“Small ork warbands repeatedly are testing the Imperial defenses in the Achaeon Suburbs of Susa City, the besieged capital of the moon of Hegira.“—Imperial Voxcast, 3 004 742.M41
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After-Action Report: Xeno Engagement
Location: Grid 629 A13, Achaeon Suburbs
Date: 3 004 742.M41
Unit Involved: 2nd Battalion, 728th Cadian Regiment
Source: Officio Prefectus
Author: Commissar-Major Rael Dracos
Overall Tactical Situation: Since the ork breatkthrough of the outer defenses of Susa City on 3 801.741.M41, a sizable force of orks have been contained in the Achaeon Suburbs. Undaunted by their casualties, these orks have repeatedly attempted to force their way deeper into the city.
In fact, there have been 56 documented assaults of 500 xenos or more (17 involving forces of more than 2,000) in the past 75 days. The engagement described below is number 77.
It is unclear why the orks are attacking in such a disjointed, unorganized manner. Our best hypothesis is that the approximately 50,000 orks in the suburbs have suffered a loss of leadership and fighting amidst themselves for dominance. Until a warlord arises who can organize a sustained assault, thesehe repeated, small-scale assaults are simply a natural phenomenon of the xenos’ war-like psychology. In other words, they can’t help but pick a fight, either among themselves or against us.
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At 18:30, a force of approximately 500 orks advanced on the position held by Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 728th Cadian Regiment, near the now-evacuated Cygore Market District.
The decision of Battalion Command was to block the xeno advance prior to it reaching the Imperial defensive positions, a commendable tactical move as it accomplished two objectives:
• It met xeno aggression with comparable aggression, a display of resolve that boosted troop morale.
• It denied the xenos an opportunity to scout our defensive line for weaknesses or avenues of attack.
Three platoons of Delta Company advanced toward the xenos at a brisk pace, divided into three columns to more quickly traverse the major streets of the area, otherwise is maze of narrow, twisted streets and alleys. Troops came under enemy artillery fire but, as usual, greenskin fire was wildly inaccurate and no casualties were reported.
Due to significant casualties, Delta Company is a converged unit. The central column, 2nd Platoon, was the first to come into contact with the xenos. This unit of Cadian troops took position along the edge of the Cygore Market. From here, they brought an approaching mob of orks under long-range fire.
This fire caused a number of casualties, and the orks responded by slipping into a warren of alleys to the south of their position. This led the greenskins to an area dominated by ramshackle shanties that was so dense that Imperial troops could no longer draw a line of fire.
The ork advance through these shanties raised the risk that the xenos might outflank 2nd Platoon. To counter this possibility, 3rd Platoon—an under-strength unit of Tallarn from the shattered 117th Tallarn Regiment—took position in a number of shanties and met the advancing greenskins with lasgun fire.
The xenos took heavy casualities, but they continued to advance—and eventually charged 3rd Platoon. After a desperate fight that lasted approximately five minutes, the platoon broke and fled.
[As per Commissariat Order X182, 3rd Platoon was condemned to an Act of Decimation, and one in very 10 survivors was executed for cowardice.]
To the north, 1st Platoon—a unit of converged grenadiers—successfully repelled the orks to its front.
In the center, 2nd Platoon began to feel pressure from the orks attacking to its front—as well as realizing the threat to its flank after the retreat of 3rd Platoon. In response, the platoon withdrew 40 meters to a solidly built mansion with a large courtyard.
This building offered a formidable physical barrier to attack and, from the roof, allowed the platoon to organize a firing line that enjoyed the advantages of high ground.
From this position, 2nd Platoon—soon bolstered by the redeployment of 1st Platoon—created a defensive bastion that defied repeated assaults by the orks.
Having suffered extensive casualties, and unable to break through the thick walls of the mansion, the ork attacks eventually petered out. The two platoons held their position uneasily throughout the night.
By morning, the orks were gone—perhaps drawn to another small engagement that began half a kilometer to the north. What mattered for Delta Company was that, after several recon patrols were sent forward, it was confirmed that the xenos had disappeared.
As per standard operating procedure, the company immediately began corpse retrieval, and the xeno bodies were gathered into piles and burned to prevent xeno fungi from spreading and bolstering the ork productive cycle.
Delta Company then returned to its original defensive position, and the Cygore Market neighborhood returned to its status as “no man’s land.”
TheGM: This was a small fight—under 400 points.
It also was an experiment in using similar Orders of Battle (OBs) for both sides. The Gaffer is curious how the Imperial Guard and orks stack up if forced to follow an OB similar to that used by the U.S. Marines: a platoon headquarters, three infantry squads, and three fire teams (essentially heavy weapons teams).
We also used the game to become better acquainted with the rules for urban fighting. We still play 7th Edition and, in this edition, infantry in an intact building is treated as if it is in a vehicle.
That means you can’t shoot into a building—or charge the infantry inside. You must assault the building first and essentially destroy it.
(To make all of this clearer for us, I spent an evening pulling out all the rules related to urban fighting and putting them into a four-page summary. The basic conclusion of this work is that troops need high-strength guns, krak grenades, melta bombs, or power weapons to batter down the walls of a building.)
(Note: This is for intact buildings that still largely dominate the Achaeon Suburbs. Ruins are simply difficult terrain with cover and, as the fighting continues in this area, I expect that most buildings will be ruins in no time.)
I like the Gaffer’s thinking. We’re getting into a phase of urban fighting, and it’s going to be quite interesting to use a “historical” OB as it’ll require an entirely different approach to fighting. Already, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a tank with a Demolisher Cannon.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Hegira Campaign