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Taros Campaign

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Taros Campaign
Tau forces move on Taros
Conflict Third Sphere of Expansion
Date 998.M41
Location Taros System
Outcome Tau victory
Imperium of Man Tau Empire
Lord Commander Otto Ivan Gustavus
Lord Marshal De Stael
Captain Armaros
Captain Orelius
Captain Kaedes
Commissar Mordred Van Horcic
Admiral Kotto
High Magos Zadakine Volta
Princeps Jernay
Colonel Scheja
Provisioner-Prime Nymus Dree
Air Marshal Denvelt
Deacon Gotz
Curator Skel
Commander Longknife
Aun'vre (KIA)
Governor Aulis
See Order of Battle See Order of Battle
10,000 Killed
15,000 wounded
20,000 Captured
350 tanks
700 APCs
200 artillery pieces
1 Light Cruiser
8 Escorts
1 Battleship
8 Escorts

Occurring in 998.M41[1a], precipitated by The Denab Incident[1b], the Taros Campaign pitched Imperial forces against the Taros Planetary Defence Forces, the Tau, and their Kroot mercenary allies in a series of battles over the planet Taros, known as T'ros to the Tau.[Needs Citation]



Prior to the campaign, Planetary Governor Aulis, head of the Taros government, developed friendly trading relations with the Tau, and sought to defect to the Tau Empire with the support of much of the planetary population.[1c]

First Taros Intervention

When his treachery was unveiled, the Avenging Sons Space Marines were called upon to assassinate Governor Aulis in what was to be the First Taros Intervention. The Avenging Sons were unable to carry out the assignment after suffering tremendous losses including one Dreadnought at the hands of the Tau forces already assigned to protect the capital Tarokeen and the governor.[1d] Following the assassination attempt the Tau officially annexed Taros while the Imperium decided on full-scale invasion to rectify the situation.[1e]


Assembling a moderately sized force under the command of Lord Commander Otto Ivan Gustavus, the bulk of Imperial forces were organized into the 4621st Imperial Guard Army under 'Chief of Arms' De Stael. Imperial planning was initiated thanks to Adeptus Mechanicus reconnaissance missions but hindered by bureaucratic red tape and infighting between various Imperial services. The invasion took almost a year to organize and launch.[1e]

At 2392998.M41 the Taros Intervention Force was activated, and after three weeks of Warp travel arrived in the Taros system. The first Imperial troops on Taros were elements from the Raptors who were assigned with disabling the planets Missile Silos. Aided by an orbital bombardment from their Battle Barge War Talon, the Raptors landed Battle-Brothers aided by Scout Squad mapping. The Raptors first target, Missile Silo Decima, quickly fell while the second silo was destroyed as soon as the first. Tau Human collaborator forces were overwhelmed and fled while the Raptors only suffered 1 dead and 17 wounded (5 seriously). With the missile silos disabled, the main Imperial invasion commenced. Reeling from the Raptors attack, the Collaborator PDF did not resist the Imperial landings. Soon days went by as the Imperials consolidated their landing zone and no sign of the enemy was seen.[1f]

After two weeks of buildup unmolested, the Imperials made their move to capture Taros' capital of Tarokeen as well as the planets primary starport. Using Tallarn Guardsmen, a long hot trek across the desert began as the Imperials advanced towards their objectives, aided by Imperial Navy airpower and artillery strikes. However these bombardments did little, as the Tau's hidden Pathfinder and Stealthsuit teams were unaffected and still waiting to meet the Imperial thrust. The first pitched battle of the war took place at Tungusta Station where the Tallarn 17th Regiment battled Tau Pathfinder units. The Tau used their Seeker Missiles to destroy several Leman Russ Battle Tanks before their reinforcements and Barracuda air support arrived and forced an Imperial withdrawal. When the Imperials returned hours later under cover of darkness and Basilisk artillery, the Tau had already left. The Tau repeated this pattern of small-scale engagements during the Imperial advance, gradually weakening and exhausting the invasion forces before withdrawing.[1i]

As the Imperials continued to slowly advance northwards amid constant skirmishes and water shortages, a pitched tank battle erupted at the Phyrra Heights. After five failed attempts to capture the heights from Kroot forces the offensive stalled, forcing De Stael to commit a fresh attack elsewhere on the front. In the resulting Battle of Gladamak, the Imperial forces emerged victorious after forcing a Tau withdrawal. In the aftermath of the battle the Tau started to infiltrate deep into enemy territory, using Orca-dropped Pathfinders and Stealth teams to target the Imperials supply dumps under cover of darkness. By 640998.M41 the Tarokeen Offensive had ground to a halt. The Tau took the initiative, using an elite Fire Warrior team under Shas'el K'irri to destroy Imperial airstrips.[1i]

Battle for the Taros System

Meanwhile, a battle began to erupt in the space above Taros itself. A Tau fleet slipped into the Taros system unnoticed, beginning a long game of hide and seek with the Imperial Navy. The first major space confrontation was the Battle of Troop Convoy Alpha-Four, which saw a Tau fleet of Five Castellan Class Frigates attack an Imperial supply convoy. In the ensuing battle the Tau were successful at causing heavy Imperial troop transport losses and withdrew, causing more capital ships to give chase to them. Meanwhile the Cruiser Righteous Power began a hunt for the Tau Battleship A'rho'. After a long pursuit and several skirmishes, the Imperials were successful in destroying the vessel though both sides paid a heavy price.[1f]

