Major Pask had deployed his Battle Tank carefully. Nestled in the rocky mesa in front of the Imperial line, he had limited visibility—much of the battlefield hidden from him.
Yet that did not concern him. Scouting the battlefield on foot the previous evening, he’d discovered a small gap in the mesas, one that would provide immense protection to his tank yet give him a clear line of sight to the most likely advance route of the orks.
As dawn broke, he could see the xeno forces begin to advance. Battlewagons, Trukks, Deff Dreads … he had what some would call a “target rich environment.”
Without taking his eyes off his targeting eyepiece, he yelled down to his loader: “Anti-tank round!”
A huge black Battlewagon advanced, exposing its flank. Pask smiled as he waited for word that his battle cannon was loaded and ready to fire.
IMPERIAL TURN ONE
As planned, the Imperial flanks advance. On the right flank, a Battle Tank moved forward slowly, with an infantry squad following in its shadow. A nearby Chimera, Veteran troops crowded inside, races forward to the ruins on the right edge of the ork deployment zone.
On the left flank, the Hellhound advances, again with an infantry squad using its armored bulk as cover. A platoon command squad trails behind. The Hellhound comes within range of an ork Looted Wagon but merely scorches its armor.
A nearby Chimera, embarked with Veterans, idles in place, targeting the same Looted Wagon with its multi-laser. Its shots go wide.
In the center, Major Pask targets an ork Battlewagon and manages to stun the crew. The nearby Exterminator takes some armor off the Looted Wagon in the center of the ork line, while an autocannon from the Imperial Aegis Line blows up a Deff Dread.
The interior of the Battlewagon was hot, with an overpowering stink grease and xeno sweat, but the ork warlord hardly noticed. He was listening to the pounding of “humie” shells bouncing off the armor surrounding him.
He turned his three-meter-tall bulk with difficulty to look back at the mob of boyz crowded into the rear of the vehicle.
“Listen up,” he growled. “Rumlar ain’t too happy. This is ork territory. We took it fair and square. So he ain’t happy that the humies took it away. He wants it back.”
“Well,” one ork barked, “why don’t he come and lead the fight?”
The warlord growled. “Watch your mouth! If he showed up, we’d have to share the fun. Or maybe you don’t like doing the fightin? Maybe you’d like to go back and help the Grots carry supplies.”
At that moment, a large shell slammed into the side of the Battlewagon, and for every ork aboard, things went black for a moment.
ORK TURN ONE
The orks advance across their front. On the right flank, the blue Battlewagon drives past its stunned partner and charges forward to meet the Imperial Battle Tank advancing toward it.
Wary of the initial accuracy of Imperial fire, the remaining Deff Dread and one Trukk in the center of the line seek to advance under cover of ruins and rocky mesas that dot the battlefield.
Not far away, a second Trukk rushes forward and drops off a half dozen Tank Bustas into the closer central ruins.
Hiding behind ruins in the rear of the battlefield, bored Grots decide to take a shot—and, to the horror of the Imperial troops, the shot lands squarely atop the company command squad, wiping it out.
Editor’s Note: This is very bad. Although the commander is not the Imperial Warlord, he is carrying Kutizov’s Auspice, and its loss means that all nearby troops will no longer have the benefit of Preferred Enemy. Also, the loss of the Command Squad means the Icarus Lascannon no longer has a BS 3. The only good news: The psyker is just outside the Grot’s highly effective barrage.
No one who knew the gray-haired sergeant would have expected the desperate screech that escaped the noncom’s lips, but there was no one alive to hear him. The xeno artillery round had landed directly atop the command post, effectively wiping out the infantry battalion’s command control at the onset of the battle.
But the sergeant wasn’t thinking of the battle; he was thinking of his commanding officer.
Although wounded, the sergeant staggered over to the prone body of Captain Velaz. Dropping to his knees, the older soldier checked for a pulse and was greatly relieved to find one.
