Imperial Voxcast: Ork invaders launched a major attack against the Barad Mine this morning. The xenos were repulsed with heavy losses.
The ork assault began on 3 300 738.M41, before dawn, on the outskirts of the strategic mining complex. Military authorities say the attack was spearheaded by a massive, Titan-sized war machine identified in guardsmen slang as a “Stompa.”
Advancing under the cover of dark, the mechanized force weathered intense Imperial fire and approached within 200 meters of the main Imperial line suffering minimal casualties.
(The only significant losses reported on either side occurred when a stray ‘Deff’ Kannon round, fired by the Stompa, landed atop a powerful Imperial-sanctioned psyker. The psyker and his Commissariat escort were killed.)
Recognizing the necessity of blocking the Stompa’s advance on Imperial lines, the senior officer on the scene, Colonel August Klein of the 728th Cadian Regiment, ordered a squadron of Chimeras to block the xeno walker’s path.
The Chimeras won the race for this key position and deployed their armored bulk to create a solid obstacle to the greenskins’ advance.
Control of this gap became the focus of the entire day’s battle.
By this point, dawn arrived, and with visibility greatly improved, Imperial casualties quickly mounted.
As it turned out, the Stompa proved to be heavily armed, and its weapons were alarmingly effective. One Chimera was destroyed within minutes, and another was damaged severely.
(Thankfully, the Chimeras’ embarked guardsmen managed to escape the vehicles unharmed.)
Despite heavy Imperial fire, ork casualties remained relatively minor. In a tactic witnessed in the recent Imperial defeat in the Sea of Dust, the orks refused to expose themselves to Imperial fire and remained safely inside their armored transports.
Ork aircraft challenged
As the morning wore on, ork “Burna-Bombers” appeared overhead. Diving down upon Imperial troops with reckless abandon, they dropped a number of promethium-fueled explosives that resulted in horrifying losses to Imperial troops.
Heavy casualties, coupled with the horror of seeing dozens of comrades engulfed in flame, spooked several squads into an unacceptable retreat. After the bombing, commissariat officers were seen racing across the battlefield, shooting at fleeing troops and reorganizing broken units at the point of a bolt pistol.
In a promising development in the war, the ork aircraft, which have gone largely unchallenged over the years, found themselves engaged by a host of Imperial aircraft, including Valkyries of the 728th Regiment and Lightning-class fighters of the orbiting Imperial Navy. The ork aircraft took heavy casualties.
For much of the afternoon, the battle raged around the gap that the Chimeras had blocked. The Stompa slaughtered a host of Imperial guardsmen, who counterattacked with squads armed with melta guns. These squads advanced within meters of the giant ork walker in an attempt to pierce its thick armor with powerful anti-armor weaponry.
At the same time, the Stompa exchanged fire with several Imperial battle tanks, including one equipped with a Titan-killing Vanguisher Cannon. By mid-day, thick black smoke was billowing out of the massive ork war machine, although the Stompa’s weaponry continued to fire without letup.
Orks attack Imperial flank
Stymied in the center of the line, the orks attempted to outflank Imperial troops. Jetpack-equipped orks [Classificaiton: “Stormboyz”] dropped on the Imperial left flank. These xenos were immediately challenged by Imperial troops, but unusually effective fire by the greenskins caused sizable casualties and the Imperial counterattack was thrown back.
After this victory, the Stormboyz attempted to roll up the Imperial flank. But a stubborn defense by guardsmen deployed in the ruins of an abandoned mining facility proved a fatal delay for the orks. Although the facility was nearly seized by the greenskins, the ruins’ resolute defense bought time for a veteran assault unit to grav-chute from nearby Valkyries and attack the orks from the rear.
The ork flanking threat was ultimately destroyed. Equally as important, the robust efforts of Imperial aircraft forced the ork Burna-Bombers to abandon the battlefield. The Imperials finally enjoyed air superiority.
By late afternoon, troops on both sides of the conflict were showing signs of exhaustion. Almost every vehicle on the battlefield was destroyed or heavily damaged.
In a final bid to break the stalemate, orks disembarked from their Battlewagon and a surviving Truck and attempted to storm the Imperial line.
At this point, Colonel Klein, recognized that his troops were holding the gap by their fingertips, employed an innovative, if controversial tactic to disrupt the ork attack: He ordered his Valkyries to land just in front of the advancing orks.
In an interview after the battle, Klein explained his costly decision. By landing, the Valkyries were a physical obstacle to the green skin advance—but, as important, they proved an immediate and tempting target for the xenos’ bloodlust.
Thus, although many aircraft were lost, and their crews suffered heavy casualties, their sacrifice distracted the orks and redirected their attack away from the Imperial line, Klein said. For the shell-shocked and exhausted troops at the gap, this distraction gave Imperial forces an opportunity to send reinforcements to the front.
With the Imperial line strengthened, and darkness falling, the orks appeared to give up their efforts for the day. All xeno forces withdrew to their side of no man’s land.
Imperial troops end the day with their defenses holding.
Imperial: Contested main objective, breakthrough (1 v.p.) = 1 v.p.
Ork: Contested main objective, First Blood (1 v.p.) = 1.v.p.
Scenario: The Relic
- Tank Commander Pask, with Vanquisher tank
- Platoon Command Squad, with Primaris Psyker
- 4 x 10-man Infantry Squads, all with flamers, one with auto-cannon
- 10-man Veteran Squad, with heavy flamer, two flamers (in Valkyrie)
- 2 x 6-man Special Weapons Squads, with meltas (in Chimeras)
- Armored Sentinel Squadron (two walkers), one with heavy flamer, one with multi-laser
- Wyvern, with two twin-linked Stormshard Mortars
- Valkyrie, with lascannon and extra armor
- Lightning-class Fighter, with long-barrelled auto-cannon and twin-linked lascannon
- Warlord (in Stompa)
- 10–ork mob, with sluggas and choppas (in Stompa)
- Stompa (with Supa-Gatler, Deth Kannon, Supe Rokkit,
- 10-ork mob (in Battlewagon)
- 10-ork mob of Stormboyz
- 20 Grots with 2 Runtherders (in Battlewagon)
- 10-ork mob, with sluggas and choppas (Trukk)
- Burna Bomber with Supa Shoota
TheGM: I need to finish my Baneblade before I’m really competitive against a Stompa. But it was a fun scenario, and I was gleeful at the tie.
I was prepared for a battle of maneuver, but rolling “The Relic” as a scenario forced me to fight a brawl. I wasn’t ready for that, and, frankly, I’m surprised I did as well as I did. The Stompa’s weapons were horrific, and by forcing me to contest the objective, it gave the orks a great opportunity to use their superior melee abilities.
I managed a tie (a win by my thinking), mostly because I saw the advantages of terrain. I hemmed in the Stompa, and then tried to limit the movement of the Battlewagon and Trukks on the table. I can’t say for sure, but I think The Gaffer intended to wait until the end move, then overwhelm the single, central objective with sheer numbers. Casualties wouldn’t matter—just control of the objective.
That’s where I had my inspiration. The Gaffer looked askew at my use of the Valkyrie to block his orks from advancing forward, but I got the idea from an old White Dwarf battle report, and “all’s fair in love and war.” And there was no love lost in this fight.
I’m quite pleased with myself.
Under our Hegira campaign rules, the victor gains the initiative in the next fight—and can attack one of his opponent’s regions in an attempt to take control of it.
Alas, with a tie, we agreed that the initiative did not change. So The Gaffer still holds the initiative, so I expect to defend the Barad Mines from another attack very soon.
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