Latest news:

[all news]

nurgle.stelio.net

ModelsLoreSourcesInspiration ]

Apostles of Contagion

In the Warhammer 40,000 setting, the Apostles of Contagion are a sub-faction of the Death Guard, Chaos Space Marines devoted to Nurgle.

The Apostles of Contagion are led by Necrosius. Other members include Dhalus Ulkalor.

Imperial Armour 6: The Siege of Vraks, part 2 (2008)

Imperial Armour 6: The Siege of Vraks, part 2 (2008), p26 — Force Dispositions for the Siege of Vraks

Enemy Forces on Vraks - circa 841823.M41

Vraksian Renegades

Legionii Excommunicate Traitoris

Other Renegade Forces

+++ Compiled by 88th Imperial Guard Siege Army HQ, Thracian-Prime: Thrace sub-sector: Scarus sector +++

+++ For transmission to: Segmentum Obscurus, Departmento Munitorum, Operational Command: Cadia +++

Imperial Armour 6: The Siege of Vraks, part 2 (2008), p35-40 — On the Edge of Defeat

Last Stand of the 19th

The planned new supplies and reinforcements could do nothing to assist the plight of the 19th siege regiment though. It was cut off, surrounded by the enemy with its back to the unbridgeable Demus trench. It had been a necessary sacrifice to save the other regiments of 1st line korps, but that was little consolation for the Krieg guardsmen now trapped and facing certain death.

The instrument of that destruction would be the warbands of the Plague Father - the dreaded Lords of Decay and the Apostles of Contagion. The blighted followers of the Chaos god Nurgle had also come to Vraks and it was a battlefield to their liking. Already devastated by the ceaseless artillery duel, where the dead lay unburied and the ground had become infectious with disease from the decaying corpses of the slain, it would be a fertile ground for Nurgle's followers and his favoured weapons. With the 19th siege regiment trapped, they would become the subjects of the Lord of Decay's special attention and pleasure.

Since the beginning of the war, the Imperium's commanders had suspected that Cardinal Xaphan's forces were in possession of proscribed weaponry. Vraks had once been used as a safe storage dump for chemical weapons that had been forbidden thousands of years ago. It seemed these must have fallen into the Cardinal's hands when the revolt overthrew the Emperor's rule. It was one of the reasons Krieg regiments had been chosen to conduct the siege. They were troops hardened enough to face such weapons of mass destruction without breaking. Chief amongst the chemical weapon stores was the toxin Trimethyline-Phthaloxyic-Tertius, known as TP-III.

TP-III was a horrible combination of highly acidic and corrosive heavy gases. Greenish in colour, it was lethal if breathed in, killing in less than 30 seconds due to massive damage to the respiratory system. Concentrations of TP-III caused acidic burning and rapid corrosion, melting skin from bone in minutes. In strong concentrations it could corrode through metal and armour. The chemical's acidic gases were highly volatile and difficult to control on a battlefield, but it could be devastatingly effective in large concentrations.

So far the Apostate-Cardinal had held his captured stocks in reserve, as his weapon of last resort should the time come when it seemed that all was lost.

The arrival of the Chaos Space Marine reinforcements on Vraks, whilst strengthening the war on the ground, had actually weakened the Cardinal's position as the ruler of Vraks. Amongst his new allies were men who had no intention of following his orders. The warbands had come for their own purposes and where they did not correspond to those of the Apostate Cardinal's, he was ignored. He had no control over the Chaos Space Marine warbands that now roamed Vraks' battlefields at will, seeking their own glory and following their own agenda.

Even Arkos, the Warmaster of the Alpha Legion on Vraks could exercise little influence and was not inclined too. What was this petty Cardinal's little uprising to him? Only a chance to do the work of far greater powers. Whilst all parties in the loose alliance had been formed with the same goal - the destruction of the Emperor's forces, they had very different ideas of how to achieve it. Xaphan was now hidden away deep within his fortress, enduring the nightly bombing raids and listening to the reports of his corrupt counsellors and advisors, chief amongst them Deacon Mamon, the appointed commander of the Cardinal's Disciples of Xaphan. He had little idea of the true situation beyond the fortress walls.

Upon arrival the Nurgle warbands had not plunged directly into battle as the bloodthirsty followers of Khorne had. Instead they gathered their full strength, mustered their followers under the warband leaders and carefully selected their first victims. The 19th siege regiment would be it - they were about to commit a monstrous experiment upon the trapped Krieg guardsmen. This would not be warfare for any strategic gain, but an unholy ritual, a preparing of the ground. They would seek to turn Vraks' already infectious environment into a toxic nightmare of disease and pestilence. To this end they forcibly seized the secret supplies of TP-III and prepared to put them to use. They would show Xaphan's mortal followers that the true nature of the universe was decay and the only way to survive it was to embrace it.

