|Battle of Pallas III|
Pallas System, Crius Sector
Imperium of Man
1,100 Blaze Ravens
300 Iron Angels
Large Fire Caste Army, Large Fleet
Light Space Marine casualties
Heavy PDF losses
Heavy fleet losses
Moderate Civilian losses
Near total massacre
Heavy fleet losses
Decisive Imperial victory
Also known as
The Pallas Massacre
The Battle of Pallas III was a conflict between the Imperium of Man and the Tau Empire. In 979.M41 between the 2nd and 3rd Sphere Expansion, the Tau launched a surprise attack on Pallas lll in an attempt to annex it into their empire. The Tau had hoped to use it's strategic position, shipyards, and resources to their advantage in order to bolster their defenses against the Imperium.
But the attack went horribly wrong and the Tau army was massacred by the vengeful Blaze Ravens.
The Blaze Ravens has long maintained an agressive stance against the Tau. Whenever the Tau sought to expand their borders, the Blaze Ravens have always moved to stop them. Frustrated by this, the Tau plotted to strike the Blaze Ravens at it's heart.
Under the leadership of the Ethereal Aun'Rho and Commander Switchblade, the Tau would strike and overwhelm the planet while the Blaze Ravens were away. Victory would mean obtaining a rich source of resources and a strategic base.
The Ethereal Aun'Rho took command of all operations regarding the capture of the Pallas system. But Pallas lll was a well defended world and even without their space marine guardians it would not fall easy. He ordered his right hand man, Commander Switchblade to take a single Nen'la-class Stealth Ship and infiltrate the planet to gather inteligence on the defenders.
The M'yen Shi left from it's home base at Ty'ros and made a course for the Pallas system. Upon entering the system the M'yen Shi entered total stealth mode, activating it's stealth field generator and shutting down all no essential systems, the My'en Shi was now invisible. It drifted past the planets orbital defenses without detection. As it drifted in orbit, Commander Switchblade ordered that they begin monitering the Imperial communications traffic and began detailed observation on the planets defenses. From the planets dark side they deployed Pathfinder teams to the surface.
For the next month they would observe imperial troop deployment, their weapons, geography, weather patterns, and weapons emplacements. Something that deeply worried Switchblade was the planets bizarre Season of Fire. Also he became concerned that the gue'la culture would make intergration difficult. He passed his concerns to Aun'Rho but he was not concerned.
In 979. M41 the Tau amassed their fleets and moved on the Pallas system. Upon approaching the system they operated under total communications silence. There were several military outposts and mining facilities between Pallas Vlll and lll, most defended by elements of the Orbital Guard. Orca dropships modified for stealth operations carriered stealth-teams to their targets. One by one they struck the outposts and destroyed their communications or jammed them. With the bases unable to call for help the Tau destroyed them before they could warn the rest of the system. Both the 4th and 7th Orbital Guard were completely wiped out this way, making them the first casualties of the battle.
If the Tau kept this up, they would be able to take Pallas totally unprepared.
Battle of Pallas IIIEdit
After they had silenced the outposts, the Tau fleet made a dash for Pallas IIl. If the planet fell, the rest of the system would soon follow. But they were in for a tougher fight than they imagined.
Initial AttackEditWhen they arrived at Pallas III, the Tau dropped from the warp, ready to take it. As predicted they found a formidable fleet surrounding the planet. The Imperial Fleet was unawares but they were in battle formation. The Tau wasted no time in attacking. Their fleet came screaming from the depths of space and engaged the Imperial fleet. Taking advantage of the moment of confusion, they sowed havoc through the Imperial fleet.
Admiral Rath of the Pallas Defense Fleet quickly realized that they had to buy enough time for the rest of the planet to gear up, or they will be over run. The defense fleet counterattacked by charging into the enemy fleet's ranks and engaged them at knife point range. As brave a move as it was, the Imperial fleet was still hopelessly outnumbered and took heavy casualties before they were forced to retreat. But they were able to buy their ground forces enough time to ready themselves.
With the element of surprise lost, the Tau wasted no time in mobilizing their forces for invasion. But as they approached the planet, orbital defense drove the fleet back, destroying several escorts and a cruiser. If they were going to get any closer, the Tau would have to take down those platforms. But getting close to those was suicide so their only viable option was to board the defene platforms and destroy them one by one.
The Tau launched boarding parties at the Orbital Defense Platforms in order to plant bombs and disable them. Two contingents would take part of the strikes. However these were not ordinary Fire Warriors. For the first time, Void Cadres would take to the battlefield. Equipped with new pressure sealed armor the Void Cadres struck and boarded the platforms. They encountered fierce resistance from Orbital Guard garrisons located on each platorm. The 2nd and 8th Orbital Guards were scattered across the defense grid, ready to sell their lives. Brutal close combat broke out as the Cadres attempted to take down each one. The Orbital Guard fought ferociously but took catestrophic losses in the ensuing battles. One by one the Orbital Defense Platforms fell as eventually the tau would succeed. With the stations demise so too fell the 2nd and 8th Orbital Guard.
