Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Battle Of Sugden; A Tale Of Two Bombardments.

Supreme Commander for the Mitigation Of Hemmerdale, Porfectus Von Neestleroi pondered the map. A rebellion, xenos incursions and both Sisters of Battle and Ultramarines seemingly randomly attacking loyal Astra Militarum forces left him exasperated. The geography of the planet hindered him at every turn. Patches of intense magnetic activity in the atmosphere rendered major aerial troop movement hazardous as the destruction of the Chestafar 64th's continental troop freighters would testify. Intelligence reports indicated that the Pur'la Sept had once again been sighted, this time on the outskirts of Sugden a moderately sized town where an Imperial armoury was situated. Sending a priority order to Farg Woolstrop of the Krablokistan 47th to engage and destroy hostiles on the way to Sugden, once there rendez vous with a detachment of Crimson Fists marines and hold Sugden from all enemy forces.


Greetings. Once again another batrep looms. This time it features another new addition to the C.L.A.W. fold, Dylan. Dylan is bringing a brand new Chapter of Marines that no one has ever heard of - the Crimson Fists. No wait, they did exist but were very nearly wiped out by Orks on the cover of Rogue Trader. Another fun fact; my Astra Militarum codex arrived the week previously so this game will contain updated stratagems, heirlooms and all that jazz. Having pored over the book, the regiment that seems to best suit me at the moment is Catachan. Not only are they my favourite models (always a good start) but they have +1 ST and also +1 LD when an officer is within 6" and most importantly for me any vehicle that has a randomly determined number of shots gets to reroll a die each time they shoot. As I'm a big fan of heavy flamers and inferno cannons that should suit me very well. While on the subject of inferno cannons the have change them a bit; stil ST6 -1 AP but instead of doing 2 wounds per hit they only do 1, but and this is a big but, they are now heavy 2d6! this is a massive change and one that's got me converting another two Chimeras to Hellhounds.

The Battlefield

As there are regularly four players in my cold garage these days I've taken steps to expand my table. A long time ago we put lino in the bathroom and the excess was not thrown out like most people, it was just put in my loft. the reason for this was it had little squares on it that at the time I thought looked like flagstones (or would do when painted) 7 or 8 years later I have sprayed them black and done some rudimentary drybrushing to make an nice little urban area to butt up against my rural battle mat. Now I have a 9' x 4' gaming table! With this in mind I will make some specific terrain for it, but that's another blog post.


The Armies

 Firstly here is Dylan's Crimson Fists, we had decided that he would ally with me for this game so this is what he brought, Primaris Marines!

 HQ;
Captain in Gravis Armor : Boltstorm gauntlet, Master-crafted power sword, The Fist of Vengeance.
Primaris Lieutenants 
. Primaris Lieutenant: Master-crafted stalker bolt rifle
. Primaris Lieutenant: Power sword
Troops ;
Intercessor Squad : Bolt rifle, 4x Intercessor, Intercessor Sergeant
Intercessor Squad : Bolt rifle, 4x Intercessor, Intercessor Sergeant
Scout Squad : 7x Camo cloak
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun
. 6x Scout w/Boltgun
 Elites;
Contemptor Dreadnought : Combi-bolter, Dreadnought combat weapon, Kheres pattern assault cannon.
Primaris Ancient 
Fast Attack ;
Inceptor Squad : Assault bolter, 2x Inceptor, Inceptor Sergeant
Heavy Support;
Hellblaster Squad : Heavy Plasma Incinerator
4x Hellblaster
Hellblaster Sergeant: Plasma pistol.
Predator [9 PL, 192pts]: Storm bolter, Twin lascannon, Two Lascannons
Dedicated Transport;
Razorback  Hunter-killer missile, Storm bolter, Twin lascannon
So it all comes in to a Grand Total: [81 Power Level, 1495pts] 

So here is my list, not much change from my recent armies but with the new points costs I get more stuff for no discernible drawback.  I chose the Regiment: Catachan as I feel that that is the best fit for Krablokistan as I will probably expand on that thought another post.

