“It’s one thing to fight screaming mutants to your front. It’s another to find the enemy behind you. Many a steady unit will break when the enemy attack comes from a direction where it shouldn’t”.—one of the few survivors of the 14th Battalion
Also on the right flank, another mob of mutants braved repeated Imperial volleys to close into charge range. With a roar, the mutants ran across the open ground to close with another Imperial platoon, which, having suffered heavy casualties over recent weeks, broke and fled the battlefield.
“The honest truth,” said one military officer who demanded anonymity, “the men of the 17th were exhausted, demoralized, and spooked by the ability of the mutants to suddenly appear amongst them. Reports reveal a brittleness to the battalion, as too many troopers gave up the fight too quickly.”
It did not help that the battalion’s right flank also was threatened by the appearance of a unit lead by the mutant warlord and a powerful but heretical psyker.
“The witch cast a spell on a line of heavy bolter teams, whose firepower suddenly declined in output and accuracy,” another official said. “A squad of Skitarii rangers caused significant casualties to this mutant threat, but it disappeared among the sand dunes before the Skitarii could target the mutant leaders.”
Soon after, an advancing mutant vehicle, apparently built on the chassis of a Goliath industrial truck, engulfed the Skitarii in burning promethium fired from an unidentified but clearly cobbled-together flamer.
Imperial troops had better luck on their left flank, where a combination of lasgun volleys and the flamers of a team of Kastelan Robots repelled multiple mutant assaults.
By mid-day, the right flank of the 17th Battalion was beginning to fall apart, with several gaps appearing in the front lines.
In desperation, a few surviving Skitarii embarked on their Dunerider and attempted to across the battlefield to take out an apparent supply depot (objective). If successful, this attack might have forced the mutants to call off their attack.
Alas, although the Skitarii broke through the mutant line and reached the supply depoy, the mutants ordered a ramshackle armored vehicle to counter the Imperial threat. A shot of the tank’s cannon struck a direct hit on the Skitarii transport and killed all within.
Victory was no longer feasible at this point, authorities said. But then the crisis of the battle came. By means still unclear, a small unit of incredibly fast mutants, deformed with multiple clawed arms, suddenly appeared in the midst of the battalion and engaged the unit’s command squad.
Although neighboring infantry squads rushed to join the melee, the mutants managed to strike down Lt. Col. Hamzah and then wipe out two more squads in quick succession. As more mutants ran forward to support this hand-to-hand fighting, the battalion finally broke and began a disorganized retreat.
The majority of these retreating troops were chased down and destroyed by Ridgerunners and heavily armored mutants who observers claimed performed in a manner similar to Scout Sentinels.
“For all intensive purposes, the 17th Battalion no longer exists as a combat-effective unit,” Nemetorius confessed. “It has suffered 90 percent casualties over the course of this campaign.”
But the Grand Elector promised retribution. “The Charcharoth Home Guard already is on the march,” he said. “It will be supported by a greater contingent of armor and artillery, and I have no doubt it will quickly smash the mutant scum.”
* * VOXCAST ENDS * *
Scenario: Emperor’s Will
Mutant Victory Points: 2 objectives = 6 v.p., First Blood = 1 v.p., Linebreaker = 1 v.p., and Slay the Warlord = 1 v.p. Total: 9 v.p.
Imperial Victory Points: 0 v.p.
TheGM: I thought by deploying the Imperial infantry in a compact, mutually supporting rectangle would work. I set up in a corner of the table to limit the possibility of a flank attack.
I thought I was especially clever to use my vehicles in front of the infantry, so that any mutants using Cult Ambush would have to deploy at least 12″ away from my infantry (and have to charge the vehicles before they could get to my infantry).
It helped. But, over the course of the battle, several vehicles were destroyed by mutant heavy gun fire, and in responding to several threats, I opened a small gap in the middle of the army.
When my unit of highly deformed mutants (treated as Genestealers) rolled up a Cult Ambush result that allowed them to deploy within 3″ of my troops (and charge that turn), there was just enough room to put those Genestealers next to my command squad. And the Genestealers quickly started gobbling up unit after unit.
Then I had to move troops away from the edge of the table, and then I rolled a result that allowed my heavily armored mutants (treated as Scout Sentinels) to exploit that gap and show up on my flank. While the Imperial left flank was secured, the right flank just collapsed.
So, the mutants achieved their most lopsided victory yet. I almost won the first battle, but as I learn more about fighting the mutants, the Imperial seem to do worse and worse.
The mutants now have a minor victory in this mini-campaign (winning 3 of 5 battles). The Imperials had better get their act together next time, or the future of Morkai may be more interesting (and awful) than I ever imagined when I came up with the idea of a mutant rebellion.