The Speartip Alliances basic plan had seemed simple enough. Establish a base of operations in an unchallenged region, the Western Desert, and then overrun the industrial cores of Hibernia's poles. In the local summer of 118 M42, the Speartip fleet landed over 400,000 troops near the equator and, proceeded to bomb the planet's cities from orbit in an attempt to demoralize the population. This action succeeded in destroying the Hive City of Peace River (The Main Manufactorum for the plant). Lord General Militant Victor deBourgogne Ray XVI ordered that the forces deployed to Cathedral I be redeployed to Hibernia and the launching of a massive counter-offensive against the fleet of the Speartip Alliance. The Imperial Navy deployed thousands of warships, killer satellites and tiny, well-armed attack craft, inflicting significant casualties and causing the fleet to vector away from Hibernia and towards the systems more distant planets.
Despite the fleet's setback, the Speartip Alliance's ground forces completed their base camp within one week of their arrival. A day later, it divided into two main attack forces. The Northern Force headed northwards towards Ashingto, the nearest Hive City and the plant's primary energy production site. The Southern Force drove due south into the promethium -rich lowlands. The Forces of Hibernia and the IEF scrambled to assemble forces strong enough to resist the Speartip offensive. While neither the Hibernia nor the IEF managed to prevent the invasion of their territory, they did manage to field enough troops to bog down the Chaos advance completely by the end of 118 M42. For the next two cycles, the fronts along the Ashington-corridor barely moved despite dozens of offensives by both the Speartip Alliance and the Hibernian defenders.