+ inload: The Augustine Crusade +

Later on, remember these smaller details of the Crusade: those pict-captures that became famous; songs that became familiar; stories of victories, of glory, of heroes. Those details which entered our worlds' shared histories; details that bound a fearful Imperial sector back together after the dreadful years of the galaxy tearing open. 
See them now: Winding queues of young citizens, waiting impatiently in the wan autumn light of Vossk. They chatter excitedly, rubbing their hands in the cold; cheeks ruddy, eyes bright. The line already stretches from the recruitment post to the town forum. It is hundreds strong and growing.
That famous expression captured and enlarged and plastered across the sector's agitprop posters: a father's sorrow, badly-hidden beneath pride and excitement. Both tall, strikingly handsome, the older man gazes at his son. The pict-capture has frozen the two in the break of an embrace – the young man uniformed, already turning, stepping away, his eyes bold, seeing far-off excitement in the stars. 
Drawn by such agit-prop, more flock to the banner; both from within and without the Sector. Hive-dwellers of Prominus IV. Soft-eyed Lamb's Worlders. North Star hypercapitalists. Ha'quan nomads. The indigent Iron Stave. Elirian glory-hounds. The half-men of Nares... a list of heroism and infamy. 
The arrival at Cetus – the War-barge Madrigal, its battered, indomitable surface glittering in the warm light of the system's star. A bull of a warcraft, heavyset and bristling. The rumours are true: Cadian Last. Cadian Last! Hard-bitten veterans, weaned on war; an eminently suitable vanguard for Warmaster Augustus. 
A dozen such regiments. A hundred such images. More.
Parades, posters, pomp and pride. Marching bands; priestly exhortations; promises from governors and administrators; increased wages at the factora; sweating, grinning workers turning out arms and armour – all repeated across the sector, from Galvinax to Balto; and all as a quiet susurrus builds into a triumphant shout: Crusade! 
Later on, remember these smaller details of the Crusade. They are what we can cling to.
Do not remember the horrors. 
Put the memory of the Yranus Landings aside. Forget the ill-fated Operation Belladonna. Let the dead lie still, and the manner of their deaths be soothed by the salve of history. 
And whatever you do, do not speak the black name of Xiah Hesh.

+ A new group project +

+ Today we're kicking off something I've been itching to tell you about – a collaborative effort with some of the finest Imperial Guard hobbyists in the noosphere. +

+ We've been beavering away behind the scenes and will be detailing the Augustine Crusade, set in the gloomy days of M42, and showing both the courageous human forces of the Imperial Guard expedition and the Archenemy inhabitants of the Red Hand Region that are ranged against them – along with the numerous support staff, battleships and shadowy figures that make up the underside of such an undertaking. +

+ If you've ever wanted to see something like Dan Abnett's Sabbat Worlds Crusade in miniature form, then keep your visual-inmitters peeled and your refresh-stylii active! + 

+ In no particular order, here's a list of the dauntless few, along with the forces they'll primarily be showcasing:
  • Prominus IV – Vanitor 45th Patricians
  • Lilagrax – The Elirian 120th, Tark's Reavers; and Clan Hofoi's Pale Crows
  • The Steel Legion – [CLASSIFIED]
  • Beyondthetabletop – [CLASSIFIED]
  • K0rdhal – Hostile Acquisitions: 1st NorthStar Executors; and the Veiled Kin of the Gossamer Nomad Empires
  • Regimental_Review – [CLASSIFIED]
  • The Rook – Cadian 144th, The Cadian Last; and Gothii Warclans 
  • Folkestorm – The 501st Vosskien Regulars
  • Apologist – The Vrag-Rana Kolossan
+ While I'll be collating and sharing long-form material right here on + Death of a Rubricist +, please do come follow us on Instagram; where we'll be using the following tags:



+ Order of events +

+ So what can you expect? Well, I can promise there are lots of Imperial Guard and their Red Hand opponents prepped and ready to go, so keep an eye out over the coming weeks, where we'll see how the Imperial Guard make war in the grim new galaxy of M42. +

+ A special mention must be made to all the contributors for their enthusiasm and mutual support, particularly PromiusIV for his wonderful graphic design work, and The Rook for the maps. +

For now, I'll leave you with the outline of the campaign to whet your appetite for war. There's lots that's not detailed in this abstract, and I hope to be able to bring you more details of the Regiments, heroes and villains of this project through inloads on my own work, and guest posts from the Augustine contributors. +

