Opening ShotsEditThe opening shot of the war was fired by the Krieg regiments who began a heavy artillery bombardment on Babylonian positions in the heavily-defended outposts of the city's outer defensive line, known as the Tyrean Wastes. At the 43rd battery, an enemy shell scored a direct hit, smashing an Earthshaker Cannon to pieces, detonating the ammunition stockpiled close-by and killing all 8 members of the gun's crew in the ensuing inferno. Though it was a lucky hit at extreme range, it signalled that the artillery duel would not be a one-sided battle that Lenehenese strategists thought it would be. After days of artillery bombardment on the outer positions, the first assault by the Krieg forces began on the 2nd of February, 1998 with 50,000 men launching themselves at the defenses over the course of two days. The Krieg forces took enormous casualties, entire companies were simply wiped out in a matter of hours. However the Guardsmen continued across no-man's land nonetheless, braving not only enemy fire but also vast minefields. After several weeks of hard fighting the Krieg forces had indeed captured a few outer trench lines, and began to fortify them as a beachhead. By the ninth, the first major pitched battle of the conflict began, the Battle of Fort A-453. After a massive night artillery barrage achieved little, Krieg stormtroopers and armored forces consisting of Leman Russ Battle Tanks advanced on the strategically important fort. The Guardsmen succeeded in cracking the enemy defensive line, forcing the enemy to fall back. The first full breakthrough on the enemy defenses was achieved by the Krieg 30th Line Korps, which was exploited by all Imperial forces in the sector. Motorized infantry pursued fleeing enemy forces, and soon a full rout broke out as Babylonian forces withdrew to their rear fortifications. Fort A-453 was captured at significant cost, but the first objective of the Siege of Babylon had been completed and the enemy had been pushed back- now would begin the long process of consolidating the ground they had captured. The night the fort was taken, all non-essential Lenehenese troops were ordered to dig foxholes for the coming weeks.
Digging inEditThe next day each foxhole was extended, via a narrow trench to connect with the next foxhole, thus establishing a single basic trench for each squad. This could then be connected into a platoon trench, and then they too would be linked into a company trench, which could then in turn be linked into other company trenches. Over the course of days, the trench lines would start to spread. These first hand-dug trenches were steadily improved, becoming the basis of a more permanent frontline position. Under the cover of darkness, razorwire teams stretched coils of wire in front of the trench to prevent enemy patrols or raiding parties gaining easy access whilst heavy weapons teams were sited and dug in. This methodically planned and efficient way of conducting war was the way the Death Korps regiments had trained to do it back in Krieg.
Despite the Death Korps methodical digging, the enemy did not attack. Pinned under the daily bombardment, the enemy clung to his bunkers and defence lines, offering little fight except the occasional sniper shots and harassing mortar fire. The enemy army was occupying the pre-prepared positions opposite, parallel to the Lenehenese earth-works, staring across the vacuum of no-man's land which neither side ventured into. The Babylonian defence lines were formidable, the enemy burrowing deep underground to protect themselves from artillery. All of their positions were protected by miles of tank traps and razorwire, as well as anti-tank ditches and minefields. In addition to these defences, millions of landmines had been placed in the open ground between the two trenches by sappers. In places the defensive positions were combined into strongpoints, resistance nests that were strong enough to withstand the heaviest shells, but also providing the defenders with interlocking fields of fire. Breaking each defence line would be a major undertaking, and any advance would have to be bought at a high price in casualties. To complicate matters, the three main defence lines surrounding the Citadel became gradually denser and harder to crack the closer the enemy came. For the time being, the Babylonians were happy to let the Lenehenese come to them and throw themselves at their defences.
The 149th Kriegian regiment was chosen to make the first assault on the north-east defensive line, for intelligence reports indicated that it might be cracked here. On the 149th regiment's immediate left and right flanks the 143rd and 150th regiments would provide strong supporting attacks, pinning down enemy units and drawing enemy reserves into their sectors and away from the main effort. Behind the 149th regiment, units of the 11th Assault korps were brought up and made ready. Should the first attack breach the enemy position, then the Assault Korps' tanks could drive through and thrust deep into the defence zone.
