Damocles Campaign

Tau rebuff first attack by Imperial Crusade – Part 2

Warhammer 40K blog

Land Speeders devastate two squads of Fire Warriors with their heavy flamers. Only two Tau survivors manage to flee the carnage.

Why attack the enemy directly? Attack where he least expects. Attack him on the flank, or fall upon his rear. You will lose fewer warriors, and you will leave your opposing commander at a loss.“—Commander Puretide, 703.M41

* * *

Imperial Turn Two

The Knights’ mechanized column continues to advance at full speed—all except the Sicaran Relic Tank, which slows and targets the Sniper Drone Team.  Despite the xenos’ cover, the tank’s  twin-linked Accelerator Autocannons shred two drones.

The advancing Assault Squads are finding the ruins a tough slog, so they risk using their jetpacks to charge the still-distant sniper drones. One squad fails its roll, but the second rolls a very fortuitous 11, just managing to reach the xenos.  A brief melee ensues, but, in the end, the Knights score First Blood!

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An Assault Squad hurries through the ruins in the northeast corner of the battlefield. Unable to slog through the ruins, they chance using their jetpacks and catch the xeno sniper drones by surprise.

Farther to the east, the Broadside Battle Suit and Brother Quillicus exchange blows—but to no effect. The combatants are simply too well armored. Meanwhile, the Predator tank in the rear takes  long-range shots at the Hammerhead, but the Imperial tank’s powerful lascannon fire is blocked by brush and a swell of the bank of the stream.

The Imperial reserves arrive. Captain Vivant and Chaplain Numa, along with the Vanguard, drop amidst the tank column after realizing that xeno Crisis Suits will be descending soon. The Astartes captain wants to bolster the column’s rear flank.

On the east flank, two Land Speeders rush up the stream, their anti-grav plates stirring up the placid waters. They pull up to the two Fire Warrior teams attempting to escape the thick brush of the forest, and the skimmers target the xenos with heavy flamers. The holy promethium wipes out one fire team and causes casualties to the second..

A few seconds later, a Skytalon gunship sweeps in behind the Land Speeders and targets the surviving Fire Warrirors. Five more xenos are killed, and the two surviving xenos flee.

It’s a good turn for the Imperials. They’ve destroyed two units and achieved a secondary objective, First Blood! Imperials: 3 victory points; Tau: 0.

Tau Turn Two

The Imperials clearly held the initiative in Turn One, but now the tables turn. With a roar of flame, three teams of Crisis Suits conduct a Deep Strike and land on the left and rear flanks of the Knights’ armored column.

The Tau warlord (Commander Shadowsun stats) scatters slightly and, instead of landing behind the Sicaran Relic Tank, she and her bodyguards land inches away from its left flank. The tank’s armor is thicker here, but at least she didn’t slam into the ruins, and she’s happy to take her shot.

The plasma of her fire team’s Fusion Blasters initially are resisted by the ancient tank’s sanctified ceramite plating, but eventually the xeno fire penetrates. The tank’s mighty Accelerator Autocannons are damaged, and the tank’s engine is half-vaporized. Immobilized and facing forward, the tank is now utterly defenseless and impotent to the xeno threat to its rear.

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Hordes of Crisis Suits descend from the sky and fire their powerful weapons at the weaker armor of the Imperial tanks’ flanks. The ancient Sicaran tank is put out of action.

Now is when the xenos make a fatal mistake. The Sicaran Relic Tank is no longer a threat, but in their zeal to destroy it, the second Crisis Suit team—armed with Burst Cannon and supported by five gun drones—also target the ancient vehicle. Although their weapons are less powerful, they finally manage to punch a hole in the Sicaran’s rear armor and set it afire.

But their lack of tactical acumen finally becomes apparent when the third Crisis Suit team targets the Vindicator. It manages to damage the tank with two glancing hits, but the Imperial vehicle remains still fully functional. Next turn, it will turn around and target the xenos with its devastatingly powerful Demolisher Cannon. The Tau commander kicks himself for not thinking through his firing priorities.

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When the Skytalon is shot out of the sky by the Tau Barricuda, the Imperial gunship causes havoc by crashing into one of the Land speeders threatening the Tau left flank.

Meanwhile, in the center meadows, the two Tetra skimmers again target the Predator tank with their Markerlights. This assists the Hammerhead crew, which manages to shoot off one of the Predator’s sponsons.

Shaken by the damage, the Predator crew also must take note of the three Piranhas, armed with Fusion Blasters, racing to point-blank range to its front.

By the stream, the Tau are out for vengeance. A large Tau fighter aircraft [Classification: Barricuda] roars onto the battlefield and targets the Skytalon, shooting it out of the sky with contemptuous ease.

To add insult to injury, the Imperial gunship spins out of control as it falls and crashes onto one of the Land Speeders. Needless to say, the skimmer is destroyed in a massive explosion.

The loss of the Sicaran Relic Tank and the Skytalon earn the xenos two victory points. The victory point tally is 3-to-2 in the Imperial’s favor.

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Captain Vivant is vivid with the Tau’s sneak attack on his rear. He leads his Vanguard into melee with the xenos and drives them back into the woods.

Imperial Turn Three

The arrival of the Tau Crisis Suits has utterly disrupted the Imperials’ advance, and the ordered column of tanks and armored transports falls into disarray. Still, the Knights respond with all the haste they can muster.

In fact, the entire column reverses its facing and counterattacks.

The fighting begins with the two Assault Squads, which use their jetpacks to fly over the ruins and slam into the Tau commander and her bodyguard. The fighting is fierce, and a Crisis Suit is felled..

Only meters away, the Vindicator spins in place, spewing dirt outward as its treads tear into the crop field. Once reoriented, the tank aims its blunt-nosed Destroyer Cannon at a second team of Crisis Suits and fires a dangerous, point-blank shot that vaporizes all four combat suits and their supporting drones.

As soon as the vehicle has fired, Captain Vivant charges the surviving Crisis Suit team. One of his warriors is killed by incoming fire, but the rest of the Space Marines barrel into the xenos, killing one battle suit and wounding the unit’s commanding officer. The Crisis Suits vainly attempt to escape by withdrawing into the nearby copse of trees.

The Knights press their attack across the battlefield. To the north, Ancient Brother Quillicus finally overpowers the Broadside Battle Suit, while to the east, the surviving Land Speeder races northward up the stream, firing at fleeing Fire Warriors as it goes.

At the crossroads to the rear, the damaged Predator continues to put up a fight and destroys one of the Piranha skimmers.

The fall of the Broadside earns the Imperials another victory point, and the Imperial margin of victory widens. The score: 4-to-2.

Click here to read Part 3 of the battle.

Click here to return to Part 1.

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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