Fall of Badab
|Loyalist Forces||Secessionist Forces|
| Zhrukal Androcles (d)
| Lufgt Huron|
| Star Phantoms (entire Chapter)
Sons of Medusa
Legio Crucius Titan Legion
| Astral Claws|
Badab Primaris Tyrant's Legion
| ~600 Star Phantoms
Unknown but presumed other casualties
|Total Astral Claw forces except ~200 Marines|
The Fall of Badab was the final battle in the Badab War, ending the war and restoring peace to the Maelstrom region. The Star Phantoms Chapter lead the assault on the Palace of Thorns, the stronghold of the Tyrant of Badab.
With loyalist forces gaining momentum in the Maelstrom, the time to end the Badab War had come. Loyalist forces first destroyed the Ring of Steel, the Tyrant's space defenses. This was achieved by a two-fold plan, using the arcane arts of the Magos of Angstrom and the Tyrant's growing paranoia. The entire defense network was located on a heavily defended star fort orbiting Badab VI. A loyalist armada consisting of six Battle Barges, nine Strike Cruisers, six Imperial Navy ships of the line, one Mechanicus War Caravel and eighty-four escorts and other strike craft entered realspace above Badab VI. Leading the assault was the Raptorus Rex, towing a burning stellar core fragment torn bodily from the Bale Cascades. The Raptorus Rex proceeded to engage its main drives at maximum power, hurtling the core fragment towards the station. While the core didn't entirely destroy the star fort, it disabled its void shields. Boarding torpedoes and Assault Rams smashed into the station, carrying with them the might of the Sons of Medusa and the Exorcists. The star fort fell and the Ring of Steel was broken.
The Final Assault
With the star system now under Loyalist control and surviving defense ships hunted down and destroyed, deployments were quickly put into place to surround and besiege Badab Primaris, with the ships of the Exorcists Chapter along with the Imperial Navy detachments breaking off to blockade the star system to ensure none would escape what was to come. The assault from orbit against Badab Primaris was to have been spearheaded by the Raptorus Rex, but that was no longer possible, the strain of the core fragment attack having caused significant structural damage which destabilized the engines of the vast craft, making close-orbital operations impossible. The guns of Badab Primaris were still to be greatly feared and it was a forlorn hope that even a Space Marine battle barge would survive long if they could not be silenced quickly by orbital counter-battery fire. The Star Phantoms had asked for and been granted the glory of leading the first wave, and it was their ancient battle barge the Memento Mori which would be first to brave the guns of Badab. Further hazard to the assault was presented by the High Guard orbital station which the Astral Claws had first used as a fortress monastery before Lufgt Huron had descended to take over the Palace of Thorns below. The hastily revised attack plan was to be a three-pronged offensive. The first axis of attack would be formed by two companies of Star Phantoms Space Marines attacking the High Guard orbital fortress in concert with the smaller Fire Hawks and Sons of Medusa contingents. For the second, the Carcharodons would descend in full force to the surface of Badab Primaris's hive to crush any opposition. The third and most vital attack would be formed by the bulk of the Star Phantoms, some seven companies in strength, assisted by heavy assault elements drawn from across the Loyalist Chapters and Inquisitorial stormtrooper companies. This would take the battle to the heart of the foe and besiege the Palace of Thorns itself.
The attack was heralded by waves of orbital bombardment and hurled debris from orbit sent to sow havoc below as weapon fire split the heavens above Badab Primaris. The sable form of the Memento Mori led the attack and was rocked with explosions as it breached the upper atmosphere, its own cannons roaring in answer and vortex missiles screaming out from its weapon deck to rip great wounds in the planet's crust. Behind the dauntless battle barge, dozens of other warships swept low to unleash their deadly cargo. Blazing bright lances of energy pierced upwards and the skies darkened as wave after wave of drop pods painted in midnight black and cold grey rained down in precisely executed assaults. Brighter yet, from the halo edge of space, the Carcharodons' relic-flagship Nicor unleashed the vent plasma-destructor weapon concealed in its belly and burned a great trench in Badab's surface, sundering the bastion wall of Primaris's main city, Hive Dominar, and soon after Thunderhawks and Assault Rams spiralled down to exploit the breach. Such was the burning pall of smoke, swirling cinder ash and choking dust that came up, that night fell over Badab's northern continent as the siege assault raged, the darkness riven with meteoric streaks of flame as wreckage fell from high above.
