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The Defense of Cosecha

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So for a while I have been running a game for my group of friends. In this game they are playing as the 137th Lamian Light Infantry, a unit of elite Schola Progenium Infantry raised and equipped on a world from a rich core sector. These light infantry were dispatched to the World of Cosecha to fend off a tendril of an unknown and unnamed Tyranid hive fleet.


Session One:


The first session saw the players playing a Risk-esque game wherein they played as the commanders of PDF and Imperial Guard units on the world, working to repel the initial Tyranid landings. They did better than I expected them to, setting the stage for an interesting rest of the campaign as the Tyranids would have to force another beachhead once they arrived in orbit.


                As the Imperius Crusade burned its way across Sector Antium, a drama began to unfold upon the world of Cosecha. The Crusade was in full swing elsewhere, slowly beating back the remnants of Hive Fleet Titan, but on this peaceful agri-world all was calm. 2 Regiments of Elysian Drop Troopers and a company of Praetorian Space Marines rested on the world, resupplying and awaiting reinforcements before they would once again descend into the meat grinder that was the front. Unfortunately, they would not have to go very far at all to find the fighting they were preparing for. In desperation, the hive fleet had sent out a multitude of spores to scout for biomass to replenish their failing fleets, as the Imperials had been fighting for many months to keep the fleet away from any worlds with healthy amounts of biomass. One cluster of spores had found their way into the Cosecha system, and were now heading towards the vulnerable world. The world’s deep space radars detected their approach, but with only 11 days prior warning. An astropathic distress call was sent out from the world, and support quickly promised, but it would not arrive in time to contain the spores. That would be up to the PDF and the small force of guardsmen and marines already upon the world.

                Moving quickly, the PDF mobilized their best divisions to surround three potential landing sites identified by the Marines and Elysians, with the 2 regiments of Elysians divided into three fast attack units in Valkyries. When the attack finally materialized, the Imperials were not as prepared as they would like to be. Landing in what the Imperials called zone Alpha – an area of hills and marshy lowlands – the three spores soon found themselves set upon by Imperial forces hoping to deliver a deathblow before the fight even started. The plan the Imperials had concocted involved a lightning attack by the Elysians and Praetorians while the PDF units nearest the landing zone encircled the Tyranid spores. At 0445 the Imperial units first engaged the Tyranid forces, kicking off a 13 hour engagement.

                In the predawn haze, Elysian units blasted out a landing zone less than 2 kilometers from the furthest eastward spore, fighting a brutal battle to do so. In many places the Imperials and Tyranids were no more than 20 meters apart, the fighting often devolving to the level of grenades and bayonets. As this was going on, Astartes drop pods rained from the sky, delivering their deadly cargo into the heart of the fray. Soon, 2 full brigades of Elysians and a full company of Astartes were fighting their way towards the nearest spore. At 0945, 5 full hours after their landing, the Imperial forces made contact with the first spore, drilling and blasting their way through the surface. Sensing an impending threat, the Tyranids launched a vicious counter-attack. Soon, the Imperials found themselves pushed back from their breakthrough; all but a few. B Company, 2nd Brigade of the Elysian 27th and 4 Squad of the Praetorian 4th Company found themselves cut off and pressed against the edge of the spore. 138 Guardsmen and 9 Astartes faced assault from both directions. A quick consultation between the commanding officers of both units led them to the conclusion that the only way they had left to go was forwards. With a battle cry on their lips the warriors of the Emperor charged into the breach they had made, fighting their way tooth and nail to the birthing vats near the center; here they planted their demolition and infernus charges, destroying fully 1/3rd of the Tyranid’s capability to reproduce in one fell swoop. After a brutal fight out of the spore and back to the initial landing zone there were only 23 survivors; 3 Astartes and 20 Guardsmen, 11 of whom would later die of their injuries. Over the next 7 hours the Imperials tried again and again to reach the second and third spores, but they were forced to withdraw at 1700 hours as the Tyranids threatened to overrun their initial landing zone. 207 Elysians died, 559 more were wounded; 15 Astartes died, with 2 more unable to continue fighting due to their wounds.

