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Mauler / Doomguard

The Mauler spun to the right, throwing up a great cloud of dust as the right track froze.

Back down the road, over forty other Maulers had performed the same manoeuvre. Now they waited, hidden on the reverse slope of the gulley waiting for the attack. Group Commander Derian tapped his driver on the shoulder and the command vehicle lurched up and over the small ridge. He surveyed the plain before him. The ground was being torn apart by Nexus Heavy Artillery, each explosion throwing up a mass of dirt, rock and men. The dense ranks of Karn Troopers that pressed through the murderous fire could only just be seen beyond the thick clouds of smoke that drifted across the battlefield. Derian checked his watch, silently congratulating the Nexus artillery as he heard the barrage stop exactly on time. "MOVE OUT!" The Mauler engines growled as the line of armoured vehicles launched themselves into the attack. They accellerated with incredible speed. Angry plumes of black smoke were thrown skywards as the Mauler Groups engaged the Turbo Chargers. These were the light attack tanks of the Nexus, fast yet able to deliver a hefty punch. The Mauler crews were determined and resolute warriors. They were often thrown "en masse" against heavier Karn vehicles soaking up the brunt of their firepower until the heavier Nexus forces engaged. As the dust settled from the barrage, the Karn Troopers steadied themselves for the assault they knew would come. Rank upon rank of Karn Troopers parted, allowing the Heavy weapons teams to rush to the flanks and front of the column. By the time they engaged, the swift Nexus Maulers had alreadt covered half the distance towards the Karn column. At 800 metres the Maulers began firing. The stunted barrels of their 105mm Kanone fired deadly air-burst shells that exploded violently in a rain of death over the Karn Troops.As the Maulers closed still further with the enemy,the vehicle commanders opened fire with the heavy stormers which were mounted in front of the command hatches. The firepower was devastating, cutting the column apart. However, the battle was far from one sided. The Karn Heavy Weapon Teams succeeded in destroying four of the Maulers and crippling a further seven. Derian choreographed the battle. He knew too well that the real target lay beyond the wretched remains of the attack column. Nexus Troopers had now joined in the counter attack and their additional firepower was enough to silence the remnants of opposition. The Maulers passed over the position where the column had been destroyed. The light tanks riding over the debris of battle. A short distance beyond lay the three dull silhouettes that were the real target. Derian gave the preparatory order. "Prepare to engage Battleforms!" The Mauler gunners changed to the heavy slammer armour piercing missile. Derian's command vehicle shook as the Mauler to his left erupted in a ball of white heat. It had begun. The remaining Maulers, fifteen of them, halted as they acquired their targets. The gunner to Derian's right barked his confirmation "Target locked and waiting, Sir!" Derian paused momentarily, judging the moment. "Take him out!" A moment later the Slammer missile erupted from the Mauler's Kanone. Within a split second, the stabilising fins had snapped into place as the booster rocket ignited, propelling the missile with ferocious speed towards the first of the Karn Battleforms. Derian listened to the frantic chatter between the Mauler crews as they tried to co-ordinate their attacks. The dialogue was savagely punctuated by the abrupt screams as another Mauler crew perished in a ball of flame. Derian closed out the din of battle as he focused on the Battleform ahead. The Slammer missile into it's chest. In the same instant, a blue aura erupted around the Battleform, the blinding explosion obscuring his view. Derian felt sick to his stomach as the debris cleared. The Battleform was unharmed, it seemed the Karn had perfected the close energy defence shields. Tracer rounds burrowed into the ground alongside the command vehicle as the Battleform returned fire. The blue aura about it rippled and then faded as the Battleform moved forward once more to the attack. Derian ordered his formation to withdraw. One of the Battleforms had been destroyed, the remaining two would be dealt with by the heavier "Hammer" tanks located to the rear. Derian checked in his Mauler Commanders..... six tanks remained.......FILE ENDS.

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