At 711823.M41 the first attacks began. Not with an artillery barrage or bombing raid, but in the eerily cold of dawn a strange light could be seen, staining the horizon in a greenish haze. Steadily the light grew stronger as thickening bilious clouds rolled towards the trenches. Krieg sentries issued warnings as the unnatural fog approached, blotting out the first rays of dawn's light. Thick and heavy it clung to the ground, tumbling into every shell hole and crater. Then it reached the trenches...

The clouds of TP-III had a hideous effect. All Krieg guardsmen had been trained to meet chemical attacks and fight on regardless. They were well equipped for just such events, but against the acid soaked cloud respirators provided little protection. The concentrated acid burned through protective clothing and respirator masks. It melted armour and corroded metal equipment. In minutes it would strip a naked man to bare bones. Then it began to envelope the front lines. Skin blistered and burned as their protective clothes decayed, exposing the guardsmen to the full horrors of the acidic environment. A respirator failure resulted in an agonising death, the acid burning the respiratory system and melting lungs so that blood bubbled up from within, foaming from the mouth and nose of its victims even as flesh melted away to expose white bones beneath. In places the chemical was less virulent and the Krieg guardsmens' protective equipment coped well, but where the gas was densest it destroyed everything in its path. Entire platoons were wiped out in a few nightmarish minutes, turning guardsmen to bubbling, steaming pools of sticky flesh as it struck. As the front line became enveloped in turmoil, the first attack began.

The roar of engines reverberated through the poisonous cloud as the Plague Marines approached, their corroded and corrupted vehicles bouncing across no-man's land. Rhinos, Predator tanks and Land Raiders emerged from the green mist and opened fire. All along the front the followers of Nurgle attacked, quickly taking advantage of the turmoil their heinous chemical attack had wrought. They had crossed no-man's land against virtually no resistance.

The adamantium and ceramite doors of rusted and boil-infected Rhinos and Land Raiders sprang open and out poured the bloated and foul enemy, bolt guns blazing as they spread into firing lines and began the final advance towards the parapets. It was difficult to believe these abominations had once been Space Marines, loyal followers of the Emperor. Now they were a disgusting parody of their former selves. Putrefying flesh hung limply from their pitted and pox-marked power armour. Maggots crawled upon their bodies feasting and fat flies buzzed around them in swarms. For all their grotesque appearance they were still superbly disciplined troops, none of their skill had been lost with their decay - both physical and moral. They attacked with the ruthless efficiency of the Adeptus Astartes, a steady stream of bolter rounds detonating amongst the trenches as the first squads waded the last yards of no-man's land and began to leap down into the trenches.

Just as against the Khornate Berserkers, even the training and morale of the Krieg guardsmen were no match for the supernatural power that drove the Death Guard into battle. They seemed impervious to damage and unstoppable as they swept trenches clear with bolter shells and began tossing blight grenades into dug-outs. These exploded with powerful blasts, spraying more acid and toxins into the air and filling dug-outs with thick noxious fumes. In close combat their powered armour was more than a match for the Krieg bayonet, which was easily turned aside or just snapped on impact. In return the Nurgle worshippers wielded long brutal knives, rusted and oozing unknown poisons. With their massive strength the Traitor Space Marines cleaved through armour and helmets, hacking and slashing their way through the guardsmen as they fought desperately to defend each trench. The Krieg guardsmen fought well, standing and fighting to the last. No other Imperial Guard regiment could have withstood the onslaught of acidic gas and bolter fire so well, but they could not hold for long. In desperation platoon commanders called down supporting artillery fire on their own trench lines, and Earthshaker shells were soon screaming in, exploding indiscriminately amongst both sides.

The gas cloud was dispersing now. The fog lifting from the battlefield to reveal more enemy forces approaching. Across no-man's land came a second wave of men, a ragged horde this time of militiamen and mutants advancing through the Krieg counter-barrage, following in the Traitor Marines' wake. They too were soon in amongst the trenches and forcing the survivors back along the communication trenches and overrunning the second trench lines.

No help could be sent to save the 19th regiment from the assault. It was too late for them and they had no option but to fight their last stand. There was nowhere to withdraw to. One-by-one their trenches fell to the enemy, field artillery was abandoned as their crews ran out of ammunition and fell back. The few remaining tanks the regiment could field fought from their dug-in positions, hull down, engaging the enemy vehicles as they rolled forwards. The crushing weight of Land Raiders collapsed the trench walls as they passed over them, crushing anybody below. One after another the Krieg tanks were hit and destroyed by the accurate fire of Land Raider and Predator lascannons.