                Though the planetary governor wanted the heads of the commanding officers for what he saw as a dismal failure, he was soon forced to admit that the operation was at least partially a success despite the cost. During those 13 hours of furious battle the Tyranids had no opportunity for reconnaissance or expansion as their whole attention was focused on the threat to their spores. This had allowed 3 divisions of PDF infantry to take up positions surrounding their landing zone, as well as giving the rest of the Elysians time to relocate to the area. The destruction of even one spore’s birthing vats was an irreplaceable loss for the small, queenless force; they now had to focus all of their energy on replacing lost organisms to mount a desperate defense. Luckily for the Imperials, the Tyranids soon discovered that no matter what they did they could not win this fight. Instead, they devoted their energies to contacting the Hive Fleet, informing them of the feast of biomass available on the vulnerable Agri-World.

                Barely a full day after the initial airborne assault, on L-Day +1 at 0900 hours, the Imperials launched their assault against the Tyranid’s position. The next 36 hours played host to a brutal knock-down drag out fight as the Tyranids fought the Imperials right up to the edge of their birthing vats to allow the Fleet time to home in on their position. As the last shots were fired, the last gouts of promethium cooled, and the last knives were removed from xeno corpses, the Imperials cheered their victory. Though 3 of the PDF’s best infantry divisions had been badly mauled in the fighthing –taking nearly 14,000 casualties- they had beaten the Xenos back, giving their world a chance. It soon became appallingly apparent to high command that the victory was not as worthy as originally hoped. Even as the people of Cosecha celebrated their victory the Crusade’s commanders watched the Tyranid Fleet consolidate and begin moving towards the world. Racing against time, they shifted their own forces towards the planet. As the pieces fell into place it became apparent that Cosecha would be the deciding battle of the Crusade; whoever won here would win control of the sector.

                As more and more troops arrived on Cosecha, so too did the Imperial Navy. Soon, 1.9 million Imperial Guardsmen, 18.3 million PDF troopers, and 300 Astartes were digging in all across the world, preparing to give their lives to defend this small part of the Emperor’s domain. Even as this was happening, nearly 100 vessels of the Imperial Navy took up station in orbit, prepared to counter the Tyranids as soon as they arrived in system. When they finally arrived in system, the battle began in earnest.

                For three weeks, the Tyranid fleet skirmished with the Imperials, attempting to bring them into a set piece battle; the Imperials did not take the bait. Finally, running low on stored biomass and time, the Tyranids assaulted the world directly. For 3 days the sky burned with ships falling from space; people on the ground described it as the most beautiful sight they had ever seen. As the battle began to draw to a close, the Hive Ship was critically wounded; in desperation it drove itself into the planet’s atmosphere, crashing down not far from the site of the initial battle against the scout spores. Soon it was rebuilding itself into a heavily armored and fortified surface hive, surrounded by bio-plasma cannons that could fire into space to protect it from orbital bombardment. Great waves of creatures spewed forth from within, starting the ground war in earnest.

                It was here that the 445th Imperial Guard Infantry Division was rushed into position to give the rest of the defences in the area time to consolidate; with them the 137th Lamian light infantry marched into their first ever battle with the Tyranids.

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Session Two:


The Player's Regiment:

137th Lamian Light Infantry "The Jaegers"

The Jaegers are a unit of elite soldiers hailing from the world of Lamia. Lamia is a bleak world, tucked amongst the rich worlds of a prosperous, secure sector. It is to this cold, wet rock that large numbers of orphans are shipped from all over the sector, where they can be molded into ideal warriors to fight and die for The God-Emperor of Mankind. The orphans spend the first few years learning tactical drill and survival skills, before they are put into live fire engagements against servitors and prisoners from throughout the sector at the age of 16. Though these exercises lead to a rather high (64%) casualty rate amongst the trainees, those that come through alive and mostly unscathed are some of the best soldiers tithed into the guard. The majority of regiments raised on Lamia are Grenadiers and Mechanized Infantry, but occasionally recruits displaying a great talent for fieldcraft and high levels of personal initiative are organized into Jaeger regiments. These regiments are trained and organized to act as skirmishers and harassing forces, moving quickly to strike the enemy from unexpected angles and from difficult terrain, laying waste and drawing the enemy into engagements they cannot hope to win. The Jeagers, like all Lamian regiments, wear dress uniforms with insown flak plating into battle, but their uniforms take a more practical approach than the ostentatious red, black, and gold affairs of their brothers in arms. They wear simple double buttoned dark grey jackets with field caps, and carry themselves professionally in battle. They prefer to engage their foes from range, but are known to be more than sufficiently skilled with their entrenching tools and knives when drawn into a hand to hand conflict.


