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Category: Battle Report (page 1 of 2)

Epic Battle Report: The Fall of Amphipon Station

The Fall of Amphipon Station

“We owe the workers nothing, we have granted them much honour in allowing them to serve us.” -Tech-Adept Thurmann to unknown PDF commander

The world of Ketrin is the scene of a bitter conflict between the forces of the Mechanicus and the remnants of a long forgotten Waaagh. Long thought to be contained, after centuries of minor clashes and skirmishing, Ork attacks have flared to dangerous levels. Across the planet, warbands are forming and their predations threaten the holy work of uncovering the planet’s history and unearthing ancient knowledge. The civilian population and PDF have been left to their own devices as the Mechanicus focus on the defence of their own outposts.

Ork Forces

At the heart of each warband, there can be found a warboss. Outside the recently conquered city of Amphipon, Warboss Grug stands atop his Gargant, revelling in the adulation of his newest followers. Ten mobs of Grots, four mobs of Nobs and fourteen mobs of Ork Boyz scamper alongside the warmachine.

His Mekboys have stripped the city bare of anything useful fulfilling their dimly-remembered duties and the fruit of their labours sees a mob of seven Stompas clanking into battle.

But the true strength of Grug’s warhorde lies in his veteran Blitz Brigades, three formations of Gunwagonz led by a pair of Oddboyz each. The orkish psykers add a deadly punch to the massed firepower of ramshackle tanks. These are the forces that have swept down through the barrier lines into the open plains. Three tribes can be seen, the red of the Speed Freaks, the yellow of the Bad Moons and the blue of the Deathskulls.


        Mechanicus Forces

Facing this incursion is a lumbering defence force. The heart of the Mechanicus army is an ancient and deadly Ordinatus Majoris (Armageddon class), toting a spaceship killing Nova cannon. This godmachine, Blessing of the Omni-messiah is a revered icon of the faith and deploys alongside its dedicated escorts. Its Colossus assault robots keep the enemy at bay while a squadron of Avengers guard it from aerial threats.

All Mechanicus facilities maintain garrison forces. Amphipon Station is no different, having avoided the fighting in the city, an intact Sagitarii demi-century has been bolstered by the activation of a long-buried Minoris and Hydra.

Following a series of one-sided encounters in close, rugged terrain, the tech-priests have revealed their answer to Ork close combat ferocity. Praetorian combat servitors in a specialised Minoris transport have been assigned to the defensive effort to blunt any Ork assault.

Over the past weeks, losses have been high and mechanised formations grow rarer as the engine-seers focus on deploying and repairing more powerful and prestigious weapons in preparation for a grand counter-offensive One of the few combat-ready Skitarii demi-centuries has been assigned a troop of Chimedons and attached to the force.

A dedicated hunting group also join the battle. Three Macharius super-heavy tanks (named after the famed Imperial commander) are guided forward by a maniple of Crusader scout robots.
The opening stages of the battle sees the Orks concentrated and all indications are that they intend an advance north out of the city towards the Mechanicus facilities to the northeast. The Mechanicus force is spread out over a wider front, attempting to protect their assets outside the city.

The Ork infantry deploy on the right around the captured landing port and facing off against the Sagitarii dug in around the archaeological station and ancient ruins. The Stompas lumber into position, delighting the infantry rushing past their feet. In the distance, the Ordinatus Majoris looms over the ruins, skirting the edge of the forest.

In the centre, the Deathskull brigade idles under the shadow of the Gargant as Praetorians, Crusader scouts and the Macharius tanks filter through the forests. On the left, the Badmoon and Speed Freek brigades rumble through the city while the air defence post to the north harbours the Skitarii and Colossus robots.

The Stompas open the battle doubling forward, firing their cannons with more enthusiasm than accuracy, to everyone’s surprise, a unit of Sagitarii are caught on the exposed loading ramp and wiped out. But as a whole, the garrison weathers the fire easily.

Their small arms don’t threaten the Stompas but they are not defenceless. Return fire from the attached Minoris rips through one of the Stompas and detonates its magazine sending flaming wreckage back through the buildings, drowning out the Orkish roars.

The firefight does provide an opportunity for the humble footsloggers, Ork infantry use the lull after the firefight to infiltrate the station and close in on the garrison, moving through the buildings very quickly. Crackles of alarmed binary indicate that the garrison is trying to adjust their fire.

On the left, the Macharius tanks elevate their main guns and rake the Speed Freaks with deadly long range fire, destroying three Gunwagons and rocking the formation. In the face of a new foe, the Orks stop their squabbling and begin revving their engines.

Recognising the machine that claimed his predecessor’s Gargant, Grug orders the Deathskull Blitz Brigade to bring it down. Roaring along the edge of the woods, past the archaeological station, they close in on the Blessing. Massed shoota fire weakens the void shields but not a single round can penetrate the glowing protective fields.

Grug watches with alarm as a Minoris of unusual design roars from out of the forest. Hatches open, clawed, slavering machine-things pour out of the vehicle and begin skittering forward into assault range.

Facing the ingenuity of the Mechanicus, the Orks have long since learned that the new humie stuff should be shot first. The Gargant stumbles forward and lays down heavy fire against the servitors. As the dirt and smoke clears, the barrage of rockets and shells is revealed to have had no effect.

The tech-guard scurry over the flanks of the Ordinatus, readying its primary weapons. With a flash, a Nova cannon rakes through the leading line of Gunwagonz. Where it hits, tanks are reduced to little more than motes of dusts and steam. Three Gunwagonz vanish in a split-second.

As the fighting around the station dies down briefly, a second battle begins to the west on the far side of the forested area. The untouched Bad Moon Blitz Brigade rumbles out of the city towards the Macharius platoon. The speed of the advances wreaks havoc on the already poor Ork gunnery and they deal only minor damage to a single tank.

Their hasty advance sees them ambushed by Crusader scouts rolling through the trees into point blank range. The speed of the Ork vehicles, smoke from the inefficient weapons and chaotic layouts confuse their targeting system. The robots claim a single vehicle with short-range multi-melta fire and are unlucky not to claim more as the tanks shrug off melta hits.

The Speed Freaks Brigade have recovered from their earlier losses, stopped shooting into the air and directed their energy towards the enemy. They move up in support of the Bad Moons and their erratic, random fire successfully downs a single robot.

Away from the fighting, Colossus robots sneak into the city, making their way through the battle-scarred streets to retake the airfield control post from the Orks. They encounter no resistance as it becomes clear that any sizable Ork band has been drawn to the sound of fighting to the northeast.

Monitoring the nearby battle in the western forest, the Skitarii platoon see an opportunity to flank an entire Brigade. They abandon the air defence post but can’t quite get into position for a true cross fire. Their few accurate shots ricochet off the crude armour.

The Avengers make their first appearance diving into the clearing and claiming two more vehicles from the Bad Moon Brigade. The Mechanicus has total air superiority but few air assets with which to exploit their dominance.














Turn 2

Recognizing the deadliest threat, the larger Orks of the Deathskull Brigade manage to redirect their guns towards the Praetorians. The gunwagonz come crashing to a halt and vast quantities of dakka are sent into the advancing servitors. The stitching fire claims two squads but the formation remains active and dangerous.

Grug roars for more firepower and the Meks deliver. The Gargant manages to lay its big gunz on the servitors and two squads are claimed by a massive burst. Little-used overrides activate and the Praetorian formation withdraws under fire.

In the battle of the woods, the Skitarii successfully close the noose on the Bad Moons catching them in a crossfire. The results are disappointing, the heavy fire into a swirling mob of confused Orks claims only two vehicles.

Faced with threats from all sides, the Orks respond with traditional simple aggression, attacking the target directly in front of them. Through a quirk of Ork engineering a few of the guns appear more potent that expected. Rather than weather the rounds, the super-heavy tanks are utterly shattered. Two Macharius tanks are destroyed outright as the big guns punch clean through their armour and a series of damaging hits sends the surviving tank into full retreat.

On the other flank, the Ork warband makes the most of their successful infiltration. Breaking cover to charge across the few steps of open ground, their sheer numbers seem to overwhelm the light spattering of defensive fire.

Heavy axes bite into oily flesh and the fire dies away. The defending Sagitarii are wiped out, their vehicles overrun by stikk-bombers and the entire garrison is destroyed.

Hoping to draw away a larger Ork formation, the Crusader scouts abandon the fighting in the woods and make a quick march for the Ork ammo cache in the city outskirts.

The Stompas, denied the joy of treading small squishy infantry underfoot, turn away from the archaeological station and begin a march towards the Ordinatus Majoris. Their frustration effects their gunnery and their projectiles sail harmlessly past the Ordinatus or vanish against its shields.

The scout robots find that they have been overly successful. Tracked by an entire Speed Freeks Brigade, they are forced to turn at bay and are wiped out to the last, within striking distance of their intended target.

For the crew of the Blessing, the Stompas present a target worthy of their weapons and they bring it to bear. The deadly beam weapon fires a fraction too early but it still has the power to destroy two Stompas utterly.














Turn 3


Fresh from the massacre of the Crusader robots, the  Speed Freeks Brigade reappears behind the Skitarii. They now find themselves surrounded by the Orks, in turn. One Chimedon is raked, takes a hit to its generator and burst into flames.
.

The Ork Gargant, switches its attention to the beleaguered Skitarii, claims another Chimedon through sheer weight of fire.

Caught between multiple formations, the footsoldiers of the Machine-God prove resilent. They focus fire on the priority target, hoping to eliminate at least one angle of attack. Their fire is disappointing, killing another gunwagon.

The Orks respond angrily, shootas hack down those within close range and destroy another transport. Although still numerous, the Skitiarii are hopelessly outgunned at this point.

As the western battle approaches its end, the Avenger flight is ordered to support the Blessing and prevent a total rout in the east. Their attack run is impressive in its daring as they roar in above the treetops but their guns can only claim a solitary tank.

The Deathskulls ignore the aircraft and fire on the Blessing. The tech-adepts squirt amused chatters of binary as gunwagon fire patters harmlessly against their void shields, a few rounds penetrate but have no noticeable effect.

