Friday, March 28, 2008

Battle Report: Imperial Guard vs. Tau Cleanse (Part 2)

Scenario: Cleanse
Imperial Guard Forces: Darkwing
Tau Forces: Badelaire

The Scenario
We intended this battle to be an immediate follow-up to the previous battle in which the Imperial Guard infantry forces were decimated by the Tau. In this battle, the Imperial Guard would be sending in an Armored Company to deal with the Tau Force--the same Tau force, holding the same ground. The scenario would remain Cleanse, fought on a battlefield with identical terrain to the previous battle, and both sides would take the same table quarters that they had occupied in the previous battle.

Imperial Guard Briefing
Darkwing: After the debacle I suffered in the last battle, it was time to return the favor. This was to be a “friendly” battle, so we didn’t stick too much to the official army lists—that is, I used the Armored Company Army list from White Dwarf issue 295, but didn’t bother with getting everything exactly right—I just fielded what I owned. I got a Leman Russ Vanquisher for my HQ, three Leman Russes for my troops choices, two Hellhounds for Fast Attack, and a Leman Russ Demolisher for my Heavy Support.

Seeing as Badelaire had expected me to field a lot of tanks in the first battle, this would be closer to what he expected—although he never suspected that I would field an entire army of tanks. This time, he knew what I was fielding (i.e., nothing but tanks), and fully expected to get trounced, but it’s all in good fun, right? I don’t intend to “think” too much in this battle, I figure I’ll just drive forward and try to blow up anything in my way.

Tau Briefing
Badelaire: Well, this time around, Darkwing's going with his Armored Company, and I'm sticking to the same list. I'm going to have a much harder time of things - an actual victory is probably impossible, so we'll see what happens. With its ability to move 12" and fire the railgun, the Hammerhead is probably going to be my number one tank killer, and when it dies, that'll probably be when I start really losing the game. The broadsides can't move and fire, and so will be sitting ducks for those tank-mounted lascannons - a 4+ to hit, 2+ to wound, and it's all over for them. My best bet will be to place them in certain fields of fire that they can command, and if any armor advances into them, I can hope the broadside can survive long enough to deliver some pain. But with only three railguns (the only weapon I've got that can go through AV 14), my hopes aren't all that high.

My troops will, for the most part, be useless. Their pulse rifles will only be of any good against the rear armor of Darkwing's tanks, and with turreted weapons, getting him to turn around will be difficult at best. Most likely, I'll just hide my fire warriors and hope they can survive the fight mostly intact.

The Crisis Suits will be the big question mark in this battle. I'll either deploy them along the far flanks of my deployment zone, or I'll deep strike them behind cover in his DZ and go for missile pod shots on the rear armor of his tanks. If he wants to avoid those shots, he'll have to turn around and expose the tank's AV 10 to my pulse rifles. Either way, he'll be much more vulnerable. The only question will be whether or not my Suits can arrive on the field at the right time and in the right place to do any good. We shall see.

The Forces
Imperial Guard Forces Points
Leman Russ Vanquisher 300
Leman Russ165
Leman Russ 165
Leman Russ 165
Leman Russ Demolisher 175
Hellhound (Clamor Necis) 115
Hellhound (Mors Crucians) 115
Total Points: 1200
Tau Forces Points
Ethereal (1)50
Crisis Battlesuit (1) 61
Crisis Battlesuit (1) 61
Crisis Battlesuit Team (2) 122
Fire Warriors with Devilfish (12) 220
Fire Warriors (12) 130
Fire Warriors (12) 130
Fire Warriors (11) 11
Broadside Battlesuit (1) 75
Broadside Battlesuit (1)75
Hammerhead Gunship 165
Total Points: 1199
Turn 1
After their infantry was destroyed assaulting the Tau position, the Imperial Guard wanted revenge, so they sent in an Armored Company. The Imperial Guard tanks drove forward, immediately trying to close the distance to the Tau forces and expose them to fire. The Tau’s response was simple, as most held their position. The left broadside backed up, allowing better lines of sight to the tanks. The Hammerhead moved out from behind the trees and let loose with its railgun at the Leman Russ Demolisher, but only managed to stun the crew.
 The Imperial Guard Armored Company

Turn 2
The Armored Company continued to rumble forward, but only one of the tanks had an opportunity to fire. The center Leman Russ fired on the Hammerhead with its battlecannon, but the shot went wide and exploded harmlessly.

The Tau, who had kept all of their Crisis Suits in reserve, hoping to outflank the tanks, waited for them arrive, but apparently there was a hold up as none did. For the time being anyway, the killing would be up to the Broadsides and the Hammerhead. The Hammerhead got off to a good start, firing its railgun as Leman Russ 2, the center tank of the three, and scored a penetrating hit, destroying it. The left Broadside fired a long shot at one of the Hellhounds, the Clamor Necis, barely in sight over the crest of a hill. The shot destroyed the Hellhound’s Inferno Cannon.

Turn 3
The destruction of the tank caused a small traffic jam behind it, as the Demolisher would have to try to drive partway through the woods in order to go around it. The Demolisher gunned its engine, and predictably, immediately got bogged down in the woods and was immobilized. The Hellhound Mors Crucians made it into sight of the right Broadside and fired its heavy bolter at it, as it was still out of range of its Inferno Cannon. The Heavy Bolter shots merely pinged off of the suit’s thick armor. The Clamor Necis, reduced to an expensive mobile heavy bolter platform, took aim at a Fire Warrior Team hiding behind some trees and opened fire, killing one of them. Leman Russ 3, on the right flank, took a shot on the left Broadside and destroyed it. Leman Russ 1, on the left, fired a battlecannon shot on the Devilfish, and damaged its engines, forcing it to land and disembark its troops. The Vanquisher drove forward and took aim at the Hammerhead with its Vanquisher Cannon. The loader popped in an anti-tank round and the gunner fired. The shot was dead on target, penetrating the hull and annihilating the Hammerhead into millions of pieces. The shrapnel ripped a nearby Fire Warrior to shreds.

