Sir: If we are to successfully defend the Pattoa Flatlands, we need more heavy weaponry. The Death Guard are attacking in mobilized formations. Lasguns cannot penetrate the armor of these vehicles and, once the Death Guard disembark in front of our men, our lasguns have scant chance of penetrating the traitors’ power armor. I need more heavy bolters, auto cannons, and lascannons. And I need respirators.—Fifth requisition request marked urgent from Colonel Elias Manikas, commander 44th PDF Regiment.
The second prong of the enemy attack was equally challenged by the Imperial defenders, although it was ultimately successful.
The left flank of the Imperial defenses was held by the 4th Battalion, which included “Bernard’s Brethren,” a conscript company that earned acclaim for its staunch defense against the Death Guard days earlier.
Designated the 2nd Conscript Company, Bernard’s command was deployed in woods anchoring the regiment’s left flank. Supported by two Armored Sentinels, and reinforced with a Lemon Russ Battle Tank, its troopers heard the approach of traitor transports.
But the traitors advanced with cunning. B by carefully weaving a path through the woods that lined a nearby river, the transports managed to get very close to the Imperial line without exposing themselves.
Once the Rhino transports broke clear of the woods, they wasted no time racing across a narrow stretch of open ground to close with Bernard’s troops. At the same time, a foul heretical creation—some form of airborne monstrosity that appeared to have organic components—flew directly across the open fields at the Imperial line.
Stopping only meters in front t of the Imperial line, some Rhinos disembarked Astartes warriors in Terminator Armor who then followed the transports as they began moving again and pushing their way directly through 2nd Company.
Forced to scatter to avoid being crushed under the vehicles’ tracks, 2nd Company’s gunfire was sporadic. When the Rhinos topped again, this time in the midst of the conscripts, more Astartes clambered out of the hatch of a second batch of Rhinos–and these warrriors were clearly tainted by Warp-borne diseases. [Classification: Plague Warriors]
The traitors charged right into the heart of Imperial forces. Hand-to-hand combat followed—a situation that greatly favored the large and genetically upgraded Astartes. Slashing with swords, chainswords, and assault blades, and firing off bolt pistols as they advanced, the Death Guard slaughtered scores of men within minutes.
Even the fiery oratory of Confessor Bernard was not sufficient to keep up the spirits of men watching their comrades killed with impunity. The 2nd Company was driven back, and even the support of the battalion’s other companies, could not hold back the Warp-tainted traitors.
Thankfully, world came from higher command that the regiment was withdrawing, and although severely mauled, Bernard’s Brethren had the distinction of being one of the few units in the regiment that withdrew under orders—and without breaking under enemy attack.
Given the billions of lives lost to date in this war, the fall of a small town like Antiem should be inconsequential. But the town’s loss is magnified by its strategic significance.
Antiem was built around Agricultural Processing Manufactorum G-931 which processes—and converts into nutritional meal packets—the crops harvested from the nearly 120,000 hectares of surrounding cropland.
“With the fall of Antiem, the crops on this land are lost to the enemy,” one senior military officer said. “Even if we drive them out of the area, which is unlikely, the manufactorum will be contaminated and useless—as, most likely, will be all the crops yet unharvested.”
Although not a fatal defeat, the fact that the Death Guard is targeting the planet’s food supply has not gone unnoticed by military authorities.
“Already, vast areas of agriculturally productive land have been overrun by the enemy,” noted one Administratum official who specializes in agricultural policy. “Meanwhile, the zombies—the victims of the Kassig plague—are starving and slipping through our lines to feed on our crops—and their very presence contaminates every field they enter.”
For now, only the civilian population has been impacted by the planet’s shrinking food supply, with daily rations for non-essential personnel reduced to 80 percent of recommended daily nutritional needs.
It’s feared, however, that if food shortages worsen, unrest may become a problem in the civilian population, and it may be necessary to reduce the rations of military personnel, with a serious impact on combat effectiveness.
“The Death Guard have found a weakness in our defenses that was never considered by our strategists,” one officer said. “We must stop this degradation of our food supply, or this war is going to get a lot harder to win.”
TheGM: Having played Battle #1 on a nicely scenicked game table, I suggested my son give 40K a go. To my delight, he agreed. I thought he’d like the Death Guard, so we played again on this table—and our game became the second battle of my Wars of Confessor Bernard mini-campaign.
Although my son prefers computer and board games, he’s well acquainted with the tactics and game theory of miniatures gaming. So, it was no surprise to me that he took full advantage of the heavy terrain on this table (far heavier than most 40K games) to close with my forces.
He had a plan, and it worked beautifully. I gave him a good fight, particularly on the Imperial right flank. But he grasped the effectiveness of his Death Guard sorcerer and mercilessly hammered my firing line. It crumbled very quickly.
I’ve never had so much fun losing a battle.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Dozaria Campaign