The Toxic War

Night fell, but saw no let up in the fighting. Colonel Keled, commander of 19th, reported that he would hold for another day, after that his ammunition would be spent, his last artillery overrun and his regiment scattereed and annihilated. His men served their Emperor well and the 19th regiment clung on, fighting to the last man and last round for another three days as the frontline shrunk ever backwards. The enemy repeatedly and mercilessly unleashed more chemical weapons. All the dead were left to rot, often stripped bare and gathered into piles where the airborne chemicals could quickly strip the flesh from them. The muddy ground was littered with stinking, decomposing corpses. Fat maggots writhed over them, merrily feasting. Soon thick swarms of black flies crawled over the dead.

All communication with the 19th siege regiment ceased at 735823.M41. It was over - the last pocket of resistance had been shattered by the remorseless onslaught of the Plague Marines and their foul followers. Behind them they left a fetid charnel house with an atmosphere still thick with poisonous chemicals. Pools of green gas hung in the bottom of blasted trenches and deep shell craters. They had turned sectors 61-44 and 62-44 into a playground for the creatures of Nurgle. Strange beasts could be seen stalking the trenches and dug-outs, creatures from nightmares that crawled and oozed, and spider-like machines stalked the mists. Here was a land fit for Nurgle's servants. Their master was pleased.

The Death Guard's onslaught was just the beginning. It had been a testing ground for their chemical weapons. Now they could turn their attention to other sectors, and subject them to the same treatment. They would use the TP-III indiscriminately and the Krieg guardsmen soon learned that such chemical attacks were always the precursor to an assault or raid. Wherever the Nurgle Space Marine warbands roamed, they left a trail of decay, torturing the land with their foul toxins, spreading disease and poison wherever they could.

It was a deliberate and calculated act. The Death Guard and their allies were not interested in fighting this war of attrition. It mattered not whether Vraks stood or fell. All that mattered was that the Lord of Decay would be pleased by the wanton destruction and corruption of Vraks' surface. They were preparing the ground, creating a toxic land, making Vraks a home from home for those creatures of Lord Nurgle that were unseen but eager to join the fray and spread their own delicious diseases amongst Mankind. This was not war as the Death Korps of Krieg's commanders understood it. It was a giant unholy ritual, fanatically pursued, paving the way for worse horrors to come...

Apostles of Contagion

"The Apostles of Contagion sweep forward through the sickly green light of their chemical weapons attack"

Imperial Armour 6: The Siege of Vraks, part 2 (2008), p57

Predator of the Apostles of Contagion

Nurgle Predator of the Apostles of Contagion warband.

Imperial Armour 6: The Siege of Vraks, part 2 (2008), p92

Defiler of the Apostles of Contagion

Chaos Defiler of the Apostles of Contagion warband.

Imperial Armour 6: The Siege of Vraks, part 2 (2008), p190-191 — Scenario 10 - Last Stand of the 19th Regiment

Warhammer 40,000

The Battle

Following the defeat of the 101st regiment's counter-attack, the 19th siege regiment became trapped by new Chaos forces advancing from the north. Surrounded and pinned against the Demos trench, the regiment became the focus of the Nurgle warbands, who initiated a diabolical plan to unleash Vraks' store of chemical weapons to quickly annihilate the 19th regiment and begin turning Vraks into a toxic landscape.

The Nurgle Chaos Space Marine warbands led the attack, advancing behind a heavy barrage of chemical weapons. They soon captured the first trenches and dug-outs. Behind them followed a wave of mortal worshippers of Nurgle to continue the attack. Over the course of four days and with heavy use of nightmarish weaponry, the Nurgle forces destroyed the 19th regiment.

The Wargame

Play this game across the width of a 6' x 4' table. The defender chooses a long table edge and his deployment zone is up to 24" from that table edge (half way). He may also place his trenches, obstacles and other defences in his deployment zone. The terrain is a no-man's land with the usual craters, scattered rocks and wrecked vehicles as cover.

The defender deploys first. The attacker's forces deploy second, up to 6" from his table edge. Due to the chemical bombardment, the attacker takes the first turn. This scenario uses random game length.

Special Rules
Preliminary Chemical Attack:
The Nurgle forces are attacking behind a thick screen of chemical weapons. Before the first turn roll to see if each of the defender's units is affected by the chemical weapons. Roll for each deployed unit in turn. On a 1-3 the unit is unaffected. On a 4+ the unit takes a hit. Place the Blast marker over the unit exactly as if it had been hit by chemical ammunition. Resolve the attack as normal.

Use the following special rules: Random Game Length, Victory points, Reserves, Obstacles.

Objectives

The Nurgle forces must capture the enemy trenches and destroy the Krieg defenders. Add up Victory points as normal, but the attacker gets a bonus for any squads (that are still over half strength) within 12" of the defender's table edge at the end of the game. Add the attacker's squads' Victory points value to his own total.

