The ground stopped shaking and Captain Harlock picked himself up. Plaster crumbled from the ceiling of the old basilica that he had converted to a temporary command post. He picked up his cap and batted the dust off it. Jenkins and Barrett slowly settled back into their sharpshooting positions, one in the doorway, one at the window. The 44th had dug themselves in.
He knew from the comms net that Khazak had made it to the Lord General’s HQ, and all he had to do now was keep his boys in the fight, hopefully slowing down the Ultramarines until the Lord General arrived. It wasn’t going to be easy. Recon reported that the marines had advanced recklessly, apparently enraged by Khazak’s escape. They were severely outnumbered, but this did not seem to have given them pause. They came on, battle-barges raining ordnance on the battered town. They did not hesitate or even seem to realize that they were outgunned.
Harlock began to feel afraid.
- Brother-Captain Gaius – Space Marine Captain, digital weapons, artificer armour, jump pack, power weapon, bolt pistol, melta bombs
- Squad Lucianus – Assault squad (5), flamer, power weapon
- Aquiline – Land Speeder Storm, heavy flamer
- Squad Vorenus – Tactical Squad (10), meltagun, multi-melta, power fist, drop pod
- Squad Gabriel – Tactical Squad (10), flamer, missile launcher, melta bombs, power weapon, drop pod
- Squad Castiel – Scout Squad (5), power weapon
- Squad Telion – Scout Squad (5), Sgt. Telion, 4 sniper rifles
- Brother Constantinus – Venerable Dreadnought, multi-melta, Lucius pattern drop pod
- Capt. Harlock, HI, 44th St. Arkham – Company command squad, medic, 3 snipers, power weapon
- Cadian 129th Grenadiers – Veteran squad, power fist, 3 plasma guns, Grenadiers
- 8th Kasrkin – 6 Stormtroopers, bolter, power weapon, 2 melta guns
- Gloominwald Ogryn Auxilia – 4 Ogryns
- Lt. Blake, 44th St. Arkham – Platoon command squad, 2 flamers
- Squad Boxer – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon, commissar with power weapon
- Squad Coleridge – Infantry squad, flamer, melta bombs, power weapon
- Platoon fire support – 2 autocannon teams, lascannon team
- Platoon fire support – 3 autocannon teams
- Anathema, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Demolisher, multi-melta sponsons, heavy flamer
- Storm Giant, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Battle Tank, heavy flamer, pintle heavy stubber
We’ve recently had a five-day weekend here in Australia for Easter and Anzac Day, so I’ve managed to cram a few games in. Jay and I played missions four and five of the Invasion of St. Arkham, followed by an army swap game that I’ll talk about later in the week.
In mission five of our campaign (borrowed from Sign of the Aquila), the Ultramarines were attempting to assault one of battlegroup Wyvern’s fortified bases. The mission was Prepared Assault from the Battle Missions book, which is a great one. We’ve actually played it before because Jay and I are both fans of random battle cannon shells hitting our guys. Because Khazak had escaped last game, the Ultramarines were 250 points down against dug-in guardsmen.
That proved to be not much of a problem for Jay after all. His list surprised me in that it had no real armour. There were not many targets for my anti-tank troops, and my Kasrkin just ended up infiltrating with their largely useless melta guns. In turn one, Aquiline and scout squad Castiel wreaked their usual havoc, exploding the banewolf Hell’s Breath before it could move and flaming my command squad. Brother Constantinus dropped down slightly off-course and crushed the rough riders. My veterans and tanks shuffled about, trying to get out of the dreadnought’s reach, but he tore my demolisher to bits in turn two. Meanwhile marines kept dropping out of the sky, and my dug-in troops were faced with a frightening amount of tac marines at an uncomfortable distance.
Things got really bloody. Captain Harlock and his men didn’t like the taste of promethium and legged it, so my company command squad was off the table by the end of turn two. The Kasrkin engaged the dreadnought but missed with both their melta guns and were assaulted. Captain Gaius and his marines jumped out of cover (well, one of them got tangled in the bushes!) only to be shot to pieces by my grenadiers. Entire units were disappearing at an alarming rate and I seemed to have forgotten to bring any chimeras! Without their coy. commander my boys had to rely on Lt. Blake, who ordered them to fire on the scouts and wiped them out before they could do any more damage. The speeder was destroyed by autocannon and lascannon fire, which then turned on Constantinus the dreadnought and took him out too. Not before he’d exterminated the Kasrkin and the grenadiers though.
My Ogryns did a fine job breaking two combat squads of marines and chasing them off, but being astartes they rallied, returned fire, and eventually it was the Ogryn’s turn to run from the battlefield. Sergeant Telion slowly but surely sniped both of the sergeants, the flamer and the commissar from my platoon, pinning them and weakening their resolve until they too broke.
The surviving tactical marines then basically seized the objectives, wrecked Storm Giant and mopped up what was left of my infantry. I conceded in turn five. The Ultramarines had turned a losing battle into a complete victory, holding all three objectives. I couldn’t approach even the objective I’d initially held as it was now behind a drop pod!
This was a surprising game. Both of us lost large, important units early in the piece and both of us seemed to be constantly failing morale checks. The only difference was that the marines kept coming back. Morale doesn’t always play as much of a role as it should in 40k, what with every man and his dog being Stubborn or Fearless, but this game really showed that staying in the fight is one of the major strengths of the Space Marines. I think this battle was won in the end by the courage of the astartes, the way it’s meant to be. That, and bloody Telion massacring my chain of command!
Next game is a big one, 2500 points for me and 2450 for the Ultramarines. I think battlegroup Wyvern will be petitioning the Order of the Revenant Maiden for aid.
I still reckon that Guard Company Commanders should be allowed to tell themselves to Get Back in the Fight. Maybe I should play Krieg . . .
Result: Space Marine victory. Ultramarines 10 points, battlegroup Wyvern 7 points.