Sunday, March 18, 2018

Drop Troops Grenadiers/Storm Troopers

I painted these guys up to be my Storm Troopers in the 7th Edition Drop Troops list. In Horus Heresy, the closest equivalent is Grenadiers. Either way, these guys are supposed to be more heavily armed and armored than my basic troops. In WH40k, they have hot shot lasguns. In Horus Heresy, they do not have an option for a strong basic gun (boltguns are the strongest option they have) so I will be adding a couple of special weapons troopers to give them some offensive capability. At some point, they will get a Valkyrie.


These models are Republic Grenadiers from Anvil Industries. I chose them because they fit with my existing drop troops but looked more heavily armed and armored, and they are really cool sculpts. Although the models are single pose without any weapon options (and they may have been discontinued) so it might not have been the best choice in the long run. For the two special weapons guys, I will be using some of these legs and heads with slightly different torsos and arms. It should be close enough.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Horus Heresy Battle Report 4: Hunters and Hunted in the Ruins of Bielyr


Death Guard Eradication Patrol  -  Pete
  • Praetor Wolfgang: Terminator armor, Paragon Blade, volkite charger, digilasers
  • Tactical Squad Stärke: 14 marines with close combat weapons, sergeant with power fist and artificer armor
  • Tactical Support Squad März: 7 marines with volkite calivers
  • Heavy Support Squad Tragen: 3 marines with missile launchers
  • Contemptor Dreadnought Friedrich:  multi-melta, meltagun, dreadnought close combat weapon

White Scars and Drop Troops  -  Phil
R.A.P.T.O.R. Team (Rapid Assault, Precision Tactical Operations and Reconnaissance) 

White Scars, Brotherhood of the Wind
  • Consul Kuyuk: Power glaive, bolter, cyber-hawk
  • Tactical Squad Kheeg: 10 marines
  • Tactical Support Squad Khoer: 5 marines with plasma guns
  • Legion Outrider Squad Anchin: 3 bikes with twin-linked plasma guns
Xhorik 87th Drop Troops, 3rd Company "The Golden Eagles"
  • 2nd Platoon (remnants)
    • Platoon command squad with melta gun
    • Infantry squad with grenade launcher
  • Attached Storm Trooper Squad: 8 storm troopers
  • Tauros with grenade launcher


Mission: We decided to use the mission system we devised back in Game 2 a second time. It consists of eight simple missions with victory conditions for a Minor and Major success. If one player scored a higher level of success than the other, that player would win. We would each draw one at random from the pile and it would be secret from the other player. If a player felt he had little chance of success, he could draw a new one, but then would have to reveal his mission to his opponent, giving the opponent a strategic advantage. The goal was to come up with simple missions that small armies of 4 - 5 units could focus on accomplishing.

1. Assassinate:
Minor: Enemy warlord reduced to 50% of starting Wounds.
Major: Enemy warlord is destroyed or off the table at the end of the game.

2. Seek and Destroy: 
Target is the unit in the enemy's army with the highest total point cost, not including attached HQ choices.
Minor: Target reduced to 50% of starting Wounds or Hull Points.
Major: Target destroyed, falling back, off table, or immobilized with all weapons destroyed.

3. Rescue:
Rescue objective placed halfway out and about 1/4 to 1/3 from one table edge. Objective can be moved by infantry only.
Minor: Control (contested) objective at end of game.
Major: Move objective off your own table edge before end of game.

The Rescue Objective: A heretical preacher, spreading doubt and fear about the False Emperor. The loyalists might need to interrogate this apostate, while the traitors might need to rescue this influential paragon of truth so she can continue to lead others to the light of Horus. 
Since the Rescue Objective is alive, we thought it would be more interesting if she moved around a bit. So we decided that at the end of each game turn, she would move d6" in the direction of a scatter die as she wanders about in a daze, heedless of the battle around her, shouting out her visions of divine truth.

4. Take and Hold:
Take and Hold objective placed halfway out and about 1/4 to 1/3 from the opposite table edge of the Rescue objective. Objective cannot be moved.
Minor: Control (contested) objective at end of game.
Major: Control (uncontested) objective at end of game.

For this game, the other potential objective is a small supply depot, with provisions and war materiel that may be desperately needed by either side.

5. Cleanse:
Minor: Control (uncontested) more table quarters than your opponent at end of game.
Major: Control (uncontested) two more table quarters than your opponent at end of game.

6. Control Target Area:
Minor: Hold both the Rescue objective and the Take and Hold objective at the end of any two of your turns.
Major: Hold both objectives at the end of three of your turns.

7. Breakout:
Minor: Get one unit off your opponent's table edge.
Major: Get two units off your opponent's table edge.

8. Hold the Line:
Minor: Control (uncontested) your deployment zone.
Major: Control (uncontested) your table half.

Game length would be 4 turns with a 3+ chance of turn 5 and then a 4+ chance of turn 6, which would be the last possible turn.

