Reconnaissance

In the days immediately after the Battle of First Contact, both the Jager Corps and the Space Wolves put a lot of emphasis on reconnaissance.

Scattered squads of Space Wolves were left behind when the retreat was called by Woldermort Wolftongue at the Battle of First Contact. Many of those units dug in where possible, establishing fortifications from which they might be able to signal other units. The position that would become known as the Death Head was the largest of these, but there were many more scattered across the surface of Adrilles. Some lasted for a long period of time while others were overrun or abandoned even before the soldiers had caught their breath. For those that did hold, it soon became apparent that communicating with the Strike Cruisers in orbit or even other troops on the surface would be difficult because of the atmospheric anomalies plaguing Adrilles. As such, the Vlka Fenryka had to rely on the eyes and ears of units sent on reconnaissance missions.

Magister Militum Frans Ruldolf’s Jager Corps were in a similar situation. Many of the Jagers’ outlying installations were assaulted during the first days of the Adrilles War, and as the days wore on the Jagers’ communications were also hindered by the havoc playing out in the atmosphere of the planet.

With the Vlka Fenryka prowling and the Jagers scouting to see where its enemies were active, it is no wonder there are multiple reports of skirmishes between the two groups.

At the edges of the volcanic northern region, a Space Wolves formation established position and set up a monitoring and transmission position in the ruins of a pre-Tyranid invasion Imperium foundry. The formation was comprised of five elite Scouts, ten Grey Hunters and five Terminators. Heavy support was provided by an anti-personnel tank. The troops were not expecting confrontation. Previous scouting expeditions had revealed Jagers and Sautekh Necrons had been active in the area, but had seemingly moved elsewhere. The orders for this patrol, therefore, was to set-up monitoring, take readings, and transmit back to the main group, if possible. Enemy forces encountered were to be neutralized.

Two days after the Space Wolves settled into the foundry, a Huntsmen formation of five Scouts, ten Tactical Marines, ten veteran Vanguards and one anti-personnel vehicle picked up foreign readings in the sector and managed to triangulate to discover the position. The Jagers’ were ordered to conduct reconnaissance in the zone.

The Huntsmen Scouts infiltrated deep into the foundry and spotted a group of Grey Hunters holding position near what appeared to be a communications array. Immediately, the Space Wolf Predator protecting a choke point reversed course, driving up a set of metal stairs, letting off a burst of auto-cannon and heavy bolter fire as it did so. The stairs shrieked in protest; the metal buckled, but held. The Jager Scouts had to act quickly. They lept off the platform in an attempt to outflank the Space Wolves armour. One Scout lost his footing in the difficult terrain and fell into an acid pool, dying instantly. Another struck a girder on the way down and died of his injuries while the Scouts regrouped and planned their outflanking maneuver.

The Scouts notified their armored support that they were under fire. The Vanguard used jump-packs to gain high ground and advance up the flank. Before the armour could arrive to support the Scouts, a team of Blood-Maw Terminators teleported behind the Jagers’ Predator and a small group of Space Wolves Scouts broke cover from where they were concealed to the side of the tank. It was now clear the Space Wolves were well prepared for any threats they may encounter and had likely spotted the Jagers as they approached the foundry.

A round of suppressing fire from the Terminators hit the Huntsmen Tactical Squad. The Wolves Scouts quickly moved behind the Predator and attached a series of Krak grenades. The resulting explosion dropped one of the Scouts unexpectedly. The Huntsmen Tactical Marines were also engulfed in the blast but emerged unscathed.

The Wolves Predator tried and cut off the Huntsmen Scouts. It became bogged down in an acid pool but continued to fire it’s weapons, effectively closing off the entrance to the choke point, beyond which lay the Wolves’ communications array.

With no other option, the Jagers Scouts ran across open ground in front of the tank and into the cover of another foundry building. Meanwhile, without the support of their own Predator, the Jagers Tactical Marines fell back under fire from the Terminators. The Vanguard used their jump-packs to descend from the platform in an attempt to shore up the Huntsmen Marines for the assault that was sure to come.

But the enemy scouts came on first, following behind a swath of fire from their flamer that eliminated several Jager marines. Both forces then traded losses in close quarters.

Before the Blood-Maw pack could enter the fray, the Vanguard jumped into the assault, dealing damage to the Wolves Scouts but not eliminating them. The veterans threatened to turn the tide of the encounter, but then the Terminators waded into the confrontation, wielding power weapons and the crushing might of their armored fists.

A desperate battle raged. Armour screeched and then gave way. Blood soaked the ground and men died. The Tactical Marines broke ranks as the battle turned against them; the lone remaining Wolves Scout gave chase, blasting away with his bolter. Mad with feral blood lust, he fell back into close combat, but the odds were too great and his fury was his own undoing.

This clash of forces was so ferocious that at one point the Jager Vanguard Squad absorbed so many wounds they were forced to give ground and fall back. They regrouped quickly and plunged back into the combat, using jump-packs to smash into the Terminators. This move was a desperate attempt that ultimately failed under the weight of superior weaponry. The veteran Huntsmen were routed.

At this point, the Jagers Scouts made a break across open group in an attempt to escape the slaughter. The grounded enemy Predator blasted it’s weapons across the killing field. The Grey Hunters leaped into action, running across the foundry platforms to cut off the fleeing scouts. One Jager died under the hail of bullets and now only one remained. Across the field, the Terminators turned their focus and fired. The smoking ruin of what was the Huntsmen Predator threw off their targeting and they missed their mark. Several Grey Hunter rounds smacked off the façade of a ruined building as the lone scout dove under cover.

In their subsequent investigations, the Space Wolves could find no trace of the Huntsmen Scout and had to conclude he had escaped.

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