HQ:
Company Commander: Farg Woolstrop : Astra Militarum Orders, Plasma pistol, Power sword.
Company Commander: Litmanoj Shivchenko : Astra Militarum Orders, Boltgun, Power sword, THE LAURELS OF COMMAND.
Troops;
Infantry Squad
. 7x Guardsman
. Heavy Weapon Team: Heavy bolter
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol.
Infantry Squad 
. 6x Guardsman
. Guardsman W/ Special Weapon: Meltagun
. Heavy Weapon Team: Missile launcher
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol
Infantry Squad 
. 8x Guardsman
. Guardsman W/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol
Infantry Squad 
. 6x Guardsman
. Guardsman W/ Special Weapon: Meltagun
. Heavy Weapon Team: Missile launcher
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol
Elites;
Astropath :  Nightshroud, Telepathica Stave
Commissar : Bolt pistol, Power fist
 10x Ratling: 10x Sniper Rifle
Special Weapons Squad: 3x Guardsman with Meltagun
Veterans heavy flamer, 2x meltaguns and sergeant.
Fast Attack; 
Hellhound: Heavy Flamer, Storm Bolter, Track guards, Turret-mounted Inferno Cannon
Heavy Support ;
 Basilisk: Heavy Bolter, Heavy Stubber
Heavy Weapons Squad 3 x Autocannon
 Leman Russ Battle Tank: Battle Cannon, Heavy Bolter, Plasma Cannons, Storm Bolter
 Leman Russ Battle Tank: Battle Cannon, Heavy Bolter, Plasma Cannons, Storm Bolter
Dedicated Transport;
Chimera  Heavy Bolter, Heavy Flamer, Storm Bolter, Track guards
Chimera  Heavy Bolter, Heavy Flamer, Storm Bolter, Track guards

Total: 78 PL, 1500pts

Farg Woolstrop was both relieved and disappointed when his reinforcements arrived. His requests for addition resources to kill enemies of the Imperium had not gone unheeded - not only had his Leman Russes been fitted with EZ-Lode™ turret gun upgrade and the new Heretic-B-Burnt™ nozzle was retrofitted to his  Hellhound, he had also been allocated a squad of veterans and a pin code for preliminary bombardment. He was also keen to try out his Command Point loyalty card, a new innovation where tactical requests could be called in and in time when enough command points were used a set of rewards could be redeemed, such as airstrike or a nice decanter set. What he hadn't been so enthused with was, Litmanoj Shivchenko  the (sub)commander of the force had been issued with The Laurels Of Command, a device to aid less than willing guardsmen. Was this a calculated slight from Porfectus Von Neestleroi or just another Administratum clerical error? Regardless of the reason, Woolstrop vowed to make the most of what he was issued.

Against us were an evil alliance of Tau and Ultramarines;

Spearhead Detachment 1CP T'au Empire

 HQ;
Commander in XV81 Crisis battlesuit : Fusion blaster, MV1 Gun Drone, MV4 Shield Drone, Plasma rifle, Smart missile system
 Troops;
Breacher Team
. 9x Fire Warrior and Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Markerlight
Elites ;
XV8 Crisis Bodyguards
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, Fusion blaster, Plasma rifle
. Crisis Bodyguard: Advanced targeting system, Fusion blaster, Plasma rifle
. Crisis Bodyguard: Fusion blaster, Plasma rifle
XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit : 2x Flamer, Cyclic ion raker, Multi-tracker, 2x MV5 Stealth Drone, Target lock
Fast Attack 
Pathfinder Team : MB3 Recon Drone
 2x Pathfinder: 2x Markerlight
 Pathfinder Shas'ui: Markerlight
 Pathfinder w/ Ion Rifle: Ion rifle
 Pathfinder w/ Rail Rifle: Rail rifle
 TX4 Piranha w/ FB: Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone
Heavy Support
TX7 Hammerhead Gunship : 2x Burst cannon, Railgun
XV88 Broadside Battlesuits : MV4 Shield Drone
 Broadside Shas'ui: 2x Smart missile system, Heavy rail rifle, Multi-tracker
XV88 Broadside Battlesuits : MV4 Shield Drone
. Broadside Shas'ui: 2x Smart missile system, Heavy rail rifle, Multi-tracker
 Dedicated Transport 
TY7 Devilfish : 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Burst cannon

