“They may not be major battles, but anytime you face one of those greenskin brutes up close, it’s the fight of your life.”—Corporal Malor Brynsyka, 3rd Company, 728th Cadian Regiment.
What follows is a report on a series of Imperial-xeno skirmishes in the vicinity of the Barad Mine (COORD: 73 182 048 102).
Recorded: HEGIRA PLANETARY DEFENSE FORCE (PDF): EST 03/750
K’NASH BUNKER – PDF SUPREME HQ 2i3/202.12
INPUT DATE: 3 491 736.M41
INPUT CLEARANCE: Captain
ANALYST: Major Vernetta Cunnane
TRANSMITTED: K’Nash Bunker, Hegira, Regimental Intelligence Service, Q-3
TRANSMITTER: Astropath Aiden Medb
Despite the collapse of ork forces after the fall of the Barad Mine (3 291 736.M41), an unidentified warlord is engaging Imperial forces in a series of limited engagements—skirmishes of a few hundred combatants per side.
At first, it was believed that these engagements were simply the result of the overly aggressive nature of the ork species. But, after reviewing the unique nature of these engagements, some members of the Intelligence Service suggest that this unidentified warlord is studying Imperial military tactics and experimenting with countermeasures.
(3 450 736.M41, 17 kilometers SE of Barad Mine)—A small reconnaissance force, under the command of Capt. Leonatos Mensen, attempted to seize an abandoned mine complex from an equal-sized force of orks.
Notable about this battle was that the orks deployed an unusually large amount of artillery. Given that some of the artillery was entrenched, this suggests the orks deliberately prepared for the Imperial patrol’s approach.
Otherwise, the ork’s military tactics were standard—with a basic “wave” attack seeking to overwhelm the Imperial line with a frontal assault.
While the Imperial line stood its ground and used volley fire to hold back the greenskin attack, Capt. Mensen attempted a double envelopment of the ork position. His left flank was overwhelmed after its lasgun fire failed to produce the casualties necessary to hold back the orks, but his right flank—supported by a Veteran squad aboard a Chimera—turned the ork flank and caused sufficient casualties to force the orks to retreat.
(3 480 736.M41, 23 kilometers SW of Barad Mine)—A reinforced company of the 2nd Battalion, 728th Regiment, clashed with ork forces in the Rakora Sand Dune region. Command was held by Major Fulton Carobius.
Major Carobius also made mention in his debriefing of an unusual number of artillery pieces used against him.
Also notable was the the ork reaction to the Imperial forces. Whether a coincidence or an indication that Imperial tactics are becoming predictable, Major Carobius also attempted a double envelopment of the ork force. Both flank attacks were successful, but the ork warlord appeared unfazed by the Imperial effort.
In most cases, Major Carobius noted, an ork attack is diluted as ork warriors rush to confront the approaching flank assaults. But, in this case, the orks allowed their artillery to absorb the flank attacks and the main body of orks maintained their tactical cohesion and brought their full numbers to bear on the center of the Imperial line.
This xeno thrust was partially successful, overrunning several Imperial units and threatening to break through the Imperial line. As it was, Major Carobius barely managed to fend off the orks, who withdrew at the end of the day.
The significant deployment of artillery could be explained as simply the random result of the weaponry that an ork warlord was able to scrape together for battle. But there is a possibility that the orks—primitive-minded yet cunning—are experimenting with artillery as a counter to our recently successful combined-arms tactics.
The more concentrated, wedge-shaped assault of the orks in the second skirmish also could be unintentional—perhaps the result of terrain features that funneled the ork advance. But it also could be an attempt to modify the broad-based “wave” attacks that were so successful in the early days of the invasion, but which have proven less successful with the Imperium’s increased reliance on armor and flamers.
There is significant disagreement in the Intelligence Service about the significance that should be placed on the ork tactics recently displayed.
All that can be stated with confidence is that (a) it is possible that Imperial forces will confront more xeno artillery in future engagements and (b) Imperial commanders should be aware of the possibility that future ork attacks may attempt a greater degree of concentration.
The more tactically astute commanders will plan an appropriate response, as a contingency, should the xeno command structure actually be developing countermeasures to recent Imperial successes.
Major Vernetta Cunnane
Regimental Intelligence Service, Q-2
TheGM: Some of our recent battles have set endurance records—far longer than our aging Gaffer can handle. (HEY! I heard that..the gaffer.) Also, my output of painted miniatures has allowed me to win the arm’s race, deploying a variety of troops that the Gaffer currently cannot properly counter.
The result is that my use of armor and flamers (particularly my Hellhound, of which I now have three) are winning battles despite my limited tactical skills. The Gaffer simply doesn’t have the units to counter my weaponry, and it’s killing him on the battlefield.
As a result, we’ve been fighting a few smaller actions—along the lines of 500 to 700 points instead of 1,400—and The Gaffer has been setting up scenarios that has allowed him to experiment a bit with the troop lists he is building.
Until now, this experiment has been “unofficial,” in that it doesn’t affect the Hegira campaign (although it is still part of the history of the war). But if we stick to these smaller battles, we’ll eventually allow their results to determine the control of territory–especially once the Gaffer paints up the variety of specialty units he needs to be competitive again. (ie. Deffkoptas, Stormboyz, Battlewagonss, Warbiker Mobs, Deff Dreads, Warbuggies, etc.)
In the meantime, I’ll focus my repainting on my Space Marines, Necrons, and Deathwatch–so we can explore other corners of the Corvus Cluster.
The Gaffer: It’s been an interesting year in our journey down the Warhammer 40k highway of madness. I had been working mostly on terrain and lots of boyz without too much work on other units. So TheGM has used the time to fight the same army while experimenting with his own different units and tactics. In addition, fortune has been unkind to me the last couple of battles. Terrain has been open, which favors the Imperials, and the dice have consistently failed me on both the terrain and my morale rolls. We’ll see if we can reverse the trend. Either way, we’ve both enjoyed the game much more than expected!
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog that documents our wargaming adventures in Games Workshop’s fantastical sci-fi universe.