Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Armour vs Infantry

Col Scipio wrote:

What proportion of IG regiments are completely mechanised do you think? A lot of fluff seems to totally discount all-foot regiments, but I suspect that the 'famous' regts with loads of Chimeras would be in the minority.

This erudite query was brought on by this post here, which is about the reinforcements sent to Devos IV in the form of Army Group 3422 (3422AG).  So whilst Col Scipio’s question is about the Imperial Guard generally, it also provokes the question of what is going on with 3422AG (?) So this is the question I’m going to address first.

Comptroller Bellormus is the Departmento Munitorium’s senior official in charge of the Devos IV campaign.  Obviously the Military Officer in charge believes that he is total command.  But without DM support, he’s going to be out of food, ammunition and Battle Casualty Replacements in short order. 

Infantry without vehicles.

Fortunately for the Devos IV campaign, Comptroller Bellormus and his team are competent, conscientious and above all, lucky.  Ordo Heretics involvement early on encouraged participation from the ecclesiasty, Legio Astorum and Black Templars.  This in turn has ensured that the DM itself has continued to resource the campaign, responding favourably to demands issued by Comptroller Bellormus’ team.

At some point, an armoured formation of two Corps became available at just the right the point and was assigned to the Devos IV campaign.  Additional armour was at the top of the demand list for 72Ag as it chased the PLA eastwards across the prairie.  The arrival of another Army Group, even one lacking in Infantry, could in no way be described as unwelcome; however it does pose the Imperial Guard a number of issues as described in the other post. 

Where did the two Tank Corps come from and are they typical ?  They would have been spearhead formations for larger armies assigned to other campaigns and then not deployed for some reason.  Possibilities include either we won, we lost, the commander fell out of favour, Devos IV being bumped up the priority list or the campaign they were raised for slumped down the priority list for some reason.

Steering this back to Col Scipio’s original question; it is pretty clear from my piles of iggy codices[1] that as a part of the settlement following the dissolution of the Imperial Army and the formation of the Imperial Guard, attempts were made to specialise larger units to discourage formation or unit commanders from unilateral action.  However, as has been seen elsewhere, all arms task forces are what is needed. 

What these smaller all arms task forces are drawn from is one of the Imperial Guard’s regiments.  Let’s deal with infantry regiments first.  The IA books give us the Cadian 266th[2] and Tallarn 17th[3], both of which tell us that iggy infantry regiments will have their own organic armour.  And the Kreig 19th and Tallarn 12th, which illustrate armoured regiments having organic infantry assets.  The composition of the 4621 AG formed for the Taros campaign is reasonably balanced all arms force.  A lot of the early fluff makes a great deal of vast infantry formations with a relative paucity of supporting armour and artillery and certainly very little in the way of specialisation.  A cynic might offer that this is because in the 1980s there were relatively few vehicle models and back then, when I and my ilk were in short trousers, didn’t have the money to build ourselves tank companies.

A whole load of AFVs with out foot soldiers (a WiP picture from years ago)

And of course, with the Krieg regiments in the 88th Army, IA shows us a number of regiments who do conform to the single arms blurb of the main GW fluff.  In this instance it works as the DKK are being deployed as descrete Corps in the 88th Army, so infantry regiments in which the only people with transport are Grenadiers and Death Riders, armoured regiments with nowt but tanks and artillery regiments with nothing but, well artillery.   But again, it seems that even the inscrutable DKK are capable of adapting to circumstance and changing their MO to suit the situation, hence the all arms natures of 19 Armd Regt[4] and the formations described in the Fall of Orpheus[5].

So do I have direct answer to Col Scipio’s not unreasonable question ?  One could stall with an “It’s a huge universe/ army, so anything could be found in there somewhere.” But the question was about the normal, the usual, the mundane.   So harking back to the description of the Cadian 8th in my first Iggy Codex, I might suggest that where a Napoleonic era British Infantry Battalion would have a Grenadier Company and a Light Company, perhaps a ‘typical’ Iggy Infantry regiment might have a Light Role Battalion, a Grenadier Battalion and a Mechanised Battalion alongside however many Line Battalions it might have. 

Of course we should accept that the real answer about the level of resourcing is directly related to the economic state of the place where the unit was raised or the resources on hand when the unit is reconstituted at a DM hub. 

[1] We should remember, especially now with the event of “The Fall of Cadia” that the Cadian Shock Troops first appeared in the Codex Eye of Terror. The Catachans appeared in their own codex shortly afterwards.  And then the Armoured Battle Group list and then FW got in on the act with the Airborne list.  Iggy players have always had choices that the fluff would seem indicate were not the norm.
[2] And the Cadian 144th from IA show a fully equipped Mechanised Infantry Regiment.
[3] A Regiment on a scale for interplanetary war: 10507 Officers and Men.
[4] I understand that the reprint of IA1 does not have the DKK 19 Armd Regt in it.  The single most useful page in the whole book.
[5] And the Assault Brigade list.  Bwaa  haa haa haa !

