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Battle of Beta-Garmon

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Battle of Beta-Garmon
Titandeath.jpg
Titans battle in the Beta-Garmon campaign
Conflict Horus Heresy
Date 006-0011.M31 (First Phase)
012-013.M31 (Second Phase)
Location Beta-Garmon Star Cluster
Outcome Traitor victory
Combatants
Traitors Imperium
Commanders
Warmaster Horus Lupercal(WIA)
Captain Horus Aximand
Captain Falkus Kibre
Dark Apostle Vorrjuk Kraal
Magos Ardim Protos
Princeps Terent Harrtek
Primarch Sanguinius
Primarch Jaghatai Khan
First Captain Raldoron
Guard Commander Azkaellon
Captain Nassir Amit
Lord General Bollivar
Princeps Mohana Mankata VI(KIA)
Strength
See Order of Battle See Order of Battle
Losses/Survivors
Massive
billions of civilians
Massive


The Battle of Beta-Garmon, also known as the Great Slaughter of Beta-Garmon and Titandeath[5], was a battle of the Horus Heresy.

History

First Phase

The first phase of the war began on 634006.M31 shortly after the Drop Site Massacre when Alpha Legion Cruisers entered the strategically important Beta-Garmon Star Cluster. A campaign of assassination and sabotage by the Alpha Leigon paved way for the Emperor's Children who sought to win the favor of Fulgrim by bringing Beta-Garmon II to heel. Meanwhile, elements of the Legio Mortis' Reaper Maniple swept alway loyalist Nemesis Brigade Imperial Army defending Nyrcon City. Nyrcon and the orbiting Star Fort The Anvil are taken and the Cluster is declared for Horus. Many of the star cluster's planets fall into civil war between traitor and loyalist factions.[8]

Between 376007-779010.M31 traitor forces bombard the rest of the Cluster with countless attacks as the worlds fight amongst themselves. They are sometimes aided by both the Legiones Astartes and Collegia Titanica elements of both sides. Events such as the Great Starvation, Soul Plague of Theta-Garmon V, and the Rain of Plasma are all wrought during these years of strife.[8]

In 521007.M31 many loyalist elements including Space Marines and Titan assets become trapped in the Cluster due to the advent of the Ruinstorm. These trapped forces lend their strength to loyalist forces against a steady supply of traitor reinforcements.

In 780010.M31 Rogal Dorn ordered a sizable detachment of Imperial Fists and Salamanders to engage the Emperor's Children garrison at Nyrcon City on Beta-Garmon II while Solar Auxilia Regiments supported by the newly raised Garmonite-Theta Battalions lay siege to the equatorial fortress cities of the rest of the world. On Beta-Garmon III, the Warp Runners send their Verdis Maniple against the Legio Mortis maniple defending Caldera Prime. Months of fighting sees thousands dead and dozens of Titans lost, though for now the traitors' hold on Beta-Garmon II and III is broken.[8]

In 138012.M31 the Ruinstorm finally began to fade due to the Second Battle of Davin. This allows for a steady stream of loyalist reinforcements to begin to muster in the Cluster. The intensity of the fighting increases, with traitor forces finding themselves reinforcements by regiments and vessels from nearby star systems while many more Imperial troops turn traitor in hopes of sparing themselves from the rumored imminent arrival of Horus himself. On Beta-Garmon III, the Warp Runners Warlord Titan Gloria Rega brutally puts down a traitor uprising among Caldera Primsus' citizenry.[8]

In 277012.M31, raider vanguard fleets acting as the harbingers of Horus' armada begin to arrive in the Star Cluster. Largely ignoring Beta-Garmon II and III, they instead target the outlaying worlds of the cluster. This forces Imperial commanders to divide their forces and diminish their defenses of the core worlds.[8]

