The sun was dipping behind the horizon, and the shadows were getting longer. If all went well, Lecia Athena and her guerilla band would have all night to ransack the supply depot and make their getaway.
First, however, they needed to deal with the depot’s small garrison.
It wasn’t much of a military base. Ground-movers had carved a one-hundred-meter circle out of the forest, just enough room to set up a small shanty and surround it with crates filled with food, uniforms, weapons, ammo, and the other materials necessary for war.
There wasn’t even a fence surrounding the war material. Just a handful of armed PDF troops were on guard duty, a number apparently deemed sufficient to deter black market profiteers from pilfering the supplies.
Lecia smiled. She’d been watching all day from the wood line. Half the guards had gone on patrol. So there were only four guards to deal with.
* * *
Three guards were moving randomly around the perimeter of the camp. A sergeant was sitting at a desk in the shanty, ostensibly filling out paperwork but actually napping.
Lecia and three guerillas were to the south of the camp, hidden in the woods. A sniper and spotter were to the north of the camp, while a guerilla with a grenade launcher waited to the northeast. On the east side of the camp, three guerillas waited, ready to storm the shanty.
The guerillas watched carefully, hoping the guards would turn their backs and allow them to sneak into the camp. It didn’t work out. One guard wandered towards Lecia’s group. Afraid of being spotted, Lecia ordered her men to open fire.
The guard, standing in the open, was killed instantly.
* * *
Damn it! Lecia thought. She’d hoped to get her men into the camp and ambush the guards quietly. Why did the guard have to wander in their direction?
“Move it! she yelled. “Push into the camp!”
Her three companions raced forward, but Lecia deliberately slowed to bring up the rear. She was the brains of the outfit. She wasn’t going to get herself killed if she could help it.
A guard appeared to her front, about 10 meters away. Seeing his attackers, he fired a hasty shot and ducked behind a crate.
Lecia and her men also took cover. Then the shooting began in earnest.
* * *
Lecia and her three companions traded fire with the guard, but all safely behind cover, the combatants found their firefight—however one-sided—had turned into a stalemate. Despite firing dozens of shots, no one was being hit.
To the east, three guerillas broke from cover and charged the shanty. The sergeant, who looked out the window, saw the guerillas approaching and tossed a frag grenade at them.
Not surprisingly, the men ducked for cover. The grenade exploded, its deadly shrapnel flying harmlessly over the heads of the guerillas, but their attack was temporarily stalled.
To the north, the sniper and guerilla with the grenade launcher saw a third guard break cover and run toward the fighting near Lecia. Before the sniper could get a bead on the soldier, the guerilla with the grenade launcher let loose a round..
The grenade arced through the air and landed at the guardsman’s feet and exploded. The man’s body rose a meter into the air before falling to the ground like a broken doll.
* * *
To the west, a guard named Adius Revere hid behind a crate and wondered what to do. Only recently recruited, and having never seen combat, the 18-year-old private was frightened and unsure how to respond to the attack.
He heard a sound behind him and raised his rifle.
“Hold your fire, bone head!” shouted a familiar face. It was Jamie Bernard, another guard, who’d gone into the woods to relieve himself a few minutes earlier.
Running up to the crate, Jamie dared to raise his head and scan the camp. “I see four of them over there. No telling if there are more.”
“What do we do?” Adius asked, embarrassed at the high-pitched tone in his voice.
Jamie smiled. “We sneak up and start shooting.”
* * *
Only one guard. Lecia Athena and her guerillas were being held up for precious seconds by a single guard.
That was unacceptable. Lecia ordered two men to work their way forward, using the piles of crates and machinery to get close enough to the guardsmen to throw a frag grenade. She and another guerilla would provide cover fire.
At the shanty, the guerillas recovered from the grenade blast that had almost killed them. One guerilla scrambled to his feet and threw a grenade. He rushed the throw, however, and the grenade went high, landing on the roof of the shanty and exploding without doing any harm.
But another guerilla stayed on his belly, aimed his autogun at the window, and waited for the sergeant to reveal himself. Sure enough, the sergeant attempted to fire his lasgun out the window, and the guerilla fired and hit him in the shoulder.
“He’s hit! Get him!” the guerilla shouted, and the other men rushed the window, scrambling in and killing the stunned guardsmen.
* * *
Lecia dropped to the ground. Someone was shooting at her from her left. Risking a glance, she spotted two guardsmen firing from cover.
Lecia began to worry. She was unaware of the success of her comrades in taking out the sergeant—or the fact that her men in the shanty were taking position at the building’s door to outflank the guard in front of her.
What do I do? Lecia was not trained as a soldier. Her understanding of tactics was limited. She struggled to control the panic that was beginning to overwhelm her. What do I do?
* * *
An explosion shook Lecia out of her thoughts. The guerilla with the grenade launcher was proving effective in the handling of his weapon. He’d dropped a grenade on the guard to her front, and Lecia caught sight of a disembodied arm flying through the air.
A moment later, the shooting stopped. The silence was almost as loud as the earlier gunfire.
Looking to her left, she no longer saw the two guards shooting at her. Cautiously she got up and, realizing she needed to take command of the situation, she ordered her men to spread out and search for resistance.
A few minutes later, she learned that the camp was empty. The guards had fled. The battle was won.
* * *
Two hundred meters to the west, Adius and Jamie were running for their lives. Spotting a gully, they dropped into it and caught their breaths.
“Are they following?” Adius asked.
Jamie took a look back in the direction of the camp. “I don’t see anybody.”
“What do we do?
Jamie thought for a minute. “We come up with a story. How we put up a great fight but finally had to withdraw in the face of overwhelming numbers.”
“How many were there, I wonder?” Adius asked. “I only saw four.”
Jamie looked at him. “Four? You mean forty, don’t you? If we ran from only four, we’ll be before a firing squad.”
The eyes of Adius widened at the idea. “Forty. You’re right, I saw at least forty.”
* * *
Imperial Filing Notation: Raid, Imperial Guard Depot #192-39, three fatalities, occurred on 3 311 741.M41
* * *
TheGM: It took only 15 minutes to fight this skirmish action, but there was one factor at work that I thought quite realistic. I got so wrapped up in the fighting that I forget my objectives. Instead of grabbing a few objective markers and fleeing into the woods (a hit-and-run mission), I ended up fighting for control of the entire camp.
It worked. Lecia has her first great victory. But it was fought without much finesse or tactical foresight, which is about what I’d expect of a former laborer trying her hand at guerilla warfare.
But history is written by the victors. Packing up a Salamander with crates of weapons and other supplies, Lecia should be able to arm at least 30 men. So is born what Lecia is calling the 1st Gu’vesa Cadre of Dar Sai.
My thanks to Ath/Lecia Ahtena for inspiring this scenario and the character of Lecia Athena.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Dar Sai Campaign