Well it's been a while since I posted what with being in Ireland for Christmas with my fiance's family. Luckily I brought my camera with me so I can bring you the report from our epic battle at Warhammer World. I'd never been to the place before and I have to say I was impressed. For some reason I'd imagined the gaming arena to be bigger but the quality of the boards was amazing. I'll get to the board we were on later but the other boards have some nice pieces. There's a large Cities of Death board with really densely packed structures, a field full of drop pods, a bridge across a dry river bed, an ork scrapyard (which you may have seen on the Space Wolves blog) and a few other fantasy ones that I wasn't as interested in.
Our board was called Assault on Terra (at least I think it is). Some of you may remember that the old Warhammer World site had an article about it's design and construction which now seems to have been lost to the warp. Since that article they've now covered the entire board in snow. In my opinion they've made a really good job of it and it's inspired me to get round to making my snowscape game board when I get home (which I'll do a series of posts about of course). Anyway, on to the battle itself. As I've mentioned before we had 6k on each side but using the conventional FOC instead of any Apocalypse stuff. I'll add the lists later when I'm back on my own computer but suffice to say I had Logan, Arjac, Ragnar and 2 land raiders and Matt had Dante, a librarian and 2 land raiders of his own.
With so much going on it was difficult to keep track of the game on a turn-by-turn basis. Therefore I'll just give you some of the highlights. The background of the mission was that the Space Wolves and Blood Angels had discovered an ancient Eldar Warpgate which they believed would lead them to maiden worlds rich with resources. Natrually the Ordo Malleus had become aware of the discovery and knowing the Space Wolves attitude to the Inquisition had decided to enlist the help of a local militia in order to secure the artifact. Fluff aside this basically meant that Matt and I had to deploy within the walls of the structure and defend them from Alex who would win if he managed to get any models past a line behind the fortress walls.
Alex had something in the order of 20 tanks/dreads for us to take down along with 2 squads of grey knights and 2 squads of grey knight terminators each lead by a grand master. The DH units would no doubt teleport behind the walls in order to steal the objective at the last moment. We decided to have the Blood Angels forces go out to meet the attackers head on whilst the Space Wolves would provide fire support and defend against the teleporting grey knights.
We decided that it made sense for us to have the first turn as we reacted to the advance of the attacking army and also since we'd deployed first! The first thing to do was bring the drop pod in behind the Imperial Guard command squad lead by Castellan Creed. The dreadnought came out of his transport and unleashed a burst of flame and a hail of assault cannon fire into the squad. This left only creed and a wounded lascannon team. Elsewhere our forces advanced towards the hordes of tanks yet failed miserably to destroy a single one with lascannon fire from the land raiders. We didn't do much better in the following turn either. The whirlwind landed a missile squarely in the middle of the rough riders and brought the 8-man team down to 1.
Alex advanced his force towards the walls. The heavy weapons teams immobilised the dreadnought and stopped it from firing for a few turns but they weren't able to destroy it. The basilisk landed a shell in the middle of the grey hunters team which guarded a breach in the walls and killed off 4 of the space marines. Despite our heavy weapons failing the rune priest unleashed living lightning on a Leman Russ team and despite only producing a single bolt of lightning it managed to immobilise the tank (which counted as wrecked as it was in a team). Just goes to show it's always worth a go!
The land speeder arrived just when we needed it and although it didn't manage to destroy the basilisk it did render it's earthshaker cannon impotent for the rest of the game. It then blasted up the field to help thin out the lines of the Imperial Guard. The vindicare & calidus assassins (we allowed Alex to have both) made short work of Matt's devastator squad before being brought down by the long fangs and grey hunters. At the end of turn two Alex had dropped a lot of grey knights in, had stunned the whirlwind and whittled down it's grey hunter support and had forced on of the assault squads to retreat. Not to mention the destruction of all but one of the death company! It didn't look promising for us since we were unable to take down his tanks which were getting ever closer!
The turning point came in turn three. Two of Matt's land raiders and one of mine (containing Ragnar) formed a line across the field and with the true grit of the Adeptus Astartes they resolved that none would pass this point. Matt piled out his librarian and assault terminators who were undoubtedly the stars of the Blood Angels army. They managed to wipe out a rhino, vindicator, chimera and several squads of guard including an inquistor without taking many losses at all. There was a point near the end where they were struggling to find anyone else in range to kill! Having said that both the flame tank (I forget it's name) and the vindicator took some fire and in fact the flame tank survived until the end of the game. One of grey knights squads came in right next to Logan's land raider redeemer which unleashed it's flamestorm cannon and killed the entire squad.
