Friday, January 30, 2009

IMPERIAL GUARD versus Chaos Space Marines

Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition
Opponent: Gary
Mission: Recon
Level: Gamma
Location: Jakarth
Background: The Cadian 271st make a desperate last stand on Jakarth to buy time for other military forces in the sub-sector to rally.
1st turn: Chaos Space Marines
Points: 1500

Imperial Guard
  • Command Platoon 77, Captain Kennell Junior Officer, Company Standard, Medic, 3 Meltaguns, Sanctioned Psyker
  • Anti tank squad 3, Lascannons
  • 8 Stormtroopers, 1 meltagun, 1 plasma gun, Chimera
  • 8 Stormtroopers, 2 meltaguns, deep strike
  • Infantry Platoon 1
  • Command Squad 36, Junior Officer with power weapon and plasma pistol, 4 plasma guns
  • Infantry Squad 501, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 541, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Platoon 2
  • Command Squad, Missile Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 609, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher
  • Infantry Squad 812, Missile Launcher and Flamer
  • 20 Conscripts
  • Sentinel, Multilaser, smoke
  • Sentinel, Multilaser, searchlight
  • Sentinel, Autocannon, Extra Armour
  • Heavy Support
  • Basilisk, Indirect fire
  • Leman Russ, Heavy Bolter

Chaos Space Marines

  • Lord on Juggernaught
  • 8 Marines with Bolt pistols and Close Combat Weapons, aspiring champion with Daemonic Talons
  • Predator with heavy bolters and twin-linked lascannon
  • 5 Marines with 1 lascannon
  • 5 Havocs with 4 missile launchers and tank hunters
  • 8 Bloodletters
  • 8 Fleshounds
  • 8 Khorne Berzerkers with Aspiring champion with powerfist

What would Gary bring to today's game? In previous weeks he had brought Warp Spiders, a Vyper and Dark Reapers to add to his Biel-Tan Eldar army. Maybe another Wave Serpent. Or perhaps Jetbikes. What about an Avatar?

Well, he really took me by surprise by bringing Bloodletters! Gary was so appalled by the batterings his Eldar had gotten, he reverted back to Chaos, an army he had performed well with against my Guardsmen. I knew it would be a tough game for me.

When we rolled for the mission we got a six and had to make strategy rolls. Unsurprisingly the Chaos Space Marines won, meaning they could choose the mission. Gary went on to select Recon, as he knew it would seriously hamper my relatively static Guardsmen. It was going to be a very tough game for me indeed.

Deployment and Terrain
We had the choice of all the tables in the battle bunker and took the one with the most terrain. I felt that this was only fair to my opponent as we have played some other recent games on sparse tables, and the new 40k calls for more scenery.

This was to have rather serious ramifications for me when I looked more closely at the set-up. Both deployment zones had gigantic pieces of area terrain dead in the centre; one a three storey ruined building, the other a wooded hill. If you have followed my last few battle reports you will have gathered that I am experimenting with split deployment. The most crucial element to these tactics is to have clear lines of sight between your two groups of units. On this battlefield, no matter which deployment zone I got, that would be impossible. It was going to be a very, very tough game for me.

I got the zone with the building and set an infantry squad up in there, screening my las-cannons, with a Command section behind to stiffen morale. On the right I had the Basilisk behind a wood, another infantry squad and the Stormtroopers in the Chimera.

Everything else was on my left, in a set of ruins, with a good 18" of clear terrain in front of them. My plan was to lure the Chaos army into this area and rapid fire them to death.

The Chaos army set up centrally, opposite the tall ruin, and could go left or right. Interestingly, Gary had given his five man squad with the lascannon the infiltrate skill, and he deployed them on the other side of the wood from my Basilisk, 12" away. I wasn't so much bothered about the las-cannon as he would have to move first to get a line of sight (allowing me a chance to shoot the squad) but they had an icon, which would allow them to summon daemons onto my weakest flank. A cunning stunt.

Turn 1
The Chaos army won first turn and that lascannon squad moved to the edge of the wood, but not into it, meaning I couldn't see them. Clearly Gary was going to bring the Daemons on here if he had a chance. All of his units in the centre surged forward. The Havocs shot first and ripped the battlecannon off the Leman Russ. This left the Predator to target the anti-tank squad, who failed four out of four 4+ saves.

The Guard responded by destroying the Predator with a side shot, and killing 3 Marines in the middle from the foremost squad. I took the battle cannon off the defiler with a rocket launcher shot, so there was no ordnance at all on the left flank. On the right I risked difficult terrain with the Basilisk as I rolled into the wood and took a direct shot at the 5 infiltrators. I killed four, including the icon bearer, and only the lascannon remained.

