Battle Report: Seize The Comms Tower!

Hello again and welcome back!  On my way home I stopped off and managed to get a quick 1,000 Take And Hold game in with my mate Coldsteel Dan - not a blogger but an ardent gamer with two full-sized Space Marine armies.  He brought along some nicely-converted Blades of Fire Marines, built with a mix of FW conversion kits and representing a loyalist splinter from a traitor chapter.  Well, without further ado, let's look at how the battle went!

We plumped for a 1,000 pt game, although both of us underspent by about 50-odd points and the FOC was fairly loosely-adhered to.  Apologies for the slightly blurry photos but we were underground for this game, so the lighting wasn't perfect.  The scenario represented a Blades of Fire scout mission, as they tried to secure a comms tower that may have vital information as to their parent (traitor) legion's whereabouts.  The Palladians misidentify them as the traitor unit and close in for the attack ...


Space Marine Force:  Blades of Fire Task Force

Honour Guard Squad (Vanguard Veterans)
(Army Commander:  Sergeant Daxos)
  • 3 Sword-armed Veterans
  • 3 Shieldbearer Veterans
Tactical Squad
  • 10 Marines in 2x Combat Squads
  • Missile Launcher
Devastator Squad
  • 5 Devastators
  • Lascannons
Scout Squad
  • 10 Scouts
  • Heavy Bolter and Sniper Rifles
Ezekielis Peitonus
  • Venerable Dreadnought

    Imperial Guard Force:  1 Platoon, 122/7 Company

    • 5 Ratlings
    • Primaris Psyker with 3 Sanctioned Psykers
    (Lt Rhyn, also doubled as Army Commander)
    • Plasma Pistol and Power Weapon for commander
    • Regimental Standard
    • Vox Caster
    • Commissar with Power Weapon and Carapace Armour
    4x Infantry Squads
    (2 from 1 Platoon, 2 on secondment from 2 Platoon)
    • Vox Caster
    • Krak Grenades
    • Heavy Bolter
    • Veteran Sergeant and 8 Veterans
    • Bolt Pistol and Plasma Pistol for Sergeant 
    • Meltagun
    • Plasma pistol
    • Heavy Bolter
    • 3 Heavy Mortars

    As you can see, I had hardly any heavy artillery, no heavy tanks and no lascannons!  I picked this list mainly to try out some of my newer units like the Psykers and Ratlings, as well as giving my infantry a chance to shine.

    The Deployment - simple 12" zones, with the central tower as the objective.  Sorry for the
    rubbish photo - it was so blurry we should have fought with Night Fighting rules.

    The Game

    For clarity, I'll refer to the flanks as they appeared to me all the way through - so the massive building with the scouts is on the left flank, and the Vanguard Veterans on the right flank, and the comms tower simply 'the objective'

    First Turn

    Coldsteel Dan

    The left flank action; Dreadnoughts and Scouts would
    deny the whole flank with a hail of fire.
    Winning the roll for first turn, Dan looked to get as close as possible.  His left flank was full of firepower, hoping to pin me in place, while the Combat Squads and Veterans on the right could push in for the kill.  The Devastators in the middle could cover the objective.  The perfect plan!

    With most units moving forward, firing was restricted to the Dreadnought and Scouts on the left flank.  Despite a barrage of fire the nifty marksmen avoided taking any casualties, and 1 Squad lost three men but held their nerve.  A quiet turn, but those nasty veterans were moving up on my right and it would take a lot to dislodge that shooty left...

    Colonel Scipio

    I'd been spared the brunt of Dan's firepower, so I was determined to make my shots count this turn while I still could.  Like many of my opponents, there were only a very small number of elite troops so I hoped my mortars could cope.  I moved the Psyker and Command Squads forward on the left - I wanted to keep them flexible, so I could go for the Dreadnought or the objective as needed.

