After Action Report: The Invasion of St. Arkham, part VI

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Lord General Drake peered out over the trench lines.  His army had managed to fight the invading Astartes to a standstill here, at great cost to the once-thriving city, and battle had been raging for over a week now.  His men were dug in deep, and the Ultramarines were proving difficult to track.  They performed hit and run attacks on his embattled troops seemingly at random. But now the sky was filled with the dark shape of an astartes battle-barge, and the enemy had collected in enough numbers to be clearly visible to long-range auspex and psyker-augury.

Drake’s ancient power armour, gifted to the founder of his line by the Mechanicus long ago, made him the equal of any astartes in combat.  The huge plates hissed and clanked, and gouts of smoke and steam belched from the valves on his back.  His boots crushed the gravel to powder and he grimly primed his hefty plasma pistol and checked his sabre, reinforced for his augmented strength.  These traitors would regret coming here, to his world, sullying the sacred ground with their heathen filth.

He looked over and nodded to Paxila.  The canoness soared into the air, trailing flame, her white armour gleaming in the gloom. She landed on top of a Sororitas vehicle with an audible clank and raised her flaming power sword.  The men bellowed and cheered at this angelic display.  

Drake’s amplified voice crackled over the nearby men and over the vox as drop pods fell like meteors.  “Here they come boys! Let’s throw them back into space!”

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THE ATTACKERS

  • Brother-Captain Gaius – Space Marine Captain, digital weapons, artificer armour, jump pack, power weapon, bolt pistol, melta bombs
  • Squad Lucianus – Assault squad (5), power weapon
  • Aquiline – Land Speeder Storm, heavy flamer
  • Squad Ulixes – Tactical Squad (10), plasma cannon, plasma gun, plasma pistol, power weapon
  • Squad Vorenus – Tactical Squad (10), meltagun, multi-melta, combi-melta gun, 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, melta bombs
  • Squad Telion – Scout Squad (5), Sgt. Telion, 4 sniper rifles
  • Brother Constantinus – Venerable Dreadnought, multi-melta, Lucius pattern drop pod
  • Brother Faustulus – Dreadnought, two twin-linked autocannons
  • Squad Lotharius – Assault Terminators (5), 4 lightning claws, thunder hammer and storm shield
  • Diomedes – Land Raider Prometheus, extra armour, multi-melta
  • Invictus – Land Raider Crusader, extra armour, multi-melta

THE DEFENDERS

  • Lord General Drake, commander-in-chief of Battlegroup Wyvern – Company Command Squad, Straken, medic, standard bearer, bodyguard, two flamers, chimera with heavy flamer and multi-laser
  • Paxila IX, canoness commander of the Order of the Revenant Maiden’s St. Arkham convent – Adepta Sororitas Canoness, jump pack, Mantle of Ophelia, power weapon, melta bombs, frag grenades
  • Enginseer Rodan – Techpriest Enginseer, 3 servitors
  • Confessor Bastable, 44th St. Arkham – Priest, eviscerator
  • Nemesis Coven, Psykana Auxilia – Psyker Battle Squad, 8 Sanctioned Psykers, overseer, chimera with multi-laser and heavy flamer
  • Cadian 129th – Veteran squad, power fist, 3 plasma guns
  • 44th St. Arkham sharpshooters – Veteran squad, Bastonne, lascannon, two snipers, Forward Sentries
  • Order of the Revenant Maiden, St. Arkham convent –  Battle Sisters (10), melta gun, flamer, frag and krak grenades, veteran superior (Book of St. Lucius, power weapon), Rhino, smoke launchers
  • 8th Kasrkin – 6 Stormtroopers, bolter, power weapon, 2 melta guns
  • Lt. Blake, 44th St. Arkham – Platoon command squad, bolter, heavy bolter
  • Squad Boxer – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon, commissar with power weapon
  • Squad Coleridge – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon
  • Platoon fire support – 3 mortar teams
  • 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

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Well, it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog.  I’ve been away at a conference for work, and I didn’t get a chance to prepare this report before I left.  So here, after a long wait, is a return to the Invasion of St. Arkham.  The details will be sparse because this was over a week ago now, but you’ll get the gist (hint: I lost again!)

The rules for this mission (Trench Warfare) made everyone Stubborn, which meant some of Straken’s powers were wasted a bit but it was OK.  I wanted to try him out.  I also wanted to give an enginseer a try, and I thought this game would be a good opportunity since it was Trench Warfare and I planned to basically wait for the marines to come to me.  I figured he could repair damage as it happened.

It’s always fun when you have a large army to play with (in this case 2500 points), because you know that there’ll be a huge amount of carnage no matter what.  Unfortunately for me the carnage was pretty one-sided for most of the game!

