The Thunderhawk lost altitude quickly, and Captain Nevarre felt his body attempt to rise out of its seat, only to be held in place by his seat restraints.
“Pilot to Alpha-One. Atmospheric conditions are deteriorating; turbulence rising. Threat to aircraft estimated at 10 percent.”
Encased in his power armor, Nevarre was studying the same sensor readings on his helmet scanner. It was true. The rift in reality outside the Barad Mine was spilling out Warp energies, with a serious impact on the surrounding atmosphere. Wind speeds were exceeding 120 kilometers per hour.
“Proceed as planned,” Nevarre ordered. “We meet our enemies wherever we find them.”
At that moment, the Thunderhawk shook violently, metal screeched, and sparks erupted from several electrical cables.
“Pilot to Alpha One! We’ve been hit by a bolt of lightning. It’s torn off the starboard wing tip, Request permission to abort.”
Nevarre sensed the pilot fighting for control of the aircraft. If he could keep them on course for another 30 seconds, Nevarre could lead his Vanguard Squad into combat.
“Negative,” he said. “Get us to the battlefield.”
The GM: We rolled up The Crusade for the scenario, with four objectives. The fight is for the Barad Mine, a battlefield that’s been fought over countless times over the past four years of this narrative campaign.
Once again, the Gaffer’s orks face off against my Imperial forces. But this battle offers two new highlights to the war on Hegira:
- The ork warlord, “Kaptan” Rumlar, who is supreme leader of the ork invasion, makes his first appearance on the battlefield.
- A Warp Portal appears on the battlefield as one of the objectives, and—in a narrative twist—is the first sign that increasing Warp activity in the Corvus Cluster is beginning to influence events.
Troop lists are included at the end of this report. But, in essence, The Gaffer’s orks rely heavily on Battlewagons to lead their attack, while TheGM’s Space Marine Chapter, the Knights of Altair, also opt for a heavily mechanized force.
The date is 3 451 738.M41. And thus the battle begins . . .
The roar of the Rhino was deafening as its engines raced, and the vehicle’s armored bulk sped across the open desert.
Inside, Brother-Sergeant Clodio Basina used the vehicle’s auspices to track the movement of the enemy. As expected, one of the greenskins’ giant war machines [Classification: Battlewagon] was racing for the same gap in the rocky terrain as he was.
It was unlikely to do any harm to the xenos’ vehicle, but Basina fired the Rhino’s heavy bolder at the half-tank, half-transport. Such fire was the prescribed tactic of Guilliman’s Codex Astartes. If you had the ammunition, you must never miss an opportunity for a lucky shot to change the fortunes of war.
“All vehicles, maintain speed,” Basina said over his vox. “Hem the greenskins in.”
IMPERIAL TURN ONE
The terrain, along with the orks’ deployment, prove problematic for the greenskins. They have only three routes to the Imperial line. So, the Knights of Altair use their mechanized forces to block these routes and hamper the orks’ freedom of movement.
One Rhino moves straight forward to block the center route and position its embarked tactical squad between two central objectives. (1)
At the same time, a Vindicator and two Rhinos swing around the left flank, blocking the far-left route and putting their weaponry on the ork flank. (2)
So far, the Knights’ plan is working well. Then disaster strikes—although it isn’t apparent at the time: The Knights’ single Drop pod, carrying the ancient dreadnought, Boras, lands to block the far-right route but scatters off course. (3)
The Drop Pod’s inertial guidance system corrects part of the scatter, but unfortunately the landing leaves a large enough gap that the orks can move through. This slightly off-center landing, along with Boras’ inexplicable decision to NOT disembark this turn, will have a significant impact on the course of the battle.
Finally, a Predator positions itself in a central position, relying on its long-range firepower to get the tank into the fight. As dawn has yet to arrive, the tank’s anti-armor fire proves ineffective. (4)
ORK TURN ONE
Over the years, the orks have converted many of the manufactorums in the southern hemisphere of Hegira to their use. One consequence is a growing number of Battlewagons in their forces.
The xenos put these heavily armored vehicles to good use. One Battlewagon races down the center route and rams one Rhino, immobilizing the Space Marine transport and causing a glancing hit. (1)
The two other Battlewagons take advantage of the Drop Pod’s faulty landing. As one door of the Drop Pod is blocked by nearby terrain, the remaining two Battlewagons position themselves around the Drop Pod’s other doors, effectively trapping Boras inside. (3)
The outraged dreadnought will pound against his Drop Pod doors for the rest of the battle, impotently entombed inside.
As the orks do not disembark (and expose themselves to Imperial fire), only the weapons of the Battlewagons fire—but to no effect.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our wargaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.