A full hour had passed since the first shots were fired and still the defense batteries had not yet been fully silenced, but many were now choked off or destroyed. Troop ships and Thunderhawks continued to descend perilously through the storm of smoke and fire, ferrying their reinforcements and heavy armour down to the tumult of battler. Deeming the approach now safe, like a hammer of the gods, the colossal landing craft of the Legio Crucius fell to earth outside Hive Dominar, their impact sending a powerful tremor-shock through the ground, bringing yet more of the breached bastion tumbling down. Vast armored doors openned and buildings slammed flat as Titans walked on Badab, their bellowing sirens echoing like the clarion call of doom come for the beleaguered world.
The assault moved into its second and then third hour without any sign of relenting and soon Hive Dominar had become a city of death. Within its hundred of kilometers of multi-tiered roadways and vast, arched habitation towers, the Tyrant's Legion fought an insane and desperate battle against the grey giants that had come among them. Transit junctions were soon clogged with burning vehicles and shattered rubble, and for the wretched civilians trapped within the doomed hive, there was nothing for them but terror and death. Offered no chance of surrender or survival, the soldiers of the Auxilia bitterly fought on as best they could as the Carcharodons fell on them with nightmarish fury, savagely hacking through their defense lines and leaving nothing but torn bodies and shattered war machines in their wake. In the face of the unstoppable grey-red tide that had come upon them, all pretense of command and control within the Tyrant's Legion rapidly broke down as vox-sets uttered nothing but screams and unanswered peals for mercy. Fires began to spread out of control and the carnage was only worsened as those isolated Legion redoubts and tank squadrons that still survived began to shell indiscriminately into the shadows of buildings. Their desperate and chaotic attacks were in the vain hope of fighting an enemy that came at them with terrifying speed only to fade away and strike again, each time leaving fewer and fewer alive.
At the north-east of Hive Dominar lay the Palace of Thorns. Built into a mountainous volcanic plateau that rose high above the level of the hive city, it comprised a hulking, ornate citadel surrounded by wide statue-lined plazas and minaret-capped gun towers studded with defense lasers and flak batteries. This was the heart of the Astral Claws' domain and the lair of the Tyrant of Badab. Above the Palace complex's center, an actinic-bright lightning shield rippled and clashed in the air; a vast charged power-field that disintegrated anything it touched and shrugged off even the firepower of the warships above. The plazas and weapons batteries that spread out beyond the Palace were not so impervious however, and it was into them that the Star Phantoms descended with unmatched precision and timing, their drop pods smashing down through the ornate sepulchers and toppling needle-thin auspex-masts as they descended. Despite the blizzard of fire that had greeted them, over five hundred Battle Brothers out of the seven hundred strong force survived to make landfall, and now they set about besieging the heavily protected Palace. The combat was as fierce as any the Chapter had seen and at every turn the Star Phantoms encountered death-traps and heavily defended gun positions. They fought brutal close range engagements with Astral Claws assault squads who counter-attacked them from concealed sally-ports, paying in blood for every advance. Further in, Land Raiders and Predators spilled from underground bunkers in defense of the citadel's shield wall, their power matched by the deadly accurate fire of Star Phantoms Devastator squads and Dreadnoughts firing from the shattered towers they had already stormed. The siege soon descended into a bloody meat-grinder as the wide-open plazas that ringed the citadel became lethal killing grounds which offered scant cover to attackers or defenders alike. For every two gun-ziggurats that were taken by the Star Phantoms, another held out or was re-taken by counter-assault, and soon the siege lines became a confused anarchy where the enemy could be encountered on all sides. Slowly though, the bloody siege of the Palace's outer precincts began to tip in the Loyalists' favor, as making their way up the volcanic ridges, storm trooper reinforcements joined the fray allowing the Star Phantoms to press the attack, while Loyalist Terminator squads locked onto the Star Phantoms' teleport homers were dispatched to the surface from strike cruisers braving the much reduced ground fire. But despite the massive force brought to bear against it, still the citadel held. The Palace of Thorns's lightning field remained un-breached, and attack after attack was hurled away from its citadel by murderous counter-attack as deadly fire rained down from the walls. The attackers' losses mounted steadily and even the Reaver Titan of the Legio Crucius alongside fresh Sons of Medusa detachments could not force the issue. Indeed the first Titan to attempt the attack was disabled as it sought to lend its firepower to the assault, its command deck gutted by a well-placed conversion beamer blast in the shadow of the citadel. The siege of the Palace of Thorns was at a lethal impasse.
