Battle Report (Narrative)

Blood Wolves and Death Guard clash in space

Warhammer 40K blog

Although their boarding torpedo gave ample warning of their attack, the Blood Wolves moved stealthily in the first minutes of their advance into the central reactor of the Carrion Claw.

“Let me tell you a saga of a victory that crumbled into dust. It was the day the Brass Fang ambushed a Death Guard vessel. Our brothers took it with ease from the followers of Nurgle. But those pox-tainted Death Guard had their revenge.”—Mallous Vándr, pack leader  of the Blood Wolves

Background

The Blood Wolves are a renegade warband of the noble Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter that have sold their souls to the Warp. Only recently have they made their appearance in the Corvus Cluster.

Although they have fought alongside the Death Guard on the war-torn world of Dozaria, they are among the most treacherous of traitors. This was made abundantly clear on 6 204 740. M41, when the Blood Wolves cruiser, Brass Fang, attacked the Carrion Claw, an Infidel Raider-class gunship of their erstwhile allies.

Why the Blood Wolves would risk the wrath of the Death Guard is unknown, but it cannot be denied that the Brass Claw  initiated the attack.

What is know is that the Carrion Claw dropped out of the Warp on the outskirts of the Dozarian System, undoubtedly with the intent of reinforcing the Death Guard’s invasion of the industrial world of Dozaria.

At the time, naval superiority in the inner system was contested by loyalist and traitor fleets, and the gunship plotted a course through the system’s asteroid belt. This course would make it difficult for Imperials to spot the gunship and give it a chance to avoid interception by the loyalists.

Of course, the field of asteroids also interfered with the sensors of the Carrion Claw, which did not detect the Blood Wolves’ ship until the Hellbringer-class cruiser opened fire.

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The Death Guard respond to the attack by seeking to corner the Wolves’ aspiring champion, seen in the lower left corner.

Boarding Action

The larger Blood Wolves’ ship quickly suppressed the Carrion Claw‘s gun batteries, allowing the Blood Wolves to launch boarding torpedoes. One boarding party managed to strike close to the Carrion Claw’s engine reactors.

Given the speed of the attack, the crew of the Carrion Claw was unprepared for boarders. The reactor room was lightly guarded, and the Blood Wolves actually were able to sneak up on the handful of crewmen present. Several were killed instantly by boltgun fire, while the rest were forced to take cover.

But the focus of the Blood Wolves’ attack was the central reactor—not the crew. A Terminator-clad Wolf ran directly at the reactor and set a demolition charge even before the first Death Guard warrior responded to the attack.

The initial Death Guard warriors arrived in the far corner of the reactor room—a location with limited cover and a bulkhead to their front that blocked a line of sight to the reactor. There was no way for the defenders to stop the demolition charge from detonating.

They were able to bring under fire a number of Blood Wolves that were screening the Determinator. One Wolf fell, but the others returned fire, pinning down the followers of Nurgle.

Eventually, more Death Guard reinforcements arrived, and the Blood Wolves began to withdraw. It was too late for the ship’s defenders, however, as the demolition charge explosed, disabling the central reactor and causing an energy drop that had a cascade effect. Reactors across the ship began to fail, and the Carrion Claw was defenseless.

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A crewman fires upon the Blood Wolves from the supposedly safety of a bulkhead corner. The heretic did not survive the encounter.

A difficult escape

Most of the boarding party manged to withdraw in good order. The exception was the commander of the boarding party, who found himself isolated and assailed by an aspiring champion of Nurgle.

For a moment, it appeared the Blood Wolf would be overwhelmed. But he had planned carefully. Unnoticed by the Death Guard, a small maintenance hatch  in the wall offered an escape. As the Death Guard closed for the kill, the Wolf slipped through the bulkhead and avoided the trap.

For a few precious seconds, it appeared the Wolf would escape. But, despite the tactical disadvantage of attacking through a small hatch, the Death Guard champion rushed forward and engaged the Wolf in close combat. Meanwhile, several menial crewman attempted to surround the Wolf.

The Blood Wolf was up to the challenge. He struck down the aspiring champion with his sword, then smashed the head of a crewman with his armored fist.

The remaining crewmen fled in panic. The surviving Death Guard warriors struggled to reach their fallen leader, but the Blood Wolf took those moments to flee down a darkened corridor.

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Aspiring champions meet in close combat. The Blood Wolf (right) was victorious.

A  bitter victory

Despite their success in crippling the Carrion Claw‘s power supply, the Blood Wolves found the Death Guard a tenacious foe that could absorb incredible punishment. It took nearly two days for the larger contingent of Wolves to finally strike down the smaller ship’s defenders.

By the time of their victory, however, the Blood Wolves were beginning to regret their impetuous attack. Their victory was tainted . . . as was their bodies. Although their genetically enhanced bodies were highly resistant to disease, the pestilence aboard the Carrion Claw was so virulent that one in three Blood Wolves fell victim.

The plague ship was a death trap, and it was determined by the Wolf Lord in command that the Carrion Claw could never be cleansed and of use to the Blood Wolves. With reluctance and no little bitterness, the Wolves withdrew to their ship and bombarded the Death Guard ship until there was nothing left of it.

COMBATANTS

Blood Wolves:

  • Aspiring Champion
  • Long Fangs and Blood Claws x 5
  • Traitor Marine in Terminator Armor

Death Guard

  • Aspiring Champion
  • Five Plague Marines
  • 5 Cultists

Note: As the Gaffer has yet to complete his Blood Wolves, this battle was fought with an assortment of used Chaos Space Marines. Sometime in the future, we’ll see Blood Wolves that look the part.

TheGM: This was a Shadow War: Armageddon skirmish game that took advantage of a sizable collection of Zone Mortalis-type terrain acquired by The Gaffer.

The scenario was a slightly modified version of The Bunker.

All I can say about the scenario was that there was no way I was able to stop the destruction of the ship. The timing and location of my reinforcements, coupled with the placement of bulkheads, gave me no opportunity to stop the placement of the demolition charge.

Of course, it didn’t help that I didn’t pay enough attention to the terrain.  I overlooked a small door that would might have allowed me to reach the Blood Wolves sooner.I won’t blame it entirely on bad luck.

But, with the reactor blown, I fought for a morale victory: break the Wolves. I thought I had an opportunity to trap the Wolves’ aspiring champion, but the Gaffer had been more attentive of the bulkhead details. Just as I was about to surround his warlord, the cowardly traitor slipped through a small door in the bulkhead. Instead of cornering him, I had to send my Plague Marines against him one at a time.

I did manage to send some crewmen (cultists) around the bulkhead and temporarily surround the Wolf Lord, but the champion proved the more capable fighter, slaying my aspiring champion and the cultists. Thus, the Blood Wolves managed to withdraw with only a single casualty.

Utter victory for the Gaffer, although my post-battle account is a clever, if petty, attempt to soften the blow to my ego. But history is written by the victors (or, in my case, written by the first to post a battle report).

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

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