The Laeran Crusade was a small offshoot of the Damocles Campaign. It was tasked with the purging of the Tau in the Laeran system and it's surroundings.
During the Damocles Gulf Camapign, a large group of Tau fled the worlds directly in the Imperium's path. They fell back to the Laeran system, where they rebuilt their strength. The High Lords of Terra, seeing the threat they could pose, gathered a small force to exterminate them. That force was quickly destroyed by the Tau. The High Lords then formed a crusade to purge the worlds there.
However, the Crusade was too small to have the comamnd of a full Warmaster, so a man named Perus Illumbarec was named Honourary-Warmaster for the campaign. He was a Cadian veteran of the 13th Black Crusade and the Damocles Gulf campaign. He quickly assembled a force from the Damocles reserve units, and a number of other Imperial Guard regiments. The High Lords also attatched a full company of Space Maries to help him, along with a Demi-Legio of Titans and a number of Imperial Navy units. Soon their forces where ready.
Operation: Mine Sweeper
Operation Mine Sweeper was a large offensive mounted by the Imperium upon entering the Hydra system, which bordered the Laer system. Several Tau groups had dug themselves in on these planets, fortifying the ancient citadels located on the dead worlds. Warmaster Illumbarec charged Grand Master Helghann of Krieg with the capture of these worlds, notably Hydra Crucius and Hydra Imperio. Helghann chose a large force of infrantry for the assault. His first force, under Marshall Kovig, consisted of the Cadian 180th, the Kolyniosk 111th Siege and the 818th Karanian Infantry. The second force, commanded by Marshall De'Loin and Helghann himself, was comprised of the 122nd Karanian Infantry and the 33rd Death Corps of Krieg regiment. The remaining crusade force stood in reserve, occupying the other planets in the system.
Marshall Kovig was quick to land his forces on Hydra Crucius. He deployed his elite Kolyniosk regiment in the front lines. The sharp-eyed and strongly built men of Kolyniosk were perfect for siege warfare. They were supported by the Cadians and Kovig kept his Karanians in reserve. Kovig and Colonel Anasta of the Kolyniosk hatched up a plan of assault on the Citadel. They dug parrallel trenchs to the fortress and set up their artillery behind their lines. The Tau remained in their fortress.
The Citadel on Crucius dated back to the time of the Horus Heresy. The Emperor's Children, after wiping out the Laer species constructed the Citadel there to oversee the Imperialisation of the local systems. However, after the Siege of Terra, a portion of Iron Warriors took the fortress, using it to control the systems around it. After a lengthy siege, the Imperial Fists liberated it intact. However, the Citadel's guns had long since decayed, leaving the Tau with just the fortress' walls for protection.
The Kolyniosk forces were quick to advance realising the Tau had no defences. They soon gained acsess to the fortress, after destroying the already crippled void shields. The Cadian units began to assault, charging the breach in the south wall. Tau Fire Warriors used the stone cat-walks above to rain fire of the guard, taking their toll on them. Kovig then opened up two more breaches, rushing in further troops, dividing the small Tau army. The aliens were soon repulsed, and retreated the the Citadel's inner sanctum. However, guerrilla groups remained behind, using their knowledge of the building to strike advancing Imperials. Bitter room-to-room fighting erupted. However, the Citadel was captured on the eve of the fifth week, giving the Imperium a foothold and a forward base.
When the Imperial Guard landed on Hydra Imperio, they were quickly harrassed by Tau flyers, whom destroyed several key prefabricated baes and tanks. Obviously the Tau were better equiped on Imperio than Crucius. Eventually the Imperials got a foothold on Imperio, securing a safe landing zone. The Karanian troops set up a defence around the zone, whilst the Death Corps began to entrench themselves. After a week of hit and run attacks by the Tau, the Imperials had secured a primary trench system, and begun to advance on the Citadel Imperio.
Unfortunatley for the Imperials, the guns on the more recently constructed Citadel Imperio were in perfect working order, and the Imperials paid in blood for each metre the advanced. However, they responded in kind, shelling the Citadel. But the void shields were operational, and soaked up their fire.
After two more weeks of fighting, the 122nd Karanian were withdrawn from the battle, after taking horendous casualties. As they were withdrawn, the Death Corps suffered almost as bad, but their experience at trench warfare kept them going.
After another week of advance, the Tau finnaly mounted a proper counter-attack. Swarms of Devilfish carriers and Hammerhead ships descended on the Imperial lines. The Tau soon swampd the Krieg warriors. However, they fought to the last, each warrior taking with him dozens of Tau. Only the 1st battalion survived, as they had been protecting the Landing Zone. With the trenches lost, they contemplated retreat. However, Warmaster Illumbarec refused.
The next day, the Tau pushed forward, expecting little resistance. They swarmed through the Imperials base, slaughtering the Krieg warriors. However, just as they thought they had won, a solitary black Thunderhawk gunship descended from the heavens. The Tau's prisoners rejoiced loudly, weeping with happiness. The Tau scoffed, ready to kill whatever emerged from the gunship.
The giant ship landed on the ground. The Tau readied their rifles. The massive ramp opened, and out stepped five solitary Space Marines. The Tau laughed even louder, and began to attack.
After an hour of fighting, no Tau remained.
After the Deatghwatch's intervention, fresh troops were landed, along with Titans from the Legio Invigilata, and Hydra Imperio was captured. Still, Illumbarec executed Helghann, promoting Kovig to the rank of Grand Marshall, and Colonel Jurten of the 33rd Death Corps to Marshall. Later, Perus would regret this decision, as he saw what the Tau were fully capable of.
- Brimlock 4th Dragoons Regiment
- Brimlock 17th Dragoons Regiment
- Cadian 3rd Heavy Tank Regiment
- Cadian 9th Shock Troops Regiment
- Cadian 180th Shock Troops Regiment
- 3rd Hyrkan Light Infantry
- 122nd Karanian Infantry
- 818th Karanian Infantry
- 33rd Krieg Infantry
- 111th Kolyniosk Seige Regiment
- 223rd Pyran Dragoons
- 9th Uleshi Stormtroopers.
- Vostroyan Firstborn XIX
- Legio Invigilata (Demi Legio)
- 8 Skitarii regiments
- Raptors 3rd Company
- 1 Mortifactors scout squad
- Inquisitorial Storm Troopers
- 1 Death Watch Kill Team
- Numerous Warriors of the Fire Caste
- Kroot Mercenaries
- Laer PDF
- Numerous mechanised vechicles