Mission Assignments:

Pete: I drew the “Cleanse” mission, which is absolutely a doable objective for my army, as the plan is always to wipe out Phil’s army and control the board. Nothing too fancy, as I don’t have a finesse army;  more of a hammer and anvil style.

Phil: I drew "Control Target Area" and kept it. I thought I had a reasonable chance of quickly getting to the objectives and holding them for a couple of turns before Pete could push me off with his stronger, slower army.

With the missions selected, we decided the White Scars were trying to hold this area for long enough for some of their non-combatant supporting functions to loot the supply depot and interrogate the heretic preacher. If they could hold the area for two turns, they could get a sufficient amount of supplies and information, but with three turns, they could obtain the full amount of both.

The Death Guard had the simple objective of clearing all enemy resistance from as many city sectors as possible and controlling those sectors with their own forces.

The Battlefield: The war-ravaged city of Bielyr. 

Roll for table edge and Phil wins.
Phil: The table edges looked pretty even, but I went with the west edge so I could use the southern ruins to approach the Rescue Objective, while landing my deep striking reserves on the Take & Hold Objective.

Roll for first turn and Phil wins.
Phil: Since my mission depended on control at end of each turn rather than the end of the game, I elected to deploy and go first.


Deployment. The White Scars deployed first, mostly concentrated in the southern ruins near the Rescue Objective. The Death Guard then deployed in two blocks, with most of their forces near the northern Take & Hold Objective. The Outriders and Tauros then made their scout moves.

White Scars Deployment and Plan:

I decided to use the large ruins in the southern end of the battlefield to shield the advance of my infantry toward the Rescue Objective. The plan was to grab her and get back into cover to try to survive for a few turns. I didn't deploy anything near the Take & Hold Objective, hoping to make Pete think I had the Rescue mission, or at least that I didn't care about that objective. I was hoping he would deploy most of his slow-moving units to the south to counter my main force, which would leave the Take & Hold Objective mostly unguarded for my drop troops or my Tauros to take and then survive for a few turns until he could slog over there.

After seeing Pete's deployment, it became painfully clear that he didn't take the bait and that it would be my infantry that were out of position. I knew my drop troops would have an almost-impossible challenge to hold the supply depot objective out in the open against his large tactical squad all of those volkite calivers in the ruins.

But I had my Scout moves with the Outriders and Tauros and the first turn, so I decided to be aggressive and try to put him on his back foot right out of the gate in order to control the center of the table for a couple of turns. Hopefully I could hold out long enough to complete my major victory condition. I scouted my Outriders straight ahead toward his southern force.

Death Guard Deployment and Plan:

I figured I could control the southeast table quarter with heavy support squad Tragen, standing far back in my deployment zone launching missile strikes against Phil’s army while remaining out of their bolter and plasma range. The dreadnought was to move forward into the heretical preacher objective and draw the White Scar’s attention and firepower. Depending on how the table half played out, Friedrich would end the game in the southwest table quarter and hopefully be the difference in securing a the Major Victory condition.

The tactical support squad of volkite calivers would remain up in the ruined tower, with a 30” range of strength 6 Martian death rays. They’d theoretically get an entire turn of shooting while any of Phil’s units other than the super-speedy Outriders took time to get in range. And it’s also part of the mission objective to secure a table quarter, which the squad would remain on all game.

Wolfgang and his brutish tactical squad would secure the ammo depot objective, and then on to the
northwest table quarter. Laying low any resistance in their path.

The Tauros Scout Vehicle advances slowly through the ruins of Bielyr, spotting the vital supply depot.

The White Scars stalk their target: the heretical preacher Iggas Afsal.

Aztai scans the ruins from the air and returns to Consul Kuyuk with the location of the apostate preacher. 

From the east march Preator Wolfgang and his Death Guard Eradication Patrol, looking to cleanse the area of any resistance. 
Praetor Wolfgang is developing a fearsome reputation amongst the loyalists for his tenacity and brutality.

Tactical Support Squad März quietly moves into the shell of a ruined tower, ready to lay down supporting fire for advancing infantry. 

The Outriders scout ahead of the main force, closing in on their objective and the Death Guard forces spotted ahead in the ruins.

The Tauros spots the enemy patrol. Immediately calling for airborne reinforcements, the scout vehicle races to engage the targets. 

White Scars Turn 1:

My infantry couldn't see or shoot anyone so they all ran toward the Rescue objective, hoping to reach her in Turn 2 unless she moved directly away from me. The Outriders took advantage of their Scout move and their speed to race across the table and strike the heavy support squad that was deployed out in the open. This unit is fast and powerful, but their defense against heavy weapons comes from jinking, which leaves them much weaker on offense, so I knew how important it would be to shoot his missile launchers before they could shoot me.

On the other flank, the Tauros moved toward the Take & Hold objective, but wasn't able to do any damage to the tactical marines. 

