Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Brothers of the Lostwithial

The Ordo Hereticus and High Lords representatives at Sub Sector Command are not the only ones watching the spaces between the Cadian Gate and Sabat Worlds.  Tipped off by someone else, possibly another body within the Inquisition, the Black Templars of Fighting Company Brodeep, embarked on a flotilla of ships with the Strike Cruiser Lostwithial as it's flagship have appeared in the skies above Mheuven 158.

Of course, all the action on Mheuven 158 took place some months ago, with the Blood Angels trying in vain to apprehend Eidolon (now a Deamon Prince of Slannesh) and the Space Wolves of Brian Redmaw's Great Hunt pursuing a pair of Word Bearer demagogues.

Black Templars of the Poor Knights of the Order of the Cross
 Nonetheless, the Black Templars, firm in their faith in the Emperor, would scour the planet for sign of rebellion, heresy, dissent or loose speech. None would be exempt from the Emperor's justice.

Castellian Brodeep - the Butcher of Mmenniwe Hive
 Under the inspiring leadership of Castellian Brodeep, they had recently put Mmenniwe Hive, a population of over four and half million to death by fire and sword at the suggestion that there was deep rooted and fundamental heresy there that could not be expunged by any other means.

Tactical Squad Ignis

Castellian Brodeep is well aware that ideas are the strongest weapon.  And that he does not have to be loved as a protector from outside threats if inside threats are greater.  The Emperor is his witness and he answers only to the High Marshal.  The Imperial Guard and other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes fight Xenos and massed armies of foes.  With total surety born of his own belief in the cause, Castellian Brodeep's jihad is against heresy in its more insidious forms; where it is hidden within the population of the Empire of Man itself. 

Tactical Squad Timere
As a son of Rogal Dorn (albeit adopted), he knows only too well that sons grow to follow their fathers, either directly or perhaps with the intention of avenging them. The parable of Inego De Mantoya is not lost in the grim darkness of the far future.  Therefore the Brothers of Lostwithial only count a victory if there will be no sons of the vanquished.

Sword Brethren Squad Fame, led by Brother Moon 
Brother Moon is a worth inheritor of Sigismund's mantle.  The Emperor's Champion of the Brothers of Lostwithial constantly mutters the litanies of hate under his breath.  He is the first to remind the brothers that there can be no tolerance of xenos, heretic or witch.  "There is only the Emperor, he is our shield and protector."

Tactical Squad Bello
"To the darkness I bring fire, to the ignorant I bring faith.  Those who welcome my gifts may live, but I will visit death and eternal damnation on all who refuse them".  Catchy, isn't it ?

Terminator Squad Injustus
"Suffer not the unclean to live, abhor the witch, destroy the witch."  Conversations with the Black Templars are usually stilted and awkward, as concepts beyond bile and vitriol (like military plans, organising a crusade etc)  are peppered with chanting and litanies.  Arranging a sweeping advance with air and artillery aspects that crosses several terrain types and one or more major obstacles (rivers etc) involves a stop for specific prayer for every aspect.  There are reasons that the Black Templars usually work alone, and they are not all to do with their fearsome reputation. 

Friday, 20 December 2013

903 Inf Div

Before the Imperial Guard deployed to Devos IV, the Departmento Munitorium, always with a weather eye to the consumption of resources, looked at the units already in system.

The Preatorian 5th Regiment were deployed to the system to guard the System Defence Network; A reinforced company at the Astropath station on the fringes of the system and two Battalions spread amongst the moons and planetoids where the missile silos waited for intruders.  And best of all, one battalion planetside, with proper air, farms, water and cities; rotated on an annual basis, the 'lucky battalion' would spend it's deployment ether exercising with the PDF or on R&R.

One Battalion was stationed on Devos IV.  The regiment had been sent to the Devos system to recover after eighteen years on campaign.  There was always the intention to send more draughts of recruits to Devos IV to join their new regiment; with a well regarded PDF to exercise with, there was a clear plan in place to bring the regiment back up to six battalions and ready to once more take to the stars.  By the time the rebellion happens, each Battalion has had three years planetside, being well looked after.

Collaboration with the PDF and settled, quiet deployment for seven years, witnessing and becoming involved with a grateful population had an effect on the Preatorian 5th; when the call came, they chose to defend their adoptive home.

The Cadian 144th Long Range Recce Regt is a trail unit, formed from remnants of other specialist units, principally Kasarkin and Airborne Regiments.  Having worked quite well, the 144th was enroute from Hydraphur to Cadia following active service.  The half strength experimental unit, believed to be at just about battalion strength, was diverted to Devos IV in response to a request for a show of strength by the Ordo Hereticus.

By the time the survivors join 17 Korps, they are down to company strength.  Gen Tolstoy tends to use them as a Korps Recce Asset, despite them being nominally a part of 903 Div.

