Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Counts-as Armoured Sentinel comparison

These models are both WIP.  The Steel Legion sentinel and the Saranian light infantry 'armoured sentinel'.  The ASL model is ready for detailing, decals, pinwash etc.  The Saranian model should eventually end up in an ambush colour scheme like this

You may remember this.  Andy BG has kindly magnetised the weapon options for these babies.  So they can look like the sperm whale headed children of the apocalypse with their lethal bunches of doom.  If that sounds a little, well, poetic, I'm hoping that finished item photos will illustrate what I meant.

But these picts are just to show the dust models against a proper GW Sentinel.  So here they are.

Sky fire !

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

(more) Eldar air power.

OK, so we all know that air power is the new black.  The Void Dragons already have a Pheonix fighter bomber, but a brief encounter with the Spaze Wulves convinced me that something a less points expensive, with outrageous air to air capability, was in order.  So we had a long hard look at the F-18 and the swing wing Mig23.  The swing wing was nice but very expensive, so we went for the F-18 Block 3.  Wha- ?!?!  Sorry, got a bit carried away there; I could get two Crimson Hunters and have change left over from the purchase price of the FW Nightwing.  

A pulse laser and two bright lances, because most of the SM flyers appear to be AV14 on all sides.

And of course, redundancy is king.  Besides which, it gives me licence for badly voiced ace/wingman conversations during a game.  Pew - pew - pew !

Sleek, huh ?

And lovely painted, the same as the existing Void Dragon assets, by Andy BG from Iron Legion.  Cheers, Andy.   And because Andy did it the weapons are on magnets to swap out for D-Scythes and that nasty soul burner pod.  'E likes magnets does Andy.  Good job too.

And just because I know that the question was on your lips, here it is next to the T-burd.  I suspect that in common with reportage from the skies above WW2, the pilot who gets the drop on the other guy is likely to be the winner.  Beyond that, a fight between these two is the normal Eldar/Imperial fight - the pointy eared scalpel vs the baseball bat with nails in.

Damn, those colourschemes are effective as camo.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Stuff this where the sun don't shine, Mr Belbin

I have finished something.  To the brick of scrutiny, Robin !

The PBS, with the old figures touched up and then the whole lot re-based.

The Head Head Job, repainted. Much better

The Freak Leash.  Still needs the transfer and the =I= symbol.  Not quite finished, then.....

The DKK trio. Amazing that you can sometimes spot in a photo what you miss in the flesh (resin).  The centre mini has a large green patch on his right leg where some fool has been careless with the dark green paint.  So that needs fixing so I'm still not finished....

A pair of Corrunna Grenadiers.  There were three of them, but I dropped one on the way to the brick of scrutiny.  So more to be done there then...  These are Hersey Sci-Fi Troopers, should that particular query rise to the top of your consciousness.

The green shoulder pad with the aqilla is to designate them as part of 72AG.  Interestingly, I did these yonks ago as a prize for Admiral Drax for his epic pan Christmas Posting Run a few years ago.  And now they're back in the garage.  Very army, to be sent on a two or three year circular journey in order to end up where the army wanted you in the first place.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Mid point review

Ok, so the rate of progress looks better for this year, despite my hobby resources being swallowed up by HMRC.  There's still quite a bit to do, though.  I will definitely take Andy BG up on his foolish offer - and Drax as well, depending on his circumstances.

DKK Salamanders                        Done
Nightwraith fighters                   DoneValhallans - now so old they need touching up. 
Leviathan Mortis' -                       
Despatched to the Dark Mechanicus
Full Size ATAT fleet
                     Test Mega Bolter Done
Clone wars Vendetta conversions
World Eaters Land Raider             
Despatched to the Dark Mechanicus
Inquisitorial Gun Cutter               
Isenkearn APC                             
Test Model Done
Last Kasarkin & Straken       Done
TGG Jailbirds                            Done in January  
TGG Iron Empire                       Done 

Trawling the boxes:
·                     Arco-eviscorators             Done
·                     Crusader                          Done
·                     3 Armoured Sentinels        WIP
·                     Blood Pact Tranche 2        WIP
·                     Blood Pact Tranche 3        WIP
·                     3 ASL LRMBT                    Done

Broken rules (some from last year's Broken Rules):