The Outriders race forward to get within range of the Death Guard heavy support squad.

Aztai soars over the Death Guard, feeding precision targeting information back to the Outriders.

The Outriders are able to decimate their targets with a precision volley of deadly plasma.

Death Guard Turn 1:

Hmm, kind of a discouraging first turn. My missile launchers are turned into molten goo by the wicked-fast outriders. Their speed and ferocity shook my confidence and will cause me to battle plan better in the future. Their reach on turn one is nearly unlimited. Heavy cover is a must going forward.
The dreadnought cannot bring down a single biker due to their impressive 3+ invulnerable saving
throws. His thick armor value 13 on his front should keep him around for a while, but I’m nervous due to the sheer number of strength 7 plasma guns on this side of the table.

My northern detachment advances forward as planned, without much to do besides look scary.

Contemptor dreadnought Friedrich advances and fires hat the Outriders, forcing them to jink to avoid the melta rays. 

The Death Guard begin their implacable advance in the north, opposed only by the lone Tauros, for now.

At the end of the turn, heretic preacher moved east. Clearly, she did not want to be interrogated by the White Scars!

White Scars Turn 2:

I passed both of my reserves rolls and threw all of my deep striking units at the Take & Hold objective. I knew the guardsmen could never hold out for long on their own so I had the bikes Turbo Boost to the north to provide much-needed support, since they had jinked and therefore wouldn't have much chance of destroying the dreadnought anyway.

My White Scars infantry squads both ran again and were able to get close enough to control the Rescue objective.

At the end of my turn, I revealed my mission and announced that I controlled both objectives.

Drop troopers arrive all around the objective and the Death Guard infantry. 

The drop troops land on target and open fire into the approaching Death Guard, bringing down one armored superhuman with masses of lasgun fire.
The elite Storm Troopers drop in behind the Death Guard, catching them in cross fire and killing several with their super-charged lasguns. 

The Outriders open their throttles and race as fast as they can to the north, to support the drop troopers.

White Scars Turn 1 and 2: The Outriders destroy the heavy support squad and then race to support their allies in the north. The White Scars infantry reach the apostate preacher.  The drop troopers arrive and claim the supply depot objective, fighting desperately to hold it as long as possible. 

Death Guard Turn 2:

On Phil’s turn I cringe as his bikers streak across the table toward my vulnerable power armored
marines, worrying me about their lack of saving throws against these beasts. I also am not happy to lose 4 of my tactical marines to Drop Troop fire, as that isn’t a sustainable level of losses for a four or five turn game. Damn those hot shot lasguns!

On my second turn, I bring my Praetor and his retinue forward and annihilates one of the Drop Troop
squads. Although I’m feeling awfully exposed after the combat leaves them without cover. The volkite does its thing and sets off a devastating chain reaction among the storm troopers and wipes them out.

I’m still hopeful that the dreadnought will be enough on the south side of the table to break up Phil’s
attempt at controlling the preacher objective for two or three turns.

Tactical Squad Stärke prepares to advance into the supply depot and eliminate all resistance. They advance, fire and charge into the survivors, killing them to a man.

Friedrich marches forward and melts down two plasma gunners from squad Khoer.

From their elevated position, Squad März make short work of the exposed Storm Troopers by igniting their flesh inside their armor and creating a chain reaction within the tightly-packed squad as each flaming and flailing body crashes into his companions.

Death Guard Turn 2: The Death Guard hammer the loyalists as they wipe out two squads and half of another for a total of 20 casualties. They take control of the ammo depot and free the preacher from the White Scars.

White Scars Turn 3:

With my northern forces in tatters and my southern forces facing the dreadnought with only three plasma guns, I knew it would be a struggle to hold both objectives for two more turns to earn the major victory condition. All I could do was throw everything at the tactical squad on the supply depot and try to shift them so I could reclaim it with my platoon command squad.

My Tauros, platoon command squad and Outriders poured fire into the Death Guard tactical squad, inflicting six casualties and, amazingly, breaking their morale! Breaking the squad was critical as that meant they were currently not considered a scoring unit, allowing me to reclaim control of the Take & Hold objective.

The White Scars tactical squad had to run to regain control of the Rescue objective, which kept moving to the northeast, obviously drawn toward the foul stench of the traitors. The tactical support squad tried to block off the street to prevent the dreadnought from getting past them, effectively sacrificing themselves for the good of the mission.

The brave men of squad Khoer fire at the unstoppable war machine and try to block its way to their brothers who are interrogating the heretic.

The loyalists desperately attack the traitors from all sides, killing six. 

The deadly crossfire is enough to force Praetor Wolfgang to fall back in an attempt to regroup his surviving men. The drop troops claim the supply depot objective and resume their looting.

White Scars Turn 3: The loyalists are able to drive back the Death Guard tactical squad and re-take the supply depot in the north. In the south, the White Scars recapture the preacher and resume interrogation.

