Exerpt from the log of Inquisitor Octavian Lars, unknown date, 992M41
I watched the battle unfold from his observation deck on Gloriam Imperator. Captain Octavius had done a great job of driving the orks into a channel unofficially known as deaths gully due to the number of great massacres that had happened here over the course of Velterax’s history. Captain Octavius had boasted that he had won 3 of them on his own ship, “Great Aquila” an Ascendant Class battleship like this one. The fleet was technicaly under inquisitorial command, but I had selected it’s captains from amongst the best in the Sector and Inquisitorial Battlefleet "Imperial Justice" was born. Comprising of 5 Battleships, 14 Cruisers and over 50 Escorts in total, this was but a small part of my total fleet.
According to Octavius, most battles in death’s gully began with a mad dash towards the centre where the majority of the cover was. This battle was no exception with several ork ships advancing full ahead towards the islands while my ships advanced to meet them head on. I knew this was going to be a brutal fight like any other in death’s gully after one of the ork’s crude ram ships destroyed the Constant class escort which then exploded in a great fireball. I gave the order for the remainder of speartip to return fire at the floating rams and destroyed 2 of their ramshackle vessels. The 2 opposing carriers of the fleet sent out waves of aircraft into the no mans sea between the fleets with the orks dividing their attack between the assureds of speartip and the bomber wing sent to attack the yellow hulled steam ships while launching a great mob of speadboats at the assureds as well. On the other side of the island I spotted blue sails and ordered the light cruiser, Victoria Ultima to fire on them. Several of the shots found their mark and 2 of the sailing ships sank slowly beneath the waves. The speedboats moved insanely quickly towards the assureds and then they made contact, overwhelming the crew in a matter of miniutes. Then a red cloud of aircraft swarmed over the last remaining escort in the fleet. When the smoke cleared, the last escort of my fleet, was destroyed. The seas were still very rough from the action and Octavius had mentioned that it would make firing dificult, but thankfully it was nowhere near my flagship. Then I glimpsed the ork carier in the corner of my eye. A ramming boat had drifted directly in front of it, but then all thoughts of any advntage to us from that were dashed as id smashed straight through the hulk leaving sinking debris in it’s wake. I ordered Divine Right to turn so it was behind the island. It launched a great cloud of aircraft, but they were all destoyed before they coud attack. The remainder of the rammers advanced perilously close to us, but thankfully did not collide with our hull. I looked towards the rear gun batteries and saw the gunners loading shells and pivoting the guns. I took out the loud hailer at my desk and bellowed.
“AIM CAREFULLY AT THOSE SHIPS. I WANT TO SEE THEM SUNK AFTER THE FIRST VOLLEY!”
The great guns sounded after I had had enough time to put on my ear protectors as those guns are so loud they can deafen a man. Then the prow cannons bellowed and I saw several shells find the smokers through the clouds of smoke and caused grevious damage to 2 of them. Then those same ships retured fire, taking large chunks out of our hull and superstructure. Over on the other side of the battlefield, the 3 remaining sailing ships exchanged fire with the Victoria Ultima, both doing nothing, but the Victoria Ultima was turning to unleash a great broadside from it’s cannons to destroy the sailing ships and com to our aid in the centre. The seas were rougher than ever and the previously destroyed ships drifted quickly on the huge ocean swells. I sensed the battle was nearing it’s conclusion, but it was hanging on a knife edge. I soon realised the folley of moving the Divine Right behind the island as an Ork cruiser, packed with cannons moved to open fire from the front, while the smoking and badly damaged yellow hulled steamships intercepted it from the rear. I heared the roar of planes coming from the direction of the Ork carrier, and when I looked up towards it, it was closing rapidly on our ship arming it’s guns and planes pouring out of it’s rear. The prow guns fired again at the smoking ships, but all of the shells were lost in the thick acrid smoke. Then the laser bartteries opened fire destroying one and leaving the remaining 2 heavily damaged. The crew all cheared loudly at the sight of the lasers striking the ships and causing such great damage. Divine Right then fired it’s cannon in a last ditch atempt to sink one of them. The shot was true and when the smoke cleared a little, only 1 ship was left. It’s aircraft managed to cause some damage to the great ork battlecruiser, just before it returned fire taking a huge chunk out of the Divine Right. The Victoria Ultima unleashed the broadside it had been waitig the entire battle to unleash and when the smoke cleared, there was only one blue sailed ship left. Unfortunately, that ship showed great forceof will and damaged the Divine Right once more and inflcted heavy damage on the Victoria Ultima. As a note to the power of Ork carriers, the one in the Ork fleet managed to cripple the Divine Right with it’s less than powerful starboard cannons, though interestingly, it managed to miss us with it’s substancially greater prow cannons.
After these events I realised that victory would come soon to the forces of the Imperium and ordered the cannons of the Gloriam Imperator to fire in a show of strength, to intimidare the foe. Victoria Ultima did likewise and the lone sailing was soon cut down as it turned to flee. Victoria Ultima then pulled allongside the ork battlecruiser and delivered a punishing broadside, rupturing the hull and structural supports, forcing the orks to abandon ship only to be cut down by the anti air turrets aimed downwards spitting death at a thousand rounds a minuite. The mighty gun batteries of the Gloriam Imperator were no less effective, closing to close range and reducing the carrier to a broken hullk all the while, destroying the final smoking ship unleashing the full fury of laser batteries upon it leaving it a blazing wreck. While the ships of my battlefleet were victorious, the losses of the escorts and the damage inflicted on the Divine Right would mean several months in the dry dock and about a weak for the light damage inflicted on the Gloriam Imperator. Death's gully had lived up to it’s name, ending the existance of both an entire squadron of imperial escorts, and Entire ork strike fleet.