They continue to focus on the better target. The moment of quiet that precedes a Nova Cannon shot is broken by the crackling hum of plasma as it fires. Four Stompas are blasted into chunks of smoking metal and vapour as a perfectly aimed shot claims the entire Stompa formation.

Their victory is marred as the  Ork warband bursts from the station and attempts to board the Ordinatus. Teams of tech-adepts throw back the initial attackers but weight of numbers forces a panicked retreat. The leading wave of Orks is cut down as the machine churns backwards to safety. The mob stagger to a halt as their target outpaces them in its flight. The station has fallen.














Turn 4

The Bad Moons manage to gun down another squad of Skitarii but as ammunition runs low, their firepower is diminished. Even the Oddboyz can’t marshal their usual level of destructive weirdness.

But under attack from all sides, the randoms spray of gunfire begin to tell, with Chimedons being knocked out one after the other. In the face of an untenable position, the Skitarii break out towards the air defence post, making little effort to defend themselves.

In the east, the Deathskulls Blitz Brigade spread out into the woods and chase down broken formations fleeing the battle. They claim a heavy transport but to their frustration, the surviving enemy slips away.

The hunters become the hunted as a rallied Ordinatus sights them and claims an additional two vehicles. The army might be crumbling around it as the front line disintegrates but it remains active and deadly.

The skirmish marked the end of the battle proper. The eastern defensive line has utterly ruptured and there are few formations left to resist. The Blessing of the Omni-messiah has successfully disengaged but around it, the remnants of shattered units are in full flight.

In the West, the surviving Skitarii rout towards their jump-off point. The formation pushing into the city now risks isolation as larger Ork formations threaten to cut them off from the retreating army.The only consolation is that much of the force could escape as the Orks are diverted by the joys of looting a Mechanicus site. Already, flares can be seen in the distance as they indulge themselves in “experments” with captured tech.

The Mechanicus deem further defensive efforts to be impractical and withdraw their remaining assets from the region. Their forces have suffered badly in open terrain as greater Ork mobility allow them to isolate and surround their formations. However the Blessing of the Omni-messiah continues to evade destruction and has been responsible for more than half of the losses suffered by the Orks, adding six Stompa kills to its Gargant kill and adding to its impressive tally of smaller kills.

Final score: Orks: 1785           Mechanicus: 425

Bolt Action Battle Report: Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows!

Tony and I met for a great game of Bolt Action last week.  On the way in to the LFGS I found €10 on the street.  It was going to be that kind of game.

We decided to play the BA.net mission Nuts! and bring 1250 point lists (more on this later).

I brought:
Platoon 1
Reg. Junior Lt. and friend
Reg. Siberian squad (10 rifles)
Vet. scout (7)
Reg. sniper
Reg. BA-64DShK
Reg. T34/85

Platoon 2
Reg. Junior Lt.
Reg. tank riders (10)
Vet. Assault Engineers with flame-thrower (8)
Commissar and friend
Reg. medic and friend
Reg. truck with MMG
Reg. Katyusha (I wanted to bring my Katyusha and a tank so I had to take two platoons)
Free Rifle squad

14 dice, 1250 points

Tony brought:
Reg. 1st Lt.
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Free artillery observer
Reg. medium mortar
Reg. sniper
Reg. Blacker Bombard
Reg. light artillery (25pdr)
Reg. 3-ton truck
Reg. AEC Mk. III
Reg. Churchill AVRE
13 dice, 1250 points

Set-up, sizing up

The mission is straightforward and tactical.  There is an objective in the center of the table and then one objective in each table quarter.  My plan was to use the scouts to hold or contest the center objective and focus the remainder of my forces and my outflanking death-star assault engineers on one side of the table.  I assumed Tony would be fairly aggressive and want to get those commandos into assault as soon as possible.

The table:

I was the “defender” and choose the right side of the table.  I committed the truck, medic, solo lt., and assault engineers to outflank on my left (the bottom of the table above).  My T34/85 with tank riders and Katyusha were in reserve.  Tony put a platoon of commandos in his truck to outflank.  He started with two units of commandos on the table and the fourth one in reserve.  Also on the table was his sniper, Churchill, Lt. and 25pdr.  His AEC and blacker were also in reserve.

I got lucky, not for the last time that night, with the roll-off to place forward-deploying teams.  My scouts occupied the ruin close to the center objective.  Tony placed his sniper in the building on his half of the table and my sniper got a nice window view as well.

Tony’s Blacker Bombard deserves special mention.  What’s that you say?  You didn’t know Warlord made the kit?  They don’t.  Tony’s is a scratch-build:

Churchill AVRE, Blacker Bombar, 25pdr., AEC mkIII, and medium mortar–Tony’s design philosophy can be expressed as: “If you have less than a d6 HE GTFO.”
My hope that I could attrit his infantry squads while keeping my T34/85 alive.
Turn 1
Things got off to a fantastic start for me.

I got the first dice out of the bag and my sniper instantly killed his opposite number.  My scouts hunkered down while my green squad, commissar, and one of my officers moved up to the large building on my left.  The squad went into the bottom floor while the HQ units hid out of sight behind it.  My BA-64 fired blindly at Tony’s Blacker and killed a crew member.  Tony’s infantry occupied the building on his left, but his shooting was ineffectual.

Turn 2

Tony had a better run of dice and his reserves showed up without fail.  My T34 didn’t come on.  The AVRE fired at my scouts and missed.  Tony’s 25pdr missed my siberians.  I fired the Katyusha–two units were in range of the target squad–and rolled a 5, 6, and 6.  His 25pdr observer dispersed in red mist and five commandos went down.  The Katyusha is a Bob Emmerson model.  Top quality.  
Tony’s other commando squad moved up his right, closing in on my green squad.
Turn 3
A real bloodbath.  The commandos on Tony’s right assaulted my green squad which was bunkered down.  
The green squad was predictably wiped, but they took out five commandos.  With the next dice I launched my Commissar and his BFF into the building.  The two killed one of the commandos before getting a Fairbairn-Sykes in the guts.
Tony’s AVRE shot and missed, but anything it aims at takes a down marker (3D6 HE!).  The only bright spot for Tony occurred when his 25pdr popped my BA-64.
My Katyusha shot at a commando squad.  Tony, now in fear of my dice rolling, took a down dice.  And the Katy hit to knock out two commandos.
Turn 4
This was the decisive turn.  I got the first dice and rolled for my T34.  It arrived.  It shot at Tony’s Churchill.  I rolled a 6.  I then rolled a 6 for penetration followed by a 6 on the result table.  I was like:
Tony was like:
Things were a bit grim for the British from here on out.  Tony’s mortar couldn’t hit anything.  His AEC missed at short range.  Units failed order tests with one pin marker.  Smoke dispersed.  Paint chipped off miniatures.  I wanted to buy him a shot of bourbon.  
Turn 5
We had both been holding off on our outflankers but they came in strong this turn.  Tony’s hit first.  They came on my left and gunned down one of my lieutenants.  My engineers came on and flamed a unit of commandos, killing two.  Of course they failed their morale check and fucked off.
Turn 6

Tony had a few units left and was contesting the objective on his left, and holding the objective on my left with his outflankers.  My T34 lined up his AEC and squeezed off a a shot.  Tony need the AEC to do some damage this turn so he couldn’t recce away.  Of course I hit and the AEC exploded.

We called it at that point.
Concluding thoughts
1.  Tanks suck, but it hurts less at 1250.
Really, play the game at 1250.  It is a huge improvement.  Why?  Because tanks suck in BA and they are never worth taking at 1000 points (there are a few exceptions).  At 1250, however, it doesn’t hurt as bad to put a tank on the table that may only fire its gun four times in the whole game and hit once.  Tony’s AVRE did fuck all the whole game except hold down one side of the table.  Tanks simply don’t earn their points unless you get a freakish performance. 
2.  This is a good mission.  
The http://www.boltaction.net/ guys are doing alot to support the game.  This is a solid mission that forces hard choices.  

Bolt Action: Soviets vs. Germans

The War Altar is happy to present another Bolt Action AAR.  Once again it was the Soviets against the Germans.  The players decided on the mission Demolition.  A player who finishes a turn with a unit in base contact with the enemy’s objective (in this case the players used fuel depots) wins.  It’s a simple mission but one that demands action by both players.

The Soviets brought:
1.  Veteran second lieutenant and friend
2.  Veteran medic and friend
3.  Inexperienced commissar and friend
4.  Regular T-34/85
5.  Veteran tank riders (11)
6.  Veteran squad (8) with rifles
7.  Veteran squad (11) with 1 SMG, 2 captured panzerfausts, and 10 rifles
8.  Free green, inexperienced squad (12) with rifles and anti-tank grenades
9.  Regular M-42 45mm anti-tank gun
10.  Veteran medium mortar
11.  Regular sniper
1000 points

The Germans brought
1.  Regular second lieutenant and friend
2.  Veteran medic and friend
3.  Forward air controller
4.  Regular Hetzer
5.  Regular medium mortar
6.  Regular sniper
7.  Green Volks squad, 2 SMGs, faust
8.  Veteran squad (8), 2 assault rifles, 1 panzerfaust, 2 SMGs
9.  Veteran squad (8), 2 LMGs, 1 panzerfaust
10.  Veteran squad (8), 2 assault rifles, 1 panzerfaust, 2 SMGs
11.  Truck
1000 points

The Germans player deployed his objective in the center of his table edge defended by the veteran squad with 2 LMGs and the Volks squad.  The mortar deployed in line of sight opposite the Soviet objective.  The truck and another veteran squad deployed behind a wood.  Hidden deployment ensured the safety of the softskin even if the Soviet player got a run of early dice.  The Hetzer, air controller, medic, lieutenant, sniper, and the remaining veteran squad went into reserve.  The Hetzer and veteran squad executed an outflank manoeuvre.