Player Characters for this session:

Quintus Spurius Aurelius: Medic, Companion Lydia

Nero Kriossis: Psyker, Companion Podrick

Roland Modelus: Sergeant, Companion Pedro

Tyrin: Weapons Specialist, Companion Gendry


The Session:


The session opened with the Player's Regiment arriving in orbit around Cosecha while the early stages of the space battle shaped up. After being delivered to the planet via shuttle while the rest of their equipment made its way down on the space elevator, they were quickly shifted to Camp X432. This camp was located in an area of foothills near a low mountain range, and was currently being used as a staging ground for the defense of an area known as The Tangle; this little settled area had played host to the initial fighting against the Tyranids on Cosecha. Taking up position along with the rest of their division, the PC's found themselves with quite a bit of time on their hands. Soon Tyrin and Roland wandered off in the direction of what they believed to be a reconnaissance regiment in an attempt to gather some information on their yet-to-be encountered foe; they found the information contained in their propaganda leaflets lacking. Nero and Quintus attempted to secure some extra medical supplies and ammunition, but had some difficulty, as the camp's quartermaster was a very, very busy woman. Roland and Tyrin's efforts payed off, as they managed to get a bit of information about the true nature of their enemies; although it didn't make them feel any better. A couple of days later Tyrin managed to make a contact with a grey/black market trader in a Ratling unit attached to a Valhallan armored regiment, and the squad benefited in the form of some quality rations and a few extra Frag Grenades. That evening, they watched a  massive vessel burn through the atmosphere and crash into the ground like the hammer of a vengeful god approximately 20km south of their position. The Hive Ship had made planetfall.


The next morning at 0400, their unit moved out towards the crashed ship. Accompanying them were soldiers of the 559th Kerribanian Heavy Cavalry Regiment mounted in their 2 seater armored sentinels, the 34th Marchandian Reconnaissance Regiment, and 3 Brigades from the 13th Cosechan People's Mechanised Infantry. After traveling about 10km in trucks and vehicles the soldiers found themselves at the end of the road. 5km beyond their position lay the edge of the forest, which gave way to swamps and marshes; it was in these wetlands that the Hive Ship had crashed and begun forming itself into the Hive. Advancing forwards while the 13th set up fallback positions and gun pits for the artillery, the 137th, 559th, and 34th continued to the edge of the forest. It was here that they began to dig in and prepare to receive the Tyranids. They dug through the night, the flare of Tyranid Bio-Plasma from the Hive's anti-orbital cannons providing the occasional eerie glance of the marshes. On the second day after the Hive Ship's crash, many Imperial Soldiers watched the last sunrise they would ever see Illuminate storm clouds approaching from the east. The Player's company had dug in along a steep ridgeline, with only 2 small gullies giving easy access up from the swamps below. The Player's squad was assigned the task of holding the eastern gully.


Knowing what was coming, the squad set about the task of fortifying their position with gusto. Using 2 spools of accordion wire they managed to shrink the passable width of the gully to only 2 meters, meaning the Tyranids would only be able to come up one or two at a time. At the same time, they dug a small trench directly in front of the gully and protected it with sandbags. In this trench would be Tyrin and his Plasma Rifle. On either side of the exit they dug another foxhole protected with sandbags. In the right foxhole would be Nero and Trooper Podrick and in the left would be Roland. Lastly, with the help of their companions they shifted a large boulder into the gully, further decreasing the amount of space the Tyranids could advance through. Opposite the fallen boulder Quintus and Lydia dug a scrape behind another large boulder, allowing them a clear view into the gully but protecting them from most return fire. Distributing ammuntion and grenades, the squad said their prayers to the emperor and dug in.