The 2nd Devos IV Regiment of Foot was counted by the Departmento Munitorium as a Guard unit, rather than PDF as it was due to form the backbone of another founding for a Devos IV Imperial Guard Regiment.  Although this process had begun in administrative terms, it  had yet to have any effect outside of Klestor Subsector Command on Agripinna.  Certainly the 2nd Regt (Gardia Presedentiale) weren't aware.

The Arcomet 887th, like the Cadian 144th were en route to their homeworld to be reinforced and refitted.  4* Gen Zhukov wanted Armour and Air Mobile units and Comptroller Bellormus was able to secure the 887th for 72AG; resistance to his indent for resources was overcome largely due to other bidders trying for full strength units.  The 887th found themselves turning around a week into their homeward journey to deploy in the vanguard of 72AG.  The two remaining Battalions of the 887th, one armoured and one air mobile, are generally used by Gen Zhukov as his immediate reserve or QRF.

The Valhallan (Kado) 540th is an experienced, recently rebuilt and retrained (in the Cadian pattern), well led (not something common for Valhallan regiments) and above all professional infantry regiment of six battalions.  Which has proved fortuitous, as they are, effectively, 903 Div.

903 Inf Div was supposed to be led by Maj Gen Marcus Firth, a former Cadian Officer appointed as Planetary Governor eighteen years ago, was an obvious choice for the Departmento Munitorium.  He is an experienced officer of the General Staff, with command experience and furthermore has extensive local knowledge.  However, at the point at which the insurrection began he was abducted or gave himself up to persons unknown.  He is now in Ordo Hereticus custody and command of 903 Inf Div has passed to his CoS, Gen Gelu (Pardus).  Gen Gelu has been a staff officer for almost his entire career.  He hasn't been in a command appointment since he was a subaltern, some sixty two years ago.

What this means for 17 Korps is that 903 Inf Div effectively does not exist.  This means that the other Divisions within the Korps will be stretched, juggled and run around by Korps HQ in order to fulfill orders from Army Group HQ.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Another 'I don't get it' on : Bell of Lost Souls: Historical Wargaming and the Average Gamer

Warhammer 40k, Fantasy, Wargames & Miniatures News: Bell of Lost Souls: Historical Wargaming and the Average Gamer: Everyone at one time or another has seen a fantastic historical wargaming table and said "what if".  But why is making the j...

Yes, it's a police crusier.  Probably an unarmed Tauros with four seats, but we'll sort it out. Possibly the first time it gets shot at. 

So there's a post where someone just doesn't get historical wargaming.  Hummm.

The parameters for (for instance) WW2 wargaming mean that there are already fliers in most games and superheavies are generally limited to Naval Bombardment; there will be no weird shit added to army lists unless you start playing Weird WW2.  Like 40K, there is a table, an army lists and a points value.  And people who are going to play these games (beit FoW or 40K) will be interested in the background.

What do I think ?  I think a tabletop wargame is a tabletop wargame.  In the same way that an RPG is an RPG.  The people I play either of these with tend not to vary.  So essentially we play the same game each time, regardless of genre or ruleset.

So I do get that someone might not get it. 'It' in this case being the games I play in. But I think it's phenomenally unlikely that I will find myself at a table with someone who doesn't get 'it' is hugely divorced from my gaming experience - the one I'm happy with.  I am also perfectly OK that the original poster would possibly be horrified with the way I/we approach 40K and may well feel that we arn't really playing 40K at all (I am imagining the look of disbelief as I pull out the WH and BT Codecies).  Whereas those I have met and ending up killing and being killed by through the really quite wonderful medium of bloggin' seem to have got something close to what they expected when they made planetfall on Devos IV.

So a whole load of talk about 'should/are superheavies be allowed in 40K ?' is a bit of a non-question as far as I am concerned.  Same with flyers; If you turn up here an want superheavies and fliers, then we'll have 'em.  If you don't then we won't.  And if I've got an idea for a specific scenario, then let me talk you into it - you'll go down in history, on Devos IV at least.

Oh well.  Each to their own, eh ?

Friday, 13 December 2013

Departmento Munitorium

There are any number of branches and departments within the Departmento Munitorium (DM[1]); some of these are mentioned in the various IA books by FW, some are alluded to in the Imperial Guardsman’s uplifting primer.  A couple have been mentioned in the background for the Devos IV campaign.

Each of these departments sees its own work as vital and probably as at least as, if not the most, important thing in the ongoing work of the Imperial war machine.  Doubtless some departments see adherence to their own procedure (dogma) as more important than the outcome of any one campaign or war being fought by the Imperial Guard[2].