The captain was out of action. Major Pask would now have to deal with the problems of commanding the infantry. Gasping in pain and exertion, the sergeant lifted his commander onto his broad shoulders and staggered toward the battalion’s aid station nearly two kilometers behind the lines.
For both him and his captain, this battle was already over.
IMPERIAL TURN TWO
On the right flank, the Lemon Russ tank advances to block the opposing Battlewagon from advancing through a gap between ruins. A shot of its mighty Battle Cannon fails, however, to hurt the xeno vehicle.
The nearby Chimera turns to face the Battlewagon as well, the squad commander of the embarked Veterans realizing that debarking in the ruins actually will make it vulnerable to an ork counterattack. Best to bide his time before debarking, he thinks.
In the center, Pask is frustrated by the orks’ use of terrain. Although he thought he had a clear line of sight to the xeno forces, the orks surprise Pask by finding areas that elude his targeting array. His battle cannon is useless this turn. Nearby, however, the Exterminator targets and kills the damaged Looted Wagon to its front.
On the left flank, a squadron of Scout Sentinels suddenly appears on the ork flank, targeting the Looted Wagon’s side armor with nine shots—all of which manage nothing more than a penetrating hit that only stuns the xeno vehicle.The Chimera on that flank also fires three shots and fails to strike.
The Hellhound, having decided to leave the Looted Wagon to the Sentinels (bad decision), races forward and targets the recently debarked Tank Bustas and incinderates the entire squad with its Infernal Cannon.
At this point, the infantry supporting both flanks—no doubt distracted by the heat of battle—forget their orders. They were to spread out along the battlefield edge and deny orks the opportunity to conduct an outflanking maneuver—and force the orks to enter battle from the ork deployment zone.
The failure to remember their role will have a serious impact on the Imperial fortunes later in the game.
The DeffKopta cleared the sand dune by a hair’s width, and, up ahead, the pilot, Brokk, smiled as he saw the humies to his right. He’d maneuvered himself behind them.
Aiming carefully—which for an ork meant pointing his DeffKopta in the general direction he wanted to shoot—he pulled the trigger and watched happily as bullets left a line of rising sand to his front, and two humes dropped to the dirt.
He hit his accelerator, forcing the DeffKopta to rise higher into the air, just as a Warbuggy slipped under him.
“This is going to be fun,” he thought, a toothy grin stretchin’ gacross his green face as he opened fire yet again.
ORK TURN TWO
As the ork turn begins, the Imperial commander realizes he’s made a terrible mistake. In his haste to advance, he’d failed to spread out the infantry squad on the flanks to block an ork outflanking maneuver. He pays for the mistake, as two Deff Koptas and three Warbuggies sweep behind the Imperial right flank.
The DeffKoptas manage to immoblize the Chimera with a shot of their Rokkits, but the Warbuggies only kill one Imperial Guardsmen in the open—a lucky turn of events for the Imperium.
On the left flank, a Dakkajet appars on the battlefield, and the Imperial Icarus Lascannon uses its interceptor rule to fire on the aircraft upon its arrival—and promptly stuns it. The resultant inaccurate fire (Snap Shots) kill 2 guardsmen.
In the center, a mob of Stormboyz conduct a Deep Strike onto the center of the board. Although intending to land behind a mesa—out of line of sight of Imperial troops—they suffer a mishap and drop right in the open where Pask has a clear shot. The tank commander will punish them seriously in the next turn.
One Battlewagon, the vehicle whose path is blocked by the Imperial Battle Tank, opts to ram the tank but only manages to damage itself.
The second Battlewagon, carrying the warlord and his personal retinue, is no longer stunned and zooms up the center toward the Aegis Line. The vehicle stops behind a mesa where it is safe from most Imperial fire. A Truck filled with Boyz follows alongside.
To see more of the fantastic art of Comrade Ogilvi, click here to visit his DeviantArt.com website.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.