The Soviet player deployed his objective on his left near the table edge.   A direct consequence of the objective placement was the German player’s decision to outflank two of his units.  The Soviet objective placement was a decision which was immediately criticized by a number of individuals.  One observer commented, “Well that was stupid.”  Another onlooker, an ETC veteran, demanded an explanation.  Having been excoriated for his decision the Soviet player offered the following rationale.  The objective placement was, in fact, a ploy to provoke a German outflank .  This would give the Soviet player two turns, perhaps more, to run riot.  In addition, so he contended, the outflanking forces would come on piecemeal and be dealt with by Soviet reserves which were sure to arrive a full turn ahead of any German unit.  He would thus triumph with minimal casualties.  The War Altar has concluded that the Soviet player’s thinking is not without some, well a very small bit, of merit.  However, the objective was within a run move (12″) of the table edge which was inexcusable.  A slightly greater distance may have perhaps provoked the German outflank yet required an extra turn of movement.

In any case, the Soviet player deployed his T-34/85 near the objective, the mortar on his far right with line  of sight to the German objective and the building containing the Volksgrenadiers, the tank riders in the center of the table behind a building, the large panzerfaust/rifle squad in a building next to the tank riders, and the sniper on the upper storey of a house in the middle of the table.  This left the following units in reserve: medic, lieutenant, commissar, small veteran squad, inexperienced squad, and the anti-tank gun.

The game commenced and the first dice out of the bag was German.  The truck rushed towards the Soviet objective:

The remainder of the turn was straightforward: the Germans failed in all shooting and the Soviets shot their sniper, large rifle squad, tank, and mortar at the German truck.  The result, perhaps surprisingly given the volume of fire, was only a dead truck and 1 dead German.  Nevertheless, the Germans were heavily pinned and it would remain to be seen whether or not this unit would be able to activate the following turn.

Turn 2
With Turn 2 the Soviet player did indeed begin to see the arrival of his reserves.  The anti-tank gun came on near the objective as did the eight-strong veteran rifle squad.  The medic and lieutenant arrived and took up position between the tank riders and the large rifle squad.  The air controller also arrived.  The German LMG squad shot the tank riders but only killed a single soldier.  The Soviet player then advanced the tank riders who shot the hell out of the pinned German squad which was then followed up by a tank assault which eliminated the squad:

Turn 3
Having eliminated the immediate threat to his objective the Soviet player advanced on the German objective with the SMG tank riders and the large rifle squad, supported by the medic and the lieutenant.  The German player got an early dice but rolled a 10 to bring on the Hetzer.  Bad luck, Hetzer!  The Soviet player then put an ambush order on the T-34/85 and the infantry squad.  The German sniper put a pin on the anti-tank gun and the German mortar fired and missed it.  Between the sniper and the ranging in mortar it was unlikely that the anti-tank gun would contribute much in subsequent turns.  Having failed to bring on the Hetzer the German player, quite rightly, decided to put a ‘down’ order on the outflanking German infantry squad.  The German air controller called in an air strike on the T-34/85.

Turn 4
The turn began with the air strike….which failed to materialize.  The Soviet player kept the infantry and tank in ambush.  The anti-tank gun attempted to move, failed, and was then eliminated by the German mortar.  However, the SMG tank riders and the large rifle squad continued their advance and suppressed the German LMG squads in the building.  The Soviet mortar fired on the Volksgrenadiers in hiding and missed.  The German player made the audacious decision to put ‘down’ dice on the outflankers.  A quick calculation had established that these units would need to be able to reach the objective the turn they arrive and this would not be possible unless the outflank was executed on Turn 5.  The inexperienced Soviet rifle platoon arrived and took up position near the table edge.

Turn 5
The crux turn.  The turn begins with an airstrike…and the German player rolls a 1.  The rookie pilot peppers the units guarding the German objective sprinkling pin markers generously.  The Soviet mortar then fires on the Volksgrenadiers, hits, and gets a detonation on the right floor.  The ensuing blast inflicts one casualty.  The German player then rolls a 1 for his Green check which results in additional pin markers.  The Soviet player then rolls a 6.  Between the airstrike, the mortar, and the additional pins the Volksgrenadiers have 9 pin markers.  They decide they’ve had enough and run away.  The War Altar can’t help but note here that in two of the last three games this same German unit has rolled a 1 for its Green check and the Soviet player has rolled a 6 for additional pins.  A string of Red die emerge from the bag and the Soviet player launches two critical assault.  First, the SMG tank riders, reduced in size now from repeated LMG shooting, assaults the German lieutenant sheltering in the ground floor of a building behind which is located the German objective.  The brave tankodesantniki slaughter the German officer and consolidate out the back side of the building.  The large rifle squad assaults the medic and kills him to death (the War Altar passes no judgement) and consolidates onto the German objective:

The German outflankers finally arrive.  The veteran infantry come on first and impressive shooting mangles the eight strong veteran squad.  The Hetzer arrives and drives to the objective.  The turn ends with both enemy units in base contact with both objectives–draw!

This was a tactically tense game; poor rolling by the German air controller certainly did not help the German cause.  On the other hand, the Soviet player could have blocked the German outflankers by stringing out his green, inexperienced squad along the table edge.  This, however, would have been gamey and, more importantly, visually unappealing.  Remember players, in tournament play the inability of outflankers to assault the turn they arrive combined with the ability of your opponent to block the table edge limits the utility of outflanking.

Bolt Action! Battle Report

A few of the Warheads are getting into Bolt Action.  We like the fluff and it’s inexpensive.  I’ve also got a soft spot for the authors Rick Priestley and Alessio Cavatore.  The gameplay, we are finding, is also top notch (more on this later).   Finally, the publisher is Osprey.  If you’re unfamiliar with Osprey it’s a long-established military publisher which has never been wrong about the number of rivets on a particular tank.  Combine Osprey with Cavatore and Priestley and you’ve got my interest.

The other night Baz and I played a 1000 point game.  This was our second game.  Our first game was a bloody affair but Baz won the mission “maximum attrition” handily enough.

The Soviets brought:
1.  Veteran Junior Lieutenant w/SMG + SMG buddy
2.  Veteran Medic + rifle buddy
3.  Inexperienced Commissar + rifle buddy
4.  Veteran squad (11) w/ 6 SMGs, 5 rifles, +2 panzerfausts
5.  Veteran squad (11) w/ 6 SMGs, 5 rifles
6.  Veteran squad (8), all rifles
7.  Free green, inexperienced rife squad (12) with anti-tank grenades
8.  Veteran M-42 45mm anti-tank gun
9.  Veteran medium mortar
10. Regular sniper
11.  Regular T-34/85

The Germans brought
1.  Veteran Junior Lieutenant + buddy
2. Veteran medic + buddy
3.  Regular sniper
4.  Regular PaK40
5.  Regular Hetzer
6.  Veteran medium mortar with observer
7.  Veteran squad (8) w/ 2 SMGS, 2 assault rifles, + 1 panzerfaust
8.  Veteran squad (8) w/ 2 SMGS, 2 assault rifles  + 1 panzerfaust
9.  Veteran squad (5) w/ LMG, SMG
10.  Veteran squad (5) w/ LMG

We decided to give the mission “Hold Until Relieved” a try.  This mission tasks one player with holding an objective in the center of the table with minimal forces until reserves arrive.  Our table just so happened to have a nice bridge dead center.  This was the objective.

In this mission the defender deploys two infantry or light-armoured units near the objective.  Half of the remaining units walk on turn 1 and the remainder roll to come on from reserves starting turn 2.  The Germans decided to attack.  The Soviets had two large, veteran infantry units and they put one in each house you see above.
The attacker deploys all infantry at least 18″ away from an enemy unit or the objective.  The rest of his units go into reserves.  For the Germans this meant the mortar, the hetzer, and the PaK40 were in reserves.  It must be acknowledged that this was only our second game of Bolt Action and the German army was completely painted.  That’s impressive.  The German’s deployed some of their forces to the west of the small building and the sniper and an infantry squad to the south-east of the larger building.
A photo of a small squad on the other side of the table:
To the north another small squad with an LMG took up position in a forest:
With the deployments out of the way we started the first turn.  It went the Soviet’s way: they got first dice and drove on their T-34/85 which MGed a squad killing the NCO and another trooper.  The Germans advanced an eight man squad towards the bridge but were unable to put pins on the troops in the buildings.  As a result this squad suffered casualties and was heavily pinned..
The German’s other eight man squad approached the other house.  It was in assault range and the question was, who would get the first dice on Turn 2?  It turned out to be  the Soviets.
Turn 2 started with an easy decision: the Soviet player was compelled to take a large squad out of a building and assault the approaching eight man squad.  
Poor rolling resulted in only 2 kills and the Soviet player was sure he’d be wiped by the retaliatory swings.  However, the Germans rolled as bad: 2 kills.  The Soviets killed the remaining germans to death in the following round.  The Hetzer rolled on and attempted to MG the exposed soviet squad but it failed to inflict any casualties.  The PaK40 marched on to the table as well but was unable to shoot the turn it arrived.  In other shooting the Germans attempted to put some pins my other large infantry squad in the building but the combination of range and hard cover proved insurmountable.
Turn 3 need to go the German’s way.  It did not.  Both the Hetzer and the PaK40 whiffed on the T-34/85 (n.b.: we forgot that the Hetzer could have split fire and had the MG go after the nearby soviet squad while the main gun shot at the tank).
Rather than returning fire the T-34/85 ran behind a building.  Years of playing Flames of War are to blame for the Soviet player’s fear of PaK40s.
The Soviet squad in the open assaulted the German sniper who had occupied a building.  Their other shooting was largely ineffectual although they stacked up a few more pin’s on exposed German infantry unit.  
With turn 4 we saw the end approaching for the Germans.  The soviet reserves were flooding on to the table.  The two eight-man squads of the Germans had been eliminated.  Nevertheless, the possibility still remained that he could at least contest the objective.  To this end the Hetzer advanced:
At this point the T-34/85 broke cover and took a pot shot at the Hetzer needing a 5+ to hit…..and it rolled a five followed by a six for damage.  The Hetzer exploded.  The PaK40 was then eliminated by that relentless soviet squad:
The German player made a final heroic effort on turn 6 to contest the objective with his medic, lieutenant, and a runt squad but the Soviets were simply too strong.  
Lessons learned:
1.  The points discount on the Hetzer for weak side armor and a hull-mounted gun probably isn’t worth it
2.  Don’t split forces: come at one angle with some of your units applying pins while one or two others move in for assault.
Now a few thoughts on BA game play and design.  If’ you’ve come this far down the page I’m hoping you’ll stay to the finish.  Here’s the trick about Bolt Action: everybody is a space marine.  It’s not so much Soviet vs. Germans or Brits vs. Italians as it is: Rainbow Warriors vs. Silver Skulls.  A veteran infantry guy–regardless of nation–is 13 points.  A regular medium tank with a heavy gun is 235 points.  Special rules are negligible and tend to affect force composition rather than units.  Thus, although the Soviet special rules give them a free green, inexperienced infantry unit it still costs 3 points to upgrade a trooper from a rifle to an SMG–exactly the same as for other nations. 
How can this be, you ask, that Osprey has published a game system which obliterates the finer distinctions between a Pz.IV and a T-34/85?  Priestley and Cavatore have impeccable credentials.  They are franchise writers.  So they’ve produced a streamlined, extremely playable rules set that nevertheless provides full engagement with the setting of the Second World War.  It’s the business arrangement between Osprey to publish the rules, on the one hand, and Warlord to flog the models, on the other, that could be the key to success.  The abstractions will be too much for many historicals to take.  No matter, they have  other options.  The key for us as wargamers is the balance this game has achieved.  We’re quite enthusiastic about it and the War Altar will be bringing you other battle reports very soon.

