Tales of the 42nd: Trapped
+++CROSSROAD TOWN OF BASTION, ARDENNES+++
+++023.000.M42 / 1800 HRS 08 JAN 41000+++
With the 506th Caledonian Drop Battalion and Combat Command B of the 20th Armoured Division having held the towns of Noville and Bourcy for 24 hours and blunting the primary attack of traitor 2nd Armoured Division while covering the retreat of the remnants of the 110th. They then began to fall back to the rest of the loyalist forces that had managed to dig in around the town of Bastion with the time that they managed to buy for them, however during their defence, a flanking force managed to get around the town of Noville and take the town of Foy from the troops guarding it.
In an effort to aid the disengagement of the 506th and CCB, the 22nd Xailiv Defence Battalion, the 502nd Caledonian Drop Battalion and an armoured squadron from both the 45th Xailiv Armour and the 705th Caledonian Armour, each supporting their infantry battalion, made a push towards the town of Foy supported with Basilisk/Earthshaker fire support.
The 502nd was tasked with breaking through the main road and opening the path for the 506th and CCB, while the 22nd was tasked with pushing towards the town of Recogne and take the high ground on the west of Foy.
Cecilia is stood out the top of her command Chimeras turret, using her binoculars to survey the area while the 22nd Battalion moves east to the town of Recogne with the lighter Salamander Scout tanks and Sentinels leading the way and covering the flanks.
"Major, a message from 1st Company in the van. They have engaged elements of a traitor infantry force but have managed to overrun most of them already."
"Copy that corporal, tell them not to stop and let the 3rd company know that once they reach that position, they are to break off and set up here, rest of the battalion will keep moving."
"Aye Aye Major."
With that, the vox operator turns back to the vox console built into the side of the command Chimera and begins to relay Cecilia's orders, while Cecilia herself switches to the command net on the vox in the command seat.
"This is 22 Actual to 85 Sunray, be advised we are proceeding along the route to the target. 1st Company has encountered hostile infantry elements, only a small screening force though we are continuing and the 3rd Company is breaking off to hold the crossroads, over."
"...This is brigade HQ, we acknowledge your update...over..."
Cecilia sighs softly to herself at the apparent lack of skill even in the brigades HQ displayed by the PDF.
"Solid Copy 85 Sunray. 22 Actual, out."
Cecilia then slowly lowers herself back into the Chimera to look at her command team and then turn to the driver.
"We got an ETA on reaching our dismount point?"
"Should be just up ahead Major, we will have you at your destination without any bother."
As if to mock the driver's words, the sudden sound of weapons fire followed by an explosion can be heard from the front of the convey. Cecilia immediately pops her self back out of her commander's hatch to try and see what is going on.
"Vox, get me an update! I want to know what is going on."
"1st Company is reporting an ambush, Major."
"Copy that, keep the convey moving then! We need to punch through."
"Sir, 1st Company is completely halted. The enemy AT teams are dug in with supporting fire, they have dismounted from their Chimeras."
Cecilia bangs her hand against the top of the cupola.
"Damn it. Get 6th Company moving to the left around the ambush and get 9th Company doing the same to the right. Driver get us up to the first Company."
Cecilia ducks down into the commander's cupola while she gives her order, watching the convoy split into three arms with the two companies breaking off while the battalion command element rushes forward towards the fighting. They come to a stop at the rear of the 1st Company Chimeras before Cecilia leads her HQ element out with the rest of those attached to the battalion HQ. Her immediate action was to swap her micro-bead to the tactical neat before she curses as she remembers that PDF is not given micro-beads as standard kit, forcing them to rely on runners and Vox Casters for all communications. She dashes forward, her command squad stumbling as they try to keep up with her while she dashes, using what cover she can get while moving towards the company HQ where she slides into cover behind a group of rocks with them.
"Captain, status report."
"Major, those damned AT and Heavy weapon emplacements have us pinned down and unable to advance. They knocked out the first few Chimeras, destroyed one of them."
