Another brawl had broken out between the Boyz, and Boss Grox was eager to join in the fun.
Such brawls broke out every day on Veris Island. Since the Boyz had seized the island from the humies, the fighting had moved away—and Grox and his Boyz had been left behind to guard this new ork territory.
But guard duty was boring. So, the Boyz got frustrated, started arguing, and then started throwing punches—or bashing heads. It was better than sitting around picking your nose—or pulling the arms off a Grot (although that was fun).
So, when Grox heard the Boyz get into a rumble, the warboss decided to hurry over and join the fun.
But, as he started in that direction, he stopped. There was a harsh droning in the air. It was getting louder by the second, and turning in the sound’s direction, he raised his sizable green hand to blot out the sun so he could see what was going on.
There it was! Several huge aircraft were headed in his direction. Grox didn’t recognize their shape, but they weren’t ork ships. That meant they belonged to the humies.
As the aircraft moved closer, the sound of their engines grew louder, and they descended out of sight behind some trees.
“Now that’s more like it,” he muttered to himself. “The humies want a proper fight. It’s about time.”
He turned and snarled at a nearby Grot. “Hey, youze! Go tell the Boyz to stop fighting and get their gunz. The humies are here, and it’s time to bash some heads.”
TheGM: Unlike previous battle reports, I’m moving the OB and scenario details to the end of the blog.
Although war wages across Hegira, the heaviest fighting for the past year has been centered around the strategic Barad Mine. This is the Imperium’s equivalent to the Battle of Stalingrad, a legendary urban battle that historians date to M2.
One military asset that had yet to be committed to the fight was the Space Marine Chapter known as the Knights of Altair.
But all that changed on 3 009 738.M41. While the Imperial Guard locked down the ork army in a battle of attrition to the west, the Knights launched a reconnaissance mission on Veris Island, both to test the feasibility of an invasion to retake the island—and to encourage the ork warlord, Kaptin’ Rumlar, to shift troops away from the strategically important Barad Mine.
Assigned to this mission were two five-man tactical squads of the 4th Company, supported by scouts and a squad of Vanguard Veterans. In total, only 21 Knights and a Predator tank were committed to the fight. In command was Librarian Aelius Galan.
Knights make landfall
The loading ramp of the Thunderhawk transport began to drop even before the massive aircraft touched the ground, and Brother-Librarian Galen was the first to leap down to the reddish sand that covered Veris Island.
A moment later, two tactical squads ran past him, their weapons at their chest as they spread out and deployed into firing lines. They were not too concerned about the possibility of enemy fire, as scouts already on the ground for the past two weeks had secured the landing area.
As Galen strode forward to the designated staging area, he mentally linked his vox to the scout sergeant deployed at an observation post atop some ramshackle shanties in the distance.
“How many?” the Librarian asked.
“Nearly 300 greenskins,” the sergeant reported. “No heavy support or aircraft. It’ll take them a bit to organize, and they’ll have to march 2 kilometers. I estimate 20 minutes before any attack.
“Get in position,” Salvar said. “We’ll be ready.”
It was a good hike to the humie landing site, and Grox was getting tired of running. It wasn’t that he was tired. He just wanted to get busy with the job of bashing heads.
Around him, his Boyz were trotting forward, shouting out the occasional war cry or bellowing in excitement. To his right, some ‘Ard Boyz had showed up, itching for a good brawl, and to his left, some Tankbusta’s were scurrying forward.
As usual, his Grots were lagging behind.
Up ahead, he could see the humies. These weren’t the normal squishy ones. They wore gray power armor and looked more like his ‘Ard Boyz. That was a good sign, Grox thought. It meant the fight would be more fun than usual.
To his left, a Weird Boy climbed to the top of a sand dune and began calling to Mork and Gork. Grox didn’t pay much attention to the ork gods, but if they wanted to offer a bit of help, he wouldn’t turn it down.
A green glow began to surround the Weird Boy, and, a second later, a ball of green flame shot out from the chattering ork psyker and flew toward the humies. But if veered off to the left and instead of hitting a cluster of humies firing in his direction, it only engulfed one in flames.
“Rotten aim,” Grox muttered in disgust. He kept running, shouting encouragement to his Boyz. “At ‘em, Boyz! Let’s get ‘em!”
Fate of a Weird Boy
“Squad Titus, I want that pskyer neutralized,” Galen ordered over his com link.
++ Acknowledged. LOS to xeno obtained. Firing will commence. ++
A moment later, Galen heard the distinct crack of sniper rifles firing. Through his helmet’s magnifier, he watched with satisfaction as the psyker’s head exploded.
Through his com link, he heard the mandatory—if unsurprising—report.
++ Threat eliminated. ++
Strong firing line
Grox couldn’t help himself as he chuckled. Although the Weird Boy’s witchfire would have been useful, it was hilarious to see the psyker’s head explode.
“That’s what you get for stopping to show off,” Grox yelled at the corpse.
The Tankbustas couldn’t resist stopping to take a long-range shot. Their rokkits soared crazily across the battlefield and created an impressive display of explosions, none of which came close to the humies.
That volley not only failed to strike home, but it attracted humie fire—very accurate fire, in fact. Two roaring volleys erupted along the humie line.
It took only a moment for Grox to realize that these humies weren’t firing the wimpy laser weapons normally used. Those could sting but seldom take down one of the Boyz. But these armored humies were firing something stronger—as he watched, the bodies of the Tankbustas erupted in small explosions that tore away flesh, muscle, and bone.
By the end of the second volley, not a Tankbusta remained on his feet.
Grox didn’t like that. These humies were gonna be tougher to beat than expected. Far in the distance, the warboss spotted some kind of tank moving up to the humie fire line.
Grox picked up the pace.
“Hurry it up, Boyz!” he yelled. “Do you want to be dead before you kill anybody?”
A bad landing
One Thunderhawk roared over the battlefield at an elevation of only 200 meters, and Brother-Sergeant Castus and his Vanguard Veterans leapt off the rear ramp of the aircraft and plummeted to the ground below.
Firing their jetpacks, Castus and his marines barely had time to decelerate before they hit the ground. It was a bad landing, the brother-sergeant thought—not because anyone was hurt but because of their position. They’d landed closer to the ork horde than intended.
Still, a Space Marine worries about tactics, not the misfortunes of war. As each veteran landed, he drew his boltgun and raised it in the direct of the orks not 40 meters away.
“Open fire!” Castus ordered, and the squad tore loose with boltgun fire, taking down half a dozen orks before the rest stopped short and turned, realizing they were under attack.
With a roar, the entire flank of the ork horde—nearly 100—roared their defiance and charged back at their attackers.
Not many made it to the Space Marines. With genetically enhanced accuracy, the five veterans fired volley after volley at the greenskins, and almost every shot brought down one of the battle-maddened xenos. By the time they reached Castus’ squad, only 30 Boyz were still on their feet.
“At them!” Castus shouted, activating his chainsword and plunging into the ork mob. As one, the rest of his squad roared a war cry and followed their leader into batle.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our wargaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.