Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Friday 29 March 2013

How did it come to this ?

As previously described, Daniel Horpan (“Danny Bloodcoat” to his men) is the product of the same military machine as the leadership of 72AG (and indeed, almost all of the Imperial Guard within the sphere of influence of Cadia).

Daniel Horpan joined the Devos IV PDF as an officer cadet seventeen years ago.  He spent eight years within the 99th (“the Bloodcoats”) Regiment before becoming company commander.  From there he moved to Maj Gen Firth’s staff as a planning officer.  Firth, recognising his talent, despatched him to Agripinaa to serve in the Imperial Guard for a few years.  Six years later Colonel Horpan returned to command the 99th.
In the last three years, Horpan has been courted personally by Chaux Na Mrr’see herself.  She obviously thought that she might need an able military commander on her side.  Horpan is staunchly loyal to his birthworld.  Colonel-Commandant Welbhann, the commander of the 902 Inf Bde knew Horpan on Agripinaa.  Despite being from quite different backgrounds (Welbhann is from Armageddon), Welbhann believes that Horpan has somehow deluded himself that his following the creed of Chaux Na Mrr’see is in line with his loyalties as former officer of the IG and senior figure in the Devos IV PDF.

The 99th Regt were delighted to find themselves commanded by Horpan.  “Danny Bloodcoat” he is known as.  They are encouraged by his elevation to (as they see it) strategic commander of the PDF.  The creed of Chaux Na Mrr’see has become all the more popular thereby.  Such is his reputation that the 13th Mech and other formations within the PDF, as well as the militia, have ‘bought in’ to his campaign.  

The leadership of the Devos IV PDF, up until four years ago, would have been described by Klestor sub sector command as professional, honourable and efficient.   The decision of General Horpan and his staff to side with heretics is difficult for outsiders to understand.  However, it is known that Chaux Na M’rrsee demanded an oath of loyalty from the PDF when she became the duly elected head of state.   Gen Horpan and his staff have simply followed their militaristic code of honour in not changing sides.

The refusal of the appointed off world Planetary Governor, Maj Gen (retd) Marcus Firth (Cadia), to accede to transfer of power to the people’s elected representative, has to be seen in the light of what was happening on Devos IV at the time.  Governor Firth quite rightly refused to relinquish power on the grounds that the High Lords had appointed him and that he had no largess to step down without their permission.  The gradual migration of power from the appointed executive to the people had been happening for years, in the end, the people simply voted for what they wanted; As Devos IV had given no cause for any alarm at all for hundreds of years, Governor Firth had no significant internal security apparatus with which to rectify the situation; as it stood, the personnel of the PDF, members of society as a whole, are as culpable as the rest of them and either largely on the side of (or most apathetic to) “progress”. 

Eventually one of the Adeptas Sororitas sponsored shrines realised that the events happening were tantamount to heresy.  They astrapathically asked for assistance just before Governor Firth was deposed by Chaux Na M’rrsee.   The Cadian 144th Long Range Recce Regt was travelling though the system (from Hydraphur back to Cadia to recruit and refit) and deployed to the surface[1].  The Cadians soon found themselves corralled in the Wizelvard area by the PDF on the orders of Chaux Na M’rrsee.  Their reaction was to send out clandestine Kill Teams into Xyphonica to force resolution by direct means.

The attempts on the head of state by a (supposedly) allied military unit were perceived by the PDF as treachery.  This was a fundamental breaking of the military code of honour (albeit by off-worlders) as they saw it.  They responded by arresting the former Governor as an enemy of the state[2].  The Cadian 144th were attacked and scattered.  Nothing could now be allowed to sully the honour of the Devos IV PDF; they would remain loyal to their home world and its elected government.  

Chaux Na M’rrsee seized her moment and chose that moment to cast off the Imperial yoke, the foodstuffs that were the bedrock of Devos IV’s economy would continue to be sold to the Departmento Munitorium, but on a basis that would ensure improving standards of living across the planet.   The PDF was renamed the PLA[3] and Chaux Na M’rrsee promised Gen Horpan reinforcements for any likely military actions.  

