The leadership of Brother-Sergeant Taridon has come into question. Tasked with reconnaissance in the “no man’s land” between Imperial and xeno forces, the brother-sergeant’s squad has been roughly handled by repeated ork attacks.
I am yet unsure whether this is a sign of deficient leadership . . . or simply the vagaries of war. But I know this. I cannot allow defeat to become a commonplace event. We are Space Marines. Nothing but victory is acceptable. I shall be watching Taridon closely.—Private Journal of Marius Nevarre, captain of the 4th Company, Knights of Altair
The recent ork attack on his camp—and the theft of his supply cache—was a humiliating defeat for Brother-Sergeant Karael Taridon. Shamed, Taridon was forced to return to Imperial lines to resupply, and he devoted some days to penance for his failure.
Within the week, however, Taridon led his squad of scouts back into no man’s land, ready to take the battle to the xenos. He did not have to wait long for a chance at vengeance. Spotting a mob of boyz exploring the extensive ruins outside the Imperial trench line, Taridon set up an ambush.
Rules: Shadow War: Armageddon
Scenario Details: Scavengers, 4 x Loot Counters
Imperial Forces: Scout sergeant, 2 x scouts with boltguns, scout with sniper rifle, 1 x scout gunner with missile launcher, 1 x scout gunner with heavy bolter.
Ork Forces: Boss Nob, 4 x yoofs with shootas, 4 x yoofs with sluggas and choppas, 1 x spanner boy with rokkit launcha, 1 x spanner boy with big shoota.
One objective was deployed near each player’s deployment zone; two objectives were scattered in the center of the table.
Date of Battle: 3 041 739.M41
Brother-Sergeant Taridon was again cautious in his approach to battle, opting to focus on the superiority of his firepower rather than risk closing with the orks.
The scouts advanced to good firing positions, then stopped and waited for the orks to risk advancing to seize Loot counters. At first, this strategy appeared highly effective, as several orks were quickly downed by missile, heavy bolter, and sniper fire.
The orks’ tenacious physique, however, quickly upset Teridon’s plans. The orks successfully passed an early Bottle Test (morale check) and, within two turns, three orks rose to their feet to continue the fight.
The orks on the scouts’ left flank quickly seized the Loot counter near their deployment zone. In the center, the remaining orks eased forward, moving from cover to cover, to within striking distance of the other three counters. The scouts, content in their cover, fired desperately to keep the xenos back . . . but to no avail.
Bad luck plagued Taridon’s squad. By this point in the fight, the sniper had climbed to the second floor of a ruin, gaining a position that dominated the battlefield.
Aiming carefully, he put a shell into the head of one greenskin, killing it instantly. But his rifle jammed, and despite his best efforts, he could not get the rifle functioning again. His pistol left behind at camp, the scout was left only with a combat blade for a weapon.
Similar bad luck soon struck the scout with the missile launcher. Although the missile managed to give one ork a flesh wound—and pin a second xeno—Taridon now was left with a squad whose firepower was greatly diminished.
In hindsight, Teridon should have advanced more aggressively. Thus, when his heavy weapons began to fail, he and his men could have drawn their combat blades and taken the fight to the greenskins. Instead, Taridon hesitated, hoping the fire of his remaining scouts could still hold back the orks.
Such defeatist thinking was unworthy of an Astartes. Sensing weakness when the scouts’ firing diminished in intensity, the orks moved quickly forward, still using cover, and seized two more Loot counters.
It is clear that ork commanders are deploying their sneakiest orks on these recon missions. Instead of charging into the scouts and seeking their destruction, the orks withdrew—more than happy to flee with their ill-gotten gains.
Meanwhile, Taridon stood in the shadow of a ruined building, his head bowed in shame. He recognized his mistakes. The fact that his squad was unharmed—indeed, not even wounded—was no consolation. If anything, it was insulting evidence of his timid handling of the fight.
TheGM: Taridon’s first defeat was a test run; this fight was the first of a small Shadow War: Armageddon campaign. The Gaffer ended up with four promethium caches for his trouble, and I was left to ponder where I was going wrong.
Two things came to mind: I clearly need to contest objectives more forcefully. Although I don’t need to melee with orks unless I have a clear advantage, sitting back and shooting is only going to work about one-third of the time. Bad shooting will cost me some games. Scenario conditions also can cost me a game, as the orks can run up, take the casualties, and simply run away with the loot.
I have to be closer to the objectives. Then, if necessary, I can charge and trust that Space Marines, even scouts, can kill an ork. If I win, great. If I lose, at least I will have had some chance . . . compared to sitting back and letting the orks just run away with their prize.
The second thing I need to do is better equip my scouts. Weapon Reloads are essential for my heavy weapons, which are far more susceptible to jamming. Arming my scouts with a secondary weapon, such as a pistol, also would help a great deal.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.