Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Battle Report: The Arduen Campaign, Part Two

The planet Arduen is a small, sparsely inhabited world in the Arcadia Sector. The people of the planet live a mostly idyllic existence, as far as such things can go in the Imperium. Due to the large expanses of wilderness on the planet, the Imperial Guard frequently uses the planet as a training ground for its newly raised regiments.

Ork Warlord Gorgash Gutmuncha saw the planet as the perfect spot to begin a massive attack on the Arcadia Sector, giving his boys some fresh meat to whet their appetites for the carnage to come. The Warlord dispatched Kommando forces to the planet's surface, all stealthy-like and "taktikul", to explore and determine the Imperial Strongpoints. One such force, under orders of Warboss Gorgrim Bighornz, wiped out an Imperial training patrol. Then, to take advantage of surprise, Warboss Bighornz planned an attack on an imperial outpost. It was a "kunnin' plan" involving attacking it from all sides simultaneously, that would require lots of coordination. Nothing too hard for the professional kommandos...or was it?

For their part, the Imperial Guard at the outpost were not expecting an attack, and were completely unaware that another company had recently been all but destroyed, the survivors scattered in the wilderness. As such they continued with their peacetime activities this bright morning. Sending out a single squad on a routine patrol the rest of the guardsmen assembled in the courtyard of the outpost for their morning formation. Little did they know, but the day was about to get much more interesting...

The Imperial Guard forces will set up in a fenced compound in the center of the 5' x 5' table. The fences themselves do not block line of sight, and count as difficult terrain.

One Imperial Guard squad will be on patrol outside the compound, while the rest of the Imperial Guard forces will be deployed within the compound.

Due to the effects of surprise, any Imperial Guard vehicles will be inactive, and unable to move or shoot unless an activation roll is passed by each vehicle, rolled at the start of the Imperial Guard Turn. (5+ on Turn 1, 3+ on Turn 2, and automatically on Turn 3)

The Ork Kommando units arrive on turn one from any table edge. The rest of the Ork army is placed in reserve, each unit arriving as follows on a D6 roll: 1-4: random table edge, 5-6: re-roll.
Imperial Guard Deployment

Imperial Guard Forces
Company Command Squad (5)72
1st Infantry Platoon
Platoon Command Squad (5)52
Infantry Squad 1 (10)60
Infantry Squad 2 (10)60
Weapons Squad (Mortars) (6)60
Weapons Squad (Missile Launchers) (6)90
2nd Infantry Platoon
Platoon Command Squad (5)52
Infantry Squad 1 (10)60
Infantry Squad 2 (10)60
Weapons Squad (Mortars) (6)60
Attached Vehicles
Leman Russ185
Leman Russ185
Leman Russ185

Imperial Guard Briefing
Darkwing: As a raid on a small supply depot, it was pretty decided by both of us in creating the story for the campaign that the depot would be supporting a squadron of Leman Russ Battle Tanks, so they were a given for the army. After that, it was just filling the in requirements for the rest the of army. I took the standard Company HQ, and the two obligatory infantry platoons. Each platoon was relatively small, each with a pair of infantry squads, and one having two weapons squads (mortars and missile launchers), the other only having one (mortars). I was originally going to have the second platoon have a Heavy Bolter Squad as well, getting my points value to the agreed value of 1250 points, but my opponent was pushing for some more points so he could get more stuff, so I dropped the Heavy Bolters and got a Hellhound instead, bringing my total to 1311. The Hellhound's template vs. Orks was just too good to pass up, so it wasn't a hard decision to make.

As I will start out the battle with all my vehicles inactive, their rear armor facing outwards, and my infantry bunched in tight little knots in the center of the depot (aside from the patrol squad), I figure I'm in for a rough time. The Orks will be arriving mostly from reserve, so I have that advantage, but it will not be easy to guard all four board edges, since I don't know from where they will be arriving. Hopefully I can respond quickly enough, and strongly enough, to deal with the ork threats as they emerge.

