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Typha-IV Campaign

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Typha-IV Campaign
Tau aircraft during the air war on Typha-IV
Conflict Third Sphere of Expansion
Date ~999.M41
Location Typha-IV
Outcome Imperial Pyrrhic victory
Imperium Tau Empire
Governor Brantus Hurst
Air Marshal Ursa Caleb (KIA)
Shas'O'Lunsu (KIA)
See Order of Battle See Order of Battle
extremely heavy 70% losses

The Typha-IV Campaign was a battle between the Imperium and Tau Empire as part of the Third Sphere of Expansion.[1]


The decision to attack the frigid world of Typha-IV was undertaken by the Tau Sept of Ksi'm'yen under Shas'O Lunsu, who crafted a strategy around stealth and special operations dubbed M'yen'ral or the "Unseen Blade". Two new Custodian Class Carriers converted into stealth craft were appropriated for the plan alongside two specialized Hunter Cadres (dubbed El'Courra and El'Surassir respectively). The craft also carried an array of Manta's, Orcas, Barracudas, and Tiger Sharks, understanding the key to their strategy lay in air support. These were opposed by a modest Imperial garrison which were dispersed amongst Typha-IV's industrial facilities.[1a]

Guided by expertly gathered intelligence and corrupt Human traders with whom the Water Caste had established ties with, the Tau vessels successfully evaded Imperial Navy patrols at the edge of the Typha System after a sixty-day journey. All but stripped of weapons and thus helpless if discovered, the Tau stealth ships slowly drifted towards their prey at a time when Typha-IV was blinded by powerful storms. When the stealth ships finally closed to the planet's southern polar region they unleashed an array sensory Drones which searched for their best landing zone. After successfully identifying a landing zone, Mantas led some 100 Tau craft in a covert landing on the planet under heavy ice storm cover. The majority of the force made it through the storms intact, though some aircraft were lost. Upon landing Earth Caste engineers set about erecting prefabricated structures, trenches, and even a hangar. The Tau planned to wait out the storms before making their next movie.[1a]

When the calm season set in, the Tau began their final pre-attack phase. Equipment and aircraft were reassembled and upgraded Barracudas modified for reconnaissance were dispatched. The Tau detected far more Imperial military traffic than expected, and much of their Water Caste intelligence was revealed to be faulty. A heated debate broke out amongst the Tau commanders, with some advocating the attack be called off. However Shas'O'lunsu silenced the arguments and insisted the campaign continue for the Greater Good. Around this time however Imperial Navy Thunderbolts conducting routine patrols over the south detected the Tau presence, attempting to flee before being shot down by Barracuda fighters. Their distress signal was received by fuel tenders in high orbit, and the alarm was sounded across Typha-IV. However the warning came too late, as the Tau were only minutes from their targets.[1b]

The Tau launched 2/3rds of their forces in the initial attack, focused around key facilities such as the Geo-Fault-M-5 oilfields. These fields were targeted by Tiger Sharks and Barracudas, quickly overwhelming the defending Vulture gunships. At Minehead 4-42# 4 Tau Tigersharks and an equal number of Barracudas were intercepted by a hastily assembled Imperial force of 2 Thunderbolts and 8 Lightnings. The inexperienced Imperial pilots saw the dogfight end in the Tau's favor, with 6 Imperial losses to 5 Tau. At the Battle of Argent Landing, Governor & General Brantus Hurst attempted to defending the planet's main spaceport. Mustering must of his Thunderbolts and Vultures to this location alongside Hydra and Manticore air defense tanks, they were met by Tau Mantas. However there were too few Imperials to check the attack, and despite suicidal resistance the spaceport was nearly taken by Fire Warriors and Battlesuits after Tau aircraft cleared the skies and delivered punishing bombardment. However during the battle most of the Tau Mantas were lost to Imperial air defenses, and when Imperial reinforcements arrived the Fire Caste was forced to call off the onslaught. With the spaceport in flames, General Hurst oversaw scorched-earth tactics while the Commissariat undertook evacuations of troops to the city core. Distress signals were sent to Battlefleet Ultima, and for the Tau there was now a race against the clock to achieve their objectives.[1b]

In the aftermath of the first Tau attacks both sides retreated to regroup and rearm. The Imperials had lost some 70% of their strength and were plagued by riots that had to be brutally quashed. The Tau had also taken severe losses, much heavier than they had anticipated. Shas'O'Lunsu retreated to meditation and when he reemerged declared that they would continue the attack to 9 more days before withdrawing, hopefully before Imperial reinforcements could arrive. They would then attack elsewhere, slowly draining the Imperium in the system through a hundred lesser cuts. In the subsequent "Black Week" for the Imperial Navy, the Tau struck a wide array of attacks and diversionary measures that saw over 60 individual engagements over a 7 day period. The Imperials steadily lost men and resources to the Tau, though the Xenos' own losses began to mount. However the Imperial air forces under Air Marshal Ursa Caleb continued to hold the line despite the punishment and exhaustion. The Tau had become exhausted themselves, and ordered their Hunter Cadres to be extracted back to their carriers. These were detected by Imperial Marauder Vigilants., and Caleb organized a vicious raid dubbed Operation Defiant Hate.[1c]

As the Tau mustered back at their base, Caleb organized his remaining aircraft, mostly Thunderbolts, Lightnings, and Marauder Bombers. These were soon detected by Tau early warning systems, and they were met by the remaining Tau aircraft which were shocked at the Imperial boldness. The ensuing air battle quickly became an anarchic free-for-all as Caleb, himself flying in a Marauder Vigilant, oversaw the landing of Cadian Shock Troopers from [[Arvus Lighter]s. Believing a total rout was imminent and overestimating the Imperial strength, Shas'O'Lunsu panicked and issued an order for immediate evacuation. Fire Warriors held the line against the Cadians as the Tau retreated back to their ships. It is estimated that no more than a third of the Tau force managed to make it back to their carriers before retreating. The effort was led by Shas'O'Lunsu himself, who died during the battle., During the withdrawal, the Carrier Spear of Unity struck an Imperial Fusion Mine and was further damaged by ground-to-orbit fire. Its personnel were forced to scuttle their craft and flee to the other carrier Shield of Purpose. With this, the Tau fled the system.[1c][1d]

Though still in control of their world, Imperial forces were proportionally many times greater than the Tau. Their losses included Air Marshal Caleb himself and most of their pilots and aircraft. Moreover, Typha-IV's industrial output was severely damaged by the raid. Overall, the Imperial victory was a Pyrrhic one at best.[1d]

Order of Battle[1a]