Warmahordes Battle Report: Menoth vs Cryx

We’ve got a pretty strange battle report for you today. The two sides are not the traditional, balanced builds but very heavily focused lists coming from the extreme ends of the infantry/warjack spectrum. This wasn’t deliberate, we both brought secret lists and revealed them simultaneously to mutual confusion and dismay.

The Cryx player, who we will shall codename Lady-Boy, has brought an infantry spam list, based on large squads of troops. When supported by the caster’s abilities/feat, they can smash up heavies with ease. But if they fail, the light troops will find themselves trapped in a battle of attrition against heavy armour.

Standing against the ravening horde, a Protectorate warjack spam list commanded by yours truly and some floating teenaged bint. If the jacks can survive the initial assault or weather it without fatal damage, then they are likely to grind out a victory. Their ace in the hole is their caster’s feat which will prevent the enemy from advancing for a turn.

Neither player were quite certain of the likely outcome of this odd clash. Or as my propaganda wing would have it, despite being outnumbered by more than four to one, the Brave and Heroic Menites were totally confident of Final Victory.

You can look over both lists above. The Protectorate list has four heavy jacks in a 35 point list. The support units have been stripped to a minimum and there is no infantry support. I could have replaced the Choir and Vassal with a light jack but that would have been crazy.

The Cryx player has three large units of infantry and the ever-menacing Stalker light warjacks. They are extremely dangerous flanking units. He has a hard hitting solo in Gerlak Slaughterborn and a focus battery in Skarlock and the Scrap Thralls. There’s also a small selection of support pieces. All in all, a lot of toys.

On to the scenario, no.15 in the 2012 Steamroller rules, Restoration. Some scenarios are quite challenging and people are forced to focus on assassination or attrition strategies but in this case, the scenario is quite winnable. The central zone is small and easily cleared.

If you can control this zone and an objective (most likely to be your own), you can begin scoring points. The only real risk is that it requires that the caster moves up to claim the objective, personally. The Harbinger is not suited to that style of play. Skarre is not particularly fond of it but stands a better chance in no man’s land.

The Cryx have the first turn. With the Harbinger’s feat likely to stall his advance, Lady-Boy must prepare for that and immediately clog the control zone with Satyxis Raiders. He is hoping that they cannot be cleared out within two turns and thus they will contest the zone until help arrives. 

On his right, the Bloodwitches move into the shadow of the woods, ready to move up once the feat has lapsed. They do have the speed to strike from great distances so they can afford to hang well back.

Lumbering Mechanithralls swarm over the hill on his left. They are supported by a Necrosurgeon, which is annoying. I could waste all of my fire here and any casualties inflicted will simply be revived next turn. This makes them a low priority target.

The Menites immediately hone in on the targets in range. The enemy have attempted to spread out but our guns do make very large explosions. However, the Raiders are enchanted to ignore any shots that do not hit them directly. This means that our usual tactic of lobbing shots in and hoping for lucky scatters is slightly doomed.

Even that little buff cannot save them from the sheer number of high-powered cannon blazing away. One five shot volley later, the Raiders are down just over half their numbers and they break, refusing to advance. The feat is popped, delaying the opposing army for a turn. The gathered crowd (not pictured) cheers wildly at my tactical cunning.

In a display of blistering Cryx pace, a Stalker is already jockeying for an assassination run while staying outside the range of the feat. Hate that.

With the hapless Scrap Thralls at the back of the army being ritually sacrificed to give her strength, Skarre sits on a pile of focus almost as tall as herself.

Which is nice but not quite useful here. With the Harbinger’s feat active, the infantry cannot advance without bursting into flames. They must sit and wait for the magical firestorm to die down.

The enemy have been delayed but with few targets in range and Stalkers closing on both flanks, the Menites find that they cannot take full advantage of the lull. They press forward, exterminating the remaining Raiders and positioning themselves to receive the charge.

Once the feat fades, the Bloodwitches move forward preparing for their own feat turn. They try to lock the heavy jacks with brave volunteers while the others line up their attacks. It is not enough to smash one jack, they need to strike at all four.

The Mechanithralls do likewise, two unlucky sods run in to lock down the Vanquishers, while the rest move into position. If they can keep the Menites bogged down on their next turn, the damage on the feat turn will be immense.

The Menites have to try and cripple the two units closing in while also covering both Stalkers and Gerlak. With five threats and only four combat units, this will be very difficult. The Reckoner moves to cover a flank as a choirboy sacrifices himself by moving to deny a charge lane for one Stalker.

The flagship jack hits the largest threat. The Avatar’s charge reaps a heavy toll on the Bloodwitches as he kills every single one he can reach. He then triggers the Gaze of Menoth, forcing all nearby units to charge him. This is a serious problem for the Cryx player as if he is forced to waste either of his surviving two units on the Avatar, he will not be able to deal a fatal blow to the other jacks.

The Vanquishers move to neutralise the threat on the right, killing a host of Mechanithralls. More importantly, they manage to explode the Necrosurgeon’s lackies. Without their help, she will not be able to resurrect the thralls enmasse. They have done all they can, over to the enemy.

With his surviving units battered, it is time to see what Lady-Boy can do. It should only take three or four models to kill each heavy, the troops are available but the order of activation is important. The Avatar must be destroyed and neither of the units can be used to do so.

Behind the lines, the ritual sacrifice proves favourable and Skarre gains the maximum amount of focus available. With that surplus of energy, she sweeps in and tears apart the Avatar. This frees the Bloodwitches to pile on one Vanquisher and the Mechanithralls to pile on the other. They fall just short of killing either but both are very, very, crippled.

The Reckoner comes through unscathed but he is engaged by Gerlak and will find it difficult to disengage.

The damage boxes of the jacks tell the story. One jack is completely dead, the other untouched. The Vanquishers are on the bottom row. One has two hitpoints left but has lost both combat arms, the other has six hitpoints but his only remaining weapon is ranged and cannot be used in melee.

The Cryx assault has fallen short but not by much, the battered heavies will fall to any above average dice roll and there are enough enemies about to achieve this through sheer number of attacks. Only one jack is combat effective and things look dire.

Luckily, the objective has a special rule which allows one Vanquisher to be slightly repaired, the right-hand Vanquisher gains the use of his arms and smashes some Mechanithralls. It might be possible to recover this. The Bloodwitches are trapped, the Mechanithralls are too few to damage a heavy. Neither Gerlak or the Stalkers can stand up to the Reckoner if he can get another turn of attacks. I begin to smirk.

The Cryx player has to free up some assets, Gerlak successfully evades the Reckoner’s clumsy swing and attempts to finish off the Vanquisher engaging the Bloodwitches, letting them swarm all over the Harbinger. He fails, falling slightly short. The Stalker runs in to keep the Reckoner busy. I continue to smirk at his desperate efforts, which I find reminiscent of a rat caught in a trap.

My gloating may be a little premature. There’s a look of rekindled hope in the enemy’s eyes which suggests that he has a cunning plan. It must revolve around the last Stalker who has made his way behind my entire force. But there’s yet another choirboy blocking his path. Killing him would be easy but then the Harbinger will simply revive him. And she could easily do so seven or eight times.

But Lady-Boy is undaunted, he has seen his chance. The only option is to get the Blood Hag out of combat with the Vanquisher and into a position where her aura will prevent the offending choirboy from being healed. But even if he can sneak her across the front line, he will still have to find a way to fry the choirboy without using the Stalker.

The Cryx player delicately disengages the Blood Hag, while the Mechnithralls throw themselves out of Skarre’s path. With the Hag in position, Skarre manages to slip to just within range of the choirboy, kills one of her own troops for the magical juice and splatters the errant choirboy over the landscape.

This clears a path for the Stalker to the Harbinger and he charges in. The Stalker is designed to ignore magical defensive buffs, this is an optimal target and he chops up the Harbinger without any difficulty.

 Aftermath

High-risk, high-reward tactics on both sides. Skarre had a feat which would allow her troops to smash heavies easily, the Harbinger had a feat to slow the infantry. In both cases, you could argue that the feats were slightly mistimed.

The early game saw the Menoth player focusing on reducing the number of possible chargers. He knew that if two heavies could come through intact, he could win through attrition. The Cryx player focused on force preservation and pushing up on the flanks. With six distinct threats and only four opposing units, there was a strong chance of slipping an assassin through to the caster. The Harbinger’s feat was popped a turn too early. The only unit in charge range was crippled and the remainder of the army was happy to sit off for a turn. Had it been popped a turn later, fresh units would have been trapped under the guns.

