After the humiliating loss of his base of operations—the second such loss within two months—Brother-Sergeant Kareal Taridon was determined to regain his honor. Thus began a week-long effort to study the orks’ patrol patterns—and to plan a devastating ambush that would bring righteous revenge upon the xenos.
Location: The ruins of the Caratice Housing Development, a suburb of Susa City, the capital of the moon of Hegira.
This suburb, abandoned for more than a year, lies outside the defensive trenches that defend the city from a besieging ork army. It is considered “no man’s land,” although a small band of Space Marine scouts constantly patrol the area, conducting reconnaissance of the xeno invaders and engaging in constant skirmishes and ambushes.
Combatants: Squad Taridon, an element of the 10th Company, Knights of Altair Space Marine Chapter.
Opponents: Unidentified ork warband.
Date of Engagement: 3 092 739.M41
It was time. After days of patient observation, Brother-Sergeant Taridon knew—without a doubt—that the ork warband would advance through the city ruins where he had deployed his squad.
Only days earlier, these orks had attacked his base of operations and forced Taridon into a humiliating retreat. As painful, the xenos had stolen a cache of supplies that he’d painstakingly carried into the Caratice Housing Development and hidden amidst the shattered ruins.
Now the xenos would pay for their impertinance. Days of reconnaissance had revealed that the xenos consistently left their camp every morning and passed through this neighborhood. The orks would then spend the day searching the ruins for human machinery and technology that they could send to the ork scrapyards, where Mekboys would somehow use the material to cobble together new weapons and vehicles for their ever-growing army.
Not today, Taridon thought as he scanned the ruins for signs of the orks’ advance. Today, their predictability will be their doom.
At his side, Brothers Geis and Uriel waited for their commander’s signal.
Taridon could sense the barely restrained excitement of the neophyte Geis. In contrast, Uriel held his sniper rifle at the ready without any hint of emotion. It wouldn’t be long before this more veteran scout would be pulled from duty to undergo the final medical procedures necessary to advance to full Space Marine.
With a flick of his eye, the brother-sergeant activated the internal screen in his helmet. A small map of the surrounding area flickered before his eyes.
Small green dots signaled the deployment of his squad:
• Fire Team One, consisting of Taridon, Geis, and Uriel, waited in a two-story ruin on the left flank.
• Fire Team Two, consisting of Brothers Mattus and Horvath, were deployed 25 meters to their right behind a fallen statue.
• Fire Team Three, thirty meters beyond them, consisted of three scouts, including Brothers Cicero and neophyte Batheus, who waited for orders in a three-story ruin.
“Contact. Enemy advancing . . . 120 meters … ten contacts in total, spread across a 100-meter front.”
The report came from Brother Matthus in the center of the formation.
“No fire until I give the word,” Taridon ordered. “When we open up, I want to hit the xenos with maximum effect.”
Taridon stood with his back to a fire-blackened wall, waiting for the moment to turn the corner and open up with his boltgun. Geis was waiting beside him.
Not far away, but six meters higher, Uriel was crouched on the second floor of a bombed-out housing unit. Despite his proximity, the scout was invisible, his gray cloak wrapped around him, providing perfect camouflage in the shadows of the ruined building.
On his helmet screen, Taridon watched a pict recording of the orks’ advance, transmitted to him from a pict recorder attached to Uriel’s helmet.
The greenskins were advancing cautiously, as if they sensed something was amiss. The xenos moved clumsily from one position of cover to another.
Sneaky filth, Taridon thought. But just move up a little more . . . just a little more.
Suddenly, the moment arrived. An ork stepped out into the open just 20 meters from his position, while to the far right, two orks broke from cover and were running across an open plaza.
“All teams fire,” Taridon shouted over his vox.
Above his head, a sniper rifle fired. An ork dropped.
In the center of his line, a missile flew from Fire Team Two’s position and struck a tall building about 70 meters away. It was impossible to see if the enemy suffered any casualties, but Taridon was certain he now had the orks’ attention.
To his far right, he heard a heavy bolter open up. A moment later, he heard from Fire Team Three: “Two orks down.”
As he was listening, Taridon was busy himself. Spinning around the edge of the wall, he opened up with his boltgun on an ork hastily seeking the cover of a vehicle wreck.
The ork never made it to cover.
Brother Geis also turned the corner and opened up. The young scout clearly needed more training. Although he hit his target, the ork managed to scramble into cover.
“Contact lost with enemy,” Brother Cicero reported.
The squad’s initial volley of fire had broken the back of the ork resistance. In an instant, at least four orks had fallen, and the rest had dropped out of sight.
After five minutes with no sign of the xenos, Brother Cicero was given the honor of scouting ahead. Taridon kept the rest of the squad at the ready—in case the orks were lying in wait . . . or they were attempting to slip around his squad’s flanks under cover.
That was the problem with orks. Sometimes they charged forward in a brutal and mindless rush (which Taridon would have preferred), or they could be surprisingly cunning, as if they were actually capable of tactics.
But not this time. For reasons unknown, the orks had no stomach for a fight today. They had withdrawn.
For the briefest of moments, Taridon considered giving chase. But that was not wise: There were no other Imperial forces within 10 kilometers of his position, but there were plenty of orks searching these ruins for scrap.
The chance of being surrounded and overwhelmed was too great. He had hit; now he had to run.
At least this time, the day belonged to the Knights of Altair.
TheGM: This was the second of two skirmish actions fought in a single day at our local game store using Shadow War: Armageddon.
The first game ended in the first round, when unusually accurate ork fire put down one of four scouts on the table—and I failed my Bottle Test (morale check). A quick victory for the orks.
This game, taking place only minutes after the first ended, was almost as short. We spent several turns advancing on one another, but when the Space Marines opened up, it was over in two rounds. The orks also failed their Bottle Test.
It was redemption for Brother-Sergeant Taridon. Having your base of operations overrun twice in a matter of weeks is humiliating, and Taridon needed a big win before he was demoted . . . or worse.
Well, he pulled it off. Nary a scratch on any of his men, and the orks fled against the might of Squad Taridon’s firepower.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.