Watchtower with two missile launcher teams

Ork Forces
Stonejaw's Kommandos (15)175
Headhunta's Kommandos (15)220
Bonebreaka's Trukkboyz (12)172
Redbonce's Trukkboyz (12)162
Pigface's 'Ardboyz (11)190
Shoota Boyz (10)60
Skorcha Buggy45
Skorcha Buggy45
Warbikes (5)165

Ork Briefing
For this battle, I'm creating an Ork "Raiding Party". This will consist almost entirely of "fast movers" and two units of Kommandos, one of them packing two burnas and a PK, the other commanded by Stonejaw (Choppa/Slugga Nob) with two big shootas. Aside from the kommandos, I'm sending in three units of Trukk Boyz, each led by a PK nob, one of which is wearing 'Eavy armor and is serving as the retinue for my Big Choppa-swinging warboss. Aside from the trukks, I've got two skorcha buggies, a unit of bikes with a PK nob, and a small unit of shoota boys to provide some medium-range fire support.

This is going to be a "win big or lose big" army list. Depending on how the reserves rolls go, either I'm going to swamp Darkwing's lines with mobs of boys and tear his tanks apart with Big Choppa and PKs (I've got five PKs and the Big Choppa in this list). Under the new assault rules, attacking the rear armor in assault means those heavy hitters - and even the boys on the charge - can damage the otherwise very heavily armored Russ hulls. Unfortunately, I'm also fielding small, expensive units of lightly armored Orks as well as fragile, fast vehicles that can be turned into wrecks by even the lowly bolt pistol. Once those units start to take fire, they'll quickly get whittled down to the point where they'll start to lose their effectiveness, and if I need to start taking morale checks, even with bosspoles, I know I'll start to lose units. The key will be to strike from enough directions at once, and give the guard enough units to shoot at, that they won't be able to do enough damage fast enough to stop me from getting into their lines, at which point, I'll definitely have the upper hand.

Headhunta's kommandos approach the Imperial Guard Patrol and the outpost beyond

Turn 1
It was just after dawn at the imperial outpost, and the two platoons of guardsmen had formed up for the morning formation, except for those on watch in the tower, and the squad that had just left on the morning's first patrol. Just as the inspection was about to get underway, the guards in the watchtower raised the alarm--orks had been sighted.

Stonejaw's Kommandos advanced from the north, while Headhuntas Kommandos came in from the south--right in front of the patrol squad, who stood stunned, and then quickly readied their weapons. The guardsmen in the outpost all sprinted into positions to make a perimeter, while the vehicle crews ran to their tanks to get them up and running as soon as possible. The command tank of the Leman Russes was particularly on the ball, getting the battle tank running in record time, and firing a battlecannon shell at Stonejaw's boyz, killing four, while the left sponson gunner mowed down one more with his heavy bolter.

The Missile Launcher Teams in the tower ignored the Company Commander's orders to fire on the orks to the north--couldn't he see that they were already preparing to fire at those orks to the north? They promptly fired a trio of frag missiles at Stonejaw's Kommandos (the orks to the north), and killed one of them. Command Section, 2nd Platoon (C/2), and the Company Command Section (C/HQ) also fired on them, killing 3 more boyz. 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon (the patrol squad) and one of the mortar squads fired on Headhunta's Kommandos, killing seven between them. Both mobz of boyz had taken a pounding, but refused to flee.