Over the course of two days, 700,000 infantry attacked in waves. The first wave was not expected to make much progress, but was to attack with strong infantry probes to find weak spots in the enemy lines. The second wave was led by Death Korps Grenadieers with were to hit the weak spots hard, gaining a foothold in the defences lines and hold them until day two, when the third wave, would move through them and expand the breach. Once this was completed, the 61st Tank regiment would be released from reserve to smash through the hold. All this would follow days of heavy bombardment in the North-East line and its adjoining sectors.
Second AssaultEditWeakened by constant artillery barrages and sustained attacks by enemy infantry, the defenders were at breaking point. As the Death Korps lined up for the assault, many Babylonian officers viewed their position as suicidally indefensible and gave the orders for their platoons to withdraw to the second defense line, leaving only a skeleton guard of weakly-armed militia to bear the brunt of the assault. At 6.00 AM, the order to advance rung through the Lenehenese trenches like a clarion bell and a tide of infantry surged forwards, peppered by sniper rounds and shrapnel.
All along their lines, Babylonian heavy machine guns opened fire, sycthing into the enemy and reaping a bloody tally on the Death Korps. Hundreds fell, but the advance held and soon the Korps were upon the militia with their bayonets gleaming in the weak evening sunlight. By midday, 38% of the outer trench network had been captured.
The Crisis of 151st KorpsEdit
Following the Krieg breakthrough, the enemy abandoned not only its outer defence lines, but also the northern line itself, a spur of the second defence line, now felt to be undefendable due to the situation on the ground; outflanked to the south, and faced by a recuperated Krieg 151st and 130th line korps. Pinned by enemy attacks to the front, any defenders could quickly be cut-off by the advance of the 120th line korps. Instead of risking a catastrophic defeat by holding onto untenable ground, the defenders withdrew further. The 151st and 130th line korps found the northern defence lines abandoned, and were soon pushing forwards against light resistance from rearguards, snipers and the inevitable harassing artillery fire. As the 151st line korps moved south and eastwards, it was also encircling the second defence line. So far, in over two months of war, the 88th Siege Army had been constantly on the attack. But by the 19th of April the strategic position changed as the 151st line korps closed in from the north towards the second defence line, its was subjected to the enemy's first concerted offensive of the war which would test the mettle of the regiment.
The northern defence line might have been abandoned without a fight, but the ground between the two positions had been identified as the scene of a strong counter-attack. The 151st Korps was occupying overnight positions in sector 60-53. There was reported movement of enemy vehicles throughout the night by Krieg sentries, and, in response, harassing artillery fire was increased in an attempt to impede whatever the enemy were planning. Expecting a local counter-attack the forward companies were reinforced, and a general stand-to was issued at dawn. The newly dug trenches were lined with men, machine-guns at the ready. The enemy responsed with a sporadic barrage, before they unleashed a tornado of shells upon the Lenehen defenders. A mass of concentrated artillery fire thundered over the 151st regiment's positions, rolling like a storm of thunder from the ocean. Amongst the heavy shelling came smoke shells, spouting thick white clouds that obscured the battlefield. And from behind the smoke came the first wave of enemy attacks.
Through the dust and smoke the growing noise of approaching engines sounded like the forges of hell opening. Enemy tanks opened up with their main guns, the shells flying into the front trenches of the Krieg guardsmen. A series of explosions tore bloody gaps in the crowded trench lines. Soon the vox-net was inundated with reports of squadrons and enemy tanks engaging defenders all along the line. Babylonians, with bayonets fixed, swarmed the Lenehenese trenches like a pack of rabid dogs and quickly overwhelmed the cornered Lenehenese. The Babylonians had seen the weakness of the overstretched advance and had now halted the attack, it was their turn on the offensive.