Two chaos Knights.
Deadpool                                    Done
Chaos Hellblade.                         Done (not actually a broken rule, its a Chrimbo prezzie)
Crocodile Gunships
Secret Weapon Wolverine            Done
Reinforcements for Devos IV PDF 2nd Regt
2 Sword Brethern                        Done
9 Corny Zerkers                          Done
Geno Five Two                           Done
Betrayal At Calth
Horus Heresy book Six
Deathwatch Overkill
5 Macrocosm genestealer cultists
Mad Max extras                           Done
Frostgrave Cultists                     WIP
Fury Road Cars                           WIP

Stuff not even looked at:

3rd Thunderer Conversion.  
"Word Bearers" er, um, tbc. 
Meridian Infantry
Imperial Basillica
1/35 Luchs (1x DKK Command Post and 1x DKK Supply Vehicle) 

Special Mention:

The Cadian 24th                     You'll have to ask Admiral Drax

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. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Battle of Chobli (Part 2)

Gen Tolstoy received the news that 905 Div’s HQ had been reduced to a smoking ruin by a PDF counter attack in a calm manner.   He knew that the Palladian Divisional Commander and his staff would have stayed with the Leviathan.    The loss of the Leviathan was not good, it was the only one in theatre and a more than adequate communication hub which had well served XVII Korps in the three years since it arrived.   But it was still a Divisional HQ which was why it was forward in a position to be targeted by a sustained and powerful counter attack.  It’s war.  Shit happens.

XVII Korps made deputations directly to 72AG;  Having had Legio Astorum support XVII Korps assault on Cudlip Lines, the destruction of six knights and evisceration of 905 Div, including the Leviathan, made a compelling case for their support once more.

902 Div was arrayed to allow 905 Div to pass through.  Col Commandant Welbhann’s Division had provided the spearpoint of XVII Korps often enough and were confident enough that as they took over, there would be no abatement in the tempo of operations for nightfall, it was expected that they would be contact, reliving the parts of 905 Div still engaged, by local midnight.

Kloms to the rear, the masters of Legio Astorum[1], having a seat in 72AG’s Operations Room in Fort Nuttar, were aware of the situation and had two Reaver Maniples on standby.  Honorium, with Canis Bellum and Canis Preator, was on stand by as the Leigon’s contribution to the 72AG’s reaction force. Astor Tyrannis, escorted by Pyladii Alpha and Pyladii Beta, would follow on within the hour.

Having given the parts of 905 Div who could move two hours to withdraw back to their start line, the tracks of 902 Div rolled.  Guided by the fires of the tanks in front of them, they were able to catch the last parts of the counter attack as they tried to make their way back through their own minefields.  PDF ridgebacks fell prey to fast moving Steel Legion Wolverines and stompahunter formations of sentinels.  Silhouetted by the burning tanks of 905 Div, the tanks and taurox of the PDF were picked off by the vanquisher and executioners.  Where they could, they targeted the enemy in order to block their line of retreat, allowing the conventionally armed Imperial armour to join in when they were in range[2].

Battlegroups of 905 Div muster for the attack.

The 22nd Tank Regt of the ASL had picked up one of the SOPs of their Krieg comrades.  Every enemy tank hit once was hit another two times.  Knowing that the PDF needed its experienced crewmen more than it needed actual tanks, pintle and coax weapons were liberally sprayed into the darkness.

Lt Col Threlfall, Commanding Officer of the Mordian 14th Medium Artillery Regiment, was, within two hours of the destruction of the Leviathan, appointed to be the new Divisional Commander of 905 Div.  His orders were to keep Divisional Artillery in place and in action whilst ensuring that the elements falling back were re-brigaded in the manoeuvre area quickly set aside for the purpose immediately behind the gun positions[3].   The Korps step up HQ was deployed to Brevet 1* General Threlfall’s location, primarily to provide him with the apparatus to run a Division, rather than as the next location intended for the Korps Commander[4].

902 Div was making headway, having located the gaps in the minefields highlighted by the fleeing PDF units.  Where they encountered resistance in the dark, the front units of 902 Div would fire flares in the direction they were being fired upon, blinding the enemy gunners whilst then charging the enemy positions.  902 Div’s attacks, back along these routes by which the PDF had emerged to make its counter attack in the first place, were a study in maintaining inertia.  Where breaches were made in the defences, these were secured, armoured infantry, either Krieg or Steel Legion, deploying crew served weapons in the available bunkers.   The Division then continued to pour through these breaches, looking to exploit the space and cause havoc in the PDF’s rear, only to run into the next band of defences.

