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[E:A kriegspiel] Narrative IG vs. BT, defence of Taranus


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#1
Sherrypie

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And now for something completely different.

With self-isolation and all that jazz going on, but the itch to game still burning strong, it seemed a fitting time to try out something I've been eyeing for a while. As wargames go, there are basically two broad categories: Little Wars (from Wells) with opponents clearly gaming it out between each other and good ol' Kriegspiel, where it's more about command and orders in a more lifelike situation as refereed by an umpire. But why not a bit of both, one wonders?

So, with that idea in mind I wanted to both get a better idea of how Epic Armageddon works and offer a few pals of mine a chance to hop in the boots of various bigwigs up in the command chain. I set up the field, lists and the scenario and gave the players a rundown of what their sides have and how they do in descriptive terms. The commanders would not worry about mechanics or see any of the dice rolling, they'd have to see the effects and live with what info they can glean. Naturally I'd give them clarifications on what can be achieved, what odds are in general for different situations and so on, but for the most part they sat on the edges of their command thrones and pondered what general orders they'd issue to the lines while I processed their subordinates who actually carried out... something along those lines. Both sides were in the dark about what their opposition is bringing, where they are and so forth until they came close enough to see something, used scouts, fired flares for spotters and so on. Naturally some liberties and oddities were taken with the rules corpus, as the situation was much more of a narrative simulation than a straight up battle game. Great fun was had in the cruel fog of war with secret orders, hurried phone calls to the front and all-important initiative rolls to see who actually gets to act before all is lost :)

On with the show!


*****
Seren II, a verdant agriplanet, had for the longest time been at peace. In the centuries long lull of solitude, generations of laxed standards had left the higher-ups in the defence forces and political powers that be to slowly slide into a silent separation into a self-dependent government beyond the oppressive Imperium's grasp. At some point the cessation of enormous food exports would be noticed in the wider Imperium and provoke action to remind the Serenites that their's was not a position of negotiation. While larger forces of imperial guard were gathering in the system for a massed planetary assault, a lightning strike from a nearby Benith flotilla of Black Templars shot through the blue skies on wings of fire.

Aboard the strike cruiser "Fist of Dorn", marshal Taraxacum adressed the situation. Planetfall was made in the dark of the night near the rural heart of the Taranus area and the first troops under castellan Grimwald were rumbling towards the important depot complex that was key to cutting the breadbasket of the separatists in half. It must be taken and held, unharmed, until the larger forces can arrive to crush the disorganised defences. Nodding to his terminator brothers as they were preparing to escort Langbar, the visionary champion, to the teleportarium, he turned his attention to the camera feeds from below.

On the planet's surface, commander Archibald 'Blood'n'Guts' Wodestone-Callahan of the planetary defence forces was rudely woken in the night when alarms of fiery dropships were sounded. Having time to only pick up his smaller hat (boasting fewer skulls), he rushed off to kick the 157th linecompany of the 4th home army moving. The Taranus depot must not fall into the oppressor's hands nor can it be destroyed or we'll have a famine in our hands. Get to it!


******

The situation starts before dawn in the dark. Texts were in Finnish, "short" and "mid-range" for scales, "agri depot Taranus" and "bio-center Taranus Minoris". Marine forces in the lower right corner were in transports, as were most of the guard units in mechanised detachments. Infantry markers are 10 men, vehicles 1-2 per.

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With the initiative on their side, the black clad Astartes slowed to combat approach and trundled onwards. Both commanders order moderately cautious advance before a contact is made to see what is happening.

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The homefront sends Valkyries to drop sergeant Benetto and his storm troopers to the woods near bunker 3 but they are intercepted by the Thunderhawk Sword of Justice as it screams over the field on reconnaisance flight, forcing the air taxis to dive hard into the woods in order to avoid effective fire. Hetman Trajan and his cavalry scouts trot towards bunker 3 to see if anything moves on the flank, but are soon taken by surprise as the Templars led by sergeant Holz jump out of their still moving Rhinos and start sending missiles towards them. An explosion throws ground and stumbling horses around, but miraculously none are lost as the riders turn sharply and retreat to relay information back to HQ. The 157th take positions along the main road as artillery commander Felix and his Basilisks drop flares near the road, where castellan Grimwald and his men are approaching in their Land Raider Crusaders.

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The action opens up properly when the hidden Basilisks open against Holz's men near bunker 3. Fields are ripped open as Rhinos and marines are blasted apart in the rain of death, survivors scrambling towards the bunker firing half blindly in the woods where the concealed storm troopers return scattered potshots in their general direction. Something is stuck with the Valkyries after the rough landing and they are forced to spend a while fixing their stuff, while Trajan's men take a piss at the order to charge bunker 3 and instead dismount to enjoy a bottle of local vodka. In the middle, Grimwald and the Crusaders crash through the woods before the waiting (but startled) guns of the defenders. Even though the mighty Baneblade, Freedom's Yearn, opens on them it is too far to bring effective stopping power against the veritable moving fortresses that are Land Raiders as they take the intersection and charge towards the biocenter and corporal Betson's group. One brutal clash later Betson and thirty men lie dying on the ground, rest fleeing for their lives even as commissar Len is shouting at them to grow some spine. While this is going on, corporal Huts is rushing southwards to capture bunker number two and roll out some prepared anti-air guns as the Sword of Justice rakes them from above. Even worse, something moves beond their sight at the flare's edge as the level headed brother Corvan, commander of the Predator detachment, opens up with a deadly accurate laser fusillade that skewers half of their Chimeras on the road.

