Battle Report (Narrative)

Space Marines stop Tau attack at Pradeep (Part 3)

Warhammer 40K blog

Shas’ui Vurael races back to this Devilfish with stolen Imperial data, even as the Knights of Altair charge his position. He is the only survivor of his squad to escape in his transport as Space Marine fire is deadly accurate.

Return to base

His mission was complete, Shas’ui Vurael thought, as he ran out of the front hatch of the satellite array. The enemy security files were downloaded from the archaic Gue’la calculating machines, and the data carefully packed into the storage device inside the satchel on his shoulder.

Now all he had to do was get back to headquarters alive.

“Back to the devilfish!” he ordered his team.

Running outside, Vurael could see the armored Gue’la warriors driving back the Kroot screening line. Avian barks and screeches mixed with the sound of gunfire, and the Tau officer kept his haed low as he hurried to the threatened transport that waited for him.

All around him, Kroot and Tau warriors were falling, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw one of his own fire warriors fall.

Damn the Gue’la, Vurael thought. The fire was unerring accurate, as if they were guided by Pathfinders.

A roar sounded up and behind him. Daring a glance, the Tau officer saw an blunt-nosed Gue’la aircraft [Classification: Stormtalon Gunship) dive down on the battlefield. Its nose weaponry fired and tore apart two of the Crisis Suits providing covering fire for his retreat. (14)

By the time he reached the Devilfish, the rest of his squad was down. So were most of the Kroot. He dove through the side hatch of the transport, followed by two Kroot warriors, and as soon as they were aboard, Vurael found himself tossed about as the pilot gunned the engines and spun the transport around. (15)

The sound of Gue’la weapon shells striking the Devilfish’s armor rose in intensity, then fell as the transport accelerated away from the fighting.

No victory today

A Tau transport was racing back to Tau lines, but Brother-Sergeant Foix caught sight of it, and he was determined to stop it. His eye locked on his targeting array, he lined up his shot and triggered the twin-linked lascannon of his turret.

A blinding burst of light flashed from the Predator and up the exhaust manifold of the xeno craft, and Foix had the satisfaction of watching the rear half of the Devilfish explode, sending the vehicle flipping over on its back as it slammed into the ground. (16)

“Take back the Emperor’s due,” he snarled as he watched a squad of brothers race toward the wreck.

Unknown to Foix, Shas’ui Vurael did not survive the crash. As the rear of the Devilish exploded, shrapnel swept through the transport and tore apart the Tau officer.

Despite the violence of the crash, a side hatch on the overturned Tau vehicle opened, and a handful of Kroot staggered out, one carrying the Imperial data files that had been stolen.

He didn’t possess his prize for long. An avenging angel of the Emperor was upon him.

A lone marine stands tall

Warhammer 40K blog

Still fighting alone, Brother Adrien attacks the Kroot warriors who are attempting to steal stolen Imperial data. Adrien’s attack ultimately hands victory to the Knights of Altair.

Having dispatched the two enemy warriors before him, Brother Adrien prepared to charge the Tau firing line. He did not expect to reach the xenos before they shot him down, let alone survive the day.

But fate intervened. To his left, a stricken Devilfish slammed into the ground and flipped over. He would have thought no more about it, but a priority message was flashing on his com link: the xenos had stolen something valuable from the satellite array, it was in the xeno transport, and it was to be retaken.

Setting aside his suicidal charge, Adrien turned and fired his jetpack, soaring into the air as a dozen plasma round filled the air where he’d stood but a moment before. Throttling his jetpacks to full power, he shot across the crop field and landed hard next to the Devilfish, his armored boots burying themselves five centimeters into the dirt from the impact of his landing.

As he came to a halt, a hatch opened in the side of the overturned tarnsport, and two Kroot tumbled out. One held a xeno storage unit; the other raised his rifle to fire at the Space Marine.

The xeno was too slow. In a move so quick that neither Kroot had time to react, Adrien triggered his chainsword and took both their heads.

A Rhino roared toward him, a marine in the roof copula firing a heavy bolter at the xenos at the tree line. A voice came over Brother Adrien’s com link. “Good work, brother. Now get that package aboard.” (17)

The Knights victorious

Standing next to the immobile hulk of the Broadside, a weary Captain Nevarre confirmed the battlefield reports that flooded his tactical array.

The Tau were in full retreat.

There would be no armored thrust to shatter the enemy lines. Too many vehicles were bogged in that damned mire that had gone undetected. But with the xeno armor neutralized, his Predator and Vendicator tanks were unchallenged as they raked the Tau firing lines with high explosive rounds.

Xeno casualties were climbing and unsustainable.

The victory did not sit well, however, with the Space Marine captain. Casualties were higher than anticipated, and the apothecaries reported that the fates of Brother Boras and Chaplain Sévin, whose bodies were recovered with some life signs remaining, remained uncertain.

A high-priority signal appeared on his tactical array. Nevarre mentally opened his com link. “Speak.”

“I’m sorry, Captain, he got away,” a voice reported. “As we closed on the Tau commander’s position, we were attacked by a squadron of Piranhas. We eliminated the xeno craft, but it provided the Tau leader with enough time to escape.” (18)

“That is unfortunate,” Nevarre. He cut the connection as he struggled to control his frustration.