The Cryx player’s feat turn was somewhat ragged as losses had begun to mount but he managed to deal enough damage to the heavies to stall any Menite push on the caster or a scenario victory. That said, he faced slow, certain defeat unless he could get to the caster promptly. It was not an easy task, both sides were heavily committed and key assets were trapped out of position. But he took his chances, unlocked the defence and managed a last-ditch attack while he still had suitable units left in his arsenal.

Warmahordes Battle Report: Ossyan vs Madrak

So we have another battle report, this time it’s Trolls vs Elves, as Madrak Ironhide leads his scruffy troops against the Retribution of Scyrah. Following some trash talking and a frankly awful dance-off, both players are hustled to the table and forced to deploy their armies.


Deployment

Say hello to Anto’s Trollbloods, a nicely painted, standard Troll Brick list. For new players, his support units layer protective and aggressive auras onto his troops, letting them grind the opposition down. The Pyg Burrowers, in particular, have a strong record of killing far more than their points. They even threaten the most heavily armoured troops. Trolls as a faction have the Tough rule, on death, they roll a d6. A roll of 5+ leaves them knocked down rather than killed.
Mark’s Retribution force, or at least, the central section. Retribution are noted for their excellent infantry and thus tend to run a lot of troops and few myrmidons (warjack equivalents). This commander is no exception, with units of Sentinels and Invictors in the field. The latter are ranged troops while the former are melee fighters.

The remainder of Mark’s force consists of two solos, Narn on his left, eEiryss on his right. Narn is a close combat-oriented character and eEiryss is a ranged combatant. Both are advance deployed and represent a minimal flanking force.
The battlefield in all its glory. The scenario requires you to hold uncontested flags to earn points, each flag held at the end of either player’s turn is worth one point. The first person to score three or more points and have more points than their opponent will win. Of course, an assassination victory is also possible.

Turn 1

The Pyg Burrowers trigger their special ability, unsurprisingly, this involves them burrowing underground to pop up on their next turn. If you have any surplus malice in your heart, I strongly encourage you to direct it their way.
The remainder of the troll army advances, attempting to keep assets within range of all three flags. The abundance of medium based troops does make redeployment difficult and the Troll player must carefully position troops to cover all three axis of advance.
The Retribution mirror the tactic but go about it very differently. Narn moves up to stand off his left hand flag. Although well outside contesting range, the flag will not activate until the end of the second player’s second turn.
eEiryss does likewise on the opposite side. In both cases, the Retribution stands well off the flag to protect his flankers from unexpected charges.
Having been utterly butchered in earlier games by Burrower charges, the Sentinels are ordered to form a line to hold the menace off. Their weapons have a very long reach and careful positioning should expose only the front rank to imminent death and dismemberment. The Burrowers will not be able to charge through to more valuable targets.

Turn 2

As expected, the Pygs pop up and take the bait. A forgiveable decision as there is no better option. Burrowers must reappear the turn after they descend. They have to charge now or die next turn. Their trollish nature cannot compensate for their general squishiness.
As the left hand flag has vanished, the trolls move on the right hand flag. This is a lucky break for the Trollbloods as they are far better positioned to seize this flag than its vanished companion. The Bomber and Pyre Troll represent a sizable force by themselves and there are additional solos moving in place behind them.
The Pyg charge wipes out the first line of Sentinels as a mix of ranged and melee attacks kill all within reach. Those poor sods are deemed acceptable losses and their friends start plotting a terrible revenge.
The brick sweeps onto the central flag in all its glory. This mass of tough infantry will be very difficult to shift and could easily achieve a scenario victory if not countered in some way. The defensive buffs are in place and the caster stands nearby. The Trollbloods are clearly intending to claim a scenario win or failing that, draw the Retribution into close range and pummel them.
The Sentinals take their Vengeance actions, chopping down some Pygs. Some are killed outright, others make their tough rolls and are merely knocked down. But this is only the first step and their death is imminent.
An overhead shot of the line shows that the Burrowers have taken some hits but, as you can see, the majority remain intact. For now.
In the first action of the normal turn, Narn runs in to contest the flag and tie down the bomber. This is most certainly a suicide mission as the pointy eared git cannot hope to survive. If the bomber does not crush it, there are two solos and another beast who can oblige.
This is the moment Anto realises that Invictors shooting while under the Shatterstorm power, will bypass his Tough rolls. His impenetrable central block seems a little more vulnerable.
The focus now switches to the centre and the point of decision is clearly the block of Fennblades. Lady Aiyana casts Kiss of Lyliss on the unit. This spell will increase all damage rolls against models in the unit and generally means that each hit should be a kill. The Invictors grin.
Her lackey/partner, Holt breaks out his pistols and drops two Pygs clearing a section of the line. This is not mere random violence as shall later be revealed.
One Pyg proves too stupid to run away as his friends are butchered. As part of their activation, the Sentinels have left a hole in their formation.
This gap has been created to allow the Invictors and the Phoenix to position themselves for attacks against the Fennblades, just visible to the left of the picture.
The Invictors shoot well, dropping six Fennblades and a Stone Scribe, permanently, which tears the heart out of the Troll’s main infantry block.
To finish the job, the Phoenix charges in and combusts, turning two more Fennblades into torches. The unit is now under half strength and while they may contest it, they cannot score points on the flag.

Turn 3

The trolls, rocked by a nasty turn, start by killing Narn. This leaves one flag entirely in their hands. It’s also unclear whether the Retribution can get any reasonable portion of their army into the area. It appears that this flag is now completely secure.
The trolls around the central flag appear to be clearing a path for someone or something. Bear in mind that most of the above are support rather than frontline troops.
The bomber smashes through the trees, appearing on the Retribution’s left flank, lobbing bombs around with abandon. This snarling beast eliminates any chance of breaking through to the Troll-held flag.
The hissing, powder-filled kegs begin to rain down. Lady Aiyana takes a bomb directly to the face and expires. The Invictors manage to duck.
She is quickly followed by Holt as his heart breaks at the sight of the mangled elf. Or a misplaced bomb scatters next to him and blows him up. We’ll leave it to the poets.
As a formality, the Pyre Troll moves onto the right flag to grab the scenario point.
The Phoenix quakes (insomuch as a soulless contruct can) as Madrak Ironhide storms in, swinging his world-ending axe. In the fluff, this is the most dangerous weapon in existance, an apocalypse with a hilt.
Clearly, the responsiblity is starting to weigh on the feckless savage as Madrak fluffs his initial charge, missing the opportunity to do some major damage.
But with his fury reserve and a feat which grants extra attacks, a wrecked Phoenix is inevitable. The trolls score two points on both flags and need only one more for victory. A solid comeback which maintains the scenario pressure on his opponent.
With Madrak exposed, Lord Arcanist Ossyan moves in. He must go for the assassination as the trolls will certainly score a third point at the end of the turn. Simply shooting everything at Madrak will result in failure. The troll warlock is protected by layers of overlapping defences which have to be stripped away. But his faction does have the tools required with multiple medium strength ranged attacks.
Ossryan magically blasts two Fennblades to clear a path to the support models which provide defensive buffs. The Fennblades have had a rather terrible game as their signature resiliance is bypassed by precise shooting.
The Sentinels sweep in to eliminate the support unit, making a terrible, terrible error.
This is the moment when Mark realises that he has accidentally engaged Madrak in close combat, which will give him a defence bonus against Mark’s ranged attacks. With only an ranged unit remaining, he may have lost himself the game.
To resolve the issue, he must use one of his own spare Sentinels to hack down the offending model. The unit leader finds himself fragged by his own men.
Elsewhere, the last Pyg gets chopped and diced. Always good to see the wretched, undercosted vermin get theirs.
Initial shooting drops Madrak’s grenade jumpers. The warlock has an ability whereby warrior models near this particular warlock take hits on his behalf and die. It was necessary and more resource-efficient to clear them out first with single shots. This finally leaves Madrak exposed.

To boost the chance of hitting and wounding Madrak, all remaining Invictors combine their last shots into three volleys. The first of three combined ranged attacks inflicts light damage, taking off four of eighteen hitpoints.
The second attack is much better, knocking off 8 hitpoints. An average roll should see him downed.
With six points of health left, the final volley inflicts only five. Madrak lives, the Trolls score a third point to win by scenario.

Or do they?
Having skulked on a nearby hill for the entire game, Eiryss finally rouses herself.

The shot is on target and the special bolt inflicts an automatic point of damage.
Will he make the tough roll? No.

The End

With a last ditch assassination, the Retribution steal victory by the skin of their teeth.

Battlefleet Gothic Battle Report: The Morlock Station

The Morlock Raid
The Imperial victory at Cryvan was followed by a period of relative calm. Fleet intelligence posits that this lull reflected internal disputes amongst the Eldar pirates after their initial setback. It was expected that once these leadership issues had been resolved, there would be an increase in shipping losses which would indicate an renewal of the piracy campaign. Chillingly, in parallel with the expected rise in attacks, there were confirmed reports of additional, unknown Eldar warbands transiting into the region. The newly founded Cryvan Command suspected that a major attack was imminent and ordered the bolstering of garrison fleets at all critical stations.

The Morlock Station, orbiting a terra-compatible planetoid in the Morlock Sound, was the primary supply point for patrols into the Cryvan Expanse. The surrounding asteroid fields and gas clouds greatly complicate space travel in the near vicinity which made a full colony unviable. However, these same factors, in conjunction with its location, made it an excellent fleet facility. The only viable approach to the station was quite open but was, in turn, overlooked by the massed guns of the station and its outlying defence systems.

The Eldar warband involved in this action remain largely unknown but clearly shared some common characteristics with the original Cryvan raiders. The core of the fleet was a Void Stalker battleship and a pair of Shadow and Eclipse cruisers. Three distinct escort types are present, a pair of Hellebores, four Nightshades and five Hemlocks. Some of these individual craft have been confirmed to be amongst those which fled the Battle of Cryvan.

