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The following is the narrative for an 1,800pt battle between an Imperial Daemonhunter force and a Tau drone facility defence force. The battle was fought on a 6 x 4 table with minimal terrain (none over level 1):
On the baking hot roof of the main production facility, Shas’o Ronald’o lowered his hand-held range-finder, squinting his eyes against the blinding glare of the twin suns, and knew that the time had come for him to immerse himself once more in his trusted and well-used battlesuit and take to the field for what could, in all eventuality, be the last battle of his long and eventful life .. .. ..
He had been sent to run the drone production facility over 4 years ago - as a break from constant campaigning - and in all of this time there had never been the slightest suggestion that the ever-voracious Imperium of Man even knew of their existence on this far-flung desert planet. But now here was a fully fledged strike force of hated Grey Knights, led by no less a personage than an Inquisitor Lord, accompanied by a Grey Knight Grand Master. Given the presence of 2 leaders of such heroic stature, it could be no accident that the production facility had been discovered, nor did it suggest that anything other than all of their deaths would be an acceptable outcome – the absolute fanaticism of the Inquisition and their Grey Knight kindred was all-too-well known
Since the facility had but a single small orbital shuttle, there was no way that he could evacuate the complex in anything less than several days, and there was nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide in the bleak waterless arid wastes, seared almost constantly by the flaring light of the twin suns, one violet and one blue. He and his workforce would have to stand and fight, they had no other choice; they could fight and win, or they could fight and die, those were the only 2 possible outcomes .. .. ..
When the first reports of the Imperial force had been submitted only a few hours ago, Ronald’o knew he had little time to marshal any kind of defence. There was a plan of sorts, but concealment had always been their best defence so far, and he was not at all confident that the defence could stand up to the might of some of the best troops the Imperium had to offer. Still, he had no other choice .. .. ..
Luckily the Factory had been built in such a way that he could at least make best use of what weaponry he had available, and there was precious little in the way of cover for a long way around his buildings. The few outcrops that were in the vicinity might give some cover to troops on foot but would not provide adequate cover to vehicles.
He had checked the inventory of what weapons he had to hand. A couple of old XV88 battlesuits, long past their best and with a very limited store of railgun ammunition. Sufficiently limited, in fact, that the railguns would have to be fired on a single-shot basis only – there just wasn’t enough ammunition to allow the luxury of twin-linked shooting. Certainly, each of his management team had their personal battlesuits, but there was not much in the way of support systems or specialised wargear. He could field 4 Deathrain suits and 3 Burning Eyes, and he and his deputy could load-up with a mixture of weaponry to try and cover all eventualities, but that was it.
Luckily, 3 full batches of gun drones had only recently been produced, along with a full-sized batch of sniper drones. These had been awaiting pick-up and could be pressed into service. Although all the drones were new, he was concerned about the quality of the sniper drone spotters. None had had anything but a very limited training in the weapons system – it was one thing to build it, an entirely other thing to have to use it in battle against crack troops. But they had no other choice … … …
In addition, the production line had subsequently switched to shield drones. Although a large number had been built, none had been tested, and he was in no way certain that they would perform to their full specification. But an untested shield drone had to be better than none at all and he had issued instructions that as many individuals as could use drone controllers should take the maximum number of shield drones. There were certainly enough to go around - and he had smiled grimly at that thought.
The latest report had provided yet another shock – the Imperium had brought a Landraider! A Landraider Crusader, an Inquisitor Lord and a Grand Master – to assault a Drone Production Factory? Ronald’o wasn’t sure whether to be stunned or flattered, or whether to laugh or weep. Either way, this required a re-think of his strategy which led to him ordering the only 3 old fusion blasters he had to be fitted to his and his deputy’s suits, and to the suit of the leader of the Burning Eyes.