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Castellan Grimwald is in bloodlust and unable to see how his subordinates are utterly pinned in the crossfire at the center, under las- and autocannon skots from all directions as Freedom's Yearn rolls on their position. As it blows up one Crusader and a few men, it in turn is devastated in a huge fireball as brother Corvan's impeccable Predator team hits a critically pressurized coffee maker behind it's front plates with longrange laserfire. Before Grimwald's position is overrun from all directions, Sword of Justice comes for another pass way too low for an attack run and opens its sides as furiously screaming angels of death shoot out on fiery jump packs and crash into Huts' detachment by bunker 2. Most of their men are slain by the transhuman monsters as the rest throw down their guns and run for their lives. From the North, corporal Ramirez and his fresh reserves charge out of the woods to take the biocenter's gardens from Grimwald but are brutally beaten back by the black knights, who fight a tenacious retreat out of there, dragging their crazed commander with them as plunging fire from colonel Halliwell's group at the depot wreck another Crusader. Situation at the eastern flank gets dire, as the Valkyries finally take flight again and unleash a rocket barrage on ancient Antaberro and the other dreadnoughts, breaking them, while Benetto draws his saber and charges sergeant Holz's position at the bunker.

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The air crackles as terminators appear in the northern crossroads, charging up the depot led by Emperor's Champion Langbar and take the enemy HQ by surprise. As they slaughter colonel Halliwell and his fiery orator aide, commissar Hart, hero of the revolution with scant casualties back, the rest break and scramble out of the windows and gangways to get away from the avenging horrors clad in black. Simultaneously Corvan shows again why he is an absolute boss as the Predators drive up and blow up five Chimeras on the field before they can support the right flank, driving them away just as broken as the other remnants of Halliwell's detachment. All is not gloomy for the defenders, though, as castellan Grimwald regrouped towards bunker 2 only in time to eat an artillery barrage, breaking his last men again and driving them out of there. Fritz, the leader of the bloodspattered assault marines, takes to the skies to avoid the worst of the barrage and jumps to take the fight towards the biocenter, but misjudges the situation and is torn down by massed lasfire and bayonets of the men there after decapitating the brave commissar Len in a duel. Trajan's riders, having drunk all their current alcohol reserves, finally see the order to Emperor-fokken-dammit charge out and fix explosives in their lances before rushing to bunker 3. Holz, already under fire from the commandos and exploding dreadnoughts, is crushed by the cavalry charge even as his power fist punches through one rider as a last ditch effort. Benetto's group slips into the bunker's vault just in time to avoid the wrath of the Sword of Justice as it bombards the ground above. With their charges underground, the Valkyrie squadron decides to call it a day and disengages from the airspace before actually having to deal with the Sword of Justice again. Wodestone-Callahan is livid as he hears of this cowardice.

At the break of dawn, Benetto's men would roll a back-up Baneblade, Aigal's Might, out of bunker three as a great pillar of fire flashes down from the heavens to obliterate Felix's battery near bunker one in an orbital strike from the Fist of Dorn.

Situation seems drawn and no clear winner has taken the field as reserves start pouring in. This might escalate into some sort of a campaign during the Spring... :P

Thanks for reading!


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#2
Sherrypie

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What-ho, once more unto the breach we go! More adventures in the fog of war as told by your most obedient servant.


***

This time the outskirts of the Taranus Obscurus area flare up in flames as the secessionist armies of Seren II try to push through to more important hot zones with their armoured forces. They fear encirclement by the marine forces and a portion of their strenght is sent to deal with the situation before it develops, but this might have been their intention all along as the 25th armoured company of the 4th home army trundles onwards into the waiting hands of the hidden Templars...

Can the iron will of general Archibald "Blood'n'Guts" Wodestone-Callahan push through and help the beleagured defenders of Taranus proper? Has reclusiarch Aramias Franz of the Benith flotilla drawn his armoured fist into its doom? Will anyone think of the poor farmers and the foppish relatives of governor Beldengrade at all?


***

Under the direct command of major Möbius, the 25th are marching the Russes of lieutenant Telos southwards with the intention of driving away any enemy forces before they can endanger the larger operation. Second lieutenant Fedel, utilizing the amphibious Chimeras, is joining the convoy from the east as we begin.

The view from the Serenite side:

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Meanwhile, having observed the advance of the Russ column, an outrider group of fast moving Black Templars awaits in ambush. Sensing the approaching clash, chaplain Beren has been sent some reinforcements in the form of "Witches' Pyre", a Thunderhawk loaded with assault marines that is on the way to the front.

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TURN 1

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As the sides in general advance, the Templars go in aggressively and sergeant Nachtor with his land speeders dives in to terrorize second lieutenant Fedel's troops as they are still getting to the shore. One Chimera is blown up and men inside either drowned or torn apart as they try to scramble out, rest surging forwardsto try and get into the cover on the shore.

Sergeant Peralta puts pedal to the metal and orders his bikers near the warehouse B-II to drive North and take the up-link station, gaining daring recon on the enemy positions while doing so. They are not quite quick enough to do this unnoticed, as major Möbius is setting his field command into the nearby hab-area and word soon passes to Telos' tankers who light up the station. Even while trying to avoid wrecking the whole place, they basically annihilate Peralta's men sans his own attack bike, which then careens eastwards to take a breather in the bushes. Sergeant Herbert, of the other biker squad, meanwhile goes to Villa Nebule to politely knock down some doors and mail boxes of the local bigwigs with a chainsword to tell them it's not yet too late to return to the Emperor's light.

