IMPERIAL VOXCAST (3 078 736.M41)—“Authorities have announced a great victory today just south of the Barad Mine. A xeno attack was repulsed with heavy casualties, while the number of human troop losses were limited to only a few dozen.”
The night air was chilly, and as a light breeze swept across the red desert sand, Captain Cauis Velaz shivered.
Standing atop his command Chimera, the veteran officer scanned the southern horizon through his binoculars. Adjusted to scan the infrared spectrum, his binoculars gave him an all-too-clear view of the ork Trukks advancing on his defensive line.
A grizzled, middle-aged sergeant stuck his head out of the Chimera’s top hatch. “All units in position, captain.”
Velaz said nothing for a moment, counting the Trukks and making a mental note of a particularly large ork walker towering behind the approaching wave of enemy vehicles.
He lowered the binoculars from his eyes but continued to watch the horizon.
“Well, then,” he said, “tell our big guns to thin the xeno line.”
Mission 5: The Emperor’s Will. One objective in each deployment zone.
- East Flank: First Platoon with command squad, 2 x infantry squads (Alpha, Beta), 4 Ratlings
- West Flank: Company command squad in Chimera (multilaser); Second Platoon with command squad, 3 x infantry squads (Delta, Foxtrot, Gamma), special weapons squad (with snipers); Lemon Russ Tank
- Reserves: 2 x Scout Sentinels, Valkyrie with Ceti Squad (First Platoon)
Infantry squads include autocannon teams; platoon command squads include lascannon teams.
East Flank: Warlord, warband of Boyz with sluggas, Looted Wagon with 5 Kommandos
Center: 2 x warbands of Boyz with sluggas (in Trukks), Killa Kan, Deff Dread
Reserves: Dakkajet, 2 x Deffkoptas, 1 warband of Gretchin
IMPERIAL TURN ONE
Its deployment complete, the Imperial defensive line stood its ground—and opened fire to impressive effect.
The first to fire was the company’s armor support, a single Lemon Russ tank that turned its battle cannon toward the orks’ single Deff Dread. After examining his targeting auspices, Velaz ordered the tank crew to “Fire on My Target,” which helped negate the visibility issues caused by the early morning darkness.
The order made the difference. The tank hit its target, and with the Deff Dread’s cover save undermined by the officer’s order, the cannon fire damaged the walker’s hull and left its pilot shaken.
As an added benefit, a nearby Trukk was caught in the large blast, and its crew was stunned.
A second “Fire on My Target” order was given to a nearby lascannon crew, whose shot immobilized a second Trukk. If its passengers had hoped to kill any “humies,” they would have to disembark and cross the open killing field in front of the Imperial Guard defenses.
More Imperial fire targeted the orks’ lone Killa Kan. The hull of the primitively built walker was soon pierced by an autocannon shell, and the mechanized monster exploded in flame.
It was a joy to pilot a Killa Kan, thought Grotnob.
After a lifetime of physical abuse at the hands of his larger ork cousins, the diminutive gretchen felt empowered now that he was encased inside a three-meter-tall killing machine. Now, even an ork warrior stepped aside when he walked by.
Of course, he’d screamed bloody hell when he originally was “volunteered” as a pilot, and it had been excruciatingly painful to be hard-wired to the killa kan—a permanent joining of flesh and metal. But the past was the past.
Suddenly the sky was lit by fire, as hundreds of lasguns and heavier weaponry opened fire on the approaching greenskin horde. The Killa Kan’s hull rattled loudly as the first lasgun shots struck home.
Such weapons had no hope of penetrating his metal home, and Grotnob laughed at the futility of the humie fire. But, as he searched for a visible target, he caught sight of the faint outline of something large … one of those humie tanks.
“Yippee,” he shouted, before realizing that the tank’s cannon barrel was pointing in his direction.
That’s not good, he thought, just a moment before he saw billowing flame erupt from the tank’s cannon barrel. A moment later, Grotnob’s world exploded—and, as he was engulfed in flame and pain, he had one final thought:
That’s one for the humies!
ORK TURN ONE
The ork’s battle plan was undone—before a single ork had moved or fired. The uncanny accuracy of the Imperial Guard’s first round of fire had disabled the majority of the orks’ vehicles and walkers, stopping the xeno advance even before it began.
If the orks recognized how their tactical situation had soured, they showed no sign of discouragement. Where orks could still move forward, they did so.
The orks of the immobilized Trukk disembarked and used the cover of a nearby butte to swing around and position themselves to advance on the humies along the western flank.
The only serious advance came on the eastern flank, where a looted wagon advanced, supported by the warlord and a mob of Boyz.
The only fire came from a small mob of Lootas who were skulking behind the Trukk in the center of the battlefield. The Lootas’ position gave them, by the barest margin, a shot at the flank of the Lemon Russ tank, a target so important that it could not be ignored.
Naturally, given ork accuracy, nothing managed to hit the sizable target.
A surge of optimism swept through Velaz as he watched the initial volley of Imperial fire rip apart the ork battle line. Everywhere he looked, Trukks and ork walkers were burning.
The only worrisome development was on the eastern flank. His guns had rightly targeted the greatest threats, but this had left the orks relatively untouched on the flank. And they were advancing quickly.
“That won’t do,” Velaz muttered to himself. Turning his head, he raised his voice so he could be heard by Bannon over the roar of Imperial fire.
“Sergeant!” he shouted. When the non-com’s head appeared, the captain added, “Let’s retarget some guns to the east flank. The herd over there needs thinning.”
Bannon smiled—the smile of a predator spotting prey. “My pleasure, captain. Woudn’t want any greenskins to feel ignored.”
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our wargaming adventures in the sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.