As word came down the line that the Tyranids had been sighted, the enemy revealed their first surprise. Several large, Carnifex-like creatures with huge tubes on their backs moved up to within 2km of the Imperial positions and began raining down blobs of Bio-Plasma upon the heads of the Guardsmen. Hunkering down under the fire, Tyrin took the opportunity to dig his foxhole a little deeper. Eventually though, some of the enemy found their way up the gully. A single warrior form supported by 20 Termegaunts cautiously made their way up the gully, apparently believing that the positions were unmanned. Much to their chagrin, the Warrior form had most of its face vaporised by a maximal shot from Tyrin's plasma gun, and a trio of grenades from the rest of the squad claimed 16 of the Termaguants. The Tyranids quickly fled the scene. A few minutes later, they returned in force.


5 Warrior forms and 60 Termegaunts advanced upon their position, intent upon forcing them out. A battle ensued, in which literally 16 grenades were thrown and a couple hundred las rifle shots were discharged. The Tyranids pulled back again, leaving behind the corpses of 3 Warriors and nearly 50 Termegaunts, but not before shooting Gendry through the guts with a spike of bone fired out of one of the Warrior's weapons. Despite the best efforts of Quintus, Gendry bled to death in the field. Not long after, Imperial positions began to be overrun. Calling a general retreat, the Imperials began falling back towards the road, a steady stream of stretcher bearers making their way past the squad's position. As the Imperial troops worked their way backwards, artillery began to fall upon the Tyranids, walking steadily back towards the squad's position. The squad now found themselves under fire from Tyranid artillery, with Imperial artillery threatening to be on top of their position in a matter of minutes. Even so, they had no choice but to hold. If they fell back before the rest of their company passed their position, they would doom 200 or more men. So hold they did.


A third time, the Tyranids came. 3 Warriors and 60 Hormagaunts threw themselves into the squad's defenses, dying in piles to force their way up the gully. Breaking through, the last Warrior was decapitated by a shot from a plasma rifle, but not before he shot the helmet off of Podrick, nearly killing him. Unfortunately, the breaching of the final line of barbed wire by the Warrior allowed the last 12 Hormagaunts to get through, allowing them to swarm Pedro, tearing him limb from limb before he even had a chance to scream. A grenade directly on top of the ruins of Pedro's corpse finished off the Hormagaunts, ending the immediate threat to the squad. Shortly thereafter, the squad evacuated with the rest of their unit, leaving their dead comrades behind, as every trooper was needed to carry a stretcher. After a grueling and terrifying 5km back to the positions at the road, the Player's unit was loaded into trucks and evacuated even as the tanks and halftracks of their companion regiments opened fire on the Tyranids. Chased from the field by the sounds of artillery fire and lashed with rain, lightning, and thunder, things did not look great for the defenders of the world.



So there we have it, the end of session two.



Trooper Pedro Gonzales

Trooper Gendry Wulfen


Trooper Podrick

Corporal Tyrin

Sergeant Roland Modelus



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Session Three:


Player Characters for this Session:

Quintus Spurius Aurelius: Medic, Companion Lydia

Nero Kriossis: Psyker, Companion Podrick

Roland Modelus: Sergeant, Companion Alexander


Tyrin: Weapons Specialist, Companion Larissa

Torque Stubbs III: Heavy Gunner, Companion Gar


The Session:


Session three opened with the 137th arriving at their assigned positions in the so-called "Thin Red Line." The conflict had been raging for almost 3 weeks at this point, and the Imperials had been pushed back almost 150km by the Tyranid swarms. Due to a lack of biomass (compared to their usual reserves), the Tyranids had been forced to adapt their tactics to counter the Imperial's advantage in firepower. The war had quickly become one of the well armed Imperials fighting an army of xenos that depended on infiltration, assassination, terror tactics, ambush, and other hallmarks of asymmetrical warfare. The "Thin Red Line" was a defensive line set up behind the river Plock where the Imperials hoped to blunt the Tyranid advance into their territory. To facilitate the construction of the defenses, nearly 200,000 soldiers had been thrown into the teeth of the Tyranid forces in a desperate bid for time. Although this plan had succeeded, it had cost the Imperials 24,000 dead and nearly 60,000 wounded in four days of vicious battle. The area in front of the Line had become known as "The Void", a blasted hellscape of impact craters, burnt out vehicles, and destroyed villages and forests covering approximately 200km2 of ground. The squad believed that they were to be assigned to defensive positions on the line, but they were mistaken. During the last hours of the fighting in The Void, a brigade of Coshecan People's Army tanks had been cut off and surrounded in a castle town about 5km north of Imperial Lines. As the players settled into camp, the news came down the line that their regiment was being mounted up in half tracks and sent out to rescue the tanks. Needless to say, they were none to pleased at the idea of having to push out into The Void.


The squad was told that they had 12 hours to prepare and familiarize themselves with their new vehicle, after which they would head out. Luckily for them, Tyrin and Roland were both technically minded and capable of driving. They quickly set about doing everything they could to improve their chances. They quickly decided that the single machine gun mounted on the half track was not nearly enough firepower for their needs. While Tyrin and Roland started welding some sheets of scrap metal onto the sides of the vehicle and around the machine gunner's seat with the help of their companions, Nero, Quintus, and Torgue attempted to secure more weapons. Some light fingers behind the officer's mess got Nero a few bottles of amasec, which he quickly traded for ammunition in the Valhallan's camp. Quintus did some dental work for a few men in one of the PDF infantry units, which netted him a trio of Pump Action Shotguns and half a dozen directional mines (claymores). Torgue managed to kiss the quartermaster's ass enough to get himself a few extra rounds of HE for his Recoilless Rifle, as well as a pile of spare parts for his unit's nonexistent flamers. He proceeded to assemble a flamer out of all the parts. By the time they returned to their camp, their halftrack had been up armored and a steel box had been built to protect the machine gunner. At the insistence of Quintus, Tyrin welded a 1/2" steel plate underneath the vehicle, to which Quintus attached two of the directional mines. He had heard rumors of burrowing Tyranids coming up underneath vehicles, and he did not want to get eaten alive from underneath. While the squad was distributing weapons and ammunition throughout the vehicle, Roland pulled rank at the Quartermaster's depot and got the squad some more medical supplies and a case of Frag Grenades. With 6 hours to spare, their halftrack was completed. Up-armored and repainted a low key grey, the vehicle boasted a Heavy Stubber, 3 Pump Shotguns and a flamer stashed throughout the crew compartment, 20 Frags in ready positions in the rear, and almost 3000 rounds of ammunition in assorted calibers. They christened it The Jefferson. Roland called it "a gypsy wagon of glorious stature", while Torgue simply remarked that "it needs more explosive ****."


As the sun clawed its way towards the horizon, they mounted up and met up with the rest of their unit. It became apparent to them that the rest of the troops in their regiment were also not taking any chances, with all of the other halftracks carrying a significant amount of additional firepower. They rolled out in column, snaking their way across a small bridge into The Void. They soon found themselves making their way through thick forests laden with fog and choked with the detritus of war. The corpses of unfortunate refugees lay scattered around, death quickly becoming a constant companion to the convoy. After reaching the burnt ruins of a village, the convoy broke up into two distinct units, one heading East, and the other continuing North. The Northern component was to capture a ridge above the castle town and provide cover for the Eastern component, who would break through the Tyranid's lines and escort the tanks out. As they approached their objective, the convoy stopped. Their commanding officer approached their vehicle and told the squad that a special assignment had been passed down by command. Approximately 30km west of their current position was a town that had been overrun 3 days ago. In that town there was a cathedral that apparently contained half a dozen relics of great religious significance that the Ecclisiarchy wanted back. Their squad was to retrieve these items and return them to friendly lines post-haste. They were uneasy about the prospect of crossing 30km of enemy territory alone, but orders were orders.