At the very highest level, there may well be recognition that the purpose of the departmento is to service the needs of the combat arms (IG and Navy) and ultimately even the sacrosanct process of the depratmento itself must come second to the needs of the service. 
However, The Departmento is big.  It is huge.  It routinely deals in millions.  An army like the Sabbat Crusade army or armies is quite likely to reach a hundred million or more.
One of the problems with it, as I have alluded to before, is that it is, on a strategic scale, not at all agile or responsive.  It might take generations to set up the supply lines for something like the Armageddon wars.  But once in place, the flow of men and material to the warzone is going to be much easier to divert than to stop.  There are places within the Imperium where the economy is permanently on a war footing; which war becomes irrelevant as the constant flow of rations, fuel and ammunition, coupled with the pulsing movement of IG regiments lends a Grimdark feel to a lot of the major supply routes.

One can imagine all of those oft mentioned endless streams of pilgrims not quite meeting the gaze of the endless stream of soldiers going the other way.

The differing departments (Dept XA42 – Death Korps of Kreig Officers Careers) all have pressures, whatever they might be (Dept 349uH7 – Rough Rider mounts rations supply to the Cadian Gate).  And therefore (Section 44 – Engineering spares for Bromhead pattern tanks) there is a particular tension when it comes to things like booking space on freighters (Branch 3 – space on Imperial Navy shipping leaving Agripinna).  They like to think that they are all pulling in the same direction, but also they all want their particular office to be seen to perform well, even at the expense of others.  It becomes easy to imagine DKK formations without officers, overwhelmed with the tank spares for their cavalry mounts because someone in Section 44 has called in a favour from his counterpart in Section 3.   Section 44’s quota has been filled, where’s the problem ?

As well as this type of supply there are also the Labour Corps and Engineering Corps raised for each army despatched.  These could be quite small, or quite large, depending on the perceived scale of their task at the time the army was raised.    These bodies of men would be ‘on the strength’ ie entitled to draw rations from the DM[3].    The greatest function of the DM Labour Corps (which might just be one man with a data terminal and a cheque book, organising private contractors) is to move all of these supplies from their point of origin to their point of issue to the user.  So, for example, this might be Death Rider officers from Kreig to Armageddon.  Quite a journey, which itself requires a complex logistics plan in order to be successful.

On the ground, then, the deployed part of the DM is going to be represented at the mightiest level by a codicer or archivist from the department (for the 72AG on Devos IV, this is Comptroller Bellormus).  Whilst this individual has great power (he can call on off world resources and raise local contracts), he also has huge weight of responsibility.  All those officers careers are not going to be run remotely from Sector Command; they will be run locally by the Comptroller’s office.  These records, like almost all the records from the campaign will not be transmitted by astropath (you can fax the Encyclopaedia Britannica, but it’s easier to fed-ex or DHL it), but packed up and conveyed back to the archive at the end of the war.

In theatre, the labour corps will undertake tasks such as Stevedore for the materials arriving from Orbit and transport to the second line depots.  They will undertake third line repair tasks and maintain and service rear area accommodation.  They are the graves registration service, such as it is.  They are the menders of uniforms, the packers of munitions, the selectors and creators of ration packs, medicae supplies and morale-picts.  If you get a ploin or lho stick at the front line it has been through their hands, possibly literally.   There is a vast swathe of stores to handle and people are more adaptable than any machine.   The Labour Corps is not just a horde of the otherwise unemployable in dungarees; it is a body containing many trades, employing any number of skills and techniques in order to keep a vast and incredibly diverse army in the field.

The Engineering Corps will undertake tasks such as the construction of airfields, roads and railways.  If needed, fortifications.  Their remit might include extrapolating the infrastructure and labour corps requirements from the military plan.  They are enablers on a grand scale; as the Imperial Guard spread across a planet, hostile or not, the Engineer Corps follow on behind, creating railways, supply depots, desalination plants, airfields, orbital drop sites, fortresses, sea ports, boats, trains, diggers, prime movers, promethium processing plants (vehicle fuels and flame weapon fuels are different).  They build and in order to do so must create processing and batching plants for aggregates and concrete materials, probably foundries and manufacturae as well.

Additionally the in theatre DM presence will organise, track and to a certain extent, control, the manpower not only of the Labour and Engineering Corps, but of the IG deployment as well[4].   They will account for every brass button and shoelace issued.  And set the level of requirement (ie, will everyone live in a tented camp or NBC proof bunkers ?) depending on circumstances.   The IG will then, by and large, have to get on with it.  The regiments will cope with what they’ve been given.
This is not to say that the IG is being choked by bean counters.  We know that, for instance the Taros campaign failed because it was under resourced[5].   However things like Valhallan Regiments deploying without sufficient small arms will be due to the vagaries of the warp, or some other supply chain difficulty, rather than the malicious application of an inadequate equipment scale of issue.
Within a main supply route, commodities are likely to be fairly easy to come by;  however they will be intended for a specific task or user and if they need to ‘re-purposed’ then authority for this must come from someone of the correct grade.   Which inevitably is higher than anyone the hard pressed user has available.