He would motion to the burning reck of the Chimera which is sat square in the middle of the road, with ditches and the rough train of either side trapping the rest of the Chimeras behind it.
Cecilia nods while she leans out from behind cover with her binoculars, activating the tactical display while she scans the emplaced positions to try and get a read on how many they are facing.
"Thanks for the update, do what you can to keep your people moving. Corporal, get the 89th Arty on the horn and see if we can get a bit of fire at these cords I just marked."
The vox operator nods while they the look at the readout on their tactical readout and bounces it to the brigade TACNET.
"22 Romeo to 89 Shelldrake, adjust fire, over."
The Captain nods slightly with a frown as the move to carry out Cecilia's orders, while Cecilia listens into the Vox.
"89 Shelldrake to 22 Romeo, adjust fire, out."
"Target 22 Bravo 2-4, over."
"Target 22 Bravo 2-4, out."
"Infantry company, emplaced in the tree line. Over."
"Infantry company, emplaced in the tree line. Authenticate Tange Foxtrot, over."
"I authenticate Tango over."
"H, B, DPICM in effect, 5 rounds, over."
"H, B, DPICM in effect, 5 rounds, out."
The vox operator nods to Cecilia with their final transmission while they wait for the 8 guns of B battery to brought to bear with H gun firing the ranging shot before the Vox crackles to life again.
With that, the Vox operator takes cover behind the rocks while they wait for the shell to land for them to advise for adjustment, the sound of the gun can be heard rolling up of the hill for those listening out for it.
Cecilia crouches down at the splash warning with 5 seconds till impact, the shell crashes right down on top of one of the emplaced positions through mud, trees and equipment every which way as the 132mm shell impacts.
"Hit, fire for effect. Over."
"Fire for effect, out."
With that the sound of all 8 guns can be heard as they open fire, each having the fire mission of 5 shells each. Cecilia stands to look at the Captain with his command team.
With that, the Captain stands up waving their chain sword before they head off towards the enemy emplacements leading the charge. A few of the squads are hunkered down behind some cover and have not moved, Cecilia notices this out of the corner of her and starts to move over to them while she ducks in and out of cover, while she is moving over towards them a Salamander Scout tank has flown up the road to reach them as well.
Out the back of it jumps a commissar, easily recognised by any due to their black greatcloak and their cap. Cecilia reaches them and the squads cowering behind cover.
"Commissar, you want us to charge the emplaced positions, that is madness!"
"There is no madness in your duty to the Emperor."
"We can't do it, we will die before we even get close to them!"
Cecilia shakes her head slightly as she recognises the failure of the PDF training and morale plus the blind stupidity in telling a commissar you won't do something.
"If you will not serve in combat, then you shall serve in the firing line!"
With that the commissar draws their las pistol and fires a round straight through the skull of the PDF trooper before they turn to look at the others, picking a few at random before he shoots them as well, each time preceded by a question which he punctuates with dead PDF trooper.
"Where is your courage? Where is your strength? Where is your conviction?"
He takes a deep breath before he looks back down at the PDF as he brandishes his las pistol and draws his chainsword.
"Forward dogs! Always forward! AVE IMPERATOR! CHARGE!"
With the yell of the commissar that has already executed four of them, the remaining PDF troopers get up and start to charge forward with the commissar following behind.
Cecilia takes cover close to where the PDF had taken shelter a moment ago while she watches the Company charging up the hill and the Basilisk rounds crashing into the hillside and the entrenched positions before she looks to either flank and the Chimeras rumbling up the sides up the slope and moving to outflank the traitor forces already.
Cecilia smiles slightly while she watches the combined three-pronged assault and artillery fire smash through and routs the traitor forces allowing the three companies and armour squadron to move up onto the high ground near Recogne overlooking the town of Foy.
Cecilia leaps out of the top of her command Chimera causing the PDF troops in her HQ team to scramble out of the back to keep up while the two from 2nd Company that came with her are used to her and manage to keep up fine. She leads them up to a position where she can look down off the hill over Recogne towards Foy and then up to Noville. From her position, she can see the 502nd still fighting it's way to Foy from the south and the 506th and CCB fighting it's way out of the encirclement towards Foy before she turns to look at her HQ staff.