TURN 2

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The action turns hot as flak starts flying and the firts speeder falls from Nachtor's group as they head away from Fedel's beaten group to gang on the tank column with everyone else. Peralta, the surviving member of his squad, considers a career choice as the hottest desperado on these roads as we'll come to see while brother Alderon of the Predator detachment opens fire on the front Russ. Ineffectively from so far, though. Telos, unsure of the situation beyond the crowded road and still eyeing the station to his East, mills about a moment too long and fails to urge his men onwards into a line on the southside of the up-link station. Through a hail of anti-air fire from the Hydras, "Witches' Pyre" swoops in to drop Lovel's assault marines into the Villa to bolster its defences while the plane itself goes to bombard the road in front of Telos apart. Some shots find their mark, though, and a trail of smoke pours forth from the Thunderhawk as it flies away.

Chaplain Beren and his men in their Land Raiders take positions by B-II, with the intention to jump on the tanks when they advance further onto the road, unaware that hetman Iberus and his riders in the western woods have spotted this info up in the chain.  

TURN 3

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Nachtor's speeders rake the northern forces as Alderon's Predators jump the road and skewer the front Russ with deadly rays of light. Return fire from the tanks, who manage to get some of their act together, reduces most of Alderon's squad to molten scrap forces the last Predator to seek cover behind the trees as their previous position, now garrisoned by Herbert's bikers, is attacked by the advancing Hellhounds of one particularily effective sergeant Bucher.

Sdlaw's riders on the east, accompanying the Hellhounds, sneak towards the Villa in the woods but are taken completely by surprise when Lovel's assault group in the shade. No sign of them is heard again. Another assault squad, led by sergeant Erez, on the western side fare much worse. The Russes have stopped and Wodestone-Callahan has ordered Iberus' cavalry to charge forth to tie the Crusaders down, but this gets down the line a moment too late and the cross-marked assault tanks have already sped forwards towards the intersection. Iberus' men trot after them, but before they completely lose their momentum, Erez and his men drop on them from "Witches' Pyre" above and learn that dropping in front if a cavalry charge with shaped charges in their lances is still a bad idea, even if you have power armour. As the assault squad below gets trampled and scatters, the Thunderhawk is facing too much flak and retreats from its attack run.

Beren and his men, denied a proper engagement with the Russes, crash into the woods near them and fire missiles from the hip as they spill out of their Raiders. One Russ blows up, as their small arms and occasional las-shots from across the road rattle the flora around them.

Fedel's men, still a bit disoriented, waddle onwards trying to get a grasp of the situation.

Governor Beldegrade's relatives are most unhappy with being manhadled by the inhuman invaders and scream at major Möbius over the phone to stop at once or these brutes will hurt them. Möbius tells them to sod off into a basement and eat an artillery barrage.

TURN 4

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Sergeant Herbert, figuring it sucks to be burnt alive, leads his bikers to the warehouse B-II while chased by the furious Hellhounds to drive doughnuts on the field, leading them on to a merry chase that denies them any good shots. There they are confronted by the nearby cavalry, who find out horses don't do too well against heavy bolter fire and crush such upstarts with impunity. This does, however, cost them too long and sergeant Bucher gets a bead on them, setting the whole warehouse area alight. Only Herbert and some of his attack bikes make it out alive.

In the centre, assisted by the rogue remnants of his outriders, chaplain Beren charges out to take the tank column by storm but is driven back, broken, by a determined hail of las-fire and antipersonnel tanking after blowing up three more Russes. This includes Beren personally boarding and disabling Telos' command Vanquisher. The Serenite victory is short-lived, however, as the surrounding fire from all sides soon breaks their morale and drives the now leaderless tanks back North. Peralta, dashing around them with his multi-melta, wreacks havoc amidst the retreating tanks.

Same cannot be said of Lovel's group in the wood near Villa Nebule, as Fedel is warned of the riders' disappearence and hunkers down in case of violent psychomonks, which proves rather timely. A short assault follows, where some Chimeras are lost to melta bombs but the marines are otherwise broken and scattered to the winds by a stalwart defence.
 
TURN 5

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As major Möbius prepares to charge the up-link, Beren rallies his men to keep it as some of them hack the communications and manage to contact artillery not currently sectioned under Wodestone-Callahan's command. With a bit of social hacking shenanigans, the road full of wrecked Russes soon opens up in a dust cloud as a barrage of explosive shells hits the ground near Möbius' position and throws his Hydra around in pieces. Understandably startled, the major wastes no time to take advantage of whatever happened as a screen and rushes forwards to take the link station. Many fall on the way under the relentless overwatch of the marines inside, more yet to their blades, but in the end the bloodied men of the 25th kick the remaining knights in black out of the premises even as Peralta harries yet more Russes to their grave.

In the South, Bucher has had it with these lasers and forces Alderon to abandon his tank by bathing it in flames. Poor Fedel can't have a break even when no enemies are around and some of his Chimeras get stuck on tree trunks on the way to liberate the prisoners at Nebule.

TURN 6

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Möbius and his men hastily throw tables and beds about to fortify their position against the inevitable countercharge from the regrouped marines, but in a brilliant stroke of having had it, sergeant Bucher take the initiative and flies over to grill all remaining infantry from Beren's detachment. As the still burning chaplain is dragged into the retreating Crusader, the remaining outriders see the situation and head off to kepp the pressure on the tank column or what remains of it. Together, with Peralta at their head, they finish off the final tanks and bugger off towards their extraction site, leaving behind a bludgeoned rural community and a group of shooked guardsmen.