The marines got the first turn and Brother Constantinus plummeted down in front of my lines and destroyed Anathema outright.  Reacting quickly, the sisters of the Order of the Revenant Maiden rolled up in their rhino and exploded the dreadnought with a melta gun.  Shots echoed in the streets to little effect, and at the end of the first game turn, two of the mightiest war machines on the table were smoking ruins.  A pair of drop pods shielded their tactical marines from fire, but also prevented them from targeting properly.  Both Land raiders moved toward my lines, shrugging off lascannon fire from the St. Arkham sharpshooters, who, concealed in their camo cloaks, resisted all efforts to flush them out.

I made a huge mistake in deployment I think, which was to put my platoon behind a wall of armoured vehicles to shield the objective.  They did not fire a shot all game, because their targets were masked by vehicles and wrecks, and by the time assault was joined they were outmatched.  I’d managed to cause quite a bit of damage to the marines, but nothing decisive.  My guardsmen just couldn’t finish anything they started.  Assault marines led by Captain Gaius jumped into the building where my Cadian veterans were positioned and cut them down.

Diomedes and Invictus continued to advance.  Canoness Paxila and Enginseer Rodan both attempted to assault the massive tanks with melta bombs and failed.  Almost the entire marine support fire poured into the exposed canoness, who was shielded by her faith.  She was brought down, but at the cost of nearly a whole turn’s shooting.  Invictus and Storm Giant crashed through the walls of the building the sharpshooters were in and passed each other, the Raider spitting out terminators into the guard’s lines and exploding Drake’s chimera.

The Death riders, anticipating this move, had started to gallop across the lines and reached the assault terminators, furiously charging into them at the same time as Lord General Drake.  Between them they defeated the elite marines, though the Krieg soldiers and Drake’s retinue were all slain.

The Sister’s rhino was destroyed and they made a push for the centre objective, calling on the Emperor to aid them.  They killed several marines of squad Ulixes with a hail of bolter shells and divinely guided fire.  The marines responded by assaulting them and after a long battle cut them all down.

While the general and the terminators battled, the platoon was charged by Gaius and squad Vorenus.  Confessor Bastable managed to slay two marines with his eviscerator, but by this time the guardsmen had taken casualties and were clearly outmatched.  They were all killed.  Tactical marines advanced onto the objective the platoon had been guarding.

I surrendered the game at the end of turn five, as Jay had taken all of the objectives and my army was shattered and scattered to the winds.

Usually Jay’s Land Raiders are unlucky beasts, but this time they both survived numerous attacks and provided great supporting fire.  My enginseer was OK – he managed to get an immobilized chimera moving and if he’d destroyed the land raider he would have been a star.  Yeah . . . if.  I always like to test for myself rather than make projections or listen to others, so I can now say from my own experience that an enginseer has potential, is not exactly horrible, but is very situational and therefore over-priced points-wise.  My sisters were great.  I love the way the Acts of Faith allow you to play them with raw courage, and moves that would normally be stupidly risky become possible.  I hear this may be one of the last times I use them with their 2004 rules.

The campaign has been really close so far but with the last two losses my guys are falling behind rapidly.  We’re on the home stretch now.  I’m looking forward to the next battle . . .

Result: Space Marine victory.  Ultramarines 13 points, battlegroup Wyvern 7 points.

+++++

Drake savagely pulled his monstrous blade from the skull of the last Terminator.  The gigantic marines had fought and died silently, and he was the only one left standing. Corpses of men, astartes and Kreig steeds were scattered all around him and his heirloom armour was splattered with blood and mud.  Marines were loosely surrounding his position and moving in.  He’d have to collapse back to the second trench line.

Things had not gone according to plan.  Paxila had fallen, somewhere out there, and he only hoped that the scouts would be able to recover her before the Ultramarines did.

The Guard needed help.  Drake prayed to the Emperor that Lord Inquisitor Borgez had recieved the alert, and was on his way to join the fight.

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4 responses to “After Action Report: The Invasion of St. Arkham, part VI

  • Von

    I always enjoy reading your reports. The narrative framework and named squads mitigate a lot of the gaminess and you don’t burden the reader with an abundance of details either. Also, your taste in squad names is laudable.

  • James S

    Thanks Von. I’m glad my opponents give their squads appropriate names too – it sucks when you have your army carefully named and then you play some guy who introduces his Eldar Farseer as “Dave.”

  • Blackmane

    Sounds like you had a really good game. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the last few missions. Hopefully you’ll be able to pull some points back and make it a close coampaign.

  • James S

    @Blackmane – yeah, hopefully. I don’t want to get totally demolished after such a close start.

    Also, it turns out when I was checking over the lists for the report that I was actually meant to have three Leman Russes on the table, not two. I forgot to borrow Jay’s Russ before the game. Being a whole MBT short makes a bit of a difference, so we might play it again.

    We’ll see. I enjoyed the battle, and part of me is thinking that it was a legitimate logistical error and I should suck it up!

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