The Imperial defenders could thank the Emperor that their commanders had recently modified standing orders in the region. The station was protected by a permanent garrison of a Tyrant and a Dictator cruiser. In reponse to the increased threat, Cryvan Command had ordered that one patrol group remain with the station at all times. This meant that the standard garrison had been joined by two Tyrant and a Dictator cruiser. This brought the total to five capital ships.

The outlying defences were built into the asteroid fields to complicate enemy auspex locks and provide an additional measure of protection and concealment. The space station itself dominated the main approach, with an orbital weapons platform and orbital defence laser platform on its right flank.
The opposite flank saw an orbital weapons platform and orbital defence laser platform protecting an orbital dock. The latter facility, in conjunction with the space station, could put eight squadrons of attack craft into the void. This was an unusual configuration as a single station would normally be considered to provide sufficient fighter cover. The construction of the orbital dock was intended as a secondary command centre in the event of the destruction of the main station.

The first inkling of danger was the arrival of unknown contacts on the edge of the sensor net. Brief contacts had been made in previous weeks but the scale of the incursion indicated a major attack was underway. A distress signal was sent by the duty astropath and the crews roused to action.
Klackons rang out across the Imperial cruisers as thousands of ratings scurried to man the gun batteries and fire up plasma containment units. It’s a testament to the size of the vessels that several crew were killed and injured in various accidents during this process.

The Nightshades closed in and launched a combined wave of torpedos at the right-hand flanking laser station. The Eldar could only have intended to eliminate the Morlock Station and force Imperial patrols to stage from Cryvan itself.
Two large swarms of Darkstar fighters converged on the station to suppress the squadrons of attack craft in its hangers. Although Eldar capital ships are delicately built, their fighters are quite resilent.

With their deadly payloads in the air, the Eldar moved back out of the Imperial threat range.

The Imperial response was traditional, using massive firepower to compensate for a lack of finesse. The orbital platforms opened up at long range, destroying all the torpedoes on their approach.

A wave of Darkstar fighters also found themselves in the wrong part of space and were shattered by a well-aimed volley of large-calibre rounds. The odds of any particular barrage detonating amongst the Darkstars was low but the weight of fire available did compensate for this.

The Imperial reponse was faster than average, Starhawk bombers roared forward with Fury interceptors sprinting to cover the lumbering attack craft.

As the Imperials scrambled to react to the first strike, the pirates had reloaded and prepared for another run.
Again, their tactics were cautious as they halted at extreme range to fire torpedoes and launch attack craft. The experience at Cryvan had left them wary of Imperial firepower at any range. Imperial analysts believe this strategy to have been gravely flawed.

A dogfight ensued in the central approach as Imperial Furies duelled with Eldar Darkstars. The Eldar shredded their counterparts in the unequal fight and moved on.

The Imperial ships had lumbered forward, forming into a tight formation to discourage any direct aggression.
Once more, the Eldar fell back. Again, their commanders clearly underestimated the ability of the garrison to destroy torpedoes and bombers in flight.
With their interceptors outclassed, the Imperial moved to a more scattershot approach, Starhawk bombers being launched in smaller waves of single squadrons.

The sheer weight of Starhawk bombers was deemed likely to overwhelm the Eldar’s ability to shoot them down.

Four squadrons of bombers swept past the gas cloud, in a bid to keep the Nightshades out of torpedo range. They did not expect to close on the fast escorts, merely to force them back.

Another four squadrons closed on the main fleet, however, their intent was on destruction rather than deterrence. The enemy capital ships were almost within range.

The reponse was brutal. Eldar Darkstar fighters managed to annihilate most of the first bomber wave. Their pilots revelled in the target rich enviroment, emptying their cannons but the second wave was sweeping by. Eldar fighters racing home found themselves interspersed with Imperial bombers on attack runs.

The Eldar registered the Imperial target. The bombers were clearly bearing down on their overworked Eclipse cruiser. To protect their main source of fighter cover, the fleet reformed to screen the key assets.

With the Imperial attack craft dominating the approaches, the Eldar fleet were herded into a close formation and away from the station.

The defending ships, increasingly confident, began moving into the outer reaches to allow the timely deployment of new bomber waves. It was clear that continuing, unrelenting pressure would undermine the enemy’s nerve. The fleet split to prevent the pirates from moving along the flanks of the station, the regular garrison broke sunward and the retasked patrol took the opposite path.

After suffering massive losses, three bomber squadrons managed to engage the enemy, catching the tail end of the enemy formation. The pilots make their runs against the escorts, targeting a Hellebore and two Nightshades.

But the attack proves entirely fruitless as the Eldar holofields disperse all of the ordnance, filling this area of space with shrapnel. The surviving Starhawk pilots, both relieved to have survived and disappointed by their failure, disperse and flee towards their home docks.

The larger fleet element moved to prevent an advance against the station on a new axis and complete the encirclement. With bombers swarming past their fighter screens, operating in the knowledge that any single bomb could cause devastation, the Eldar fleet begins to show some hesitation.
Some captain attempted to retake the initative and the Hellebores moved through the residue of the bombing raids. One is unlucky enough to trigger some stray ordnance and the resulting explosion tears it apart.

Disaster follows disaster as the Tyrants manage to clip the Shadow cruiser with their long-range batteries. The volley results in secondary explosions and the cruiser appeared crippled, it movements slowed considerably.

With the events of the earlier battles still fresh in their memories, some Eldar crews have little stomach for what is likely to develop into a fleet engagement. With first blood to the mon-keigh, echoes of that defeat begin to resonate. The Nightshade squadron are the first to crack, breaking away from combat and disappearing into the void.

With the departure of the veteran crews, the fresher Eldar crews take their cue and turn away from the station, scattering into open space. Their failure to inflict any substantial damage was demoralising and preceded another lull in pirate operations. Any Imperial pursuit was deemed futile.

With the threat past, the station staff breath a sigh of relief. This shifts to shock as the proximity alarms go off. At last moment, near disaster. One Eldar torpedo had passed unnoticed through the defence grid and closed on an orbital weapons platform. The operators watch pale-faced as it approaches inexorably and barely misses a weapons platform.


The Imperial fleets prowled in the outer system, some captains felt frustrated by the lack of major combat while others rued the loss of hundreds of flight crew. But the personnel of Morlock Station and Cryvan Command thanked the Emperor for their unexpected victory.

40k Battle Report: Space Wolves on Space Wolves

There have been many famous rivalries which have echoed through the ages, Alexander and Darius, Caesar and Pompey, Pepsi and Coke. Today, a new chapter is added in the battle of Good Wolf and Bad Wolf.

The mission was Capture and Control, or as it is better known, that draw mission. The deployment was Pitched Battle, which generally benefits Space Wolf players. In this case, neither side would gain undue advantage.

Good Wolf has focused on three Rhino-borne Grey Hunter squads, tooled for close combat. Three of these are backed by Rune Priests and all have tooled up Wolf Guard. The fire support is provided by three units of Long Fangs and two Land Speeders.

Bad Wolf has a slight Razorspam ethos. Three squads of Long Fangs provide fire support, alongside their twin-linked lascannon toting Razorbacks. Two Grey Hunters squads in Rhinos are joined by Rune Priests. Two smaller Grey Hunter squads have twin-linked assault cannon Razorbacks and there is one small foot squad of Grey Hunters to babysit home objectives. Two scout units with requisite Wolf Guard fill out the force.

The Battlefield

“Sir, this layout makes no sense. What deranged urban planner designed this bizarre and inefficient settlement? “
“Shut up, trooper, ours is not to question the Emperor, just gather the rest of the squad. We’re going take that hilly ruined city industrial farm complex. For the Emperor.”


Placing Objectives

The cowardly Bad Wolf places his objective as far back as possible. The Good Wolf’s lack of scouts means that he can safely castle in the corner and build a firebase around the nearby hill.

Good Wolf goes for a more aggressive position. Placing his objective almost directly across from its counterpart and as far forward as possible. His axis of advance is now clearly highlighted. Will his bravery be rewarded?

Bad Wolf: Deployment

On his left, Bad Wolf deploys a Rhino, packed with Grey Hunters and a Rune Priest with three TLLC Razorbacks in close proximity. His Long Fangs take advantage of the hilly terrain and dig in.
On the left, an identical Rhino is supported by two TLAC Razorbacks. The remaining Long Fangs move into a wheat field. The Scouts are held in reserve and ordered to outflank. His deployment clearly intends to create a killing ground in the space between the objectives. But the deployment of the Rhino squads forward also suggests that an advance is intended.

Not pictured: Bad Wolf Commander not remembering that wheat fields only grant a 5+ cover save.

Good Wolf: Deployment

The hills are alive with the sound of missiles being loaded into launchers. Two Long Fang squads spread out to minimise losses. Behind the hill, two Rhinos carrying Grey Hunters and Rune Priests, skulk alongside a Land Speeder. Going second has forced Good Wolf to use whatever cover is available.

The Good Wolves grab what cover they can even at the cost of splitting their force. Another two Rhinos, containing large Grey Hunter squads tooled for assault, position themselves to screen from incoming fire. The last Land Speeder slips in behind a vehicle and the Long Fangs spread out, ensuring at least half of the squad is in cover.

Not pictured: Good Wolf Commander not realising that he’s blocked his own advance with the Long Fangs.

Bad Wolf: Turn 1

Bad Wolf moves his forces forward and blasts away with rockets, psychic powers and lascannons. The assault cannons thankfully fall short of their targets. On the left, one Rhino is wrecked and the other is stunned.
On the right, the lead Long Fangs are lashed by Living Lightning and missiles, losing their sergeant and three men. The central squad loses a single man. The Land Speeder explodes, a Rhino is immobilised and the other is stunned. The Good Wolf offensive is throughly suppressed but losses could have been heavier.

Good Wolf: Turn 1


With their vehicles completely stalled, Good Wolf decides that a shooting match is the only recourse. The Grey Hunters disembark, allowing their Rune Priests to begin casting Living Lightning.
The surviving Land Speeder rush forward on the left, to gain a cover save from turbo-boosting and threatening to flame the Long Fang squad on the Bad Wolf right.

