Thought of the day: Only in death is our redemption complete.

The Battle for Ducosi

Angel of Redemption, Dark Angels battle barge, 017M41.032.1130.
From: Ikhnaton, fourth Company Grand Master, Master of the Fleet
To: Azrael, Dark Angels Supreme Grand Master

My lord, attached my report on our recent battle against the ancient enemy. We had been deploying our battle-brothers to the main planet of the Lothar system, when Rubicon squadron, send to scout the nearby systems, reported a surprise attack on the planet of Ducosi. Leaving behind the second and fourth company strike cruisers and two squadrons of Hunter-class destroyers, I took our battle barge “Angel of Redemption”, together with the first and fifth company Strike Cruisers “Indignatio Angelorum” and “Vox Leo” there by the shortest warp-route. I had sent the Nova frigates of Onyx squadron on patrol in the outer reaches of the system, but called on them to join us at full speed.

What follows is the full vox-log of my command console.

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We’ve emerged from the Warp close to the system, but the enemy vessels have already entered the planet’s gravity well. Scanners show no less than 6 capital ships, but thankfully no escorts. Tac-command reports two Murder class cruisers, a Hades class heavy cruiser, a Slaughter class and a Devastation class cruiser and a Styx class heavy cruiser. Our catalogs contain no known records or names for these ships.

Upon our arrival, Rubicon squadron has emerged from the nearby asteroid field they had been using to hide themselves. Their weapons are already locked on the enemy. The astropath reports that Onyx squadron is close by and at full aproach from starboard.

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The fleet arrivesWe’ve arrived into real-space out of range of the main weapons of the enemy, but their long range lances immediately open fire. The enemy is ready for battle it seems. Their fire is concentrated on us, one salvo breaking through the shields, minimal damage to starboard structures, all systems operational.

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Launch ThunderhawksI have the crews move us forward while locking our targeting. Indignatio Angelorum and Vox Leo pass in front of us to set up a broadside on the enemy.
Fighter command reports the Styx and Devastation have launched attack craft. I order the strike cruisers to deploy Thunderhawks on an intercept vector. One squadron of Dreadclaws manages to get through! The traitors have entered on our starboard side, temporarily disabling the weapons batteries there. I order three squadrons of Thunderhawks from our own launch bays towards the Murder class cruisers.
Rubicon squadron, having gotten into range, fire a full-strength salvo of boarding torpedos at the Styx, but all craft are intercepted by enemy fighters on close air patrol around the enemy.
Gunnery reports the starboard weapon arrays fully operational again. Good work!

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The enemy has passed over the planet to engage us at close range. As the Murders move forward, our Thunderhawks engage. Our troops report both Murder class cruisers have locked their targeting computers, but manage to take down one of their port weapon batteries. We’re taking fire! Shields down, but no damage inflicted. The Hades opens fire on the Indignatio Angelorum. Captain Gabriël orders all systems to brace for impact. No damage inflicted. The Slaughter and Devastation open fire on the Vox Leo. Following Gabriël’s example, Captain Stefani braces his ship. No damage inflicted, the Lion watches over us! The Styx takes long range fire at the Hunters of Rubicon squadron, but their shields hold. Sensors report the enemy has repaired the damage to their weaponry.

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Crossing the TIndignatio Angelorum and Vox Leo cross the T of the two Murder class cruisers. Despite still being braced, they manage to disable the shields on both ships.
I order the servitors to prepare another wave of Thunderhawks as the helmsmen guide the Angel of Redemption right in between the Murders and the Hades. Full broadsides on both flanks! Damage inflicted on the closest Murder, as well as the Hades. Onyx squadron has closed the gap and opens fire on the Styx, taking down its shields.
Rubicon squadron reloads their ordnance and manouvers itself directly behind the Styx. Weapons fire inflicts some damage. They fire another salvo of boarding torpedoes. Having learned their lesson, the Caestus pilots avoid the fighters still on CAP near the Styx and instead aim for the Slaugher and the Hades. I spot fire coming from multiple decks of the Slaughter! Sensors report their port and starboard weapons offline! Engine power weak as well, enemy seems to have trouble navigating. Well done! Double prayers for those battle-brothers tonight! Servitors report Thunderhawks ready for launch. I order them as well as the craft still on CAP to engage the closest Murder. Another success! Enemy on fire. Weapons disabled, engines offline!

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With half our fleet in their deadzones and three of their ships unable to manouver, we’ve become the focus of their fire. Sensors report enemy locking targets. I order the crews to brace for impact. Shields down. Structural damage to decks four, twenty-seven and sixty-four. Atmosphere holding, all systems functional. Onyx 5 lost to lance fire. Fires on Slaughter still raging, but Murder seems to have recovered.