Battle of Astraeus Orbital ShipyardsEdit
Another strike was prepared to take the Astraeus Shipyards, the second largest dockyard on the planet. Aun'Rho wished to utilize those shipyards in the future to produce tau vessels. The two Void Contingents previously tasked with boarding the Orbital Defense Platforms were redirected to take Astraeus.
But Astraeus was not without defenses. The elite 1st Orbital Guard was stationed on the shipyards as a security measure. They were already hard at work preparing for the attack. Along with them the Astraeus Gang Crews took up arms against the xenos. Across the countless platforms and support beams they placed snipers and heavy weapons. Demolition charges were also placed to deny the Tau anything.
(MORE TO FOLLOW)
Even as the Tau prepared to invade the surface, they planned to assault Pallas' moons. On the three moons of Kratos, Nike, and Bia, several powerful defensive batteries were still hammering the fleet withough pause. Each one was also garrisoned by a regiment of Orbital Guardsmen. The 3rd, 5th, and 6th Orbital Guard were now ready and dug into the moons. The moons were strategic targets that the Tau simply could not be ignored
Aun'Rho ordered three Contingents to participate in the lunar attack. These troops along with experimental Void Cadres would be transported via Orca dropships rather than Manta dropships. Once they engaged the Imperial troops, Mantas were to move in to devastate them.
Orcas battled through fierce anti aircraft fire before landing on to the lunar surface. With their new vaccum sealed armor the Void Cadres battled across the airless surface of the moons. Initally they encountered only lighter defenses consisting of scattered bunkers, fortified craters, razorwire obstacles, and light minefields. The Orbital Guard defending the moon were prepared and eager avenge their comrades.
Fierce fire-fights raged in the soundless vaccum of space. At first the two sides were evenly matched, the Imperials ferocity and dug in positions against the Tau's techonology and numbers. However for the defenders things took a turn for worst. On each moon, more than a dozen Mantas descended to the surface in support of the invasion. All imperial forces on the lunar surface who were outside of the lunar stations and fortress were utterly devastated. Side by side the Mantas advanced just ahead of the main Tau forces. The defenders suffered horrible losses under the combined firepower of the Mantas. Company after company was totally wiped out in a disturbingly short time. In the open the Orbital Guard had no shelter besides light field fortification and that was little protection against the Tau.
The remaining Orbital Guard fell back to the fortress-refineries and prepared to fight till the bitter end. Only now were the Mantas called off in order to avoid the destruction of the strategic targets. All Void Cadres converged on the refineries and laid siege to them. Now the Imperials held the homefield advantage and the Tau suffered heavy losses in bitter close quarter fighting. The fight for the moons would continue until the end of the war.
With the planet's orbital defenses falling in short order, the Tau prepared a series of Mont'ka strikes all over the planet. Their aim was to take down the Macro-Cannons and open a hole in the planet's ground defenses. Once they were neutralized the Tau could begin landing in force. Wave after wave of Orca dropships and Mantas descended and soon Tau Fire Warriors poured onto the grasslands.
The Tau were quick and efficient with their deployment, by the end of the day the Tau were already on the move and they marched on the defense lasers place across the plains. The Macro Cannons were scattered and isolated, but each one was a fortress in its own right and guarded by Void Shields. Undaunted and unwilling to lose momentum, the Tau simply isolated the Imperial bastions and by-passed them. The Tau showed themselves to prefer simply bombard them to oblivion over wasting time and lives trying to take them. These fortresses put up a fierce fight but the sheer firepower arrayed against them sealed their fate. With the Cannons falling one by one, the hole in the planets defenses grew wider. Soon Tau reinforcements were arriving by the boat load. In all directions they advanced and with startling speed, drones paving the way. There was far less opposition on the grasslands, little more than scattered regiments and towns stood in the way. These regimetns like the 12th and 15th Light Infantry put up a spirited defense, but they were horribly outmatched from the start and soon annihilated. First drones would attack and whittle them down, then the Tau would send in their armor and battlesuits, or simply bomb them. As for the scattered settlements, with Imperial forces everywhere being defeated, they were begrudgingly forced to surrender.
The Tau quickly garrisoned these settlements and placed their people under martial law. The settlements were converted into resupply stations to supply their forces on the front line. To sway the local populaces, they began to preach of the Greater Good and offered a chance to join to the people living there. In exchange they only asked for the locations of the bunkers in the mountains and any other useful information. Not surprisingly, they found a complete and total lack of support. If anything they were especially hostile.