RESULT:

A draw on the field, with the Templars achieving their objective of destroying the tank column and the guard keeping the hold of their area while breaking the strenght of their enemy. The Russes did not get through, but neither did the Templars capture Möbius for questioning. Given the strategic value of the armour destroyed, while the broken encirclement was a feint to begin with, on the strategic level this probably dips more in the Templars' favour.

Thanks for reading!


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#3
TheWeepingAngel

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Such an awesome idea! Very evocative, and a creative way to play during isolation. Looking forward to more!

#4
Sherrypie

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Cheers, TheWeepingAngel :)

More will come, eventually, when work allows.

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#5
Sherrypie

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Me oh my, here we go again! A new challenger appears.

At the fringes of the Taranus area, after the lightning strikes of the Templars, time has come for the imperial warmachine to change from a scalpel to a sledgehammer.

Having gotten a whiff of their landing areas near a local chemical plant, the 146th line company of the fourth home army has rushed to fortify the site against the incoming tide. This time general Wodestone-Callahan has had time to don a proper hat instead of rushing out in his pajamas, but as ever in defensive warfare, it's not like you ever have enough time before they are on your walls. Portioning some pillbox building equipment and tractors to the front, he picked up a phone and started listing orders to captain Cromwell while the moral officers were down at the trenches, raising the spirits. This was no fight for a mere sweatshop, this was a glorious undertaking to ensure our population's independence and sovereignity, free from tyranny and subjugation!

TIMPERIUM_OF_MAN.jpg

Beyond the sight of the toiling builders, a more straightforward discussion took place. As the huge orbital landers were unloading troops and machinery for the upcoming planetary invasion, some were eager to get things on the way. Lord-Commissar Krampf would suffer no lollygagging when there were wars to be fought, here or elsewhere, with or without the heavy equipment that took so long to set up. Besides him, a man silently nodded, his features hidden by a gas mask so iconic of his ilk. Without hesitation, major Vogel and his 27th assault regiment of the 15th occupational army would march to war. That was what he was born and bred for, as were the rest of the men from the Death Korps of Krieg.



RegStd-Oct11-Content1jr.jpg

DEPLOYMENT.

We've got a toxic hellscape near the central Factories, a Seat of Power to the right and some workers' Barracks to the south. Keeping a hold of these was naturally of interest to the defenders, while the attacker would want to take the important infrastructure and execute the work force as a good old fashioned back-hand slap to the face for the planet's population as to who is the law.

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Captain Cromwell's situation wasn't too much to his liking. No mines, no air support, a few hundred men and a battery of guns for the most part. Even the local bigwigs were a bunch of uptight arsefaces more keen on their petty squabbles than helping out. Still, even they had to be protected I guess, he sighed. At least he knew Fezos, their tank ace, was good at his job. If only the tanks were, too, old rust buckets all. They hadn't had too much time to dig in either, with a strip or three of some narrow trenches near the factories, seasoned with a sprinkling of fortifications in each. Really helpful, if what he'd heard of Imperial was true: either they'll bombard you for a month or drop cannibal angels from the sky to eat you alive limb by limb. Real helpful.

TURN 1.

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Heavy transports trundled closer by the roads, revving up speed as they ate the distance. Lieutenant Arnak position in the south was raked by fighter planes as a wall of smoke erupted in their front, preparing the way for the men hurtling forwards in their Gorgons. In the North, second lieutenant Fezos peered towards to road from under his camo net. Enemy tanks were coming closer in the open, what fools. Then again, who knew how much they had those bloody things. Having to make do with what he had, they opened fire on the invaders, slowly shifting in place to draw their return volleys into prepared dummies to throw them off. While there was something gentlemanly in the armoured duel of wits in the North, there was nothing noble in the South. As second lieutenant Maren and his Death Riders followed their major Vogel in their approach to the Barracks II area, pre-ranged artillery fire opened up on them and turned the fields to a deathly rain of mud in a heartbeat. Men and mounts flew apart, showering their comrades with their remains as they rode on. In kind, at Barracks I, lieutenant Messer and his group dismounted to systematically kick in doors and butcher everyone in sight as the fat cats watched from their cameras at the Seat of Power.

deathkorps.PNG

TURN 2.

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Lieutenant Hotzendorf crashed his Gorgons against the southern trenches and urged his men forwards through the smoke while Arnak's men let rip with their rifles and machine guns, scything through the attackers as they came. Fearing the worst, Huron's howitzer battery was given orders to fire on their position were it to look like it's getting overrun and soon deadly ordnance was raining on them. Unlike one might have thought, Arnak's group was actually handling the situation quite well and the Kriegers had trouble penetrating their line before they felt the need to fall back and regroup, else they all fall in the killing field before the trenches. Having met surprising resistance caused some milling about and made them an easy target as Huron's shelling fell on them, but since no-one had remembered to inform Arnak in time some of his were caught in it too and there was some livid yelling in the comms soon after.

Similar fears were had further East, as Wodestone-Callahan made lieutenant Rabaz at the Seat of Power force the local bastards either blow up the Barracks I from their control room NOW or his troops would be on the move NOW. After some sweaty diplomatic wrangling a series of explosions wracked what was left of Barracks I, though Messer and his men were already making their way through the woods towards the Seat of Power by then. Woopsie. Before they got close, though, there was one bright sec. lt. Holmar lying in wait for them, hidden between the trees. One surprise assault later Messer's troopes were fleeing away, trying to put some distance between the deadly foe and get some picture of the situation.