One after another, the Krieg units were overrun, and onwards thundered the enemy tanks. Watching through his magnoculars from his command post, Colonel Adal, commander of the 151st regiment could make out the fighting through the drift of smoke and dust thrown up by the bombardment. As reports filtered in of positions being overrun, he watched as the enemy tanks engaged and destroyed his forward positions. In desperation, Adal ordered his reserve companies into the line to try to stem the momentum of the enemy assault. The Colonel requested reinforcements from higher command, but reinforcements were unavailable. He must hold his ground with the forces at his disposal. The fighting continued all day and by mid afternoon murderous artillery fire had started again from both sides.During the day 19 quad-launchers and heavy mortar positions had been overrun, and in many cases the enemy turned the guns around, using them until the ammunition stores were gone. As night dawn, both sides continued to harass one another with probing attacks, but the situation was confused, as there was no longer a clear front line, just a chaotic mess of units. At dawn the enemy attack renewed, and the 151st regiment's own artillery replied in kind. Soon the blood-soaked enemy moved forwards, fighting from trench to trench. The first attack was driven off, the Colonel himself, pistol in hand, firing from behind sandbags. A second attack as also held, but the shallow trenches to the left and right were now in enemy hands, and the Colonel and his defenders were isolated. His second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel Dyneh, was killed when enemy tank fire destroyed Adal's command dug-out. Down to just 80 men, communication to the rear was soon severed. He ordered the wounded to be evacuated as best as they could, and divided the survivors into two groups. The first unit would break out and take news of the enemy breakthrough back. He would command a rearguard and hold for as long as possible, until either relief arrived or he was overrun and killed. He knew there was little hope of rescue, but the taciturn Colonel would fight as long as possible.
Although the Colonel's body was never recovered, he was posthumously awarded the Honorifica Imperialis, the highest award a guardsman can achieve in his lifetime. Although the command of the regiment had been severed, the runners reached the safety of the Lenehenese line to report the collapse in their lines and an Armoured company was dispatched to retake the lost ground. Experimental Hellhound tanks, armed with heavy flamethrowers instead of the standard issue cannon, excelled at burning the Babylonians from their foxholes but offered little resistance again enemy tanks. But the enemy counterattack had been stopped and the Lenehenese assault could begin again.
Battles of the Second Defence LineEdit
After the sudden rush of the breakthrough and the crisis of the 151st Korps, the advancing regiments of the remaining three korps were ordered to halt. Instead of a headlong rush, the Krieg regiments would approach the task at hand like they did the first line, by slow attrition. The leading infantry companies and sappers were called forwards, to dig the trenchworks all over again, always forwards, yard by yard they would close in. The enemy lines would be approached slowly, under the cover of artillery fire. Soon the Tyrean Wastes were criss-crossed with a spidery network of trenches, which, day after day, grew into a labyrinth.
By late May, the 88th Siege Army again committed itself to the offensive. An all-out assault was launched by no less than six entire regiments. After hours of saturation bombardment the Krieg guardsmen would surge forward to attack the enemy's front line, trenches, defence lines or inter-connected bunkers. In most placed the attack was stalled, leaving the dead lying in piles across no-man's land. In some places the assault succeeded and the attackers occupied the defender's positions, only for the attack to then stall under the counter-barrage as the enemy's pre-sighted guns unleashed an accurate storm of fire, isolating the attackers in their new positions. The enemy would then counter-attack before the assault troops could be reinforced, as the artillery storm raged unabated. The sudden riposte would drive the Krieg guardsmen back. The waves of Krieg infantry would crash in, only to be repulsed, like the ebb and flow of the waves. This remorseless cycles of offensives went on, each time the attack would be stalled, and the next day the attack had to be widened, to take in a neighbouring sector and eliminate its flanking fire. Always the gains were negligible. Over the months, hundreds of attacks were made, but there was no breakthrough. Another month passed in stalemate.
The tireless, pitiless cycle of war ground on like an insatiable beast, consuming men and equipment daily. The endless artillery duel began again, turning the frontline into a crater field. Anther year passed, then another, and the conditions worsened. Wherever the Krieg regiments made any gains, they were soon recaptured by enemy counter-attacks. Both side employed the tactics of constant harassment, which never allowed their opponents across no-man's land a moment of unguarded rest. The result was that for long periods of time, sometimes months, the front was entirely static. The Krieg commanders wanted a big breakthrough, but for the time being, the war of attrition continued.
