Dozaria Campaign

Death Guard offensive stopped on Dozaria – Part 3

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The latest heresy to be witnessed on the battlefield was this daemon-possessed atrocity that troopers quickly nicknamed a “Blight-Hauler.” There are rumors that troopers could see writhing flesh protruding from between the vehicle’s armored panels, but the Commissariat has dismissed such talk as “tall tales told by battle-weary soldiers.”

The temptation was overwhelming to disobey his orders. Why, Confessor Bernard raged, would his superiors order him to break off his attack and secure an uncontested road on the edge of the battlefield?

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Confessor Guidard Bernard did not succumb to his occasional impetuousness and led his conscripts, known as “Bernard’s Battle Brethren,” in a difficult fight to hold the Imperial right flank.

“Do not despair!” Bernard shouted as he ran among his men, pushing and prodding them toward their new objective. “The God-Emperor knows all. This is where we are summoned.”

As his men began to move sluggishly away from their comrades engaged in fighting, the wisdom of their new orders became clear. In the distance, Bernard saw a squad of traitor Astartes, accompanied by some daemon-spawned vehicle, heading toward the same road.

The race was on, and Bernard shouted encouragement to his running men. A moment later, an enemy transport appeared over a rise and charged into his company,  the vehicle’s metal tracks crushing bodies and leaving twin stains of blood and gore in their wake.

“Get out of the way!” Bernard screamed, spittle flying from his lips, as the enemy Rhino pushed its way through his company and continued toward the road. “Kill the traitors! Kill the heretics!

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Although an enemy Rhino ran through his company, killing half a dozen men, Confessor Bernard organized a ragged firing line and stopped a small Death Guard force that attempted to flank the Imperial position.

* * *

Ghaz Tek had lost control. Shoving his way deeper into the line of PDF troops in front of him, the champion of Nurgle was lost in the madness of slaughter, all concept of leadership abandoned as he plunged his two-handed axe into the skull of a soldier that dared impede his advance.

He didn’t see the sorcerer Necrocious cast Nurgle’s Rot on the Imperial defenders, his spell crippling dozens of defenders as they collapsed to the ground, grasping at their throats as they coughed up blood.

Around Ghaz Tek, a score of traitor Astartes followed him forward. Their power and ferocity was unstoppable, and dozens of Imperial soldiers died every few seconds.

Everywhere, men were screaming in fear and pain, the traitors were shouting defiance at their opponents, and, in the distance, the Helbrute Odacious continued roaring in frustration as the maddened creature dragged itself across the crops, mindlessly seeking to reach the fighting.

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The Death Guard warlord, Ghaz Tek, helped defeat the 1st Company of the 44th Dozarian Regiment, but his breakthrough was halted by the sudden arrival of a Sentinel Squadron that counterattacked. Two Sentinels fell to krak grenades and Ghaz Tek’s powerful grinder-axe, but the third walker was saved when a lascannon shot felled the warlord. With his loss, the Death Guard abandoned the attack.

* * *

Only 50 years meters from the front line, Manikas was on his knees, struggling to make sense of the fighting as his strength flagged. He shoved aside a medic that sought to treat him and ordered his Sentinels forward.

“The 1st Battalion is going to collapse,” he explained to the Sentinel squadron’s commander by voxcast. “I need you to get between the traitors and the rest of the 4th Battalion. Use your armor to slow the traitors down. I’m going to order 2nd Battalion to fire through you at the enemy. It’s our only chance.”

The squadron commander acknowledged the order, even though he knew the sacrifice he and his men were being asked to make.  A moment later, Manikas saw the armored sentinels move forward, just as the few remnants of 1st Battalion finally retreated in panic.

The a miracle happened. Doing their best to avoid the Sentinels, several heavy weapons batteries targeted the traitor Astartes—and their shots struck home. An autocannon blasted the chest of a Plague Marine, while a mortar round vaporized another.

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The heretical corruption of the Death Guard was plain to see in the sickening evidence of infection and daemonic possession on the Astartes’ vehicles.

Unbeknownst to the colonel,  two artillery rounds landed directly in the midst of the cultist hordes to  his right, putting down dozens of the heretics and breaking their morale. The survivors turned and fled.  More significantly, a lascannon shot struck Ghaz Tek, knocking him off his feet and severing his arm.

With their warlord down, and facing an intolerable onslaught of enemy fire, the now-leaderless Death Guard hesitated—and then began to fall back.

Realizing that victory was his, Manikas allowed his eyes to close as he sank to the ground.

Postscript: Colonel Elias Manikas, commander of the 44th Dozarian PDF Regiment, died two days later of heart failure attributed to virulent infections in his internal organs.

Ghaz Tek survived his wounds, a recovery impossible without the Warp-tainted powers of his patron Chaos god.

In the two months it took the Chaos champion to recover and resume command, the sorcerer Necrocious called off further attempts to seize the Pottoa Flatlands and the rest of the Lorca Basin. Deterred by the arrival of Imperial reinforcements, Necrocious  took his heretical warband south to lay siege to the industrial city of Diaspar.

Scenario: Big Guns Never Tire

Imperial Victory Points: Two Primary Objectives (6 v.p.) + Break the Line (1 v.p.) + First Blood (1 v.p.) + Slay the Warlord (1 v.p.) = 9 v.p.

Chaos Victory Points: One Primary Objective (3 v.p.) = 3 v.p.

Major Imperial Victory!
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Over months of campaigning, the Death Guard managed to occupy much of the Pattoa Flatlans and contaminate a huge amount of fertile crops. But, with the fall of Ghaz Tek, the Death Guard lost interest in their campaign and turned south to new opportunities for destruction.

TheGM: So ends the Wars of Confessor Bernard campaign—and Ghaz Tek’s efforts to ravage the Lorca Basin, a key agricultural region on Dozaria.

The campaign was a tactical success for the Death Guard; they did win two of the three battles of this mini-campaign. But, strategically, being stopped at the town of Pollok was a defeat. Without seizing the entirety of the Pattoa Flatlands, the rest of the Lorca Basin remains in Imperial hands.

That means the defenders of Dozaria will not run out of food—at least, not for now.

As battles go, Ghaz Tek’s tactical decisions were flawed. Two easy wins made the Chaos lord arrogant and dismissive of the Imperial defenders. He decided to simply plow directly into the Imperials and overpower them.

Now, as this was a solo game, and I wore two hats as far as commanders, maybe Ghaz Tek isn’t entirely to blame. But the results were preordained. In the very first die roll of the first turn, a direct hit by a lascannon blew up the traitors’ Vindicator tank, and the second shot—by the heavy mortars—took out half of a 30-man cultist warband..

Still, the Death Guard came close to winning. They simply ran out of time. The troops of the1st Company, 4th Battalion, held up the traitors’ attack for three turns before being wiped out, and then the Sentinels moved up to slow the traitors for two more turns. The game ended before the Death Guard could get the job done.

The fall of Ghaz Tek was simply the narrative excuse for calling the game.

Click here to return to Part 2 of the battle.

Click here to return to the battle’s beginning.

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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