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Right - this popped up in a game last night (every game always sends up at least one rules issue).
A cavalry unit with a frontage of 2 (and three ranks) is in combat with a unit of infantry. The infantry (always strike first in this case) cause 5 wounds, of which only one is saved. 4 cavalry died. However, none of the attacks were allocated against the cavalry champion (who was in the first rank).
The champion does not die unless challenged, specifically allocated attacks or unless the entire unit is destroyed. But since the first rank was wiped out, does he get to attack back, or not? (i.e. has some other poor cavalryman taken his place 3 times, and he's now back in the third rank and as such out of combat).
The champion can attack back. Unless allocated attacks, the champ stays where he is and you have gone ahead and killed guys behind him.
I am right 94% of the time, why worry about the other 3%.
Like sirkently says, the champion is unharmed standing there in the front rank. He's just watched the enemy unit hack apart his mates, and now he's angry.
If you wipe out more models than there are in the front rank, then the casualties are taken from the ranks behind. the champion remains unaffected unless he is specifically targeted.
Thou shalt remember:
Warhammer Fantasy armies do NOT have Codices. They have Army Books.
LINK - Guitarists of LO Group
One exception, though: If a unit suffers more wounds than it has regular models then the unit champion is removed together with his comrades (p.81 BRB )
But apart from this small add-on everything said by the previous posters is right.
It ain't easy bein' green... :-)