    Then began the shooting.  The Ratlings managed to pick off one of the scouts, but it was a big 10-man squad.  Second and Fourth Squads opened up on the Devastators:  I couldn't cope with all that firepower, especially with no Leman Russ-chassis tanks.  I killed three, which was very respectable for Guardsmen (aided by the First Rank Fire order).  Then the mortars opened up - the first shot slammed into the back of the building occupied by the scouts, killing four and sending the rest running.  I knew they'd regroup, but with their heavy weapons it would be Turn Three or Four before they'd be back in the game.  The second brought the Devastator Squad down to a mere two men, although they passed their morale check.  The third, along with the rest of the squads, failed to kill anything else and I passed the dice back, happy I'd seriously weakened that firing line.  But the Veterans were still implacably moving towards me.

    Second Turn

    Coldsteel Dan

    I start my moves towards the centre, and even though
    I take heavy casualties my own shooting
    begins to make its effect felt...
    Dan continued his advance - it was clear that most of his line would be in assault range by next turn.  The scouts regrouped of course, but last turn they had fled 11", meaning it would take them a few turns to get back into position.

    But this turn consisted mainly of shooting, where the Dreadnought turned its assault cannon on the Ratlings, killing one of them.  In a frankly incredible display of unlucky dice, all of his heavy weapon shots missed, including two lascannons from the Devastators getting a snake eyes and the Combat Squad's missile launcher failing to blow up the Hydra.  After much cursing, the dice passed back over to me.

    Colonel Scipio

    Through sheer good luck I had survived two turns now with barely any casualties.  But I would soon be in assault range, so I had to take steps to secure the objective soon.  On the left, I had no AT to threaten the Dreadnought with so 1 Squad duly moved up in a suicidal advance - maybe they could land a few krak grenades on its venerable hull.  Back over on the right, the Hydra, Salamander and Veterans all pushed forward, the latter two directly onto the objective.

    The mortars did well again, killing two of the rapidly-approaching Vanguard Veterans on the right.  Back leftwards, Lieutenant Rhyn levelled his plasma pistol* at the Dreadnought and fired, scoring a hit which blew off the servos on its leg, immobilising it.  That would make it a lot easier to kill, or even avoid.  The Devastators took another casualty from the Ratlings, and all my other shooting was ineffectual.

    In assault, I had to 'speedbump' the Veterans who were steaming towards my mortars on the right.  4 Squad had the job of charging - I hoped my extra attack might swamp them, but they failed to kill anything at all.  Worse, they were cut down and the Veterans chased down an extra 7", bringing them even closer to the mortars.  The exact opposite of what I wanted.  In happier news, the deluge of krak grenades from the assaulting 1 Squad killed the Dreadnought.  My left flank looked very clear and I had a hold on the objective ... but what about those rampaging Veterans?

    Third Turn

    Coldsteel Dan

    Things looked like they would be decided in this turn.  Dan's scouts were back in position, threatening to fire on the Command Squad and Psykers.  Shooting again thinned the squads, who took a few casualties but the worst news came on the right.  The beautifully-converted Vanguard Veterans charged  into 3 Squad, defending the building, and combat again ensued.

    I move towards the objective as the Veterans'
    rampage finally ends.
    The squad had three Shieldbearers, who gave a 3+ invulnerable save and absorbed a lot of fire.  Again, they took no casualties and all four Guardsmen in the combat were shredded.  However, they had killed themselves out of the combat - with the rest of 3 Squad upstairs, the Veterans were now out of combat and vulnerable to fire.  3 Squad had an attack of common sense and fled out the building.  There was nothing between the Veterans and the mortars now.

    Colonel Scipio

    True to predictions, this was the last decisive turn.  I was happy that I had a decent hold on the objective but the Veterans were rampaging in my lines; I had to kill them now!  My Hardened Veterans obliged, with a barrage of melta and plasma fire that finally ended the Vanguard Veterans' run.  The snipers, back in position, were promptly frazzled by my Psyker Squad - their first ever kills, and my first use of a Psychic power in 40K!  

