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.
Leman Russ Tank Company
Tarantula Sentry Gun
Total: 5213 points
Darkwing: Here we go--the culmination of the campaign. I've been itching to use my entire Imperial Guard force for a long time, particularly my secret weapon--an Emperor's Fist Tank Company. Badelaire knows that I have five tanks (3 Leman Russ, a Vanquisher, and a Demolisher), but not that I have since filled out the company with five more...
Yet even with the tank company, I can only muster a measly 5213 points--more than a thousand less than the Orks. The upshot to this is that I get four strategic assets... This, in addition to the three I get for fielding the Infantry Company Formation and the 1 obligatory asset you get for playing Apocalypse, means I'm going to have some serious advantages here.
After picking my strategic assets, I came up with what my opponent would call "a kunnin' plan". Using the Flank March strategic asset, I intended catch the orks between a hammer and anvil. I set up a defense line with all my infantry, and when the orks charge across the battlefield towards it, my Armored Company would arrive on the battlefield from behind and crush them. I planned my Scheduled Bombardments in anticipation of the ork charge, with ground zero advancing in concert with where I projected the orks would be, and laid out my Defence Lines and Obstacles (entirely made of razor wire) so as to slow their advance. With the ork propensity to use Da Waaagh! and their own assets to speed them even more ridiculously fast across the table, I have to slow them down, ideally catching them in the middle of the table between my forces. It's a rather complex plan, but I hope that the element of surprise will help me win the day.
Warlord Gorgash Gutmuncha
Big Mek Grotsmaka
Mad Dok Grotsnik
1 unit of Kommandos
Nobs Squad in Trukk
3 units of Shoota Boyz
3 units of Slugga Boyz
2 units of Trukk Boyz
Buggy Mob of 2 Warbuggies and 1 Wartrak
3 Deff Koptas
2 Deff Dreads
3 Killa Kans
Battlewagon with Burna Boyz
Battlewagon with 'Ard Nobz
3 Gun Wagons with Kannons
Total: 6351 points
Badelaire: Well, Apocalypse time. Picking an army list is easy - I'm fielding every Ork unit owned between Darkwing and myself. The list comes to 324 models (vehicles included), and 6,351 points. I know I'm outnumbering the Imperial Guard by around a hundred models and fielding roughly a thousand points more in my army, the remainder being made up for by the IG's implementation of strategic assents. The Guard will also be the defender, and my boys will no doubt have to slog (or drive) through a veritable hell-storm of fire in order to get to their frontlines. As with all Ork battles, the big question becomes; can I make it to the IG lines with enough boys to get the job done?
At the end of the day, the average guardsman isn't all that much of a threat. It's all that the average guardsman has supporting him that causes so much grief, particularly their Heavy Armor. Crossing no-man's land while being hammered by ordnance templates every step of the way is going to be a harrowing experience, and my battlewagons and gunwagons and stompa can soak only so much heavy weapons fire before croaking. On the flip side, I've got 15 rokkit launchas (some either BS3 or twin-linked), three gunwagon kannons, and the stompa's deth kannon and supa-rokkits in order to take on armor at range. Sadly, with the rokkit's short range and overall poor marksmanship, coupled with the Russ's AV 14 up front, killing tanks at range will be nigh-impossible.
This is where the Power Klaws come in. My list fields 14 power klaws, as well as eight big choppas. Even a basic boy can glance AV 10 rear armor on the charge, and nobs can penetrate it with some serious luck. If I can get a decent number of boys, or better yet a PK-wielding nob or warboss into assault with some tanks, I'll even the odds quickly enough. All the more reason that most of my PKs will be riding trukks or battlewagons, or employ some other manner of getting them closer faster (kommandos, bikers, etc.).
So, we shall see. Can Gutmuncha and his lads get to the frontlines with enough numbers to get the job done, or will they make the charge, only to get cut down, falter, and fall back to live and fight another day?
For this battle we used the standard Apocalypse mission with a few exceptions. We didn't use objectives, as the primary goal was just to eliminate the opposing army. Due to time constraints, we didn't bother with the time limits on setup and first turn. The Imperial Guard Army deployed the night before the battle, and it was assumed that they would have the first turn.