After the Imperial firing, Stonejaw's boyz take cover in the trees, Headhunta's boyz in the rocks

Turn 2
The Warboss and Pigface's trukk mounted 'Ardboyz arrived to the south along with one Skorcha Buggy, while the other Skorcha Buggy arrived to the north. The Warboss and the 'Ardboyz dismounted, the Warboss making a beeline for the nearest Leman Russ, while the 'Ardboyz moved to support Headhuntas' Kommandos.
The 'Ardboyz and a Skorcha arrive

Stonejaw's boyz and another skorcha close in

The Kommandos needed no support. Unleashing their burnas on the patrol squad, they burned nine guardsmen alive, leaving a sole survivor to get charged and pulped under their merciless choppas. Left without a target, the 'Ardboyz and their trukk settled for firing at the rear of the Leman Russ, but failed to damage it. The Warboss ignored their desultory fire and took on the Leman Russ himself, smashing it apart four times over with his 'Uge Choppa.
A guardsman is lost under the mass of greenskins and their bloody choppas

On the north side of the battlefield, Stonejaw's Kommandos shot dead three members of the mortar team, then chopped through the perimeter fence and charged them, kililng three more and finishing them off. Before he died, one guardsman managed to take an ork with him.
Stonejaw's kommandos smash down the fence and breach the perimeter, while the rest of the boyz close in behind the Leman Russes

Things were looking grim for the Imperial Guard, as from both the north and south, orks were closing in fast.

Command Section, First Platoon (C/1) moved to the eastern perimeter to bring their grenade launchers to bear on the southern Skorcha Buggy, an blew it up with a pair of krak grenades. In the watchtower, the missile launcher squad fired on the northern Skorcha Buggy, getting a mission kill by destroying its Skorcha and wrecking its engine with a pair of krak missiles.

One of the infantry squads lined up to take shots at the Warboss, and the Company Commander ordered them to First rank FIRE! Second rank FIRE! The barrage was enough to wound the warboss twice, but not quite enough to kill him.

The Company Command Squad and mortars did lots of damage to Headhunta's Kommandos, leaving Headhunta as the sole wounded survivor. One of the infantry squads with but a single guardsman in line of sight, picked off off Headhunta with a single lasgun shot.

The second Leman Russ came to life, promptly wheeled around and took aim with its battlecannon, landing an explosive shell smack int he middle of the 'Ardboyz, killing all except Pigface, who wisely decided that discretion was the better part of valor and fled for his life. Aside from the wounded Warboss, the threat from the south was all but eliminated.

That left Stonejaw's Kommandos still within the northern perimeter. An infantry squad killed one of the orks with lasgun fire. Then Command Squad, 2nd Platoon killed Stonejaw's remaining three kommandos with well placed krak grenades from their grenade launchers, and then charged him. Stonejaw killed a pair of guardsmen with his choppa, but the rest of the squad along with their platoon commander then struck Stonejaw down under a mass of bayonets and a chainsword.
C/2 assaults Stonejaw

The guardmen swing around and form a firing line to shoot at the Warboss

Turn 3
The bubble of the Ork attack had burst. Units continued to arrive piecemeal, while the mainly intact Imperial Guard Forces continued to prepare to repel the attacks. Redbonce's Trukkboyz, and a small unit of Shoota Boyz arrived to the east, while the warbikes and Bonebreaka's Trukkboyz still failed to arrive.
The Shoota boyz take cover while Redbonce's boyz go for broke

The Shoota Boyz took cover behind some rocks, while the Trukkboyz went for broke and drove towards the eastern perimeter. Piling out of their trukk and plowing into an infantry squad just outside the fence, the trukk boyz shot one on the way in, lost a boy on the charge, and then proceeded to completely wipe out the guardsmen. Unfortunately for them, now they were exposed, wide open to massed Imperial Guard fire.

The Warboss continued his rampage, moving onto the next Leman Russ and slamming his 'Uge Choppa into it, detonating its magazine and blowing it to kingdom come. He emerged from the explosion, smoking but unharmed.

His victory wouldn't last long, as the guardsmen promptly shot him down with lasfire.

The Mortars opened fire on the sneaky Shootaboyz taking cover behind the hill, and their highly accurate fire wiped out all ten of them.