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The answers are out there somewhere.

You may remember this: http://devos4.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/searching-for-head-or-graphic-novel.html

Image result for helghast

Well, chasing up another lead, I came across these: https://mastercrafted.co.uk/shop/infantry-components/heads/hellmask-heads/#reviews

You can see that one review clearly says "They arrived quickly, were of very high quality and helped make my Helghast army absolutely perfect."

So that's that then.  They do exist.  However,  I have tightened up the rules of acquisition this year.  And have already blown £250 on half a project (more on this at some point in the future).  So further things (except the rest of the kit to finish the SAM Project) will have to be birthday and Christmas presents.  

Monday, 6 February 2017

The Eastern Edge of the City.

VI Corps (half of 3422 Army Group[1]) has the SE quarter of Xyphonica as its TAOR.  The three Divisions of VI Corps are tank heavy armoured formations.  All three are notably light on infantry[2] and one, 65 Division has no dismounted infantry.  All of VI Corps fighting power is ideally suited to the rolling prairie, but not ideal for urban assault.   Such are the vagaries of trying to adequately or properly resource wars via the warp.

The newly promoted Chief of Land Warfare (Plenipotantiate in charge of the execution of the war), 3* General Mantufor[3], fully understands the risks and just plain awkwardness and difficulty that VI Corps will face when trying to adequately contribute[4] to the attack on Xyphonica.  However, in order to continue the campaign to a successful conclusion, he cannot allow VI Corps to sit on the edge of the city and wait for the fat lady to clear her throat[5].  VI Corps does have to work its way into the city.

However, in order to preserve the fighting power of VI Corps, as it is likely to be needed again and squandering its armoured might on a swift advance in to the city makes no sense on a strategic level and as long as pressure is maintained, would serve no practical purpose[6].  The Corps of 72AG[7] have been in place on the western edges of the city have been in place for six weeks longer[8] and have a much larger infantry[9] to armour ratio.  XXXXIV Corps (the other half of 3422 AG) also has a larger infantry to armour ratio, but still less than the component elements of  72AG[10][11][12][13].

What 3422 AG will do is to systematically, district by district, street by street, building by building, reduce the city to ground level in order to minimise risk to the armour.  Effectively, 3422 AG is not expected to make progress into the city at the same speed as 72AG will[14][15] from their start positions on the other side of the city.

The Macharian Thunder Guard[16] have been withdrawn from XVIII Corps to patrol the prairie to the north of the city, it is suspected that any breakout may well be made in that direction.  Sub units of the Thunder Guard, reinforced by the entire Death Rider contingents from DKK 143rd and 262nd Regts[17], are to cover as much ground as possible looking for individuals and small groups who may be indicators of an increasing exodus of beaten heretics trying to escape their final doom.

Following their regular War Councils[18], the other Plenipotentiates, sensing that the endgame may be near, see an opportunity to gain prestige from being involved by making an offer which is unlikely to be refused.  The footsoldiers of sworn bands of the Frateris Militia and the Sororitas Militia[19], encouraged by the small but very influential Eclesisatical and Adeptus Sororitas delegations[20] whose respective heads are members of the War Council, volunteer  to go to war[21].

Gen Mantufor, mindful of the risk posed to VI Corps by their paucity of infantry assets, agrees to their inclusion on the condition that the bands agree to place themselves formally into the proper military chain of command.  The officers of the Imperial Guard are under no illusions; they realise that the militias are likely to break ranks once they have enough provocation.  However, all the while they are there, they will provide an additional level of protection.  

As soon as VI Corps assets reach their start line, they are joined by the militias[22].  As soon as they are not being actively supervised by a part of the Imperial Guard, the militias revert to lounging around and not behaving in a particularly soldierly manner.  They tend to travel around as a mob or pack, not taking piquet duties seriously (to the military mind), indulging in un planned and unsanctioned soirees beyond the FLOT and sometimes not holding what their assigned Division had told them was their front line. 

The militias on the rebel side[23][24] have been under bombardment for four years and more recently faced ground assault.  Factoring in the hiatus for organising 72AG and 3422 AG and allowing them to get into place, the forces of freedom[25] have had adequate time to prepare for the coming assault[26].  The militias now assigned to VI Corps have also been at war for four years, but only actually been allowed to do more than guard rear areas now that the situation finally demands it.