Death Guard Turn 3:

My chance at victory is dim at this point. My main battle group suffers 60% casualties and fails its moral check! Phil will control both objectives for a second turn. Argh! Despair overtakes me and I know my unit has to rally to have any chance.

Then my turn 3 happens… and Mortarian himself would be proud. Wolfgang pulls his small band
together by drawing upon their hate and burning desire to extinguish the false emperors’ flame in this
galaxy. He charges his men forward and retakes the objective, stalling Phil’s chance at a major victory.

The tactical support squad rains down death with their ray guns upon the bikers. Their weapons’ high
strength comes in handy to wound these toughness 5 models and the sheer volume of shots makes Phil roll too many saving throws. Friedrich squeezes past the plasma gunners and destroys the tactical squad Kheeg in an unexpectedly overwhelming assault. Just like that the battle seems to be won.

Woflgang rallies the battered remnants of Tactical Squad Stärke and leads them toward the drop troopers. "Vengeance shall be ours."

Amid the haze of the ruined city, Tactical Support Squad März again take aim with their volkite calivers, overwhelming the speeding Outriders with their Martian death rays

Bolters tear apart two of the drop troopers as the Death Guard claim the supply depot.

The massive Contemptor Friedrich runs past the brave plasma gunners and into Tactical Squad Kheeg, killing three and causing the rest to scatter from the battlefield, abandoning their quarry to the giant construct that they have no way of hurting. 
Death Guard Turn 3: With the fervor that only true hatred can bring, the Death Guard slaughter their foes: Three loyalist squads are destroyed in the carnage.

White Scars Turn 4:

The only thing that saved my last few drop troopers was that the Death Guard could only fire snap shots and could not charge on the turn they rallied. But still there was almost no hope for me to take claim the supply depot objective.  All I could do was fire with my drop troops and Tauros in attempt to somehow kill two models and force a morale check, which he would have to fail. I was lucky just to kill one, but it was too little, too late.

To the south, my last few marines were able to recapture the Rescue objective and damage the dreadnought, but without the supply depot, I could not meet my Major Victory condition and now I could only sit back and watch Pete's turn and hope that he somehow could not achieve his either, whatever it might be.

The drop troopers bravely fight back against the elite superhumans and manage to kill one of the armored giants, but they cannot drive their foes from the strategic objective. 

Tactical Support Squad Khoer recapture the heretic and make one last attempt to bring down the Contemptor against the odds. They inflict significant damage, but the unstoppable machine keeps coming. 

The drop troopers prepare to make their last stand and give their lives for The Emperor. 
White Scars Turn 4: The loyalist forces make a desperate attempt to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but are only able to control one of the two objectives and just miss their Major Victory condition. 

Death Guard Turn 3:

Un oh, I thought I positioned my dreadnought in a way that his front armor would be facing the three
plasma marines and they found a way to shoot his side armor! The game would be tied if Friedrich was destroyed as each of us would only be left with a minor victory condition. Thankfully only 2 hull points were removed and he was left standing.

On my final turn I rushed the dread forward and destroyed the plasma gunners to secure the southeast
table quarter. Wolfgang and the volkite calivers make quick work of the remaining northern detachment of Phil’s army and secure the major victory!

The Death Guard infantry took everything the loyalists could throw at them and are battered but still standing.

"For Mortarion!" The Death Guard assault the over-matched the drop troops and cut them down with satisfaction.

Loyalists: Minor Victory Condition
Traitors: Major Victory Condition

Result: Traitors Win

Loyalist Post-Game Analysis:

Despite getting totally wiped off the table in the last two turns, I actually had a great chance at achieving my Major Victory condition, but somehow in the heat of the battle I missed it. Writing up this report, I want to go back and slap myself. With my Scout moves and fast units, I could have easily held both objectives at the end of my first turn! For some reason, I had it in my mind that I would get both objectives in Turn 2 when my reserves hopefully arrived at the supply depot and my marine infantry reached the Rescue objective. But I could easily have positioned my Outriders one inch farther back to be within three inches of the preacher and still been in shooting range of the Heavy Support Squad (as long as I was past the preacher at mid-table, I would be within my 24" range). And of course with a 12" Scout move and ability to move Flat Out and re-roll dangerous terrain if needed, the Tauros could easily have reached the supply depot on Turn 1. I would have achieved the Major Victory condition by the end of Turn 3! Ah, hindsight...

As it was, this game was full of exciting moments:
  • The Outriders scouting forward and then wiping out the heavy support squad, taking Pete by surprise with their first turn reach and ability to threaten vulnerable units in a huge range. 
  • Breaking Pete's main tactical squad with concentrated fire and forcing them to fall back from the objective, allowing me to control it in Turn 3.
  • And of course, the dreadnought wiping out my entire tactical squad and warlord in single round of assault and a sweeping advance! Ouch!
How I played the dreadnought is another area I could have done better, in retrospect. We argued a bit over whether the dreadnought could move past my plasma marines because you cannot move within 1" of a model unless you are charging it. But I should have just spread my guys out a bit more to fully block the road instead of eyeballing it, just so there was no argument about it. Also, trying to escape via the Our Weapons Are Useless rule was a huge gamble. I was hoping to break off from combat, grab the Rescue objective in my turn and run, while my plasma marines tried to shoot the dreadnought and run interference to prevent him from just charging the tactical squad again. But ultimately, none of the decisions around the dreadnought would have changed the final outcome of the game.