The rustic town of Kern, its inhabitants evacuated, stood to the northwest, its small river isolating it from the where the Imperial Guard would make their stand. A watchtower standing upon a hill to its southeast would form the lynchpin of their line. Around it, rapidly deployed, pre-fabricated defenses solidified the position against the anticpated Ork attack. Three bunkers, a line of razor-wire, and a minefield protected the position. Behind it stood waiting a reinforced company of guardsmen, weapons trained to the west to meet the Ork assault.
The orks arrived soon enough, a massive line of ork infantry sweeping onto the field, with the Stompa leading the charge, followed by a pair of battlewagons, Deff Dreads and Gunwagons. Several trukks made their way through the streets of Kern heading towards the river, while the gretchin set up their big gunz along one of the streets.
Upon sighting the Stompa come into range, Colonel Markus in his Battalion HQ ordered the lascannon teams to Bring it Down! All three lascannons fired, striking the Stompa solidly in the hull, but its armor was sufficiently thick that it suffered no damage. Captain Michaelson of Alpha Company then passed the order to the second lascannon team to do the same, but his orders were badly garbled. Still, the lascannon crew figured they couldn't go wrong by shooting at the biggest target on the field, and so fired at the Stompa anyway. They did better than the first team, delivering a pair of damaging hits, stunning the Stompa's driver and shaking the Deff Kannon. Six krak missiles were then fired at the Stompa, and they either missed entirely or exploded harmlessly against its armored hull.
The Earthshaker Platform, the Master of Ordnance, and a scheduled bombardment began the artillery barrage, killing about a dozen orks, and the Guard Infantry, mostly on the southern flank, opened fire on any orks within range, killing a dozen more. Finally, the Vindicare Assassin, positioned on the watchtower in the center of the Imperial Guard line, took careful aim and shot Klawfreek, one of the Ork nobs, killing him with a single shot.
On the southern flank, the ork boyz advanced, eager to get to grips with the pesky guardsmen, until one unit of shoota boyz entered what appeared to be a minefield. Two of them died in explosions, and that brought the entire line to a halt as the boyz argued about what to do next.
To the north, Headhunta's Kommandos made their way across the river, while the two trukks tried to ford it. The Nobs' trukk promptly got stuck, forcing the Nobs to disembark and leg it the rest of the way. The Lobbaz fired on the massed line of guardsmen, killing five.
The rest of the Ork fire was similarly effective. The three gun wagons caused a Hellhound to explode, killing five guardsmen nearby. The Killa Kans destroyed the tarantula sentry gun. Big shootas from the various boyz units wiped out a missile launcher squad and the other lascannon squad, and the Burna Boyz, who had disembarked right in front of the Imperial Guard lines, fired and wiped out a platoon command squad. The battle had barely begun, and most of the Imperial Guard's anti-armor capability had been neutralized.
To the north, Headhunta's Kommandos were a clear threat, so one of the infantry squads, supported by the mortar teams, fired on them, killing nine of them and causing them to flee the battlefield.
In front of the Imperial Guard defense line lay the Burna Boyz, protected by Big Mek Grotsmaka's Kustom Force Field. If they were not completely destroyed or sent packing, they would soon plow into the Imperial Guard lines. Massed fire from sixty-six guardsmen, three heavy bolters and a Hellhound, some having received First Rank Fire! Second Rank Fire! special orders, killed a total of ten of them, while part of the Scheduled Bombardment killed two more. The Burna Boyz wavered, but held firm. Grotsmaka grinned, eager to destroy the Imperial Guard's foolishness in trying to overwhelm his force field with firepower.
Fire from the rest of the guardsmen only managed to kill a handful of orks. The surviving Missile Launcher Teams opened fire on the one of the Ork Battlewagons, missing completely, while the Veteran Squad within a bunker fired a single krak missile at it, immobilizing it.
Further to the south, the other squadron of Leman Russes (Charlie 1) had to take out the three Killa Kans in order to survive, and after they had fired all their weapons, they had killed two of them, but one survived--which could prove disastrous if it managed to charge them.
Behind the Imperial lines, Snikrot and his Kommandos arrived on the battlefield behind Alpha Company's 3rd Platoon. He promptly charged two of the Infantry Squads, wiping both of them out while only suffering two casualties.
Boss Zagstruk and his Stormboyz prepared to deep strike onto the battlefield, directly in front of the Leman Russes. His attack would be devastating...if only the unit did not scatter right on top of a nearby warbuggy. The result was a terrible accident, and the entire squad of Stormboyz was destroyed!
