Friday, 9 February 2018

Baptism Of Promethium

Farg Woolstrop reread the report. It didn't make very salubrious reading. Waargh Gitsmasha (another of these xenos despots that seem to spring up twice a lunar cycle) had grown tired of fighting itself and had started migrating into the Scargill Sector - named after the planet and system of the same name. Due to the Krablokistan 47th's proximity to the sector a rapid redeployment was underway. Hemmerdale was Mitigated and the previous misunderstandings between both Ultramarine, Crimson Fists chapters and the Convent Of The Vengeful Scold were ironed out. The first blows of the conflict had begun so an advance force was sent to bolster an Imperial research base on the planet of  Spasitor. The vanguard of Waargh Gitsmasha had landed and were currently dismantling the base and using the occupants for target practice, additional rations and Mothbear baiting. The majority of the fleet moved on towards Scargill but a Pacification Class troop carrier - named The Erstwhile - detoured to Spasitor to dispatch the advance Ork force.  

The Scargill Cleansing Act I

Welcome to part one of our 40K campaign between my Astra Militarum force of the Krablokistan 47th regiment vs Dylan's Orks of Waargh Gitsmasha. The battle is 1500 points of battle forged goodness with all the whistles and bangs that accompany that. The mission is No Mercy so in addition to the usual victory points each unit destroyed also scores a VP as well. The initial preamble about the campaign is to be found here. I set up the terrain before Dylan arrived and he got to choose whichever table end to deploy in. I always find that an fair system as it makes the person placing terrain try to make the table as balanced as possible.

The Armies

The battle represents the first encounter of Waargh Gitsmasha's advance force attack on the first Imperial planet en route to the prosperous mining planet of Scargill. The Imperial force that landed on Spasitor is pictured below.
They included;
Farg Woolstrop, company commander.
Gilprect Von Staab, second in command.
Shilum Drool, astropath.
Four infantry squads.
A special weapons squad (flamers).
Veteran squad.
Ratling Squad. 
Two Leman Russ.
Two heavy weapons squads (mortars and heavy bolters).
Ten roughriders.
The force I put together was a fairly low power level that I thought might be fun to play. I took roughriders as even though they no longer exist in the 'official' codex, I have 20 in various states of assembly and thought as they're not the most overpowered unit in the army they might be a bit of fun. The picture below contains all the models I used for this soire. 

Standard battlefield deployment, otherwise known as the armoured square formation.

The picture below contains Waargh Gitsmasha's initial force. His army contained:
An Ork Big Mek with shokk attack gun (I think).
An Ork Weirdboy with Da Jump.
Three units of 20 Boyz.
Twenty Stormboyz. 
A Deff Dread.
A unit of Burna Boyz.
A Trukk and a Battlewagon with Ard Case.
Two Buggies.
Eight Lootas wiv Deffgunz.

Not being an Ork connoisseur I was completely sure what they were capable of. Luckily I do have the Xenos codex that came out when 8th was released so I had a squint. The most notable thing for me was they're all pretty tasty in close combat and pretty bad at shooting. Their morale is whatever they're (or another unit within 6 inches total number of models is  so there was little chance of first turn mass unit fleeing). As this was what I took from the book, my tactics were skewed towards whittling down those big units. I kept the unit of Roughriders lurking invisibly 'making a flanking manoever' or what's known in the military as keeping your head down having a crafty fag. There was an Ork unit doing something similar as well I seem to remember. Now most of the time I like to get first turn but as it's a big turkey shoot type game it was imperative I got first turn to start make those large greenskin units less large. Sadly for the forces of the Imperium that didn't happen and the Orks got first turn.

Waargh Gitsmasha in all their football hooliganististic glory. I must admit this is very unOrky behavior with all this skulking around in 'cover'. In fact they might as well start using trenches and bunkers! The shame of it.

Waargh Krablokistan in their own xenophobic majesty. Note the ratling unit standing out in the open defying any foolish Orks to shoot them. As everybody knows Orks can't shoot for toffee so why bother, right?

The Game

The first turn began with the Orks moving up. Dylan jumped the unit with Blastas within 9" of a unit of troopers on my right flank, close to the Leman Russ and Hellhound. Shooting was not as harmless as I was led to believe. The Da Jumped Orks shot up my aforementioned squad and the Lootas badly shot up the Chimera. As the Chimera contained my veterans I thought they'd be doing their own version of  Da Jump when my turn came. The Orks failed their charge which was lucky for me so i dodged that be hairy bullet. With close combat avoided this turn the dangling carrot that is First Blood was very much still up for grabs in my turn. 

