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Khai-Zhan Uprising

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The Khai-Zhan Uprising occurred on the planet of Khai-Zhan in 968.M41 The Uprising was fought between Imperial forces and forces of Chaos, culminating in the Battle of Vogen.



The roots of the Khai-Zhan Uprising lay in the corruption of the planet's political system. Under the rule of the Imperium, Khai-Zhan's agricultural success was met with heavy taxes to maintain the Planetary Defense Force (PDF) and commercial infrastructure. Historically, mild corruption afflicted governmental institutions and it was standard practice for the political elite to appropriate modest portions of the tax revenue for themselves. Yet, this did not interfere with the vitality of the economy or the well-being of its workforce and was therefore generally tolerated by the population.[1]

The Greed of Kadulus

The balance between economic vitality and political corruption became unsettled with the appointment of Harikon Kadulus to the governorship of Khai-Zhan. Kadulus, a man of particular greed and expensive tastes, promptly increased taxes on the world's major producers. To finance his lifestyle, the governor took greater and greater sums from the tax revenues, which resulted in higher taxes on producers to replace the funds he appropriated for himself. This economic burden was in turn passed on from the producers to their workforce as the producers recovered their losses by cutting the cost of labor. Within a decade, the workforce and major producing institutions of Khai-Zhan became severely discontented by the economic burdens of escalating corruption.[1]

Von Guyen

It was this delicate situation that attracted a man by the name of von Guyen. Von Guyen was a known con-man and was wanted in surrounding Imperial systems for various crimes, including the impersonation of Ecclesiastic Officials. In his travels, he had become tainted by the warp and a devotee of the Gods of Chaos. As their agent, von Guyen journeyed to Khai-Zhan and organized covens of Cultists, to whom he promised freedom from tyranny and corruption if they rebelled against Imperial rule. Motivated by those empty promises and the sway of the Dark Gods, the covens planned to claim the planet as their own.[1]

Surprise Attack and the Fall of Vogen

The uprising of Chaos forces was well coordinated, well planned and, as a result, very effective in its initial stage. Attacks against Imperial rule were launched on Governor Kadulus's birthday which had long been declared a public holiday, for which half of the Khai-Zhan Planetary Defense Force (KZ-PDF) were on leave to observe. Over two hundred strategic targets were hit on the planet's single small continent and a list of Imperial officials to be captured or assassinated was distributed and, presumably, acted upon by traitor elements.[1]

Chaos Warmachine and Rebellion

Furthermore, the cultists had assembled a formidable war machine composed of hundreds of thousands of cult members, fully one-third of the KZ-PDF which had turned traitor and a small number of Daemons. This force was aided by a contingent of 100 or so Night Lords Chaos Space Marines.

In the opening of the rebellion, the cultists took to the streets en masse, terrifying the population into submission and destroyed soft targets. The Traitor KZ-PDF targeted strong points and heavily defended military targets. Meanwhile, the Night Lords engaged in special operations and deployed their limited numbers where and when the most difference could be made.[1]

The Fall of Vogen

The surprise attack was extremely effective and most of the world fell in short order. Most impressive and significant, however, was the fall of Vogen. Vogen was the capital city of Khai-Zhan, its commercial heart and the location of the planet's sole space port. As the capital city, Vogen was also the location of the Governor's quarters, a mighty fortified citadel known as the Palace of Peace. Victory demanded that the Palace fall quickly. To this end, Von Guyen and his Cultists had carefully infiltrated the Palace's guard units. In the opening actions of the campaign, while Governor Kadulus was still unaware of the uprising, von Guyen strolled into the palace and with a snap of his fingers had the traitor elements within the Palace guard subdue any remaining loyalists and arrest the Governor. Without firing a shot, the Palace had fallen, the Governor was deposed and Imperial Rule was ended on Khai-Zhan. Vogen fell shortly thereafter.[1]