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Redemption in orbitWith systems still on lockdown, I order the crews to use the planet’s gravity well to turn us around, ineffective fire on Styx absorbed by their shields. Communications with the strike cruisers are failing after the heavy fire, and my order to prepare Thunderhawks fails to come through, but Rubicon squadron reports torpedoes hot in the tubes. The strike cruisers take fire at the closest Murder, bringing down its shields. Sensors report teleporters activating, they’re boarding the enemy! Rubicon squadron opens fire on the damaged Slaughter. Ship crippled! Torpedoes away. Heavy damage to Hades, further critical damage to Slaughter. Onyx squadron is right behind the Styx, but fails to do significant damage.

Communications restored with Indignatio Angelorum. Captain Gabriël reports he personally led his honour guard in an attack on the Murder, together with squads from Vox Leo. Enemy on fire, port and starboard weapons down, engines disabled.

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Vox Leo silencedThe enemy is swinging to starboard. Damaged Murder turns towards us. Vox Leo is surprised by the sudden attack and fails to brace. Shields down on Vox Leo. Heavy damage to superstructure. Styx and Devastation have reloaded their launch bays and launch waves of bombers against Vox Leo. Plasma drive hit! Vox Leo destroyed! May the Emperor welcome their souls. The Slaughter manages to destroy Rubicon 3 before the fires take down its last systems and all lights go out. Enemy destroyed, but at what price?

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I order weapon crews to lock on, Indignatio Angelorum and Onyx squadron do the same. Rubicon squadron is hot on the tail of the Styx. Full broadside on the damaged Murder. Minimal damage inflicted. Fire from other ships similarly ineffective. Penitance prayers for the gun crews tonight.

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The enemy is turning hard to port, swinging around to get behind Indignatio Angelorum. Sensors report both enemy carriers are preparing new waves of attack craft. Indignatio Angelorum comes under fire and braces. Minimal damage sustained. Onyx squadron taking heavy lance fire from multiple ships, several vessels lost. Rubicon squadron wiped out by enemy waves of Doomfire bombers.

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I order the Ravenwing to prepare a wave of Thunderhawk Annihilators, we turn to gain optimal firing arcs on the Murder. Indignatio Angelorum locks on all weapons, Remaining Nova frigate lines up for optimal firing solutions. Full broadside, shields down on Murder. Thunderhawks away. Enemy destroyed, burning prow to stern! Captain Gabriël orders full firepower on other Murder class cruiser. Enemy destroyed!

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Enemy continues its portside turn, coming dangerously close to the asteroid fields orbiting Ducosi. It will take some serious manouvering to keep them out of danger. Enemy opens fire, remaining frigate from Onyx squadron destroyed. Shields holding on Indignatio Angelorum.

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We are out of Ducosi’s gravity well, so I give the order to burn retro-thrusters and turn hard to starboard. We have to stay close or Indignatio Angelorum will bear the brunt of the enemy attack. Captain Gabriël sets course to lure the enemy to our guns.

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The enemy Styx tries to activate retro-trusters to avoid the asteroid field, but fails, and the ship disappears off our scanners. The other two ships complete their turns and set course for us. Long range lance fire absorbed by Indignatio Angelorum’s shields.

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I order the crews to burn retros again, but the damage and long battle have strained the servitors to the limit, and the command doesn’t come through. Knowing that if systems aren’t restored in time, we’ll share the same fate as the enemy Styx, I order the helmsman to bring us back to port. Indignatio Angelorum stays on course to regroup with us.

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The enemy is still in pursuit. Long range lance fire again insufficient to inflict damage on Indignatio Angelorum.
The enemy Devastation is still operational, so I order the launch bays to rearm the Thunderhawks and send them out on close air patrol. Indignatio Angelorum tries to do the same, but the systems on the damaged ship fail.

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As we’ve started a long portwise turn back towards the planet, the enemy is still able to stay in range. Their fire is still ineffective against the shields of Indignatio Angelorum.

Captain Gabriël reports he has successfully launched his Thunderhawks. I order our launch bays to prepare another wave. We continue our turn towards the planet.

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The enemy is breaking off! Sensors report the enemy craft veering off through gaps in the asteroid field. We will continue our turn and make sure the planet is secure before regrouping with the rest of the fleet.

Postscript:

Lord Azrael, in all, I would consider the outcome of the engagement a favourable one. Three confirmed kills on enemy capital ships, with at least one more likely to be destroyed as well, in return for ten smaller frigates and a single strike cruiser. The three hulks still in orbit of Ducosi are being recovered by the Techmarines and the Imperial Fleet as we speak, a mighty prize indeed! The loss of Vox Leo is a blow, but thankfully the fifth company was deployed at Lothar, so casualties among our battle-brothers remain minimal. The skeleton crew may have contributed to captain Stefani failing to brace in time to save the ship. After the battle we managed to recover escape capsules containing most of the crew from the destroyed escort squadrons, so once new ships arrive they will be back on operational status quickly.

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