BATTLE ONE – PLANETSTRIKE: PLANETFALL
Grinning a grin that made Gretchin run away in fear and made even the bravest Boyz turn a slightly paler shade of green Bifgrab Ur Dregnaz, Warlord of the Eight Tribes, Krusha of empires of the umies, and ‘eadsmasher of the Goffs looked at the big hologram image of the planet that Mek Wumkbanok was making work with the judicious application of oil, blows from a hammer, and the foulest cursing. ‘Brilliant, that weird little magic freak wasn’t lying. Wherez e got to anyway? Bring im ere now!’.
‘He, he.. he’s dead’ squeaked out one of the gretchin always scuttling around the bosses chamber. ‘Dead iz e?’ growled Bifgrab as he popped the gretchins head in his fist for being impudent enough to address him. ‘No worries, we got more. Oi, Mek! take the ‘kroozer nearer to that rok! I wanna smash dem with my klaw… Once dem pesky humie ships ave been krumped we’ll all teleport to da surface and smash dem fake green bastards an steal their gear and build annuva Stompa’.
Barakiel was grim. His jaw firmly set and a faint grey fuzz beginning to appear on it after the distractions of the previous two day. In only 48 hours what had been a programme of testing of potential new recruits and discussions with senior Prol IX political and military leaders had turned into something decidedly different. The news from orbit wasn’t good. The xenos battleships were enormous and were spitting out fighters and bombers at a prodigious rate. Unfortunately his own strike cruiser had already left the system many weeks before and the planetary defence platforms in orbit and few vessels of the Imperial navy had not proved a match for the xenos fleet. Although it was now damaged and xenos airframe loss was estimated in the hundreds the xenos scum had managed to establish orbital supremacy. Barakiel knew that this meant only one thing, soon the foul villains in orbit would attempt to make landfall. Attempt though was all they would do. Barakiel had a small Dark Angel detachment from the proud 5th company with him on the planet and they would stop this so called invasion before it even began. As soon as it was clear where the landing would be made the Dark Angels could be there. Whilst the PDF and local guard regiments keep the populace from panicking and confront any minor landings Barakiel would go for a decapitation approach, taking the fight to wherever the biggest concentration of foul greenskin monsters made its appearance. The fight was about to begin.
The first scenario to be played was Planetfall, with the Orks as the atackers. Due to time constrains we would be playing a 1500 point game…
This was going to be harder than Bifgrab had initially thought it would be, the teleportas were out of whack and beaming the boyz to the wrong places and half the dropships had broken down before they’d actually left the hangers. “neva mind” he mused, casually stamping on a Grot to relieve stress, “wouldn’t be fun if It was easy”. On the horizon loomed an imposing bastion and Bifgrab was sire he could see flashes of dark green moving around the perimeter wall. “Ere we go Ladz! Letz get krumping!”
Barakiel maglocked the jump pack onto his armour. He surveyed the forces at his disposal. He knew that the Orks would come for them. Their fleet had already breached the orbital defences. The fleet was made up of flying asteroids, smaller craft cobbled together from old scrap and recovered imperial crafts, and a single large vessel. The large vessel, given codename Gamma-Delta 5975.25.6 by the imperium was made up of dozens of different types of vessels, imperial, xenos, and ones never before seen by Barakiel, soldered together in the uncouth manner of the Orks. It hurt Barakiel to even think of the defilement of the formerly proud imperial vessels that were now despoiled by the vicious greenskins. Now that the orbital defences, despite proud but ultimately futile resistance, were gone Barakiel knew that the Orks would be streaming towards the planet. He had put himself, with the small but elite force at his disposal, at a fortress outside of the Imperiallix Hive trying to lure the Orks to attack his forces. He knew their tactical stupidity would mean that they would charge at the biggest, baddest target they could see and that would mean that they would come for him. It was high risk but the only way to give the PDF and imperial guard in the Hive more time to prepare for the onslaught he knew would be coming.
The Dark Angels force consisted of Chaplain Barakiel, Librarian Turmiel (Ezekiel stand-in), Deathwing Command Squad, Dreadnought, Scout squad, Tactical squad, Devastator squad (missile launchers), Devastator squad (Heavy Bolters), Assault squad, Ravenwing Dark Talon, and two whirlwinds.
The Ork force consisted of 3 Trukks with Boyz in, 1 Trukk with Burnas in, 1 Battlewagon with the Warboss and 5 Meganobz in, 1 Blitza Bomber, a large mob of Stormboyz, a Deffdred, 3 Deffkopters and a terrifying pack of Gretchin.