The native problem aside, the Tau quickly pressed the advances across the plains. But the constant delays caused by Pallas' rivers systems and lava constantly hampered their progress. Worse new came when they found no way for them to advance into the mountains. They attempted aircraft lift their troops and bypass the moutain ranges, and in doing so outflanking the defenders. But all attempts ended with slaughter. Powerful anti air defense networks made the use of aircraft anywhere near them an act of suicide. Attempts to pass through the moutains by foot were immediately ruled out. The terrain was too treacherous, volatile, and brutally defended by Home Guard garrisons. Therefore the Tau simply bypassed them for now.
The Imperial forces used this time to fortify their major cities and reinforce their defenses. It was obvious that they were buying time for the Blaze Ravens to return.
Battle of Sephyros CityEdit
Within weeks, the Tau had reached the plateaus that held the planets major cities. Their greatest target was Sephyros City, the capital of the planet and the heart of its people. In an effort to delay the Tau, the 26th Light Mechanized Regiment launched a series of suicidal raids to target their transports. Eventually the 26th was wiped out when confronted by Tau heavy armor. Soon despite the defender's best efforts, the Tau soon arrayed their forces against the city. The defenders were terribly out numbered. But Sephyros would not be a easy target.
Sephyros was a massive Hive city built into the walls of a canyon. That particular canyon stretched for more than hundred miles in both directions and both sides are connected by hundreds of fortified bridges. The Imperial forces that were already there, consisting of the 55th Heavy Tank Regiment, the 201st Infantry, and the elite 101st Home Guard were now deeply entrenched and they would not got down without a fight.
Commander Switchblade realized that despite their numerical and technological advantage they would not be able to attack the city directly. They would have to take an unorthodox and costly method. Vespid Stingwings and drones were to swarm the Imperial defenses and overwhelm them. While the defenders are distracted, Orcas and Mantas would descend from above and establish a beachhead. Meanwhile Steathsuits would reek havoc and confuse the Imperials while the main force advances and takes the city. Commander Switchblade first sent a message for the Imperial's surrender. They promised peace and prosperity under the Greater Good and protection from Imperial retribution. Strangely the Imperial forces only response was simply "Nuts!". After a moment he recognized the insult and launched their assault.
Their first wave suffered horrendous casualties. The city possessed very strong anti-air defenses and Orcas dropships were horribly vulnerable upon approach. To counter this, swarms of Vespid were sent in to distract the imperial defenders. But the defenders maintained an admirable discipline and never slackened their fire. Because of this, the Vespid simply swarmed the batteries themselves. Only now did the hail of fire momentarily slacken and the Tau were able to land in any force.
Finally the Fire Warriors had gained a foot hold in the city but were struggling to defend them against furious Imperial counterattacks. With the arrival of Tau battlesuits, they able to secure a landing zone and land reinforcements in force. But their advance was met by ferocious resistance from dug in Imperial forces who proved especially difficult to dislodge. Visicious house to house fight reaped a serious toll on Tau forces. Tau battlesuits found that the streets and alleys were too cramped for them and were painfully vulnerable to ambushes. Repeatedly they walked into ambushes and many suits were destroyed by with mines and meltaguns.
To counter this and smash the Imperial resistance, the Tau resorted to orbital strikes. Orbiting vessels were called to blast away the imperial defenses with rail batteries. Sephyros City would be subject to some of the worst bombardment of the war. Vast sections of the city were utterly destroyed. Several bridges and whole city blocks crumbled and collapsed down the canyon-side.
New Jet Cadres would also take to the field of battle. Along side the Vespid, jetpack equipped Fire Warriors would leap from building to building armed with new Burst Carbines. Their mobility allowed them to take up advantagous position and rapidly mobilize if nessecary. Their use was magnified when equipped with railrifles they could pin down whole companies with neigh impunity.
To further press their attack, they Tau sent dozens of Mantas to suppress the enemy defenders as well as hundreds of drones. Flying low, they pounded the defenders with sheer firepower and devastated several bastions. But the defenders quickly responded to the threat. Through the furious drone assaults, they managed to redirect their artillery to fire directly at the Mantas. The enemy flyers were shelled to oblivion and destroyed. One by one they fell and crashed into bridges before falling down to the canyon floor.
But some of the fiercest fighting raged across these bridges. Imperial forces desperately fought to keep the Tau at bay and prevent their capture. Each one of the bridges would become it's own battlefield as both sides battled to claim them. Each bridge would trade hands at least a dozen times. Through constant bombardment, the defenders fought down to fists and bayonets to keep the invaders at bay. Some battles were so ferocious that the bridge would collapse underneath them. But some of the most stunning examples of defiance came from the common people.
Tens of thousands of ordinary people took up arms against the invaders. Within the city, thousands of people mobbed to throw bricks. From kitchen utensils to their bare fists, ordinary citizens were fighting the invaders and ambushing Fire Warriors piecemeal.