The Hellhound activated and mosied on over to the eastern perimeter, where Redbonce and his trukkboyz drooled over their recent kills. Redbonce looked up, slackjawed as a gout of flame from the Hellhound's Inferno cannon immolated the majority of his boyz, leaving him badly scorched and only three other survivors from his boyz. Before he could even raise his Power Klaw in rage, one of the boyz was killed by lasgun fire, and the other two each took a krak missile to the body, dying with wet bloody thuds. Redbonce was getting really mad now, and he roared, only to have it cut short as 1st Platoon's Commander charged and cut him down with his sword.
2nd Platoon's Commander leads his men to take on Redbonce

Turn 4
Piecemeal didn't even describe it anymore. The Warbikes arrived, but Bonebreaka's Trukkboyz were obviously off loafing somewhere, and still did not show up.
The bikes arrive to the south (left), and the trukk moves to protect them from Imperial fire
The 'Ardboyz' trukk moved to screen the Warbikes, who were turboboosting under the maxim of "speed is life." The trukk promptly exploded under a barrage of krak grenades, while krak missiles and mortar fire killed a pair of bikers. Seeing that no other boyz appeared to be on the battlefield, the warbikes cut their losses and ran.
Bonebreaka arrives...too little too late
Turns 5 and 6
Apparently expecting to waltz onto the scene and just bash a few 'eads, Bonebreaka and his boyz finally deigned to arrive on the battlefield. What greeted them was a scene of dead orks lying everywhere, a couple of dead guardsmen, a wrecked tank or two, and a massed horde of alerted guardsmen with fire in their eyes. As Bonebreaka surveyed the scene, he saw some fifty guardsmen all aiming their weapons at him. The trukk and the boyz inside fired their rockets at the exposed rear armor of the Hellhound, in the forlorn hope that the shot might blow up the vehicle in the midst of the guardsmen, killing some. One shot delivered a glancing blow, shaking up the crew, but that was it.
Bonebreak drives in to see lotsa IG...

The response was a massed barrage of Krak grenades from the varied launchers, wrecking the trukk and dumping out its passengers, who were promptly mowed down under a murderous barrage of lasfire. Bonebreaka was the sole survivor, and he wasn't going to give up now.
His trukk wrecked, his boyz dead, Bonebreaka is still eager for a scrap
With a "Waaagh!" he charged into the nearest infantry squad, but didn't get any revenge at all, as the squad's sergeant pistol whipped him down, definitively ending the battle.
Bonebreak charges in, only to be struck down

Imperial Guard Debriefing
Well, that went to plan! (I know, you're asking "what plan?") While I could have wished my tanks to have woken up a turn sooner, I really have nothing to complain about because the Orks showed up so piecemeal I was able to take them out as they arrived. My half of Turn 2 was decisive. I went into the turn having lost my only active tank, and a rampaging tank-eating Warboss inside my perimeter. Two units of Kommandos and a unit of 'Ardboyz were about to charge in and tear me apart from either flank, and I didn't think I had the firepower to stop both flanks. And yet I had to stop them both, because if I didn't, the Orks would just get into assault and then it would be all over for me (or so I imagined in my pessimism) The turn started out poorly (in my eyes) with me being unable to bring down the Warboss and my Hellhound not activating (I was going to have it roast the 'Ardboyz), but then it came around, and I devastated the attack, leaving me more than able to take on any new threats as they arrived--and they did so piecemeal, which just made it easier for me.

High points included my two Platoon Command Squads each charging depleted ork units and finishing them off, my lone lasgun armed guardsman picking off the warboss (although he didn't survive the battle), and vaporizing the 'Ardboyz with a battlecannon shot.

Now that the Imperial Guard have repulsed an ork raid, it will be their turn to take the initiative and bring the fight to them!

Ork Debriefing
Remember what I said about "win big or lose big"? Well...yeah. I am loathe to try to "blame the rules", but I felt I got pretty shafted by my reserve rolls. Getting a "one" for my third unit of Trukk boys on turn 4 and sending my bikes out alone was just kinda embarrassing, and when Bonebreaka's unit arrived on the field on turn five, I didn't even bother trying to be clever - I just drove up the middle, gave it my best with the two rokkits, and then waited for the inevitable hellstorm to land on me.