Total: [79 PL, 1500pts] 

Billy's Equally Evil Ultramarines:

HQ ;
Captain : Master-crafted boltgun, Power sword, The Burning Blade
 Troops:
Tactical Squad: 4x Space Marine, Space Marine Sergeant
Tactical Squad : 4x Space Marine, Space Marine Sergeant
Tactical Squad : 4x Space Marine, Space Marine Sergeant
Elites;
Apothecary
Company Ancient : Power axe, Standard of the Emperor Ascendant
Company Veterans ]
. Space Marine Veteran: Chainsword, Plasma pistol
. Space Marine Veteran: Chainsword, Plasma pistol
. Veteran Sergeant: Chainsword, Plasma pistol
Sternguard Veteran Squad
. Space Marine Veteran: Special issue boltgun x 7
. Space Marine Veteran w/Heavy Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran Sergeant: Special issue boltgun
Heavy Support:
 Centurion: Hurricane bolter, Two Lascannons
 Centurion: Hurricane bolter, Two Lascannons
 Centurion Sergeant: Hurricane bolter, Two Lascannons
Dedicated Transport :
Drop Pod  Storm bolter
 Lord of War : Roboute Guilliman


Total: [91 PL, 1498pts]

Set Up And Other Jiggery Pokery

The game was called Secure And Control, the one with two objectives that are worth 3 points at the end of the game. Linebreaker, Slay The Warlord and First Blood all score VP's as well. We all took turns to place units and terrain. Our objective was the old jail model that Billy likes to camp his Ultramarines in whenever he can and the enemies objective was tucked behind the beautifully rustic-themed pub known as Ye Olde Shielde. Deployment had most of Dylan's Primaris around our objective and Aaron's Tau were mainly on that side. He sneakily placed his Ghostkeel in a large puddle of green goo with two Stealth Drones to keep him safe. One rather cool shenanigan was Dylan's scouts appeared in the bastion model just outside our opponents deployment zone, effectively creating an 18" null zone of deployment in the centre of the board. Billy's Ultramarines were around his objective and he had brought a drop pod which didn't bode well I thought. I had placed my Leman Russ close to our objective with a throng of guardsmen in a building overlooking Ye olde Shielde. After deployment I played the Bombardment strategem and it had limited success. I think I managed 3 mortal wounds out of a possible 20+ so I wasn't overly impressed, what it did do though was kill a Stealth Drone possibly giving me First Blood and removing a -1 to hit for the Ghostkeel. Not a bad result I suppose. 
The initial deployment shows the Ultramarine Tau alliance are a lot thinner on the ground than the true protectors of humanity. For anyone interested the two pairs of legs in the picture are Billy's and Aaron's. To maintain an air of mystery I won't say who's is who. Incidentally I deployed the Cadian unit at the bottom of the picture there to stop any Drop Pod/ Deepstrike nonsense over there.

The Game

The game started with the bad guys going first. We're the good guys. Inasmuch as anyone is a good guy in the 41st Millenium. I mean, when every race has a Naziesque attitude to all the others conflict is inevitable. So the first turn began and the dice controlled bullets started flying. Billy dropped his Drop Pod down right in front of our objective and his Sternguard jumped out with the Company Ancient and Captain! Over on the left three Crisis Battlesuits arrived aiming their heathen alien weapons at Crimson Fists equipment. Shooting was nasty as the Ultramarine Centurions attempted to wreck my Leman Russ before they got to do their thing and the Sternguard tried to shoot everyone off the jail. The Centurions are lethal with twin Lascannons and the Sternguard put a big dent in the Primaris showing off  how much space there is on the roof. The Tau were trying to kill Imperial armour with wild abandon but when the smoke had cleared there was a couple of badly damaged tanks and a half killed unit of Primaris.