The battle will rage until the end of the conflict.
The Tau invasion was slowly grinding to a halt. Sephyros City was the keystone to the entire planet, however it continued to stay in Imperial hands. No matter how many times they attacked, the imperials were able to bring up reinforcements with astonishing speed. Tau commanders sent in Pathfinders to observe the Imperial defender and seek out how they were able to move so fast.
Pathfinders tailed some imperial soldiers and discovered that they were utilizing a system of tunnels to avoid the surface fighting and move around freely. This information was quickly relayed back to their superiors. Immediately they detected an oppritunity. If they could capture those tunnels they could turn the Imperial's advantage against them and Sephyros City would fall.
Soon a new offensive was organized, this time aimed to take the tunnels and not the surface. As their surface forces distracted the imperials, their strike forces and stealth teams would take the tunnels from right under their noses. Several Hunter Cadres and the bulk of their Vespid Auxilaries were mobilzed for the operations.
After they located a tunnel entrance, Tau stealth teams quietly entered them to clear the way. What they found was an effecient, multilevel network of tunnels. With a well maintained and effecient system of railways, entire regiments would be moved with ease. It was also guarded by the 43rd Home Guard. Under the cover of stealth, Stealthsuits scouted the tunnels undetected by their defenders. As they moved up, the rest of the Tau force followed closely behind.
Confrontation was inevitable and soon they were detected. Firefights erupted throughout the tunnels as the Imperial Guard desperately attempted to contain the Tau. Immediately the entire network was ordered to lockdown. Thousands of bulkheads and blast doors were welded shut and the soldiers guarding them set up hundereds of barricades to bog down the enemy.
Vicious tunnel fighting ensued without stop. Losses for both sides were terrible, everyday hundreds were dead and wounded. Soldiers on both sides were never more than a several meters away from eachother.
(MORE TO FOLLOW
Siege of the Scorched CitadelEdit
On all fronts the Tau's offensives were driving across the planet. Branching off from their strike at Sephyros, they also made a large strike against the Scorched Citadel, the fortress monastery of the Blaze Ravens. They had hoped to capture or destroy it. Success would mean using it's strategic position, stealing its information, and striking a devastating blow to Imperial morale. But they faced opposition.
While it is true most of the chapter was away at the time, not all had left. A single depleted company and the chapter serfs defended the fortress, dug in and waiting. The Tau would have to wade in their own blood to take the Scorched Citadel.
(MORE TO FOLLOW)
Battle of Typhon ShipyardsEdit
While the primary focus of the Tau drives was Sephyros City, the Tau also split their forces to attack other vital targets. One such target was the Typhon Shipyards, the second largest construction site on the planet.
Battle of Argeron CityEdit
Another force of the Tau army branched off from the main thrust to assault another strategic target. A secondary offensive moved to conquer the second largest city on Pallas lll, Argeron. Also the largest manufacturing center on the planet, the Tau to separate it from the rest of the Imperial force and prevent Argeron from reinforcing Sephyros.
They found the city ready for war and the 36th Home Guard stood among them. But without any geographic barriers, the tau were able to strike in their favored manner.
(MORE TO FOLLOW)
Battle of Metadon MountainEdit
Simulaneously as the Tau besieged Sephyros, Argeron, and Typhon Shipyards the Tau made another strike at another strategic target. Metadon Moutain was also home to the PDF Headquarters of Pallas lll and it's destruction would behead the imperial defenders. As expected it was a fortress armed to the teeth and defended by the 1st and 99th Home Guard. Tau Pathfinders provided detailed maps on the Imperial surface fortifications but lacked any schematics.
The Tau launched a massive bombardment of the entire mountain with pin-point prescision.
Season of FireEdit
The Tau were well prepared for their invasion. For quite some time they had been observing the planet and made note of its greatest defense, the Season of Fire. Should they be caught in the open during then, their entire invasion could be crushed by the elements. So the Tau attacked long before the Season of Fire, buying themselves some time before the season began. However they underestimated the resolve and resourcefulness of the Imperial defenders.
The Tau were heavily committed to their offensive and dead set on taking the planet. But there were signs that something was wrong. In the dead of night, the civilians who resided in the previously captured towns began to disappear. Hardly a subtle event, all at once, the Tau garrisons found that every person had vanished. Less than a week went by before they discovered that they had barricaded themselves within tunnels located directly underground the towns.
Worse news came when volcanic activity increased explosively. All their forward bases around the mountains quickly had to be abandoned because of it. None amongst the Tau could understand why volcanic activity was acting up. The Season of Fire should not be starting for at least a another few months.
But the most disturbing thing was how all Imperial forces were all of a sudden in full retreat. With disturbing haste, they fled to the mountains, cities, or anywhere else with cover. Only then did the Tau realize that something was terribly wrong. But by then it was too late, Lady Pallas had risen to claim her vengeance.
