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The Battle of Iperin in the Chasma Spica incident of c912m41 remains one of the most perplexing fleet actions in all of Imperial Naval history. Admiral Niers created a roughly conical formation of escorts, ships of the line, and Space Marine vessels. Inside the cone, transports would be protected, and fighters would pick off stray ordnance and enemy fighters attacking the vulnerable transports. Niers’ plan was that upon breaking the plane of the enemy forces with a spearhead, the warships would fan out and engage enemy forces, while the transports would continue on to make planet fall. Reconnaissance placed the enemy in a roughly toroid shaped defensive position, and Niers expected them to attempt to break through the cone and attack the transports.
However, Chaos and Ork forces engaged warships on the surface of the cone formation, fragmenting it but leaving the transports relatively undamaged. Of the 43 Munitorum ships attempting to make planet fall, 39 made it through undamaged, and only one was destroyed, ironically by the detonation of the warp core of the Fist of Light, a Lunar class crusier. This left the three Space Marine battle barges and most of the heavier battleships out of position. Eldar ships cut into enemy spearheads, attacking where the enemy was thickest, and melting away before Chaos or Ork forces could retaliate. This unusual but not unheard of alien assistance bought Imperial forces the time they needed to reverse course and envelop the enemy toroid shape. An independent unknown vessel, later identified as Tyranid in origin, landed during the primary engagement. Two Ork roks provided heavy ordnance fire and soaked up heavy damage before retreating to the surface of Iperin itself.
Imperial forces along the tail end of the cone suffered most heavily, with 64 ships heavily damaged, disabled, or destroyed. Most Space Marine vessels and Navy battleships, expecting heavy fire in the spearhead action, actually came through in quite good shape, and allowed the surprised Imperial forces to rally. The flagship Thor’s Gaze was the most damaged of all the heavy ships, as an explosion on the bridge severely damaged control consoles and killed Admiral Niers and Captain Kromby. Luckily, Ensign John Kenyon took command and managed to get the ship outside of the combat zone. The battle then descended into a disorganized firefight, with dwindling forces on both sides.
Overall, Imperials held the space over Iperin Prime for some time, allowing troops on the ground to become fortified and establish a battle line. Bombardments of the Ork Roks from orbit met with few results, although two Ork Gargants were completely obliterated before they could reach Imperial lines. Chaos forces bolstered by a large wedge of Ork Brute Ramships retaliated three days later, pushing Imperial forces to the relative safety of the outer reaches of the system. Chaos forces bombarded Imperial positions seemingly at random. Control of the airspace over Iperin went back and forth for approximately twenty-three standard Earth days before the final decisive conflict on the surface of Iperin…
-Excerpt from: A History of Late 41st Millenium Fleet Actions in the Segmentum Tempestus by Tactician Grel Chaldor