Crusade of Thunder
| Captain Darnath Lysander
Sergeant Tor Garadon
| 3rd Imperial Fists Company
~100,000 Imperial Guard
The Crusade of Thunder was an Imperial Crusade against the Orks of the Magor Rift. The Imperial Fists 3rd Company under Lysander (who had been temporarily demoted due to his controversial actions during the Invasion of Taladorn) led the effort.
The Orks of the Magor Rift had been a growing threat for several years and it fell to the newly reformed Imperial Fists 3rd company (which suffered heavily during the Taladorn campaign) under Lysander to lead an effort against them. The Company consisted of 60 Battle-Brothers, primarily drawn from Reserve Companies as well as Scouts but also a core of veterans under Lysander and the stern Chaplain Markov. Two Dreadnoughts, Conrath and Makan were attached to the new 3rd Company as heavy support. The Company, operating from the Battle Barge Storm of Wrath, was reinforced by thirty Centurion warsuits, several Predators and Vindicators, a Land Raider, Stormtalons, and three Scout Squads.[1a]
During their transit in the Warp, Lysander used the time to train, hone, and prepare the newly assembled forces for their upcoming mission. By the time they entered the Magor Rift they were ready. When the Imperial fleet arrived outside Kalin II they discovered that the Ork attack on the Magor Rift had been going on far longer than anticipated. On the planet they found that the Cadian 95th Battle Group in bitter combat against the Greenskins while Imperial Navy warships battled to maintain a blockade against Ork Kroozers. Of the one hundred thousand Guardsman originally deployed to Kalin II's surface, only three thousand still remained and most of the planet was in Ork hands. Without delay, Lysander immediately set about to reconquering Kalin by deploying Strike Force Anvil, which contained the bulk of the 3rd Company's Tactical Squads as well as its Stormtalons and battle tanks. Meanwhile, Sergeant Tor Garadon led Strike Force Hammer into Kalin II's wasteland.[1b]
The Imperial Fists struck towards the vast Ork factories now sprawling the planets surface around Shivanol, one of the last locations still in Imperial hands. While the 3rd Company maintained the defense of Shivanol, Garadon's forces, led by Centurions, struck at the Ork factories. Garadon managed to destroy the power reactors powering Ork defensive gun batteries around the complex, escaping by Thunderhawk before an orbital bombardment ravaged the area. Total casualties during this operation were several Tactical Marines and Centurions and two Scouts. In the meantime, Lysander's demi-company lost a Predator and Chaplain Markov was wounded in the eye. However the loss of the Ork factories turned the tide of the battle, and soon after the Ork Warboss was defeated on the Gansha Plains beneath Lysander's Thunder hammer.[1b]
The Imperial Fists next set a course for Viashan System. Lysander ordered the Storm of Wrath out of the Warp early to conduct reconnaissance on the system edge, discovering a massive Ork fleet around Viashan I, the only planet in the system that could sustain life. Worse still, a massive Ork Starfort was in orbit around the planet. With the Greenskin forces too vast to dislodge entirely from the Viashan system, Lysander decided that the Ork space station would be their target. Launching from Caestus Assault Rams and Thunderhawks, the Imperial Fists used the Storm of Wrath as a distraction to allow the assault craft to land on the starfort safely. While the Storm of Wrath withdrew and took with it a chunk of the Ork fleet in pursuit, the 3rd Company landed in the docking bay with a spectacular explosion. On the starforts command deck, Warboss Gormok saw the commotion and sought out the intruders. Meanwhile, Lysander and a force or Dreadnoughts and Centurions led the way, smashing through all resistance they encountered. Fortunately for the Imperial Fists, the confines of the station prevented the Greenskins from using their overwhelming numbers to their full advantage. The Marines encountered their first real resistance at the junction between the docking spur and the main body of the station. Here hundreds of Orks attempted an ambush but were met by tenacious Imperial Fists resistance despite the suffering of casualties, particularity to energy weapons that were unusually efficient and effective for Greenskin design. Lysander took down an incoming Deff Dread amid a new wave of Greenskins. Following this failed counterattack, Gormork prepared his last stand on his command deck.[1b]
Under a heavy shielded escort of Centurions and Lysander, Techmarine Karazan moved to the stations control panel. The Orks threw themselves at the Imperial Fists while Karazan did his work, and the Marines began to run out of ammunition and face being overwhelmed. However eventually Karazan succeeded in activating the stations thrusters to plunge the fort into Viashan I, and it became apparent to Gormork that the station was lost. The Warboss drove himself at the Imperial Fists in a fit of joyful rage, ripping a Centurion apart before being manged by an Imperial Fists Siege Drill. The Imperial Fists made their escape by Thunderhawk as the station collided with Viashan I. The Thunderhawk rendezvous with the Storm of Wrath, which finally lost its Ork pursuers. With the Ork fleet network in disarray, the Imperial Navy could begin a reconquest of the system.[1b]
The Crusade of Thunder itself later ended with the Fall of Malodrax.