Tales of the 42nd: Charnwood
+++OPERATION CHARNWOOD +29-HOUR, D-DAY+39+++
Cecilia takes a deep breath of the smokey air while she runs a hand over her face trying to remove some of the soot covering it before she turns to look around the blown-out building they are using as a forward command post inside the city.
"Corporal, we got status reports coming in yet?"
"Aye Captain, the company is reporting that they have secured their positions and have started to dig into the rubble to repel counterattacks. PDF forces have pushed on past our positions to continue chasing the traitor forces though, sir."
Cecilia sighs softly at the report about the PDF forces.
"Why do they never stick to the plan...Laski, we got a casualty report yet?"
"Just coming in Captain, and it's not looking good. With this report added to the total, we are looking at about 60% losses overall so far, we really need those reinforcements soon."
"Aye, we do after we have secured this town we should be good for a while with the onset of winter we should be able to regroup and get reinforcements."
Cecilia looks out one of the windows onto the street as a Leman Russ rumbles past with an infantry squad following behind it for cover.
"We knew this was going to be a hard fight but my word, did they put up a fight even with our combined arms and massed artillery strikes they didn't fall easily."
"Aye they did at that Captain, but we managed to break them anyway, and we will do it again and again for we are the..."
Kiera is cut off by one of the vox casters.
"Captain! I'm picking up a repeating transmission on the emergency channels that is being bounced through every receiver."
"Let's hear it then."
The vox operator flips a switch on their control and switches the audio to be played out of their speakers for a moment before changing it back to their headset.
"Cadia Stands, Cadia Stands, Cadia Stands....."
"The message repeats like that Captain."
"Get on the horn to the battalion, find out if they know anything more about that message, while they do that let's shore up our position. Get the engineers moving out and helping dig in, we don't know how long we will have to hold this position for."
Cecilia moves to stand in one the blasted doorways of the CP, leaning a hand against the frame while her command staff carry out her orders with the engineers starting to move about the companies position fortifying it.
After a while, Kiera comes back over to Cecilia with the latest updates.
"Captain got the latest figures for the company and the status of that message...We are looking at coming back up to full strength with the mergers, along with another division of Caledonians just landing."
Cecilia nods slightly while she looks up at the sky while night rolls in and at the raging storm high above them that came out of nowhere in the last few hours.
"What about that message we picked up?"
"Well...the message got passed down the line that Cadia has fallen to the forces of Chaos..."
"Wait...Cadia has fallen?"
"Aye Captain the report says the planet was destroyed by the final Chaos attack after putting up heavy resistance."
Cecilia pauses slightly while she takes a breath while she thinks about what that means.
"Kiera, pass out the orders that we are to dig in and hold position and for people to be careful...and slowly pass the information out to them all."
Kiera nods slightly while she moves to pass the orders on for them to send to the platoon commanders.
Cecilia's company digs in the amongst the rubble of the town of Klearset, the PDF forces slowly start pulling back to their planned positions before they charged after the traitor forces before they ran into an ambush on the edge of the town. The traitor and loyalist forces inside and outside of the city exchange artillery and small arms fire in small engagements resulting in neither side being able to rest.
+++OPERATION CHARNWOOD +5-Day, D-DAY+44+++
This state of continuous fire between the loyalist and the traitor forces continues through the city and the nearby area, with little ground being gained while both sides hunker down to take shelter from the harsh winter and from the warp storm that started raging within the system after the fall of Cadia.
The Imperial Navy Ships that brought the Imperial Guard to the system have been forced to anchor themselves in a low orbit of the planet following the appearance of the warp storm, and the lose of the Astronomican signal leaving them blind and unable to fly in the warp.
With the final lot of the reinforcements that the 41st Army received before the fall of Cadia reaching the front lines, along with the local forces that have either been mobilised or have managed to link up with the 41st Army following breakthroughs along the line, this has allowed for more flexible unit cycling off the front line. And this has allowed for the 42nd Black Watch and the entire 51st to be cycled off the line while they reorganise and re-equip before the next offensive once winter has broken.
Cecilia stands before a board of senior officers composing of her battalion commander, brigade commander and division commander along with their aides.
"Captain Cecilia Laura Winter Skye, Commanding Officer of 2nd Company of the 42nd Black Watch. I, Colonel Cedrick Grim, with the power granted to me by the Adeptus Administratum and the Adeptus Ministorum hereby promote you to the rank of a Major within the Astra Militarum and grant you all the powers and responsibility that come with that rank."
Grim smiles while he hands over Cecilia's new major rank insignia before he offers her a salute which she returns with a smile of her own before they both fall out.
"Thank you, Colonel."