My main deployment area is quite tranquill looking. I'm not a big fan of not going first and I think I will house rule it so that I don't go second ever again.

As you can see a Piranha swoops forward to provide moral support to the Ghostkeel. The Drop Pods passengers form an orderly queue to attack loyal marines while consorting with xenos! This part of the battlefield is the unfinished lino that I have to dirty up. But it looks pretty ok to me already.
In our turn there was not much movement. The Chimera and Hellhound moved forward on my right and the Crimson Fist Contemptor and Ancient moved to slap about the Tau battlesuits. My Astropath Nightshrouded the Ratlings (I was hoping they'd get more than one shooting phase). The return fire was satisfactorily effective, wiping out the tactical squad shielding Gullimann and leaving him exposed in the Hollywood director way which could well lead to criminal charges if he keeps it up. So if nothing else our side definitely got First Blood. Also of note was the Space Marine Scouts, they were proving to be an irritating thorn in our opponents side as they had cameoline and cover giving them a very good armour save.


In this picture a Centurion and squad of marines are missing due to some pinpoint Astra Militarum gunnery. Following their awful first turn shooting they had jumped up from threat level; unknown, to threat level; I hate those guys! I also put Nightshroud on the Ratlings to give them a bit more longevity.

The brave Astra Militarum guys advance forward with the certainty that their futile sacrifice might help keep my tanks around a bit longer.

The Contemptor decides to kick some alien arse with his little mate.

From this angle we can see the Ghostkeel has either a) taken four wounds or b) has four wounds left. I think the former but without taking detailed notes I'm really not certain.
The Contemptor's arm has fallen off, a testimony to the ferocity of the battle. The fact that they are in combat is a damning indictment of Tau marksmanship (or at least Aaron's ability to roll 6's).



My Leman Russ carks it. Billy has gone to extreme measures in killing my favourite unit. Actually buying Marines in armour who then put on another suit of armour, and proceed to blow the shit out of my beloved tanks. He was also using other underhand tactics like healing wounds on them and bringing a Centurion back from the dead! Disgraceful. 

The Tau and Ultramarine evil alliance kill the Predator (but mainly the Tau) and have severely thinned out the Primaris Marines. Two lieutenants attempt to take on the Ghostkeel in hand to hand combat. Probably because it looks drunk at the moment. It's stuff like that that makes Crimson Fists some of the most joked about chapters in the Imperium. 

This cheeky cloud of smoke notes the Chimera finally destroyed. This brave vehicle is vital in the ferrying of troops around the battlefield. It blew up unfulfilled as all it ever wanted was to do it's bit. I was hoping to exact bloody revenge in my turn.

After dropping off the veterans the Chimera goes round the corner to play peek-a-boo with the Ultramarines. This provided a bit of a quandary on my part through the pub and weather a charge from the Ultramarines, or skulk round the side and hope that they wouldn't leave the safety of Gullimann's loving gaze. I chose the more wishy washy option (skulk). 

Dylan uses a screw he found in my garage to signify a Crimson Fist barrage. I think it killed at least one Centurion and gave Gullimann a bit of a fright. The annoying Apothecary at the back was unscathed though. 
Dylan plays a stratagem called Orbital Bombardment and it causes some mortal wounds all over the place (Centurions and Gullimann). A lot more shooting from the guardsmen on the building get rid of the other two Centurions. Thankfully I have one operational Leman Russ left (albeit badly crocked). The Battlesuit/Contemptor scrap over in the corner rages on I think without photographic evidence.