Now the Tau reserves began to arrive. Three Crisis Suits, two in a team and one alone, deep struck far behind the Imperial Guard tanks. The right Broadside took aim with its railgun at the Mors Crucians, and surprisingly it missed with its railgun.

Turn 4
The Mors Crucians again attempted to shoot the right Broadside with its Heavy Bolter, and again came up with nothing. The Clamor Necis fired its Heavy Bolter at the Fire Warriors again, killing another one. Leman Russ 3 fired on the Devilfish with its battlecannon, but the shot scattered, landing on a Fire Warrior Team, killing three of them. Leman Russ 1 fired its battlecannon on a different Fire Warrior team, but the shot scattered and missed.

The Leman Russ Vanquisher spun around and targeted an unlikely battlecannon shot through some terrain at the Crisis Suit Team, but the shot missed its mark.

The last Crisis Suit deep struck, directly in the middle of the Imperial Guard lines, right behind the Leman Russ Vanquisher. Clearly, he was attempting to take out the Vanquisher before being destroyed himself.

The Vanquisher fires a long range shot through the terrain at the Crisis Suits
The leftmost unit of Fire Warriors advanced out of the woods towards Leman Russ 1, hoping to assault it. They knew that they could not damage it in the assault, but were hoping to get close enough to make its battlecannon ineffective. The rest of the Fire Warrior Teams, realizing that they were in sight of the other tanks, dispersed, hoping to survive the onslaught of battlecannon fire they were sure to take. The suicidal Crisis Suit which had landed behind the Vanquisher fired its twin-linked Missile Pods at the tanks vulnerable rear armor, but both shots failed to penetrate. Soon he would pay for his boldness. The right Broadside connected with his railgun, and immobilized the Mors Crucians. One of the other Crisis Suits fired on the rear armor of the Leman Russ Demolisher, but also failed.

Turn 5
The Mors Crucians fired both its inferno cannon and heavy bolter at the right Broadside to no effect. The Demolisher unleashed its Demolisher Cannon on the suicidal Crisis Suit, blowing it to smithereens. Leman Russes 1 and 3 both fired battlecannon shots on the left unit of Fire Warriors. Leman Russ 3’s shot missed due to the extreme close range, while Leman Russ 1’s shot was dead on target, killing no less than eight of the Fire Warriors. The Clamor Necis fired its heavy bolter on the Devilfish’s disembarked Fire Warrior team, killing one of them. The Vanquisher fired on the third Fire Warrior Team, but failed to kill any. The left unit of Fire Warriors broke and fled, only to regroup a second later.

The left Broadside fired its railgun once again on the Mors Crucians, hoping to finish it off, but missed again. The lone Crisis Suit did better against the Demolisher’s rear armor, as both missiles penetrated and destroyed the tank.

Turn 6

The Imperial Guard tanks spread out, hoping to claim more ground and root out the last pockets of Tau resistance. The Clamor Necis fired its heavy bolter on the Devilfish’s Fire Warriros, killing two of them, causing the unit to break and flee off the battlefield. The Vanquisher fired its heavy bolter and Lascannon on a Crisis Suit, causing one wound with a heavy bolter shot.

The three Crisis Suits broke cover and attempted to shot at Leman Russ 3’s side armor. Firing six Missile Pod shots, three hit their target, causing two glancing hits, resulting in the crew being shaken and the battlecannon to be destroyed. The right Broadside finally connected with its railgun on the Mors Crucians, penetrating its armor and destroying it.

The battle was over, however, and the Tau backed off from their position, leaving it in Imperial Guard hands.

Victory Point Totals:
Imperial Guard: 641
Tau: 542.5

Imperial Guard Debriefing
Darkwing: Well, this battle went more or less to plan, and I achieved my main objective, which was killing some Tau to avenge the loss of my infantry company in the last battle. In the end I lost three tanks out of seven, which isn’t bad. I suppose the only thing that really surprised me in that battle was that I expected the Hammerhead to do more before it was destroyed, and for the rest of Badelaire’s forces to do less once I destroyed it. In the end, that more or less balanced out.

At the beginning of the battle, I hadn’t given a thought to achieving objectives—that is, claiming table quarters, but as the battle started coming to a close, I decided to go for it, and was able to contest two table quarters, which ended up giving me the victory on victory points.

Tau Debriefing
Badelaire: Well, I lost the fight, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I killed some of Darkwing's tanks and damaged some others, and still had a good number of points left on the board at the end of the game. It was too bad that the Hammerhead didn't get to do more before eating it, but the tank itself is designed more for offense than defense in my opinion anyhow, so its survival against considerable anti-armor is dubious at best. Once it died, all Darkwing had to do was keep the fire lanes of the Broadsides in mind when he moved his tanks, and I'd have a rough time scoring any more railgun kills.

I was more or less happy with my Crisis Suit's performance in this battle. My "suicide suit" didn't get in his kill, but since his target, the Vanquisher, was about five times the cost of the suit, it was definitely worth the risk to try and kill it. If that suit had succeeded, I would have won the game, considering the relatively narrow margin by which I lost. The other three suits did what I wanted them to do - it was just too bad that I had to place them for safety's sake in a location where they didn't have a lot of targets.

As for the Fire Warriors, well, they died bravely. I lost one infantry squad and the Devilfish Squad, although the D-Fish was still alive (albeit immobilized) at the end of the game. In the end, although it was an IG victory, I feel good about the outcome - it could have been much, much worse.

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