3/564/942.M41 – Hades Defiant

Invasion + 6 months: Cometh the Hour...

The inimitable Commissar Yarrick, at the head of the Rough Riders 3rd Brigade, stands defiant in the face of Ugulhardz Chargers.

Timeline: 3/564/942.M41 [+6 months – Game turn 3]

Ork forces consolidate their positions round Infernus and Helsreach, and start moving south. An offensive is launched towards Acheron hive, but is turned back by the timely arrival of the Space Marines. Hades is surrounded, but continues to hold out, supplied by specially adapted shuttles. This resistance proves to be vital, as more and more Orks are drawn into the siege, allowing Imperial forces elsewhere a vital breathing space.

Strategic disposition: 3/540/942.M41

Several key events marked this stage of the war. Its context is detailed further in the article on the Timeline of the Second Armageddon War.
  • The Astartes make planetfall, providing the Steel Legion and their allies with crucial time to steady their constant retreats.
  • Von Strab was unseated from his leadership role, with Commander Luis Dante of the Blood Angels taking command.
  • Following the battle of the Helsreach peninsula and fall of Hive Helsreach, the Evil Suns move to occupy the central southern region.
  • The Goffs move en masse towards Acheron. Ghazghkull at their head.
  • Commissar Yarrick inspires the defenders of Hades Hive to stave off seemingly impossible odds, stymieing the Bad Moons' efforts to crush resistance in the north.
With two hives fallen to the orks and a third besieged, the war was at a critical juncture. It can perhaps be best summarised as the stage at which Imperial forces braced to stem the formerly runaway tide. 

Grork da Shoota

Von Strab saw this as an unalloyed victory – the point at which the orks were to be brought to battle and driven back – but Commanders Dante, Calgar and Tu'Shan were all too familiar with the ork's modus operandi. Stronger resistance and stiffening defensive lines meant little more that the fighting would enter a new and more brutal stage. Stemming the tide would simply increase the pressure on Armageddon – unless an outlet could be found.


Imperial reinforcements

Six months had provided the Imperium with sufficient time to gather the veteran survivors of the forces broken at the Palidus Line, and to replenish, rearm and train the new Regiments that made up these Army Groups. 

Stratgeo-ikons of the Army Groups that entered – or re-entered – the field during this period.

Forces such as the Fighting First (1st Steel Legion Army Group), the Firesweep (6th Steel Legion Army Group) and the High-and-Dries (7th Steel Legion Army Group) re-entered the field during this period, fresh blood being stiffened and guided by vengeful and resourceful Veteran forces – sometime embedded squads, but also entire Regiments of grizzled soldiers eager to meet the orks in battle on more even terms.

Lost materiel was repaired or replenished to ensure the field Armies were able to serve.

Such was the power of Armageddon's industrial might and vast population that the Steel Legion were also able to bring entirely new forces to battle the invaders, and the inspired leadership of Hades meant that the entire hive became fortified.



A gathering of might at the Hem–skel Manufactory complex.

Under Calgar's gimlet gaze, the forces of the southern region gathered. With the 9th redeployed in haste to Hades, it fell to the newly reconstituted 1st and 6th Army Groups to march north along the Hemlock alongside the Ultramarines. Of these, the 1st had absorbed the cream of the reinforcements, for they had been rebuilding since the loss of Infernus. In contrast, the 6th had been forced to rebuild around the shattered survivors who had made their way along the coast following the fall of Heslreach. For some of them, scarce weeks had gone by.

Ultramarine Devastator of the 2nd Company.

Speed was of the essence. Calgar intended to prevent the advance forces of the Evil Suns from crossing the river and threatening Tartarus itself. The Ultramarines' Chaper Master was also highly cognisant that the staunch but tiny forces of the Assault Corps were all that protected Ordinatus Armageddon from a disastrous opportunistic strike. Speed was of the essence if the critical War Engine was to play a role in the coming war.

One of the 62nd Regiment's many eccentricities exposed upon their return to Imperial lines was the use of 'scalpers'. Fashioned in ramshackle field workshops, much to the consternation of techpriests, these these large, broad, and heavy blades could sever an ork's limb or head with a single good overhead stroke. As the war raged on, the adoption of scalpers became more widespread amongst the 6th Army as a whole, owing to the blades' lethal efficacy and their usage to clear brush.

At the request of Commander Dante, Tu'Shan deployed his Salamanders in the baking central region to provide steel to the critical confluence of the Plutus-Hemlock region. The rejuvenated 2nd and 7th were deployed to this area, too.

Salamanders of 2nd Company alongside members of 7th Army Group.

As for the Blood Angels, Dante wasted no time in gathering a force that would be able to strike swiftly. Recognising that the orks would not be defeated in a head-on confrontation, he instead gathered the Steel Legion's best and brightest in the megafactories of the Cocytus Waste Desert, where they prepared for an audacious strike to divide the orks in two. 

Planetstrike! On the orders of Captain Castigon, Company Veteran Sergeant Cassiel 'The Bitter' leads the 4th Company of the Blood Angels onto the surface of the war-torn world of Armageddon.

Hellhound squadrons were invaluable additions to the 2nd Tank Division, helping to prevent the orks from establishing footholds in the megamanufactories and settlements they captured.