Turn 2
The Fleshounds were summoned this turn and slammed into the conscripts on the left, routing them off the table. Oh well, at least the Daemons were standing out in the open in front of of over half my army. The lone lascannon Marine failed his last man standing test and fled the table. Hurrah!

The remnants of my anti-tank squad were wiped out by sporadic fire. Boo! The rest of the Chaos army ran forward and would probably be in combat next turn.

My two main goals for this turn were to kill the Fleshounds and wipe out the first Marine squad (which now had the Lord attached to it). The first half of my plan worked a treat, with the Fleshounds dispatched comfortably. The Marines were harder to shift. My main hopes rested on the now enfilading Basilisk but it scattered 5" on a direct shot and hit no-one. My Stormtroopers leapt out of their Chimera and rapid fired them, but, combined with an infantry squads shooting, only 3 died. Well, at least I had shoved a Sentinel out toward them to intercept the charge.

Turn 3
The Bloodletters showed up now but scattered backwards onto the wreck of the Predator. The Lord, the survivors of the Marine squad and the Berzerkers all assaulted the Sentinel and blew it to pieces. Everyone leapt forward toward the ruined building. The Havocs wrecked the now exposed Chimera, while the Defiler brought down my autocannon Sentinel.

It was now that the terrain in the deployment zone became a major hindrance. I couldn't see any of the Chaos units as they were out of line of sight, so my whole left flank had no real targets. In a big gamble I rushed the whole flank forward, hoping that at least some of them would reach the Chaos deployment zone and pick up some bonus victory points. The Russ moved forward with Kennell's Command section behind. The rest of my units used a ruin near the Chaos havocs to advance behind.

The rest of my forces on the right flank did their best to take down the Marines and managed to kill the rest of the depleted squad, but that still left the Bloodletters, the Berzerkers and the Lord. My Basilisk direct shot scattered 4" off the Berzerkers and killed nothing again. Aaaaaarrrrggghhhh!

Turn 4
The Chaos Lord charged the infantry squad in the building and got stuck in a long combat. The Berzerkers assaulted the Stormtroopers and killed four, but the survivors stayed. The Defiler killed the last Sentinel on the left, while the Havocs failed to hurt the Russ. The Bloodletters moved over toward the left, to intercept the advancing(!) Guardsmen.

My whole left flank advanced again, and I even managed to kill two Bloodletters as I did so. In the central building, the Lord killed off the infantry squad (taking wound in the process) and nearby, my Stormtroopers were wiped out. The Basilisk targeted the Bloodletters with a direct shot and again failed to kill any. Bloody hell!

My Stormtroopers with meltaguns arrived by deep strike and scattered 9" straight onto the Defiler, meaning they were automatically destroyed. I was in deep trouble now.

Turn 5
The Berzerkers barreled into the Basilisk and destroyed it in close combat, while the Lord caught up with my Command section and killed them all in one round. My whole right flank had collapsed, with only a single infantry squad remaining.

Again my left flank advanced, and they killed four Bloodletters this time. The Defiler shook off several hits and remained standing.

Turn 6
The Lord hit the last squad on my right and they routed off the board. Chaos now controlled this whole flank, although they had no scoring units here. The Defiler moved up on the left and shot at an infantry squad, taking them below half strength and preventing them from gaining the bonus victory points. The last two Bloodletters assaulted another infantry squad and took them under 50% although they held thanks to the proximity of Captain Kennell. The Havocs finally hurt the Leman Russ and immobilised it. At the last gasp the Chaos army had stopped me from picking up any extra points, as well as increasing their victory point total.

All I could do in return was try and gather some points of my own. Kennell's Command section ran over to the Defiler and shot it with 3 meltaguns. And didn't hurt it. Damn.

The combat with the Bloodletters continued but no further casualties were caused. Thus the game petered out...

We totalled up the points, thinking it would be close, but despite the fact that only 8 models remained in the Chaos army, they were comfortable winners by 1200 victory points to 850.

Result: Loss - solid victory for Chaos Space Marines

Imperial Control: Reduced 5%

Kennell's Commendation
The Basilisk just wins out amongst thin competition for that first shot against the infiltrating Marines. Pity it didn't hit a thing afterwards.

Learning points
  • I think that certain armies always struggle against particular foes. If Eldar struggle to beat Guardsmen then the Imperial Guard struggle to beat Chaos. The Daemons always manage to make it into combat across large distances (those bloody hounds can assault up to 24" in one turn), and the Chaos army can outshoot the Guard. I need to rethink things to try and outfox Gary, but what to do?
  • One thing I can try is adding more Inquisitorial allies, maybe an Inquisitor with a psycannon and an attached mystic. If I take him as an HQ choice I can then pick an Assassin. But which one? Decisions, decisions...

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