Second Phase

The second, far larger phase of the battle was waged towards the end of the Heresy in 012.M31[2] in preparation for Horus's advance on Terra. With the Ruinstorm abating commander of loyalist forces on Terra, Rogal Dorn, decided to muster the majority of his non-Astartes strength to Beta-Garmon to hold the traitor advance until such a time where Roboute Guilliman and Lion El'Jonson could arrive from the rear and crush them. Titans made of the primary strength of the Imperial force, as Dorn feared that their mass use on Terra could destroy the planet forever.[4] Thus a massive armada consisting of tens of thousands of vessels including hundreds of Collegia Titanica Titan transports were mustered to the strategically important worlds of Beta-Garmon.[4] Many Imperial Fists joined the loyalist forces, and were confronted by a massive traitor armada led by Horus himself.[1] The subsequent battle became one of the largest of the Heresy. The scale was such that it encompassed multiple theatres such as the Titandeath and Sea of Fire campaigns, both massive engagements in their own right.[5]

In 403012.M31 Horus unleashed a massive offensive towards Nyrcon City on Beta-Garmon II led by the Legio Mortis, Tiger Eyes, and Death Stalkers while his fleet unleashed an orbital bombardment. Meanwhile, hundreds of traitor Imperial Army Regiments attacked Hive cities across the planet. In what became known as the Second Battle of Nyrcon the traitor Titans broke through a 100km-deep defensive line manned by the PanCrypta Dust Clans, Solar Auxilia, and Nemesis Brigade. The Warp Runners lead the loyalist defenses but ultimately fall, opening the way for the Traitors to flood into the city. With the city under his control, the traitors swiftly conquered the rest of Beta-Garmon II. While Beta-Garmon II fell, Beta-Garmon III under the Nova Guard managed to stay in loyalist hands despite a siege from Sons of Horus and Iron Warriors siege battalions. Meanwhile Horus launches a series of attacks across the outer systems. The Loyalists simply hurl their remaining resources at the enemy while they arrive, creating chaotic bloodbaths. The heavily damaged Warp Runners and Nova Guard managed to hold the line on Alpha-Garmon IX around the last remaining Mechanicum citadels against the God Breakers.[8]

In 705012.M31 Horus issued a special directive, unleashing a maniple of Legio Mortis to Omega-Garmon. There they find Firebrands Warhound Titans among the ruins of the planet. Few records survive of what transpired next, with the surviving Firebrands Princeps taking a vow of silence as to what transpired. In 919012.M31 the first great battles of the Sea of Fire campaign begins as both fleets clash in the void between Beta-Garmon II and III.[8]

At Theta-Garmon V, also known as Iridium, the Legio Solaria led an offensive by dropping onto surrounding orbital platforms, capturing them from the Legio Fureans. On Beta-Garmon III the other half of the Solaria alongside Knights of House Procon Vi, the Legio Defensor, and Fasadian Heavy Infantry Imperial Army engaged in a bitter stalemate against traitor Imperial Army, who used weight of numbers to overwhelm loyalist engines. Thanks to the technology of the Dark Mechanicum, many of the traitor troops were enslaved captured loyalists forced to fight for the Warmaster via neuroslave implant technology. So many ships were destroyed in orbit around Beta-Garmon III that the debris fields would periodically rain down on the planet and strike loyalist and traitor forces alike.[7a] The Iron Warriors landed upon Beta-Garmon III and established siege battalions which knocked out Titans from a range, though these were eventually destroyed.[7b] Eventually the Dark Mechanicum triggered a solar event to bombard the gas giant to blind the loyalist Titans and their sensors. The Tiger Eyes attack the loyalists who fight to the bitter end.[8]

