Hive Fleet Gorgon
Hive Fleet Gorgon is a Tyranid Hive Fleet that threatened the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, and in particular, the borders of the Tau Empire. It's one of the first splinter fleets created after the First Tyranic War ended with the imperial victory in the Battle of Macragge in 745.M41.
Aftermath of Macragge
The destruction of Hive Fleet Behemoth during the Battle of Macragge was the first major victory against a major Hive Fleet. The splintering of the remaining nid Hive Ships and its dispersal throughout the area kept imperial forces very busy, but even with all that activity, there were too many isolated splinters, certainly too many for the Imperial forces to find and purge alone. Thus, slowly but steadily, some smaller splinter fleets began growing in mass and power, feeding on backwater planets. After a while, it started to move further and further from the Imperium's borders, finally making contact with the Tau Empire.
Tau's first contact with the tyranids
By the time Gorgon arrived to the first Tau controlled planets, it had grown to become quite a threat in its own right, although it didn't reach nearly the size of the original Behemoth. The Tau knew something was very wrong in the area, due to the loss of multiple trading posts in Imperium-controlled territory. In 900.M41, Gorgon attacked the planet of Sha'draig, which would become the battlegrounds for the first Tyranid-Tau war. The Tau's forces were able to entrench themselves within their ships and bases, and just let their drones make good work on the hordes of Tyranids. After a distress signal was launched, a rescue fleet was sent to the colony as soon as possible, arriving soon enough to assist the planet, but long after the moon was lost. The land war didn't go well for the Tau either. Despite the efforts of the Kroot forces dispatching Tyranids quite efficiently in the forests, the Nid's advance kept going and the loss of the planet became quite clear for Tau command. In a last ditch effort to keep the planet, and going against orders from their superiors, the Fire Cast commander launched a series of suicide attacks in order to kill the bigger synapse creatures and cause major havoc upon the invaders. Against all odds, they managed to succeed, and with a last final push, managed to kick Gorgon off of the planet. An impressive feat considering the Imperium lost quite a few planets before managing to obtain a major victory against the Nids. Score one for the Greater Good, I guess. Then again, Gorgon was far smaller than Behemoth ever was, the Tau didn't destroy it here, it just moved on to other planets, and Sha'draig ended up so damaged by the invasion that it was abandoned shortly after.
The war against Gorgon: adapt or die
After this first encounter with the tyranid fleet, the Tau authorities were scared shitless. Hive Fleet Gorgon was a threat unlike anything they had seen before: the planet was in ruins. Poisoned and bereft of resources, it barely had any use now for anyone. Most of the forces that fought the Hive Fleet had been wiped out, and most of Gorgon was still out there, attacking nearby Tau outposts, not that much worse for wear. Unlike the Imperium, there was no chance of negotiation, and unlike orks, once a planet is lost it can never be recovered (bad for a massive empire like the Imperium, almost unbearable for the small Tau Empire). To top it all off, Hive Fleet Gorgon was exceptionally apt in changing and adapting its strategy in the face of new threats. The Tau forces,
way sometimes more flexible than its Imperium counterpart (a million planets, most producing unique regiments, can and does give incredible flexibility), had fought the nids on Sha'draig with many strategies: massive drone attacks, stealth attacks, kroot charges and traps, stealth suits, kamikaze attacks... And to all of them, the nids had developed a strategy to deal with each one. One of the most important adaptations of the Hive Fleet was the developement of carapace body armour strong enough to deal with plasma and ion weaponry, both favourites of the Tau military, and creating faster and faster creatures to meet the bluies in melee combat, which Tau are too weak against. The Tau kept changing their strategy too, either spamming droids and kroot armies to deal with the swarms, stealth suits to catch the bigger organisms off guards, switching their weapons to older models based on outdated tech once the nids adapted to plasma particle and ionic tech (ion weapons are the Tau plasma weapons, pulse weapons fire accelerated, charged particles, one per barrel)... The Tau managed to get an edge in their fights thanks to the biological nature of the tyranid weaponry and adaptations. Changing the DNA of your units and then spawning them fast enough into the battlefield took longer than just using normal tech, which limited the size and strength of their units during vital moments, which was then used by the Tau to snipe the bigger synapse creatures from affar and break the cohesion of the tyranid swarms. Which doesn't really make sense given both the sheer number of tyranids, including giant synapse creatures, and that the sheer number of spawning sources for the 'nids would likely outproduce the entire Tau industry. This isn't another minor xenos empire they're fighitng; it's a damn Tyranid Hive Fleet makes sense given it was a tactic meant to keep the nids away from Sha'draig, not destroy the fleet entirely.