The Good Wolves steady themselves and systematically tear apart the vehicles in the open. The confident advance of Bad Wolf has left his vehicles rather exposed. Good Wolf finds angles that deny cover and this coupled with lucky rolls on his psychic powers has a devastating effect. Both Rhinos are wrecked, spilling their passengers into the open and ending the possibility of assault troops reaching Good Wolf’s line. Two Long Fangs are lost from the central squad to opportunistic fire. The lead TLAC Razorback explodes, killing a passenger and its partner is wrecked, causing the passengers to become pinned.

Bad Wolf has lost all his short-ranged transports and is now committed to a static defence.

Bad Wolf: Turn 2

His scouts fail to arrive and Bad Wolf focuses on forming a battle line and he deliberately targets Good Wolf’s mobility. The Land Speeder jinks through heavy fire, relying on excellent luck to survive but eventually loses its heavy flamer to a missile.

Good Wolf’s losses are limited to a single Rhino as the enemy fails to hit home. This does however leave the Grey Hunters trapped on this hill. Any advance into the open will see them decimated by krak missiles.

Good Wolf: Turn 2

The Land Speeder turboboosts into the heart of the enemy to draw further fire. Good Wolf needs to eliminate the Long Fangs to safely advance. His firepower has the desired effect and Bad Wolf’s Long Fangs are shredded. Only two survive on the right as krak missiles punish them for their poor cover saves.
Losses on Bad Wolf’s left are also severe as only five missile launchers survive between both squads and a Razorback loses its main armament. The damage was again inflicted by a combination of living lightning and krak missiles.

Bad Wolf: Turn 3

A single squad of Bad Wolf Scouts arrive on the right flank and move to attack the greatly reduced Long Fangs. The result is a draw as one Long Fang is hacked down and one Scout falls in turn. The lack of power weapon on the Wolf Guard is to blame. However, Bad Wolf indicates that a drawn combat suits him well.

The Land Speeder again, ducks missile after missile. A melta gunner suffers a dangerous terrain mishap and dies attempting to reach it. But his squadmates finally bring it down with rapid-firing bolters.

Good Wolf: Turn 3

A unit of Grey Hunters attempts a rescue, the Rune Priest peels off to join the nearby Long Fangs, and the troops surge forward. Too late to save the last Long Fang, they settle for revenge. The Scouts are wiped out and the Grey Hunters retake the objective.

The previous turn saw Good Wolf create a “Long Fang Gap” and the end result can be seen above. The Long Fangs in the wheat are eliminated and their colleagues fall back after taking losses.
The Grey Hunters are in position to begin an advance but without transport, it will likely be too slow.

Bad Wolf: Turn 4


With his units largely hiding behind cover and limited opportunities to fire back, their hopes rest with the two functioning Razorbacks. Having watched its efforts to self-repair with alarm, they fire on the best target. The long immobilised Rhino finally explodes, into wreckage rather like a piece of paper. Eerie.

Good Wolf: Turn 4

Snecting weakness, Good Wolf throws in an offensive. One foot slogging squad advances on the right and another hops into the remaining Rhino and drives forward. His shooting phase is kind and most repositioned Long Fangs are blasted to goo. With the enemy’s ability to stop him reduced to one Long Fang and one Rune Priest, he hopes for a long game and a chance at victory.


Bad Wolf: Turn 5

Finally, Bad Wolf’s remaining scouts arrive. Perhaps, they can be used in a last ditch suicidal attack on the enemy objective?

Having monitored their own command’s broadcasts, the Scouts appear to suspect as much and carefully arrive on the wrong flank, against the odds. They are now far far from the battlezone.


Good Wolf: Turn 5

With his remaining transport brought to a halt by enemy fire just inside the central forest, the Good Wolf orders his Grey Hunters to disembark and advance on front. They cannot reach the enemy objective but perhaps they can get within shooting range and hope for a miracle.

Bad Wolf: Turn 6

Most of Bad Wolf’s forces fall back to make a stand around their objective. The Rune Priest continues to lash at the Rhino in a bid to even the score. But the lightning merely stuns the crew.


Good Wolf: Turn 6

Good Wolf maintains the advance and attempts to clear a path to the objective. A damaged Razorback explodes leaving its contents in the open. But the passengers hold their ground despite the loss of a marine. The harassing Rune Priest on the left is finally put down by missile fire.

Combined Wolf: Turn 7

With the game at an end, Bad Wolf focuses on clogging the objective with as many bodies and vehicles as possible. Good Wolf advances into shooting range but after a game of lucky shots, the Emperor can do no more and the various weapons rattle against power armour and armour with no effect. The game ends in a draw with Good Wolf scraping a 12-8 win on VP totals.*

*ETC Scoring

Battlefleet Gothic Battle Report: Eldar vs Imperial


The First Battle of Cryvan

The Imperial planet Cryvan was an isolated, industrialised world. Its location on the edge of the Cryvan Expanse and position in a region cluttered with stellar phenomenon left it ignored by the tides of galactic conflict. Its orbital manufactoriums produced some advanced auspex systems but as a whole, its production did not justify anything more than a token defence force.
As is often the case, this left them hopelessly unprepared when the aliens struck. An Eldar warband of unprecedented size shattered their system defence networks and swept their stations from the sky. An full invasion was prevented by the strength of the PDF which, using the products of domestic industry, had successfully held near-space against the invaders. The pirates imposed a blockade and began probing the remaining defences to identify weak points. The desperate defenders called on the sector fleet to assist.

The Imperial force dispatched to break the blockade was composed of all available ships in the 3rd Reserve Fleet. The name is misleading in that these were not untested ships, the crews had been blooded in earlier conflicts in M40.993 and M40. 997. These missions had included clashes with the Eldar. Admiral Caid’s flagship had survived two major fleet engagements against the xeno in the last campaign.In the centre of the fleet, the Bellerophon, Retribution-class battleship. On its rear starboard quarter, the Righteous Zeal, Overlord-class battlecruiser. On its rear port quarter, the Faith, Mars-class battlecruiser. The orange vessel was the Furious, a Dominator-class cruiser. And from the left of the pict, a squadron of three Tyrant-class cruisers, two Dictator cruisers and two Lunar cruisers.
A rare pict of the entire bandit force. In a bid to undermine morale, their advance on the system defence stations was contemptuously direct. Fleet Intelligence suggests that the fleet is composed of distinct two pirate warbands. The Burning Stars have operated in the region for decade and Prince Jari’s Void Stalker battleship, Thunderchild, can be seen in the centre of the fleet. The Hammers of Vaul under Lord Harohn are also spotted as his personal Eclipse-class carrier can be seen to its rear (in blue). Two Shadow cruisers can be seen, in white and blue. From the six o’clock position clock-wise, multiple squadrons of escorts. They consist of three Hemlocks, three Aconites, three Aconites, two Hellebores, three Nightshades, three Aconites, three Hemlocks, three Nightshades, three Hellebores.
The battle began with the Imperial fleet succeeding in that rarest of achievements, catching the Eldar unawares. They broke from the gas clouds and asteroids, intending to move into open space and eliminate the smaller element of the bandit force before the larger element could intervene.
The Thunderchild and her fleet were conducting patrols nearby. The reports of an Imperial counter-attack came as a complete surprise and caught them out of position.
The smaller pirate warband was orbiting the planet, launching strikes against Imperial ground installations and attempting to crack the net of defences thrown into low orbit.
Lord Harohn, commander of the smaller fleet, realised that an engagement around Cryvan itself would be the end of him. He moved to mirror his counterpart and they began a classic pincer movement.
Prince Jari, overall commander, was rightly hesitant to drive straight into the Imperial flank and risk those broadsides. His ships began to using an nearby asteroid field to screen their approach into the rear of the enemy taskforce.
Although surprised, Eldar helmsmen and gunnery teams remain unmatched, they reacted quickly and carefully. The Imperial advance had to be delayed or diverted to buy time, a split second decision was made and several waves of torpedoes were launched into the path of the Retribution class battleship.
Admiral Caid and his captains were rocked by the speed of the Eldar. They launched fighters to engage the torpedoes but far too late. The Bellerophon attempted to evade but it proved too unwieldly to adjust course quickly. Four torpedos crashed into its port batteries causing minor damage.
With the Eldar withdrawing after the torpedo strike, the Imperials found their guns out of range. The Furious fired its nova cannon into the heart of Harohn’s fleet, causing no damage. But the near miss buffeted several ships and alarmed the bandits. They closed on the distinctive vessel in a bid to destroy it and regain the range advantage.
The Overlord class battle-cruiser had proven deadly against similar pirates in the past. Its long range guns would lay down enough fire to scare any class of Eldar vessel and it is hoped its presence would deter strikes on the Furious.
However, the Eldar were as brave as they were malicious. Three squadrons swept into combat range. Their massed lance fire and torpedoes left the Furious on the verge of breaking apart. With no hope of continuing the fight, it cartwheeled towards the gas cloud and shut down all engines in a successful bid to disengage from the battle.
Prince Jari continued to race against time as his fleet charged into position. The Imperial rearguard began to look increasingly outmatched. But the asteroid field acted to hide the danger.
Having driven off the Furious, Prince Harohn’s ships pulled back out of range to limit the Imperial response.
Although the Eldar remained outside the range of the cruisers, the Imperial battleship and battlecruisers laid down huge swathes of fire at extreme range. The Eldar evade most of the incoming rounds but lucky shots blasted two escorts into kindling.
Admiral Caid ordered all fighters to form a screen behind the fleet. This veteran of several clashes with the Eldar knew that the disappearance of the larger enemy fleet would undoubtedly precede an ambush or surprise attack. The fighters awaited whatever threat the Eldar could bring to bear.
Prince Harohn’s fleet diverted crews to damage control in a bid to prevent the smaller Imperial ordance from crippling their vessels, but this reduced their firepower as the crew were diverted from the gunnery and targeting stations.
Prince Harohn ordered his Eclipse to disengage and withdraw. His command crew protested the loss of dozens of veteran pilots currently on attack runs. Coollectively, they had over ten millennia of combat experience. Harohn is rumoured to have stated “It only makes my sacrifice of their lives all the more noble.”
Rounding the asteroid field, Prince Jari, faces a wall of Imperial Thunderbolts. His favoured tactics, massed torpedoes into the enemy rear, will be ineffective against this tactic. The fighters will simply detonate the volleys as they close. Adapting quickly, he moves his fleet across the Imperial stern to attempt to link up with the abandoned crews and extract those escort squadrons from their predicament.
One ship, the infamous Overlord battlecruiser, blocks the escape route and several Eldar squadrons target it. The Righteous Zeal takes several hits but damage crews contain the fires and make patchwork repairs. Its guns continue to prevent a breakout.
Having failed to break the blockade and seeing his erstwhile ally quit the field, Prince Jari decided that the day was lost. Seeking to preserve his own fleet, he ordered his ships to turn and evade contact.
With their enemy abandoned by all allies, the Imperials closed into firing range and prepared to deliver the final blow. The gas cloud provided some cover but would not impede the upcoming storm of fire.
Abandoned and outnumbered, the Eldar pilots prove their true calibre. Their ships roll through massed clouds of incoming rounds with minimal losses as they press their engines to the limit. Non-critical systems are smashed as they push their craft beyond even the limits of wraithbone.
Taking advantage of a relative lull in fire, they made a final bid to destroy the Righteous Zeal and ease their escape. But the battle damage has taken its toll on the small craft and their guns fail to reap their expected harvest of Imperial lives.
To rejoin Jari’s fleet, they have to brave the full broadsides of the Imperial fleets. Praying to their fickle false gods, the Eldar choose to run ahead of the Imperial ships and attempt to outpace their vengeance.
Jari’s fleet rounded the asteroid belt in the exact inverse of their earlier lunge and made for open space.
Like a shark into a shoal of fish, the Overlords lunged through its prey, bringing both broadsides to bear at point-blank range.
The remaining squadrons suffer heavy losses and only a trio of ships succeed in escaping the guns of the Imperium, scattering into the outer reaches of the system.
With the Imperial fleet broadcasting their victory, the Furious engages its remaining plasma drive and limps into formation as the fleet stations itself above Cryvan.
Prince Harohn’s fleet gathered in a nearby asteroid field to conduct repairs and re-arm. As survivors straggled in, tales of his callousness provoked a near-mutiny.
Prince Jari declared the region lost to the lesser races and departed for safer hunting grounds.