The Imperials had made a desperate gambit. Placing explosives in the volcanoes and detonating them, they had prematurely started the Season of Fire. The Tau could never have known of what they were in for.
Within days the lava rivers had flooded beyond their barren shores and lit the plains ablaze. By now the planet was at the height of summer, its grasslands now dry and the fire quickly spiraled out of control into a firestorm. Soon the whole planet would be bathed in fire.
Firestorms raced across the plains at breakneck speeds, consuming all who failed to escape it. The Tau were in awe of such an unreal event. They were trapped on the plains while the Imperials had taken shelter in the cities and underground. Cadre after Cadre was consumed by the raging inferno.
The Tau invasion suffered greatly from the inferno but weathered it. Many tau positions were protected by rivers, other units dug in and survived. But the psychological damage was done, from here on the tau would only suffer.
In the course of the entire battle, as all this was happening, the Blaze Raven's had not been idle. They received word that their homeworld had been struck several weeks into the battle. Upon hearing this, the chapter was enraged.
Even as the entire chapter screamed towards their besieged home, Dante Seraphon sent out a call for all imperial forces in range for assistance. Several Imperial Guard regiments and Battlegroups would be requisitioned to aid their neighbor. But even more would join. The Demolishers would be the first to answer. Upon hearing the Blaze Raven's call, mobilized a company to aid their brothers. Another of the Blaze Raven's closest allies would mobilize in their defense. The Iron Angels devoted three companies to the liberation of Pallas III.
Prelude to the EndEdit
Chapter Master Dante took command of the Imperial forces sent to liberate Pallas. They paused only briefly to discuss the plan before resuming their dash to Pallas III.
The Liberation Force would divide itself into several fronts. The 4th and 6th Companies were to relieve and reinforce the beleagured garrison at the Scorched Citadel, securing their brothers, the fortress, and the precious geneseed stores. Meanwhile the 1st, 3rd, and 7th Companies would liberate Sephyros City from siege. Other forces would spread across the planet to break the other Tau sieges. All the while Imperial Guard forces will support the Iron Angels as they recapture the Defense Lasers.
When word came that a full blown crusade was screaming back to liberate Pallas III, Tau command almost panicked. They had failed to take the planet before Imperial reinforcements could arrive. If they did they would be crushed between the hammer and anvil. However they refused to retreat now, they had come too far to back away now and lose such a valuable prize. They may never again get this chance. The Ethereals immediately dispatched several fleets to delay the Blaze Ravens from returning. Hopefully they would buy enough time for the planet to fall and for reinforcements to arrive.
Repeatedly the Imperial Liberation Fleet came across Tau blockades or ambushes, severely hampering their progress. But each time they broke through with extreme brutality and utter lack of mercy.
The Blaze Ravens were being delayed but it was becoming increasingly clear that they could eventually arrive. Their return was inevitable. In preparation for this, the Tau forces the were not already committed to the siege were redeployed to prepare. Across the planet, the Tau Warriors moved to occupy whatever defensible position they could find. Some Cadres took refuge in ruined cities or captured buildings, fortifying their position and entrenching themselves. Other forces were less lucky is finding defensible locations. Some units were still trapped on the grasslands and cut off by rivers and fire. They were forced to dig in where they stood and hope to survive against the Imperials.
Turning the TidesEdit
Without warning the Imperial Fleet came screaming from the Warp and charged right into the Tau Fleet. Torpedoes and lance volleys tore apart the Tau fleet at point-blank range. The Blaze Ravens didn't even wait for the enemy to be driven off and deployed en masse and screamed for the surface. Mass waves of bombers carpet bombed the Tau positions. Wave after wave of Imperial ordinance blasted away at the enemy with high explosive and incendiary bombs.
Wrath of the Blaze RavensEdit
The Blaze Raven were wracked with fury. They refused to even wait for their dropships to land, opting to bail out and free fall with Jump Jets. Meanwhile the Thunderhawks provided air support, diving in and strafing the Tau. Tau drones attempted to shoot them down but Imperial fighters overwhelmed them, and most of their Skyrays were destroyed in the initial bombardment. In a mass attack, the Blaze Ravens crashed amongst the Tau en masse. Quickly they closed the distance with Jump Jets, buying time for Devastators and other heavy units to find superior positions. In their fury they brutally butchered all Tau in their path. They showed a particular preference to tear, rip, and disembowel the invaders with their bare hands. The Tau would pay dearly for their insolence.
A full quarter of the chapter descended to save Sephyros city. The city was close to falling by the time they arrived. But the liberation force quickly rallied the beleaguered defenders and began to push the Tau back. Soon the Imperial's slow retreat halted and the front line stabilized once more.