Up North it was business as usual. Fezos and his trusty rust buckets poured fire on to the Russes, blowing one up, while they kept on firing at their decoys ineffectively. It was like fighting shadows, the Russ' commander Holden later remarked, brushing aside he made the calls on what to shoot at. Meanwhile the Imperial Thunderbolts swerved between lt. Njurou's flak fire almost tauntingly, mangling one howitzer with a rocket as they whizzed past. If the flak were to be overtaken, nothing would stop the planes from harrassing Huron's guns to the ground.

TURN 3.

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Time to fix those bayonets, boys.

167-1678007_death-korps-of-krieg-warhamm

From the civilian slaughter of Barracks II, major Vogel's men charged up into captain Cromwell's position at the tip of the western trenches while smoke dropped behind him to shield them from punitive action in their flank, in which they were aided by the shrapnel launched from lt. Hotzendorf's position that pinned Arnak's forces down a bit. Though the counter fire from the pillbox was harsh, Vogel and his group did succesfully breach the bunker, taking both the good captain as a prisoner and threatening the nearby field guns of lt. Njurou. Not that they needed to, as sec. lt. Maren's riders soon brought their accompanying Hellhounds up and torched the guns with gouts of crawling flame. Gunnery commander Huron, upon hearing their partners' anguished cries on the comms, dismissed their last orders to fire on the Russes and furiously pounded the major's position instead, routing them momentarily. This turned out to be a slick move anyway, as the Russes had had enough playing with ghosts in the woods and instead rushed South full throttle, harried all the way by Fezos' fire that claimed another tank on the way.

As aircraft now boomed overhead unhindered, the situation in the eastern woods grew more and more chaotic. Explosions rocked the howitzer battery as lt. Rabaz was having a fist fight with the local factory overlords about something foolish instead of following Wodestone-Callahan's orders to ditch the blighters and make a run towards the factory area. Holmar's ambush group kept the pressure on Messer, but as the Kriegers realized they actually did outnumber their assailants, a surge of elan filled them and they charged. With the fighting now so close at hand, Rabaz could smack some sense into the elite and order support for their comrades in the woods, cutting trees and men down indiscriminantly as they fired in their general direction. Though Holmar and most of his men were cut down in the action, leaving few straggling survivors to run about in terror, so too were Messer's men mauled so badly by the flanking fire that they had to retreat further into the woods.

TURN 4.

1059315-.png

This is actually the defender's viewpoint, Messer's men are still there but they were just hidden by the smoke. Didn't grab a full picture for whatever reason, it seems tongue.png

With the thin red line starting to buckle, Fezos' tankers trundled out of their woods and blasted one of Maren's Hellhounds as they crested the trenches here and there, never giving a good shot for Holden's Russes were they to shoot back. Humiliated and angry, Holden merely waddled forwards for the time being without firing a shot. In the thick of things, Maren's remaining Hellhounds torched what was left of Cromwell's men at the western trenches and rolled into the area proper as Vogel regrouped his men into the Gorgons, which spent the time blasting shrapnel on Arnak's position. As contact was lost with Messer in the woods, a wall of smoke was thrown in lt. Rabaz' face at just the right moment to cause his men to suspect attack and keep on peppering the woods with bullets instead of advancing towards the factory. Once more, Wodestone-Callahan was not happy with this action. Nor was Rabaz for that matter, but he was too busy herding the rich idiots around.

Talking about busy, Lord-Commissar Krampf was also busy learning new names as Hotzendorf's group seemed to go through quite rapid changes. First it was Hotzendorf on the phone, until a sharp whistle of bullets cut him short. Then it was his commissar Ulwenwald (the craven coward, always looking for a chance to benefit) lamenting how Hotzendorf seemed to have had a little accident and how he must take charge. That, too, was cut short by an artillery strike. Then it was picked up by one of the Gorgon drivers...

TURN 5.

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Though Nadar and Klüm, the Thunderbolt pilots, were both veterans with lots of tricks up their sleeves, it seemed nothing could touch the ace that was Fezos. In erratic but determined zig-zag he led the 146th's armour through the rocket fire from above, evaded the deadly reach of the waiting Russes and still managed to blow up more Hellhounds and Death Riders while forming a wall of steel in front of the ever important factories.

Arnak, similarily, seized the moment to fall back on to the second line of defence before Vogel and what was left of Hotzendorf's company were on them. Running the trenches, they were kept safe from the murderous Hellhounds by Fezos' dogged fire on their flank and protected from roaming Gorgons by the last few operational artillery pieces still firing in their aid.

Everything hung on what was happening on the Seat of Power. Messer, beaten and bruised, for yet another time, rallied his men and charged towards the premises. What they had not foreseen were the extensive razor wires planted in their way, slowing and slashing them while Rabaz' fresh troops open fire on them with machine guns. Still some of the fanatics pushed through. Eventually, the crush was too much and yet again the Kriegers fell back in to the woods, but this time they were followed by the vengeful defenders and cut down to a man after a vicious and drawn out battle under the canopy. Sadly, though reinforcements were nearly here, lt. Rabaz himself would not live through the wounds he received leading the counter charge.

RESULTS.

With the Seat of Power and Factories tenuously in the defenders' hands but both Barracks succesfully wiped out by the attackers, it is a 2-2 draw on the ground. The attackers managed to capture a field commander, which might have to be rescued soon if such a thing is to be done (Imperium is not really known for its compassionate interrogation techniques), but similarily a draw tends to be okay for the defenders who have just managed to stay in there by the skin of their teeth as more forces start pouring in.