"It's fine Major, your dedication to your company and valour in the line of fire have more than earned that promotion. Anyway, with this done it is now back to business and the situation briefing."
Cecilia nods to Grim before they both turn to head towards the battalion HQ for the command meeting when the enter the HQ building Cecilia receives a few small congratulations from the other company commanders, and a barely continued congratulations from Kiera. Grim steps out into the centre of the planning room while the other officers take their seats.
"Ok, then people, as many of you have already noticed and congratulated her I will be quick. Skye, of the 2nd Company, has been promoted to Major for her valour in the line of fire and dedication to her company. Now back to the situation briefing, as you all know a few days ago Cadia fell under the combined weight of an entire black crusade thrown at it. But the planet and the guard held until the very end and forced Chaos back into the eye of terror, and that was when Cadia fell in a final act of spit from Chaos. The planet broke before the guard did...However, some of the final reports we have received via the Astropaths was that warp storms were spreading and appearing more frequently across the galaxy and thus entire systems are being cut off from the rest of the Imperium. Much of Segmentum Obscurus has already been lost...including Caledonia...it was one of the first set of systems to fall silent after the fall of Cadia. And yes I know a lot of you will want to rush to the home systems defence, but even if we were not in the middle of a campaign here, with the warp storms raging across the Galaxy, we have lost the light of the Astronomican we are unable to reliably navigate the warp."
The officers sit in silence for a moment while they process the information of what is happening across the galaxy before the Colonel continues with his briefing.
"More locally for us, with the new reinforcements across the front we have been told to go to stand down while we process our own reinforcements and get them drilling with the units they are being assigned to. However that does not mean everyone is getting to just sit around on holiday, a few officers are going to be getting sent out on detached duties as advisors to local forces to assist with their own reinforcements and training. The commander of the Xailivian forces has decided to adopt the Caledonian style command structure and tactics due to the more flexibility possible with our structure. So the unlucky ones who are going to be in charge of the advisor teams are going to be Major Cecilia Skye, you are being attached directly to the 71st Defence Brigade along with the 12/22nd Battalion, Captain Lothar Corax you are being attached to the 219th, Lieutenant Lenna Deley to the 103/115th and Lieutenant Titus Lyme to the 215th. Major, you have overall command of the detached advisors, and each of you is going to have a small team of instructors in the form of SNCOs with you to assist in your drills. Any questions? None? Good, right let's get a move on. Advisors get your kit squared away and anything your CO needs from you before this detached duty. Dismissed."
With that dismissal, the officers walk out of the room and back to their company blocks to start getting everything squared away. Cecilia and Kiera both quickly make their way back to their command barracks before they start talking proper details while Cecilia packs.
"Right then Kiera, you know what you need to do while I am away yeah?"
"Aye I do, you don't have to worry about it."
Cecilia pauses slightly before she looks up at Kiera with a small smile.
"I know I don't, you are a damn fine officer, one of the best I know. It's just I can't help worry about our company when I'm not around."
"I get it don't worry, I will take good care of our company till you get back. You know where this brigade is anyway?"
"Aye, apparently it is situated around a town in a region called the Ardennes, and there isn't supposed to be much fighting around there due to the difficult terrain of rolling hills, rivers and forests."
"Sounds like a nice little holiday for you then."
"Bar the fact that I get a feeling that the PDF commanders are going to be rather stubborn due to a lot of them have bought their commission according to the info packet. Along with a lot of the upper class still being quite patriarchal in this system."
Kiera nods slightly while she watches Cecilia pack for a moment.
"Aye, I have noticed that from a lot of the high born on this planet. At least on Caledonia, we are gifted with high born like your self who slog it out in the trenches with us."
Cecilia shakes her head slightly.
"Aye Caledonia is gifted in the regards of having decent high born. And you know what I think about being treated like high born while in service, its the main reason I took a captaincy instead of what I was offered."
"And if you had you wouldn't have been able to take your amazing XO with you after IOT."
Cecilia laughs slightly while she finishes packing her gear before she stands with her holdall slung over a shoulder.
"Aye, there is that as well, don't know what I would do or would have done with you to keep me grounded and stop me from being foolish."
"You give me to much credit, I'm just the plucky sidekick in this duo, you are the superhero."
The two of the grin at each other while sharing a brief embrace before Cecilia breaks it off and heads for the door and the waiting transports.
"You are a good friend Kiera, look after our company!"
Kiera leans against the doorframe while she watches Cecilia jump into the back of the transport and while it sets off towards the 71st Defence Brigade based around the town of Bastion in the Ardennes.
"You too Cecilia...and don't worry I will take good care of our company."