NEWS REPORT—In the first clear victory over the ork invaders of Hegira, the 728th Cadian Regiment and the 3rd Tarak PDF launched an attack into the Iron Spires and drove xeno forces out of the territory, restoring the barren mountain region to Imperial control.
The Imperial victory eases the xeno threat to the famed Tarak Mines and, perhaps of greater significance, the battle is the first reversal of the ork invasion after two years of war.
—Media report, dated: 3 473 735.M41
BATTLE LOCATION: Iron Spires, Hegira (Sculptor IId)
MISSION: Big Guns Never Tire
LOCATION: Wednesday Night Gamers of Alexandria Clubhouse
After the orks made an unsuccessful foray into the Sea of Dust, TheGM decided that it was unacceptable to allow the orks to continue holding territory adjacent to the strategically important Tarak Mines (See Hegira Campaign rules). It was imperative the mines not fall in the hands of the xenos, so the orks simply had to be pushed back.
Having failed five previous times to defeat the orks, the Imperium decided upon a novel new strategy. After studying the Imperial Guard Codex, a potential “surprise” for the orks was found in the entries about Commander Chenkov and his “Send in the Next Wave” special rule for conscript troops.
(The “Send in the Next Wave” rule allows a conscript unit to be removed from the table as casualties and return next turn at full strength in the Imperial deployment zone. It’s hideously costly, but it is also very powerful.)
It helped that TheGaffer began building his army from scratch allowing him few choices to tailor or even change his army’s Table of Organization (TO). So far, he has to field all his troops into each battle. That meant TheGM knew the ork order of battle (OB) and TheGM’s Imperial army is larger, with more options. So a plan was hatched where the Imperial Guard would deploy an infantry-only force—and rely on sheer numbers to win the day.
Plasma guns would serve as the only anti-vehicle weapon in the Imperial OB, and a single vehicle, a Chimera with flamethrowers, would be used to carry a veteran squad of shotguns and flamethrowers—a single mobile force to threaten the ork rear or seize any undefended objectives.
Lacking enough Imperial Guard figures for its conscript units, TheGM used some of his Adeptus Mechanicus figures. They were treated as basic conscripts—local Mechanicus laborers of the Tarak Mines who were enlisted into an ad hoc PDF unit raised by the Tech Priests.
The orks deployed first and, not knowing the Imperial deployment, spread out their forces in a way that allowed some flexibility with many units mounted on fast-moving vehicles.
The Imperials deployed along one table edge, so that the ork infantry on foot—the Gretchins and Slugga-equipped Boyz—would waste half the game simply advancing.
The Imperial goal was simple: Seize the two objectives to their front, using Ceti Squad’s conscripts as the unit with the “Send in the Next Wave” rule. The goal was, if the orks attacked to the southeast, Ceti Squad would grind down the orks, then leave the table and return to the southwest corner of the table and seize the nearby objective. Hopefully, because no Imperial forces would be within two feet of the objective for most of the game, the orks would leave it undefended—or defended by Gretchin.
It should be noted that our table was five feet wide, so we agreed to add an additional turn to the game (not start rolling for game end until Turn 6. That would give the orks time to cross the additional width. (TheGM just likes a bigger looking table.)
The orks went first. Rather than send two squads of orks against the entire Imperial army, the ork Trukks shifted to the west and joined the entire ork army in advancing in echelon along the western side of the table.
The Imperial Commander followed his plan. Ceti Squad, along with the 1st Special Weapons Squad (which had a plasma gun), advanced toward the objective on the eastern side of the battlefield.
The Mechanicus troops (Alpha Squad) and the command squads seized the objective to the Imperial front (just the east of the ruins and barely visible under the troops on the map above). Beta Squad (a 10-man Imperial Guard squad) ran for the ruins, along with 2nd Special Weapons Squad (also with a plasma gun).
Two ork Trukks went flat out this turn, moving ahead of the Killa Kans. The rest of the orks continued their advance. A lucky shot from a Rokkit Launcha on the Looted Wagon transporting the Warboss got a lucky hit on an unlucky Guardsman in the ruins.
The conscripts in Ceti Squad, along with the 1st Special Weapons Squad, seized the eastern objective. Alpha Squad, with its Mechanicus conscripts, formed a firing line in front of their seized objective.
Beta Squad moved into the cover of the ruins, while 2nd Special Weapons Squad formed a firing line. Both units fired a plasma gun at the Wagon transporting the Warboss but missed. Meanwhile, the Chimera, with the Veterans Squad, moved flat out—slipping behind the mesa in the center of the battlefield.
At this point, both commanders were assessing these early moves. The Veteran Squad moved behind the mesa and threatened the objective deep in the ork deployment zone. The ork commander now had to consider whether a unit would be held back to defend it.
Meanwhile, the Imperial player considered how to best use the “Send in the Next Wave” rule. After seeing the ork path of advance, it was clear that the Mechanicus troops (Alpha Squad) should have been the designated unit for this special rule. It was in a better position to bear the brunt of the upcoming ork attack, and then be recycled. But it was too late now for the two conscript units to switch their positions—not with the orks hurrying forward.
Artwork courtesy of Johnny Graves. See his work on the Deviant Art website: http://skullsgunsandfire.deviantart.com/