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Okay, this may be a bit complicated, but bear with me.
Lets say there are two squads in close combat, squad A and squad B. They have been in close combat a number of turns and it is a stalemate. Both squads A and B have the same initiative, strength, toughness, etc.
Another squad, squad C, comes along and charges into close combat against A, helping squad B.
There is an independent character in squad C who has a higher initiative than anybody in squad A, so he attack first. With his higher-initiative attacks he kills every member of squad A who is in base-to-base contact with any member of either squad B or squad C.
So, the ultimate question is, since squad A is no longer in base-to-base contact with any models in either squad B or C, is close combat over? Do the lower initiative models from squads B and C still get their attacks even though there is no base-to-base contact? If not, do squads B and C get to consolidate?
Thanks in advance.
Nope. Well a couple things to start with. If combat has been going for several phases everybody should be in base to base/ 2'' due to the Pile In move. And even assuming there were still models out of b2b/ within 2'' it'd be the odd player who chooses to take his casualties from his models that are actually engaged as opposed to the back line, but that's a side note.
Anyway, if you look on pg. 35 of the BRB "Who can fight?", the number of models that are engaged (and therefore able to attack) is determined at the beginning of combat and remains the same until the end no matter what (short of being killed before the models turn to attack that is). That means even if your IC wiped out the models in b2b / within 2'' from Squad A, the other members of Squad B and Squad C that were engaged would still be able to attack, and any resulting casualties would have to be drawn from the remainder of squad A that was not actually engaged.
Deris seems to be spot on by my interpretation of the rules. I'd also like to add that page 39 of the rulebook states that all models of a unit in combat may be killed, even if not engaged.
If there are no models in base contact with your unit when your initiative order comes up, you no longer get to attack, or be attacked. Your unit is still considered to be in close combat though, so you don't consolidate, you pile in. Getting as many models into base contact as possible, moving 6".
Deris87's response is the correct one. Eligibility to make attacks is determined at the start of combat. It doesn't matter if the nearest living enemy is 10" away by the time your initiative comes around. If you're still alive, you can attack him.
edit: doh, ninja'ed!
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