Raid on Sector 50-45Edit
By early July, the 158th regiment made a large raid in sector 50-45. Their objective - capture and destroy an artillery sighting tower, being used to accurately deliver a withering barrage of shells on any attacker. To gain the element of surprise, the Lenehenese went without the usual artillery bombardment that preceded an attack on the ground. The attack wold be led by Grenadier squads, infiltrating forwards across no-man's land under cover of darkness to quickly seize the silo's surface through at dawn to clear the silo, which was mostly underground, protected on the surface by razorwire, a dense minefield and several reinforced gun emplacements.The grenadier squads set off under cover of a dark and gloomy night, stealthily slipping into no-man's land and crawling from crater to crater through the mud. As flares burned overhead, casting its harsh light over them, the grenadiers froze or played dead, disguised as just another corpse. Once the light faded to earth, the grenadiers continued to slither forwards. One squad stumbled into an enemy patrol, and a firefight erupted, but to the Babylonian sentries it was just another nightly clash in no-man's land. The grenadier squads that reached their objective cut the first band of razorwire, clearing a lane for their fellow squads, when a flare burst overhead. An eagle-eyed sentry noticed the unfamiliar shapes on the perimeter and shouted out a warning as a heavy machine-gun open fired. The men below were roused from their sleep by their bellowing officers.
With little choice, the grenadiers pressed on, scrambling through the wire and rushing forwards to avoid being massacred on the wire. The night-time erupted in explosions and heavy weapons fire. By dawn, the tower was shrouded in smoke and dust. Though the mission accomplished order had not been received, the order was given by the Krieg commanders to continue the attack as planned, and so, the infantry companies swarmed up and out into no-man's land. But, unknown to the new attackers, the grenadier's attack had gone badly. Soon withering defensive fire turned no-man's land into a charnel house of burned, concussed or dismembered soldiers. The survivors straggling back into the cover of their own trenches again. The following day, only superficial damage could be seen, but the tower remained intact and functioning. Several hundred had died in the hopeless attack. Only a few of the attacking grenadiers ever reached their own lines again- most were killed, those that were captured were tortured for information and then executed with their bodies left hanging on the razorwire as grisly reminders of their fate.
A New ThreatEdit
Unbeknownst to the Lenehenese, twenty miles behind their rearguard a small force of CREEEEEEDian tanks had penetrated the defensive ring her allies had formed around the city and were proceeding to wreak havoc unmolested in Lenehen's mostly-undefended rear. Striking at vehicle parks, ammo depots and fuel caches, the small strike force caused untold damage and set back the campaign by weeks due to the devestation left in it's wake. It was several weeks before they were finally ambushed and destroyed.
It had been nine months since the Siege of Babylon had begun. By now the 88th Siege Army should have been entrenched at the inner defence ring having cracked the defences of the first two rings, and it should have had the Citadel itself within the sights of their heavy artillery. But nine months of war had not gone entirely to plan. The 88th Siege Army had been forced to request more men. The success of the Armoured Companies gave cause for new hope, and Lord-General Macharias saw the chance to redeem earlier failures with a decisive breakthrough. The addition of a new line korps with three fresh new regiments gave his commanders on the ground the extra forces they needed to mount an unstoppable offensive. Lord-General Macharias was running out of time, he had been given twelve years to complete his mission and the resources of Krieg had poured onto New Babylonia in vast quantities. He ordered the three new regiments, and those already in the line to plan and execute a big push, an all out offensive that applied constant and sustained pressure on the second defence lines over its full frontage. This would draw in the enemy's reserves and then destroy them under the artillery bombardment or in powerful infantry attacks. By sustaining the pressure, the enemy would eventually have to break somewhere. When they did an assault korps would be ready to pour into the gap and smash through to the inner defence line. If the breakthrough attack was fast enough they might even be able to drive into the inner defence line and establish a foothold before the enemy had a chance to dig himself in again.