The battlefield was arrayed before the Orks with the Dark Angels deployed within, on and around a central fortress and surrounded by aegis defence lines on every side. The Orks decided they couldn’t have the Dark Angels possessing such an important fortification and so they decided to crash some of their smaller crafts from orbit down towards the Dark Angels to make sure that they wouldn’t enjoy the luxury of a well defended base. These craft (Firestorm attacks) crashed to earth destroying the fort and killing a number of marines (Yeah, a whole two… – Bifur), dealing a heavy blow to the Dark Angels before battle was even joined.
With the Orks beginning to charge onto the field of battle something went wrong with the battlewagon filled with the Warboss and Meganobz (drop zone denial stratagem) and they entered the battlefield miles from the action. A Trukk full of Boyz came in from reserves and the Strom Boyz also entered the fray by deepstrike, but unfortunately (for the dastardly Ork boss) they scattered a little further away from the Dark Angel defences than they wished. With no Orks able to charge this turn the Dark Angels struck back, a round of effective shooting from the Dreadnaught and Dark Talon saw all the Boyz destroyed. The whirlwinds killed six of the Storm Boyz and caused the rest to flee.
The following turn saw the Ork Deffdred also come on far from the action and he was to play no further role in the battle (Stupid dred pilot getting lost… – Bifur). The Blitza Bomma had an instant impact on the Orks struggle with a single bomb destroying a whirlwind and shaking the other, meaning it wasn’t able to fire the following turn. The Meganobz got ready to charge the librarian and his Deathwing command squad by firing at them with a Burna, which by all rights should have just slightly warmed them up; instead it killed the terminator with the Deathwing banner (on the only wound caused I rolled a 1 for my 2+ save and a 1 for my 5+ FNP). The Warboss and Meganobz charged the Deathwing with the Warboss smashing aside the Deathwing Champion with contemptuous easy. In return a Meganob was killed and the Orks fled after losing the combat. The Dark Angel revenge started with one of the Deffkopters being shot apart and the other two damaged by various units firing at them only for the ancient battle brother inside the dreadnaught
to rip them out of the air with his power fist. The rest of the Storm Boyz ran off the board, Bifgrab would not be pleased with their very unorky cowardice: running from a good punch-up. The assault squad led by Chaplain Barakiel and the Terminator command squad led by Librarian Turmiel charged the Warboss and Meganobz wiping them out, but not before the foul Bifgrab had grievously wounded Turmiel when fighting one on one (Bifgrab took out Turmiel in a challenge before the unit was wiped out after losing combat and being chased down). (I think what you mean to say is that rhe great Warboss Bifgrab expertly exterminated the pitiful psycher only to be unceremoniously brought down from behind by a few lucky chops from a power axe… – Bifur).
The following, and final turn (we ran out of time), saw the Orks only managing to kill a single Marine thanks the efforts of the diligent Burna Boyz (From about 15 Burna hits to the unit! Sodding marine armour!). In reply the Dark Angels destroyed the bomber with the Icarus Lascannon, and the Trukk carrying another mob of Boyz was destroyed by the Scouts. The Rift Cannon on the Dark Talon only managed to kill one Burna despite a direct (vortex) hit (I rolled 3 1’s from four dice to kill the boyz).
With that the combat ended and the smoke cleared across the battlefield. Despite losing their fort to the initial bombardment and two of their venerable Deathwing Command Squad bodyguards for Librarian Turmiel, along with the Librarian himself the Dark Angels stood victorious. In return for the damage wrought to nine battle brothers and a Whirlwind the Orks had lost 14 boyz, three Burna Boyz, three Deffkoptas, all their Storm Boyz, the Blitzabomma, their Meganobz, and big boss Bifgrab. The remaining Orks skulked away (Tactically retreated at speed – Bifur), licking their wounds. I held all six objective markers at the end of turn three and had first blood and slay the warlord meaning the Dark Angels won 20-0 on Victory Points. (Yeah, but there’s always more Orkz where they came from, how many Deathwing you got to replace that Champion, eh? – Bifur)
In the end this turned out to not be a very close game. Bringing on the army in dribs and drabs harmed the Orks, as did the fact that the slow moving Ork Deffdred couldn’t get into combat (and may not have even in five turns of fighting). The Dark Angels started with everything, apart from the Dark Talon, on the board and although risky with the Firestorm attacks it meant that they were able to respond with a lot of force against each wave of Ork attacks. The first Firestorm attack destroying the central fortress, and the quad gun emplaced on it, was a real blow to the Dark Angels, but subsequent firestorms did no damage. The best Ork models were the bomber, dealing 5 HP to the Whirlwinds with bombing runs, and the Warboss who took out both the Deathwing Champion (stupid 1 wound terminators) and Librarian in combat. The best Dark Angel models were the Dreadnaught (who took out loads of Boyz, Deffkopters, and a Trukk earning himself battle honours), and Dark Talon (apart from the terrible rolling to kill Burna Boyz at the very end). The worst were the Librarian, who didn’t manage to cast invisibility once (I rolled not a single 4+ on five dice at one point), and the