After months of vicious fighting, it became clear that the traitors were slowly advancing. Due to issues with Warp travel around the Beta-Garmon cluster, the loyalist forces were arriving in piecemeal and could not form a united front. This was compounded by the proud nature of the Collegia Titanica, with many of its leading Princeps refusing to subordinate themselves to another commander. At any given time in the first half of the Beta-Garmon theatre, there were at least 3 different Imperial commanders claiming supreme authority. By comparison, the traitors were united through fanaticism, fear, and the unquestioned authority of Horus.[7a] However in 084013.M31 the situation for the loyalists changed when the Red Tear and a combined Blood Angels and White Scars fleet arrived. Though a month late due to the difficult warp travel, Sanguinius and Jaghatai Khan both immediately set about reforming the war effort. Sanguinius quickly took supreme command, while the Khan engaged in hit-and-run strikes across the Beta-Garmon Cluster. The Dark Sentry entered the Beta-Garmon System shortly after, and Imperial forces land on the planet to deny it to the enemy. Traitors land as well, and both sides use the planets strange nature and terrain to their advantage.[8]

On the system capital of Beta-Garmon II Sanguinius led a force of Blood Angels and nearly 30 Titan Legions to capture the planet from Horus' forces. Despite fierce orbital bombardment from the loyalists, most of the traitor forces remained intact thanks to heavily entrenched positions, debris fields, and Void Shields. At Nyrcon City they were met by an equally massive traitor force, and over a thousand titans fought on the irradiated fields of Beta-Garmon II in what became known as the Titandeath. During the height of the battle Sanguinius and the Sanguinary Guard dropped from the sky via Stormbird, boarding the traitor Imperator Titan Axis Mundi and destroying it from the inside.[7b] The fighting was bitter, and five times did the loyalist Titan's fling themselves before the traitor defenses around Nyrcon City. Meanwhile, Azkaellon led an assault on Beta-Garmon II's orbiting Starfort known as The Anvil. Aboard, the Blood Angels discovered only small ravenous bands of Sons of Horus and Lost and the Damned rabble. Realizing that they had been played, Akzaellon and his men narrowly evacuated The Anvil as it detonated. The resulting debris showered across the surface of Beta-Garmon II, annihilating both sides.[7c]

It soon became apparent that the assault on Beta-Garmon II had been a feint, and the traitors real intent was taking the now-lightly defended Beta-Garmon III and the Astropathic choir which served as the loyalist communications center known as the Carthega Telepathica. The traitors detonate a Vortex Bomb in the upper atmosphere, creating a caustic storm around Caldera Primus. Without the constant toxic storm assailing it, the Hive's ancient Void Shields fall dormant. Now defenseless, at Caldera Primus Horus himself emerged at the front of a massive army of Sons of Horus and 100 titans of the Legio Mortis, the Warmaster's favored Titan Legion which until this point had been held in reserve. Alongside these forces stood eight daemonically possessed Warlord Titans of the Legio Vulpa as well as forces of the God Breakers. The predominately Legio Solaria, Nova Guard, Warp Runners, Firebrands, Knight, and Imperial Army defenders were quickly overwhelmed by Horus' force. The titans of the Legio Mortis managed to topple the Carthega Telepathica, sending the massive edifice on top of the loyalists and decimating them and securing a traitor victory. While inspecting his field of victory upon Beta-Garmon III, the wound Horus had suffered from Leman Russ reopened, causing him to collapse and be whisked away by his desperate subordinates Horus Aximand and Falkus Kibre. The Warmaster was rushed back to the Vengeful Spirit.[6][8]

Meanwhile on Beta-Garmon II, Sanguinius and the Khan realized that with most of their forces now destroyed and Beta-Garmon III as well as the Carthega Telepathica in enemy hands, Dorn's gambit to buy time had reached its limit. They abandoned the Beta-Garmon warzone with any surviving loyalists that could be found.[7c]

Aftermath

Ultimately, Horus' victory at Beta-Garmon allowed him free access to the Sol System which in turn culminated in the Siege of Terra. However he only did so at great cost to both sides. The casualties of the Beta-Garmon campaign were so great that they exceeded the last five years of the entire Great Crusade.[6]

Order of Battle[7][8]

Imperial

Traitor

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Sources