Attacker - Forces of Chaos

Chosen Chaos Space Marine squad
Squad - 10 men - heavy bolter, flamer, plasma gun
The squad is led by an Aspiring Champion with a plasma pistol and powersword. One model carries an Icon of Nurgle. This unit may not Infiltrate in this battle.
They are transported in a:
Chaos Rhino
Extra armour, dozerblade, pintle-mounted havoc launcher with chemical ammunition
Plague Marine squad
Squad - 12 men - flamer, meltagun
This squad is led by a Plague Champion with a power weapon.
Plague Marine squad
Squad - 12 men - plasma gun, meltagun
This squad is led by a Plague Champion with a power weapon.
Plague Marine squad
Squad - 12 men - flamer, plasma gun
This squad is led by a Plague Champion with a powerfist.
Plague Marine squad
Squad - 12 men - flamer, meltagun
This squad is led by a Plague Champion with a power weapon and plasma pistol.
Chaos Havocs
Squad - 8 men - 3 x missile launchers, lascannon
The squad is led by an Aspiring Champion with twin-linked bolter. One model has an Icon of Nurgle.
Chaos Predator
Twin-linked lascannons, side sponsons with heavy bolters, a dirge caster and pintle-mounted havoc launcher with chemical ammunition
Chaos Defiler
Reaper autocannon
Chaos Dreadnought
Twin-linked lascannons and heavy flamer

Reserves - Renegades and Heretics

Workers Rabble
Squad - 30 men - flamer, grenade launcher
TThe squad is led by an Apostate Preacher.
Apostate Preacher
Close combat weapon, plasma pistol and unholy relic

Defender - Forces of the Imperium

Infantry Platoon
Command Sqad - Jr Off* + 4 men - twin-linked heavy stubber
Infantry Squad - 10 men - melta gun
Infantry Squad - 10 men - flamer
Infantry Squad - 10 men - plasma gun
Infantry Squad - 10 men - grenade launcher
Infantry Squad - 10 men - plasma gun
Infantry Squad - 10 men - melta gun
All squads carry frag grenades. Each squad has one Guardsman with a vox-caster. *The Junior Officer carries a laspistol and a powersword.
Heavy Weapons Platoon
Command Squad - Jr Off* + 4 men - autocannon
Fire Support squad - 6 men - 3 x heavy bolters
Mortar squad - 6 men - 3 x mortars
Anti-tank squad - 6 men - 3 x lascannons
*Junior Officer has a laspistol and close combat weapon.
Heavy Mortar Battery
2 x Heavy Mortars with 4 crew each
Leman Russ
Heavy bolter, pintle-mounted heavy-stubber
This vehicle is dug-in. It cannot move during the game, but counts as an obscured target against all attacks.

Reserves

Hellhound
Smoke launcher, rough terrain modification
Grenadier Squad
Squad - 10 men - melta gun, grenade launcher, 2 x demoltion charges, heavy flamer
The squad is led by a Veteran Sergeant with bolt pistol and powersword. One Grenadier is carrying a vox-caster.
Infantry Platoon
Command Squad - Jr Off* + 4 men - autocannon
Infantry squad - 10 men - melta gun
Infantry squad - 10 men - flamer
All squads carry frag grenades. Each squad has one guardsman with a vox-caster. *Junior Officer carries a laspistol and a powersword.

Notes

The battle to destroy the 19th siege regiment lasted for four days - you can re-fight this battle by adapting the forces slightly. In subsequent battles include more artillery units for the defenders as the Nurgle forces push deeper into the Krieg lines. The Nurgle forces can add more renegade militia forces as they reduce the Plague Marines' presence, but maintain a high number of weapons equipped with chemical ammunition. You could make this scenario the regiment's final stand by including the Regimental Command HQ with attached Commissars and a Quartermaster. Each time they attack, the Nurgle forces can use the Preliminary Chemical Bombardment special rule.

Imperial Armour 7: The Siege of Vraks, part 3 (2009)

Imperial Armour 7: The Siege of Vraks, part 3 (2009), p9-13 — Closing the Ring

"But to wrestle with the Daemon and emerge from the battle unscathed, we must maintain Purity of Purpose. We must each conquer ourselves in order to win a thousand battles."
— Brother Captain Stern of the Grey Knights, prior to the Cleansing of Vraks

At 101827.M41 the fast strike cruiser Honour-Amentum arrived in the Vraks system, speeding into orbit directly from its home base on Titan. Amongst the swiftest vessels in the Imperium's fleet, heavily armed for its size and equipped with enough powerful teleportation chambers to allow multiple squads to teleport to the surface at once, the Grey Knights striek cruiser was the cutting edge of the Imperium's fleet, and only available to the Ordo Malleus' elite Chapter. Each ship's navigator was the best the Navis Nobilis houses could provide, tied to the Grey Knights by ancient pacts signed when the Chapter was founded. These strange mutants could find their way through the Warp by instinct and make longer warp-jumps than any other, guiding vessels safely through the unpredictable currents of the Immaterium. With their aid a Grey Knights strike force could speed to any location in the galaxy faster than any other forces available to the Imperium. Now the first of the Daemon Hunters had arrived in Vraks system under the command of Brother Captain Stern.