The defenders could not fail to notice the build-up for the attack. Patrols and observation posts reported the increase in troop numbers at the front and the stockpiling of arms and equipment. In response, shells rained down on the Krieg trench lines in an attempts to "spoil" the preparations now underway. Krieg's guns replied in their counter-battery role. Every gun destroyed now was one less to rain destruction down on the attack when it finally came time for the infantry to go over the top. By October, the preparatory bombardment began in earnest. Every gun in the 88th Siege Army roared out, lightning the sky with muzzle flashes as they poured high-explosives down on the defenders. All day and all night the guns fired in an attempt to break down the defenders' resistance. The defenders grimly awaited the coming assault as the ground outside and above them shook with the force of the explosions. In darkness the communication trenches began to fill up with troops, as the first wave got into position. The second wave was also ready, crowded in shoulder-to-shoulder, heavily laden with extra equipment, grenades, ammunition and rations for the coming battle. As the darkness soon gave way to the first weak rays of dawn's light, the fury of the barrage stopped, and for a brief second there was silence.
The Final Push: Day 1Edit
The attack order flashed through every vox-caster set in the forward trenches, and was relayed to the men. The Krieg guardsmen scambled up the ladders and over the parapet, surging forward in a tide across no-man's land. Across no-man's land the enemy responded to the lifting of the bombardment. They ran to crew their crew-served weapons, awaiting the inevitable ground assault. Though their targets had not even come into view, the defenders opened a lethal hail of grazing fire. Men started to fall, but the attackers pressed on. Soon the defensive batteries that had not been knocked-out opened up with their own barrage. Shells started to crash down into the advancing Krieg rank, as the defender's fire increased. As the artillery fire hammered down it caused the utter collapse of the 158th regiment's attack in sector 50-45. The Commissars amongst the retreating assault squads demanded that the men stand firm and push on, summarily executing the first men to take any steps backwards. In return, several Commissars were shot out of hand by their own side as the shredded assault companies scurried back to the safety of their own trenches. At the parapet the first wave collided with the second wave as they moved forwards to begin their advance. Fighting broke out as the officers of the second wave tried to force passage forwards. After only a couple hours the 158th regiment's attack had disintegrated into shambles. For the regiment's abject failure, the colonel and his staff would be arrested and eventually executed. The regiment was then disbanded by the 88th Siege Army's commissars. All the survivors would be sentenced to serve amongst the Kriegian Penal Legions.
In other sectors there was more progress. The Krieg guardsmen pushed on regardless of heavy losses. In places they reached the enemy lines and overran them, bayonets fixed. In places regimental commanders reported good progress, in others failure and heavy losses. Despite the pandemonium, the second wave was ordered forwards, and the guardsmen of surged into no-man's land. As the battle progressed it became clear that most of the enemy had held their positions, but where they had been overrun they had fallen back into the defence line and manned new positions. The 34th line korps attacks seemed to have achieved the most gains. In the 291st regiment's sector they had achieved complete artillery supremacy, having destroyed just about all the defenders' guns. Their infantry pushed on, continuing the attack even in the darkness. The 88th Siege Army seized upon this success as the point of maximum effort tomorrow. The 11th assault korps had so far been held in reserve, and now it was ordered into position to begin a fresh attack through the 291st regiment. The guardsmen clambered aboard into Gorgon assault transports. It would take a day to prepare the attack, so the 291st regiment would need to consolidate its gains tomorrow, and could expect relief on day three.
The cost of the first day's attacks had been appallingly high, and many companies were already faced manpower shortages. Those that had won a foothold would need to hold until reinforcements could be rushed to them. Day two would be a day of consolidating those gains and holding against the inevitable counter-attacks, before day three saw another mighty effort. In truth, the gains had been minimal, the enemy had fought hard, in places with fanatical zeal, to hold their ground, but the attack had to continue.