"Pass my orders to the company commanders and the armour once it gets here. I want the companies set up in ARD around this hilltop with the armour in the centre with the rest of Battalion, standard dispersion."
The PDF trooper goes to relay the orders on the company command Vox before he stops and looks back at Cecilia.
"Ehh, Major... I'm sorry but, ARD? standard dispersion?"
Cecilia just sighs slightly at this.
"Frak this for a laugh...ARD, a 360, I want the companies establishing a perimeter around this hilltop by Company, by platoon. With roughly 20 meters in between each platoon. Understand now?"
The PDF trooper looks quite embarrassed at having to be told this due to the looks he was getting from the two Caledonians in the HQ staff as well.
With that, he starts relaying the orders to the companies while Cecilia makes her way over to her command post which is being set up near to the small vehicle park which is forming in the centre of the Battalion. With night starting to fall and with the snow setting in, visibility continued to drop to no more than 10/20 metres in front of them. Just as she reaches the CP a shout of alarm goes up split seconds before it goes silent suddenly followed by a tense moment when everyone seemed to be holding their breath before the crack of lasguns firing followed by the cries of a battle being met all around the hill. Cecilia sprints forward into the CP were the sounds of fighting was coming from as well while shouts of 'Ambush' or 'attack' join the crescendo of noise. Cecilia rounds the Chimera to look into the CP to be greeted by the sight of about a squad of traitor Guardsmen massacring anyone in her command staff that had been at the CP, due to the surprise of the attack, their imagined safety and lack of training the PDF had barely put up a fight while they were gunned down or put to the bayonet. Cecilia had paused while she took in the situation taking a moment to decide on her best course of action when that is taken away from her by a shout from one of the traitors.
"Look! The Major! Get her!"
With that shout and the attention of the entire squad of the traitors, Cecilia grins at them while she unslings her power axe trying to hide the fear she feels while the traitors charge her. They have either spent their ammo or have been told to take her alive, though Cecilia wasn't too concerned about why they weren't shooting her and didn't feel like asking. The first of the traitors, the one that spotted her, leads the charge with his rifle held at waist height like all his training would have told him to. Cecilia uses this against him as she sidesteps the slash that all Guardsmen are taught to follow up a charge with. Before she swings her power axe and pulls towards her when she feels resistance to her swing. The Guardsman falls to his knees, his rifle dropped at his sides when he let go of it to hold his hands against his chest and the gaping wound that Cecilia had left, he holds on for a moment before the life slowly drains from his eyes, and he falls forward into the snow. He had already been forgotten by Cecilia as she moves onto her next target. Cecilia continues to be methodical with her actions while she runs on a mix of instinct and years of training. The second Guardsman falters slightly as he watches his squadmate getting dispatched in one blow before he lunges at Cecilia. Cecilia uses the head of her Power axe to knock the lasgun into the ground, causing the Guardsman holding it to stumble and lose his footing just when Cecilia brings the back of her Power Axe against his nose. Before she turns her axe around and delivers the killing blow across the back of his neck. With the brief moment, she has before the next Guardsman is in range she unholsters her bolt pistol and snaps off 4 shots dropping four of the traitors with shots to the chest which none of them would be getting up from, a bloody crater in their chest where the round detonated after piercing their flak armour. The four remaining traitors were not feeling too confident taking Cecilia on now after she had dispatched six of them with ease, but two of them nodded to each other and charged Cecilia together. Cecilia waits for the two of them to get close before she suddenly dives to the side, rolling under one of their lasguns, slashing with her Power axe at the exposed shins while she passes. The traitor she just attacked collapses to the ground in a scream of pain while the other run rounds on Cecilia to try and attack her again, keeping his range from her Power Axe. Cecilia sighs softly and goes to shoot him but just as she was going to do so, notices her Bolt pistol lying on the ground between her and the traitor. She readies her axe to charge him when suddenly lasgun bolts arc of the snowstorm that had come on in full during her fight, taking out the three remaining traitors. The one on the ground scrabbles to grab his lasgun before another round flies out of the night killing him.