The Devos IV PDF (now PLA) had been redesigned by Gen Horpan over the last decade to fight a guerrilla war against an occupying force.  He had always assumed that this would be Xenos or a strike from either the Eye of Terror or Sabbat Worlds (both almost equidistant).  Military and civilian infrastructure projects had been carried out and tactics and positions prepared.  Within its idiom, the PLA is prepared.  The only concern that Gen Horpan has is that there is no exit strategy for the PLA, they are simply planning to (and are expected to) hang on until relieved.    Gen Horpan had always expected to be relieved by an Army from Agripinaa, not defending against one.   Having held posts on Agripinaa and Cadia, he knows what is coming.  
So far, Gen Horpan is not impressed with the reinforcements that  Chaux Na M’rrsee as arranged; Orks and mutants from the San Cantor Ash Wastes may indeed be children of Devos IV, they may well be good in a fight, there may well be mutual respect and understanding between them and some of the PLA units from the same region.  But by engaging Scavvies and Ork mercenaries, Chaux Na M’rrsee has crossed a line that incontrovertibly puts her, her government and the PLA, beyond the mercy of the Imperium. 

The Astartes Intervention is presented to the population of Benq as just that; Three or more Chapters of the Adpetus Astartes support the government of Chaux Na M’rrsee as legitimate, after all, the demands of Chaux Na M’rrsee’s government amount to no more than fair and adequate recompense for goods that they fully intend to continue to supply.  The PLA and the population are encouraged and emboldened by the arrival by allies[4] who some see as evidence of the Emperor’s favour.  

One of the first events to occur after these allies landed was an attack by the perfidious Eldar.  Scarlet jetbikes and their supporting units attacked the capital city and were fought off by the Space Marines.[5]  Already the legendary levels of protection afforded the common folk of the Imperium by the Astartes were being demonstrated.   Remembering the attack by these same Eldar on the Preatorian Garrison of the system defences on Devos XII; this event immediately becomes a huge boost to morale for both the PLA and the civilian population. 

General Horpan and those of his staff who have also previously served on Cadia, however, recognise the scions of the third, twelfth and seventeenth legions[6].  But they are now busy conducting a fighting withdrawal across Benq.  They are damned by their leadership’s consorting with Xenos and Heretics.  They have little choice but to carry on.  

[1] At the time of its deployment in support of the Ordo Hereticus on Devos IV, the Cadian 144th had been on campaign for seven years and had an overall strength of approximately seven hundred.
[2] On the orders of Apochrypha Quinelle, a known heretic (Beta level psyker) and Chaux Na M’rrsee’s deputy.
[3] People’s Libertine Army – a reference to the increase in civil freedom allowed by Chaux Na M’rrsee’s administration.
[4] These forces were almost certainly landed by the Hexognome (before its destruction) and the Tyrant’s Claw whilst the bulk of the Imperial Fleet was out of system.
[5] Inquisitorial agents report that the Eldar were attacking the purple space marines exclusively, not the city or any of the scarlet or burgundy space marines.
[6] The Emperor’s Children, World Eaters and Word Bearers.  Aside from Danny Bloodcoat and half a dozen officers on his staff, no-one else has ever seen a Space Marine in the flesh before.  Here the great enemy’s main weapon is not so much deliberate deception as just letting people make their own assumptions and not correcting them. 

Friday 22 March 2013

17 Korps

17 Corps ("17 Korps" to its Krieg and Armaggedon elements) was the first formation to be deployed on Devos IV and spearheaded the siezure of the port of Randstand on the rebellious continent of Benq.

Unlike the previous illustration of 4* Gen Zhukov's Army HQ - cum - planetary government, 17 Korps, like 18 Corps and 38 Corps, is a warfighting organisation.  Not listed here are the elements of the Departmento Munitorum's labour corps who service the non-combat requirements of 17 Korps.

