Battle Report (Tabletop)

Fierce skirmish action outside Pradeep


Outside the port city of Pradeep, a series of small battles have erupted recently between Imperial and Tau lines.

The Tau invasion of Dar Sai is, by all measures, a tiny war on a backwater moon when measured against the sector-wide conflicts that rage across the Imperium. As a result, the high commands of both the Imperium and Tau Empire put a low priority on supporting their military forces in this conflict.

Thus both armies are operating on the leftovers of higher-priority military operations.

This has led, on Dar Sai, to a stalemate on a grand tactical level. Without reinforcements or equipment replacement, it takes great preparation for either side to launch even a modest military operation at this time.

As a result, the war on the moon has degenerated into a series of minor clashes in the “no man’s land” that exists between the two opposing armies.

It appears that the Tau’s main military interest remains the capture of the port city of Pradeep. Not only is it one of the major industrial regions of the moon, its capture would open a route to the massive laser defense batteries on the north pole.

Their capture would force the Imperial fleet to abandon its low orbital blockade and increase the likelihood that ships could run the Imperial blockade and support the Tau war machine.

In recent weeks, a series of skirmishes have erupted around Pradeep. Whether this is an indication that the Tau are preparing a new offensive—or simply a sign of the xenos’ frustration and desire for military intelligence—is unclear.

Among the more notable skirmishers reported from the front lines:

1. Kyrus Agri-Repair Center

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The Tau have used armored battle suits that are remarkably effective at avoiding detection.

(3 687 737.M41) The Sons of Sanguinius—the Blood Angels—make an appearance in the Corvus Cluster for the first time in recorded history.

With the Tau supply line cut by the Imperial orbital blockade overhead, the xeno invasion on Dar Sai is in trouble. The invaders are desperate for industrial equipment to maintain their war-weary troops and vehicles.

As a result, the Tau command orders a Tau patrol  to investigate an abandoned industrial site once used to repair the agricultural machinery that operated in the surrounding farmland. Perhaps some of that machinery remains, rusted and unguarded.

The Blood Angels respond to the Tau excursion, advancing from the south and west, seeking to drive the xenos away. In the sound, the Astartes are stymied by fierce Tau fire. The Marines’ use of missile launchers and sniper rifles, however, puts great pressure on the xeno forces and forces them back.

To the west, the Astartes confront a deadly threat— a flank attack from a Tau Stealth Suit. The threat is finally ended by accurate gunfire and the use of grenades.

The Tau withdraw.

Casualties—Blood Angels: 1 wounded; Tau: 2 dead, 2 wounded

Victory Points—Blood Angels: 2, Tau: 1

Victor—Blood Angels

(Players—Blood Angels: Rick; Tau: Del)

2. Aganid Bridge

( 3 687 737.M41) As the Tau withdraw from the agri-repair center, the Blood Angels pursue. The Tau make a stand to the north of the Aganid Bridge, taking advantage of the cover of abandoned industrial equipment.

Another Stealth Suit reinforces the Tau, who put up a good fight, managing to create a deadly crossfire that forces the Astartes to assume a defensive position in an abandoned shanty town.

The Tau commander believes he has put the Blood Angels in an untenable position, as the Tau rate of fire surpasses that of the Astartes. But when the xenos advance for the kill, the Blood Angels reveal their talent for close-in combat.

The Tau left flank crumbles as the Blood Angels charge to point-blank range, their boltgun fire unerringly accurate and devastating. On the right flank, two Astartes charge the Tau advancing along the river. A fierce melee erupts on the Aganid Bridge, and the xenos’ superior numbers threaten disaster. But, in the end, with one Blood Angel down, the surviving Astartes slaughters the xenos.

The xenos’ morale breaks and they flee.

Casualties—Blood Angel: 1 wounded; Tau: 2 dead, 2 wounded

Victory Points—Blood Angels: 2, Tau: 1

Victor—Blood Angels

(Players—Blood Angels: Rick; Tau: Kon)

3. Tarixx Plantation

(3 690 737.M41) Scouts of the Knights of Altair chapter seek to destroy a Tau encampment to the southeast of the Pradeep defenses—and acquire prisoners and intelligence of the enemy’s intentions.

An attempt to infiltrate the enemy camp by quietly killing sentries goes awry after a sniper shot on a patrol drone only damages the xeno device. (The sniper rifle was equipped with a silencer.)

An alarm is sounded, and the Tau respond forcefully.

The scouts attempt to launch a frontal assault, but the Tau’s sophisticated combat doctrine allows the xenos to deploy quickly and establish a crossfire that proves deadly. One scout is killed and the squad sergeant is incapacitated. Given the mission’s low priority, the squad withdraws.

Casualties—Knights of Altair: 1 dead, 1 wounded; Tau: 0

Victory points—Tau: 3; Scouts: 1


(Players—Knights of Altair: Del; Tau: Steve)

4. Matapa Industrial Zone

(3 701 737.M41)

A Kroot warband enters the ruined Matapa Industrial Zone in search of Imperial technology that will assist the Earth Caste (Tau scientific subspecies) as they seek to discover weaknesses in the Imperial war machine. The Blood Angels respond to destroy the xeno threat.

One Astartes is struck down by the xeno fire, and the Blood Angels advance cautiously. Only when several xenos are downed by Imperial fire do a pair of Astartes charge one wounded xeno, killing it and prompting the Kroot to retreat.

Casualties—Blood Angel: 1 dead; Kroot: 2 dead, 1 wounded

Victory Points—Blood Angels: 2, Kroot: 1

Victor—Blood Angels

(Players—Blood Angels: Rick; Kroot: Frederik)

5. Gilolo Crossroads

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Blood Angels and Kroot trade volleys across a primitive horse stable. Surprisingly, the Kroot fire is far more effective than that of the Astartes.