The first major tactical problem the Inquisitor Lord and his newly emplaced staff had to tackle was no different from that which Marshall Kagori had already been wrestling with. One look at the strategic holo-map would show even a first year student of an officer cadet training academy that the siege could not be completed while the eastern flank remained wide open. The encirclement of the citadel was incomplete and whilst it remained so the enemy would have an escape route. Even the capture of the Citadel might not see the war end if the enemy could withdraw to fight again another day. Also, the current position meant that 30th line korps was tied down having to act as a rear guard to the 1st line korps against attack from behind. Useful regiments and guns were being tied down on the defensive.

Inquisitor Lord Rex gave orders that the ring was to be sealed. The four regiments of the 30th line korps would be ordered to go on the offensive and attack in echelon, with the northern 263rd regiment first, followed in turn by the 262nd, 269th and finally the 261st regiment in the south. They were to swing round, pushing southward then south-westward to close the ring about the Citadel by meeting up with the 308th regiment in sector 57-44, where they were the southern-most unit in the front currently held by the 34th line korps. The offensive should swing like a door hinged upon the 1st line korps' positions. From the north this offensive would have only sixty kilometres to cover, and from the reports of Death Rider patrols, Nurgle warbands and their allies were still infesting the entire area. In order to hasten the attack, the 7th and 11th tank regiments were ordered to attach themselves to the 30th line korps, becoming the armoured fist that would conduct the left hook and smash through the enemy.

It would take time to get organised for the offensive, but for the time being it was to be the priority for 88th army's staff. The other regiments were told to hold their positions and conduct nothing but nuisance raids and patrolling whilst the Citadel was sealed within a ring of guns. Expecting fierce fighting and counter-attacks by the Nurgle followers, Inquisitors would be assigned to support the offensive, and the Grey Knights strike force under Brother Captain Stern would act as a rapid reserve, awaiting in their strike cruiser Honour-Amentum, ready to intervene wherever the enemy seemed strongest or daemonic activity was encountered. The time set for the opening of battle was 273827.M41.

In the wake of a successful offensive, two more major operations were also in the pipeline. The first would see the 1st line korps' three regiments push to the curtain wall, tightening the noose around the Citadel and hemming the defenders in. The second would see the 48th line korps, the least experiences of the army's major units (its three regiements had seen a mere six years of service on Vraks so far), push down from the north, to take the high ground and hills and the vantage point at point 202. With these two operations complete, the ring around the Citadel would have closed up to the curtain wall and the enemy would be sealed in an ever-shrinking pocket.

A Green Hell

Only a faint glow of sunlight glimmered through the grey clouds hanging low over the 30th line korps' positions. Soon one of Vraks' regular rainstorms would break and turn the battlefield into another sodden quagmire, but the Krieg guardsmen had become well adapted to the conditions. This time their offensive would not be attacking any fixed enemy positions, there was no constant enemy defence line to break, instead ahead lay a battlefield littered with the remains of previous fighting. The old rusting hulks of tanks and guns lay half buried in the mud or abandoned in shell craters alongside the smashed remains of old trenches and fortifications and seemingly random sprouting of rusted razorwire, which had once protected something, but now were abandoned to the elements. It was ground that had been fought over, to and fro, for years. Worst of all, under the surface might lie long forgotten mines and unexploded shells that could detonate with massive force without warning after years lying dormant in the mud.

It was 273827.M41 when the guns opened fire, a rolling barrage of shells from the guns of 30th line korps, mixed with smoke shells to obscure the 263rd regiment's first lunge forwards. With terrific force the barrage slammed down, battering the already tortured landscape as the leading infantry companies clambered up the ladders and out of their trenches. The tanks were close behind, tank companies combining with the infantry to form armoured battle groups. In the wake of the artillery, the steady, well-ordered advance began.

At first progress was good, but then the enemy counter-barrage began to land. Wherever a rolling barrage was falling, then an attack would not be far behind. First mortar shells were impacting, soon followed by heavier artillery rounds. They were exploding all around, but mingling with the grey smoke plumes was a green-tinged fog - chemical shells releasing their lethal payload of TP-III. The acidic gas clouds were soon billowing across the 263rd regiment's front. Casualties were high, throwing the attack into confusion. Units became lost in the thick smoke and chemical smog. Squads that blundered into a concentration of gas were quickly wiped out; nothing remained, they simply vanished as the acid ate away their flesh and bone.