3* General Tolstoy (Vostroya) & Staff
Gen Tolstoy (Vostroya)
HQ 17 Korps Operations
Col Kurr (Arcomet)(Arcomet 887th)

Information exploitation cell

Planning cell 901

Planning cell 902

Planning cell 903

Planning cell 904

Planning cell 905

Korps Communications det

HQ 17 Korps Int & Sy

Col Valarius Commodus (Mordia)

Information Superiority det
Capt Aelius (Palladia)

Counter surveillance det

Korps Recon Collation det

Human Intelligence Collation det

Capt Skricks (Necromundia)
HQ 17 Korps Personnel, Readiness and Morale
Lt Col Wortten (Cadia) (Cadian 127th)




Health (physical, spiritual, mental)

HQ 17 Korps Logistics

Lt Col Brisingstoke (Cadia) (Cadian 24th)

Magos Headonellow

Fuel, Oils and Lubricants




Procurement and issue





Uniform, bedding, medical, body armour

Technical Equipment (ranging equipment, tools, NVG, communications equipments etc)

Weapon systems 
HQ 17 Korps Property

Capability cell
Colonel Towledi (Vitaria)

Maintenance of constructed property

Maintenance of sequestered property

Materials Management


Plant and Equipment

Friday 15 March 2013

High Command

Please find below my ideas of how an IG expeditionary force might organise itself: this is "just" the Army Group's HQ and doesn't include the Corps organisation or dispositions.  This size of AG HQ could cope with possibly half a dozen Corps level sub units, but beyond that there would need to be an intermediary level of command; possibly theatre of war, possibly objective based (ie you lot take Cean and you lot take the Cotentain penninsular - that sort of scale).

I will put up a similar table for a Corps formation soon - this will follow the J1 to J5 format that some of you may be familiar with, however, this level of strategic command does not have that more usual organisation, rather, it reflects the peccadiloes of the overall commander, 4* Gen Zhukov; As the part of Devos IV that is in rebellion is contains the capitol and the (previously legitimate) government, he becomes the de facto Planetary Govenor.

He has appointed four Plenipotentiates (ie people who will act without constantly bothering him with trivial details).  The appointment of a Sororitas Cannoness to the role of Head of Security is partially a sop to the Ordo Hereticus, who are the sponsors of the Devos IV campaign and partly reflect's 4* Gen Zhukov's own prejudices about psykers.  The real purpose of her department is to protect 4* Gen Zhukov from his own officers and men, hence the presence of General Disduc, late of the Cadian Interior Guard.  He has a much wider purview than the Canoness.  They have been 'given' a battalion of Vostroyan infantry to enact their will directly.

Commissar Harris and Confessor Tule have more pressing problems than those facing the Canoness; they have to encourage and cajole the population of Acer and the Departmento Munitorium Labour and Construction Corps to fully support the war effort.  This has to be managed through propaganda and strict discipline; all to encourage devotion to the Imperial Creed.  They have also been given additional resources to aid them; their Vostroyan soldiers have been re-uniformed in white to show their purity.

The 'Chief of Land Warfare', General Sommonovic is a long time supporter of 4* Gen Zhukov; he know his leader well and is used to interpreting his directives and translating them into comprehendible orders.  Conversely, he cannot or will not stand up to 4* Gen Zhukov or accept that his leader might be able to make a mistake.

Comptrollor Bellormus has the largest task of any of the imperial staff sent to Devos IV; he has to organise to receive and deploy effectively over half a million workers - the scribes and archivists who will report the progress of the war to the Officio Tacticae, the Construction Corps who will build roads, railways, building complexes and satisfy the infrastructure requirements for all others, the labour corps who will cook for, feed, water, wash, clothe, arm, clean, provision, entertain, convey, provision (again), fuel, service and account for not only 72 AG and its soldiers, but the entire war effort.

In this Comptrollor Bellormus is supported by the Marquis Hakysake, an industrial baron from the loyalist continent of Acer, who has made his bid for power by befriending 4* Gen Zhukov and now has his reward as Comptrollor Bellormus' deputy in the wartime cabinet.

Finally on this list are the Imperial Navy's close orbit command assets that are being retained under central control, to enable Orbital Commander Amodis to achieve concentration of force where required.