Pete played a good game and used each unit to the best of its abilities. The volkite caliver squad continues to earn my respect. Every single turn that they fire with full effect (not snap shots) they destroy an entire unit of mine. Two shots, two units destroyed in Battle Report 2. And then three shots, three units destroyed in this game (for a total of 353 of my 850 points!). As our armies stand right now, I really can't match Pete's level of firepower and durability: I have been tabled in three of our four games and only had models left at the end of Game 3 because Pete only got three turns; a few more turns and the result would have been the same. It's been tough sledding to start this campaign, but these last two games were exciting and had I played better, I might have forced a draw today. And the army is just really fun to play with so many movement and deployment options (scout, outflank, deepstrike), at least in the first few turns, before everything gets killed! I look forward to adding to our armies for the next installment.

We will never succumb! Onward, for the Emperor!

Death Guard Post-Game Analysis:

Another really fun game. Games of Horus Heresy are really neat – the setting, story, units and weapons add a lot to the experience. This battle was full of ups and downs for me. When I set up, I figured I had a fool-proof plan and a great chance at victory. After turns 1 and 3 I’m wringing my hands, contemplating a gracious defeat. I couldn’t believe my Praetor’s leadership of 10 failed me and his squad fell back away from the battle!

If the volkite calivers are protected with distance and cover, they are a highly effective unit with a
medium-long range, high rate of fire and moderate strength that can threaten bikes, light vehicles and
infantry. They have consistently earned back their points and then some, when they get a chance to fire at full strength.

I’m pleased with where I deployed the units I had on the board, as I think that was the reason I won the game. Half of Phil’s army spend two turns running to get into the battle, rather than firing on my troops. His Drop Troops have thus far struggled to knock out my large tactical squad in a turn or two of firing, so I feel like until Phil brings in even more firepower, the Death Guard should win that skirmish a majority of the time. The dreadnought has been consistently a tough kill for Phil’s army, and I’m sensitive to the fact that in a small game of 850 points, his presence is perhaps a little overpowering at times. Although best not to forget the lucky meltagun overwatch shot that knocked him out of game 2!!

Phil’s objectives were fair and balanced again. Both armies had a real shot at the Minor and Major Victory conditions. We could definitely use them again in the future.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Horus Heresy Battle Report 3: The Raid on Outpost Genden

We wanted a suitable mission to represent a White Scars force with Drop Troops allies that would be striking deep behind enemy lines to destroy a crucial enemy installation. We started with the Sabotage mission from the Fourth Edition rulebook and modified it to our liking.

The Raid on Outpost Genden

  1. Place the objective somewhere near the center of the table.
  2. The defender's deployment zone is a 10" radius around the center of the objective. Any units not deployed to start the battle may be held in reserves and will arrive from a random board edge.
  3. The attacker may then deploy infiltrators on the table following the normal rules.
  4. The attacker takes the first turn, moving as much of the army as he chooses onto the board and leaving the rest to come on as reserves. Whether arriving on the first turn or from reserves, each unit arrives from a random board edge determined by a roll as shown on the map below. Units with Outflank may re-roll.
Game length would be 4 turns with a 3+ chance of turn 5 and then a 4+ chance of turn 6, which would be the last possible turn.


For this raid, all the attacking forces have been issued with demo charges to destroy the objective and complete their mission. The objective cannot be destroyed by firing at it, only by non-vehicle models placing demo charges. To place a demo charge successfully the model must assault the objective in its assault phase and remain in contact until the end of its next assault phase. At this point, the charge is set and the objective is destroyed. Boom!

The attacker wins if he destroys the objective before the end of the game. Otherwise the defender wins.

Outpost Genden: A command bunker, communication tower and fuel processing plant are functional, while the fortified administrative building on the hill has been destroyed by a previous bombardment. 


Death Guard Outpost Garrison- Pete
  • Praetor Wolfgang: Terminator armor, Paragon Blade, volkite charger, digilasers
  • Tactical Squad Stärke: 14 marines with close combat weapons, sergeant with power fist and artificer armor
  • Tactical Support Squad März: 7 marines with volkite calivers
  • Heavy Support Squad Tragen: 3 marines with missile launchers
  • Contemptor Dreadnought Friedrich:  multi-melta, meltagun, dreadnought close combat weapon

White Scars and Drop Troops Raiding Party - Phil

White Scars, Brotherhood of the Wind
  • Consul Kuyuk: Power glaive, bolter, cyber-hawk
  • Tactical Squad Kheeg: 10 marines
  • Tactical Support Squad Khoer: 5 marines with plasma guns
  • Legion Outrider Squad Anchin: 3 bikes with twin-linked plasma guns
Xhorik 87th Drop Troops, 3rd Company "The Golden Eagles"
  • 2nd Platoon (remnants)
    • Platoon command squad with melta gun
    • Infantry squad with grenade launcher
  • Attached Storm Trooper Squad: 8 storm troopers
  • Tauros with grenade launcher

The Death Guard garrison protects the vital fuel processing and pumping station that makes up the heart of Outpost Genden.