For a place like Vraks, it is likely that it wasn’t an arsenal world to begin with and perhaps was not actually chosen as such; it was a rock ball with an atmosphere on the supply chain to a war somewhere.  So when that war ended, there was a lag in getting the message back to where the supplies were coming from.  So those items already en route were halted at Vraks and used equipment from the front was back loaded to Vraks as well.  Lo and behold the tiny shrine world had a new purpose as an imperial arsenal.

The DM, off world, exists to establish and maintain supply lines along a general axis to service a warzone.  Off world, the DM is answerable to the High Lords of Terra for keeping the Emperor’s armies and navies in a fit state to fight the Emperor’s wars.  In practice, this is a never ending treadmill of conflicts, so for the off world DM, only the point of delivery for all their efforts changes, everything else is more or less constant.

In theatre, they exist to undertake all the tasks required to keep an army in the field and allow that army to fight and therefore fulfil its role.   In theatre, there will be DM representative who enjoys roughly analogous seniority as the commander’s Chief of Staff.   He is the man who will run the war for the Commander from Orbit up to the second line of the battle front.   And he will have resources commensurate with this task.

What this means to a new regiment is that once it marches up the ramp to its first deployment it becomes merely a T card in a DM wall chart; however, once it is part of an actual deployment, it potentially has the resources of the best part of the Imperium behind it.

Once the DM has a supply chain set up onto a world, there is rarely any question of whether or not that world will fall to the IG; consider Balhaut.  There was never really any doubt about the outcome, it was just of level of resources to be spent (in terms of IG Battlegroups) in order to achieve the objective.  The Warmaster had made Balhaut the focus of his crusade and thus it was conquered.  A world can be lost again soon afterwards, once the DM has shifted its focus (and supply chain) elsewhere. 

The Taros Campaign suffered from a ‘closed book’.  The expected resources were allocated and ‘the book’ was closed.  Hence when the Tallarn regiments began to suffer from an unexpected level of attrition, there was no adequate avenue to pursue to reinforce the army (here we see the DM’s glacial timescales jeopardising real time military operations).  What 4* Gen Zhukov has achieved on Devos IV is to keep the OH interested in the campaign they instigated in the first instance – he has by turns ignored and then indulged the Inquisitor send with him – latterly providing a surfeit of witches and thus getting the OH to influence the DM, getting him the resources he wanted but would never be allocated without some form of outside influence.

[1] Just don’t go there, OK ?
[2] The supply of las gun cells according to the manifest is more important than answering an urgent operational requirement from one regiment.  Who cares if the Corbanian 1st end up throwing stones when the small arms ammunition department have the whole of the IG to service ?
[3] Ie are being supplied from the official supply chain.  Whereas members of religious missions might only be supplied by negotiation.
[4] One instance of separation of interests where the High Lords can see the benefit of 3rd party management.
[5] It was resourced adequately for what they thought would there, rather than what they ultimately encountered. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Pirate Viking Painting: Corsair Double Feature

Pirate Viking Painting: Corsair Double Feature: Hi folks, now that the excitement over the time-bothering, phonebox dwelling vagrant is dying down again I can return you to our regular pro...

Ha haha !  Just had a visit from PVP; He has dropped off more Pirate Viking Space Elves.  Good job too, as Karitas is stock piling space wolves.

As the PVP alludes to on his blog, the grey colour really doesn't come out too well in the photos, either the infantry or vehicles.  Rest assured that these are a thing of beauty.  Deadly and stylish, gotta love that.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Ewe toob khorne er.

I offer you this as it made me smile....

And actually slightly more impressive:  This guy's level of skill is astounding.

And back to 40K, from BOLS a few weeks ago (just in case you missed it).  This is just bonkers.  I just wonder what the =I= is singing about...

Friday, 29 November 2013

The performance of various units of the Imperial Guard.

The Vostroyan Officer class is exemplified by the upper echelons of Vostroyan Society which has produced all of their world’s most celebrated General[1]s.   Born into privilege they are, by the acts of their inferiors, insulated from the worst that the attrition of war produces.  Promotion by purchase, widely practiced amongst firstborn regiments, ensures that the upper classes are swiftly elevated to higher command and further away from the front line.

Another one for Admiral Drax...