Cecilia takes a deep breath, trying to control the adrenaline flowing through her system, while she sheathes her Power Axe and moves over to pick up her Bolt pistol.
"I had that under control, you know."
A small laugh comes out of the snow before Lt. Aloy steps into the light of the CP while movement just on the edge of the light show the troops she had led here fanning out to secure the area.
"Of course you did, just lending a hand."
Cecilia nods slightly before she turns to Aloy.
"What is the battlions situation? And why are you not with your Company?"
Aloy moves over to the map in the middle of the CP while her command squad does what it can to try and bring stuff back online.
"Not good Major, 6th Company has been forced back and so has the rest of the Battalion. They are squeezing the noose tighter and tighter, and 1st Company has been cut off from us."
Cecilia slams a fist into the table before she turns, lightly running a hand across her face.
"Frak this for a mess...Got a plan, you on the Vox. Tell every command to prepare to move out, the most critically wounded get on the transports first and then go from there anyone that can't fit in, runs or rides on top. Get the armour as well and tell them to get ready to punch as a hole to the south-west, there should be a path going through the woods towards the left flank of the 3rd Drop Brigade."
The Vox operator nods before they turn and start contacting the others on the Vox net.
"Sir, yes, sir."
"Lt. Get back your company, they are going to need you."
"Aye, aye Major. The Emperor protects."
Cecilia nods to Aloy as she sprints off into the night with people falling in behind her.
"Aye, the Emperor protects..."
Cecilia moves over to were her command Chimera is parked, turning on her illuminator while she does so. The moment it came on it would illuminate the commissar she had seen earlier during the assault on the hill lying face down in the snow, the unmistakable mark of a lasgun blast to the back still visible despite the snow covering his body. Whether he was killed by the traitors during the assault, genuine friendly fire or by one of the members of the squad he executed people from there is no sign. Cecilia shakes her head slightly while she jumps into the back of the command Chimera and jumps on the command net.
"This is 22 Actual to any receiving, how copy."
She pauses for a moment, waiting for a response.
"I say again, this is 22 Actual to any receiving, how copy."
She had almost put the handset back down when it suddenly crackles to life.
"This is 591 Holdfast Romeo to 22 Actual, we copy. Over."
"Solid copy 591 Romeo, do you have a status update on Charlie Charlie bravo? Over."
"Afirm, they have made it back to our lines. Over."
"Solid copy, be advised 22 has come under heavy attack. Multiple perimeter breaches, one company cut off. We are about to attempt to break out towards left flank of 3 Horsa. Over."
"Acknowledged, we will stand by to receive you over."
"Copy that 591, 22 Actual, out."
With that, Cecilia turns to look out of the back of her Chimera just when her command team run over to her.
"Major, all commands report ready to move out. 1st Company is going to attempt a break out as well."
"Copy that, give the word for the battalion to move out and follow the armour, and someone get us moving as well."
Her command team jump to it while Cecilia climbs up into the turret to be able to watch her Battalion moving out and look at the abandoned heavy equipment, burning or disabled vehicles and the mounds in the snow that show where people fell in the fighting. The 22nd led by A squadron of the 45th Armour manage to break out of the encirclement, the Leman Russes scattering any resistance, along with the threat of the heavy bolters and hull mounted heavy flamers on a number of the Chimeras. A number of the Chimeras and some of the Leman Russes would have infantry huddled together and hunkered down on the backs off them, trying to take shelter from the rounds filling the air.
The battered and bruised Battalion limps it's way through the snow towards friendly lines, and before long the persuing traitor forces have broken off, clearly not wanting to engage the main line just yet.
The Battalion crawls past the Caledonian Engineer battalion with a few cheers from the exhausted PDF while the convoy continues towards Brigade HQ were it will found out the hell the rest of the Loyalist forces defending Bastion have been through this night as, by the time they were reaching it, it was a new day.