Damocles Campaign

Knights of Altair suffer new defeat on Namatos – Part 3

Warhammer 40K blog

Although the arrival of the dreadnought, Ancient Kronoss, proved an alarming surprise, his destruction allowed the Tau to advance confidently in an attempt to turn the Space Marine blank.

While the enemies of the Emperor still draw breath, there can be no peace.”—Captain Gabriel Angelos, Blood Ravens

* * *

Tau Turn Four

The Tau commander realizes that she doesn’t need to take any risks to win this battle. With no enemy infantry in sight, she and her bodyguards fly over the burning Predator tank and drop beside the Vanquisher tank. Defenseless, it dies a quick death. (1 v.p.)

To the west of the road, the Pathfinders and reserve units of Fire Warriors form  a firing line and target the last advancing Rhino transport. Despite its armor, a flurry of shots from the xenos’ powerful pulse rifles manage to chip away at the side armor.  The Fire Warriors in the shanty also open up, and the Rhino is taken out of action. (1 v.p.)

The Vanguard Veterans attract a great deal of xeno fire. The second Hammerhead turns its mighty railgun at the Marines and kills several, and the gun drone squadron uses its jet back to get within range and kills several more.

The Crisis Suit team also launches itself at the Vanguard squad, opening up with burst cannon and killing two more Marines. To add insult to injury, the Barricuda, having finished a wide turn, returns to the battlefield and strafes the unit.

The veterans are shattered, having lost more than 80 percent casualties, and Chaplain Numa is still alive only because a veteran selflessly leapt in front of his officer and took a plasma round to the chest.

Only the Riptide ignores the threat. Seeing the Assault Squad advancing on its position, the walker targets it. But the heavy weapon misfires, and its powerful ion beam scatters to the south.

Unwilling to be charged and locked in melee, the Riptide takes advantage of its powerful jetpack and leaps to safety.

One Vanguisher and one Rhino destroyed.  Imperial v.p. = 2    Tau v.p. = 6

Imperial Turn Four

Captain Vivant studies the battlefield and burns with shame. His armor is a pile of smoking wrecks, and his force has been split in two by the Tau advance. His air support also is nowhere to be seen.

His situation is untenable. The battle has been a disaster, and all he can do is order the retreat ad try to save his command from compete annihilation.

Both sides score for the Linebreaker secondary objective.

Warhammer 40K blog

The most devastating moment of the battle was the arrival of the Tau warlord and her bodyguard. Making a dangerous drop between two of the Imperial tanks, her attack wiped out the Space Marines’ heavy support in a few seconds.

Final Victory Points

Imperial Victory Points = 3

Tau Victory Points = 7

Significant Tau victory!

Warhammer 40K blog

The Knights of Altair attempted to regain the initiative with a “deep strike” by their Vanguard Veterans. Alas, the Tau counterattacked vigorously, wiping out most of the squad and forcing it to withdraw. With that setback, the Space Marine force was split in half, and Captain Vivant reluctantly ordered an ignominious retreat.

TheGM: Uggh! I was wearing two hats, but secretly I was rooting for the Space Marines. But Vivant is proving somewhat of a disappointment as a commander.

I don’t fault the Imperial plan. I play the Knights of Altair as Black Templars, and, as a melee-oriented army, you have to go for it.

So, why then did Vivant call off his attack after one tank is immobilized? I succumbed to my natural tendency of playing it safe, and I forget that I was a two-meter-tall, genetically enhanced, kick-ass warrior that cannot be intimidated.

I also ignored the fact that the Tau will drop Crisis Suits behind you, if given half a chance. I have no explanation for overlooking that obvious fact. My brain clearly was not functioning. I deserved to get whupped.

The Tau warlord, on the other hand, did an outstanding job. Her battle plan worked perfectly and, although some credit goes to the dice gods (the Tau never failed to take out a vehicle they fired upon), the Tau had a synergy among their units that greatly enhanced their combat effectiveness.

My biggest takeaway from this fight—and I’m thrilled by it—is how 7th Edition makes intact buildings a major tactical obstacle for attacking troops. That’s going to really change the dynamics of future battles in the Corvus Cluster.

Click here to return to Part 1 of this battle report.

Click here to return to part 2.

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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