As we continue our re-fighting of the Badab War, the Salamanders have had mixed results in their clashes with the Mantis Warriors around their landing zone and are in danger of getting pushed right back to their drop ships. However, the Marines Errant, arriving later in the invasion of Bellerophon’s Fall, have enjoyed many successes, forcing the Mantis Warriors to give ground at nearly every step.
With such momentum behind them, the Marines Errant ploughed through the Cygnus Valley to the first wilderness outpost of the Mantis Warriors. With little time to prepare, the Mantis Warriors deployed an elite force to stall the Marines Errant long enough to reinforce their defences.
The Marines Errant advanced down the valley on foot, but the Mantis Warriors were not fooled, having seen these slow-but-relentless tactics before. Their Captain held his ground alongside a Dreadnought and Attack Bike, as a Stormraven roared overhead to strafe the Marines Errant squads. However, the Marines Errant had their own ideas, as a Terminator and Assault Squad dropped into the Mantis Warrior’s rear position, destroying the Attack Bike before it could get its engine running, and putting the Captain on the back foot.
Responding in kind, the Mantis Warriors teleported a Terminator Assault Squad behind the Marines Errant Tactical and Devastator Squads, led by a Librarian. They immediately set about disrupting one Tactical Squad, and forced the Marines Errant Chaplain to retreat before their Thunder Hammers and Librarian’s powerful abilities. Things went from bad to worse as the Stormraven swooped in to drop off another Dreadnought, then took to the skies again to trade missiles with the Devastator Squad.
A pitched battle erupted around the old comms array as the two forces clashed. The Mantis Warriors’ Terminators started to take casualties but the Marines Errant were unprepared for a Librarian and Dreadnought in their midst, and their losses started to mount.
Further away, the Marines Errant Terminators were crushed by a Dreadnought which, in turn, was wrecked by the Assault Squad who also knocked the Mantis Warriors’ Captain to the ground.
Firing their jump packs, the Assault Squad tried to aid the Tactical Squads, but it was too late. The Stormraven of the Mantis Warriors dropped into a hover and used its weapons to support the Dreadnought, Librarian and last Thunder Hammer-armed Terminator around the comms array. In a hail of Storm Bolter fire, the last members of the Assault Squad were shot down, leaving an eerie quiet over the battlefield.
The Mantis Warriors had been successful in stalling the Marines Errant, but it was only a temporary reprieve, for the main force of the Loyalists was close by and already moving in. However, time had been purchased, albeit at great cost, which the Mantis Warriors intended to use in preparing a solid defence against the Marines Errant inevitable assault.