Your character is Cato Sicarius, captain of the Ultramarines 2nd Company. Second Sphere of Expansion. When the 9th Brimlock Fusiliers were landed, the Tau resistance crumbled and all Imperial objectives were quickly attained. The Tau for example possessed superior night-fighting capabilities, which they exploited every chance they xamocles, only to withdraw at dawn before the Imperials could fully get a grasp on what they were fighting.
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The initial contacts ranged from friendly negotiations and trade to outright hostility. It was some time before the Tau Water Caste diplomats understood the fact that the humans they had encountered were merely the forgotten outcasts of an incomprehensibly vast interstellar empire that stretched across the entirety of the Milky Way Galaxy. Though many of the more passionate leaders of the Tau Fire Caste called for a war of conquest against the Imperium, the Ethereals issued their instructions for the integration of the Imperium of Man into the Tau Empire.
The Water Caste were to align themselves with nearby dissident human factions and over the course of several decades of patient negotiations insinuate themselves into the courts of several dozen Imperial Commanders Planetary Governors.
Alien goods and technology flowed through the markets of these border worlds in blatant contradiction of the laws of the Imperium. Upon a score of worlds, Water Caste envoys whispered long-rehearsed words into willing ears. In the ensuing power vacuum, the Tau Empire expanded, claiming for themselves those human worlds that came to be known as the Farsight Enclaves.
An uneasy peace ultimately descended across the war-torn border sectors of the Imperium and the Tau Empire. The Imperium had demonstrated but the smallest fraction of its size and power, yet the Tau had gained invaluable insight into its methods, strategies and tactics. More importantly, the Tau had learned that those humans who were disenfranchised or rejected by the Imperium could be manipulated.
Surely, the Tau Ethereals reasoned, no matter its size, no power so given to devouring its own people could ultimately stand before the manifest destiny of the Tau to expand the Greater Good across the galaxy. These worlds were known by the Administratum to harbour rebellious tendencies and when they did flare up in rebellion following their contact with emissaries of the Tau Empire the Inquisition knew exactly who to blame.
Wherever possible, when challenges to the authority of the Imperium of Man were discovered, war followed to exterminate the threat. In M41 another such Crusade was unleashed in the Lithesh Sector.
A string of Imperial sub-sectors stretching out between the Damocles Gulf and the Perdus Rift Anomaly had suffered extensive disruption due to Eldar pirate raids and Warp Storm activity.
As the Imperium sought to restore its grip on the region, it was discovered that a previously unknown intelligent alien race called the Tau was allying themselves with rebel Imperial factions. The peril of these local alliances was evident in the number of alien trade goods and artefacts appearing in the nearby Imperial star systems.
Inquisitorial investigation of the dissident worlds by the Ordo Hereticus revealed evidence of Tau activity in adjoining sectors. The conclusion was that they represented a major threat and Cardinal Esau Gurney of the world of Brimlock called for an Imperial Crusade to be dispatched to purge the aliens. The Crusade was based around a dozen capital starships of the Imperial Navy , 5 provisional companies of Space Marines made up of contingents supplied by almost a dozen different Chapters and 19 Regiments of Imperial Guard , seven of them from Brimlock.
The first move was towards the Timbra Sub-sector where human colonists had long coexisted with the aliens. The Crusade first reasserted Imperial rule in the rebellious Garrus and Kleist colonies.
Individuals implicated in dealing with the Tau were seized and punished at a special assize held before the furious Crusaders. The Imperial colonies secured, the Crusade forces moved on and engaged the Tau for the first time on their own territory in the uninhabited Hydass System.
The Crusade fleet attacked immediately, but found the Tau starships to be capable of launching powerful torpedo salvos at long range, breaking up the Imperial formation. Bomber waves were launched but these were countered by Tau Escorts launched from their capital ships.
Getting inside the Tau formation, they inflicted heavy damage and discovered that Tau starships lacked broadside firepower. The Tau launched more Escorts as a screen while they disengaged. One Tau starship was unable to withdraw and exploded while the crew was in the process of abandoning ship. The Imperial Crusade fleet then moved deeper into Tau Empire territory. It was defended by an orbital space station, a number of system ships and the remnants of the Tau fleet encountered at Hydass.
The Imperial fleet closed quickly, pounding the orbital station as they approached. Its armaments were not as extensive as had been believed at first and the Iron Hands Space Marines in the fleet boarded it. The Tau fleet disengaged almost immediately and was not seriously damaged. It was conjectured by the Imperials that the Tau were evacuating their key personnel from the planet rather than bothering to defend it. It was to serve as the Imperial forward base for the ground campaign on the world.
Astartes from the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter established a landing zone and the 17th Brimlock Dragoons Regiment of the Imperial Guard were landed to provide heavy support. The Tau response was swift and consisted of an extremely well-armed mechanised infantry formation with armoured support. The Dragoons suffered heavy losses when enemy infantry wearing Battlesuits ambushed them in rolling ground.
When the 9th Brimlock Fusiliers were landed, the Tau resistance crumbled and all Imperial objectives were quickly attained. The planet was duly cleansed of xenos taint and claimed for the Imperium. As no great strategic benefit was to be had from conquering the world, it was subjected to orbital bombardment, melting the ice around the Tau colonies and destroying them in flash floods.
It proved to be much more formidable, mounting an array of heavy Railguns whose first volley crippled the Honour of Damlass. The Imperial fleet escorts attacked the orbital station while the main battlefleet swung towards the Tau vessels.