His deployment plan was simple. The 2 guard shifts of Fire Warrior Shas’las would deploy within the main production building, accompanied by their Shas’Ui shift leaders, each armed with 1 of the only 2 available markerlights and each covered by 2 shield drones. One sniper drone team would deploy onto the roof of the main building, and the 2 others would deploy between the main building and the small storage buildings off to each flank, firing out across the front of the main building. This gave good interlocking and overlapping arcs of fire and provided good cover from sight, just in case the untrained spotters failed to use the untried stealth generators properly. The 2 flanking sniper teams would each be bolstered by an XV88, each with 2 shield drones, and similarly firing out across the front of the main building
The 2 twin Deathrain squads, each with a targeting array and 2 shield drones, would deploy behind the main building at opposing ends, in order to make best use of the cover and their decent range. He and his deputy would deploy behind each of the 2 flanking storage buildings, making best use of the cover from fire directly to the front whilst affording good views across the front of the main complex. The 3 gun drone squadrons and the Burning Eye Crisis squad were crammed into the hold of the orbital shuttle and sent into low orbit until such time as their ability to land anywhere on the battlefield could best be utilised. He has thought through this deployment several times and could think of no better way to defend his installation. All available weaponry and what few battlesuit systems and wargear had been fitted. There was nothing else he and his motley force of managers, engineers, technicians and guards could do now other than wait for the arrival of the cream of the Imperium and for them to make their first move ... ... ...
(to be continued ... ///)
I'm going to move this to the Battle Reports section.
Hunkered down in the lee of the storage building to the front left of the facility, Ronald’o was convinced he could feel sweat trickling down the back of his neck. In theory this should not have been possible since the internal sensors and temperature regulators inside the suit were meant to keep the temperature within the suit at slightly below normal body heat in order to provide an optimum fighting environment. With a wry smile he acknowledged to himself that the suit, just like him, was past its prime.
As he had moved from the main building into the cover behind the storage building, the incoming reports of the enemy’s deployment had taken him aback. Not only did the force appear to be extremely small but it was very spread out and instead of concentrating in one position and rushing the defenders, it appeared that the humans had opted for some sort of double envelopment – this was very strange and certainly not what he would have expected from Imperial leaders of such marked seniority. He could see the bulk of the Landraider – festooned with the striking heraldry of the Grey Knights Grand Master - way over to the front right of his position and he had been advised that an Inquisitorial Chimera (no doubt full of stormtroopers) and Dreadnought had taken up position immediately to his front, making what use they could of what limited cover was available. Unfortunately, there was one outcrop, out of effective small arms range, directly to the front of his position behind which he had been told that enemy movement had been spotted. Still, once the enemy moved out from behind that cover they were in the open and then it would be down to the steadiness of his work force. Whilst they were, strictly, all employees, Ronald’o had a distinctly paternal approach to running this unusual “command” and he counted many of those now deployed in battle gear, ready to sell their lives dearly, as not just colleagues but as friends too.
He had had one quick glimpse of the Inquisitor Lord, surrounded by his henchmen, and had marvelled at the arrogance of the man. He was encased in gleaming gold armour, had a massive animal fur draped over his shoulders. A fur cloak?? In this heat??? How ridiculous! He was carrying some sort of cybernetic bird on his left arm and in his right hand he held a huge long-handled hammer, the head of which flickered and pulsed with energy, and Ronald’o had prayed fervently that neither he nor any of his men would find out what damage that weapon could do.
And he had one considerable nagging doubt that he simply could not dispel. Whilst the normal considerable heat haze made visibility difficult at any sort of range, he had noticed that the majority of the enemy were even harder to pick out. In fact, in many cases the power-armoured figures were so indistinct that getting decent target locks was proving to be extremely difficult. In those few cases where locks were being acquired, they were almost always lost very shortly afterwards, all of which would have a serious effect on their firing. And it was their firing alone which would save their lives on this day; he was under no illusions of the outcome if any of the enemy, even the stormtroopers, got into hand-to-hand combat with his own troops. Of course he had heard about the Aegis suits that the Grey Knights wore but he never thought that one day he would be finding out the hard way how effective their shrouding effects were. Still, the marked heat haze that was making marking targets so difficult for his force would also affect the Inquisitorial troops – and his troops were so much more used to it.
So the wait continued - and nerves began to get stretched .. .. ..
