Hive Fleet Kraken. 992.M41

Battle of Astoth sub-sector, Hive Fleet Kraken. 992.M41

When the Tyranids swept across the Ultima Segmentum, the Tempest Angels wasted little time in preparing their defenses; they summoned back their battle-brothers to the sub-sector with all due haste, the fleet was prepared for imminent battle and a single ten-man tactical squad from the 3rd Company was sent to Ionov to coordinate defenses there. Two Strike Cruisers made for Kastuvis to extract the few thousand humans living there to bring them to the more defensible Astoth. Warning was also sent to Layria so the Adeptus Mechanicus could undergo immediate preparation of their legendary war machines. The Imperial Knights of Astoth donned their armour and made ready. Finally, every planetary defense Omnis Fortis had was turned on and looked to the skies. By the time a splinter force of the Hive Fleet Kraken had reached the Astoth sub-system, every single STempest Angel had made it to the home planet, and all defenses were ready. This mobilization of the Tempest Angels' forces are the thought to be the fastest to date for the Chapter. 

Three dozen Tyranid Hive Ships had arrived to harvest the sub-system, and were immediately met by the pounding barrage of every ship in the Tempest Angels' fleet, as well as two Mars-Class Battlecruiser accompanied by six Dauntless-Class Light Cruisers and twelve escort ships of the Imperial Navy- the rest of the ships of the minor fleet were occupied with fighting elsewhere. In addition to all of this,  the planetary defense systems of Omnis Fortis and indeed Astoth itself would brought to bear. The ships of immeasurable size did not go down easily but after a two day space battle only twenty-two Hive ships pushed through the naval defenses to make landfall- the rest blasted into ashes by the combined fire of the orbital defense systems and the flotilla. Eight landed on Layria, six on Astoth, six on Ionova and two on the evacuated world of Kastuvis. The orbital defense had cost the defenders all  light cruisers as well as the Tempest Angels' strike cruisers Indomitable Bulwark, Unerring Crusader, Flame of Righteousness and Spear of Truth. Each Hive ship disgorged ten thousand Tyranids of various forms onto the planet surfaces.

On Astoth, the fleet and planetary defense had tried to force the hive ships that did get through onto the icy mountains of the North that were far more defensible and away from the general populace. For the most part this was a success, with only a single Hive ship landing on the vast open grassland plains of the south. The vast majority of the Imperial Knights still on Astoth were immediately dispatched to establish a solid perimeter around the landing sight in an attempt to contain the Tyranids along with the 5th Company of the Chapter. The rest of the Chapter set out from their fortress-monastery to engage the Tyranids in the mountain passes that they were more than familiar with. Managing to engage the swarms primarily in bottlenecks where they could take example from the Ultramarines' defense of Ultramar; the Tempest Angels set up killzones and firing lines to mow down wave after wave, aided by orbital bombardments from the surviving fleet above as well as the defense systems strewn across the mountains. Despite the skillful defense mounted by the fleet, just shy of 900 Astartes were fighting against approximately 50,000 in the mountains; but this was the Tempest Angels' home and they knew it better than any. When a Company was getting overwhelmed they would detonate pre-laid explosives that would crumble key points of a mountain pass to bring down an avalanche of compact ice and rock to crush Tyranid offenses and block off that path- forcing that wave to find an alternate way around or try and push through, giving time for the Companies to regroup and reorganize. After seven days of fighting in the mountains, the Tempest Angels were pushed back to Omnis Fortis itself, despite having halved this part of the Tyranid's force. This was truly where the Tempest Angels were at their best; utilizing the well designed ancient bastion's defenses and fortifications to utterly eradicate the remaining Tyranids, bolstered by the ever faithful 5,000 Chapter Serfs within the fortress manning the defenses. It took an additional three days, and pict-captures show that the Tyranid corpses and bolter shells piled up to the very peak of the Omnis Fortis' defenses. After clearing the bodies with flamers and melta-charges, the surviving 710 Astartes took Thunderhawks south to check on the southern defenses. They were met with the sight of 10,000 Tyranid corpses piled around a group of 48 Battle-Brothers and a mere three-quarters of the Imperial Knights that were dispatched to fend off the lone Hive Ship. After retrieving their fallen battle-brothers and returning them to the Fortress-monastery, the remaining Astartes and battle-fit Imperial Knights powered on through the battle fatigue; boarding Strike Cruisers that were still battle ready in order to launch a counter attack and reinforce their surrounding planets. 