Junior officers in Vostroyan regiments come largely from the lower middle classes.  In military service, they achieve a status that would be simply unattainable for them in civilian life, especially for those not ‘firstborn’.    NCOs in Vostroyan regiments are not used as sub unit leaders, they are there to enforce discipline.   Beatings are common and expected, with longer serving soldiers are served by their juniors.  Fagging is also common amongst the officer classes in the comfort of barracks, but not on campaign due to their officers billeting closer to their commands whilst under field conditions.
The rank and file of Vostroyan regiments are characterised by an ability to put up with hardships, harsh discipline and fatalism that manifests itself in a form of collective melancholia expressed in folk music.  These men, even those in the firstborn regiments are not well educated; many are barely literate, being drawn from the workers of their homeworld’s manufactum. 
This manifests itself on the battlefield as an army that can seen to have a reluctance to act.  Without strong leadership, in defence or attack, the Vostroyan infantry are reluctant to move without their officers.  These officers must needs lead from the front, which leads to one of the highest junior officer mortality rates in the Guard.   In order to get their platoons to advance, Vostroyan Lieutenants have to lead their men from the front.  Without an officer, Vostroyan formations will halt where they are and dig in.  

A Valhallan Coy with attached Vostroyan Liaison Team
The Valhallan population is generally better educated, with close to universal literacy and their armies draw their enlisted men and commissioned officers from the same population.  In common with the Vostroyans, they are used to hardship, however unlike the Vostroyans, the similar levels of violence originate with the wide spread Commissariat and their field police detachments, rather than the officer corps. 
In the case of any perceived weakness or sedition in a Valhallan formation, there is likely to be a widespread pogrom of the officer class of a regiment or sub unit.  This leads to a fatalism across the entire Valhallan contribution to the Guard, “if the bugs/xenos/heretics don’t get us, the commissariat will” is a common theme. 

There are, however, good men who try hard throughout the Valhallan contribution to the war effort.  But efforts to streamline training mean that basic infantry tactics are not built upon; there are no colleges to better train their leaders; training which in many armies would be delivered by NCOs is delivered by officers in the Valhallan regiments. 
Even more than the Vostroyans, Valhallan formations will rely on weight of numbers to achieve what other units with more limited resources will achieve with more imaginative tactics or alternative weapon systems.
What both of these armies will do is use massed infantry wave attacks; the Valhallan field police will site heavy stubber teams at the rear of attacking units to dissuade men from faltering.  Both armies have knowingly driven attacks across uncleared minefields due not to time constraints affecting the whole campaign, but simply due to a lack of planning.   To the credit of the officers and men conducting these attacks, they are generally pressed on with determination and no small amount of grit.
There are exceptions, of course.  The professionalism of the Kado (Valhallan) 540th is on a par with Cadian levels of military professionalism.  They have been away from the Kado Hive for over a decade and have been restored to readiness on Agripinna in tandem with units from elsewhere, where professional military development and education are blended and the experiences of the regiments being rebuilt together are shared.
All Cadians are familiar with small arms and platoon tactics by the time they finish their secondary education.  They are familiar with company and battalion level tactics by the time they finish their schooling.   This militancy means that once a Cadian has joined the Guard, their training focuses on all arms actions and fine tuning their performance under a variety of conditions.
Where the Cadians excel is in keeping going where others would be rendered ineffective; being drilled since childhood, the Cadian soldier will be able to give a flexible and imaginative response to whatever is thrown at him.  Where another formation might be broken up into many ineffective shattered units, the Cadians will readily re-brigade into ad hoc formations and remain combat effective for much longer.   Cadians will re-brigade in this manner without any impetus from outside, it is an organic response which they undertake without needing command from higher formation.
In the attack, the Cadians will always be ready to exploit an opportunity, their junior officers will keep an eye out to enable them to capitalise on opportunities or take prompt actions to counter emerging threats as they become apparent, without having to wait for approval from higher formation.   Cadian formation commanders will be not be surprised to hear that a subordinate has achieved their objective (or not) and found an opportunity to exploit which requires them to then alter their whole ‘bigger picture’ plan.  It is this institutional flexibility that makes Cadian Shock Troop regiments amongst the best the Empire of Man has to offer.
Cadians are well used to command devolving to the highest available rank present; on campaign it would not be unusual to find sergeants commanding platoons and Lieutenants or Warrant Officers commanding Companies or even Battalions.     The net effect of this flexibility is that Cadian units remain combat effective almost regardless of losses and that a Cadian ad hoc formation can be relied on to not only hold a position, but launch successful counter attacks.
It is for this reason that the Cadian war machine is exported widely throughout the Segmentum Ocularis and beyond; despite the prevalent (cheap in time and resources) modus operandi of half of 72AG’s  units (the Vostryan/Valhallan ‘men led by Grox’s’ model), the other half are schooled in the Cadian way of war.

[1] There are no recorded instances of Vostroyan Army Commanders coming through the ranks or from anywhere other than the Vostroyan nobility.  In rare cases, individuals have risen to become to Regimental Commanders, but have not progressed any higher up the Imperial Guard chain of command.

