“Military authorities announce that xeno infiltrators operating outside the Pradeep defenses were decisively defeated and forced to withdraw from the “no man’s land” between Imperial and Tau forces. Although news of this battle was not released to the public until now, it is a fine example of Imperial military effectivenes, say senior officers . . .”—IMPERIAL NEWSCAST (3 989 737.M41)
After weeks of skirmishing, Squad Magnus of the famed Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter has fulfilled its orders to drive Tau warriors from the immediate perimeter of the Imperial defensive lines surrounding the port city of Pradeep on the moon of Dar Sai.
Over a six-week period, more than 13 missions were conducted, 12 successfully. No serious injuries were reported by the Blood Angels.
As instructed, a brief report was submitted on each incident against the xenos. However, after the submission of these reports, one final firefight occurred. The report on this incident is below:
++ Official Report, Intelligence Gathering Mission ++
+ 3 989 737.M41 +
+ Submission by Squad Magnus commander +
++ [Identification Redacted for Security Reasons ++
+++ Repository: Pradeep Senior Command, Dar Sai +++
On 3 726 737.M41, military intelligence officials learned that the Tau had placed a number of well-camouflaged sensors near Imperial lines. Determining that any information on the size or deployment of Imperial units or fortifications was a threat, a fire team of Squad Magnus of the Blood Angles was ordered to set up an ambush of any Tau that sought to access the sensors.
On 3 731 737.M41, a Tau squad of eight fire warriors, supported by two combat drones, arrived to retrieve the sensors’ data. They were immediately attacked by the Blood Angels.
Based on later briefings, the Astartes advanced too aggressively and found themselves outgunned by the Tau. Two marines were heavily wounded and incapacitated within seconds.
Emboldened by their early success, the Tau quickly advanced to retrieve their sensors under cover of heavy xeno fire. Quickly responding to the tactical situation, the squad commander deployed his remaining marines in heavy cover and brought heavy fire on the now-exposed xenos.
This fire caused such significant casualties to the Tau that the xenos withdrew. In the final seconds of the firefight, a single fire warrior managed to download the sensor data and ran back to his lines. If he’d succeeded, the Tau would have been successful in their mission.
Fortunately, the superior marksmenship of the Astartes proved true. The fire warrior was shot down just before he reached cover. The Tau eventually fled, and the Blood Angels were able to take possession of the Tau data. As one military analyst noted, “The fight was won by a single bolt round.”
++ End Report ++
TheGM: This is a very belated report of the last battle in our Shadow War: Armageddon campaign. The winner of this 13-battle, tournament-style campaign was Rick playing Blood Angels, who used the campaign rules for Chaos Space Marines as an “as if” rule.
The Blood Angels were highly successful, winning all but one of their battles. It’s impossible to say if the rules are unbalanced in favor of Space Marines, Rick is just a superior tactician (don’t tell him that), or, having played the most rounds of any player, the post-game advancements of his fire team gave him an edge. I suspect all three played some role.
In any case, he almost lost his last fight. I was playing Tau, and they managed to bring down two of his marines, forcing him to roll a “Bottle Test” each turn and risk abandoning the field. But one of his marines returned to action as “wounded,” and he stood his ground.
I still almost won. I had collected the majority of caches on the field, and all I had to do was run off the table to win. Alas, I took a final casualty as I neared the edge of the table (only 3 inches away from victory) . . . and I then failed my “Bottle Test.”
So Rick snatched victory from the jaws of defeat . . . with a single failed morale roll. Ah, well. I didn’t explain the victory conditions clearly enough (Rick thought only a single cache was enough to win), so Rick was too aggressive early on . . . so that probably influenced my early success. It wouldn’t have been an entirely satisfactory victory for me under those circumstances (although I would have taken it).
In any case, kudos to Rick for a well-earned and decisive victory in the campaign.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our wargaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.