Death Guard Deployment and Plan:

This sounded like a fun mission, and one that would allow each army to highlight its strengths. My Death Guard would be defending the objective and playing a grinding, last-stand kind of game. It was hard to set up my whole army first and not even know which table edge his units would be advancing from. In retrospect, I may have benefited from holding one of my own units in reserve, but at the time I chose to put my entire army on the board, in what I thought were strategic defensive positions. The missile launchers were elevated and held a commanding line-of- sight across the table. My main tactical squad and Praetor were nestled close to the objective and ready to engage any unit that approached. My volkite support squad was placed on the hill near the comms tower with a nice field of view. The mighty Contemptor I placed dead-center in my deployment zone, knowing he would be the ultimate challenge for Phil’s army to remove.

My plan was to use my army’s knack for being tough to kill and good at dealing ranged damage to sit
back and allow Phil’s units to approach me, hopefully scattered and not in mass, and whittle them away. Having to deploy first and go second was killer, however. It limits one’s strategy and puts you on your heels early, reacting to the enemy. Still, I didn’t think Phil would be able to hold the objective for an entire game turn, right in the middle of my army, without me being able to annihilate the unit by one means or another.

Praetor Wolfgang and his largest infantry squad guard the approach from the north because it appears to be the easiest path to the fuel processing plant.

Any loyalists trying to reach the objective from the north will have to fight their way past this mass of infantry.

The tactical support squad guard the approach from the east and also have good firing lanes to the south.

The Contemptor dreadnought is stationed near the vital fuel processing station in order to provide a last line of defense.

The heavy support squad holds he high ground with a field of fire covering all approaches. 

White Scars Deployment and Plan:

I elected to keep all the deep striking units in reserve and deploy the rest. Even though it would be dangerously crowded to deep strike into the outpost, I couldn't risk slow and squishy units like guardsmen entering from the wrong edge and needing to slog their way to the Death Guard position under fire. Deep striking would hopefully allow me to bring them in with a clear path to the objective, or at least where they could help support my units that were closing in.

Luckily, I rolled really well for which table edge my other units would enter from and all of my four units entered from the south or east either by rolling those edges or rolling a 5 or 6, which gave me my choice. Not only were these the best two table edges, but it also allowed my units to deploy near enough to support each other.

The plan was simple enough: use my most threatening unit, the Outriders, to distract or destroy the dreadnought long enough to allow one of my White Scars squads to reach the objective and complete the mission. Meanwhile, the drop troops would arrive all around the outpost and would hopefully overwhelm the defenders with too many targets to stop them all from charging the objective. I knew I had to reach the objective quickly if I was going to have a chance because my army was pretty fragile and I knew Pete's Death Guard would eventually grind me down with his more durable units.

The White Scars enter the battlefield from the south and east with the drop troops in reserve, ready to deep strike. 

White Scars Turn 1:

Everything moved toward the objective and fired. With the help of the cyber hawk (and lots of plasma), the White Scars support squad was able to gun down the Death Guard heavy support squad on the elevated platform. I had the rest of my units (the Outriders, Tauros and tactical squad) combine their fire on the tactical support squad with the powerful volkite calivers that had been so deadly in the last game. I was able to kill four of the seven traitors, which was enough to break the squad and send them falling back toward the objective.

I was extremely happy with my first turn. It went about as good as it could have, and as good as it needed to be in order for me to have a chance to win.

Consul Kuyuk and his tactical squad approach the objective from the south, firing upon the Death Guard sentries occupying the outpost. 

Kuyuk's cyber hawk Aztai spots the heavy support squad guarding the outpost from their elevated position. Aztai relays their exact location to Support Squad Khoer.

With the help of Aztai, Squad Khoer's plasma guns take deadly aim and bring down the missile launcher troops overlooking the battlefield, clearing the way for the assault on the objective.

The Outriders and a supporting Tauros scout vehicle speed toward the objective, catching the Death Guard support squad with the volkite calivers in a deadly crossfire between them and the tactical squad to the south. 

White Scars Turn 1: The loyalists do a lot of damage to the smaller Death Guard support squads, but the toughest traitor units still guard the objective. 