As the convoy started up again, The Jefferson turned around and headed back to the crossroads village from earlier. A tense 4 hour trip that required 4 detours around blocked roads found the squad looking down into the small valley where the town sat at the edge of a river, still smoldering from the fighting. The town's wall had been blasted open on one side, and it was clear that about half of the structures inside the walls had burnt down, but the Cathedral was still intact. Driving the Jefferson through the hole in the wall, they soon found themselves in the plaza before the Cathedral. Entering cautiously, Torgue, Nero, and Roland were greeted with a scene out of their nightmares. Shredded bodies lay everywhere throughout the Cathedral. Blood splattered the walls like a macabre art study. The stench was so powerful it was a physical thing, making it hard for them to push into the structure. As they attempted to work their way over the bodies, Podrick tripped over a corpse; this saved his life as the Lictor that was about to leap upon him from the shadows instead ended up flying through open air. Landing in the middle of the Cathedral, the creature lashed out at the squad, who quickly fled outside. The Lictor pursued, catching young Gar before he could make it all the way out the door. It quickly tore off one of his legs before tossing him to the side, more focused on Tyrin bearing down on it with a chainsword. Though he was no match for the creature in prolonged battle, he managed to hold it's attention long enough for Alexander to drag Gar clear while Torgue retrieved his Recoilless Rifle from the vehicle. Tyrin threw himself clear of the Lictor after trading a nasty gash on his arm for one of the beast's legs, giving Torgue a clear shot. From 30 meters away, Torgue fired an anti-tank HEAT shell directly into the Lictor's chest. As the smoke cleared and the now torso-less creature fell to the ground, Torgue scratched a single tally mark onto the weapon. Meanwhile, Quintus and Lydia were furiously attempting to stop Gar's bleeding. On Roland's orders, the others quickly retrieved the artifacts from the Cathedral (a goblet, 2 paintings, and the femur of a local saint). With Gar barely clinging to life, they loaded him into the vehicle and roared out of the town, chased by gargoyles the whole way.


Now driving as quickly as possible through the wreckage cluttered woods with a swarm of flying Tyranids hot on their tail, the squad failed to notice the ambush they were driving into. A pair of warrior forms burst onto the road in front of them, attempting to force the vehicle to a halt. Meanwhile, an unknown number of Termegaunts opened fire from the bushes. Roland was shot through the neck by a fleshborer beetle, but not before he finished off one of the warrior forms with a burst of gunfire from the machine gun. Tyrin, instead of stopping, opted to push the pedal to the floor and rammed the remaining warrior. The beast was hit hard, but managed to cling to the hood of the halftrack. Roland, with one hand pinching off the artery in his neck, fired a shotgun into its face with his free hand, killing it instantaneously. Now screaming through the forest at breakneck speeds with blood sloshing about the troop compartment, Quintus somehow managed to stop the bleeding in Roland's neck. A Ravener attempted to burst from the ground underneath the vehicle, but Tyrin's seemingly supernatural awareness gave him time to steer around it. As they broke from the edge of the forest, gargoyles still hot on their tail, they made visual contact with the Thin Red Line. Soon, a storm of flak and gunfire chased off the gargoyles, but not before more members of the squad were clawed and shot. A quick bridge crossing and a frantic drive through camp to the field hospital later, the squad were prepared to deliver their precious cargo. Torgue, Nero, and Podrick were the only members of the squad healthy enough to drop off the relics. The success of the mission earned the squad a lot of favor with the Ecclisiarchy, but with 3/4 of them confined to the field hospital for at least a couple of weeks, it was small comfort. A few hours later, their regiment returned, escorting the remains of the armored force. Their casualties had been light, and the camp took on a slightly festival air as they celebrated the safe return of their comrades. Nonetheless, the war was still on, and it would not be long before they were out fighting again.


End of Session Three





Trooper Gar (sent to a rear hospital, relieved of duty due to severity of injury)

Trooper Larissa

Trooper Alexander

Trooper Lydia Storm

Cpl. Tyrin

Cpl. Torgue Stubbs

Cpl. Quintus Spurius Aurelius

Sgt. Roland Modelus

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