The Necrons and the Imperium join the fray
After Gorgon's retreat from Sha'draig, the Hive Fleet started looking for other planets to eat, to replenish the losses suffered on Sha'draig. One of the more interesting scenarios was the Ka'mais system. A rather undefended planet, the local forces were no match for the relatively small fleet coming for them. When all hope seemed lost, a dormant necron tomb awakened on the dead moon of the planet, managing to fight off the tyranids in space. This became the Tau's first contact with the necrons. And the local ethereal made the totally sound decision of declaring a party in their honor, this would have been perfectly fine had it been eldar, but this ended with the predictable outcome of all of the bluies killed and flayed alive...because necrons.The few survivors of the planet (plus the ones from nearby worlds too, having heard of the utter slaughter the necrons had unleashed there) were evacuated and fled, only for Hive Fleet Gorgon to eat them once in space. Welcome to the galaxy, meat.
The war was not going well for the Tau in other fronts either. They had lost quite a lot of ships due to the new and improved bio-ships, now immune to Tau weaponry, and a couple of small worlds had fallen to the Hive Fleet already. Suddenly, and without warning, a huge fleet from the Imperium of Man emerged from the Warp. The fleet was originally meant to fight in the Damocles Crusade, but it had become stuck in the Warp for more than a century. Not knowing the Crusade was lost (read: wandered off to go kill daemons), they immediately attacked the nearest planet. Trying to make sense of the situation, the Tau authorities tried to bring them up to speed with the latest events. At first, the fleet admiral didn't believe the obvious lies of those filthy xenos, but then they found Hive Fleet Gorgon, and decided it was a bigger risk than the bluies. Displaying an uncharacteristically adept level of teamwork, Imperial and Tau forces were able to fight Hive Fleet Gorgon to a standstill, cutting deep into their forces and severely hurt most of the bio-ships. Considerably wounded, Hive Fleet Gorgon tried to run away from this sudden opposition, but it was chased down by the combined forces, unable to adapt quickly enough to handle two combat docrines as different as the Tau and the Imperial Guard at the same time.
Aftermath of Gorgon
By 903.M41, Hive Fleet Gorgon had been presumed erased from existence. Most of its reproductive organisms had been destroyed, and the ones left were thought to be too weak to replenish their numbers. The Tau Empire had learnt a valuable lesson fighting the forces of the Great Devourer, a threat which would soon become commonplace in its borders. They had also made first contact with the Necrons, although that threat would prove much different from the Tyranid menace. The Tau-Imperium alliance quickly ended once Gorgon had been driven off, but the rapid breakdown of the truce prevented either of them from wiping it out entirely. This would prove to be a terrible mistake for both the Tau and the Imperium.
Within a few decades, Hive Fleet Gorgon had fully reconstituted itself. And it had learned well from its past defeats.
As evolving the individual bioforms had proven to be too slow when dealing with multiple disparate forces, the Hive Mind hit on the idea of evolving their toxin sacs instead. Now filled with a bizarre semi-sentient spore, these new toxin sacs could adapt to kill any life form they came into contact with and allowed different bioforms to "share" the most effective toxins instantaneously via the synaptic network. The first known use of these new poisons was able to bring down an entire Plague Hulk, with the famed resilience of the Death Guard proving worthless against spores that simply made their rotted flesh fall off their bodies.
Which actually contradicts one of the few things that can be considered genuine canon. Using toxins against the favored forces of the god of plagues (including toxins) should not work. The forces of Nurgle are only immune to plagues and poisons because their bodies are not attacked by them. A semi-sentient, Tyranid-made toxin not under control of Nurgle, but of the Hive Mind has no such issue.
The Hive Fleet has also demonstrated a greater proficiency in using its poisons against its foes in general; in the case of one system composed mostly of agri-worlds, it appears that the Fleet never intended to consume it in the first place. Instead, it had attacked them as a distraction while the crops on said agri-worlds were laced with toxic spores. Millions of Imperial Guardsmen died to protect plantations which were already unfit for human consumption. The poisoning was never discovered until months later, when several worlds reported freak outbreaks of people drowning in their own foaming blood after consuming the contaminated food. This right here is why the Tyranids are so damn dangerous. They're not just freakishly powerful, psychic space locusts, they're freakishly powerful, psychic space locusts that are smarter than you.
|Tyranid Hive Fleets|
|Major Hive Fleets:||Hive Fleet Behemoth - Hive Fleet Kraken - Hive Fleet Leviathan|
|Minor Hive Fleets:||Hive Fleet Colossus - Hive Fleet Dagon - Hive Fleet Gorgon - Hive Fleet Hydra - Hive Fleet Jormungandr |
Hive Fleet Kronos - Hive Fleet Moloch - Hive Fleet Naga - Hive Fleet Ouroboris - Hive Fleet Tiamet