The orks emerged from the thick smoke, their guttural war cry hanging in the air. Colonel Winterborne gave a nod to the sergeant major.
“At One Hundred Yards...”
They had arrived late. Bloody late. No sooner had the Praetorian IV left Bolan flats they were engaged by ork Kults of Speed. They saw the orks off time and again, but every attack delayed the Praetorians further. By the time they got to the outskirts of Agratha the devastation was already apparent. Vast swathes of the city had been reduced to rubble, smoke billowed from countless fires and the sky was lit up with flame, explosions and tracer fire. Only the reassuring boom of the artillery companies safely ensconced behind Imperial lines confirmed that the city hadn’t already fallen. Or so they thought…
“Volley Fire Present...”
The disciplined ranks of Praetorian Infantry presented their lasrifles in unison.
Intelligence was still scarce and communication with the defenders had been a practical impossibility. Even with the powerful communications relay operated by Gravis’ command Leviathan precious little had managed to get through the trickery of the orks jamming. Not even the usually secure local vox frequencies worked. It had been suggested by Enginseer Argus that somehow the orks had acquired the Imperial vox codes and somehow decrypted the cypher, but such suggestions were dismissed with contempt for what ork could have the capability for such a complex task.
The orks charged closer. Men in both red and khaki uniforms stood shoulder to shoulder.
The front lines had been a swirling mass of combat, death and destruction. In the East of the city Gravis had mounted a counter attack from the battlements of the Leviathan, laying waste to hordes of greenskins with every salvo from the mighty doomsday cannon. In the west however the Cadian lines had come under crippling ork attack and only the swift intervention of Drax’s armoured fist platoons and Leman Russ squadrons prevented total collapse.
Still they came closer, you could almost see the whites of their eyes. Targets were picked.
A platoon under the watchful eye of Captain Caine and Primaris Savant had been sent to support Gravis’ men. The primary threat of the Bad Moon stompa had already been eliminated and the orks were dying in droves. That should have been enough. The priority had been to hold the centre draw the orks in further while the advancing forces of Drax and Gravis would spring the trap. That’s why he had gone there with his strength. That should have been enough damn it.
The lead advancing orks were punched off their feet by the fire to be trampled by the onrushing horde following in their wake.
Then the guns fell silent. Somehow the orks had outflanked the Imperial lines and set upon the lightly defended artillery emplacements. The artillery support was no more. In the blink of an eye the battle changed, no longer could the Imperial forces keep the orks back, emboldened by the respite from the withering artillery barrage the orks grew bolder and set upon the imperials with renewed frenzy. At this point the Imperial advanced began to falter and one by one advanced units were being forced to fall back or risk being overrun.
“Volley by Ranks. Front Rank...”
The slavering orks came closer still, uncaring for their grievous loses. Intent only on tearing the guardsmen limb from limb.
to be continued...