The Loyalist Holdout and Counterattack

Loyalist Forces

At the outset of rebellion, the Imperial forces were comprised of the KZ-PDF which had remained loyal, about two-thirds of the original force, the Adeptus Arbites and the 122nd Cadian Infantry Regiment which was stationed on the planet. Notably, substantial portions of the 122nd were scheduled for leave to observe the public holiday but were kept in active duty due to their commander's suspicion that an insurrection was looming. The Cadian Regiment shouldered the brunt of the fighting, leveraging its advantage in training and material against poorly equipped cultists and inexperienced traitor KZ-PDG. On the other hand, the loyal KZ-PDF was of limited use because the corruption that characterized the Khai-Zhan political class had long ago infiltrated their ranks, resulting in decadence and loss of combat effectiveness. Important exceptions to the KZ-PDF's limited combat value were the Commando and Mountain Ranger regiments, but these were the exception rather than the rule.[1]

The Loyalists Defense

Initially, the loyalist forces were overwhelmed and concentrated their resistance at the Arbites' Compound and 122nd Regimental Headquarters, both of which were located on the outskirts of Vogen. Although casualties were heavy, the loyalists fortified their positions and held firm. After the Chaos forces' initial failure to knock out these targets, attempts were made at overrunning the Imperial defenses with wave after wave of cultists. After this tactic failed, Night Lords Space Marines and heavy artillery from the traitor KZ-PDF forces were brought to bear on the loyalist fortifications. These attempts too resulted in failure, though they pushed the Imperial defenses close to collapse.[1]

Reinforcement and Counterattack

On the third day of the uprising, just as their desperation was becoming total, the loyalists on Khai-Zhan received reinforcements. The bulk of the reinforcements were Imperial Guard units, including the 9th Cadian Infantry Regiment, the 7th Cadian Infantry Regiment and the 3rd Cadian Heavy Tank Regiment. Also included within the reinforcements were the 5th and 9th Companies of the Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter which were vital in countering the Night Lords.[1]

The loyalist counterattack began immediately. Retaking Vogen, the heart of the world's sole continent, was the primary objective. Importantly, because the Arbites' Compound and the 122nd Regimental Headquarters were on the edges of the city, the Imperial reinforcements could gain access to Vogen without having to fight their way in. Aided by this ease of access, the Imperial counterattack drove deep into the city. Pitched urban combat unfolded and the fighting was as brutal as any seen in Cadian history. Leman Russ Battle Tanks advanced alongside infantry units, fighting from street to street and building to building. The battle spread to the sewers and deadly sniper battles were common place. After three weeks of fighting tooth and nail, the Imperial counterattack had reclaimed three-quarters of the city and pushed the rebel forces back to areas directly surrounding the Palace of Peace, which became the rebels last substantial stronghold. A deadlock quickly developed and neither side was able to gain the advantage.[1]

The Final Assault

The impasse was broken by a final assault on the Palace of Peace lead by the Imperial Fists. The Imperial Fists were famous for their skill at siege warfare, but nonetheless the difficulty of the assault on the Palace matched anything in their history. The defenses of the Palace were formidable and included thick, heavily fortified walls making any breach extremely difficult. Complicating matters, the narrow streets and alleyways surrounding the Palace denied the loyalist forces the use of armored units which would have otherwise greatly assist in the siege. The fighting degenerated into a series of direct assaults in a relentless but slow advance by Imperial forces.[1]

After three months of siege, only a handful of rebels remained. The Adeptus Arbites were allowed to lead the final assault and crushed the remaining resistance. Vogen had been retaken and with it the Uprising of Khai-Zhan was no more, returning the planet into the hands of the Imperium.[1]


"What I remember most about the battle for Vogen was the confusion and the colossal scale of death. We fought like heroes, like each building that had even one Guardsman inside was a fortress against the enemy. Every soldier, fighting in a basement or under the stairs, stood his ground alone and accomplished the task on his own. Because in cityfighting a soldier has to be his own general. He needs to be given correct guidance and the trust of his officers. On Vogen we had neither and how we survived was a miracle."

Veteran Sergeant Hessel, 122nd Cadians[2]

Order of Battle

Forces of the Imperium

Forces of Chaos


In other sources the same conflict, including reference to Vogen, named Zhai-Khan Uprising[3] and Khai-Zann Uprising[4]

See Also