The Tau fleet concentrated its torpedo salvos against the Regent Lakshimbai, a Dauntless-class Light Cruiser , which resisted heroically until a lucky Tau shot caused a massive bulkhead collapse which then triggered a plasma drive overload, destroying the vessel with all hands aboard. Arriving piecemeal, the Imperial starships gradually won the advantage, although on this occasion the Tau continued to fight despite taking a terrible pounding.
The Imperial Escorts suffered heavy losses fighting the Tau orbital station. As soon as they were closely engaged, though, the last piece of the Tau trap was sprung. Appearing seemingly out of nowhere after suddenly powering up their main systems, a Kroot warsphere headed directly for the Imperial troop transports.
The transport flotilla had no choice but to scatter. Leaving the rest of the Imperial fleet to finish off the Tau warships, the admiral had turned his vessel about, planning to help the Escorts when the Kroot warsphere arrived. Accelerating to maximum power, the great starship overtook the lumbering warsphere and turned across its path. From the first exchange of weapons it was clear that the Blade of Woe carried the greater weight of fire and its lance salvos quickly ripped the warsphere to metallic shreds.
Yet the Crusade fleet had won only a pyrrhic victory. Although the warsphere, Tau fleet and the orbital station were destroyed, it was at the cost of 4 Imperial capital ships and 14 Escorts.
The Tau ambush had come very close to succeeding and brought a new respect for the Tau as combatants to the Imperial fleet. Expecting a new Tau fleet at any time, the Imperial ground assault quickly commenced. Protected to the north by mountains and to the east by the sea, a short advance southwest put the Imperial invasion force before the first of a number of major Tau cities along the coast.
The drop was contested by large numbers of Tau aircraft but eventually proved successful. The full force of the Crusade was finally deployed and the invasion began. With Titans and armoured formations as the spearhead, the Crusade ploughed relentlessly toward the Tau city. As it advanced, enemy missiles, fired from beyond hills and woods, started to inflict heavy losses. Units had to be detached to drive back the Tau spotters, but these were in turn engaged by Tau jump troops equipped with cloaking fields.
One of these was made up of Titans from the Legio Thanataris. This was countered by Tau Manta missile destroyers, the same craft that had been launched in the earlier space battles from the Tau warships.
These the Tau countered with their own finest soldiers -- their heavy jump troops. Operation Hydra Their advance halted, the Imperial forces, commanded in this operation by General Wendall Gauge of the Imperial Guard, had to dig in to avoid the worst of the Tau firepower. The Tau possessed superior night-fighting capabilities which they exploited, moving up to extreme range and opening fire, only to withdraw at dawn. Space Marine combat patrols with their genetically-enhanced senses helped to stem this problem, but the Imperial losses continued to mount.
As the siege wore on, more Tau arrived at the front from elsewhere in the world each day. General Gauge concluded that the Crusade had stumbled onto a major Tau population center within their empire and that his resources were insufficient for the task before him.
Plentiful reinforcements had been promised at the outset of the Crusade but none had arrived. Inquisitor Grand of the Ordo Xenos was all for evacuation of the world followed by an Exterminatus order, as the Tau were clearly too dangerous a species to be allowed to continue to exist.
He formed his Titans up with the Brimlock Regiments and attempted to force the river line of defence down the right flank, trapping the Tau against the sea. As preparation his artillery pounded other sectors of the front and Imperial Navy fighters began an offensive against Tau airfields that was costly to the Imperial pilots but kept Tau aircraft from the front.
As the assault continued, it was countered by ultra-mobile Tau units deployed from the ubiquitous Manta missile destroyers. Resistance from the Inquisition and Adeptus Astartes to this course of action was overruled by the arrival of an express astropathic order in late M41 from Inquisitor Kryptman to return to Brimlock with all available forces as quickly as possible.
The Tau sensibly realised that getting in the way of the Imperial evacuation would serve no sane purpose and parleys held under flags of truce were honoured by both sides.
The first seeds of cooperation between the Imperium and the Tau Empire were sown, though these would take time to bloom in the aftermath of such a brutal conflict. In the course of the Damocles Gulf Crusade the Imperium had learned to respect the Tau skills of war and the Tau had discovered the true scale and bitterness of a galaxy they had previously thought to just be theirs for the taking.
The message from Inquisitor Kryptman had informed the Crusade command of the first Tyranid attacks upon the Imperium and within the Segmentum Command all hope of a quick victory over the Tau had already faded.
These frontier planets were easy to subvert, they had little attachment to the Imperium thanks to being cut off from it for some time, which was thanks to both Eldar corsairs and warp storms. Though there were still some loyalist factions among these planets they were in the minority. When the warp storms receded the Imperium decided to restore its grip in the region, and it was thanks to system defence ships that they noticed the Tau. Once the Tau ran the border they were immediately attacked and the Tau were shocked to learn conflict could escalate that quickly.
DAMOCLES GULF CRUSADE PDF
M41 , members of the Tau Water Caste had established trade agreements with Imperial Worlds on the frontier, near the Damocles Gulf, and exchanges of goods and technology were common. Alarmed by this, Inquisitorial investigation of the worlds in question indeed found evidence of Tau activity. The conclusion was that they represented a major threat and Cardinal Esau Gurney of Brimlock called for a Crusade to purge the aliens. The Crusade was based around a dozen capital starships of the Imperial Navy, five provisional companies of Space Marines, and nineteen Regiments of Imperial Guard, seven of them from Brimlock. The first move was towards the Timbra Sub-sector where human colonists had coexisted with the aliens.