Deathwing banner bearer who couldn’t make a 2+ armour save against a flamer. Had we gone on for at least two more turns the orks would have gained at least one objective marker as their now disembarked Boyz would have ripped through the scouts holding one objective but it was doubtful they could have taken many more. The ring of steel surrounding the fort (aegis defence lines) that the Trukks and battlewagon couldn’t get through really limited the Orks mobility and ability to enter combat quickly. Talking after the game it was thought that fewer vehicles, more Boyz (especially with jump packs), and more deep-striking might have helped the Orks. From the Dark Angel side I think I did well to pick a strong close combat unit to take on the Orks who I knew would be really strong in combat. My Deathwing Command squad is set up for close combat and allied with Ezekial giving them all one extra attack they could dish out some damage (although the psyker managed to do nothing in the psychic phase). Any other unit would have been chewed through by the Meganobz and Warboss. It was also the first time I took a flyer and I was happy with how I used it, taking out a lot of Orks. Deciding to start most my army on the field of battle was a calculated risk too but paid off. . I don’t really know what to do with my warlord though, a Chaplain just isn’t that impressive and so seems like a bit of a points sink. I’m also concerned about my inability to counter the orks in close combat. Apart from the Deathwing Command Squad nothing else I have, including the assault squad, is really capable of taking on even standard orks in close combat, especially as Bifur loves to run them with close combat weapons giving them even more attacks.
Bifur here, just thought I’d add my thoughts on the battle: I think my greatest enemy in this game was complacency. Well, that and all the space marines with the guns, but complacency on my part really hurt. I thought this scenario was heavily weighted in my favour; after all I was rolling for my reserves from the first turn, had a load of Firestorm attacks to lay down all over his forces and I was playing Orks so could just race the Ladz up in Trukks into the compound disembark and smash face, right? No. Not at all. My reserve rolls sucked and my opponent had grabbed himself a lovely (and surprisingly sneaky for a marine) stratagem which meant there was a 50/50 chance he got to choose where my reserves came onto the table from, in this case it happened to my Warlords Battlewagon, by Dred and my pack of Grotz (that last one really hurt…). All in all I was outmanoeuvred and out fought. Damn those tactically savvy marines. Should I ever replay this one I would rewrite my list in a more Orky fashion: less toys, more Boyz. Bigger units of foot slogging infantry rather than small units in Trukks. They don’t have that much ground to cover to get to the Imperial lines and can actually get over the wall when they get there. I remain unconvinced by both Stormboyz and DeffKoptas but may take them again in future games to give them another try. This game was the first I had been able to take and use my Bomma and it was awesome, those S10 armourbane bombs make short work of tanks and were my only real anti-armour apart from power Klaws… Maybe next time I’ll take a Squadron of them…
That had gone badly, much worse than Bifgrab had thought it might. It hadn’t helped that most of the Ladz were late but what really pissed him off was getting a beat down from a load of umies! “just youz wait you green shelled scum” he growled. He’d only just escaped with his life: horribly wounded he’d grabbed hold of the rear bumper of the Battlewagon as it had fled. He’d been dragged across the blasted dirt for what felt like miles but he was alive. Alive and angry. “ello boss” said a familiar voice behind Bifgrab. As he turned he saw his Weirdboy leaning against the doorframe. “i thought you was ded?” Bifgrab rumbled. “yeah, but I iz better now boss” said the Weirdboy casually. This made sense to the Warboss and he continued his original train of thought “well, we’d ere. Now wot?”. “I was finkin boss: We’ve managed to grab dis scrap of land with a arf decent fort, I say we get all da rest of da Boyz down from orbit and go to war proper this time.” Bifgrab liked this idea and decided not to kill the Weirdboy for a second time…
Barakiel powered down his Crozius, the power field running through it burning off the greenskin ichor that had stained it. His small force had proven more than capable of beating back the Xenos filth but Barakiel knew it was only the first wave. He had struck down the filthy xenos warlord himself. But he knew that would not be the end to it, they couldn’t find the corpse and even if they did he knew some other petty warlord vermin would arise to press the attack. But Barakiel was pleased by this thought. Although there would no doubt be further suffering and further casualties (especially amongst the civilians and domestic imperial forces of the planet), this was an opportunity to both test the population of Prol IX as potential future recruits for the First Legion and to prevent a nascent Ork Waagh from gathering the momentum and materials that Prol IX would provide to really start to cause mayhem across the Calixis sector. Barakiel walked over to Honoured Brother Varsin in his dreadnaught. Although his assault cannon was still smoking, blood spattered his power fist, and he was surrounded by dead Orks Varsin was already reciting litanies of faith for the dead. Barakiel knew that next time they would bleed the Orks further. Their time on Prol IX was already limited.