Meanwhile, Imperial Guard forces and the Iron Angels struck to take back the defense lasers.
The 4th and 6th companies soon arrived at the Scorched Citadel. They found that the Citadel was close to being breached and had relentlessly been bombarded, but the fortress still stood. Their drop pods crashed into the Tau ranks and scattered them in a surprise assault. After linking up with the defenders, together they began the process of pushing the Tau back.
In little more than a month the Tau were being crushed between two forces; the returning Blaze Ravens and the defending forces. If this kept up they would be slaughtered. To counter this the Tau's leading Ethereal, Aun'Rho, commanded all forces to disengage and dig in.
At this point there was little hope to escape the planet. The Imperial Fleet drove away their orbital support and now they were being crushed between the Imperial reinforcements and those they had previously been besieging. Protracted warfare was against conventional Tau doctrine, but in this case they had little choice. If they did not hold out until reinforcements arrived then they were doomed.
The Cadres trapped on the grasslands didn't last a week. Either the they were crushed by the Iron Angel juggernaut or were destroyed with orbital strikes. Dante wanted to send a clear message that there would be no mercy. To further emphansize that point, the Blaze Ravens launched an overwhelming artillery barrage, shells screamed from the sky nonstop day and night. The remaining Tau forces saw that the Blaze Ravens would not give any quarter and immediately pulled back to the cities, dangerously close to friendly forces. Now Dante called off the bombardment, friendly forces were too close to the danger zone and he was unwilling to cause anymore collateral damage.
Several probing attacks by the Imperial Guard were attempted but were beaten back with heavy casualties. The Tau had fallen back on Kauyon tactics, hiding their stealthsuits and drones throughout the ruins of the cities luring guardsmen into ambushes. Drones and stealthsuits would pin the Guard down until Battlesuits crashed amongst them to destroy them. Only space marine intervention prevented the guardsmen from being massacred. Though the attacks were driven off, they had revealed the enemies strategy. Dante countered the Tau by sending hundreds of snipers into the ruins after them to be a menace for the Tau.
The sniper attacks were Dante's way to psychologically weaken the Tau. Hidden assassins picked off the tau one by one, often not killing them but simply wounding them. Screams of agony would effect their comrades and reveal their location to the Imperials. Most importantly the snipers would paint targets and direct precision bombings. If a Tau Battlesuit or a commander dared stay in the same location for too long, he would be victim of artillery or orbital strikes.
This battle of attrition would rage for more than a month. Slowly the Tau were being crushed between the two forces and being forced into a smaller and smaller pockets across the planet.
The Tau had a strong hold on their remaining bastions and proved difficult to dislodge. However if the rate of casualties kept up them it would not matter. The Blaze Ravens had time and numbers on their side. Slowly and methodically, the Tau were being wiped out. As they were forced into continuously smaller pockets, the Tau became increasingly desperate.
But a glimmer of hope arrived. Tau reinforcements arrived and moved to break the Imperial counter-sieges. As the fresh Tau fleets attacked from space, the Tau forces already on the surface moved to break out of the imperial siege lines and link up with Tau reinforcements. The beleaguered Tau mustered their remaining forces for a desperate breakout attack.  The Tau cobbled together their remaining forces and prepared for the attack. Most of their infantry, their remaining Hammerheads, a handful of Skyrays, all their drones, and their last several dozen battlesuits would take part in the assault. They would strike during the middle of the night. The remaining Stealthsuits and Pathfinders moved to infiltrate the Imperial defenses.
At once they attacked, raiding trenches and destroying emplacements. Their objective was to cause as much damage as possible and distract the enemy, allowing the rest of the force to attack. The Imperial forces were caught off guard and sustained heavy losses. Drones also attacked in force, sowing further confusion into the Imperial ranks. But immediately the Blaze Ravens and Iron Angels counterattacked and proceeded to butcher their forces. However the Tau had completed the first phase of their plan, they had allowed the rest of their forces to advance and slam into the Imperial defenses.
The remaining Hammerhead Gunships and Battlesuits spearheaded the attack as Armoured Interdiction Cadres, supported by Swift Protector Wings. Their Fire Warriors advanced directly behind them, using their own tanks as cover. With desperate ferocity, the first wave slammed into the Imperial lines. But by the time they arrived the Stealthsuits that were distracting the Imperial forces had been slaughtered. Now a ferocious battle raged and the Tau threw themselves at the imperials, failure now would signal their doom.
The Tau through everything they had into the attack. What few XV9 Hazard suits they had crashed directly into the Imperial ranks before retreating again. More importantly they suppressed Imperial weapons emplacements, allowing Fire Warriors to advance further. Hammerheads hung back and bombarded Imperial positions before charging in themselves. This was an all or nothing attack.