We played on a 4' x 5' table so that the Ultramarines and AdMech could kick the dung out of each other in the other side of the table. None of my Astra Militarum mentioned and as far as I'm aware neither did the Orks, but it must have been a bit off-putting with two large forces of homicidal warriors were fighting it out seemingly oblivious to our battle, 

The Ork vehicles move up and some of the big blastas start killing good honest guardsmen. Mainly because they were nearly the only things in range on this side of the table.
Farg Woolstrop made a couple of tactical mistakes in his initial set of orders. Seeing the veterans Chimera clanking and smoking severely he ordered them out to continue on foot. He also told the Ratlings to shoot the Weirdboy (not a bad order) but remain in situ as "Orks can't hit a hanger door from the inside" was emblazoned on the front page of his Tactica Imperium. Admittedly it was written in indelible crayon. The Chimera sped across the battlefield as it had been fitted with track guards and the veterans advanced up to the copy of the Emperor's Thumb. Farg was surprised to find that these types of shrines were popping up all over the Imperium in many unusual place. Indeed, this backwater research outpost had one. He mused there may be one on every planet within this sector. I wonder who is collecting tithes for these shrines? His reverie was cut short by the sharp cracks of sniper rifle fire and the theatrical collapse of the Weirdboy in the distance. All around him  heavy weapons were firing their payloads into the enemy, Orks were dropping like Primateflies, the bipedal hovering insectoids that he had the honour of making extinct on Selebmon IV. Farg smiled and started barking out more orders.

First Blood to the Imperium! Dylan was disgusted to find out Ratlings can ignore a big meaty Deff Dread and shoot the more squishy Weirdboy behind it. The skull denotes the final resting place of the Weirdboy.
In game turns the large unit of Boyz were shot up by massed small arms fire, killing less than half the unit. The Ratlings offed the Weirdboy and the Leman Russ sans Lascannon found out what a tough nut to crack an Ard Case Battlewagon is. First turn I had first blood and a crippled Chimera tempting the Orks in front of the Lootas to charge in and hopefully die to prometheum. I didn't bring on my Roughriders as I didn't see the point of it. When I destroyed the Battlewagon and Trukk next turn (confidence is great) there would be amply opportunity to give the dashed Orks Johnnies a taste of Lance by Jove!

Astra Militarum : 3 Orks : 0
This was because of First Blood for the Weirdboy and the jumped Boyz going from massed weapons fire.

The Orks, (well more like Dylan) wasn't overly enthused about what the Ratlings had done to the Weirdboy so after he moved up his troops his Lootas opened up on them. Now not being overly familiar with Lootas it was then my turn to be unenthused. Each shoots d3 times (Dylan rolled a 5 or 6 which is a 3) and proceeded to obliterate the poor little fellas. Well some decided to scarper in the morale phase. Dylan also didn't take the Chimera bait car and proceeded to  advance the Deff Dread and Ork Boyz into shooting and charge range of my vets! The Stormboyz advanced right up to charge range of my infantry squad on the right.The Trukk moved centrally towards Farg and his entourage. Ork shooting was less spectacular this turn so a few guardsmen were lost but no more than half a dozen. In a surprising move the Battlewagon charged the Hellhound. I say surprising, it was a clever move as it took the Inferno Cannon out of the game for a turn. The Stormboyz assaulted the guardsmen on the right and the vets were double teamed by Boyz and a Deff Dread. Both combats were regrettably predictable with two units of guardsmen gone.

Some massed heavy flamer and to a lesser extent lasgun fire has gotten the Ork Boyz in the picture close to morale test territory. Perhaps the vets would have been better employed staying in there operating the lasgun arrays.

It's all gone a bit Pete Tong for the veterans. Gilprect Von Staab looks a bit exposed out on his own as well. The Trukk lurks ominously almost entirely out of the picture above.

More bad news for the defenders of humanity. Having two vehicle reversing slightly then nudging their enemy isn't exactly heroic stuff but it certainly brings up an entertaining mental picture full of beeping each time the Hellhound goes into reverse.

Astra Militarum : 3 Orks : 2
The Orks were coming back!

With a series of whoops and hussars the Roughriders appeared behind the Ork's Battlewagon. Nine inches away ready to gallop in and put the thing down. The Chimera containing the flamer squad unloaded it's cargo then scooted round to provide addition firepower. The Hellhound crew sulkily reversed away from the battlewagon. Over on the left my guardsmen prepared to give the Deff Dread and Boyz mob a taste of lasgun garnished with missiles and meltagun blasts. This shooting phase was pretty effective. The Leman Russ destroyed the Battlewagon, killed a few Orks inside it. The Stormboyz were pretty much done for with a double helping of Prometheum, Mortar shells and Storm Bolter rounds. The Ork Boyz beside the Deff Dread were wiped out and the Dread had a few wounds chipped off it. In the assault phase I rolled the worst possible result for my Roughriders - just enough to get some into combat with the Orks who had clambered out of the wrecked vehicle, but not enough to use all 10. The resulting close combat killed 3 or 4 Orks and the resulting return attacks wiped out the Roughriders. A very Pyhrric assault.

Astra Militarum : 6 Orks : 3

The cavalry arrive!

Three flamers, a heavy flamer 3 mortars and various other small arms fire show those Stormboyz they can't be all up in our shit! It's only a pity I don't put single models in Chimeras to operate their lasgun arrays.