[5] The Commander in Chief, of the Imperial Guard on Devos IV, Lord General Zukhov has a track record of intervening in the campaign. Everyone finds it hard to telling him that he’s doing more harm than good. http://devos4.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/snakes-in-paradise.html
[10] Before knowing that they would be reinforced by a sister Army Group, 72 AG had managed to secure reinforcements suitable for an attack on the city. http://devos4.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/send-three-and-fourpence-we-are-going.html
[18] The war councils now include the CinC of 3422AG as well as CinC 72AG and the four Plenipotentiates.  The Lord General would often find his time taken up by more important things before the Battle of Chobli.  Afterwards, there is often a representative of the Inquisition as well.   The Lord General, with two Armies on the planet, is now so busy that he never attends anymore.
[19] This would include bands drawn from pilgrims on Devos IV when the war started, as well as Frateris and Sorortias Militia brought to Devos IV by the Ecclesiasty as well as De laque, Cawdor and Orangedemptionists.
[20] Cannoness Maria Pandoro (Order of the Ebon Challice) is the Plenipotentiate for Security and Confessor Tule (Eccesiasty), chief of staff for the Plenipotentiate of Morale and Propaganda.
[21] To be fair, for the previous three years, a lot of effort has been put into preventing them from going to the front.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Shioban Racitte

Aged 15 when war broke out, Shioban was immediately drawn to the dashing young Maytion Hakisake, the son of the Minister for Munitions.  He featured prominently in the publicity material designed to get the natives of Devos IV to volunteer for Imperial service.  He joined the Hulin Rifles, whose personnel were largely drawn from the Drookian diaspora.  The publicity campaign was a triumph for the Plenipotentiate for Moral and Propaganda - the Hulin Rifles continues to recruit almost every eligible volunteer from the Drookian population of Devos IV. 

The young 2Lt Hakisake was accepted into Imperial service and commissioned in one smooth career move.  This transformation from school boy to officer may have had more to do with Moral and Propaganda than with military efficacy but he would have been worth just as much to the cause as martyr.  He was one of the first intake of young officers placed in the care of a cadre of experienced personnel (which included the newly promoted 1st Sgt Maxwell). The last three years have seen him become a proper soldier and capable officer.

As the daughter of a single mother, she was close to her mother and used to share a lot with her. Shioban used to discuss the gallant Lt Hakisake with her mother.  Her mother would warn her that men like that, members of the planetary nobility, might indulge in a fling with a Drookian girl but would never admit the affair and certainly not marry her.  It seems that despite this conversation being played out many times, Shioban failed to take on board her mother's advice.

At the age of 17 she enlisted, volunteering for the Hulin Rifles.  Unusually, the Minister for Munitions intervened and had Shioban sent home again.  However, the Imperium will not be denied its pound of flesh and she was loaded on to the next intake. Realising that to be close to an officer meant being in a command squad, after her basic training she elected to become a grenadier (ie with a Grenade Launcher, not a pseudo Kasarkin).

Somehow, she has ended up in the now experienced Lt Hakisake's platoon.  Weirdly to him, he seems comfortable around PFC Racitte, as if he had known her all his life.  She is still lovestruck. Their association becomes ever closer.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

More Tigers.

You may remember me talking about posting and suggesting that posts about the Imperial Guard were generally easier because I was more familiar with what I actually have and who might be added in the near future.

And then there is my previous post about the Tigers which includes a bit of exposition about filling the army out.  But then I found another two trays in another army box.  So here they are again:

That's four platoons of three squads and one SWS.  Coy HQ and Coy 2iC's command team and then Gunny Harker and his animal welfare team front and centre.

The first platoon's SWS, three flamers.  Every rifle squad in the entire army has a flamer

First platoon's command squad, GL, Heavy Flamer and Medicae as well as their flamboyant leader, Lt Logan.

Second platoon's command squad, three sniper rifles and Lt Choppy.

Second platoon's SWS, two heavy stubbers and a GL (yeah, I know, but not every army is organised according to the Tactica Imperialis).

Third platoon's SWS, three meltas.

Third platoon, Lt Thor and his three plasma gunners.

Fourth platoon's SWS, another three flamers.

Fourth platoon, GL, Medicae and vox.  Led by Lt Wenger.

Coy Command - Straken and his three heavy flamers.  (Burn !  Cringing Dogs of the false emperor !) and attendant priest for extra Ooompf.

Gunny Harker and the vets.

Coy 2iC, Capt Pundit and her team, along with attendant apostate bishop.  'Cause why wouldn't you ?

The leftovers - a mobbed up platoon of lots of guys with warrior weapons (so digging that rule out for these) or maybe conscripts.

Their leader - freed from a state penitentiary by Chaux Na M'rsee (where she was for serial killing her husbands) now serving the cause of feminism by leading a testosterone fuelled mob of meatheads against the forces of oppression.

So if the SWS ride in the PCS's transport, that's four counts as Chimerae per platoon (16) plus one for each CCS (+2) and one for the Vets (+1) and another for the mortar squad (+1) and another for the autocannon squad (+1).  So that's 21 sets of wheels.  Will I do them all ? Probably not.