As true night fell over Hive Dominar and the Palace of Thorns, the fighting and killing went on unabated, spreading out to the planet's sub-hives and industrial zones. The pall of smoke from Badab's burning cities thickened the night to an umbral black deep enough to fog the auspexes of the ships in orbit; and then to them becoming a mass of indistinguishable heat blooms from the fires below. Titans stalked the benighted and ruined cityscapes, their powerful weapons lighting up the darkness like thunderstorms as their footfalls shook the earth. Crushing any hint of resistance they encountered and systematically smashing manufactora and habitation blocks, the Titans' machine spirits and crews reveled in the desolation they brought, driving waves of screaming refugees and routed Legion troopers before them in a disordered swarm. Meanwhile, the Carcharodons haunted the shadows of the Badab Hives like blood-painted grey specters, the city was theirs.
Of Lufgt Huron's actions during this long night of destruction, little can be said for certain. Some reports have the Tyrant sighted almost everywhere in the defense of the Palace, hurling back the rent and shattered bodies of his enemies, roaring his defiance, while other tales place him alone and silent in the throne chamber, impassively watching the destruction of all he had wrought in the flickering light of his holo-sphere. Regardless of the truth, what can be accurately said is that no Astral Claw surrendered to his fate. Each fought to the end, whether at the Palace of Thorns or in the hive cities of Badab or in defense of the High Guard orbit station, the Astral Claws sold their lives in a blaze of fury and spite.
At the dawn of the second day, the Carcharodons took matters into their own hands to bring about the end. Assigned by Lord Commander Carab Culln the task of attacking the planet's infrastructure and preventing an organized defense from taking root, they had devised their own plan, and set their own deadly measures to the extremes to which they would go. Having ravaged the Tyrant's Legion forces defending the cities and setting the hives ablaze, they continued to the final stage of their plan and dispatched strike teams deep into the hive sub-surface. There they sabotaged the vast and ancient atomic and geo-thermal reactors which powered the hives and provided the hungry planetary defense batteries with energy. Across Badab Primrais power failed or suddenly spiked adding to the chaos, and slowly, with inexorable horror, the hives began to quake and the towers of Badab toppled like felled trees. Silently and in good order, the Carcharodons began to withdraw from the surface, the fatal blow struck, the God Emperor's judgment on treacherous Badab delivered.
Few realized what had begun, and at the Palace of Thorns the sudden destabilization of power had offered the Loyalists a much-needed opening in which to strike. As the lightning field and the citadel's other defenses flickered for a moment before drawing power again from their own reactors, a Star Phantoms assault force managed to breach the lower level bunker network and catacombs. With Captain Zhrukal Androcles at its head, this force of assault-equipped Space Marines and Terminators finally forced their way into the citadel and the heart of the enemy. The Star Phantoms assault was brutal and relentless, its passages blasted through by thunder hammer-rent bulkheads and charge-blown walls, while the Astral Claws that fought against them were the most fanatical and hate-filled of their breed - their crimson-splattered armor devoid of any sign of their former service as defenders to the Imperium. Chainblades flashed and bolters roared in the closest of confines in the under-citadel as the ossuaries of the Astral Claws' Chapter were blasted apart as each side slaughtered the other in the hellish struggle.
