Battle Report: Get the Relic!


The battlefield - you can see Nero and the Ogryns
approaching the palace at the top
Hi all - things have been a bit quiet on the blog of late but no more!  We have another battle report today, as I got firmly into the swing of Sixth Edition and tried out a number of new units I have never used before with Guard.  My opponent was the worthy Coldsteel Dan.  Not a blogger but a fellow gamer of many years, with whom I last clashed in the epic Battle for the Comms Tower.

This continues our on-off campaign on Palladia's troubled satellite of Edethor.  The Blades of Fire chapter are seeking relics, with which they hope to piece together their history and find out more about their parent legion - traitor marines.  Unfortunately, the unenlightened Guard mistake them for said traitors and attack.



Armies

Space Marine Force: Blades of Fire Task Force

Honour Guard Squad (Vanguard Veterans)
(Army Commander: Sergeant Daxos)
  • 3 Sword-armed Veterans
  • 3 Shieldbearer Veterans
  • Additional power weapons and storm shields
Techmarine Praxiteles
  • Combi-plasma
Tactical Squads
  • 2x 10-marine squads
  • Missile Launchers
  • One with plasma gun, other with flamer
  • 1x 6-marine squad
Dan's fine Blades of Fire army
Devastator Squad
  • 6 Devastators
  • Lascannons
  • Missile Launchers
Vindicator 'Heart of Vengeance'

Razorback 'Eversor'
  • Multimelta
  • Extra Armour
Imperial Guard Force: 1 Platoon, 122/7 Company

122/7 Coy Command Squad
(Captain Nero)
  • Power Weapon for commander
  • Vox Caster
  • Regimental Standard
  • Medipack
  • Lord Commissar with Power Weapon
Ratling Squad
  • 5 Ratlings
Psyker Battle Squad
  • Primaris Psyker with 3 Sanctioned Psykers
1 Platoon Command Squad
(Lt Rhyn c. A.)
  • Power Weapon for commander
  • Vox Caster
  • Commissar with Power Weapon
2x Infantry Squads
  • Vox Caster
  • Krak Grenades
  • Heavy Bolter
  • Meltagun
2 Platoon Command Squad
(3rd Lt Galbrio)
  • Power Weapon for commander
  • Vox Caster
  • Commissar with Power Weapon
2x Infantry Squads
  • Vox Caster
  • Krak Grenades
  • Heavy Bolter
  • Meltagun
Hydra Flak Tank

Sentinel Squadron
  • 3x Sentinels armed with Missile Launchers
(Detached from 2871 (Armoured) Battery)

Thargadd approaching the objective
I didn't write this battle up, or take more than cursory photographs, because this one is being written up as a short story instead.  Without too much ado:
Nero wiped the sweat off his brow.  The day was dusty, and warm, and the company had been doubling for the last half a mile.  But Nero always got beads of sweat on his forehead before going into battle - he had done since his first engagement on Cadia all those years ago, and an eventful service in the Imperial Guard had done nothing to change that. 
He looked to his left.  Rhyn had his men pushing for the buildings which surrounded the ruined palace.  Rhyn could be trusted with fire support.  Unimaginative, an excellent shot and decidedly unfit.  He looked to his right, where young Galbrio was surging forward with his squads in line behind.  If any gusto or derring-do were to be called for today, this nineteen-year-old would be there to supply it in bags.  Nero turned his attention inward, and then directly in front of him.  The ruined palace, where the relic was supposed to have been sighted by Valkyrie overflights, was almost upon them. 
Then, suddenly, it all happened at once.  Just as he was about to reach the base of the palace he heard First Platoon's bugler call out 'Fire at Will', and to his left Nero saw lasgun shots slice out in volleys from the buildings Rhyn had taken up position.  Up against the wall, he couldn't see what they were shooting at but at least two missiles struck the front of St. Elutor, and several more streaked overhead.  There was a moment of doubt, before the smoke cleared and the Vanquisher ground on regardless.  The battle cannon bellowed, and everything within a hundred yards had the dust shaken from it by the shock wave.  The battle was here. 
Nero lost no time at all.  The same disciplined firing was now visible on the right as Second Platoon saw the enemy - he had to move now.  "Thargadd!"  He cried out over his shoulder.  The reply came booming back at him from about three feet away.  "Sur!  Yes boss?"  The enormous, malodorous creature could not be persuaded to go into battle at any greater distance from his adoptive commander. 
"Thargadd - the box!  You remember the box?"  Nero panicked as Thargadd replied with a furrowing of his brow and a blank look.  But this was soon followed by a long, slow smile of recollection and pride as he recalled his mission.  He needed no further prompting.  Leaving Nero to clamber through a window of the wrecked palace,  Thargadd lept through a crumbling wall and headed upstairs. 
*       *       * 
Nero, as was usual, had lost all track of the battle.  Fighting through the palace, they had come to a central room that would have ordinarily been buried within its heart.  As it was, the bombed-out roof and upper floors afforded it direct sunlight, and Nero and Thargadd had to clamber over enormous chunks of fallen masonry to get to the relic.  Unassuming enough - an ammunition crate plastered with purity seals.  It looked like it weighed the best part of a tonne, but Thargadd hauled it over his shoulder as if it had been a bundle of clothes.  "Now boss - lets get out of 'ere!" 
No sooner had he said it than the opposite wall came crashing down to the explosions of several frag grenades.  Stumbling back, Nero saw three shieldbearers come crashing through the wall towards them, followed by great black-clad Astartes marines, each bearing an enormous two-handed, fire-bladed sword.  Before he could even draw his own weapon, Thargadd and the Honour Guard were among them.  He lost no time in leaping forward, plunging his sword into the nearest shieldbearer.  The comabt whirled around his ears.  He was dimly aware of Thargadd's screams, as the fiery blades cut deep into the Ogryns' skin, and of the thinning ranks of the Honour Guard as they were either cut down by the swordsmen or beaten into paste by the shieldbearers.  Still, he could only make out one shieldbearer and of the three swordsmen, only one stood now.  The others lay bleeding around them - and the combat paused.   
"You..." a voice hissed from inside the armoured head.  "You," it said again, this time accompanied by a pointing finger, "shall face me!"  The others looked at him, dumbstruck, as he stepped forwards.  He noted the gaze of the commissar as he passed him, stepping up to the enemy's champion.  Thargadd was harder to subdue - he insisted on fighting in his captain's place, and it was only a stern and direct word from Nero that stopped him.  As he approached, in the silence he became suddenly aware of the sound of the battle still raging around outside. 
Nero looked at the black-armoured figure, and noticed for the first time the muddy red trim on the shoulder pads.  He had never seen an Astartes marine this close - certainly not one with whom he was about to fight a duel.  He stood their stupidly, wondering how it would begin. 
The marine captain began it for him.  The fiery blade flashed a blinding light, as it was suddenly brought about with lighting speed and slammed towards Nero.  He fell backwards, parrying clumsily with his power sword.  The feeble circuitry of his own weapon flashed violently as it was overloaded by the sheer energy of his adversary's weapon.  He sat on the floor, panting, and looked at the dull, lifeless sword behind him, as the marine stood over him.  He had stopped, waiting for him to stand up.  Nero was deaf to the cries of his subordinates, and everything about him had a strange clarity as he stood up one last time.  He could look up once again, dimly aware of the marine raising his sword.  For his part, he could only raise his weapon ineffectually as the fiery blade swooped down.  It cut through the lifeless sword.  He barely felt it strike him in the side, and by the time it had cut through and emerged the other side, Nero was dead.
The death of Captain Nero...
Gasps from the audience!  Yes, as you guessed from that little anecdote, Captain Nero is no more!  There will be more on the aftermath to this battle, all the medals and records etc, in the next post.  But to illustrate what happened in the wider battle, a few lines.  My gunline held up remarkably well after Dan and his devastators were let down by some appalling luck (two turns of 5 misses from 3+ marines ...), while I managed to whittle away at his forces.  By the time the dice rallied in about turn four, I had the objective but there were still some squad remnants which doggedly held on to the last turns.  As described in the story, there was a pretty climactic clash over the objective and despite Nero's death, with the help of the Ogryns I managed to turn the tide and get away with the objective, and victory!  And a very bloody nose - despite the initial success there were points in turns three and four when we thought it might swing the other way.  And all my officers were killed off, which means they'll all have to be replaced.