Death Guard Turn 1:

Those were some tough casualties on turn one: my heavy support squad vanquished and a falling back tactical support squad März. Once I caught my breath, I successfully rolled to rally my volkite troopers, but with only firing snap shots they weren’t able to do any damage. I set my dreadnought towards the biggest threat on the board, the Outriders, but struggled to slow their advance due to their ability to jink for an invulnerable saving throw. Thankfully, Praetor Wolfgang and his 14-man retinue killed two out of five of the White Scar plasma gunners and the squad fell back off the board. After that turn of events at the end of my turn, I felt it was still anyone’s game.

The massive Contemptor dreadnought Friedrich moves towards the Outriders, attempting to melt them down before they can reach the fuel processing plant. The expert White Scars riders swerve and weave, avoiding the melta rays.

Praetor Wolfgang marches his men toward the White Scars tactical support squad and avenges his fallen men by killing two and driving the others from the field of battle. 

Death Guard Turn 1: The tactical squad drives off the White Scars tactical support squad while the dreadnought attempts to hold back the Outriders without success. 

White Scars Turn 2:

Ouch, two games in a row that I had a squad fall back off the table. That is one downside to entering from a table edge...

The (partial) drop troops platoon arrived from reserves. I tried to drop the platoon command squad with the melta gun behind the dreadnought for a shot at the rear armor, but they scattered onto the rocks to the east, resulting in one unlucky trooper being killed by a dangerous terrain roll from landing in difficult terrain. They were now facing the front of the dreadnought and considerably farther from the objective than I wanted, but that was still much better than the infantry squad. I tried to drop them in the open terrain between the objective and the communications tower, but they scattered about 10 inches to the north and into the dreadnought! Rolling on the mishap table resulted in Pete placing them in the very distant southwest corner, effectively out of the game.

Finally, the Storm Troopers arrived and these veterans hit their mark exactly: right behind the traitor tactical squad and within striking distance of the objective. They opened fire and killed two of the tactical marines.

I continued to advance my tactical squad while firing at the volkite calivers and managed to kill the rest of them. The bikers pressed forward into the outpost perimeter and took aim the side of the dreadnought. Despite only being able to take snap shots from their previous jinking, the bikers managed to get one penetrating hit, but only shook the crew.

The platoon command squad misses their drop and ends up outside the outpost perimeter in front of the dreadnought and on a rocky cliff. One trooper lands hard on the cliff edge and  breaks his legs, taking him out of the fight. 
As the Death Guard infantry drive the White Scars plasma gunners from the field, they are suddenly attacked from behind. 

The elite Storm Troopers land exactly on their mark and uses their hotshot lasguns to bring down two of the superhuman Death Guard infantry guarding the fuel processing station. 

The melta gunner misses while the bikers fire at point blank into the dreadnought's weaker side armor and manage to do some damage, but not enough to slow down the fearsome war machine. 

White Scars Turn 2: The drop troops arrive as the loyalist forces fight their way into the outpost toward their objective. 

Death Guard Turn 2:

The dreadnought took his licks, including a scary penetrating hit, but then got down to business and
killed everything in his general vicinity. That’s kind of his specialty. My tactical support squad was lost due to another round of firing from Phil’s tactical marines, but their absence wouldn’t be a game-changer at this point.

I needed to get my Praetor and tactical marines back in position on the east side of the objective, plus brush off this unexpected threat of the Storm Troopers and their AP 3 lasguns, a real thorn in the side. I would have loved to have them run if I didn’t have to deal with those perfectly placed drop troopers.

I’m down to two units on the board at this point, so my strategy is simple and straightforward.

Praetor Wolfgang marches his men back north, pounding the Storm Troopers with unrelenting firepower, killing most of them. 

Friedrich charges the Outriders, eager to get to grips with the elusive bikers. The entombed champion tears all three apart before they can escape. 

Death Guard Turn 2: The depleted Death Guard forces deliver a powerful counter attack at the northern edge of the outpost.

White Scars Turn 3:

Things were looking a bit grim. I had three units left capable of completing the mission, but two of them were small, weak and being blocked out by Pete's much stronger units. Pete had two very durable units left and my single melta gun was the only thing in my army that could even hurt the dreadnought besides a lucky krak grenade thrown at the rear armor. My only hope was for the tactical squad to charge the objective this turn and hold on until my next assault phase; no small task considering what I would have to survive!

Consul Kuyuk and his men race toward the fuel pump station with demo charges ready, determined to destroy this crucial installation at any cost.

Due to the swirling radioactive dust storms, the drop troop infantry squad badly missed their mark and find themselves too far from the outpost to contribute to the battle.

White Scars Turn 3: The White Scars reach their objective, but will they be able to hold on long enough to successfully place the demolition charges?

Death Guard Turn 3:

With my tactical squad and dreadnought both closing in on the White Scars squad on the objective, I’m thinking the game is mine… there’s no way we won’t be able to destroy this squad, right? After shooting a few loyalists, the dreadnought easily makes his charge and then... Argh! A terrible charge roll for my tactical squad! My Death Guard never were much for speed and they just missed reaching Phil's tactical squad by an inch.