The table:

72nd Army Group
4* General Zhukov Commander of the Imperial Guard and de facto Planetary Govenor of Devos IV
2* Gen Mentunfor (Krieg) Chief of the Imperial General Staff
Security Cannoness Maria Pandoro (Order of the Ebon Challice)
1* General Amar Disduc (Cadian Interior Guard)
8th Bn 157th (Vostroyan) First Born Supprt Regt
Moral & Propaganda Lord Commissar (~1* Gen) Harris (Dept Munitorium)
Confessor Tule (Eccesiasty)
7th Bn 157th (Vostroyan) First Born Supprt Regt
High Command  3* Gen Sommonovic (Vostroya) Chief of Land Warfare
1* Gen Shunn (Cadia) GOC Acer
1* Gen Pascuba (Phantine) GOC Benq
Total War Comptroller General Bellormus (Dept Munitorium)
Marquis Hakisyke (Devos IV) minister for armarments
5th Bn 157th (Vostroyan) First Born Supprt Regt

Imperial Navy
Orbital Commander Amodis Imperial Navy
Detatchments to each of three Army Korps: 6 Sqns (of 6 airframes) Wulkyrie
3 Sqns (of 6 airframes) Vulture
Army Group Assets: 6 Sqns (of 22 Airframes) Devastator strategic bombers
6 Sqns (of 22 Airframes) Devastator Air Refuelling Tankers
4 Sqns (of 38 Airframes) Marauder tactial bombers
2 Sqns (of 14 Airframes) Marauder Destroyer close support
2 Sqns (of 14 Airframes) Marauder Wild Weasel/Vigilant EW
12 Sqns (of 22 Airframes) Thunderbolt MRCA

Friday 8 March 2013

Recruiting Issues.

The Departmento Munitorium, in response to 4* General Zukhov’s demands for a larger army has sent Comptroller Bellormus to Devos IV with a mandate from Spinward Command to raise four new regiments for the Imperial Guard.  These are to be the core of 72 Army Group’s 38 Korps. 

Approximately 90% of the Devos IV PDF now calls itself the People’s Libertine Army and is in open rebellion against the Imperium of Man.  Those small fractions that are left professing loyalty are considered suspect by the Ordo Hereticus and thus cannot be used as a cadre to form new units around[1].  Comptroller Bellormus’ first stop is to the poor mining communities of Hulin (NW continental Acer) where he has successfully raised his first regiment.  As the majority of the recruits are culturally Drookian, the Departmento has been able to draw on the Drookian military heritage and the Hulin Rifles look like a Fen Guard regiment.  The rest of the units raised from Acre are not likely to have such a strong identity. 

Further enhancing the lure of the Imperial Guard for the population of Devos IV, the Marquis of Hakysake’s son is now a subaltern in the Hulin Rifles.  

Comptroller Bellormus now has a delicate balance to maintain; the whole point of the Devos IV campaign is to preserve food production for the Cadian Gate (where 99% of exports go).  With two large continents, one is about to be ravaged by war; he does not really wish to jeopardise food production from the other by stripping all of the available manpower to fight a war which will halve food production for (potentially) decades.   

The intention at the outset is that 38 Korps will be five Divisions of three regiments.  Comptroller Bellormus estimates a wartime establishment of 120.000 for 38 Korps, roughly in line with 17Korps and 18 Korps.   At full establishment there could be half a million fighting men[2] here by the end of the year.  

The various Departmento Labour and Construction Corps either en route or already brought to Devos IV and deployed in support of the military operation will reach 650,000 by the end of the year.   The war effort is already drawing heavily on the capacity within the Acer economy; there is not much headroom left and there is a greater requirement to service the war and also to ‘take up the slack’ when it comes to food production.  The Comptroller’s office is revising its estimates; the Labour and Construction Corps are not big enough to support the size of enterprise that 4* Zhukov has been given license for.  

4* Gen Zhukov is responsible to the Offico Tacticae for the conduct of the war.  It is this office, with direction from Klestor Subsector Command (Lord General Militant Potemkin) that has allowed the expansion of 72AG to three combat Corps.  After his campaign of petitioning every desk between his own the Lord General’s,  Zhukov will be held to account on the presumption that he has three combat Corps at his disposal.