Friday, 22 November 2013

The Ibirnan Incident

The Fight-back against Operation Ewbehin

General Horpan ("Danny Bloodcoat") is no fool.  As he sees 72 Army Group's assets accumulate, he knows he must act before the imperium simply swamps his PDF.  His political leadership has promised direct military aid, which he is content to assume for the time being will be from other worlds with a similar separatist outlook.  But he doesn't want a stand up fight just yet.

He knows that 17 Korps is gearing up for an offensive and break-out of the Randstat area.  Operation Ewbehin is designed to prevent 17 Korps from focussing its fighting strength in one place.  He has hived off a (not insignificant) part of his own fighting strength, based around 2nd "Hunter" Div of the PDF; one division of four brigade combat teams (one of which includes 2 Battalions of 99th 'Bloodcoat' Regiment), a battalion aviation wing and full support service battalion.

Bloodcoat squads occupying Ibirnan
As 18 and 32 Korps are shipped from Acer to Benq behind 17 Korps' bridgehead, the PLA's 2 Div is not enough to face 17 Korps in a meeting engagement.  However, 17 Korps is not in the most wonderful of positions and it will take a number of months to get 18 and 32 Korps into good order and commence operations.  So one of Danny Blood coats four formed Divisions is more than enough to pose a serious threat to the Imperial forces; one that they cannot ignore. 

Operation Ewbehin is potentially a masterstroke.  He has positioned the PLA's "Hunter" Div to the SSE of the Randstat area, the imperial forces must move to counter the Division or leave their soft underbelly exposed.  Furthermore, to prevent the Division being a permanent thorn in said underbelly, they must commit significant forces to neutralising the threat.  Hunter Division is under orders to continue to fall back in face of the enemy, drawing them South and away from the expected main thrust of their campaign, towards Xyphonica in Central Benq.  If at any point the enemy appears to be losing interest then the Division is to turn and bite.

4* General Tolstoy knows he cannot afford to leave Hunter Div threatening his southern flank.  Keeping 901 (Cadian) and 902 (Kreig) Div to secure his position he sends 903 Inf (Valhallan) Div directly against the Op Ewbehin forces.  904 (Corbanian) Inf Div and 905 (Palladian) Inf Div to pincer the rebels and bring them to battle.  Even if the result is only that they are scattered, then the threat posed by the remains of Hunter Div is much reduced and would no longer preclude 17 Korps from concentrating on its main objectives.

903 Inf Div contains several units in administrative terms only.  Some are combat ineffective, one is actually on the other side, others are reduced strength.  The Valhallans look like easy pickings.  Hunter Div's sub units get carried away with local successes and over extend themselves, allowing the Cobanians to dig in and the Palladians to hammer them from the west against the Corbanian's prepared defences.  Chronologically, his happens two months before the Apoc game with Admiral Drax and Col Corbane in the summer. 
This game is the highpoint of Operation Ewbhlien;   The small trading town of Ebirnan, still some 400kloms south east of Randstadt.  Essentially, the tip of the Bloodcoat spear at the furthest extent of its thrust meeting the crumbling edge of 903 Div's anvil and the smart, shiney, Palladian hammer.  The Corbanians are digging in to the northwest to be the anvil; what we have here is the very first encounter of  17Korps fightback.

The defenders of Ibirnan

The Valhallans holding the town are a reserve company for 6th Bn of the Kado 540th Regt, which is deployed with all its support assets a few kloms to the east.  There is no expectation that the PLA would make it this far west.  The Valhallans are essentially waiting to be relieved by the incoming Palladians in order to move up and support the rest of their battalion.  Expecting the town to be secure, the Palladians bringing a troop of Basilisks into the town.

Why bring an earthshaker to a bayonet fight ?  Because Palladian SOPs say so.
The lead elements of 4EL are being supported by 836th (Armageddon) Arty Bty, with Kaptain Schwartzkopf pulling the short straw today, as spearhead FOO.  905 Divisional recce, manned by a motorcycle battalion of the Mordian Iron Guard, have screens of motorcycle outriders ranging beyond the main thrust.  Other Korps assets (aside from the ASL Arty) include Korps Liaison Teams from 11/157th Vostroyan Support Regt.    Additionally, 4* Gen Tolstoy has directed his firemen, the Arcomet 887th, to support the Imperial Guard response to Operation Ewbehin.