The Final Push: Day 2Edit
Day two was a day of consolidation and disjointed attacks, as each Krieg company tried to secure its own position or push on to the objectives they had failed to carry the day before. As the artillery duel reigned overhead, the infantry troops continued to fight separate battles from their makeshift positions. Small actions were fought all along the front on day two, as the 88th Siege Army sorted to secure the gains it had made by the sacrifices of the first day. By the end of day two, several regimental colonels were requesting that the offensive be called off, or at least scaled down. At the current rate of attrition their regiments would soon be annihilated. The 88th army command, and in particular Lord-General Macharias, would not -- could not -- consider such a request. The offensive was too important to set aside because of dreadful casualties. Speed of action was deemed all important, for the longer follow-up actions were delayed, the longer the enemy had to dig himself in. On day three, more attacks would be launched. Though the 88th Siege Army was sorely hurting, they understood that the enemy must also be feeling the pain.
As fire continued to rain down on them from the city walls, a new tactic was implemented by the Lenehenese. Until now, a steady stream of flak from countless AA batteries had shot down any planes- but this soon changed when the Lenehenese air-force had started kamikaze tactics, literally flying their planes (Loaded with explosives) into the emplacements, annihilating the gun and it's crew in a controlled fireball. Each plane lost brought down another weapon emplacement but this tactic only reduced the defensive fire, as they were too numerous to destroy all of them.
The Final Push: Day 3EditOn day three, the fighting continued, as ordered, all along the entire front but the focus of the 88th Siege Army would be in the south in sectors 51-41 and 52-41, where the 11th assault korps was being committed to the attack. The tank companies rolled forwards, slowly crawling across the pitted wastes of no-man's land, fanning out into battle lines and began their thrust. Behind them followed the massive Gorgon transports, packed with platoons of fifty men each, ready to disembark and charge the enemy's positions. The loose line of smashed bunkers, walls and shells holes held by the enemy were soon overwhelmed as the Gorgon carrier's ramps crashed down and hordes of Krieg guardsmen disembarked. The first thin lines could not hold the crushing weight of the 11th assault korps' attacks for long, and by mid-morning the tanks and infantry were advancing again. It seemed that the long desired breakthrough of the second defence line was close- all remaining Leman Russes, Chimeras, new Basilisks, Medusas, even a squadron of 12 Destroyer tank hunters had been ordered to press the attack.
By the evening, a small break in the city walls had opened and Grenadiers swarmed through. With narrow city streets, tank warfare was impossible and although Lenehenese Earthshaker batteries were now close enough to provide fire support, the battle quickly turned to intense urban combat.
Stalemate and White PeaceEdit
Days passed, but neither side appeared to be coming out on top- whilst the Lenehenese had cracked the defensives and formed a beachhead, they were unable to advance. Likewise, the Babylonians had stopped the advance but were unable to drive the attackers out of their city. Every day, countless civilian and military lives were lost until finally, the Babylonian Emperor offered a white peace, which was siezed upon by Lenehenese High Command.
However not all were as jubilent about the peace as them, when Lord-General Solar Macharias was told the news he became furious and accused his troops and commanders of betrayal and cowardice- locking himself in his state room, drinking himself into a stupor. When Macharius finally emerged, clean and sober once more, he ordered his fleet to set course back to Lenehen. His Guardsmen cheered the the Lord Solar as a hero and Living Saint of the Imperium, and his generals breathed a deep sigh of relief. However, Macharius was a frustrated man whose dreams of boundless conquests in the name of the God-Emperor had been shattered in the face of simple human frailties and fears that he himself did not suffer from or feel. His will to live broken by his men's refusal and on the return journey to Holy Terra, Macharius finally succumbed to a fever he had contracted and died, his soul ascending to join the Emperor.
The ACSN had been devestated by this total war, with armies shattered and millions dead. Lenehen's Imperial Guard had been stripped of over 14 million men whilst New Babylonia's once-undefeatable Grand Army had faced losses of 17 million, as well as countless civilian casualties of the Babylon Militia. It was the end of a dark chapter of the ACSN's history, one which hopefully would never be repeated.