Hard to say what follows, except one thing: millions and millions of lives lost, thrown away on the field for a tentative hold on a piece of land or the glory of their commanders. And for what?

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Thanks for reading, folks. Happy wargaming smile.png

Edited by Sherrypie, 09 May 2020 - 09:15 PM.

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#6
Sherrypie

Sherrypie

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What-ho, once more unto the breach. This time the stakes get higher as more and more men march into the grind, so much so that it took us two days to play this through biggrin.png

*****

At the mauled factory hub of Taranus Terminus borders, lieutenant Arnak leaned on his shovel wearily. The enemy had been halted for a moment and they'd used the brief respite to dig new positions in place, but the invaders were clearly building another offensive further South in the dark of the night. Captain Cromwell was lost and dragged away with them and he was now the senior officer in what remained of the 146. company, much to his chagrin. Lost in thought, he was startled awake by a loud cough next to him. "Lieutenant Arnak?" asked a rather chipper man with a captain's tacks. "Alfons of the 112. reserves, assuming command. Get your men to positions and give them an extra mug of joe, we'll make it through this yet." Arnak, twitching a bit at the man's carefree attitude, saluted and huddled off to the soup trains. He wished he could've shared the captain's optimism as general Wodestone-Callahan's orders started pouring in from the vox.

In the dark before dawn, South of the factories, major Reichsberg of the 27. Krieg assault regiment studied the map of the area one last time. He was about to make damn sure Alfons' cheer would yet turn to bitter ash in his mouth as the order to move was sounded and hundreds of men surged forwards in their massive steel coffins. For Lord-Commissar Krampf and the Imperium, onwards!



*****

Welcome back to Taranus! This time we have so much troops on the field (~4000 points per side, attacker with more men but defenders having lots of prepared positions) I changed the visualisation a bit to keep things manageable so all detachments are now shown with singular icons but in case of huge swathes of troops their controlled area is indicated by a translucent block underneath. I also made prettier orders of battle for the commanders, both to raise the atmosphere and keep things concise  ~8)
(couldn't yet be arsed to change the language on the map to English, sorry! Next time then, when a new map is made I'll provide for your viewing pleasure. "Lyhyt" and "keskipitkä" in the scale denote short and midrange distances.)

In the defensive corner, the tenacious men of Seren II:

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And in the opposite corner, the ruthless paintrain that are the Death Korps:

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DEPLOYMENT

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In the South, both barracks I and II ("parakki I & parakki II") are bombed out and burned shells of previous habitats no longer important, while barracks III ("parakki III") in the West has been overtaken as a bridgehead position and converted into a supply dump for the invaders' armoured units. The central factory area ("tehdasalue") is still at the heart of both sides objectives, as are the vitally critical water pumps ("vedenpumppaamo") in the North and the symbolically important Seat of Power ("Vallan salit") in the East. Besides these locations, there are also victory points awarded for securing or cutting off, respectively, the larger supply roads to North and East of the area and for more ambitious plans like the attacker succeeding without 50% losses in manpower or the defender retaking barracks III from the enemy. Good luck with the last ones, both of you biggrin.png

ROUND 1

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In the northern fields tanks advance by the road as lt. Mauer's Leman Russes surge forwards and spotting something in the woods open fire. Turns out the defender had prepared some empty dummies there, commandeering transport tractors and trucks from the factories to confuse the opposition and succeeded in just that. As the civilian vehicles were being blown up, the actual tank units at the edges of the copse opened fire and forced Mauer back, two Russes going up in flames as they retreated. This in turn forced 2nd lt. Volleneis' death riders on the open to make way. Captain Feuerhaar wasn't too worried as he yawned and sipped coffee in his chair at the top of the Price of Disobedience, sluggishly trundling through the barracks and letting the younger officers take the first glory. Down in the Southwest, 2nd lt. Feldgrau and lt. Raoul made their way up the road as quickly as they could with no opposition besides some cosmetic bellringers from the western trenches as lt. Meros announced his defiance with the light pipes they had.

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At the first barracks the situation got a lot more heated.

While major Reichsberg was having a bit of C&C on the radio and advanced slower behind the rest of the column, a handful of huge Gorgon transports filled with riflemen and grenadiers punched into the first intersection already pounded by Earthshaker support from further South as preparation for the attack. Lt. Naawe, at the tip, discovered that the area was thoroughly trapped with anti-tank mines and soon lit up with lt. Huron's howitzer fire. As the artillery tore the spearhead apart, supporting fire from nearby lt. Morbu's and 2nd lt. Vesta's positions broke Naawe's detachment into falling back after losing one Gorgon and over 50 men in the opening salvos. The veteran grenadiers behind them kept on rolling however, heedless of small bumps and explosions as their heavyduty transports did what they were meant to do. Now knowing which trenches were properly occupied with the enemy, 2nd lt. Hauptman's heavy Bombard cannons opened up and tore through lt. Morbu's men, bunker busting shells caring not for their prepared positions as they tossed huge clouds of dirt and broken bodies in the air.

The air above the field was full of frantic action. Krieg's auxiliary Marauder bombers dropped their load East of the Seat of Power, ripping the forest in pieces but not causing any casualties while Nadar and Klüm were flying in escort. In haste, they had been sent in before proper count of the enemy capabilities was taken and 2nd lt. Vesta's flak battery near their route shot Wolt's bomber down in flames. This run was not a loss, though, as while the first pair of defenders' fighter planes were reluctant to engage with momentarily malfunctioning weapons, in their arrogance Saybak and Raminov still tried to engage the remaining bomber only to be both shot down from the sky by Nadar and Klüm hiding above in the clouds.