Comptoller Bellormus is responsible to the Office of the Imperial Bursary, also a part of the Departmento Munitorium and equal to the Officio Tacticae, for the expenditure of resources in a prudent fashion.  He has arrived on the planet to discover a Lady Inquisitrix of the Ordo Hereticus already present.  Mirroring his instructions from the Departmento, her interpretation of His Divine Majesty’s will is that the conflict shall not jeopardise the flow of food from Devos IV to the Cadian Gate.  

Militarily, the 72AG should win, they will soon have a 3:1 advantage, this will only rise as 72AGs casualties are replaced and the PLA’s are not.  Additionally, Comptroller Bellormus’ labour corps will soon have their supply apparatus in place ensuring that every tank, Valkyrie, las gun, spoon, sock or button lost is replaced, warp currents allowing, from stock.  Whereas the PLA, stockpiled as they are, have a finite amount of material to draw upon.   Ultimately, this stretches to men as well, but ‘wasting’ resources will see Divisional and Corps Commanders sacrificed[3] in an attempt to preserve Gen Zhukov’s position.  But even he is aware that the largess of the Departmento will in this instance be heavily influenced by the Ordo Hereticus’ opinion of the progress of the war. 

As a clear army reserve (it doesn’t even exist yet), 38 Corps already has one Division nominated from the Klestor high readiness reserve; this airmobile elite is en route and is anticipated to be used only to achieve final victory.  The other four Divisions are to be drawn from the population of Devos IV.  

The issue here is that regardless of Adminstratum data, Comptroller Bellormus has found Devos IV has a population of just under 8 Millions.  Discounting women, children, the old, the young and so on leaves 2 Millions from which to draw the new units main strength.   This is the arithmetic that has informed Klestor Sub Sector’s Office of the Imperial Bursary in setting the additional tithe in manpower – about 5% should place no strain at all on Devos IV and be easy for Comptroller Bellormus to achieve.

But half of this population are on the continent which is in rebellion.  And a significant portion of the population (8%) are nomadic grox herders.  Even if they could be tracked down and held accountable for conscription into the new regiments, these pastoral workers are not easily replaceable[4]; this would seriously impact the flow of beef to the Cadian Gate.  Conversely, the other major export, compressed freeze dried protein from the seas, is also niche skilled and labour intensive.  Additionally, the trawler farms that service this requirement are themselves serviced by almost all of the rest of the Devos IV economy.  

After collecting all he can from the Drookian Diaspora, Imperialist Zealots and willing volunteers, Comptroller Bellormus is still going to be lucky to achieve the manpower for half of one Division.  This shortage of manpower will matter; the PLA may only be 100,000 strong, however, they are defending their homeworld against invaders from outer space, Danny Bloodcoat has spent the last ten years improving the planetary defence network for just this type of war, the PLA will have the support of the local population, the Imperial Guard are likely to suffer from sabotage, subversion, espionage and at best, an indifferent population as they advance through Benq.   

The beachhead at Randstad is just that; the Port and its archipelio are well sited as a trans-oceanic port of entry.  But the area enjoys no significant resources of its own.   And every day that 72 AG keeps 17 Korps from moving inland (due to lack of available support) is another day that the PLA have to prepare.

[1] The Ordo Hereticus are well aware that those torn asunder are the bitterest of foes (and thus one of their best weapons).  However, they are anxious that true believers are used, to further their own ends, the persecution of witches and heretics.  They are not on Devos IV to encourage general internecine warfare.
[2] This would include the Imperial Navy’s deployed atmospheric superiority command.
[3] ie either by sacking (leading to court martial), or putting them in such a position as to make a glorious end (or be found wanting) their only choice.  Zhukov is quite experienced at this.
[4] Whilst shipping factory workers from one world to another is always possible, transhipment of pastoral workers like Grox herders invariably takes a generation or three to settle down; the animals, planetary cycles, weather, grazing and so on are all variables that have to be compensated for.