Looking towards the objective (top right), and my Sentinels pushing up through the right flank

The Imperial Guard lines

Rhyn's squads in the buildings, giving covering fire for the Vanquisher

Those shieldbearers ... a very nicely-converted army with a mix of 'old' FW parts

Second Platoon taking up position in a ruined church

The view of a Guardsmen on the right flank

Arg ... Nero's last moments ...

Well, that's the battle.  As soon as I can, I'll do a little post shedding more light on Nero's death and the fate of the other officers.  But for now, another bloody victory for the Guard!  Huzzah!

The Colonel

Comments

  1. Awesome writeup, mate! Glad to see Thargadd and the lads getting stuck in, a tragedy that Nero was cut down however. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for his replacement!

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - thought you'd be pleased to see Thargadd getting stuck in! He really was a lifesaver, they all took two wounds each but got out with the objective. If I'd have tried to do that with Guardsmen I may well have lost the game! I'll have a post up in a few days with some info about his lucky replacement.

      Delete
  2. I think Nero should get the Darth Maul treatment and get a bionic lower half, the better to survive post battle. :)

    Lovely writing sir - in future, decline challenges with favoured characters!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, now that's my eternal dilemma. I decided it was about time he moved on and the story was finished, gives someone else the chance to have a go. But he's been in my Guard armies for two years, and never actually properly died - except for once when he got friendly-fired by some Basilisks and we decided to use the bionics option. We'll see what HQ have in store for 122 Coy next time...

      Thanks, and we did go through the discussion of whether I should have accepted or got Thargadd/a Commissar to fight for me. But we decided that gung-ho Nero wouldn't have shirked a challenge, and on personal level I never could have looked Dan in the eye during this campaign if my 'legendary hero' character had declined a challenge! But I'm aware it's entirely my fault that he died :s

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  3. Serves him right for fiddling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a 'Nero' reference. Sorry.

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    2. *Faceplant* Even with the explanation it took me a day to get that.

      Delete
  4. Great battle fluff, did not expect Nero to bite it in the end. You can't bionic him this time, but if he ends up being a servitor for an inquisitor or something, ya know give him the Robocop treatment.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, in fact I forgot to take my bionic save so maybe, just maybe, he might have survived! Ah well. This is my thing, it's the ruthless killing-off of officers that makes the survivors more memorable. Nero may be dead but that was the first time he died in battle in two years - with the exception of my scattering artillery in the last game :s which we overlooked.

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    2. Do you not get bionic saves against instant kill weapons? Not sure about this, but I think I remember it (in the 3Ed Codex). Sure that it's been replaced with some banal-titled USR by now. Anyway pretty sure he doesn't get a save since Sgt Daxos' relic blade was S6 vs Nero's T3.

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