All in all, it was still a fun game. I knew I was going to need some luck in order to pull the mission off with the list I had, and unfortunately the luck I needed quickly evaporated on the IG's turn 2. Losing the 'Ard Boys in one fell swoop, then the two units of Kommandos, then the the end of turn 2 I had all of three models left on the table, one of which was a trukk, another was a barely-standing warboss, and the third was a fleeing nob. From that point forward, I absolutely needed to get as many units as possible on the table ASAP, and what I got instead was a confused dribble of boys who got picked apart almost as soon as they arrived. I will state for the record that my absolute MVP for this game was my Big Choppa Warboss - for 75 points, he knocked apart two Russes like they were tinfoil toys, and earned himself a "win-back" of almost five times his points value. If he had been sporting 'Eavy Armor, he might very well have survived for another turn - or at the very least, soaked some more IG firepower before going down.

One idea Darkwing graciously offered, and I considered, was to have one "wave" hide out for a turn and wait for the reinforcements to arrive. I actually considered that with my shoota boys, but sadly they got pasted by the most accurate mortar fire of the game. Losing them without them taking a shot was frustrating - the same goes for the 'Ard Boys, who bailed out just in time to get utterly pasted by a battle cannon shot. I feel that between the barrage mortars and the overhwelming template fire of massed missile launchers, grenade launchers, and of course the Russes and the Hellhound, any attempt to hide out for a turn would probably have left those units pummeled and weakened to the point of ineffectiveness, and even further away from the guard's lines.

As they say, I'll be back for anuvva go!


Admiral Drax said...

QUITE SIMPLY the most enjoyable battle report I've ever read.

Thank you!

- Drax.

Siph_Horridus said...

A well written narative and good logical pics. I've enjoyed your batrep, cheers

Cawshis Clay said...

Great battle report and very enjoyable scenario! Seemed like a fun precursor to published Planetstrike rules....great stuff!

John Lambshead said...

A very nice battle report.
I enjoyed it - more please.

Anonymous said...

Very cool scenario and well-written batrep. Though, it does appear that the Okrs had an uphill battle from the start. Your army list was also tooled a bit more for your opponent than I would expect for a friendly game.

Max said...

Love this narrative gameplay, and excellent retelling.

Badelaire said...

@Jonathan: His army list was okay by me. His scatter rolls in a lot of cases favored the IG a lot, which made his firepower a lot more effective than it might have been if he had gotten some bad scatters. Also, I was fielding small units, but they had a big punch - lots of PKs, and my warboss was eating a tank a turn.

If my reserve rolls had been more favorable, and several units (like my 'Ard boys, or the Bikers who ran without firing a shot) really didn't even get a chance to fight due to either good template hits or crap morale rolls on my part, I could have easily overran DW's lines and mulched things up badly.

Not to whine like a chump, but if my reserve rolls on Turn 2 had put more Orks on the table, and DW hadn't cleaned my clock so badly at the bottom of that Turn, it would have been a MUCH different battle. As it was, the tide turned against me, and that was that.

In short, I didn't think the list was all that bad. Competitive, yes; but I had lots of speed and a crapload of PKs on my side, so I won't complain.

Anonymous said...

I think both of the list were truly made for each other. Other had flamers and fast units and other had grenades and templates. anyone could have win but I think that the reserve rolls decided the game. Think if another trukk squad had arrived on round 2. You wouldn't have had enough fire power! Enjoy 12 orks in your face.

Darkwing said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone.

@Cawshis: Good guess! We're leading up to a planetstrike scenario down the road.

suneokun said...

Great Batrep guys - this is where scenario batreps rock ... more tension than you can shake a stick at...

Great report.

dareyouhack said...

Cool batrep guys, good work on the outpost thingy. What are the mesh fences made of?

Darkwing said...

Hi dareyouhack,
The mesh fences were made out of plastic windowscreen. You can get them at at hardware/home improvement store for less than a dollar per yard (which is more than you'll ever need)