“Why did we survive the battle? Because orks can’t get it in their heads that, in urban warfare, you need explosives. If a guardsmen sets a bomb next to a door and wall, he creates an undefended entrance (everyone on the other side is likely dead or dying). But if an ork tries to smash a door in with its choppa, it gets a bullet in its head from the soldier firing out of an upstairs window.“—Commissar-Major Rael Dracos
Imperial Voxcast (3 135 743.M41)—A massive explosion today destroyed a city wall on the edge of the Achaeon Suburbs in Hegira’s capital city, allowing thousands of orks to breach Imperial defenses and seek to break through to the city’s center.
The attack was repulsed by the 728th Imperial Guard Regiment, and the city’s defenses have held, Imperial authorities say.
“This was a relatively small attack, but it was dangerous as the orks could have established a beachhead to threaten our western defensive line,” acknowledged General Tiberius Vectrix, supreme commander of the Imperial defenses on Hegira.
The attack began at 05:13 with a massive explosion of the Purgatory Gate and a 40-meter-wide section of city wall that formed part of the defenses of the eastern half of the Achaeon Suburbs, an outer suburb of Susa City.
The wall’s collapse—believed to be caused by orks digging under the walls and setting explosives—killed at least 100 PDF troops deployed on the wall. With its collapse, the surviving defenders were temporarily disorganized, allowing a packed column of orks to rush the breach and get inside the Imperial defensive line.
Amidst the confusion following the blast, Commissar-Major Rael Dracos was instrumental in responding to the greenskin threat, Vectrix said in a news conference this afternoon.
“Although normally not involved in tactical decisions, Commissar-Major Dracos was the senior officer on the scene and recognized that decisive measures were needed. The commissar organized several reserve squads into an ad hoc command and let them directly at the ork vanguard.”
This command was dreadfully outnumbered, but Dracos didn’t expect to stop the greenskins. Instead, he reported to superiors, his goal was to create sufficient resistance that the orks would be distracted—falling victim to their instinctive passion for battle—and focus more on attacking Dracos’ command rather than moving farther into the city.
“It worked,” Vectrix said. “Although some orks bypassed Dracos’ troops and moved forward, the vast majority stopped to assault the outnumbered defenders.”
Well aware that his mission was to delay the orks as long as -possible—and buy time for Imperial reinforcements to arrive—Dracos deployed his men in ways that hampered the xenos’ ability to attack.
Many men took position in buildings that forced the orks to assault defended windows and locked doors, leaving the greenskins vulnerable to troopers’ gunfire. In front of some buildings, scores of orks fell as they battered at doors and attempted to clamber through windows.
At one key street juncture, Dracos ordered a Chimera forward under a street arch, effectively blocking the street. Orks spent valuable minutes battering at the steel walls of the armored transport until an ork warlord arrived and assaulted the vehicle with a power klaw.
“The noble sacrifice of the Chimera’s crew stopped one line of advance for the enemy for at least five minutes,” Dracos said at the news conference. “Every minute of delay allowed reinforcements to arrive and stiffen our defenses. May the God-Emperor have mercy on the brave souls of these soldiers.”
Ork walkers pose threat
Despite such brilliant tactics, the cost of this defense was high in lives. Orks managed to break down the door of one building occupied by a squad of 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, and in hand-to-hand fighting in the close confines of small rooms, the defending guardsmen were killed to the last man.
One mob of orks attempted to maneuver around Dracos’ position. Supported by a xeno walker [Classification: Killa Kan], these orks advanced down a narrow street and an even narrower alley.
The street assault was stopped by a heavy weapons squad that fired their assault cannons directly into the crowded street, literally vaporizing orks with each shot. One lucky shot hit the supporting Killa Kan, putting it out of action. A sniper killed the the pilot (a diminutive subspecies of the greenskins known as a “Grot”) as it attempted to escape the burning walker.
The ork attack quickly shifted to an undefended alley nearby, but that maneuver was blocked by the arrival of a Bullgryn named Krabb, who held the narrow alley for 20 minutes against repeated ork attacks.
Even High Command acknowledges that the orks almost broke through on Dracos’ right flank, where a second Killa Kan appeared and used a heavy flamer to drive guardsmen out of their defenses.
Fortunately, Imperial reinforcements arrived, including several Sentinels with plasma cannon that destroyed the Killa Kan and led the first of several battalions that stopped the greenskin attack. Several hours of fighting continued until the orks were forced to withdraw.
By 16:00, Imperial troops had retaken the breached city wall, and combat engineers went to work with Earthmovers to block the gap in the defenses. It’s estimated that 500 orks and 250 guardsmen were casualties, but cleanup crews are still working to clear the corpses.
“All citizens should praise the God-Emperor for the sacrifice of these brave soldiers that held back the xeno filth and prevented a serious breach in our defenses,” Vectrix said. “Today was a victory.”
TheGM: This battle was a family affair: the orks were played by siblings of 10 years old or so; the Imperials by the dad and a teen brother.
I wish I could have written a more “blow-by-blow” report of the battle, but I was so busy helping the two youngest players (“you need a 4+ to hit”) that I only found time to take three photos of the fight.
But the kids were great, and it was wonderful to see a family enjoying the hobby.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
It’s good to hear that the younglings are getting involved. I think my son is hoping to do the same with his youngest. Great battle report.