ROUND 2

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Krieg's Thunderbolts keep lt. Morbu's men at the first barracks rooted to the spot unable to escape as 2nd lt. Auberg's grenadiers barge in flamethrowers blazing, killing almost everyone sans the lieutenant himself as they take the position. This joy is shortlived, as the defenders counterattack with lt. Zabrat's detachment and drive the grenadiers in the open where they are destroyed by Fezos' tankers. Above their graves Lukas and Marie ambush their groundattacking counterparts in the sky, but just before they get the drop 2nd lt. Shreck gets the bead and blows Lukas to bits with AA fire. Enraged Marie pushes through and likewise cores Nadar's plane, crashing it into the woods below in a fireball.

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West of their position, Huron's artillery keeps on hammering the mined intersection as Gorgons push through. Through the maelstrom they too open fire with their one-shot mortars, filling 2nd lt. Vesta's battery with shrapnel and falling trees. Next to them, before lt. Naawe has had time to organize his remaining men into proper shape, an unauthorized charge from the men led by commissar Urjan was upon them. The good commissar had however underestimated the Kriegers' tenacity and pretty soundly whacked apart, his men torn to shreds as they tried to take on the fanatics their way.

In the North, the armoured war continued much as before. Lt. Mauer advanced slowly only to be again beaten back by a veritable wave of ordnance thrown his way while the Price of Disobedience rolled slowly on, pounding the woods near 2nd lt. Korozhev's northern tankers. 2nd lt. Volleneis started to trot through the fields themselves to gloriously charge the opposing lines, but was soon bogged down in the wet mud thrown about by 2nd lt. Jyerbic's tank platoon's suppressing fire. Behind the wall of steel, lt. Arnak rushed southwards through the factory area in order to bolster the crumbling South.

At the western front, 2nd lt. Feldgrau's tanks took position and started pouring fire on lt. Meros' lines to soften them up for lt. Raoul's impending assault.

ROUND 3

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The fight for the control of barracks I opens with another ground shattering salvo from Hauptman's Bombards, which take their horrible toll on lt. Zabrat's men. The rain of death ends rather quickly, though, as Huron's howitzers enact counter battery fire in an attempt to silence the southern anti-air fire but manage to hit Hauptman's position as well. This breaks both formations of guns in the South, causing havoc and misfiring munition magazines for pretty much the entire battle afterwards. For major Reichsberg, the ending of the bombardment is a sign to attack and he is off to storm Zabrat the hell out of there. Combined with Markov's Marauder bombing the area North of the trenches soon after, Zabrat is thoroughly shaken and his few tattered remains run for their lives. Rushing to claim the kill before it's too late, 2nd lt. Fezos rolls forwards to mow down those men who haven't yet had the time to consolidate into what remains of the trenches. Klüm, too shaken from Nadar's loss, is momentarily too far to intervene in the air as Marie, the defenders' sole remaining pilot, handles her grief in a different manner and recklessly charges the Marauder through its defensive turret fire and takes Markov down in a billowing trail of smoke that plows the woods.

Nearby, lt. Kram's grenadiers make short work of 2nd lt. Vesta's AA battery with their flamers, harried as they are from the flank by lt. Arnak's riflemen. At the same time captain Alfons moves from his command post to fire at lt. Naawe's remnants, driving them firther away from the factories.

The western front is relatively uneventful if not quiet for the time being, with lt. Raoul's group unable to rush ahead full steam due to 2nd lt. Jyerbic's tankers while trenches protect Meros' men from Feldgrau's Russes, but in the North we see a lucky one-in-a-million shot from 2nd lt. Zetter's AA battery penetrate captain Feuerhaar's window and throw a large gout of smoke and flames from Price of Disobedience, driving it backwards as the smaller tanks exchange fire without losses. (armour saves in this battle are on damn fire this game on both sides)

2nd lt. Volleneis' death riders advance in glorious formation through the tattered field, lowering their explosive lances in anticipation for the upcoming charge.

ROUND 4

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In the nick of time, Jyerbic's tanks open fire and cut down most of the charging riders, losing only one tank in the ensuing chaos but driving the cavalry back. North of them the AA batteries duel and lt. Mauer's Russes drive 2nd lt. Korozhev away from their pretty atomized wooden sanctuary with some long range help from captain Feuerhaar, a couple of Ragnaröks left burning in their wake.

Harrying actions are carried all over, as Fezos tries his best to hinder major Reichsberg's advance in towards the Seat of Power driving the broken defenders before him and captain Alfons keeps the pressure on lt. Naawe's dirty dozen. Huron's howitzers blow lt. Kram's grenadiers to smithereens and lt. Arnak's flanking fire drives the few stragglers further into the forest. The attacker's southern guns are still out of order as malfunctioning fuses and exploding munitions keep 2nd lt. Hauptman's group busy extinguishing fires.

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The sledgehammer hits on the western trenches as lt. Raoul charges lt. Meros supported by previous shelling from 2nd lt. Feldgrau's tanks. Wodestone-Callahan has ordered a last stand and that is what Meros delivers, dying literally to the last man in an extended bloodbath that takes a hefty pound of flesh down with them from the assaulting forces, but still ultimately falls under the superior numbers of the equally shaken Kriegers, who consolidate into the trenches to take a breather among the corpses.

ROUND 5

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The race in the East continues, major Reichsberg pushing quickly through the woods with Fezos on his heels, Alfons and Wodestone-Callahan bellowing orders to the fleeing defenders to regroup and stand in vain. Hauptman is shaken by more malfunctioning munitions.

