Asura unleashed the air forces at his disposal for the first phase of Operation Nesting Asps. It was vital that the Stygian Empire achieved air superiority if his fireforce strategy was to keep the Imperium from launching an offensive before Asura could receive more reserves. With the Imperium blinded temporarily over one part of the battlefield Asura sent in his craft to flood the zone and achieve surprise across the front. The first bombing target was the air defense batteries on top of Sidzi Ridge. The neutralization of which would allow his forces to strike deep without fear of heavy AA fire.
The Imperial forces were taken by surprise as planned. Still most air bases were able to launch everything they had quickly to avoid being shot apart on the ground. Alas many craft were not fully armed and fueled and the hell blades had a field day while the Hell Talons ripped the forward air bases apart. Unfortunately for Asura, Commander Weatherby was still alive and recognizing the danger of holding the forward air bases when more attack waves were surely on their way, he ordered the surviving air assets back to bases 100 miles to the rear. He was ceding the forward and mid air zones to the enemy but he was preserving what he could of his air forces for future use rather than have them utterly annihilated the first day. Asura continued to pound the forward air bases with subsequent waves but also had them branch out hitting refineries.
By hitting the refineries Asura hoped that this in conjunction with the planned fireforce strategy would prevent the imperials from mounting a major offensive. As the first day of Operation Nesting Asps came to a close Asura was satisfied. He had lost 7 hell blades and 2 hell Talons but had gained air superiority and destroyed the Imperial forward air bases along with nearly 50% of the Imperial air power. While it was the complete destruction he had hoped for it was enough to begin phase 2 of Operation Nesting Asps.