The Stompa fired its Deff Cannon on one of the Leman Russes in Squadron 2 (Charlie 21), blowing it to smithereens. The surviving Killa Kan, after weathering the storm of debris from the exploding Leman Russ, charged in, exploding Charlie 23 and destroying the Battlecannon on Charlie 22.
The warbikes moved towards Leman Russ Squadron 3 (Charlie 3), and with some almost nonchalant snips of his power klaw, the biker nob destroyed the Punisher Cannon on Charlie 33 and immbolized Charlie 32, effectively killing it. The Silver Deff Dread had moved up behind the bikes to support them in case they got into trouble, but promptly started to wonder why it was bothering to do so.
The massed line of Orks decided that if they were ever going to reach the Imperial lines, they were just going to have to suck it up and run through the minefield. Explosions filled the air as big orky boots inevitably stepped on mines, and no less than 17 orks were killed. Then they got their revenge as one of the shoota mobz and the wartraks fired on the Battalion Command HQ Squad, wiping them out in a massive barrage of shoota and big shoota fire.
To the north, the Trukks sped forward towards the Imperial defense line. In support of them, the Lobbas fired, doing a good job and killing nine guardsmen, including two of the heavy bolters. The surviving burna boyz killed the last heavy bolter and wiping out a further squad of guardsmen.
Things were not looking good for the Imperial Guard, as their front lines were getting pounded, most of their heavy weapons were gone, and the anticipated hammering provided by the Leman Russ company was rapidly fizzling. Orks were swarming over every square inch of the battlefield, except for one small open space...which is precisely where the next Scheduled Bombardment was targetted, doing precisely nothing.
Leman Russ Squadron 3 (Charlie 3) was desperate to get rid of the three remaining warbikes, so they unleashed everything they could bear on the them. Two Plasma Cannons, one lascannon, three heavy bolters, 1 storm bolter, and the Demolisher Cannon all fired on them...and achieved absolutely nothing. Finally the Leman Russ Punisher fired its pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber, and killed two of the bikes, leaving Nob as the sole survivor. Unsurprisingly, he refused to leave, which would seal the doom of the tank squadron.
Leman Russ Squadron 1 (Charlie 1), arrived on the battlefield's southern edge, and recognizing the desperation of the situation, attempted to score big by taking on the Stompa. Charlie 6, the company's Vanquisher Command Tank, joined them. The Stompa was rocked by explosions, suffered some structural damage, and lost its Deff Kannon and a twin-linked Big Shoota, and the driver was stunned. But it kept on coming. Then the last Missile Launcher Heavy Weapons team, aided by a "Bring it down" order from a nearby officer, fired three shots on the Stompa's left flank...and failed to make an impression on it with their single hit.
On the north flank of the Imperial Guard, the guardsmen desperately attempted to take out Big Mek Grotsmaka. Massed lasgun fire finally killed his boyz and wounded the Big Mek, and ultimately he was brought down by the Vindicare Assassin's Exitus Rifle.
In the rear, all the guardsmen who could opened fire on Snikrot's Kommandos, hoping to take them out before they could completely wipe out 3rd Platoon. Guardsmen temporarily abandoned the positions on the front line to get into firing range, and with a flurry of lasgun, flamer, and meltagun shots, Snikrot and one Kommando were the only survivors, and they decided to stay and fight.
Other fire from the snipers, stormtroopers, and mortars managed to kill a handful of boyz in the advancing tide, but not nearly enough to make a difference.
Charlie 22 faced off with the last Killa Kan, which was coming towards it menacingly, its Buzzsaw whirring, only to have it blown off by the tank's lascannon.
Guardsman Grant (aka Guardsman Marbo) arrived on the battlefield and immediately hurled his demo charge at the Nobz who earlier had to abandon their stuck Trukk, killing six of them. The survivors stuck around, and all looked angrily in Grant's direction. Grant drew his poisoned knife and prepared to fight.
A squadron of Deff Koptas arrived on the battlefield, ready to take on Charlie 1, while the three Gunwagons turned to face them as well. The Deff Koptas fired their rockets, wrecking one tank and shaking another. The warbiker nob attacked Charlie 3 again, exploding the Demolisher and immobilizing the Punisher, effectively destroying the squadron. The last Killa Kan, was still effective despite the lack of a close combat weapon, and smashed the lascannon of Charlie 22.
