With a clank and a scrape the men mounted the heavy bolter behind the steel defence line and trained the stubby barrel through the fire port. The lieutenant looked to his right and saw the enormous forms of the Gloominwald ogryns, grunting to each other and laughing. He was close enough to see the crude runes scratched into their weathered armour plates. Who knew what that stick-writing meant in the thing’s strange language? The massive shotguns they carried reassured him though, as did the BONE Head’s huge bionic talons.
“They’re turning the las-maze on sir.” One of the men said. The lieutenant heard it snap into life, and then the hum of the ancient void shield.
“No going back then.” He said to himself as the shadow of the enemy drop-ship loomed over them.
- Brother-Captain Gaius – Space Marine Captain, digital weapons, artificer armour, jump pack, power weapon, bolt pistol, melta bombs
- Brother Constantinus – Venerable Dreadnought, multi-melta, heavy flamer, extra armour, Lucius pattern drop pod
- Brother Faustulus – Dreadnought, 2 twin-linked autocannons, extra armour, locator beacon, drop pod
- Squad Octavian – Assault squad (5), flamer, combat shield, power fist
- Squad Lucianus – Assault squad (5), flamer, combat shield, melta bombs, power weapon
- Aquiline – Land Speeder Storm, heavy flamer
- Squad Vorenus – Tactical Squad (10), flamer, lascannon, power fist, drop pod
- Squad Gabriel – Tactical Squad (10), flamer, lascannon, power weapon, melta bombs, drop pod
- Squad Castiel – Scout Squad (5), melta bombs, power weapon
Stratagems: Sustained Assault
- Lt. Col. Khazak, 129th Cadian – Power weapon, bolter, 3 plasma guns, carapace armour, Master of Ordnance, chimera with heavy flamer and multi-laser
- Lord Commissar Bock – Power fist, carapace armour
- Gloominwald Ogryn Auxiliaries – BONE Head, 3 ogryns
- Lt. Harlock, 44th St. Arkham – heavy bolter, commissar, power weapon
- Squad Boxer – Infantry squad, autocannon, flamer, power weapon
- Squad Coleridge – Infantry squad, autocannon, flamer, power weapon
- Platoon fire support – 3 autocannon teams
- 44th St. Arkham sharpshooters – Veteran squad, Bastonne, lascannon, 3 snipers, Forward Sentries
- 129th Cadian “mech-wreckers” – Veteran squad, power fist, 2 meltaguns, heavy bolter team, chimera with heavy flamer and multi-laser
- Hell’s Breath, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Banewolf, hull multi-melta
- Anathema, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Demolisher, multi-melta sponsons, heavy flamer
Stratagems: Command Centre, Las-maze, Void Shield
On Saturday Jay and I played mission two of Sign of the Aquila’s Fall of Corian IV campaign. Again, we decided to go with one extra stratagem point each because more stratagems = more mayhem and destruction.
According to the mission, I had to defend one bunker at all costs, so I put my platoon and commissar lord inside and made it a Command Centre, then surrounded it with a Void Shield and a Las-maze and placed aegis defence lines in front of it with my ogryns and my platoon commander behind them as a first line of defence. I thought that would be enough. I then put my demolisher, coy. commander, sharpshooters and anti-tank vets in cover in nearby buildings to create a killing ground and rain fire down on the marines. It seemed like a good plan, similar to my last one. The initial firestorm didn’t do much, thankfully. It just wounded an ogryn, stunned the demolisher and immobilized Khazak’s chimera.
It was then that the game started to go very badly for my boys. Jay nominated the table edge just behind the bunker as his drop-zone and all of his assault marines except for Captain Gaius came in on the first turn. His drop-pods slammed down just outside the defence lines and disgorged way more space marines than I liked to see, except for the one with the venerable dreadnought Brother Constantinus inside it. He (in)conveniently landed inside the las-maze, melted away the void shield and then smashed the bunker to ruins, killing half a dozen of the occupants. The four drop-pods provided cover for the marines, making my support fire ineffective for the rest of the game.
Squad Castiel, embarked in the land speeder, zipped to the upper level of the ruins where my sharpshooters were hiding and shot them up. They then charged and finished them off in assault. The ogryns were annihilated by a combination of mass bolter fire and a rear charge by squad Lucianus. My platoon command squad were all killed except for the commissar, despite the fact that they were behind the defence line. So, at the beginning of my turn one the bunker was in ruins and a good deal of my army was immobile or worse.
My banewolf came to the rescue though, poisoning three squads and choking out five marines. Then the las-cannon marine in squad Gabriel took aim and wrecked it, blocking my melta vets from getting near the ruined bunker to support my platoon.
The platoon was in serious trouble. Flamer-toting assault marines torched the ruins and then charged them, and Gaius jumped onto the battlefield and joined in. By the end of the turn only Lord Commissar Bock still stood. His refractor field miraculously saved him and he crushed two marines with his power fist. In my turn he went down, and the Ultramarines moved out to the defence lines while some of them consolidated their hold on the bunker.
The only soldiers I had left anywhere near the bunker were the Cadian Mech Wreckers, but those damn scouts assaulted them and blew their chimera up with krak grenades and a melta bomb. With no real options left, they charged squad Castiel in return and were slaughtered.
By my turn four, the bunker was squarely in the Ultramarine’s hands. The assault marines were able to hop over the las-maze with impunity, though at least it took out sergeant Vorenus when he ran back to help take the objective! Khazak and his vets were holed up in a distant building with my auto-cannon teams, taking pot-shots at the marines behind the defence line with little result. Anathema was crawling up the battlefield, lobbing shells and firing off melta-beams, but again, with minimal result. I managed to scatter a demolisher shell onto a whole combat squad of squad Vorenus despite the fact that they were behind a drop-pod, but they all made their cover saves!
In turn five Jay rolled to seize the laser relay, getting a thirteen. The game was over, and the Ultramarines had successfully disabled St. Arkham’s orbital defences.
It was a good game, despite the thrashing I got, and the scenario posed no problems at all. I think Jay did everything right this game – I have to say I was impressed (and appalled) by the way Constantinus dropped in, powered through the void shield and smashed the bunker all in one turn. It would have been nice if my guys had been a little more heroic and delayed the marines a bit. As it was they just got quickly overwhelmed wherever there was contact. Maybe next time I’ll get to see Bastonne in action. This was the first time I’ve used him and well . . . you read what happened to the sharpshooters, before they even got a shot off! In retrospect I would have been better off putting my whole army together in one spot, with the tanks plugging the gaps and holding on, Rorke’s Drift style. Ah well, hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
Result: Space Marines victory. Ultramarines 2 points, battlegroup Wyvern 2 points. As the laser relay was disabled the Imperial Guard will have no orbital support in future games.
“They’re all dead sir. Everyone in the bunker. The laser relay is down. What should we do?”
Khazak looked through his field glasses at the hulking blue shapes crouched amongst the smoking remains of the laser station. Emperor’s teeth, even the ogryns hadn’t given them pause. He turned to his men. Their plasma rifles were starting to smoke and one of the veterans was nursing a severe burn already. The damned artillery officer wasn’t having any luck with her positioning. He saw the Arkhamite demolisher halt in its tracks as it came under careful lascannon fire. There was no chance of recapturing the laser station now.
“Withdraw. Call Anathema and tell them to get the hell out if they can. We’ll retreat to that small town we passed a few days back, mount a proper defence.” He resisted the urge to look at the astartes again, shouldered his bolt gun and turned away.
Dreadnought photograph by Rhebeka Stangret