Friday, 20 January 2017

SITREP - Drawing together the threads of the campaign as the Imperial Invader lays siege to Xyphonica

Imperial SF infiltrate Xyphonica

The purpose of this post is largely to signpost you to documents (blog posts) illustrating the campaign whilst describing the prevalent situation.  If you enjoy this sort of thing and have a few hours to trawl through the links, pull up a chair. I am, of course, more than happy to entertain any questions which might occur to you as you soak it all up for your Rogue Trader Campaign.... 

The defenders of Xphonica were not numerous enough to engage in open or set piece battles in order to defeat the invaders from Outer Space.  Their tools were based on classic guerrilla tactics – mines and booby traps could be constructed, manufactured and laid in the path of the invader.  Where the blasted and ruined cityscape allowed suitable locations and escape routes, more conventional ambushes could be laid on.  Here the remains of the PDF contributed an organisational model and military professionalism whilst the militia contributed local knowledge and manpower to such enterprises[1].

In the three years since Operation Tranquillity[2], Xyphonica has been subject to a widespread, intensive and effective bombing campaign[3].  Initially, this was more to do with the punishment of the errant government and population of Devos IV but ultimately the rebellion was always going to make a ‘final stand’ in Xyphonica and therefore the bombing did shift to objectively having a military purpose as the defenders slowly fell back.

After the Battle of Chobli[4] the PDF ceased to exist as a formal command structure.  In all of the exercises and war planning, the PDF had always worked on the basis that if the struggle against the invader came down to a city fight in the capital, that they would have fought themselves into the ground; exhausting their fighting power and hopefully exhausting the invader as well[5].  The planning (and extensive preparation) for this endgame had always been to arm the remains of the population and organise them on a local community basis – the remnants of the PDF who had made it back into the city would provide leadership and the militia would provide a bridge between the hard bitten veterans of four years of war and the shell shocked civilians who had spent four years hiding in bomb shelters.

The way the city militia has been organised has always been as a multiple connection network, their drill exercises had always involved using their own organic vox and data networks, whatever public communications networks were available as well as using runners and tunnels to share information and resources.   So this would enable a certain amount of elasticity in the response to any attacks or incursions[6]

The PDF’s plan had always been to disperse and fight delaying actions[7] at strong point after strong point, luring invaders in all directions and positioning them for guerrilla attacks from ‘stay behind’ units[8].  Of course this strategy included a lot of things designed to preserve the trained PDF personnel, such as the pre-prepared bunkers of tanks, munitions and fuel and hardened hangers with replacement airframes, munitions and fuel[9].   But the main facet was the well practice command arrangements where, following the first few set piece battles[10], the formations dispersed and the PDF High Command was, in line with its own plan, redundant. 

This had always been a strategy to delay an invader[11].  For thousands of years this basic plan has evolved and been rehearsed and resourced.  It just happens that now is period where the resourcing has provided a fully equipped plan for the current, well drilled, PDF to execute.   The departure from the script is that instead of their saviours coming from Agripinna, that’s where the invasion is coming from.  The hope of relief for those thousands of years has turned out to be the aggressor they were defending against.

Following the interrogation of prisoners by the Commissariat early on the campaign, 72AG knew that the PDF High Command hoped for a negotiated settlement before events spiralled out of control.  However, following the landings on mainland Benq in Operation Lockheart[12], the outlook changed for the worse.  But their plan did give more time, besides, once it was in action, it ended in death or emancipation.  Or both.

Now in this new reality, the plan hasn’t really changed.  What has changed is the addition of a Blood Pact formation in reinforced Brigade strength[13].  The emergence of the Ulatri from the ruins of San Cantor Hive[14], the arrival of Zhufor’s World Eaters, drawn by the promise of Belligera Rex and the emergence of Lord Eidolon’s Emperor’s Children from the shadows[15], possibly the driving force behind the rebellion. 

Of the mortal leaders of the rebellion[16], there is every chance that having carried out Eidolon’s wishes, she has been favoured by Slannesh, certainly the government buildings were overrun by Deamonettes the night after the Battle of Chobli.  There have been no been sightings of Chaux Na M’rsee since.   The Commander in Chief of the PDF, General “Danny Bloodcoat” Horpan[17] has not been seen for over a year.  There is high likelihood that he fell in one of the running battles which characterised the period between the Battles at the Cudlip Lines[18] and the Battle of Chobli.  

When he arrived on Devos IV, Zhufor found the PDF Command Bunker swiftly made sure that the PDF was answerable to him alone.  It is understood that the post invasion cell structure and the preordained sequence of pocket battles and delaying actions, over which the PDF High Command no longer had any influence, might have made him angry.