Then, with an audible roar and with a thick cloud of smoke belching from its twin exhaust stacks, the Landraider surged forward at top speed. At the same time, excited chatter heralded the launch of a missile from the Dreadnought. Angrily – his nerves stretched more than he would have wished – Ronald’o ordered his troops to minimise their transmissions until such time as they became actively engaged.
Despite the range and the heat haze, the shot from the Dreadnought had been a good one. With a sickening crunch, the missile impacted squarely against the front armour of the XV88 stationed out on the extreme right flank of the position – and failed to go off! Despite this the impact itself was sufficient to drive the massive Broadside back a couple of metres. Shas’el Al’esandr’o, stationed behind the storage building on the right advised that the Chimera and Dreadnought had also started moving forward, with the Chimera appearing to head off even more towards the flank. A quick report from the senior spotter of the drone sniper teams, deployed on the roof of the main facility, advised that what appeared to be 2 squads of Grey Knights had moved out from behind the outcrop to the front of the building and were now moving purposefully towards the main position. The report added that the Grey Knights were very indistinct, even to the spotters sensors, but the Inquisitor Lord and his henchmen were much more obvious. Ronald’o couldn’t help a small smile of satisfaction – of the squads were moving that meant the range of their heavy weapons would be much reduced and he had feared the possibility of a stand-off fire-fight against the Grey Knights psycannon. He also couldn’t help another small smile when he considered that only yesterday Shas’ui Y’sabel’a had been busy at work doing her normal accounting and today she was providing concise accurate sighting reports in the same dispassionate way as she presented budget forecasts at management meetings! The absurdity of the situation made laugh out loud and yet he still felt a distinct glow of pride at the professionalism of his colleagues.
Pushing these highly unmilitary thoughts aside, he re-focussed his attention on the job in hand. As he watched the Landraider fired a defensive smoke screen and he was advised that the Chimera had done the same thing. Nevertheless he was confident that the 2 Broadsides should be capable of achieving hits on those 2 vehicles given their size and he ordered the 2 XV88s to each open fire with a single shot from their railguns ... ..
(to be continued ... ///)
He heard the distinctive crack of the railguns firing and a split-second later he saw the bright violet flash through the concealing smoke screen surrounding the Landraider. A hit! But just how damaging? They would have to wait until the smoke cleared until they would know for sure - but any hit from a railgun was bound to have had an effect on the vehicle and its crew. As he pondered this, Al’esandr’o reported a hit on the Dreadnought which appeared to have rocked it backwards and that its weapons seemed to have dropped out of firing alignment. So, the first 2 shots had resulted in 2 hits. Although, given the absence of any fires or explosions, neither vehicle had been destroyed, he was sure that the effect of these 2 hits would do immeasurable good to the morale of his force, and if it was the vehicles were slowed down in any way then that was of clear benefit to the Tau’va.
Elsewhere the results were far less encouraging. None one of the other squads had managed to acquire target locks on the 2 barely visible Grey Knight squads, and without even partial locks they were unable to shoot. Ronald’o cursed inwardly knowing that the longer it took for effective fire to be brought to bear, the greater the chances of the Grey Knights being able to close into charge range - and after that it would be all over .. .. ..
The Grey Knights continued their implacable advance, as did the Dreadnought, though it was reported that it still was not brining either of its 2 weapons systems to bear. Ronald’o watched carefully expecting to see the Landraider emerge through the smokescreen but was initially dumbfounded, and then elated, to see the indistinct but unmistakeable forms of Grey Knight terminators lumbering through the thinning smoke. There was only one reason why those warriors would have dismounted from their vehicle so far from the main objective and that was their vehicle had to have been rendered immobile. Sure enough, as the smoke continued to thin, Ronald’o was able to make out that the impact of the railgun shot had smashed the right hand track apart, which meant not only would it not be able to come any closer, but it would be possible to move away from the potentially devastating multi-melta and twin-linked assault cannon it carried.
Before he had a chance to pass the order on he saw plumes of smoke belch from the muzzles of the rapidly spinning assault cannon and a burst of intense fire from the multi-melta. The target was the lone XV88 out on the right flank and Ronald’o watched the impact of several rounds smash the 2 accompanying shield drones out of the air. Quickly he ordered the Broadside to move back out of range and to try to use the storage building to block the line of sight to the Landraider. He had the presence of mind to offer a quick prayer of gratitude that the arrogant humans had brought the Crusader version as opposed to the ordinary one, whose double twin-linked lascannon would have posed a much greater threat even in an immobilised vehicle.