But no matter how hard they fought the Imperial defense continued to hold. Recovering from the initial confusion, order was quickly reestablished. Though the Imperial Guard suffered great losses they continued to hold the line until the Blaze Ravens and Iron Angels arrived to relieve them. Their defenses were simply too strong to break with what they had. Hours of fierce combat raged till the sun began to rise. With day swiftly returning, one of the Tau's most crucial advantages was receding. With their enemy revealed, the Imperial forces and Space Marines launched furious counterattacks. The Tau's last gambit for freedom quickly turned into a slaughter house and they were mercilessly driven back.
With their offensive soundly defeated the surviving Tau forces fell back. Morale at this point was extremely low, there was no way that they could break out now. There only chance was for their comrades in space to aid them. But this faint hope was also dashed was their fleet was decimated and forced to retreat.
Now all hope was well and truly crushed. Dante was merciless and further twisted the knife by dumping Tau corpses unceremoniously in full view of Tau forces. Together the Blaze Ravens and Iron Angels sang low and ominous chants of death and pain as one dark chorus, never letting the Tau forget their fate. On top of the relentless barrage, this prevented the Tau from sleep, which they had been deprived of for many weeks. Dante had the Tau at his mercy and he had none, he just needed to choose when and how the final blow shall fall.
Had an observer paid close attention, he would have noticed that someone important was missing. The Demolishers, who had devoted an entire company to the battle, not been sighted during the entire duration of the war. The truth was that they been there the entire time. Dante had instructed them to dig a system of tunnels, directly underneath the Tau. Dante planned to launch an all out attack from below.
They would attack on a moonless night and utterly overwhelm the Tau in one fell swoop. To mask their attack, artillery shells continued to rain all day and night, keeping the Tau hunkered down in cover. It wouldnt be long till the Blaze Ravens make their move. Just a few nights later, they did. The entirety of the Blaze Ravens and Iron Angels moved to attack. Meanwhile the Imperial Guard and PDF kept up the pressure, convincing the Tau that the main Imperial force was still on the other side of the no man's land. But on the chosen night, it all ended.
Quietly the Blaze Ravens and Iron Angels emerged from their tunnels, making sure to not alert the enemy just yet. The Tau's warriors were utterly exhaunsted and demoralized and would prove little threat. Many were resting at this time. Then as once, the assault force screamed. Not a battlecry or battlechant, but a single bloodcurdling scream. The space marines attack without mercy, killing any and all tau they saw. The Tau were caught completely off guard and were sluggish to respond. Space marines were now pouring from their tunnels and charged en masse. When the signal was given the Imperial Guard launched their own offensive. With the Tau forces in chaos, they smashed through their defenses and fought to link up with the attack force.
It was Dante who lead the charge, taking his Honor Guard and the Iron Angels right into the heart of the Tau forces. Tau forces were reeling from the attack and were taking terrible losses. However Aun'Rho stepforward onto the battlefield and rallied their forces around him in a desperate last stand. The imperial launched an all out attack to finally break the Tau resistence. With the rest of the enemy's troops preoccupied, the Imperial spearhead was able to pierce their defenses and make their way towards their Ethereal.
His prey in sight, Dante hacked his way through their defenses to reach their leader. Hours of combat later, Dante was finally able to stand face to face with the alien who attacked his home. In a berserker rage he single handedly slaughter the Ethereal's honor guard in a spectacularly bloody fashion, leaving each one in pieces. A moment of dialogue ensued where Dante cursed the Tau and the Greater Good for their cowardly methods and hypocracy. Aun'Rho retorted that both he and the people Pallas were too selfish to serve the Greater Good, and that their ways would have been their salvation. It was then that Dante had an epiphany, he had decided what to do with the xeno. He proceeded to break every bone in the Ethereal's body and carved "COWARD" onto his face.
By now the original Tau force had been slaughtered down to little more than a thousand fighters, most of them wounded. Another hour of fighting would have seen them utterely annihilated. But Dante had another fate planned for them. Even as the battle continued to rage, Dante dragged the senseless Ethereal and held him up for all to see. Their leader soundly defeated, Tau morale was now totally crushed. Dante then contemptuously tossed them the Ethereal's broken form.
The Tau were surrounded and at totally at Dante's mercy, with a word he could slaughter them all, not a single Tau would leave Pallas alive. Instead Dante chose to do the unthinkable, he offered the Tau the chance to retreat. However this was no act of mercy. Dante knew that the Tau had been through utter hell and were on the edge of annilhation, their beloved Ethereal injured and broken, and their pride tattered. By suddenly offering them the chance to live, in utter humiliation, Dante knew he was throwing salt in their wounds. The last vestiges of the Tau army layed down their weapons and surrendured,
The Tau fleet had long since retreated from the war, and they were shocked to get a transmission from the Imperials. They recieved images of the battered remants of the Tau army, now reduced to prisoners of war. Their leader offered the Tau just one chance to retrieve their comrades and retreat. Tau commanders immediately suspected it as a trap. However the Imperial demanded that only one starship and unarmed dropships would be aloud to retrieve the prisoners, anything else would be destroyed on sight.