Despite having to deal with the most, the Forge World of Layria had Legio Apocalypsis at their defense, as well as the best mechanized artillery and armoured vehicles in the sub sector. To support them, the Tempest Angels had sent fifty Imperial Knights to fight alongside the Tech-Guardians. The Reaver-class and Warlord-class Titans stood as unmoving defenders of the line, their sacred guns turning masses of Tyranids to ash with each defeaning shot, truly acting as the Omnissiah's will incarnate whilst below lasconnon and heavy bolter rounds tore through wave after wave. The corpses piling up so much that even the Leman Russ battle-tanks could not traverse them, and instead simply had to muscle through as if crushing a stone wall. It took only two days once the Tempest Angels arrived to finish wiping out the Tyranids there. The Adeptus Mechanicus' forces had held valiantly and long enough for the Astartes to launch a lightning strike into the Tyranid's rear, striking like a hammer to soft metal against an anvil with minimal losses on the Astartes' part.

During those twelve days, the Hive world of Ionov had lost a bulk of their Guard, even with the guidance and leadership of the Astartes present hundreds of thousands had died, as well as millions of the Planetary Defense Force which had left it essentially wiped out. However, the sacrifice of so many lives had stalled the Tyranids long enough for the Astothian Knights, the Tempest Angels and their ships to arrive and launch a fiery orbital bombardment on the densest of Tyranid positions before launching dozens of drop pods and hundreds of Imperial assault transports onto the surface. Rallied by the appearance of reinforcements, the exhausted Ionov Guard sallied out from the gates of one of the cities the Tyranids were about to overrun as the remnants of the Planetary Defense Force laid down covering fire from the high ground and the combined might of the Chapter and the Imperial Knights provided solid walls of bolter fire and the devastating array of heavy weapons at the Knights disposal as they advanced in strict formation to overwhelm the Tyranid force with overwhelming firepower. Within two weeks, the continent had been cleared and within a month the entire planet had been cleansed. The exhausted forces were permitted two days rest as they reorganized and rearmed in preparation of retaking the abandoned world of Kastuvis.

Normally, it would be advised to call exterminatus on a planet with no precious resource or assets, but the Tempest Angels saw it as their duty to stubbornly push the taint off of the planet without destroying it. Thusly, the regrouped. Roughly three regiments of the Ionov Guard stood in support, a total of 10,000 Guardsman, in addition to sixty Knights, five Titans and the total 698 Astartes that remained. The Tempest Angels' fleet moved into position and launched a lightning strike on the Hive ships in orbit above the planet; attacking from multiple different directions to overwhelm the larger ships with firepower and maneuvrability. The terminator-clad 1st Company launched a boarding party supported by half of the Third Company to neutralise the threat from inside one of the Hive ships to allow the significant firepower of the fleet to concentrate on the other ship- which did not last long under the ferocious pounding of lances and heavy macro cannons. With the other hive ship secured within a few hours, the forces provided a two day barrage down onto the planet's surface where the Tyranids were densest before the ground forces were landed. Due to the desire to keep the planet in tact and somewhat habitable, the barrage did not wipe out as much of the Tyranids as one might expect, despite the unfathomable amount of firepower that poured down. This was compensated for by the strength of the Rhinos, Land Raiders, Titans and Imperial Knights that had been taken to the surface.

What ensued was the brutal final battle of attrition to secure the Astoth sub-sector. The ground force had brought a number of locals they had evacuated before the Tyranids arrived to guide them through the dense jungles, allowing the Imperium's forces to isolate swarms in their harvesting to mow them down under swift overwhelming firepower. In four months, the planet was finally secured, and a garrison was left there as a precaution to sweep for any surviving Tyranids.

The battle companies of the Tempest Angels were brought up to full strength by the reserve companies, and the 4th and 5th Companies were left in the Astoth sub-sector to secure it and ensure the Tyranids would not attack again. All but 80 Astothian Knights were sent back to protect the homeworld, and all but 5,000 Ionov Guardsmen returned to Ionov. From there, Audemar Valerdin- as he had for the entire defence and counter attack- personally took two thirds of their fleet and set out to support other Astartes in defending their planets and launching counter attacks against Hive Fleet Kraken. The Chapter had emerged bloody, bruised, exhausted but victorious.

Hive Fleet Kraken. 992.M41

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