In the centre of the position, Ronald’o observed the strike of multiple storm bolter rounds against the front of the main building as well as the much more devastating penetrating impacts of the heavier psycannon rounds. A quick report from the Fire Warrior squad inside the building confirmed that no-one had been hit but that the 2 shield drones had again taken the brunt of the impacts and were now shattered beyond any kind of repair.
On the left of the position, it was reported that the stormtroopers had debussed from the Chimera and were making their way forward, using the Chimera as mobile cover. Ronald’o ordered the Deathrain squad at the left rear of the main building to move into a position whereby they could engage the Chimera.
Shockingly, despite the fact that the Grey Knights had moved considerably closer, only one squad of Fire Warriors managed to achieve the requisite target lock and their fire at the barely visible Grey Knights appeared to have little or no effect.
On the right of the position, the XV88 continued to fall back, pummelling the advancing terminators with its railgun and its missile systems, punching a railgun round straight through this the heaviest terminator armour. Although missile strikes were observed amongst the squad, these proved to be ineffectual against the terminator’s armour. Amazingly, although the terminators appeared to be almost within charge reach of the sniper drone team on the right the spotter reported that he could not get a lock on them and was unable to fire!
In the centre, the concentrated fire of storm bolter rounds and psycannon bolts smashed 2 Fire Warriors off their feet. The squad was rocked but its nerve held.
On the left, the 2 Deathrain managed to get shots off against the advancing Chimera, bringing it to a halt, although no obvious damage could be seen. Ronald’o ordered the 2 Deathrains to keep firing at the Chimera until it was no longer a threat, confident that it would take a reasonable amount of time for the stormtroopers to pick their way through the broken ground in that area. No, the biggest threat was that developing on the right.
Accordingly he ordered the deployment of the first drone squadron from the shuttle in low orbit. His intention was to bring the drones in between the sniper drones and the advancing terminators, slowing their advance, and giving the sniper drones time to re-deploy.
He sensed rather than heard the drones arrival, and watched as they powered in towards the terminators. With dismay he noted that their angle of descent appeared to be far too shallow and, as he continued to watch in growing horror, the drones overshot their intended point of arrival and smashed in amongst the terminator squad and were entirely wiped out. The situation on the right had swung from being dangerous to critical, with the terminators being almost close enough to charge the sniper drones , after which they would be able to roll up the whole position from the right.
Now extremely concerned he ordered Al’esandr’o to engage the terminators with his fusion blaster and plasma rifle but to ensure that he did not expose himself to the possibility of being charged.
The battle was starting to go against him and it would be essential to stop, or just slow, the advance on at least one of the flanks if the Tau’va were to have any chance of winning the day.
In the centre, the Grey Knights continued to advance, laying down an extremely heavy fire from their storm bolters as they did so. Suddenly, the communications net was swamped with heart-rending screams which then stopped almost as suddenly as they had begun. Shocked almost beyond words, Ronald’o demanded an explanation of this horrific incident. In a voice that shook with emotion, he received the choking report of the Shas’ui shift leader of one of the Fire Warrior squads who confirmed that 4 of the squad had suddenly been struck down invisibly, dying a horrible death as they writhed around uncontrollably whilst trying with shocking intensity to tear their helmets off.
Ronald’o let out a savage howl of dismay – this had to be the Inquisitor Lord! Nothing else could have done this and he swore an oath that this man would die for the pain he had caused in such an uncivilised way. Losing control of his emotions he swung his suit around and powered out from behind the storage building to fire his fusion blaster and plasma rifle into the Chimera at almost point-blank range, noting with grim satisfaction as a track was smashed and the turret ripped off by the force of the twin impacts.
As he jumped back into the cover of the building, Ronald’o ordered another drone squadron and the Burning Eye Crisis squad to deploy behind the advancing Grey Knights and Inquisitor in the centre in the hope of drawing their attention away from the main building for sufficiently long enough for the situation on the right flank to be stabilised.
