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Battle of 47-16

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The Battle of 47-16
Conflict Great Crusade
Date M30
Location 47-16
Outcome Imperial Victory
Combatants
47th Expeditionary Fleet Scions of the Storm
Commanders
Lorgar Aurelian
Kor Phaeron
Sor Talgron
Argel Tal
The Hierarch (KIA)
Strength
6 Companies of Word Bearers
Legio Cybernetica cohorts
5 Adeptus Custodes
Titan demi-legio
large numbers of Artificial Intelligence war machines
Losses/Survivors
over 100 Word Bearers slain
1 Titan destroyed
total extermination; est. two hundred million inhabitants slain
all Artificials destroyed

The Battle of 47-16 was a compliance action that took place around forty years before the Battle of Isstvan V, and some short period of time after the Sacking of Monarchia. It is notable for being the first military action of the Word Bearers Space Marine Legion after their chastisement by the Emperor of Mankind upon the world of Monarchia, and for the marked change in approach taken by the Word Bearers and their Primarch Lorgar Aurelian to enacting the compliance actions of the Great Crusade.[1][2a]

Prelude

After the chastisement of Monarchia, Lorgar locked himself away from this legion and expedition fleet for a full month, only speaking to Kor Phaeron and Erebus, stilling all operations and coming to a conclusion about the future of his legion. The discovery of 47-16 prompted action, and first contact with the world took place.[1]

The human inhabitants of 47-16 could trace their history back for over four thousand years of separation from any other human civilisation, and had come to think of Terra as a myth. As a result, they were overjoyed when the Word Bearers envoys, led by First Captain Kor Phaeron, arrived. The First Captain's initial impression, however, was less positive. He reported back that the entire population were heathen idolators and considered them beyond redemption. While some of the senior commanders at the briefing (such as Sor Talgron) believed that the populace could be re-educated into belief in the Emperor, Kor Phaeron thought they should be exterminated. The First Captain, along with Erebus, communicated the news to their primarch, who finally emerged from his seclusion. Announcing that, in the light of the Emperor's proclamation that the Word Bearers moved too slowly in the Great Crusade, the world was to made compliant quickly, Lorgar unleashed the full combat potential of the 47th Expedition upon the waiting world.[1]

The Storm

In a demonstration of future intent, Lorgar ordered the full-scale planetary bombardment of 47-16. For twelve hours the expedition fleet vessels fired upon the surface, striking it with every major weapon system available, from cyclonic torpedoes to massed energy strikes, slaying an estimated 190 million people. Only one city on the entire planet survived the bombardment, protected by a coruscating energy field of exotic nature. This was the capital city of the world, and location of their palace-temple (which was as large as a city itself). As Lorgar had ordered the execution of the entire populace, a ground strike of five companies of Word Bearers was unleashed. The defenders proved to have exotic energy weapons as well as defences, when weaponised lighting bolts reached up from the ground and struck several Stormbirds and drop pods from the air, killing a hundred Word Bearers in a moment.[1]

The other Legionaries of Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, Seventeenth and Thirty-Fourth Companies all landed safely and began their assault towards the protective energy dome. [1]

Thirty-Fourth Company, under the command of Sor Talgron, landed five kilometres from the dome, in the ruined outskirts. It transpired that, while the ashen remains of the inhabitants proved their efficacy against flesh, the fleet's weapons had done little catastrophic damage to much of the architecture; 47-16's buildings were largely made out of a peculiar material that resisted weapons-fire. Unfortunately for the invaders, the defenders of 47-16 were made of the same stuff and possessed their own, smaller, directional energy fields. 47-16's capital was protected by a sizable force of Artificial Intelligence constructs, large, tri-legged lighting throwers in the main. The lighting bolts discharged from their weapons were strong enough to kill an Astartes in a single strike, not to mention pierce the armour of both Predators and Land Raiders, while they themselves were extremely difficult for the Word Bearers to kill, being highly resistant to bolt weapons and chainswords. Land Speeders, not long issued to the Word Bearers, proved effective, their speed allowing them to avoid the ponderous attacks of the Artificials.[1]