Through it all the tanks rumbled on. Within their sealed hulls the crews were safe from the gas, and they now formed the point of the attack. It had become a hellish battlefield. Visibility was reduced to just a few metres by the acid clouds, tanks were becoming bogged down as they blundered into large shell craters or long forgotten tank traps. Several Leman Russ hit mines. Then, through the green haze, the enemy counter-attacked. The resulting battle was a series of messy skirmishes fought inside gas clouds. Enemy armoured vehicles fired blindly, or closed in to point balnk range. Unable to co-ordinate tanks, infantry and artillery, the enemy scored quick victories, blasting tank squadrons into burning hulks before withdrawing again. But, despite their successes, the enemy lacked the numbers to halt the advance. The local counter-attacks might stall the offensive for a while and cost men and machines, but by its sheer weight the offensive was still pushing forward. Where the gas cleared the Krieg guardsmen pushed ever onwards against sporadic enemy resistance. By the end of the first day they had made ten kilometres of ground. Tomorrow would see the 263rd lunge forwards again. To the south the 262nd regiment would also join the battle.

For the first few days the offensive continued with the enemy throwing their forces in piecemeal to hold up the attack wherever they could and with the Krieg armoured battle groups thrusting forwards. On the fourth day enemy resistance stiffened. They had now had time to organise a more effective defence. The warbands of the Plague Marines had moved into place, with their own armoured vehicles in support. Worst still, all manner of hideous mutants and slimy, plague-ridden creatures were now unleashed upon the battlefield. Amongst the chemical smog these beasts howled and wailed in pain and fury. Ogryns, now barely recognisable as such. Chaos spawn in all shapes and sizes. Unnamed, tormented creatures that oozed acidic slime. All were thrown into the fighting.

As it joined the battle, the 269th regiment reported encounters with plague zombies. These were hordes of creatures of ragged flesh and bone which shambled through the mud and smoke armed only with teeth and nails, but hungry for the taste of warm flesh and blood. They were the remains of the long dead, risen from their graves to fight again by some blasphemous art unknown to the soldiers of Krieg. The dead of both sides now fought for the enemy, mindless and unarmed they were cut down by the Krieg guardsmen in their hundreds, but still they came on, heedless of losses. Some died once, only to rise again, and were cut down time and again until nothing was left of their once human forms. Inquisitor Thor Malkin came to the 269th regiment's aid. Here was some blasphemous witchcraft that must be punished but if the dead fought for the enemy, then their manpower was all but inexhaustible - you could not fight a war of attrition against an enemy that would not stay dead! Soon the 262nd regiment, then the 263rd regiment were also reporting encounters with plague zomebies. The old battlefield had come back to life below their very feet.

After eight days of fighting, the 34th line korps' offensive had become embroiled in a green hell. Progress had now stalled. The initial gains were being held, but the 263rd regiment's long attack had only reached midway towards its objective. The number of enemies facing them was now almost a match for the Krieg forces. The offensive was at deadlock. To break the stalemate the Inquisitors leading the battle authorised th counter use of chemical weapons, adding to the poisonous landscape with chemical shells, and in the process coating sectors 59-45 and 60-45 in a toxic soup that would make them uninhabitable for hundreds of years.

Warp Rift

Nurgle was delighted with the poisoning of Vraks; more of the landscape was becoming the deadly infectious quagmire that his children most loved. At 298827.M41 he released his children to play.

The first warp rift on Vraks opened in sector 59-44, detected by the Honour-Amentum's warp-augurs, at the summoning of Nurgle sorcerers of the Lords of Decay and the Apostles of Contagion. Their long poisoning ritual was complete, and now they brought forth Nurgle's own daemonic servants.

The Daemons they summoned came from the Blighted Pit - the legions of Scabeiathrax the Bloated. Swarms of cyclopean Plague Bearers and mischevious Nurglings. Amongst them came cavorting Beasts of Nurgle, running amock like playful puppies, spreading disease wherever they touched. In the midst of them all came Scabeiathrax himself, Papa G'aap, a great corpulent mass of virulent decay, his body rank with every disease known to Mankind, and many others as yet unknown. Where his feet fell the ground turned black beneath them. Nurglings sprouted from his leprous skin as large pus filled boils exploded, birthing the many mites of Nurgle that followed in his wake, constantly fighting amongst themselves for the scraps of rancid flesh that shed from their master. Scabeiathrax hummed his happy tunes to himself and his children, pausing on occasion to belch a stream of blood, bile and vomit to fill a shell crater so his children might have a pool to bathe in. His daemonic legions seemed endless, thousands upon thousands of Plague Bearers now wandered Vraks seeking fresh victims to infect.