+ Map of the Red Hand Dominate, our battleground +

+ Pre-Crusade +

  • M41.849 
    • The Segmentum Obscurus Command order the Imperial Commanders of the Cetus-Scorpii Sector to reclaim the Red Hand Region for the Imperium.
  • M41.929
    • The Kerberos Expeditionary Force (KEF) enters the Red Hand Region to reassert Imperial control over a long-lost area of space.
    • Roughly forty regiments strong, they establish a base on Slav-Mundi.
  • M41.929-939 
    • Contact with the KEF is lost, Lord General Mazhan is presumed dead.
  • M41.999 
    • The Cicatrix Maledictum splits the Imperium. 
    • Warp storms erupt between Sector Cetus-Scorpii and the Red Hand Region.
  • M42.033 
    • Marshal Decían Augustus is made Warmaster (Lord Commander Obscurus ) by Imperial Decree and begins plans for a crusade to reclaim the Red Hand Region
      • The 'Extraordinaries' are raised: in a rush of hero-worship, political enthusiasm and popular effort, seventeen worlds within Sector Cetus-Scorpii raise regiments outside their normal tithe. These 17 regiments form the core of Augustus' crusade force.
      • Over the next four years a further 540 regiments are raised, broken into four Army Groups. The First, under Warmaster Augustus; the Second, under Lord General Valen; the Third, under General Klottin; and Fourth Reserve, under General Menelaus.

+ Early Crusade [M42.037–042] +

The strategic objectives of Augustus' First Wave were simple in principle: Establishment of footholds, staging areas and blockading the Region. Simple in principle – but proving anything but in practice.
Commentary on Crusade vol I, High Marshal Orion of Vossk

The early years of the Crusade were characterised by easy victories for the Imperial forces, as they forced the disordered inhabitants of several systems into Compliance. Resistance was thin and scattered until Hesh's lieutenants began to impose order on the region, at which point the threat to the Imperial forces rose considerably. The Early Crusade ended with the Battle of Buir's Reach, a void ambush that led to hideous defeat for the Imperium, and marked the start of the grinding Mid-Crusade period.
  • M42.037
    • Second Army Pioneers enter the Red Hand Region, translating into the Buir’s Reach system and establishing a re-supply post on Buir’s World.
  • M42.038 
    • Mu-Scorpii invaded.
    • Second Army Group consolidates.
    • The Battle of Khasan in the Primorye System.
  • M42.039 
    • Alerted by Slav-Mundi Exile elements that evade the advancing Imperial pickets, Xiah Hesh mobilises the entire Red Hand region; forming the Red Hand Dominate.
  • M42.040 
    • First and Third Army Groups enter the Red Hand Region. Warmaster Augustine officially begins the Crusade.
    • Compliance of the Mu-Scorpii system [2nd Army]
    • Invasion of Slav-Mundii [2nd Army]
    • The Yranus Landings in Ynwirm result in catastrophic Imperial losses. 
  • M42.041
    • Invasion of Practal
    • Invasion of Iota-Scorpii
    • Death of O Colmen Corm, first of Hesh's Lieutenants to be killed.
  • M42.042
    • Following the death of their leader, the Slav-Mundi system is rendered Compliant. 
    • Priad's Folly – NorthStar forces assault orbital fleet mustering stations; xenos elements rumoured.
    • The Battle of Buir's Reach – Hesh reveals the strength of his fleet; largely cannibalised from the Kerberos Expeditionary force. Third Army Group suffers colossal losses in the largest fleet action of the war before the Imperials can retreat. Having played his hand, Hesh divides his fleet for the remainder of the Crusade, preventing the Imperials superior numbers telling. 

+ Mid Crusade [M42.043–049] +

'Reclamation and Compliance'. Such was the Warmaster's dictat at the outset of the Second Wave of his grand plan. What were we to do but enact his ambitious orders? Through the blood and toil of the men, women and machines under our command, we drove on to the accursed Hesh's inner systems in six short years. It then became clear that the strength of our grip did not match the length of our reach...
Commentary on Crusade vol VII, High Marshal Orion of Vossk

This period was marked with heavy fighting as the extent of Hesh's influence became clear, and his mythic status became founded. Worlds change hands repeatedly, and previous victories are overturned. As regions get bogged down into ongoing stalemates. The fighting settles down into two large theatres; and the Fourth Army Group becomes a de facto rearguard force, their hands full in maintaining order and keeping supply lines open through the Buir's Reach Corridor region while Augustus' ambitious plans see his armies stretched thinly.

