Tuesday, December 30, 2008

IMPERIAL GUARD versus Space Marines - Space Wolves

Game: Warhammer 40,000 3rd edition
Opponent: Wayne
Mission: Pitched Battle
Location: Eye of Terror
Background: In 999.M41 the Cadian Expeditionary Force rushed back to Cadia to participate in it's defence. En route their transport developed problems with it's warp drives and had to return to realspace in the Fenris system. While the ship was being repaired the 271st regiment were landed on a nearby planet. They were attacked in error by an impetuous Space Wolf force and it was some time before the mistake was recognised..
1st turn: Space Marines - Space Wolves
Points: 1000

Imperial Guard
  • Command Platoon 77, Captain Kennell (Junior Officer), Company Standard, 2 Meltaguns
  • Anti tank squad, 3 Lascannons
  • 9 Stormtroopers, Vet sergeant with plasma pistol, 2 plasma guns, deep strike
  • 8 Stormtroopers, 2 meltaguns, deep strike
  • Infantry Platoon
  • Command Squad 36, Junior Officer with power weapon and plasma pistol, medic, 2 plasma guns
  • Infantry Squad 501, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 541, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Platoon
  • Command Squad, Missile Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 609, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 812, Flamer
  • Basilisk, Indirect fire

Space Marines - Space Wolves
  • Wolf Priest
  • Another HQ with Frostblade
  • Grey hunters in rhino
  • Bloodclaws in rhino
  • Landspeeder tornado with multi-melta and heavy flamer
  • Attack bike with heavy bolter
  • Predator annihilator
  • Wolf scouts with meltagun and powerfist
Terrain and Deployment
This was another warm-up game for The Gauntlet. Wayne is a strong player with a nasty army, so I knew he would give me a tough game. He has beaten me numerous times in the past with his Emperor's Children and Lost and the Damned army.

We played on a 6x4 table with a lot of terrain. It had a large building on my right deployment zone and a hill on my left. There was a wood in the centre of Wayne's deployment zone. There was also another large building in the left-centre of the board. Between these big terrain features there were numerous walls, hedges and rocks.

I was really worried about the wolf scouts running amok against my anti-tank and command squads so I set up in a very unusual fashion. I stretched one command squad out across the back edge of the table then set the infantry squads out around it in a large horseshoe shape. Then I put all my vulnerable squads inside, ensuring the scouts would have to attack an infantry squad first. My basilisk was set up nearby behind the tall building on my right, and a single infantry squad on my extreme left, on a hill. Both Stormtrooper squads started in reserve, so they could deep strike on.

Wayne started with both rhinos and the predator behind the woods. His 'speeder was on my left and his attack bike on my right. His scouts were, of course, in reserve.

The Game
The Space Wolves won first turn and raced forward in a rhino rush toward my lines. The Landspeeder moved 24" to threaten my lone infantry squad and the predator targeted my basilisk. I hadn't noticed but the building had a large open doorway and the basilisk was clearly visible! Fortunately it missed.

I now had a vital round of shooting. It started badly when I failed to knock the 'speeder out of the sky. Virtually everything in my firebase shot at the rhinos but I only managed to stop the lead one. For some reason I had a brainfart and forgot to shoot my basilisk at the predator, taking a long shot at the rhinos and hoping to scatter backwards. It missed by a mile.

Now I started to take a beating. The Landspeeder fried all of my Guardsmen with it's heavy flamer, killing 9 and routing the last man. The scouts arrived and assaulted an infantry squad, and the predator killed the basilisk. Wayne's 2nd rhino raced forward but he didn't dismount his troops (it was touch and go whether he was in assault range or not). His other unit left their rhino behind and ran toward my gunline.

I took out that surviving rhino quicksmart and hosed both units on foot with lots of firepower, Both were halved in number. My Guardsmen put up a good fight in combat with the scouts. I had deployed every squad member in base contact so I qualified for +1 initiative from Close Order Drill. That meant I was swinging at the same time as the Marines and managed to drop one. Wayne rolled poorly and the fight continued. My plasma Stormtroopers dropped right into the wood to threaten the predator.

Wayne brought his Landspeeder 24" toward my firebase and they were so closely packed his heavy flamer would be devastating if he got to fire it. His bike had advanced up the other flank and now started sniping at my command and anti-tank squads at my rear (their infantry screen was tied up in combat with the scouts). The Grey Hunters made contact with my lead infantry squad, but again I put up a stiff resistance. They were eventually overwhelmed but I dragged down a couple of Marines on the way. His Bloodclaws would take another turn to reach my lines so the attached Wolf Priest cast stormcaller.

My main concern was to take down that 'speeder, so I dropped the melta Stormtroopers next to it. I rolled two misses. In return, the speeder flamed the Stormtroopers, killing every single one. Ouch.

The firebase took down the Priest and last 'claws. It was now that my unusual deployment came back to haunt me. Every unit I had was closer than 3" to each other, meaning that Wayne could consolidate from combat to combat and dodge my shooting. It was a war of attrition now, as I killed one model for every five he destroyed. In the end I triumphed through weight of numbers and close order drill. The Wolves were defeated in combat!

The final actions of the game were the 'speeder being shot down by a missile launcher and my Stormtroopers assaulting the side armour of the predator and immobilising it.

It was clear that I was ahead on victory points but in totting them up we found it was closer than it had appeared at first sight. I ended up 254 points ahead, just enough for a marginal victory. That last turn immobilization of the predator made the difference between a draw and a win.


Kennell's Commendation: The Stormtrooper squad with plasma guns who captured a table quarter and victory points by immobilising the predator with a few well placed Krak grenades.

Learning points
  • This was a good, tense game. My first against a true rhino rush army. I think my army stood up pretty well.
  • Close order drill was excellent. The Marine squads were already weakened by the time they hit my lines, so that extra kill or two per turn helped to wipe them out before they slaughtered everybody.
  • I really have to watch out for flamer templates. Just two shots with that heavy flamer destroyed about 200 points of my army. Eeek!

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