Still, the battle was won. He also sensed that the tides of war were shifting. Although Imperial authorities had been slow to respond to the xeno threat in this system, reinforcements were arriving almost every day now. It was only a matter of time before the xenos were exterminated, and the Sculptor System cleansed of its xeno filth.

“I swear it will be so,” Nevarre muttered to himself.

TheGM: The Knights of Altair were victorious, but it was a close-run thing. If the Predator tank had failed to immobilize the Devilfish escaping with the objective, the xenos would have won handily.

As it was, only a last-minute charge by a sole Space Marine, Brother Adrien, ensured that the surviving Kroot didn’t run off the table with the objective. The assault’s squad poorly located landing actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

(See below for victory points, OB, and victory conditions.)

This was a solo game. My Knights of Altair contingent still is not sufficiently well-rounded for a competitive match, but solo gaming gives me a chance to learn how to fight with this army.

One thing I’ve learned is that a Deep Strike with assault and Vanguard squads must be targeted carefully. I keep landing right in front of enemy troops and getting shot up before I can bring my deadly melee troops into the fight. (My assault troops almost entirely forego heavy firepower for killer melee weaponry.)

It didn’t help that nearly every Deep Strike this game scattered and triggered mishap rolls. Captain Nevarre and his Vanguard bodyguard landed right beside a sizable Tau force and, if not for some nearby Scouts to screen them, the Knights would have killed before they got into the fight.

My Assault squad did not fare as well. Their roll on the mishap table allowed the Tau to place them, and, of course, the logical place was right in front of half the Tau army. Frankly, I’m surprised that even a single Space Marine survived. Thank goodness for 3+ saving throws.

Perhaps I will experiment with putting my assault troops on the table and using their jetpacks to get them into assault range. That way, they won’t be vulnerable to a round of fire as they twiddle their thumbs after a Deep Strike.

Or maybe I need to paint some Terminators and put them in a Land Raider, so they can rush up, pop out, and assault in the same turn.

In any case, this was an “official” campaign game in my book, so the Tau have been halted in their latest effort to seize Imperial territory.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, neither Brother Boras or Chaplain Sévin were killed. Although grievously wounded, both will return to the battlefield in the future.

For the record, this battle was fought on 3 751 737.M41.

MISSION

The Relic (7th edition rules). One major, movable objective, plus Kill the Warlord, First Blood, and Linebreaker.

VICTORY POINTS

Imperial: Control of objective (3 v.p.) + Linebreaker (1 v.p.) = 4 v.p.

Tau: First Blood (1 v.p.) + Linebreaker (1 v.p.) = 2 v.p.

MINOR IMPERIAL VICTORY!

ORDER OF BATTLE

IMPERIUM

  • Captain Nevarre, jetpack, lightning claw, combo-bolter/flamer (Deep Strike)
  • Vanguard Veterans (5), jetpacks, 2 w/thunder hammers, 2 w/lightning claws, and 1 w/maul (Deep Strike
  • Assault Squad (5), bolt pistols and chainswords (Deep Strike)
  • Devastator Squad (5) with 2 x lascannons, 3 x plasma guns (Razorback)
  • Tactical Squad (5) w/boltguns and 1 flamer (Rhino)
  • Tactical Squad (5) w/boltguns and 1 flamer (Rhino)
  • Tactical Squad (5) w/boltguns and 1 melta
  • Tactical Squad (5) w/boltguns and 1 melta
  • Tactical Squad (5) w/boltguns
  • Scout Squad (5) w/boltguns
  • Scout Squad (5) w/boltguns and 1 missile launcher
  • Dreadnought (1) with storm gun (Drop pod)
  • Predator Tank (1) w/twin-linked lascannons, 2 x lascannon in sponsons
  • Vindicator Tank (1) w/stome cannon
  • Storm Talon (1) w/twin-linked assault cannon and heavy bolters (Reserve)

TAU

  • Sash’o (Shadowsun) w/2 x fusion blasters , supported by Crisis Suit Bodyguards (2) w/2 x fusion blasters (Deep Strike)
  • Crisis Suit Team (3) w/2 x burst cannon (Deep Strike)
  • Pathfinder Team (4) w/plasma carbines and marker lights
  • Pathfinder Team (4) w/plasma carbines and marker lights
  • Fire Warrior Team (6) w/plasma rifles, 2 x drones, 1 x marker light
  • Fire Warrior Team (6) w/plasma rifles, 2 x drones, 1 x marker light
  • Fire Warrior Team (6) w/plasma rifles, 2 x drones, 1 x marker light
  • Fire Warrior Team (6) w/plasma rifles, 2 x drones
  • Fire Warrior Team (6) w/plasma rifles, 2 x drones
  • Fire Warrior Team (6) w/plasma rifles, 2 x drones
  • Breacher Team (6) w/Plasma Carbines, 2 x drones (Devilfish)
  • Breacher Team (6) w/Plasma Carbines, 2 x drones (Devilfish)
  • Kroot Clan (10) w/kroot rifles
  • Kroot Clan (10) w/kroot rifles
  • Broadside Battlesuit w/ twin-linked rail rifle, twin-linked missile pod
  • Piranha Squadron (3) w/ 2 x fusion blasters, 1 x burst cannon
  • Hammerhead Tank w/railgun

Click here to return to Part II of the battle.

Click here to return to the battle’s start.

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

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