He sensed that the battle was rapidly approaching the tipping point .. .. ..
(to be continued ... ///)
Over on the right the terminators continued their advance, ignoring the sniper drones, and pouring fire into the slowly withdrawing Broadside. Despite a multitude of impacts which rocked the suit, no vital systems were damaged and the XV88 continued it’s measured withdrawal, firing into the terminators as it fell back. This fire, coupled with the sniper drone spotter finally getting a lasting lock on the squad, the fire of the twin Deathrains, and the close-range armour-piercing firepower of Shas’el Al’esandr’o, meant that 3 more terminators were smashed into oblivion, leaving only the Grand Master and one other alive. However, even these 2 heroic figures would be quite capable of destroying a Crisis suit with comparative ease, so Al’esandro jumped away from the advancing terminators in order to put as much space as possible between himself and them. Tragically this proved to be his undoing since, fixated as he was by the threat of the advancing Grand Master, he failed to remember that the cover provided by the storage building was not substantial, and paid the ultimate price as lascannon bolts and missiles from the Dreadnought tore through his Crisis suit as though it were paper.
Ronald’o had no time to grieve however, despite the loss of his long term deputy and friend, he HAD to concentrate on the battle in the centre. The arrival of the drone squadron and Burning Eye Crisis squad had indeed captured the attention of the enemy, particularly as the combined weight of close range pulse carbine, plasma rifle and fusion blaster fire from behind had wiped out the Inquisitors entire retinue as well as killing 2 Grey Knights. The impact of the plasma rounds must have aided the sensors of the Fire Warriors and sniper drones in the centre since they finally got the required target locks and their combined fire brought down 4 more Grey Knights. However, being fearless, the remaining Grey Knights solidly stood their ground.
On the left, the Deathrains switched their fire to the stormtroopers and Ronald’o decided to move away from he cover of the storage building and head towards the stricken Chimera using the utility of his jet packs to cover the ground quickly. By this he felt he would force the stormtroopers to decide whether to continue their advance on the main complex or to react to the Crisis suit threatening their rear.
Back over on the right, the Grand Master and the sole surviving terminator opened fire on the sniper drones, presumably to soften them up prior to charging them. Their fire was extremely successful, with all 3 drones being destroyed. The loss of his command, plus the threat of an imminent charge by the Grand Master was too much to bear for the drone spotter whose nerve broke and he promptly abandoned his drone controller and fled for the greater safety of the main production building. All of which left the Grand Master and the surviving terminator in clear view of the Broadside, Deathrain squad and sniper drone squad on the roof of the building, who then combined their fire on the 2 figures, killing the terminator and seriously wounding the Grand Master. The situation on the right flank had been stabilised and the balance of the battle had now swung in favour of the Tau’va.
In the centre, the Dreadnought brought down one of the 2 Burning Eye suits with a well-placed lascannon shot but it was too far away to see how fatal the impact had been. Ronald’o watched with a dry mouth the Inquisitor Lord in his ridiculous bearskin cape charged with the 2 remaining Grey Knights into the 2 remaining Crisis suits. One fell to a blow of the Grey Knight’s halberd and the return blows from Shas’vre Cammack’o the Team Leader, were ineffectual. The loss of his 2 companions was clearly too much for the Shas’vre – he was an engineer after all, not a warrior – and his nerve failed and he turned to flee. Sadly not quick enough, for he was felled almost as soon as he turned by a crushing blow from the cowardly Inquisitor’s 2-handed hammer. But again this left the Imperial figures extremely exposed and it was becoming possible to bring increasing numbers of weapons to bear as the numbers of targets decreased. Multiple hits from Deathrain missiles brought the Dreadnought firstly to a shuddering halt before it exploded in a huge ball of flame as one hit appeared to set off the Dreadnoughts own remaining missiles.