The Mid Crusade period was punctuated by many of the largest set-piece battles in the Crusade, and the events of the Night of Ten Thousand Daggers.
  • M42.043 
    • Compliance of the Practal and Mu-Scorpii systems
    • Opening of the Corewards Theatre – Second Army Group invades Primorye, Bendaphor, Orison and Odessus Systems.
      • Odessus was to become infamous as 'Hell's Furnace', a bitter stalemate that devoured the best part of twelve different Imperial regiments.
    • Fourth Army Group occupies conquered regions and consolidates around Buir's Reach Corridor. 
  • M42.044 
    • Compliance of Ynwirn and Buir’s Reach systems
    • Opening of the Rimwards Theatre – Bypassing Priad, Minos and Izar, First and Third Army Groups invade Bract, Polyandros and Ardent systems, meeting unexpectedly disciplined, pre-prepared and well-stocked resistance.
    • Fourth Army Group struggle to contain counter-insurgences on supposedly Compliant worlds.
    • Farewell to an Idea – the last of the Galvinax Pioneers are lost to the elite Kill-Brigades of the Red Hand during fighting over Izar.
  • M42.045
    • High Mantle Campaign – the Cyng of Shatterbrow leads a stunning series of high impact assaults on Imperial strongholds with his armour brigades.
    • Hesh's Rimwards forces initiate a series of effective hit-and-run attacks on Imperial shipping, stalling the advance of the Third Army, and forcing Augustus to halt his intended advance on the Core Worlds.
  • M42.046
    • Second Yranus Landings Later reinforcement attempts compound the error as a number of Fourth Army reservists are fed into the Vrag-Rana trap. 
    • Compliance of Primorye
  • M42.047
    • Ynwirm system brought to Compliance.
    • Lord General Valen declares a costly victory has been won in St. Zariah. He is assassinated two days later during the Night of Ten Thousand Daggers, reigniting warfare over the ravaged world.
    • The Minas Counter-invasion demonstrates the resolve of the Red Hand forces, as this critical system is infiltrated and re-captured.
  • M42.049
    • Compliance of Odessus
    • Principles of Warfare – The nature of the Carminas Binary system is revealed

+ Late Crusade [M42.049–057] +

'Blood. Waves of it. Soaked in it, the ground was. Never seen anything akin, you haven't. Never will, I pray, my boy. Throne-be-praised, but how I escaped my fate then, I can only praise the Saints and a miracle.'
Lief Derrie Mandour, Lamb's World 229th

As the weary Imperial forces ground on, pushing deeper into the Red Hand Region, they reach 'the Choke', gateway to the Core Worlds heartland of Hesh's Red Hand Dominate – and scene of some of the bloodiest fighting in the Crusade. Here, elite Red Hand forces were dug in and fortified; determined to  deny the Imperial advance; resolutely blocking the route to the Core Worlds even as Imperial forces massed.

Bloodied but unbroken, the nature of the Chaos forces began to tell as a number of Hesh's lieutenants broke away from the Red Hand Dominate, seeking to carve out their own petty empires elsewhere in the Region. The Imperial Crusade was spread thin, and as the final decade creeps on, victory seemed far from certain.

As the Crusade closed on the Core Worlds, Xiah Hesh's orchestrations see uprisings and resistance cell assaults rise across the whole Red Hand Region, goading Imperial High Command as the morale of their wearied forces plummeted. Augustus' increasing frustration saw him take a desperate gamble with the few surviving Extraordinaries; culminating in the events of The Solace War.
  • M42.050 
    • Ardent System Counteroffensive 
    • Hesh's forces, under [REDACTED], counter-invade and recapture Ynwirn, Bract, and St. Zariah.
    • Oxian Reach Offensive – NorthStar forces break the deadlock.
    • Compliance of Minas
  • M42.050
    • Red Hands, Black Hearts –  [REDACTED] is captured by the Inquisition as the Carminas Principle and Carminas Secundus systems fall to Warmaster Augustus.
  • M42.055 
    • The Solace War.
  • M42.057
  • M42.058
    • Crusade officially ends.

1 comment:

  1. Thrilling teaser! Looking forward to seeing what comes forth.


+ submission exloadform: inload [comments] herein +