After piling in the Orks do their worse, which was horrible. Don't worry about the single Stormboyz looking on; he had a significantly disastrous  morale test to make. SPOILER ALERT! He failed it.
In the Orks turn shit got really real! The Trukk unloaded it's Burna Boyz. The Orks who had just beaten the Bejasus out of the Roughriders went for round two against the flamer squad. The only other eligible target was the Hellhound. Around this point two Buggies appeared on the table (or in previous turns, I'm not sure). The Burna Boyz advanced to within Promethium range of my infantry squad in the building. Dylan did one of those awful d3 rolls that counts for all the members of the squad and rolled 3 hits each. Needless to say the guardsmen were gone! The Deffgunz also did some damage when they wiped out my heavy bolters squad also in the building.

Add caption
 The Deff Dread assaulted a guardsman squad on the right and the Burna Boyz did the same to the now completely exposed Farg Woolstrop! Over on the right flank Waargh Gitsmasha's Boyz had made a fatal mistake in their eagerness to close with my flamer squad, they had strayed within 8", meaning I had 3d6 autohits and 6 shots from lasguns in overwatch. When the smoke had cleared there was only 3 Orks that had made it into combat! Not that they needed any more they killed 3 and the rest buggered off in the morale phase. Which is exactly what the remaining Boyz did too! Sadly Farg was taken out by what is, in my opinion, more underhand tactics on the Orks side. Rerolling charge distances of all things. The Dread gave the Guardsmen a bit of a shellacking on the right but one brave soul managed to take a wound from it, to the joy of the nearby unengaged squad. The unit in question disappeared in the morale phase.

Even though the same special weapons squad is standing there, that's a totally different Boyz mob.

Troops were getting a bit thin on the ground.
Astra Militarum : 7 Orks : 10

Time was getting on and I needed to get 3 VPs for a draw. My options were limited, viable targets were the Buggies, the Burna Boyz, the Trukk on 5 wounds and the Deff Dread. If I kill all of these I don't feel the acrid stench of defeat. If I fail then the Imperium is a darker place! The state of play at the start of the game was the Burna Boyz were in combat with the Mortars. The Deff Dread was in combat with Gilprect Von Staab and the Armour on the right was pretty much unscathed. A plot was formed to grab the draw. firstly the Mortars left combat, as did Von Staab. the Chimera and Hellhound moved into Promethium based weapon range of the Burna Boyz. The to paraphrase Russell Crowe I gave the order to unleash hell! Inferno Cannon and Heavy Flamer met Burna Boyz and the predictable wiping out of that unit was achieved. The Deff Dread was next on the target list and I had positioned commander Von Staab in such a way as he ordered the so far unscathed squad to "First rank fire! Second Rank Fire!" and the Mortars to "Get Back In The Fight!" allowing them to fire. The Dread was teetering on one wound when the last of my infantry squads shot it up and as luck would have it a single lasgun beam got through killing it! Incidentally it is the same squad that killed a Tau Devilfish with a lasgun fire in this battle report. So the Leman Russ and mortars were left to fire and I was 1 VP behind Dylan. The mortars did very little. The Leman Russ due to being on the wrong side of the table couldn't bring all their guns to bear on the Buggies so split their fire between them and the Trukk this turned out to be a mistake as the Trukk survived due to it's Ramshackle rule and I only destroyed one Buggy. After searching around for anything left to shoot I found there was nothing. NOTHING LEFT! So with the obligatory handshake we move on to final score and post match analysis.

Astra Militarum : 9 Orks : 10

These Gitz would have been next in line for some Battlecannon love had we managed to squeeze in a couple more turns. As it was they wandered off pretty much unscathed! GITZ!

Was I Robbed?

Well the answer to that was a definite no as a couple of mistakes sealed the defeat of the Krablokistani force. Three instances immediately come to mind, firstly my placement of the Ratlings. Out in the open and an obvious target. That was one freebie VP for the Orks. The Roughriders were wasted too, probably skirting round to attack the Trukk or some weaker target might have been more sensible. Finally I had not anticipated the horror that was the two squads 'minding' my commander would be wiped out in a particularly brutal shooting phase. Burna Boyz eh? The astute may have noticed that there is no mention of the Astropath. This is mainly because he did fuck all. I had given him the Psychic Barrier power which against Orks with their poor AP weapons was a waste. Had I given him Nightshroud or one of the other more offensive powers he may have gotten a mention in the batrep. I even struggled to find him in the pictures, that's how unheroic he was.

Dylan played well and made some very unOrky armour saves at vital times so he certainly didn't make it overly easy for me. I must admit it was a hugely enjoyable game and I'm looking forward to the next installment of the campaign.

At the battle's end, despite gaining the upper hand the Orks were not overwhelming victors. Woolstrop's position had been overrun by Burna Boyz and Von Staab went to check for survivors. Incredibly, the horrifically burned body of Farg Woolstrop still lived. A shuttle was called for to bring the Commander back to the Erstwhile where he could be treated by the very best medical servitors in the fleet. Whilst Woolstrop was incapacitated Von Staab was acting Commander until HQ assigned another to the task. Word had reached Von Staab that the remnants of the Ork force had 'Tellyported' back to The Emperor knows where, almost certainly off planet as there was little sport for them now that the base had been reinforced. All this information would have to go into his report and hopefully he would get another crack at the alien filth of Waargh Gitsmasha!

Thanks For Reading.

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