Over on the left, Ronald’o continued to trade fire with the stormtroopers as he raced for the cover of the disabled Chimera. His plasma rifle and burst cannon brought down 2 more and the Deathrains accounted for another 2. In return his shield drones had to work overtime to ward off a number of hits from a meltagun, a plasma gun and a number of hellguns but they did their job magnificently. In response to their casualties, the remaining stormtroopers veered away from the shelter of the Chimera and headed instead for the shelter of the storage building, though not before one more fell victim to the over-heating of his malfunctioning plasma gun. It looked as if they were planning to try and storm the central complex
All of a sudden the battle had turned from being a last-ditch defence to one of mopping up. Ronald’o had to give these humans their due – they were extremely brave and had never turned aside from the fight. With a resigned sigh he called in the final squadron of gun drones and ordered them to harass the much-reduced squad of stormtroopers, to prevent them gaining access to the main building.
Over on the right, the combined fire of the Broadside, Deathrains and sniper drones had proved too much for the Grand Master. Refusing to yield an inch of ground, his body was rocked by multiple impacts which appeared to penetrate his armour and yet did not bring him down. Finally, however, a railgun shot clearly punched through his torso and fell to his knees before pitching forward onto his face, his life blood pouring through his shattered terminator armour and draining quickly into the hot dusty ground.
In the centre, the squad of Grey Knights with psycannons now found themselves on the receiving end of fire from all angles and were soon reduced to only 2 men. Again they did not flee, but turned around and withdrew from the battle. Ronald’o watched them go and refused a request for them to be pursued. There was nowhere for them to go and nowhere for them to hide, and the planet itself would kill them off soon enough.
On the left, the recently arrived gun drone squadron cut down the remaining stormtroopers, the twin-liked pulse carbines being more than a match for the stormtroopers carapace armour. In the centre, the combined fire of the Fire Warriors and 2 sniper drone squads accounted for the remaining 2 Grey Knights, leaving the Inquisitor Lord as the sole survivor of his invading force. Ronald’o knew that even now the Inquisitor would feel nothing other than total contempt for the Tau’va and that there could only be one way to finish this battle. Sadly he took a deep breath and gave the final order and the Inquisitor vanished in a veritable seething maelstrom of railgun shots, missiles, and massed pulse rifle and carbine fire. When the dust and smoke finally settled, there was little to be seen of this once high and mighty Lord of the Imperium other than chunks of bloody meat, blackened and twisted shards of his golden armour and torn scraps from his bloodied fur cape.
It was over .. .. ..
(to be concluded ... ///)
This is very nice, an impressive piece of narrative.
However, from my perspective I'd like a bit of OOC as well, like the turn-by-turn action and the starting army lists.... still, kudos to you for writing this all out!
If it ain't broke, it might need fixing.
The difficult we do immediately. The impossible may take a little longer.US Army Corps of EngineersMember of Advanced 40K development team (self-appointed)
(Brief) Army Lists and lessons learned will be in the conclusion.
~ Ravenscraig ~
really excellent battle report mate (rep), but surely fluff wise engineers/managers of a drone production facility would be earth caste?
Everything you have been told is a lie!
The problem really was the points total. I started using the irrevocable premise that I had to take as many drones as was possible and then tried to fill in the rest of the points - which was actually quite a lot. So I had to take some sort of liberty giving Crisis suits to managers, etc otherwise I'd never have been able to make up the points. As it was I tried to keep the list as simple as possible, so there was no special issues taken and only a limited amount of wargear.
But yes, I do have to put my hands up to bending my army selection quite a bit to try and fit the fluff - but I think the idea sort of worked and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. I don't know how it would have fared against other Armies but against DHs the volume of fire against small numbers (once I could see anything to shoot at!) was what won the day.
~ Raven ~
there is a realyl cool bit in IA3 called Opperation Commet, I love it for its Elysian theme but it does produce something similar to your scenario, basically, the supply to the captial city of water is from a de-salination plant, the imperials try to capture it intact by dropping the 23rd Elysians on it then running a cadian mechanised regiment, escorted by marines and warhound titans, as a break through column to it.
Initial assault by the elysians encounter some kroot but mostly human auxhilleries, however the Tau response, brilliant, was to overfly the plant dropping drones en mass whilst cadres built up strength in the area and then assaulted, in the end the armoured column was so delayed the Elysians got wiped out but it does have a similar flavour to what you have
Everything you have been told is a lie!