(3 704 737.M41) The Tau establish a forward observation post overlooking the Imperial trench defences to the southeast of Pradeep.

The Blood Angels launch an attack. The majority of the Astartes squad advances north of the crossroads, while a single Space Marine stands atop a shanty with a missile launcher.

The missile-equipped Astartes suppresses the movements of the Tau, but the Space Marine is downed by the fire of xeno reinforcements that unexpectly arrive on his flank.

The remaining Blood Angels advance on a primitive horse stable defended by Tau forces, but through some techno-wizardry, their boltguns fail to strike their targets. A powerful volley from the Tau down a second Astartes, and with more xeno reinforcements closing on their position, the Blood Angels opt to withdraw.

In the confusion of battle, one of the downed Astartes is taken prisoner.

Casualties—Blood Angel: 1 wounded, 1 captured; Tau: 1 wounded

Victory Points—Blood Angels: 1, Tau: 2


(Players—Blood Angels: Rick; Tau: Del)

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Blood Angels prepare to storm the Kroot position.

6. Rescue Mission

(3 706 737.M41) The captured Blood Angel is transferred to a temporary command base in the Matapa Industrial Zone, guarded by Kroot who are sternly warned not to harm (ie. eat) the captive.

A rescue mission is launched by the Blood Angeles, who infiltrate along a main thoroughfare toward the xeno camp. Spotted as they get close to the camp, a firefight breaks out.

The Astartes’ accuracy surpasses the volume of Kroot fire. After taking heavy casualties, and despite the military value of the command base, the xenos are forced back.

The Blood Angel is recovered safely.

Casualties—Blood Angel: 0; Kroot: 1 dead, 4 wounded

Victory Points—Blood Angels: 2, Kroot: 1

Victor—Blood Angels

(Players—Blood Angels: Rick; Kroot: Frederik)

7. Toba Farm

(3 710 737.M41) Kroot and Blood Angel patrols clash in an unoccupied agricultural region to the southeast of Pradeep.

The Blood Angels advance steadily toward the Kroot, who deploy a strong firing line among the farm buildings and equipment  of a farmstead known as Toba Farm.

A number of the xenos are equipped with heavy armor, this extra protection allowing them to engage in a lengthy firefight with the Astartes.

The battle is decided only when the Blood Angels advance close enough to use anti-personnel (frag) grenades on the left flank of the Kroot—and a separate Astartes force charges into melee on the xeno right flank.

Casualties—Blood Angel: 1 wounded; Kroot: 1 dead, 2 wounded

Victory Points—Blood Angels: 2, Kroot: 1

Victor—Blood Angels

(Players—Blood Angels: Rick; Kroot: Frederik)

8. Octacles Memorial Skyshield

( 3 713 737.M41) An abandoned Imperial Skyshield in the Matapa Industrial Zone is the site of a clash between a Knights of Altair scout squad and a Tau pathfinder team.

Both forces advance upon one another. A scout sniper and missile launcher-equipped scout dominate the routes of advance for the Tau left flank, and the xenos go to ground rather than expose themselves to accurate Astartes fire.

Other scouts advance up the center, as do other Tau pathfinders, although both have their lines of fire blocked by the massive Skyshield.

Once the two forces close, accurate Astartes fire wins the day, as the xeno ranks are slowly whittled down at no loss to the Knights.

Casualties—Knights of Altair: 0; Tau: 1 dead, 2 wounded

Victory Points—Knights of Altair: 2, Tau: 1

Victor—Knights of Altair

(Players—Knights of Altair: Del; Tau: Stefan)

TheGM: We are in the midst of a mini-campaign using Shadow War: Armageddon, a skirmish rules set by Games Workshop that allows us to play one or two battles per club meeting.

So far, the Space Marines have won six of eight games. Some people will say that’s because Shadow War doesn’t allow power-armored Space Marines, only scouts, but we’re using the stats for Chaos Space Marines, so actually what’s the difference?

I think luck has some role in the win/loss count. There are not many Blood Angels on the table, and all it takes is two good shots to threaten the Astartes’ morale. More than once our resident Kroot player, Frederik, has had the game to win when his sniper got a bead on a Blood Angel—only to see him choke and roll a series of miserable dice.

If I’d know this mini-campaign would work so well, I would have created a more narrative-driven campaign that had an impact on the larger campaign. Ah, well, next time. All of this still is part of the grand story of the Corvus Cluster.

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our wargaming adventures in the sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

2 replies »

  1. Oh, we’re using first names for the club members. Do any of these players also happen to be mentioned by screen name earlier in the Campaign Timeline?


    • This was a short campaign I ran in hopes of drawing some historical gamer friends into our Corvus Cluster activities, and I used the blog to report the final results to them. So it was a very casual period of time, and the names were added for their benefit.

      I’m always looking for ways to involve people–through convention events or hosted games. In fact, two people coordinated online with me to insert their campaigns into our timeline.

      Thus, the Yaisdra and Burning Frontier campaigns ran independently, but we coordinated to ensure our narratives were in alignment. They wrote up battle and “historical” reports that you’ll find under the headings of those campaigns, and we tried to find ways for some crossover events.

      (Check out the “Space Wolves raid xenophobic base on Media III,” listed in the featured stories at the top of the home page.)

      Alas, life can get in the way of hobby fun, and writing blog articles does take time. So, for now at least, both the Yaisdra and Burning Frontier sectors are ominously quiet.

      Anyone interested in running a short campaign, a one-off battle, or participate in some other way is welcome to drop me a line. Two of our current “characters” in the Dar Sai campaign are based on followers who offered comments and ideas on that campaign. They are now immortalized as miniatures on my shelf, and both have had a battle report based on their “heroes.”

      Thanks for being a part of the Corvus Cluster.


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