Despite the numbers of Steel Legion Regiments now able to be put into the field, it was still not enough to protect everywhere. A number of manufacturing collosso-urbations were left to look to their own protection, as was Hive Tartarus. Even Hive Acheron, much more exposed than its southern neighbour, could not be afforded a standing defence army, as their Thunderbolts (the 9th Army Group) and the 2nd Brigade were tasked with monitoring and holding a colossal front around the Hive. 

9th army 604th Regiment Armour on patrol under the watchful eyes of a Commissar tank-commander.

Hades had, through the actions of Marshal Leichenberg, avoided too much damage early on – but that pyrrhic victory had also robbed the Hive of all but its garrisoned defenders. The governor of Hades hive, already swamped under the fallout of the invasion and its effects on the economy of the Hive, was all too glad to delegate the overseeing of the defensive preparations to the Steel Legion of the 8th Army as they arrived in the Hive, carried by the largest flotilla of Arvus lighters and shuttles seen since the invasion.

Members of the 88th Regiment, 8th Army Group, arrive in Hades Hive. 


Key battles of the period

Strategic position at week 25 post-invasion.

Strategic position at week 28 post-invasion.

Battle of Helsreach

The fate of Helsreach is detailed in articles on the battle for the Helsreach peninsula and the fall of Hive Helsreach itself.

Vroomfang's Scorchas, the Sorefoot Sloggaz and Ugulmak's Red Skull Tramplaz were involved in the assault on Helsreach – not all would survive as strategic considerations as many of the Evil Suns paused to loot the Hive, the mobs disappearing for extended periods of time.

Helsreach burns.

Buzuruuk da Eadbiter


Battle of the Hemlock Estuary

Crossing via Thunderhawk in the dead of night, the Ultramarines were able to secure the west bank of the Hemlock without resistance.

As the Adeptus Mechanicus finally managed to get Ordinatus Armageddon mobile, and evacuating northwards, the Ultramarines, Firesweep and Fighting First launched an unexpected assault across the rvier, catching the Shreddaz of Zag and Rokkit Rampage Racers unexpectedly. While the Bike Boyz formation were able to evacuate in short order, the Shreddaz were torn to pieces by the unexpected ferocity of the assault.

The Rokkit Rampage Racers were able to make a 'taktikul retreat' to the westernmost regions of the megafactory complex, leaving their erstwhile allies to the tender mercies of the 1st and 6th Army Groups.

A Triumphant 1st Army Command Leman Russ rumbles through the liberated streets.


Stygies Crossing
A bruising defeat for the Imperial forces, this battle demonstrated to any doubters that Ghazghkull's personal mastery of warfare was exemplary.

In an attempt to keep the plains open for supply lines and refugees, Tu'Shan had moved part of his forces forward, leaving the 2nd Army encamped to protect the Plutus-Hemlock region. Ghazghkull himself led Zuggluk's Krusha mob, Ugraks's Uglies and the Bully Boyz across the Stygies to battle Tu'Shan's Salamanders and the High-and-Dries of the 7th Army Group.

Over seven days of near-constant fighting, the Imperials were driven northwards in an extended fighting retreat along the course of the Stygies, before finally outpacing their pursuers and crossing the river to encamp. Losses amongst the 7th Army were prevented from becoming too high only through the Salamanders' sacrifice. More than two hundred of the hardened sons of Vulkan were rendered combat ineffective.

The overstretched Salamanders were forced to pull back and utilise fortifications previously held by the 7th, as marked by the white thunderbolt on green field device on the bunker.


The Siege of Hades

The Northern forces saw the Bad Moons gradually tightening their noose around Hades. A brave sally by the Thunderbolts and 2nd Rough Rider Brigade saw a heavy trade, but the Imperials were pushed back.

The Diablo mountains had split the Bad Moons, but they were determined to surround the hive.

Even while the fighting to the south was raging, Hades itself came under attack. The 3rd Rough Rider Brigade moved to engage an errant Snakebite force that would later become famed across both greenskin and Imperial history: Ugulhardz Chargers.

The Junkyard Dogs formed the bulk of the forces on the coast, but both they and Kaptin Flash's Ard Nutz were caught off-guard by the assault of a mass of Mad Boyz gathered and directed by Warboss Ugulhard; whose whooping and hollering horde massacred the unfortunate Rough Riders, gaining a crucial foothold on the northern banks of the River Eumedies, within striking distance of Hades itself. With the river cut off and the coast blockaded by Mega-Admiral Snazdakka's Dirt-Armada, the Hive now had only a tenuous connection to the rest of Armageddon.

Bad Moon tank column of the Junkyard Dogs.


Pallidus Peaks Blitz

Undoubtedly the crowning achievement of the Imperial counterattack was a series of rolling assaults spearheaded by Commander Dante and the Blood Angels. With the 2nd Tank Division and 1st Rough Rider Brigade following along behind them, the Blood Angels took advantage of the orks moving northwards to harry their supply lines – before striking across the River Diabolus to scatter a Bad Moons horde, caught by surprise.

Holding position, the Imperials gather their strength to push onwards and relieve Hades Hive.


Strategic position at week 33 post-invasion.


  1. Love the latest format. It's easier to follow what is happening.


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