Again, the attackers were subjected to minefields which sought to channel their attacks into areas wept by multiple AT emplacements and all under a constant barrage from PDF artillery.  In the darkness, the Imperial tanks would fire at specific fox holes; thunderer and demolisher engineer tanks were brought up.  Once a number of AT emplacements and machine gun nests had been neutralised, the Steel Legion stompahunter formations would spearhead armoured infantry assaults.  902 Div was slowed but not stopped, again breaches were forced and widened.

As dawn broke the air battle seemed to die away.  There was a lull of several hours as the weather cleared, the oddly pigmented storms which made many people feel off colour abated[5].  When the next wave of Imperial fighters came on station, carrying air to air specific pay loads, they found that they were able to keep the PDF LIghtenings and T-65s at bay,  very soon the last of the PDF air power had either been withdrawn or been shot down by the Thunderbolts.

With the second band of defences breached, the PDF had elected to abandon their positions, even those not engaged, in order to bolster the defences further back.  By mid-morning on day three of the battle, the Steel Legion and Death Korps were again forcing breaches in the defence lines.  The concentration of PDF artillery was more effective in the daylight and the defenders were able to shore up holes blasted by the Imperial assault teams.  If the attack stalled, the relatively narrow passage forced by 902 Div was almost certain to be cut into bite sized pieces by defenders resuming their positions abandoned during the previous night.

As this was happening, the Honorium Reaver Maniple arrived.  With titan weapons and the ability to look down on the defences, the success of the attacks was assured.   Hits on void shields flared, even in the daylight, but the trio were ok for the first hour they were there.  As the void shields were beginning to regularly breach, the Astor Tyranis Reaver Maniple caught up.  The attack would not falter, its success was assured by the titans and the increased support from the imperial navy’s air wing.

[1] High Princips Magala.  In addition to the Legio’s ‘normal’ deployment of ten Reavers and twelve Warhounds, she has brought her own Warlord, Tempetus Ultra and Warlord of her deputy, Princips Burgh, Ventii Omega
[2] There were still elements of 905 Div in the fight, continuing to add their fighting power to the Imperial effort.
[3] 905 Division’s artillery were in place and in action.  The counter attack had specifically targeted Div HQ and largely ignored the artillery except where they were in the way.  In this case, ‘immediately behind the gun positions’ means behind the Artillery Reserved Area.
[4] Col Ellyerion Carries is posted from being DCOS at Korps HQ to COS for Gen Threlfall, the new Divisional Commander.
[5] Just dropped that one in for any unemployed English teachers to enjoy/grind their teeth at.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Battle of Chobi (Part 1)

Thick Smoke had begun to obscure the battlefield.  Visibility was down to 10s of meters in places.  Burning tanks made a phenomenal amount of choking black smoke.  Aside from the small arms, tank weapons and artillery actually being fired at real or perceived targets, ammunition cooked off in the burning vehicles as well.  Charred crewmen hung off of vehicles, either failing to make it out in time or being shot by infantry who prowled the field of glory shooting tank crews and picking off stricken tanks with their hand held missile launchers, whether one shot wonders or more sophisticated ATGWs.  Occasionally rival groups of infanteers would find and engage each other, a nasty series of separate swirling battles were fought in between brawling tank units.  Additionally, there was a group of four baneblades who manoeuvred through the battle like a quartet of battleships, using each other as bait, cover and killing blow as they worked together to defeat the highly individualistic Paladin and Warden class knights sent against them.

Having been slogging it out with the PDF for three days, the remaining elements of 905 Division were being withdrawn.  Pitifully few vehicles in the distinctive dark colour scheme of the Mordian 7th could be seen amongst the mid-green of the Palladian vehicles.  The men coming back off of the field were collected at impromptu nexus which formed where commissars re-brigaded men to either send them back to the fight or to carry the more severely wounded to established casualty clearing stations.   Now, with the change of lead formation, all of the Iron Guard, Palladian and Mordian, were being rouled back out of the fight. 

Three days earlier, the lead elements of the Mordian 6th Independent Motor Cycle Battalion, 905 Division’s dedicated recce, had begun to encounter the anti-personnel minefields laid by the PDF to protect their defensive positions in front of what the Imperial Guard knew as The Chobi Bunker, having largely passed over the antitank minefields and been allowed to penetrate the outer layer of the PDF’s temporary positions.