Alex brought on sentinels to finished off my grey hunters and I turn brought my wolf scouts on to destroy them but not before they'd reduced that squad to two. As if to prove my point the scouts survived to take down a dread and some more troops. However, I must say that it'd be hard to choose between the land speeder and the scouts in terms of effectiveness in this game. The land speeder went on to help the dread kill off Creed and a team of lascannons and it survived for the game.
Alex had put a team of two leman russ in reserve in order to outflank (because one of his characters allowed this) but they came in right at the end of the game so were of little effect. Well in fact they were quite devastating for the turn they were there. Dante came in from reserve and tried to aid the Space Wolves in dealing with the two grand masters, their terminator bodyguards and a squad of storm troopers which had landed behind our walls. The fire of the stormtroopers coupled with the leman russ team was enough to wipe out Dante's honour guard and score two wounds on Dante himself. Dante still managed to deal with the stormtroopers on his own though but it was by no means easy for him thanks to some appalling rolls from Matt.
Once we'd got into combat the epic battle in the middle of the field never seemed like it would go any other way. Ragnar's team took some punishment and in the end the Wolf Lord stood alone. We prevented the guard army from entering through the breach in the wall and one of Alex's inquistorial stormtroopers seemed to excel with their plasma gun killing of a good number of marines. The whirlwind somehow survived a lot of punishment from two dreadnoughts and killed off at least double it's points value. Only in the last turn did Alex manage to destroy the turret. Despite the carnage we'd wrought upon our enemies in the middle of the field and the mounds of dead that we'd amassed this was not where the battle would be won or lost.
Both Grand Masters and their retinues had dropped in behind cover inside the fortress. I'd deliberately left Logan's land raider inside in order to react to the inevitable incursion. It trundled forward at full pelt and Logan, Arjac and their terminator brethren smashed out and piled into combat after unleashing missiles and Arjac tossing his hammer. If they could not stop the grey knight terminators then the battle was lost.
In the first round of combat Logan struck with the grand masters and should managed to remove several of the bodyguard, miraculously Alex managed to pass all three 5+ saves though. The grandmasters finished off a couple of my wolf guard but then Arjac hit back and instantly killed the grand master with his hammer which also swung in the direction of his retinue bringing two of them down. After the first bout of combat Logan and Ragnar stood together but their brethren had perished. One of the grey knights remained from one squad but the other was at full strength.
In the second phase Logan finished off the lone grey knight but was wounded by the grand master. The rest of the team managed to bring down the mighty Space Wolf. Arjac suffered a wound but this only brought forth the beast within him and he killed more grey knights. A wounded Arjac must now fight alone against the grand master and the fate of the battle rested on his shoulders. In the final round of combat the grand master fumbled and only managed to score a single blow on Grimnar's Champion which Arjac deflected with his shield. He turned the favour by smashing his hammer into the daemonhunter and claimed his life.
Victory to the Space Wolves and Blood Angels then? Well sort of. We'd never really specified whether or not vehicles counted as units in terms of passing the line. Alex had his two reserved Leman Russes (if that's the plural) past the line so we decided to call it a draw to avoid argument!
Six turns of absolute carnage. Early on it wasn't clear who was going to win but there's no chance for the guard when facing space marines in combat. The sheer volume of troops that the BA assault terminators waded through was astounding. The grey hunters were inside the fortress so never really got to show their prowess with the exception of Ragnar's squad that is. Both times they charged they managed to get 3 bonus attacks allowing them to make light work of their enemies. Alex definitely gave us a scare since we seemed totally incapable of destroying tanks. After the rune priest had shown the way to do it they seemed to fall easiliy enough (that and our melta weapons and power fists came into range). The distraction of the dreadnought and land speeder certainly protected our midfield troops. The Basilisk was put out of contention pretty early which definitely saved a lot of space marines.
The undisputed star of the show was Arjac Rockfist. Whilst I believe that the grand masters will get a buff in the rumoured new DH codex they are pretty formidable in combat. It's only because they aren't Eternal Warriors that they're not unstoppable. Arjac absolutely excelled himself, you can't argue with 4 thunderhammer attacks, eternal warrior and a 2+/3+ save. It's skirmishes like that which firmly establish why I like to use special characters. The combats in the middle of the field were interesting but were no where near as fun as using Arjac and Logan together.
Sorry if this is a massive wall of muddled text but we found that in such a massive battle it was difficult to keep track of what happened and when. There's probably a lot I've missed out. Whilst it was an enjoyable experience I don't think it's one we'll repeat soon. Even though the was a lot of carnage it actually came down to a couple of thousand points of troops fighting in a corner of the field. In the future we'll stick to more smaller battles. I hope you enjoyed reading about this one anyway!
To get a real impression of the battle I've uploaded about half of the ton of pictures I took during the carnage to a web album which you can view here. Speaking of which I now desperately want to finish painting my Wolves so they look better in photos. Arjac needs a nice paint job in particular!