Palladian and Arcomet forces advance to contact on the southern edge of the village
So with Karitas' Arcoment 887th spearheading Col Scipio's Palladians (in this instance, 4th Expeditionary Legion - part of 905 Div), the lead elements of the PLA's Hunter Division found themselves trapped in the thobbing metropolis that is Ibirnan.  
With me playing the Devos IV 2nd Regt and Headologist taking charge of the 3/99 Bloodcoats, the game began well enough for the rebels.  Plunging fire from Hvy Stubber and Las Cannon teams thinned out the Valhallans to the North and Palladians to the South.  Three or four Arcomet and Palladian tanks were toasted.  The unsanctioned psykers of the PLA network support battalions frazzled more Palladians than the mortars did the first turn.  Maj Drule, on horseback, was shot by snipers. 
Through devastating bombardments by rebel quad guns and mortars and 17 Korps artillery and heavy mortars, the infantry slugged it out with the Valhallans taking an awful licking from various Bloodcoat elements including massed autocannons.  By the end of the game the Bloodcoat infantry were poised to overrun the Valhallans and escape the Kessel; however the airmobile elements of the Arcomet force were dropped in to help contain the Bloodcoats, their Vendettas straffing the remaining rebel tanks.    

The DPF's 2nd Regt company was almost entirely wiped out.  The Coy Cdr "challenged" the Coy Cdr of the Palladians (already wounded by 2nd Regt snipers) and tipped him off his horse and aftger batting his sword aside, ran him through twice.  He was then bundled to the ground by the rest of the command squad.  Another one to be handed over to the OH and their Necroduman enforcers. 

Two Company Commanders face off.  Maj Drule of the Palladian Guard would spend the next two years in a military hospital in Acre.

The hammer blow was driven home by the Arcomet stormsword and hellhound.  The Hellhound accounted for the unsanctioned psyker chior, the snipers who shot Maj Drule, Bloodcoat autocannon positions and squads of 2nd Regt, Armchair generals for years to come will note that the Bloodcoats lack anything by way of AT and that the Palladians would have had much harder time pushing the rebels out of Ibirnan, without the assistance of the Arcomet heavy assets. 

In the end, less than a quarter of the Bloodcoat manpower escaped the Kessel, taking with them none of their heavy or support weapons.  As a fighting force, this company, were finished, their supporting tank troop and AT and fire support providing attachment from 2nd Regt were all consumed in the fight in the village.  

Chimeltavets from 1/1 SF Bn.  Their brothers in arms would excel against the Corbanians, but these guys were toasted by the time they were facing the right way.

What did happen was that the scattered survivors, possibly with help from sympathisers amongst the civilian popultion, managed to warn the main body of Hunter Div; they would go on to lead Palladians a merry dance for the next two months, until 72AG was ready to force the initiative. 

Friday, 15 November 2013

1st Kronus Regiment "The Liberators" vs Starship Troopers

I don't know if you've ever played THQ's Dawn of War or not, but the Imperial Guard, for reasons of play-ability, are not organised into platoons, they're just one huge mass with a HSO to lead them.

So, then, how would I put 1KR into 6ed ?

Use the Coy Cdr profile for the HSO, naturally.  He gets to plunder the wargear chest for as much bling as he can stand up in.

  • His command squad can be 0-2 of:
  • Commissar (one could be the Lord Commmissar, but you can only have one in the army)
  • Sanctioned Psyker (one could be the Primus Stove Pskyer, but you can only have one in the army)
  • Kasarkin (Hellgun or plasma or GL only for the normal points cost)
  • Ministorium Preists
  • Wargear for all at the normal points cost

Only one HQ choice, unfortunately.  This little lot is quite likely to tool up and be its own little ball of hurt (like a 'death star' but without the advantageous saving throw)


0-3 Enginseer
01 Vindicare Operative with various personal problems he doesn't want to discuss.  "You didn't see me, right ?" a rhetorical question.
0-1 Ogryn Squad (of up to eight, one of whom may be upgraded to minister for education)

  • The Ogryn squads can be joined by:
  • 0-1 Commissar
  • 0-1 Sanctioned Psyker
  • 0-1 Ministorium Preist
  • for the usual points cost, wargear for the usual cost, don't forget the limit of 0-1 Lord Commissar or Primus Stove per army.

0-1 Kasarkin (of up to twelve) one whom may be upgraded to sergeant.

  • The Kasarkin squad can be joined by:
  • 0-1 Commissar
  • 0-1 Sanctioned Psyker
  • 0-1 Ministorium Preist
  • for the usual points cost, wargear for the usual cost, don't forget the limit of 0-1 Lord Commissar or Primus Stove per army.

Infantry Squad Sgt + 9.  Extra bodies can be added to the squad up to the limit of fourteen at eight points per ablative wound.  0-3 of these can have a special weapon.
  • Squads can be joined by:
  • 0-1 Commissar
  • 0-1 Sanctioned Psyker
  • 0-1 Ministorium Preist
  • for the usual points cost, wargear for the usual cost, don't forget the limit of 0-1 Lord Commissar or Primus Stove per army.

Heavy Weapons Team:
Single teams only, no squads.

No limit on the number of troops choices, No option for rough riders.

Vehicles as per the codex (for simplicity).

I think that this would play quite well.  There are not many options for building this; using this template, unless you put three special weapons and an 'advisor' in each squad, even if your squads are not fourteen strong, then your troops are just gonna be kill points for the baddies.