For Captain Stern and his battle brothers the true enemy had arrived. The Honour-Amentum quickly manoeuvred into position as Captain Stern's squads assembled for the final rituals of warding before entering the teleport chambers.

The Battle for Armoury 59-44

Armoury 59-44 was the last of the great underground storage facilities still in enemy hands, except for that beneath the Citadel itself, and for the 30th line korps it was the key to their offensive. The korps' commanders believed it was this armoury that the enemy were using as their main base for the battles now being fought. The offensive drive had stalled, but the attack upon the armoury would be the battle that would decide this offensive's fate.

Already subjected to repeated heavy artillery bombardments, the fire now intensified with the addition of three of the independent companies, which would pound the area night and day. A fresh armoured force, composed of units from the 61st tank regiment and attached heavy tanks units, alongside infantry of the 262nd regiment, all led by Inquisitor Elias Vokes, had been given the task of attacking and overrunning the armoury. They would have additional air support and anything else that Inquisitor Vokes felt was necessary. It was here that the backbone of the enemy would be broken.

The battle began at 311827.M41, with Inquisitor Vokes and his retinue leading the way in his personal Rhino, whilst the Leman Russ and Macharius heavy tanks fanned out. They were climbing up the slopes towards the armoury just three kms ahead. The remains of a strongpoint, once one of Vraks' many defence laser silos, was the first objective to clear. The ruined silo was infested with enemy soldiers, no longer the simple human renegades of the earlier war, but now a host of mutants and degenerate sub-humans, backed by Plague Marines of the Traitor warbands - and now also by Daemons.

As the artillery shells fell, the Krieg armoured vehicles moved into battle, a cluster of brown-clad guardsmen gathered behind each tank for cover as they advanced. The enemy counter-attacked, pouring out from the armoury came a tide of possessed and daemonically-powered war machines that lumbered and pewed filth from their weapon barrels, havoc launchers firing more shells filled with chemical and biological agents. With them came the Plague Bearers, chanting a name from drooling lips. "G'aap! G'aap! G'aap!" they called upon their leader as the stinking host of Nurgle attacked. The fighting was ferocious as the battle cannons roared back and forth. Inquisitor Vokes was in the very centre, fighting alongside his accompanying Storm Troopers, directing fire and issuing orders, his own bodyguard around him.

Then the Great Unclean One came. A four storey high bloated sack of filth, his rusted Blade of Decay dripping poisons. The enemy cheered his coming, Plague Bearers called his name and danced with glee. Scabeiathrax pushed a Leman Russ onto its side, flipping the sixty tonnes tank as if it were a child's toy. He spewed out the wind of Nurgle, and before him guardsmen died, screaming in its lethal noxious stink or fled. Inquisitor Vokes raced to meet the beast, leaping from his still moving Rhino, his bodyguard behind him. Even the Ordo Malleus Inquisitor stood no chance in the face of the Greater Daemon. Beset by swarms of leaping Nurglings that gnawed at his armour, Vokes waded towards his foe. Scabeiathrax smiled warmly to this new enemy and waved him come closer, so that he might inspect the little 'man-being' who sought to challenge him.

A swipe of the Blade of Decay saw most of Voke's bodyguard die, men withering into dust before the Inquisitor's eyes. In return he emptied his bolt gun into the beast's belly, each bolt psychically charged. Where the shells exploded, offal and bile spilled forth from the wounds, which the Nurglings lapped up at the daemon lord's feet. Scabeiathrax gave a hearty laugh and paused to pat his little pets fondly, then as Vokes reloaded, smashed down his iron blade with unnatural swiftness and power. On impact the Inquisitor's armour rusted and crumbled. Inside, his flesh wrinkled with age then began to shed from his bones. Scabeiathrax watched amused as the Inquisitor quickly decayed into nothing before his eyes then, still chuckling to himself, moved on again to find his next plaything.

In a flash the Grey Knights arrived. A patina of blue lightning energy playing about them as the squads teleported into the thick of the fighting. With psycannon bolts flailing the daemons and nemesis force weapons flickering with psychic energy, they cast the foe back into the Immaterium. Squad after squad of the silver-armoured Space Marines appeared, raking the enemy ranks with fire, and then plunging into the foe to cut them down. Brother Captain Stern was at their head, his own force halberd glowing white hot with energy as he exerted his carefully honed mental powers through the weapona nd into the daemons, who vanished shrieking.

