Amongst the armies of the Fief Lords of Gedren IV, most feared was the artillery compliment of the tyrant Nils Macon. Primarch of the Raven Guard Corax understood that for any foothold to be successful upon the planet the defensive gun emplacements would need to be destroyed. Although a bombardment from orbit would annihilate the entire area and any leave no trace of the guns, ever the pragmatist Corax knew that the potent military might of Gedren IV's artillery compliment might be of more use in the coming weeks of the campaign. Alpha Legion operatives under the command of the enigmatically named Commander 'H' located the guns. Knowing that the strike would need to be decisive, Corax requested Captain Sevruk of the War Hounds to lead a small contingent of troops at nightfall to capture the artillery. The young marine nodded without emotion as Corax informed him to expect casualties of 80% or more even if the mission were successful, and saluted before going to select volunteers for the assault mission...
As part of the Gedren Prime Campaign, this opening battle featured the following special rules:
- Night Assault: The entire game would be played using the nightfighting special rules. Furthermore, we had almost complete darkness in the room, with only a few red-coloured spot bulbs! I felt my white and blue miniatures were at a distinct disadvantage ;)
- Dangerous Environment: The surface of Gedren IV featured a high percentage of the extremely volatile substance Pyrox. Any terrain feature hit by fire would result in a potentially lethal explosion!
- Clone Defenders: The artillery was based in the heart of a vast military complex, and some of Nils Macon's most experienced clone units defended it. Any defending unit destroyed would instantly come back on as a reserve the next turn, with no need for a reserve roll!
-The Objective: The artillery crews had withdrawn behind their lines as defensive units moved forward. Victory in the game would be determined by whoever controlled the emplacement.
Thoughts on the game
This was a game where both of our armies would have a massive advantage; My opponent, Will (Titus Pollo from TheGreatCrusade) had the ability to bring destroyed units back every time. I was able to advance under cover of darkness and would no doubt arrive at nearly full strength, something that invariably doesn't happen in normal games. I didn't have a specific plan, other than to keep an eye on the objective. Alot of my losses have come down to the World Eater (or here, War Hound!) ethos going to my head and me just trying to 'kill stuff' and I have been left in a poor position to contest the game. I deployed second - Will seemed to have put an even mix of units on each flank. My plan was to use the veterans in the Razorback and Dreadnought to try and hold up his mechanised unit and giant block of infantry, this would then free up the assault units and tactical units to destroy the units on and around the left flank and then hopefully move onto the objective towards the end of the game.
Turn 1 & 2
I won the roll for the first turn and chose to go second. Will kept most of his units on the left flank stationary, while the mechanised moved forward cautiously. The War Hound units sped forward, confident that the darkness would hide their movements.
On the left flank the defenders mortar platoon took a pot shot towards the sound of approaching turbo-fans, but their shot hit the embankment directly in front of them, which promptly exploded and killed several of the Gedrenites defending it! The unstable landscape of Gedren IV had claimed its first victims! Other troops fired wildly into the darkness, although a keen-eyed lascannon gunner (Will rolled a triple 6!) drew a bead on the approaching rhino and immobilised it. The tactical combat squad within lept out and took cover behind it.
At this point it looked like the defenders would overwhelm my right flank, with 3 chimera variants, a large infantry platoon and some veterans all encircling my attack. The dreadnought and razorback sped off to face them, the veterans within grimly acknowledging that their attack was to act as a diversion from the main assault.
Turn 3 & 4
With the howl of chainweapons and turbo-fans the assault squads on the left flank arrived at their targets. Charging into combat with the command squad, heavy weapon units and a veteran squad the fighting was short and bloody, with all the defending units ripped to shreds in a matter of moments.
The combat on the right flank was far less decisive. Although a chimera had been destroyed, killing several of the defending veterans within it, and the dreadnought had stunned another, the Gedrenites fire was punishing and the War Hound veteran squad was killed to a man! The dreadnought went some way to avenging their deaths by flipping the chimera over, and the banewolf, not wishing to share the fate of its fellow vehicle, sped off in the other direction.
The razorback and dreadnought desperately tried to stem the attack on the right flank, after the Veterans were wiped out.
Turns 4 & 5
It was now that the 'Clones' special rules came into their own. All of the units destroyed on the previous turn returned to the field, many choosing to come back to combat the assault units embroiled with the banewolf on the left flank. Out of cover and at short range they faired badly, and all of the assault marines were destroyed to a man although they did manage to take some of the reserves down with them! On the right flank the dreadnought destroyed another 2 veteran squads before finally succumbing to them as they returned for a 3rd time!
A tactical squad advances while the last remaining assault marines attempt to destroy the banewolf. Their sacrifice would be notable, pinning the dreaded marine-killer in place would be decisive to the game.
The tactical combat squad desperately attempted to charge the returning units massing on the left flank, but they too were mobbed by the new influx of clones. Now only a single combat squad (the one which had dismounted from the immobilised rhino) and the razorback remained active for the War Hounds. It was turn five, and realising the only chance for victory was with a last minute objective snatch (and then the game to end!) they ran forward and onto the guns. The razorback on the right flank desperately reversed, the driver trying to give the marines some cover. Fortunately the sacrifice by the assault units and tactical squad had just given their brother marines enough breathing space.
It was the end of turn 5, Will rolled a dice for the game end which it duly did! The marines had earned a victory by the skin of their teeth...
All in all this was a really enjoyable game, with the special rules making it a unique experience! The massive advantge of my troops advancing under cover of darkness (meaning they attacked in full strength) matched by the endless supplies of clone troopers who ultimately proved their undoing. It was awesome to be playing such a well made and painted army (Will had even painted up a 'Fief Lord' especially for this campaign), and the extra narrative added a real gravitas to the proceedings.
Had the game lasted another turn, the game would have certainly been a draw at the very least, with the banewolf and big guard unit making a defender victory quite probable.
As it was, the War Hounds had captured the guns despite appaling casualties. Captain Sevruk's battered and broken body was recovered from atop a pile of dead Gedrenites, somehow still clinging to life although his unit had been slain to a man, and the Big Guns of Nils Macon would add their weight of fire to the assault on the the capital city of Gedren Prime, which even now was being planned by Corax and his brother Primarchs....