Snikrot and his last kommando charged the Command Squad of 3rd Platoon, and a vicious hand-to-hand fight ensured. Snikrot killed two of the guardsmen with his knives, and then the Lieutenant shot and killed him. Immediately thereafter the Ork Kommando shot and killed the Lieutenant, but his two surviving guardsmen avenged his death by plunging their bayonets into the neck of the last kommando, who, dying, killed the last two guardsmen with a final sweep of his choppa.
The battle was clearly lost for the Imperial Guard, and most began to run for their lives, but there were some footnotes to the story, as some of the guardsmen fought to buy time for their comrades.
One Imperial Guard Squad charged from their position to go after one of the approaching trukks, blowing it up with their plasma gun and killing seven orks.
A heroic trooper in another squad ran forward towards Warmonga's Boyz, screaming into his vox caster for the artillery to fire "On my coordinates!" The ensuing barrage killed two guardsmen...and twenty orks.
Finally, Gorgash, drunk from his imminent victory, staggered alone behind the Imperial Guard lines, looking for more victims. What he found was a pair of command squads, one with plasma guns, the other with meltaguns, determined to get in a parting shot before the end. Even the Warlord's mega-armor could not withstand the torrent of fire and he was brought low.
Imperial Guard Debriefing
Darkwing: Halfway through Turn 2 Badelaire pointed out the fatal flaw in my strategy. If I had placed my Tank Company in my own backfield, they would have been firing from turn one, dealing lots of damage to the orks from the get go, and the orks would have had a lot of footslogging to do to get to them. I, on the other hand, was so obsessed with being "sneaky" and using the Flank March strategic asset, I ended up putting all my tanks not only behind his army, but also a lot closer to it, where they would be more vulnerable. In this respect, I had become enamored with a complex plan, where a simpler one most likely would have worked better: simply hunkering down behind my lines and blazing away.
The rules concerning Vehicle Squadrons really hurt me I think. The fact that all the vehicles in a single squadron having to fire at the same target limited my options, while the rule that damage results are allocated across the squadron really hurts when your have to face an Ork nob with a power klaw attacking AV10.
I have learned two of Murphy's Laws that always seem to get me when I play. :)
- Law 1: If I have to kill 30 guys to ensure my safety (e.g., I need to wipe out a slugga boyz mob to ensure that the Nob's power klaw doesn't go on a rampage through my armor), I will succeed in killing 29 of them, but then the 30th will destroy everything I have.
- Law 2: If I need to destroy 3 separate vital targets, because if any single one of them survives I'll be in deep trouble, that guarantees that no matter what I do, I will fail at killing any of them, thus ensuring that when I'm screwed, I'm screwed 3 times over.
Still, these defeats are at least teaching me some valuable lessons about the game. I just have to put them into practice...
Badelaire: What a slug-out! By the end of turn two, I was really wondering how things were going to go down. I was figuring a lot of my infantry weren't going to even have an effect on the game, and the IG armor was still going to wreck up my backfield, forcing my boyz to charge the guns unsupported.
However, there were two turn three events that changed the equation considerably. First was Grotsmaka (the Big Mek with the Kustom Force Field) and Snikrot getting right in the faces of the IG. Puny armor or no - orks are tougher to kill than one might think, especially in units 15 strong. having to dedicate so much firepower to kill these two units tied up a lot of firepower that could have gone elsewhere to whittle down my forces.
The second was me pulling off my Waaagh!-enhancing strategic asset. I rolled no base Waaagh distance less than 4 inches, meaning that multiple units leapt forwards 14-18 inches still able to launch a charge. This took boyz who had been stuck halfway through no man's land right into the teeth of the IG, and it quickly became apparent that last minute Hail Marys on the side of the guard would just delay the inevitable, especially with my 10-strong 'eavy armored nobs unit with warboss in the middle of the IG's front lines, like a blade in the ribs. While Gutmuncha was taken down, I still had two trukks full of boyz about to spill into the front lines, along with another warboss, a battlewagon with three big shootas undamaged...at this point I could be hurt, but it was just a lot of mopping up.
And although dealing with the IG tanks hadn't been finished, With only a couple of rounds left in the game, the best they probably could have done would be to take down the stompa and clobber some of the dreads or gunwagons. The rule forcing vehicle squadrons to all fire on the same target is especially hampering if a 400-500 point tank formation has to waste a turn firing on an 85-point dread or a 50-point kan. At the end of the day, the ork army's ability to over-saturate the enemy with targets became decisive.