. The broodlord and all genestealers, including those from the right, converged on the Fists. At this point fire from all across the battle field was concentrated by the Black Templars on the Broodlord, bringing down the creature, though even as it fell the genestealers swamped the Fist's position, resulting in vicious hand to hand fighting.

The Fists of Dorn hold a position against the tyranids.

The gaunts, disengaging from the skimmer, raced back towards the facility as the razor back swung round behind the buildings, and the Swords of St Clair squad disembarked. The gaunts attacked the fresh tactical squad, trying to prevent them entering the main bunker, but several fell to bolter fire and the tyranids were then attacked from behind by the skimmer. Without the influence of the broodlord to hold them, the gaunts broke, and the Templars entered the bunker. As the gaunts fled, the genestealers, although about to overwhelm the Fists of Dorn, disengaged, retreating into distant rocks. Even as the Templar tactical squads established control over the facility, the skimmer and the razorback completed the annihilation of the hive.

The Black Templars gain the main bunker of the Longsight Facility

The battle left four Black Templars dead, all amongst the Fists of Dorn, their names transmitted to the Eternal Crusader for commemoration across the aeons, but the machine minds of the facility are now divulging all that they have have seen in deep space.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

452995.M41: Mission to AB-491

Following the defeat on Object AA-572, the Black Templar's have become aware that the tyranid presence in the Eastern Scatter is larger, more co-ordinated, and more aggressive than previously thought. According to the crusade's research clerics this is a strong indication that The Hive Mind has made contact with at least some of the isolated tyranid groups found in this zone.

Records indicate that, prior to the Peasant's Revolt, the volcanic moon AB-491 was the site of 'Project Longsight'. This project was a long range scanning exercise aimed at charting and cataloguing asteroids beyond the Eastern Fringe to support mining activity. Periodic data bursts are still detected by the listening post on Shellac, originating from the Longsight main array, indicating that the facility, formerly abandoned in 844.M41, is still partially operating on automatic. Research clerics have suggested that this facility, if functioning, could provide intelligence on tyranid movements around the outer worlds of the Eastern Fringe, but also reaching into the deep empty. If tyranids are massing, Longsight will reveal it.

A small strike force has been launched from Grettoris. Carried by the Purgatory's assault boat beta, the force is in orbit around AB-491, as of 452995.M41. The Black Templars are gathering their war gear and awaiting ground intelligence on the Longsight facility from remote scout devices. The 'Go-light' above them is red, and a voice intones 'Holding Orbit'.

Red... holding orbit... red... holding orbit... red... holding... holding... holding... green... assault trajectory set, prepare for landing!

With a jolt, assault boat beta is starting to descend.

Imperial Scout Skull on the surface of AB-491