The dreadnought charges in and slays numerous marines, but their will mirrors that of the Emperor himself and they do not run from combat. However, I still have another melee phase in Phil's turn with my dreadnought and if he can break the squad, I should have no problem holding the objective from his last few guardsmen.

The Death Guard tactical marines and dreadnought close in on Tactical Squad Kheeg, firing everything they have, trying to drive them from the objective.

Death Guard Turn 3: The traitors throw everything at the White Scars on the fuel pumping station, killing half their number, but the attackers hold on.

White Scars Turn 4:

I really lucked out that Pete's tactical squad failed their charge or it would have been the end for my tactical squad... and my hopes of winning! As it was, I was lucky that the dreadnought only killed one marine in melee and I was able to pass both of my morale tests.

My other two squads could not charge the objective since they were both being blocked by the large Death Guard tactical squad (and they didn't inflict any damage with shooting) so the only thing left to do was to see if my marines could survive another round of combat with the dreadnought and reach the end of their own assault phase still in base contact with the objective.

My warlord and two more marines are killed. So it would all come down to this morale roll with a -4 modifier... and I passed!

Kuyuk battles valiantly against the dreadnought Friedrich with no hope of victory; his only goal is to buy time for his men to complete their mission even if it costs him his life. 

Kuyuk is defeated and his injured body is tossed aside by the unstoppable dreadnought along with two of his men... but not before the rest of the squad finishes rigging the demolition charges to the pumping station.

The remainder of the loyalists begin a fighting retreat as the fuel processing and pumping installation is disabled by the demolition charges.

White Scars Turn 4: The Contemptor dreadnought continues to rampage through the White Scars, but the few survivors bravely keep their focus on the mission and are able to destroy the fuel plant. Victory for the loyalists!

Result: Loyalists Win

Loyalist Post-Game Analysis:

What a game! Unlike the first few games in this campaign, this one was exciting and suspenseful all the way through.

I started off as well as I could have possibly expected, by taking out the heavy support squad and breaking the tactical support squad before Pete could fire a shot with either. That cleared the way for everything to advance on the outpost without having to wade through the massive storm of firepower those units can dish out.

But Pete fought back hard and was able to bring down all of my offensive threats one after the other. Once both of my plasma units were destroyed, it quickly became apparent that I couldn't dish out much damage to Pete's army and just had to hope to hang on for the win. Even with my great start, I only won because of Pete's terrible charge roll and then a lucky morale roll of my own. Had his tactical marines made it into melee, there is no way my squad could have survived two rounds of combat.

In the end, the plan worked, but just barely. I was hoping to take out the smaller squads and then throw too many units at the objective for Pete's remaining units to stop them all. I don't think it was his intent, but when his tactical squad spread around the objective as they tried to reach the White Scars on Turn 3, it blocked my other units from any shot at charging the objective! I give him a lot of credit for using his only two units to great effect and very nearly pulling out the win. And of course the loss of the drop troop infantry squad to a deep strike mishap really hurt my ability to overwhelm the objective with a swarm units charging it on turns 3 and 4.

I think our take on the sabotage mission resulted in a fun, tactical and balanced game. I wouldn't mind giving it a try in reverse sometime with my army as the defender.

Overall, a hard fought battle with an interesting mission and a close ending. Can't beat that.

Death Guard Post-Game Analysis:

Ouch. So close, yet so far. Despite taking some early tough losses, the Death Guard nearly still won. That short charge roll from my tactical squad was the difference maker, as I’m confident they would have destroyed what remained of Phil’s unit placing the demo charges, won the mission and saved the facility. Still, Phil had to pass a very difficult leadership test after his Consul fell to the dreadnought. My last chance at victory…

There were numerous surprises from Phil’s lads, including the precision drop landing of the storm troopers and the bite of their hot-shot lasguns. My heavy support marines being left without cover from table edge 1 and being dispatched quickly by a salvo of plasma. The volkite caliver squad, heroes of Game 2, being broken amid sizable losses also in turn 1. But that dreadnought and 14 marine tactical squad are tough to totally remove from the game board, and they kept me in it ‘til the bitter end.

That was an enjoyable game and a fun new mission to try out. Perhaps in the future we could center the defender’s objective to dead-center on the table, as it felt like three of the attacker's table edges were close to my army on turn 1. I also realized too late the value of holding back a unit of my own, to save it from Phil’s firepower on turn 1, but also to counter his army’s complete advantage in mobility and positioning. Bringing the volkite squad in on turn 2 behind Phil’s men and letting loose some Martian death rays, would have been oh-so-sweet. Lesson learned. Otherwise, it was a close game full of highs and lows. It’ll be fun as we get more units and have the ability to select an army built for the mission at hand. It’d be really neat as the defender to have some tarantula gun platforms on the hill and the bunker, laying down support fire around the complex.