In this image a lone Ultramarine hides under the jails balcony. My infantry squad opened up on him leaving him pretty much unscathed. Three meltangun armed guardsmen prepare to microwave the Devilfish but a severe bout on inaccuracy stuffed up that plan.   Not this time guys. 😞😞 

The Chimera made his suicidal attack and failed to blow up. The Hellhound now has a clear view of it's prey. The Razorback trundles off to shoot things eastwards. My Cadians jog forward with fake enthusiasm. As do the Primaris.

Over on the left the Ghostkeel continues to fight the Primaris Lieutenants totally forgetting it can fly. The Leman Russ  is about to open up on the Tau Breacher Team. The infantry squad that was there a few pictures ago made a worthless sacrifice in true astra Militarum fashion. The meltaguns are gone too. Just leaving a Company Commander, a Commissar and a Leman Russ to show those marines how real soldiers do it!
As the hour was getting late we decided to end the game on turn four I think. The Tau/Ultramarines advanced up on the jail but failed to evict it's occupants. My plan to steal the Ultramarine objective was as cunning as it was reliant on Gullimann (the greatest hero in the galaxy) failing a lot. The plan was scoot round with the Hellhound kill as many Smurfs as possible shoot Gullimann, hope he fails loads of saves and then charge in killing him and gaining the objective and also pints in Ye Olde Shielde. Simples. Had I paid for a few Vox the plan would have been simpler, more cunning and successfuller. The Hellhound did it's part by actually wiping out the Ultramarine unit with some help from a single Primaris Marine who could see one. Then shooting failed to do anything to Gullimann and I ill-advisedly charged him. What with overwatch and him being redonkulous in combat I lost the entire squad. With a Vox I could've just Move! Move! Move!ed the vets onto the objective leaving RG clutching his over sized weapon in his hands. So the game ended and  victory points were totted up. Both sides held an objective, neither side had killed the opponents warlord and both had linebreaker. The tiebreaker was first blood. So, the Crimson Fists and Astra Militarum had defeated the Ultramarines and Tau by a single VP . A really close game that was suitably bloody and heroic.

This is the first time a Ratling has survived a battle for me. A suitable medal will have to be painted on there.

Debreifing

As games go, this was extremely close. For my first outing with the new Codex, it went ok, I threw away a couple of units and wasted others (most importantly the Cadians who did absolutely nothing all game). The Laurels of Command were meh, as I failed a couple of times to get the 4+ extra order. If I had a vox then I could have stolen the Ultramarines objective at the end. The Ratlings survived the battle which is a first, so Nightshroud  is a useful Wyrd power. First time I used the Veterans and got them wiped out to a man. I like them and I'll probably use them again. A big plus for me was the Catachan vehicle doctrine that allows a reroll on random numbers of shots, quite a few times the tanks went from a 1 to a 5 or 6. This was the main reason the Hellhound killed the ultramarine by the inn, I got 10 or 11 hits I think.Not getting the first turn was unpleasant especially as the Centurions are absolutely lethal next to Gullimann. I think Aaron forgetting his Ghostkeel could just fly out of combat helped us, and a squad of Primaris Marines did a little bit more than my Cadians. The Razorback would probably have done more if it was over next to our objective. All in all a fun game where I learned quite a bit more about my army.

The Battle had been a success. The enemy had been defeated and despite seeing Rouboute Gullimann reduced to a pile of offal the last time they had met, the Primarch was up and about a few weeks later having seemingly 'run it off'. The Laurels Of Command had proved less than perfect as Shivchenko had failed 'to win the battle single handed' as he had bragged and now seemed to have developed a squint. The Commander of the Crimson Fists was surprisingly jovial when they met for post battle aperitifs and also had luxurious beard which he thought was not chapter approved. As the conflict had not been a resounding defeat for the enemy it was likely that the threat will remain and the question of why the Ultramarines have sided with aliens will continue to be unanswered.


Thanks For Reading  

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