I think the buffs here render this playable.  And the HSO, with a full scale tooled up posse, is no way weak.

Going the other way, there's the MI from Robert Heinlen's Starship Troopers:

These guys are not genetically modified U-Sol types, so they don't get a MEQ statline, but they are highly trained so their base statline should be Storm Trooper/Kasarkin.

And they are powered armour wearing jump troops.

So each has an auto GL mounted on his back/shoulder which fires every turn.  He has a either a plasma gun, melta gun, heavy stubber or (lets call it) storm bolter to fire every turn.  And a flamer (normal template) which only goes off once per turn if anyone is in range. So that's three shooting attacks every man, every go.

Dropped (deep strike only, they have no other deployment method) as a platoon of two squads of nine plus a sergeant and a HQ of a Lieutenant plus a guy with an assault cannon or laser cannon instead his normal gun.

And to adequately reflect the fluff: they are properly networked by a competent engineer so they all use their officer's leadership. They are not subject to normal unit coherency rules, effectively being an army of ICs.  Who are never going to respond to a challenge. They should probably have hit and run as well.

Easily modelled using the puppetswar dudes and weapons from your bitz box.

Obviously the idea here is that they drop in and shoot'n'scoot at others, picking off a couple of foes at a time and (hopefully) staying out of range of the rest.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Pirate Viking Painting: For Sale - Painted Cygnar army

Pirate Viking Painting: For Sale - Painted Cygnar army: Hi folks, it's been a bit quiet on the blog front of late, I know. This is all to do with that pesky RealLife getting all over my bus...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Commerical Painting Services

Like buying anything, outsourcing the construction and/or painting of your precious little men is down to you: how much you willing to pay ? how long are you willing to wait ?  There will be a going rate, but this could open to negotiation.

Using any commercial painting service is a relationship; you will only get out of it what you put into it. (yawn inducing but true)

Basically, there are two ways to go:  a full on commercial painting service operating as a company or co-operative.  Or a single artist.  What you get with the commercial painting service depends on your communication with them;  I think that there are a few things you as a client need to give a little thought to:

The level of communication you want;  Do you want WIP photos every week ?  Are you happy with a 'this is what it is.' photo before you pay and they post ?

The tighter the brief you give, the more likely it is that you will get what you want.  Don't shy away from what may seem to be an absurdly panikity level of detail; the painter(s) are not inside your head and don't know what you want, so the more information you can give, the more likely you will get what you want.

The last thing is that you have a slightly enhanced probability of getting something done to a deadline - if you need the army done before blogwars, then the company or co-operative, having multiple painters, is going to be more likely to meet your deadline.

If you manage to find a single painter, an artist with whom you can establish a rapport, then you may get to the point where they 'tune in' to your style and peccadilloes and/or you trust their creativity and ability to produce something that just looks great and that you will be happy with and didn't know you wanted before it turned up.

But this takes time.  And means that you will have put a few commissions their way in order to get to that point.

Another thing which is obvious but took me a little time to learn is that every person who does this does it because a) a lot of other people have told them that they are good enough. b) they love painting figures, even getting a kick out of presenting you with 140 iggies. That you have made them paint all the same.  And c) if they muck it up they will struggle and persevere with your commission because their own pride/stubbornness will make them.  All of which are a win for you as client.

So, to get personal; Why do I use these services ?  Time is one thing.  I can paint iggies.  But I cannot find the time.  And if I'm paying someone quicker (or who has the time) and better (let's face it), the scheme can be a bit more exotic.  So time, yeah, a pro painter can do in a weekend what takes me a year.

Skill level is another; my best effort will produce what I sometimes get back as "table top quality".  Now, I realise that I could take steps to improve my painting (like doing some, for a start).  However for reasons I outlined some time ago, I don't want to, because I have other things to do with my time.

But to sum up being a paying client:

If you have a deadline, colourscheme, notion, design, preference, cost limit, expectation, desire, requirement or fetish that needs fulfilling, then it is down to you as client to let the painter know.

So, there you have it.  My take on getting someone else to paint your little men.

Friday, 1 November 2013

More DKK ?

So, doubtless by now you've seen the FW bundles.

I quite like this:

Which is offered at £264ish.  All the bits added up separately come to £301ish.  So that's £35 saved to spend on more FW goodies....  Or not.

And I've got a 'squad advancing' in the garage somewhere.  So I can put another five squad platoon together.  Another five autocannon mid turret Chimera would be easy enough after the first eighteen.


I could paint the whole lot up as one of the Line Regiments and add another DKK Regiment to the Devos IV fluff.

The twin evils of wanting to expand 19 Regt and wanting to develop the Devos IV fluff are tearing at my sensibilities.  What to do, what to do....