Monday, December 22, 2008

IMPERIAL GUARD versus Chaos Space Marines

Game: Warhammer 40,000 3rd edition
Opponent: Gary
Mission: Meat Grinder
Location: Luzon
Background: The Cadian Expeditionary Force, under the command of Captain Kennell, have acted upon the intelligence reports of Inquisitor Lord Severus who warned that remnants of the original Chaos incursion some 600 years ago, are still active upon Luzon. Kennell quickly located the small Chaos warband and set out to exterminate them with extreme prejudice.
1st turn: Chaos Space Marines
Points: 1000

Imperial Guard
  • Command Platoon 77, Captain Kennell (Junior Officer), Company Standard, Master Vox, 2 Meltaguns
  • Anti tank squad, 3 Lascannons
  • Infantry Platoon
  • Command Squad 36, Junior Officer with power weapon and plasma pistol, medic, vox caster, 2 plasma guns
  • Infantry Squad 501, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher, Vox caster
  • Infantry Squad 541, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher, Vox caster
  • Infantry Squad 609, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher, Vox caster
  • Armoured Fist Squad 812, Flamer, Vox caster, Chimera with Multi-laser, Heavy Bolter and pintle Heavy Stubber
  • Sentinel, Multi-laser, Searchlight
  • Sentinel, Multi-laser
  • Sentinel, Autocannon, Extra Armour
  • Basilisk Indirect fire

Chaos Space Marines
  • Lord with Power Weapon, Mark of Khorne, Bolt pistol
  • 8 Marines with Bolt pistols and Close Combat Weapons in rhino
  • 8 Marines with Bolt pistols and Close Combat Weapons
  • 8 Khorne Berzerkers
  • 5 Marines with Lascannon
  • Dreadnought with Lascannons
  • 8 Bloodletters

Terrain and Deployment
This was a 6'x4' table with fairly sparse terrain. Mainly this consisted of four ruined buildings, one in each deployment zone and two more central but one closer to the left flank and one closer to the right flank. We each had a hill in our deployment zone, mine on my extreme left, my opponent's overlooking the middle of the board.

I set my Guard army up in the middle of my deployment zone, in a layered fashion, with the infantry platoon and dismounted armoured fists screening the Command platoon and Lascannons. The Basilisk hid behind the building in the centre of my deployment zone with two Sentinels screening its vulnerable side armour. The last Sentinel with the autocannon I set up on the hill on my left with a clear line of sight to the Chaos rhino.

Most of the Chaos army deployed behind the ruined building toward my left flank with just the small squad with the lascannon on the hill.

As the attacker in a meat grinder I knew I was up against it. Gary offered to change the mission but I elected to go ahead, after all, real life commanders wouldn't have the luxury of choosing their fights.

The Game
Gary won the first turn and ran most of his army forward. His only rhino became immobilised as it tried to crash through the building in front of it.

After a discussion which included the advantages of standing on a hill, the merits of screening with vehicles, and the effect of buildings on hull down, we rolled a d6 for it and Gary won, so his lascannon hit the side of the Basilisk and blew the Earthshaker cannon off it.

In reply I destroyed the Dreadnought with my lascannons, and peppered the Khorne Berzerker squad with shots. In a flurry of good dice rolls, Gary passed virtually every save. His Bloodletters arrived from the icon in this unit and scattered 9 inches toward my lines. Unfortunately for me, the Guard Squad they hit in combat held, and I now had a Daemon squad in my deployment zone, messing up my lines of fire.

My units on my right could see one Marine squad on foot and they were subjected to a hail of fire. Again Gary passed virtually all of his saves. I tried to move the Basilisk to bring its heavy bolter into play but I rolled a 1 to immobilise it.

In an attempt to hold up the Bloodletters I charged a Sentinel into them (the other Sentinel in the centre had been taken out by that damned lascannon). It worked a treat, as it killed a Bloodletter on the charge. The remaining Guardsmen were wiped out and the Bloodletters had to consolidate around the Sentinel. In the Chaos turn it was destroyed and blew up, taking three more 'letters with it.

My right flank was now assaulted by the Marines on foot. Against all the odds, over three combat phases, my armoured fist squad killed the Marines. Booyah!

The Bloodletters swept into my Guardsmen, and after the entire Guard army shot at them, they were sent back to the warp, despite passing many saving throws. Now the Berzerkers made combat with my Infantry platoon. I used the variable leadership with the Captain and Standard to control the combat and when the Berzerkers emerged from combat they were hosed down with rapid firing plasma, meltaguns and lots of lasguns.

The squad that had me worried was the Chaos Marines with the lascannon. They were so far from my lines and I lacked mobility. Fortunately the mission has the sustained attack rules which allowed me to bring on one of the infantry squads which had been slaughtered in combat. They arrived on my right flank, right next to the Marines, and killed two with their shooting. The Marines charged into combat and were eventually killed by the Guardsmen. Get in!

The game was very tight now. Most of my infantry squads had been badly mauled and all my Sentinels were destroyed. The Chaos army was reduced to the single squad who had emerged from their immobilised rhino and slogged their way over the entire board. At this point Gary could have hidden his unit away and claimed the win, but he elected to steam forward and into close combat.

The Marines munched their way through a squad and consolidated into my anti tank squad. This meant that I had to take them on in close combat rather than shooting them to death. Every Guardsman available rushed into combat (including the recycled squad that the Marines had just dispatched) but the Marines rolled white hot dice and killed virtually everyone they were in combat with.

I reduced them to four models, but the game ended there for a Chaos victory.

Result: Loss

Imperial Control: Reduced 12%

Kennell's Commendation: Armoured Fist squad 812 who held the line despite a fierce assault by Chaos Marines.

Learning points
  • Full marks to Gary for making a game of it and rushing forward to attack, when he could have hung back and won easily by forcing me to run forward.
  • Low marks to Gary for that cheeky shot into the side armour of my Basilisk, especially after this game.
  • Overall, despite the mission and the scattering Daemons, I still had more than enough firepower to win the game. Unfortunately, virtually everything bounced off the Marine armour. By my calculations I should have killed at least 5 Marines per turn for the first three turns, and that is without adding in the plasma and melta weapons. That would have decimated the Berzerkers and other Marine unit on foot. Instead, I killed one or two, and both squads hit my lines.
  • Oh, well. It can't get any worse for Captain Kennell in terms of mission or dice rolling, so bring on the next battle.

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