    All that was left of Dan's force now was the last surviving Devastator, and so the next turn consisted of his being surrounded by my Guardsmen.  He got one last shot off at the Salamander but missed, and a barrage of melta fire ended him - and the game.  My squads were badly mauled, I'd taken about 50% casualties, but the objective was safe and the Space Marines had been wiped out to a man.



    Post Match Interviews:

    Coldsteel Dan - Well, that was a very good game and gave me an opportunity to try out some experimental units, namely the Honour Guard (who, by the way were awesome) 

    I had sound tactics for the battle but luck was not on my side, I had some terrible round of shooting and my Devastators refused to do any damage!  And pride forced me to keep shooting my heavy weapons at Scipio’s tanks which was a mistake as this allowed him to overwhelm me.

    Scipio also had some great fortune with his mortars, smashing several squads; the best hit was on the Scout Squad [in turn 1] which, after causing them to fall back, meant the squad spent the rest of the game getting back in position!

    I fought to the last, but alas I was defeated. Well done Scipio!

    Colonel Scipio - A very, very enjoyable game with cups of tea and good cheer all round.  I was keen when deploying to use my numerical superiority to crowd the objective.  I thought the game might drag on for six turns, and I wanted to crowd the objective with at least three squads and form a human barrier.  In the event, my mortars did very well and were incredibly lucky, killing a lot and forcing the game along much more quickly than I'd planned.

    I was blessed with some incredible good luck at all the crucial points.  I managed to take out the scouts and Dreadnought on the left with comparative ease, down to some lucky scatter dice rolls.  My biggest scare was the Veterans, who hacked their way through two squads and were poised to charge the objective as soon as turn three.  It was only catching them in the open that let me finally end the rampage and secure victory.

    I was pleased with the performance of all my specialist units, the Psykers and Ratlings especially.  My lack of tanks and heavy artillery paid off, but only because of some very lucky dice rolls.  My lack of AT especially could have proved my undoing ... it just goes to show, modelling, painting and tactics aside - in the end it's up to the dice gods.

    Anyway, thanks all for reading - until next time, fare ye well!

    The Colonel

    (* this is the second game in a row when one of my officers has taken out a menacing vehicle with a lucky plasma pistol shot - medals are in order!)

    A good old Imperial Guard firing line, lasguns poking out of the murky gloom.
    A Ratling takes aim at the advancing Marines
    The heavy mortars - they won the game with their jammy dice rolls.
    The Salamander and Veterans started the game with the objective in their sights ...
    ... but so did the scouts!
    Suitably entrenched, it took some heavy ordinance to displace them in the end.
    The Venerable Dreadnought drew lots of fire and gave as good as he got ... 
    ... but in the end there were just too many krak grenades!
    The Vanguard Veterans cut through everything they charged with ease. 
    Safely out of close combat, the Veterans finally fall in a hail
    of meltagun and plasma pistol shots.


    1. Brilliant! Succinct and very enjoyable: thanks for sharing.

    2. Glorious Victory for your lads sir!

    3. That was an excellent battle report. I really like the little "splosions" to denote casualties in the pictures.

    4. Superb write up, looks like it was a great game and a good victory for the Guard (despite the lack or armour). And as Chris says, liking the old WD style explosions.

    5. Great write up and thanks for sharing all the pics. Unlike other GW games, I think 40k plays well at a variety of points levels, especially when fielding the guard.


    6. @Drax: Cheers Drax! It was a short game but I try to keep them punchy.

      @Imp Commander: Thanks very much!

      @Chris: Yeah I love the ol' WD explosions. Still enjoy picking through an old issue now and again and reading a batrep or two.

      @Headologist: It was, that's their first proper victory ever!

      @Der Feldmarschall: Cheers Jason! Good point, other systems/periods you need different rules for skirmish/grand battles, but the Guard play everything well, right from Kill Team through Patrol Clash to 2000pts!

    7. Very cool report. Congrats on a deserved win!

      1. Thanks Dai! As as say, my first decent win, hopefully more to follow!


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