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Battle of Gethsemane

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The Battle of Gethsemane was a pivotal battle and the turning point of the Gothic War.[1]

Prelude

The first seven years of the Gothic War saw the Imperial Navy on the defensive, pressed hard on all fronts. In 151.M41, Lord Admiral von Ravensburg went on the attack. After many failed attempts to bring the Chaos forces to battle, scout vessels detected a major Chaos fleet heading for the Gethsemane system. Ravensburg took personal command aboard the Divine Right as his task force of seventeen capital ships (including two battleships and two battlecruisers) and twenty escorts sped towards Gethsemane.[1]

The Battle Begins

Ravensburg pursued the Chaos fleet into the Gethsemane region, and the enemy soon became aware of their precarious situation. The Chaos forces tried to flee the system, only to be chased by the fastest Imperial ships. After a week-long sternchase, a second Chaos fleet appeared and closed a trap on the Imperial forces. A firefight ensued that cost the Imperium seven escorts and the Chaos fleet about the same before the Imperial forces escaped and retreated to the safety of the main fleet.[1]

Full Fleet Action

For the next three days, the two fleets played hide-and-seek through the Gethsemane system. Finally, a squadron of Firestorm Frigates located the Chaos fleet above Gethsemane II, and Ravensburg launched his assault. Though outnumbered and outgunned, the Imperial fleet nonetheless held the advantage in a head-on pounding match, and they tore into the Chaos fleet, crippling four capital ships and destroying eleven escorts in the initial pass. The Chaos Warmaster ordered his fleet to run.[1]

The Eldar

The Chaos ships appeared ready to escape from their slower pursuers, when out of nowhere, a massive Eldar fleet arrived and laid into the would-be escapees. Caught between the two forces, the Chaos ships had nowhere to run, and were destroyed to the last.[1]

Aftermath

The Chaos fleet was completely wiped out by the allied forces, though at the cost of a dozen Imperial vessels crippled or destroyed.[1]

After the battle, the Imperium and Eldar struck up an uneasy alliance, and fought together against Chaos. The Eldar unleashed several new weapons during this time, including the mighty Void Stalker Battleship.[2]

The massive morale boost from the victory was only the beginning of the curtain of darkness lifting from the Gothic Sector. Not long after the Battle of Gethsemane, the warp storms that had cut the sector off from the rest of Imperial space began to lessen, allowing Imperial reinforcements to get through, fresh troops and several Space Marine chapters flooding in to help the fight.[1]

Though the war for the Gothic Sector was far from over, the Battle of Gethsemane had finally helped turn the tide in the Imperium's favor.

Sources