Operation Comet

After 42 days of war, supply shortages and Tau raiding had stalled the offensive. A new Imperial plan was agreed upon, utilizing Elysian Drop Troops to seize Taros' hydro-farms and controlling the planets water supply. Dubbed Operation Comet, it was a daring plan fraught with dangers that involved striking deep behind Tau lines. The Elysians and Stormtroopers were dropped from Valkyrie's to assault Hydro-Processing Plant 23-30. After hard fighting, the plant was captured and on the second day the Tau responded with Mantas to retake Plant 23-30 as Barracuda fighters assaulted the Imperial gunships. After a bombardment by Tigersharks, the Tau made a major armored thrust with Hammerheads and Devilfish. A vicious firefight erupted as the Drop Troops were reinforced by Imperial Navy fighters. A Tau siege of the plant soon set in.[1j]

On the third day of the fighting the Imperial Navy was too bogged down with Tau air elements to assist, and the xenos closed in to finish the job and retake the plant. After the Imperial Colonel Balach refused a Tau request of surrender, the Elysians were annihilated. However General Scykava was captured by the Tau, the highest ranking Imperial official taken in the war. Syckava flatly refused the offer of Ethereal Aun'Vre to join with the Tau Empire and lead Human auxiliary forces.[1j]

Meanwhile, Raptors Space Marine forces backed by Warhound Titans of the Legio Ignatum began a make offensive to breakthrough the Tau lines and reinforce the forces at plant 23-30. The Titan-led attack was initially successful, but a Tiger Shark's missile and Railgun barrage managed to destroy the Warhound Advensis Primaris. Nonetheless the Imperial advance was not halted, and as the Space Marines cleared the way Imperial Guard raced forwards. The Guard forces encountered many Tau ambushes, stalling the operation. An attempted Imperial desperate push with fast Salamander Scout vehicles failed, and the Imperial Guard forces were forced to withdraw.[1j]

Operation Deathblow

Following the failure of Operation Hydra, Lord Commander Gustavus and Lord Marshal De Stael were relieved of command by Commissar-General Mordred Van Horcic. After having most of the commanders staff arrested the Commissar took command of the war effort himself, shortening the Imperial front to reduce the over-stretched supply lines.[1k]

Meanwhile General Syckava organized a prisoner uprising at a Tau POW camp manned by human collaborators. Syckava and several men managed to escape, attempting a harsh trek through the desert to reach Imperial lines. As he succumb to thirst and fell unconscious, he was recovered by Imperial patrols. Syckava told the Imperials of the Ethereal he had met, and now knowing the Tau Supreme Headquarters a new plan was devised: Operation Deathblow.[1k]

Targeting the Tau Ethereal in an attempt to decapitate the xenos hierarchy, the Imperials deployed a member of the Officio Assassinorum's Eversor Temple. The berserker assassin managed to self-destruct inside the Tau command bunker, killing the Ethereal. Meanwhile Valkyrie-born Stormtroopers assaulted the rest of the headquarters. However the Tau regrouped and became enraged by the loss of their leader, and the Stormtroopers fought to the end.[1k]


Now infuriated, the Tau began an offensive that targeted the falling-back Imperial Guard. The withdrawal of the Tallarn Regiments soon turned into a rout. With the situation collapsing, the Imperial evacuation from Taros was authorized on 718998.M41. The Imperials began to fall back to their landing zone, targeted by Tau patrol and aircraft. The evacuation became chaos, with troops fighting for any available transport space as Commissar and Stormtroopers tried to keep order. The Raptors Space Marines arrived to reinforce the shrinking Imperial perimeter, holding the line until the evacuation was complete.[1k]

With the Imperials having abandoned Taros, the planet was renamed T'ros by the Tau. The Tau converted the planet into a mining station.[1k]

Imperial Order of Battle

The Imperial Order of Battle consisted of[1h]:

Taros Intervention Force

4621st Imperial Army

X Corp

XI Corp

Adeptus Astartes

Imperial Navy

  • Fleet-Ground Liaison Teams: 5
  • Fighter Wings: 4 (83rd, 386th, 1002nd, 2774th)
  • Bomber Wings: 2 (501st, 2424th)
  • Tactical Wings: 1 (71st)

Total Air Assets: 78 (36 Thunderbolt Fighters, 24 Marauder Bombers, 18 Valkyries)

Adeptus Mechanicus

Legio Titanicus

Departmento Munitorium

  • Labour Corp: 2
  • Engineer Corp: 2
  • Supply Columns: 78

Officio Assassinorium

  • Agents: CLASSIFIED



  • Mortuary Teams: 16
  • Adeptus Archivists: 18
  • Statistician Teams: 42

Imperial Invasion Fleet

Capital Ships

Escort Squadrons


  • Armed Transport Imperius Javelin
  • Armed Transport Imperius Gauntlet
  • Armed Transport Imperius Anvil
  • 'Armed Transport 'Graf Derzki
  • Transport Prince Maud
  • Transport Marcouf
  • Transport Saint Macree
  • Transport Isolde
  • Transport Son of Jucha
  • Heavy Transport Colossia
  • Heavy Transport Piety
  • Heavy Transport Kagul
  • Heavy Tanker Empress of Svedeg
  • Behemoth Class Titan Transport Honorous Rex

Tau Order of Battle

The Tau Order of Battle consisted of[1g]:

Tau Fire Caste Army

Air Caste Contingent

Taros Planetary Defence Forces

  • Over 8,000 soldiers

Tarosian Mining Work Gangs

Tau Fleet

Capital Ships