In the middle Jyerbic's Ragnaröks are driven out of the line with hard losses by a combination of air to ground rockets, Baneblade cannons and encircling Russes while lt. Raoul's line gets a minute to catch their breath in the trenches, though they are still pretty badly pinned by the enemy infantry consolidating in the factory area.

Attacker's northern forces are somewhat routed, though, as lt. Huron's artillery obliterates 2nd lt. Haber's AA battery sans one tractor and Marie disobeys orders to attack Feldgrau's tanks, opting instead to try and destroy the smoking Baneblade. This gamble does not pay off, but forces Feuerhaar again to fall back and yell for extra hands to put out fires in the limping behemoth.

ROUND 6

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The central line is in chaos, with remaining Ragnaröks pulling back from the onslaught while 2nd lts. Feldgrau and Shreck hammer captain Alfons' command bunker mercilessly as lt. Naawe's remnants advance up and capture a pillbox while noting for the command that this road too is filled with mines, götterdammerung. Lt. Huron's artillery takes some pressure off the captain by blasting Feldgrau's position (without casualties), but still lt. Mauer's Russes keep on advancing into enemy territory, blowing another of Korozhev's tanks apart as they go.

The northern attack falters as Volleneis keeps on retreating and Price of Disobedience smokes hard, but one spark of hope thunders forwards as the last puny tractor from the AA battery supresses 2nd lt. Zetter's last remaining crew on the chemical waste hills and dashes towards the water station.

In the East major Reichsberg is having trouble with keeping command of the situation elsewhere while also trying to push through a heavily razor wired forest and being shot from the flank.

ROUND 7

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Airstrikes break captain Alfons' hold on the center and falling back is authorized by Wodestone-Callahan, which is luckily not shot to pieces in the attempt by Feldgrau's tanks as they hit a badly bombed spot on the road following the previous pounding and one machine falls front first through the road into a hole, another buried beneath a crumbling building. While the defender's ace Marie prevents lt. Mauers's Russes from annihilating the retreating tanks completely, 2nd lt. Zetter's last AA gun drives the brave tractor back before it too is supressed by the now less smoking Baneblade blowing a cloud of white dust in the air behind them with its overcompensating cannons. Lt. Arnak, ever resolute, keeps on peppering lt. Raoul's western group and slowing their embarking as the Gorgons once more push forwards from the trenches.

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At the Seat of Power in the East, major Reichsberg is urged to charge the tanks in front of him by his commissar Tilsitz. This attempt ends horribly, as the shrewd tank commander Fezos nudges just right before them to lure the charging men into yet more razor wire where they are ripped to shreds with machine guns and forced to retreat. Under the major's command, this is still not a paniced blowout even if two thirds of the men have already perished in the push. Behind him, lt. Kram and his remaining grenadiers overtake the Seat of Power and start hauling the politicians out to be shot just in time to get hit by a hard shelling from Huron's guns. Kram is lost and his last transport falls back.

ROUND 8

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With planes running unopposed attack runs in the midfield, there is a concentrated push against lt. Arnak's position at the factories by remaining ground forces while lt. Huron's guns stop lt. Mauer's remaining handful of Russes from turning northwards and taking the water supply by the road. The northern defence finally breaks however, as captain Feuerhaar comes closer and blows 2nd lt. Zetter apart before he can try to make another lucky shot against the beast.

There is vicious action in the East as Fezos desperately tries to break the last of major Reichsberg's men before they get in the earthworks.

ROUND 9

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The attacker is surprised by Wodestone-Callahan's insistence on running his own men down to the last as the battle still continues. The North is saved by Marie gunning down Tobias and Janita in their tractor as they were preparing to unfurl the aquila banner on the water supply and by finally regrouped Korozhev with his last two tanks taking a potshot at the Price of Disobedience, which then finally blows its turret off in a grand fireball.

Lt. Huron's artillery drives lt. Raoul's exhausted dregs back from the factories, but cannot stop 2nd lt. Feldgrau's remaining tankers from pushing in and blowing apart what was left of 2nd lt. Jyerbic's platoon.

Volleneis' cavalry has a drink at barracks III and ponders filming propaganda pictures instead of fighting again today.

In the East, Fezos' final slaughter is denied by a surprise air raid by Klüm, which gives Reichsberg a split second to pop up and rush the tanks. In a frenzied mess, the Kriegers take out the whole platoon by either destroying or capturing the vehicles and their crew. At the same time the last transport of the dead grenadiers takes heart and rams through the door into the Seat of Power.

ROUND 10

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Giving no quarter nor order to fall back in total, Wodestone-Callahan truly earns his nickname Blood'n'guts as the exhausted attackers trudge through broken lines knee deep in corpses.

The battle is still undeniably lost, as Huron has ran out of ammunition and captain Alfons' last ditch attempt against the southern positions is repelled by 2nd lt. Hauptman's one Bombard that isn't on fire. Lt. Arnak is run down by Feldgrau's armour while Mauer is getting blasted by Korozhev from the North.

In the air, last remaining aces duel to no avail before disengaging (both hit, both save on 6+. Bloody hell with these armour saves today biggrin.png)

As it does on the factories, so too at the Seat of Power the sign of the aquila is once again hoisted high over the blasted landscape to the blood red sunrise.

RESULT

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With only the pumping station and northern supply road still in the defenders' hands, the field is truly lost and the Kriegers can enjoy their 6-3 victory on this rueful day. The price has been high, but they know that only through hardship in the Emperor's name can they find redemption.





 


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