Saturday, December 27, 2008

IMPERIAL GUARD versus Chaos Space Marines

Game: Warhammer 40,000 3rd edition
Opponent: Gary
Mission: Rescue variant
Location: Luzon
Background: With the Chaos presence upon Luzon uncovered anarchy reigns. The Chaos forces crawl out of their hiding places and attack the planetary capital Cavite. The Planetary Governor, Gravilian Maximire, made a hasty escape to the outskirts of the city and waited patiently for Captain Kennell to pick him up. But a small Chaos Space Marine force was also closing in...

Points: 1000

Imperial Guard
  • Command Platoon 77, Captain Kennell (Junior Officer), Company Standard, vox caster, 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, Improved Comms
  • Basilisk, Indirect fire
Chaos Space Marines
  • Lord with Axe of Khorne on Juggernaught with Mark of Khorne + Bolt pistol
  • 8 Marines with Bolt pistols and Close Combat Weapons in rhino
  • Dreadnought with Lascannon
  • 8 Bloodletters
  • 8 Fleshounds
  • Predator
Terrain and Deployment
The table had a large number of buildings (obviously the outskirts of Cavite) but most of them were bunched up on my right and in my opponents deployment zone. This meant my left flank was wide open with no terrain. Gary won the roll to choose deployment zones and we ended up with corners, my opponent obviously hoping that the buildings would cut down my lines of sight. We placed the rescue counters (Planetary Governor Gravilian Maximire) on the board, and fortunately for me they were mostly on that open left flank.

I began with my infantry platoon set up to cover this wide expanse, as the Chaos army would need to cross it to get to me. The Sentinel special rules also allowed them to deploy at the start of the game so I placed two on the left and one behind the buildings on my right. Gary started with his rhino-borne squad behind a building in the far corner.

We were using our own variation on the rescue mission. We placed 6 dice as the counters, numbered from 1 to 6. Models could pick them up and carry them around, then at the end of the game we would roll a die to determine which counter was the real objective. We have found that this keeps things interesting right through the battle. And of course that last dice roll is nerve wracking.

The Game
I won the dice off for first turn but I let Gary go first as I couldn't see anything to shoot at (and I figured the last turn might be handy for grabbing counters). He raced forward in his rhino, dismounted the squad and collected a counter. In my turn I raced some infantry squads forward and collected a counter, with another in my sights. The Sentinels on my left moved laterally, toward the counter on my extreme left, while the one on the right moved up behind the buildings. I managed to destroy his rhino with a penetrating multilaser hit.

Gary's reserves arrived in the shape of the Predator and the Bloodletters. The Bloodletters scattered backwards and were probably over 36" away from the Imperial Guard lines. The Predator immobilised a Sentinel and the rest of the army moved forward toward the Guard gunline.

All of my remaining squads arrived from reserve (with the help of improved comms). The basilisk parked up behind a building, well out of sight. Captain Kennell and the anti-tank squad moved into a building in my deployment zone, with good lines of sight over the exposed left flank. I raced an infantry squad further forward and captured a second objective. I brought my Armoured Fist squad on on my extreme right, to threaten the side armour of the predator (and also threaten the objectives near the Chaos deployment zone). My shooting phase was poor, and only a couple of Marines were killed.

The rest of Gary's reserves arrived now. The Dreadnought came on between the Chimera and the Predator, the Lord arrived and raged to catch up with the Bloodletters, but the worst of all was the Fleshounds. The icon was probably 30" from the Guard lines, so I felt quite safe, but the fleshounds scattered forward. Combined with the 5" diameter of the template and their 6" move and 12" assault they easily achieved combat with my two foremost infantry squads.


This was just the beginning of a downward spiral, though. The hounds caused horrendous casualties on both squads and I wanted the survivors to fall back, leaving the hounds stranded in front of my guns. Unfortunately for me I passed both morale checks (on 6 or less) and the combat continued.

In an effort to hold the dogs up I threw my Sentinel into combat with them. This backfired massively when just one dog, with only two attacks, managed to destroy the Sentinel. Some of my Guardsmen survived and now I desperately wanted them to stay in combat. I therefore used the Command Squad's Standard and Captain Kennell's leadership, so I only needed to pass a re-rollable morale check on an eight. I failed both rolls.

In the rest of my turn, the moving Sentinel on my left picked up an objective and the basilisk killed a single Marine when it's shell scattered 6". The Chimera dropped off the armoured fist squad who moved toward the combat with the dogs and the Chimera itself took a shot at the Dreadnought which I rolled 3 misses for.

Gary moved everyone forward in his army, including the Predator, taking it out of sight of the Chimera. The Hounds now hit another line of infantry and managed to contact my anti-tank squad. After fluffing my morale checks it was now time for me to start fluffing armour saves. Over the next 3 assault phases the dogs passed 3 of the four 5+ saves I forced upon them and I failed 14 5+ saves in a row.

The anti-tank squad and another infantry squad disappeared and now my Command Section was fighting off the dogs. Predictably, despite going first because of cover, I was slaughtered. By this stage there were only two dogs left, and most of those casualties had been caused when they rolled ones for cavalry moved through terrain. That 160 point unit had killed 41 Guardsmen, including my Command Section and a Sentinel.

My basilisk got a direct hit amongst the advancing Chaos units and killed 2 Bloodletters and 2 Marines. Combined with the shooting of the Sentinel Multilasers, the Marine squad was wiped out. The predator immobilised my second Sentinel. My Chimera moved into a building to threaten the rear armour of the Dreadnought, but it was immobilised and shaken and played no further part in the game.

My dismounted armoured fist squad picked up the counters dropped by my infantry squads who had been attacked by the squads. Unfortunately, by the time they got there, the two remaining dogs were looking for more prey. The dogs charged in and killed two Guardsmen. Predictably I failed my morale check again and the rest of the squad was chased down by the hounds.

With all the turns over we had to roll for the objective. I had one (on an immobilised Sentinel) and Gary had three, with two unclaimed. Gary collected it and won the game.

Result: Loss

Imperial Control: Reduced 36%

Kennell's Commendation: No commendation

Learning points
  • After my last disastrous game I was looking forward to a fresh start with my Guard. Then we roll up another rock-hard mission for my relatively immobile army. Then add in some atrocious dice rolling and I want to wipe the slate clean and start again with my next game.
  • Chatting with Gary after the game we couldn't really think of anything I could have done differently to try and win the game. Gary didn't even need the vast majority of his army as his hounds killed 51 Guardsmen on their own.
  • If I was to change anything at all, it would be the entire army list. Back to the painting table!

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