One single cruiser approached the planet with all weapons and defensived systems powered down. The Imperial Fleet parted ways and left a path for it, however their weapons were still tracking it, waiting for one exuxe to open fire. The Tau wasted no time in deploy the Orca Dropships to the surface. They found that the Imperials had kept their word, at the arranged location the last remnants of the army were herded at gunpoint. They had been stripped of all their weapons and equipment. It was a pitiful sight, a thousand battered and broken warriors reduced to prisoners. Without a word the prisoners were transported onto the Orcas and made all haste back to their ship and left the system. Just before they left the system they recieved one last message from Dante.
"Leave and never return. Or next time there will be no mercy."
After the Tau invasion was driven back, the Blaze Ravens took measures to further fortify the system. The defenses of Pallas III itself were reinforced ten-fold. But the new fortifications would extend far beyond the planet itself. The scattered outposts on the fringes of the system would be rebuilt and doubly fortified into full blown fortresses. On top of that, the native garrison has been almost tripled.
However much of the planet was in ruins. Most of the refineries and mining facilities were intact but most cities suffered damage, and casualties. A sense of bitterness would remain for decades against the Tau and their Greater Good. But in the wake of the conflict the people's already formidable sense of pride was reinforced.
Behind the scenes, the Blaze Ravens had been at work. In the aftermath of the battle they worked to help the planet rebuild and recover. They themselves needed to regroup. However they secretly began gathering captured Tau equipment. Official reports said they they destroyed all trace of the Tau, but this is false. Dante planned to take this technology and study it. He hoped that through research that they may find weaknesses, and if so, ways to exploit them.
For the Tau, the attack was a complete disaster. Their army had been massacred and their fleet devastated. Not only had they failed to take Pallas III, but had angered the Blaze Ravens as well. Fearing the Blaze Raven's retribution, they retreated from the system back to their own empire.
However, Pallas lll had been a testing ground for the Tau's new equipment and tactics, most of which were successful. With field trials now complete Aun'Rho prepared to put his new implements into full production and hasten the arrival of the 4th Sphere Expansion.
Since the Pallas Massacre, Pallas III as been labeled "incompatible" with the Greater Good, atleast for now.
Imperial Order of BattleEdit
- Blaze Ravens (1,100)
- Demolishers (100)
- Iron Angels (300)
- 444th Cadian Shock Regiment
- 722nd Cadian Shock Regiment
- 2nd Harakoni Warhawks
- 22nd Harakoni Warhawks
- 63rd Harakoni Warhawks
- 808th Macragge Regiment
- 1st Ezolan Assault Engineers
Pallas Planetary Defense ForceEdit
- 1st Home Guard
- 36th Home Guard (destroyed)
- 43rd Home Guard
- 88th Home Guard (destoryed)
- 99th Home Guard
- 101st Home Guard
- 701st Infantry Regiment
- 201st Infantry Regiment
- 254th Infantry Regiment (destoryed)
- 12th Light Infantry Regiment (destoryed)
- 15th Light Infantry Regiment (destoryed)
- 108th Guerillas Regiment
- 55th Heavy Tank Regiment
- 13th Super-Heavy Company
- 14th Tank Company (destroyed)
- 5th Tank Company (destroyed)
- 26th Light Mechanized Regiment (destroyed)
- 1st Orbital Guard
- 2nd Orbital Guard (destroyed)
- 3rd Orbital Guard
- 4th Orbital Guard (destroyed)
- 5th Orbital Guard
- 6th Orbital Guard
- 7th Orbital Guard (destroyed)
- 8th Orbital Guard (destroyed)
Pallas Civilian MilitiaEdit
- 1001st Militia Company
- 1112nd Militia Company
- 1333rd Militia Company
- 4333rd Militia Company
- 5555th Militia Company
- 8000th Militia Company
Tau Order of BattleEdit
Fire Caste ArmyEdit
- 500 Hunter Cadres (near total losses)
- 1 Black Cadre
- 100 Armored Cadres
- 3 Swift Protector Wing Cadres
- 1 Jet Contingent
- 6 Jet Cadres
- 5 Void Contingents
- 30 Void Cadres
- Vespid Auxilaries (10,000)
- Kroot Auxilaries (20,000)
Air Caste ContingentEdit
- 1 Or'es'vre-class Super-Carrier, Ty'tan
- 3 Or'es El'leath Battlesips
- 20 Lar'shi'vre Cruisers
- 30 Kir'shasvre Escorts
- 9 Kir'la Carrier Escorts
- 1 Nen'la-class Stealth Ship