Battle report: Grey Knights vs. Space Wolves (1750 points)

Recently I started a Grey Knight terminator army with Grand Master Mordrak as the centrepiece.  I invited “Newbreed” and his Space Wolves over to give the terminator list a thorough vetting.  My friend Sébastion Le Prestre de Vauban, an accomplished military engineer and master-mind of defensive strategy, came over and offered to commentate on the game.

My Mordrak list was:
HQ
Mordrak + 5 ghost knights (x2 halberd, x2 swords, banner)
Inquisitor, psyker: psychic communion, terminator armor, psycannon, sword, x3 skulls,

TROOPS
10 terminators, x2 psycannon, x3 halberds, warding staff, banner, justicar w/MC hammer, psybolt
5 terminators, 1 psycannon, 1 falchions, banner, warding staff, justicar w/mc hammer,

HEAVY
psyfleman, searchlight
psyfleman
psyfleman
The Space Wolves list was:

HQ
3 rune priests (all with living lighting then jaws, tempest, hurricane)

ELITE
4 wolf guard with combi-meltas, fists

TROOPS
X4 grey hunter squads with meltas in rhinos

FAST
Speeder, multi-melta/flamer
Speeder, multi-melta/flamer

HEAVY
X3 long fang squads (5 rockets, sergeant)

I brew some coffee and arrange the table tastefully.   The terrain offers some good locations to deploy long fangs and dreads but there are also ample LOS-blocking features.

We rolled a random mission and came up with five objectives, dawn of war deployment.  Mordrak used Grand Strategy to make all three dreads scoring—nice one!  I then bested Newbreed on the roll to place objectives and then again on the roll for first turn.   We spread out the objectives and then I deployed.   I decided to combat squad the large unit of terminators.  The inquisitor deployed on the table with five terminators in the central ruin.  The plan is to deepstrike Mordrak nearby and the two units should be able to support each other.

[Intercession by Vauban:  “Why combat squad?  You have three dreads and two infantry units to score.  There are five objectives, not six.  A man only has one stomach even if he is a fat slob.  A much better decision would be to plop the ten man terminator squad in the middle of the table with the inquisitor attached.”]

Newbreed decided to hold everything in reserve.  Everything.  He wants to wait until the disposition of my forces is clear.
[Vauban remarks: “Clever F*&#”]

I am, of course, content with his decision because my stacked psychic communions will keep my terminators off the table until his force disposition becomes clear.

 Inquisitor and five terminators deploy while the space wolves stand ready in reserve.

TURN 1

I deep strike Mordrak to the middle of the table in front of a ruin.  Two dreads stomp on to the table on my right flank and one dread takes the left flank.  Mordrak’s unit runs into cover and the dreads run as well hoping to occupy advantageous positions.   The Inquisitor moves towards Mordrak but rolls poorly for difficult terrain and running.

Below: the end of turn 1

[Vauban comments: “Not a terrible plan by the GK player.  We can see that he means to claim the three objectives on his right while using a single dread on the left to vex any wolf unit that occupies the objective on that side.”]

TURN 2

Mordrak and the inquisitor successfully cast psychic communion.  I take a +2 on the roll and keep both remaining terminator squads off the table.  The inquisitor unit moves towards Mordrak at a glacial pace.  However the dreads have better luck and occupy some excellent sniping locations.  Mordrak continues into cover.

Only two space wolf units arrive from reserve: a land speeder and one squad of long fangs.   They come on to the space wolves’ right flank.

Line of sight is traced along the barrel of the weapon, right?

The Inquisitor squad claims the central objective.  Note: the other terminators are inside the ruin.

Long Fangs and a speeder arrive from reserves.

[Vauban gushes: “What a fabulous table.  Pity the armies are not up to the same standard.”]

TURN 3

[Vauban chides: “Two turns through the game and no shooting—what tedium! ]

The stacked psychic communion keeps the two remaining terminator squads off the table.  The dread on the my right wrecks the space wolf speeder.  Mordrak and the inquisitor unit continue to gird themselves.

The space wolves receive four units from reserves: three grey hunter squads and another squad of long fangs.  The fangs occupy barricades on the space wolf left flank.  The three Hunter squads in rhinos enter the center of the board.  Two move on 6” and one moves on 12” to obscure the other two.  It pops smoke.  The squad of long fang that walked on turn 2 fires on a dread and destroys one of its auto-cannon arms.  A rune priest inside a rhino casts Jaws of the World Wolf at Mordrak’s squad but three terminators pass their tests.  Shooting at the same unit is also ineffectual.

Long fangs seek succour behind xeno barricades:

Three grey hunter squads in Rhinos:

TURN 4

The two terminator squads arrive.  One deep strikes near the long fangs on the space wolf left, the other near the fangs on the space wolf right.

[Vauban notes: “A poor decision.  Let the space wolves have the objective on their right.  With only 20 terminators the GK forces cannot afford to spread out.”]

Mordrak’s squad and the inquisitor squad move to engage the center grouping.   A mediocre shooting round sees the termies on the GK left drop two rockets, while two dreads combine to immobilize one rhino.  The third dread kills the sergeant in the long fang pack on the space wolf right.   The terminators on the GK right fail to cause any casualties among the long fangs.  The inquisitor destroys the storm bolter on the immobilized rhino.   Mordrak and his unit charge the immobilized rhino and wreck it.

The remaining grey hunter squad arrives from reserves.  The space wolf player drives off the remaining mobile rhino in the center towards the objective on his left.  Two squads of grey hunters prepare to unload on Mordrak.  Combined jaws and shooting kill four ghost knights.  Mordrak and the remaining knights are killed in the ensuing assault at the cost of three  grey hunters.

Grey Knight terminators deep strike near Long Fangs:

On the other flank Grey knight  terminators make a similar deep strike:

Mordrak and his ghost knights are greeted by the occupants of two rhinos:

TURN 5

The two dreads on my right flank move to secure the objective.  Pop smoke or shoot at the long fangs?  I decide to shoot at the long fangs.    The termies on my right move to engage the intact/full rhino.  The inquisitor squad moves up—finally getting some good difficult terrain rolls—to get some payback for mordrak.  Shooting again disappoints as both dreads combine to kill two long fangs while the terminator squad pings off the rhino.  On my left flank the termie squad charges and wrecks a rhino and the grey hunters disembark in good order and prepare to shoot the hell out of the terminators.  The inquisitor squad charges and wipes a squad of grey hunters and consolidates to an objective.

The space wolf player moves his forces to destroy the inquisitor squad.  In the shooting phase both long fangs on the space wolves left flank ping off the dreads.  Shooting kills three terminators in the inquisitor squad.    On the space wolf right shooting kills three terminators.   When the dust settles on the assault phase only the inquisitor remains in the center while the warding stave is the sole survivors on the GK left flank.

The game, unfortunately for the Grey Knights, continues.

Warding staves are great in assaults:

Two dreads hold an objective:

TURN 6

The dreads pop smoke and pray really hard to the emperor.  The remaining terminators shoot and wreck the last remaining rhino.  The grey hunters get out and prepare to unload.

[Vauban sighs: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”]

The space wolf player wrecks the remaining dreads despite their smoke screens.  The grey hunter squad eliminates three terminators with shooting and then charges and kills the remaining two.

[Vauban says: “Pity it was in the middle of the day because the grey knight player could have used a drink.”]

Victory to the space wolves.  Mind wiping will have to wait.

Aftermath.  Indeed, I could have used that extra squad of terminators on my right flank.  As I type this the glue is drying on additional halberds for the terminators.  This battle has shown that I6 /5++ is better than I4/4++.

[Vauban concludes: “But for two crucial tactical errors by the Grey Knight general, combat squading and spreading his forces, the game would have been close.”]
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