All over Badab the ground began to quake and shudder as high above in orbit auguries registered the massive tectonic upheaval in the planet's sub-hive structures radiating out across ancient geological fault lines, spewing molten magma and radioactive ash up from the earth. Badab Primaris began to die.
At the Palace of Thorns, the bastion was finally breached, collapsing the lightning shield. The Star Phantoms now stormed the citadel, much of which was now no more than a rubble-strewn butcher's yard. At the height of this desperate last battle at the palace, Lufgt Huron was mortally wounded by the dying Star Phantoms Captain Androcles. Records recovered after the clash from the auto-sense logs of the Star Phantoms indicate a brutal melee erupting between Androcles' forces and the Tyrant's personal guard to their near mutual destruction in one of the Palace's deep sub-levels, and it is likely Huron's party were attempting to flee to a concealed escape craft via the sub surface. Captain Androcles was struck down by the Tyrant in the confrontation, who in his arrogance strode over the fallen hero believing him dead. As his life bled from him, the grimly determined Star Phantom's Captain succeeded in discharging his combi-melta at the looming figure of Lufgt Huron at point blank range. The melta-blast struck the arcane lightning claw the Tyrant habitually wore which catastrophically exploded unleashing a baleful pulse of energy. This blast incinerated the Tyrant's arm and much of his right side, and the remnants of his burning armor collapsing on the ground was the last image recorded by the fallen captain's auto-senses. Soon afterwards, when a second Star Phantoms squad entered the vault, they found the bloody remains of the melee, along with the shrapnel and organic detritus later identified by the Magos Biologis of the Consistorial Court as belonging to the Tyrant. The bulk of Lufgt Huron's body was not found, nor were any remains that could be later identified as belonging to the Astral Claws' Master of the Forge Armenneus Valthex, who had also been present in the combat. Further investigation of the matter or deeper exploration of the lower levels of the Palace of Thorns proved impossible however as the wider situation on Badab Primaris began to deteriorate rapidly.
Beneath the hives of Badab Primaris, the cascading destruction of the deep-sunk reactor cores was taking its tool. Tectonic shocks and volcanic eruptions were increasing at an exponential rate and entire hive sectors collapsed into gaping maws that opened in the ground beneath them to be replaced by seas of lava. The campaign of purgation and conquest on Badab quickly devolved into anarchic retreat and many were caught in the path of destruction. Wherever they could be found interface vessels of any and all kind were commandeered by Loyalist and renegade alike in a desperate effort to flee.
In the anarchy and ruin that followed the fall of the hive cities, the air was filled with toxic ash and fallout, and the majority of the planet's population are estimated to have been exterminated within a few standard days. Confusion reigned in the wreckage-strewn system. Several Loyalist transports were also shot down by blockade ships, and it is believed that at least one small Warp-capable privateer vessel managed to escape the Badab system into the Warp. Later intelligence reports suggest that less than two hundred Secessionists survivors were on board, led by Armenneus Valthex and carrying with them their master's broken body.
The Badab War was over.
The aftermath of the Badab War would not be forgotten. With the Astral Claws' rebellion finally put down, one of the worst Space Marine rebellions was over. The Mantis Warriors, Executioners, and Lamenters were shown mercy on the condition of a penitent Crusade. The Astral Claws, however, turned the Maelstrom into their new refuge. Huron would rename himself Huron Blackheart and now fully recovered from his wounds, renamed the chapter the Red Corsairs. Gradually delving into Chaos, the Red Corsairs have been joined by many other Renegade Space Marines and are still among the most persistent problems for the Imperium along the Maelstrom Zone.
- 1: Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pgs. 48–53