The energy-shield was no weaker against ground weapons than orbital-based, but one of Talgron's Sergeants, a certain Kol Badar, quickly analysed the situation and recommended the destruction of several nearby power spires, theorising that they were helping generate or maintain the shield somehow. While the bulk of the Word Bearers' forces concentrated on trying to bring down the shield with constant shelling (and the occasional directed orbital strike), Thirty-Fourth Company concentrated on bringing down three of these spires. This proved to have a small effect on the shield, blowing a hole in it that lasted long enough for Sor Talgron to lead one assault squad inside. They immediately headed directly for the palace-temple.[1]

Making their way inside unopposed, Talgron and his squad discovered where the surviving citizenry were located; they were all inside the massive central meeting space of the building, apparently at prayer. Ordering his men not to engage, Talgron identified the priest-figure that had to be the leader, and engaged him in discourse, ordering him to direct a complete surrender. The priestly leader in turn showed Talgron the trappings of his religion, and to the Word Bearer's experienced sense where religious motifs were concerned, it became shockingly clear that the people of 47-16 worshiped a god that could be interpreted as none other than the Emperor. Talgron instantly realised that they could be converted not only into Imperial citizens easily, but the type of citizens the Word Bearers previously sought to create; adherents to the belief that the Emperor was Divine. He immediately requested that both sides cease fire, which was duly arranged, and Sor Talgron's discovery communicated to Lorgar.[1]

Kor Phaeron and one hundred Terminators of his First Company teleported into the meeting space, taking up a perimeter all around the survivors, before Lorgar and Erebus teleported in to speak to the priest and examine Sor Talgron's findings. Talgron explained the lightning-lord worship of the world could easily be turned to worship of the lighting-bolt bedecked Emperor, and that the populace were already interested; they had somehow obtained a copy of the Lectitio Divinitatus. Lorgar considered Talgron's words, but revealed that his thoughts upon the Divine had progressed beyond what he had once written in the Lectitio, and that he was planning a new book to illuminate the subject. Dismissing the possibility of sparing the nascent Emperor-worshipers, Lorgar gave the signal; Erebus murdered the priest, while Kor Phaeron's Terminators opened fire on the helpless citizens, mowing them all down, apparently completing the extermination of the planetary populace. Shocked, Sor Talgron was taken into the confidence of his Primarch and told of how the Emperor's actions in chastising the legion had caused this event to happen, and that perhaps the old beliefs of Colchis held more relevance for the Word Bearers now.[1]

The execution of the planetary leaders and the bringing down of the power field did not deactivate the Artificials. Word Bearers forces scoured the glass city for them, taking them down with some difficulty (though it was discovered that they were vulnerable to power weapons). As a result, it was with some consternation that a force from Seventh Company discovered that there was a superior form of Artifical unit they dubbed a "king", but which was rapidly codified as an Obsidian unit, when more were discovered. It was at this point that permission was given for the Legio Cybernetica units allied to the Word Bearers to engage. The Imperial robots ultimately proved superior to the Artificials. It was not long after this engagement that warriors of Seventh Company also discovered that part of the Adeptus Custodes unit assigned to the 47th Expedition had decided to take to the field and aid the Word Bearers in their extermination of the Artificial Intelligence war machines. Argel Tal of the Seventh then chose to lead a Word Bearers squad to fight alongside the Custodes for the remainder of the battle.[2a]

Aftermath

At the end of the long day of fighting, Lorgar summoned his entire legion to the surface, in order to address them all concerning their future, in the continuing aftermath of the events on Monarchia. The sworn honorary members of the Legion amongst the robot cohorts were allowed to stay, but the Adeptus Custodes were pointedly excluded, by threat of force.[2a]

Sources