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...