Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Battle of Chobli from the other side (Part 3)

When the second god machine appeared, we were given the code word to break in to small groups and break for the city.  All of the gun pits and bunkers were connected by buried comms cable.  Of course some would have been cut in the fighting I suppose, but for most of the time it didn’t seem like a big thing, at least to us.

We’d spent a lot of time bored, we were cold, wet and hungry but when you’re in a battle, all of that goes out of the window.   The battle lasted four days for us, we fired everything we had and then leftovers from the forward units were sent back out to get us shells from destroyed positions further forward.  When casualties came through we took their winter coats.  Well, they were going to heated underground hospitals, weren’t they ?  Only I suppose that there was no fuel and therefore no heating, so I don’t suppose it did the casualties any good at all.  Some guys took the boots off of casualties who had boots in better condition.  We were still fighting, so we thought we deserved to keep the decent kit, that’s alright innit ?

Over the course of the action we fired hundreds of fire missions, by the end of the second day we’d sent over a thousand shells up the tubes and they were so worn that we knew we weren’t really shooting straight.  But I suppose it didn’t really matter.  The trunions were close to collapse and there was some defect which developed in the breach and ate through our stock of obturation rings.   Stuff that’d be once a year in peacetime came monthly at the beginning of the war, then it spend up to weekly and by the time we’d fallen back to Last Base West, it was almost a full refurb daily, we were out of everything, tools, spares, trained men, it was hard.    

And it wasn’t just the guns which were worn out, we were too.  And tired, so tired.  Tired of killing and death, of cold and hunger, of fear and pain, tired of being tired.  Anyway, there’s eight gun numbers in an earthshaker crew.  Over the three years me an’ Dreas had seen fourteen other crew members come and go, mostly to Thunderbolts and shell shock, six of them during this last battle. We ended up with a couple of old men, militia with basic rifle training; they were useless on the gun position, they didn’t have the strength to do their tasks so they just took up space and ate food.  I can’t remember their names.  

We used to learn them, out on the prairie, the names of the replacements.  I could tell you the names of half a dozen killed last year and how they died.   Where they died.  

I couldn’t tell you about the old men. 

So when the God Machines attacked we fired one last barrage; more or less direct fire, all six tubes at once at the big one with the missile launcher on her shoulders.  It lit up so bright we thought it’d been blown back to the godamn Emperor.  But when the flash cleared, it was still there.  We hadn't even scratched the paint. And then the battery was rolled up from the left by one of those dog headed hunting ones.  It was firing at some poor bugger somewhere else, It just crushed all our guns, deliberately, one at time.  It didn’t really kick or stomp, it just sort of pushed them over with a giant toe and then trod on the gun, settling its weight before taking the next step. 

Six steps, six earthshakers trampled into the dirt.   It was weirdly swift, yet the God Machine was obviously taking its time so’s not to fall over.

Well, that was the end of the Battalion, from talk in the tunnels when we escaped, they came up specifically looking for the Heavy Artillery Battalions first.  After that me an' Dreas were mixed in with all the others, a giant pot of the entire PDF.  Knowing something shite is going to happen never makes it easier, does it ?  Anyway the God Machines were followed up by those brown coated skull faced psychos.  

We ran back and ended up in a mortar pit.  We fired the rest of the bombs in the general direction of the skull fefthers.  Three.  There were three bombs left.  The brown coated fefthers were close on the heels of the God Machines; hordes of them.  It was obviously over.  We checked our rifles and prepared our-selves, starting to trade shots with the fefthers as they came closer.

Anyway, we saw another one of the bigger God Machines arrive and that’s when the call came out to evacuate.  We went down a just-too-damn-short-to-walk-in tunnel from a pill box just behind the mortar pits, back to a large revetment with an already destroyed wyvern battery in it.  Some sort of energy weapon I reckon.   It must have been huge, two of the tracks were vapourised, the rest were just bits.  But one of the hulks had saved the entrance to the next tunnel.

The next tunnel was bigger, you could have driven a tank down it.  We were crushed as went down but it opened out into one of the underground vehicle stores and there were people there who organised all of us into packets who were then sent down the railway to the city. 

The trains weren’t running, the power had ended months before.  We marched in good order down the tunnels, with the packets at the other end being sent to different places in the city.  I’ve no idea how many made it out, but it didn’t seem enough to continue the fight and then it also seemed too many when it came to re-arming and getting enough to eat.   Even after Last Base West, here in the city there are more arms caches waiting for us.  And food, still.  It’s only freeze dried Grox Stew, but it’s hot and there’s plenty of it.

So now with my new comrades, I’ve got a two march through my once beautiful city.  Abell, where I was brought up is in the east and thankfully that’s where I’m going.  I know it well and so I’ve been put in charge of this group.  There’s only twenty of us, which is not enough to secure the district, but I’ve been given the locations and access codes for another two caches, so we’ll see how it goes.  We’ve got a few days, so it’s time to think about IEDs an’ stuff. 


  1. Really like this, the tone and more personal take on the war. Great writing. Hope his and Dreas story get some more time in the future.

  2. Really like this, the tone and more personal take on the war. Great writing. Hope his and Dreas story get some more time in the future.

  3. Any chance of getting a full list of links to all the various parts of the story? I've found a few, but I'm sure I've missed some.

    1. All the background stuff is linked 'background'. That's as sophisticated as it gets. Soz.

  4. Any chance of getting a full list of links to all the various parts of the story? I've found a few, but I'm sure I've missed some.