Operation Nesting Asps- Battle of Khalita Ridge Part 1
With the success so far of operation Nesting Asps the Imperial High command launched a major operation to clear out the ridges of Stygian forces.  The Imperials readied their three reserve regiments for the push supported by an all out effort of their remaining air forces in the north.  Further aid was received when a large detachment from the Guardians chapter of the Adeptus Astartes sent units to help spearhead the multiple assaults along the ridges leading to the frontline.  The Stygian Empire aware of the impending offensive dug in and awaited the assault.  They would use the fireforce tactics to see this offensive off and starve out the Imperial front lines.  As the offensive launched the Stygian forces on Khalita ridge were the first to come under attack.  The sorcerer Khalbad of the Alpha Legion was in nominal command of the Stygian position.  He had constructed trenches before the ridge, in an effort to try and prevent it's capture.  With his forward observers spotting the enemy coming Khalbad called for a fireforce and made his dispositions.  The center was held by an Alpha Legion squad along with militia.  Khalbad controlled the left flank with militia while on the right Champion Khopesh and his Alpha Legion Havoc squad watched the landscape before them as the Imperial forces neared.

Soon the Imperial forces came bundling forward.  They had been hit by multiple airstrikes on the way in but had escaped the worst effects of it due to the heroic efforts of Imperial aircrew.  quickly spotting the defensive works ahead the Imperial quickly shook themselves out into a battle array.  Elements of the 18th Liskavian infantry and the Liskavian 103rd armored regiments under the command of Major Polkornik moved  into position.  Major Polkornik occupied the ruins opposite the Stygian right flank along with heavy weapon teams setting up overwatch and covering fire.  In the center infantry squads advanced alongside Lt. Hamel Ilovik's famed punisher tank and it's squadron mate a heavy punisher tank.  Opposite the Stygian left flank came the bulk of the infantry with a spotter tank guiding the manticore artillery that was supporting well behind the advancing imperial battle group.  Also opposite the Stygian left flank was a squad of Guardian chapter space marines under the command of Tech Priest Vollus of the 3rd company.

Having traveled through the night and most of the morning Major Polkernik wasted no time.  He had been briefed on the enemy's use of air mobile interdiction that was no doubt on it's way.  His orders were to take and clear Khalita ridge.  Outnumbering his enemy he knew he must overwhelm them quickly before reinforcements arrived via the air.  Time was against him so he ordered his units forward save those who would remain to provide overwatch.  On the Stygian left flank the Guardians chapter rhino raced ahead at full speed making a bee line for Khalbad.  Tech Marine Vollus with his optical enhancements had spotted the psycher and was determined to keep him from summoning reinforcements from the warp.

Psycher 357 of the Liskavian 18th Infantry regiment took in the enemy before him and opened his inner eye looking for weaknesses even as he linked his mind with that of Lt. Ilovisk commanding the punisher tank adding to his already lethal ability to target and destroy.  On the Stygian left Khalbad felt the psychic efforts as they resonated in the warp.  He attempted to instill his own mind into the psychic conduits flowing across the battlefield but felt his efforts rebuffed.  Psycher 357 was no novice to warfare especially psychic warfare, his mind was carefully and perhaps obsessively warded.
As most of the Liskavian infantry broke into a run in order to reach the trenches Imperial artillery fire began pounding the Stygian center.  Khorbad watched as Manticore rockets slammed into the Alpha Legion squad in the center.  Even as the rockets hammered down the demolisher tank blasted away at the center along with every overwatching heavy weapons team on overwatch.  Then Lt. Ilovik added to the rain of fire and lead with his punisher.  To Khorbad's horror most of the squad fell dead or wounded.  Anger filled Khorbad but also understanding.  The Imperials would try to punch through the center and then turn and surround each flank in turn, and annihilate them.

Without Khorbad giving the order the Alpha legion and Their stygian allies began returning fire.  Khorbad watched a rocket from the Havoc squad slam into the punisher before detonating.  Khorbad's seasoned eye told him the damage was superficial, a glancing hit no more.  Small arms fire now lanced out and took down a few of the lead infantry but not enough.  Khorbad glanced at the militia man beside him drawing his ceremonial dagger.  The militia man was anointed already, runes etched in ink across his face, the perfect sacrifice.  Khorbad drew upon the warp starting to utter words of power when a voice came unbidden into his mind.
"Wait, not yet, not yet"
Khorbad stopped snarling as he did so.  It was the voice from the warp, the one that had guided him thus far on his bloody path.  It was a voice not to be ignored.  Channeling his rage he focused on death and bloodshed uttering words of summoning.  With a wail suddenly sounding in the wind like a banshee's cry  ten serpent like bloodletters khorne had favored the legion with bust forth in front of him and began running towards the oncoming guardsmen.  The sudden surge of the warp hit him and he pulled the power within him reveling in the power.  Across the battlefield psycher 357 felt his nose bleed and looked on in horror.  The Battle for khalita ridge had only just begun.

Special thanks go out to Chris Edstrom (seen below) for playing the Imperials in the battle of Khalita Ridge battle reports.  The Imperial guard models and loyalist marine models in the khalita ridge battle reports are his.  He has used Dust tactic models and they look great on a tabletop.  Chris is a dedicated hobbyist whose work speaks for itself.


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