The Grey Knights teleporter attack slashed a swathe into the enemy ranks. None were spared the holy wrath of the Grey Knights as the Honour-Amentum began to bombard the area with searing lance battery impacts and barrage bombs. Scabeiathrax saw the massacre of his children and was no longer so amused. His mood suddenly changed from contented happiness as he wandered the battefield, killing on a whim, to one of wrath. He bellowed out in anger and lurched towards the Grey Knights. Who were these little men that were hurting his children and interrupting their play? He charged like an angry guardian whose wards had been unfairly attacked.

But the Grey Knights stood their ground and fired their weapons into the corpulent beast's body. Several brothers died, swept away in a tide of vomited bile. The Blade of Decay cut more down. Then Captain Stern charged, his brow furrowed with the power now being directed into his nemesis force halberd. With a cry he unleashed its power in a blast of light that flickered and burned across the beast's body. The Great Unclean One writhed in pain, and staggered backwards, its sorcerous blade snatched from its grip. All around Scabeiathrax, Nurglings suddenly exploded, popping like ripe fruit in a shower of slime. Scabeiathrax roared in anger and lurched forward, trying to break Stern's psychic grip, but the Captain's will was too great. He redoubled his efforts, pouring every particle of his soul's enerhy into the attack, which had grown into a swirling vortex of power now lashing everything it touched. Unable to escape and feeling his power draining, Scabeiathrax began to laugh, a loud booming sound that reverberated across the battlefield, but it could not break Stern's iron-concentration. A few more seconds and the Great Unclean One was gone, his laughter still booming but his physical form disintegrated. The holocaust of power unleashed about Stern and his victim died with the daemon. Where once the Great Unclean One had stood, now there was just black scorched earth.

The defeat of Scabeiathrax by the Grey Knights turned the battle. The enemy saw their master vanquished and fled the field. The daemons that remained were soon exorcised by the Grey Knights, with their reinforcements now arriving from orbit in Thunderhawk gunships. Captain Stern was spent, his duel having exhausted even his formidable powers, but his surviving battle brothers continued the advance.

By nightfall the Grey Knights were leading the Krieg units against Armoury 59-44 itself. Without pausing for respite, the Adeptus Astartes squads plunged into the armoury's subterranean chambers and galleries, clearing room-by-room, corridor-by-corridor. What they found down below was a nightmare of twisted creatures and men driven insane by possession. With psycannon and incinerator the Grey Knights cleansed the armoury of their taint in a to day operation. Meanwhile, above ground the Krieg troops, now reinforced, established a perimeter and hunted down the survivors.

Following the battle, the enemy would fight on, but there was now no stopping 30th line korps from completing its mission and linking up with the 34th line korps in sector 57-44. This they achieved at 366827.M41 when the 269th regiment made contact with 308th regiment. The ring had been closed, and the enemy were again trapped inside. Those that escaped the trap's closure would have to be hunted down, and this task was given to the Korps' Death Rider companies. These fast moving troops would continue to sweep the surrounding sectors for miles around, seeking enemy stragglers and destroying them, but for now any organised and effective enemy resistance was at an end.

Imperial Armour 7: The Siege of Vraks, part 3 (2009), p142 — Forces of Chaos

Apostles of Contagion

Apostles of Contagion
Led by Necrosius, the self-proclaimed 'Hand of Nurgle'. Thought to be responsible for plague zombie infestations across Vraks. Heavy losses inflicted upon the warband during the Vraks war.

Imperial Armour 7: The Siege of Vraks, part 3 (2009), p172 — Chaos Space Marines

Eleven Traitor warbands were identified during the Vraks campaign:

Apostles of Contagion

"The Apostles of Contagion advance through the chemical smog"

Imperial Armour 13: War Machines of the Lost and the Damned (2014)

Imperial Armour 13: War Machines of the Lost and the Damned (2014), p40 — Chaos Astartes Assault Vehicles

"Tarry not over long in the illusionary sanctuary of the chariot of steel. Ride it to war, with it crush the walls behind which your foes cower, but when the time comes, dismount with the glory of the gods upon your lips!"
— Dhalus Ulkalor, Herald of the Apostles of Contagion

Imperial Armour 13: War Machines of the Lost and the Damned (2014), p113 — Chaos Defiler

Defiler of the Apostles of Contagion

Defiler aligned to and bearing the runic heraldry of the Apostles of Contagion sub-faction of the Death Guard Traitor Legion. Destroyed in the Van Meerland Wastes, Siege of Vraks, 825.M41 by the Adeptus Astartes Red Scorpions.

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Imperium (2017)

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Imperium (2017), p12 — Death Guard Vectoriums

Armour of the Apostles of ContagionBoltgun of the Apostles of Contagion
Before the Apostles of Contagion step onto the battlefield, they fill the air with billowing gas clouds that melt flesh from bone. Those unlucky few who survive the putrid assault are left horrendously mutated and unable to fight as waves of Plague Marines wade through their defences.