Having lost a proportion of men and steeds to the mines the Mordians were fired on by the PDF from their bunkers.  The remainder scattered and the fast moving lightweight recce troops extracted themselves from the killing zones, leaving scattered pockets in situ, unable to move for whatever reason.  Brevet Colonel Sonaff launched the 3rd and 6th Mechanised Infantry Battalions of the 7th into a deliberate attack, supported by the Palladian 880th SPaG Bn, part of the 55th Aux Regt. 

The PDF’s pre ranged artillery struck at likely forming up areas[1].  The unexpected blizzard of artillery fire caused two hours of delay and assured everyone on both sides of what was about to happen.  905 Div HQ, which was a Leviathan that the Mordians had brought to Devos IV, was withdrawn to the back edge of the impact zone.

The Mordians and Palladians fought their way through the first layer of minefields and emplacements only to run out of moving vehicles once they had punched their hole in the first layer of defences.  Infantry passing over open ground were subjected to continual mortar bombardment and sustained small arms fire from dug in PDF soldiers. Attempts to use dead ground or chaparral for cover resulted in casualties from liberally sown anti-personnel mines.  Losses mounted steeply as the first Imperial Guardsmen reached the PDF positions to find them so well dug in that artillery and direct fire support had little effect, bitter hand to hand fighting ensued as trenches, dug outs and machine gun nests were cleared. 

Other parts of the Palladian 4th Legionary Regt passed through and took over the assault, with the 11th Legionary Regt deploying in support.  Despite dogged resistance from the PDF[2], the Palladians, with the dismounted Mordians holding the flanks, made steady headway into the defensive positions.

The PDF also challenged the Imperial Navy for local air superiority over the battlefield[3].  As Lightening’s rose to engage the Imperial Thunderbolts in the ‘cab rank’ and hunted down any Vendettas they could find, T-65 strike fighters made low passes, launching ‘snakehound’ HK missiles and laser cannon strafes at Palladian armoured units.

It now appears likely that one of the field bunkers three kloms in was a trigger for a counter attack, thirty eight LRMBT attacked the Palladians from the North, causing large numbers of casualties amongst the Mordians covering the northern flank.  Such was the shock and speed of the counter attack that the forward elements of the Palladian force were in danger of being cut off.   It was only the steadfast actions of 55th Aux Regt’s two light AT battalions[4] and fearsome defensive fire from the 11th Legionary Regt’s Artillery that prevented the Iron Guard from being overrun. 

To the South, 901 Div were ordered to begin their advance into the battle in order to relive the pressure on 905 Div.  The Cadian 127th moved on with close to two hundred LRMBT and three superheavies.  Almost immediately they ran into the anti-tank minefields and many vehicles were immobilised.  Others also became mine casualties trying to extricate those already struck.  Thirty six LRMBT lay paralysed in front of the defences.  The PDF brought down a heavy artillery barrage on the stricken tanks and the engineers attempting recovery.  In the meantime, like the Iron Guard to the north, the Cadian Shock Troopers made slow headway against the prepared defences.

The Cadians only began to make progress again when very close air support was provided by a constant stream of Avenger Strike aircraft, the Imperial Navy’s closest thing to a T-65, allowed 901 Div to intimately support its engineer units with its superheavies.  This unprecedented amount of combat power eventually allowed a beach and the Cadians took the forward command posts of both 1/92 Volunteer Bn and 1/93 Volunteer Bn of the 1st Civil Defence Bde by nightfall.

The early evening of the first day saw the combined Palladian and Mordian tank forces, with the remaining uncommitted infantry battalions, committed to a deliberate attack to dislodge the PDF tanks now interposed between the main body of the Division and its forward elements.  With no cover available, it is certain that the PDF commanders could see the black and solid green tanks assemble into a characteristic arrowhead formation for an advance, making use of the LRMBTs heavy armour and multiplying its effectiveness with closely overlapping fields of supporting fire. Audible even above the cacophony of artillery fire now sweeping the battlefield was the distinctive thud of the Palladian quad launchers whose launch was accompanied by gouts of flame and huge smoke plumes which described inky black arcs high over the battlefield before plunging onto PDF positions.  Salvo after salvo thudded out as the PDF defences were comprehensively swept ahead of the advancing tanks.

The PDF reply was to launch an equally massive barrage of rockets from its pit-hidden manticores at the infantry formed up behind the tanks.  Still the Iron Guard came on.  It was now that the design of the PDF’s defences would be properly tested.   Penned into specific zones by minefields, topography and dragons teeth, Imperial armour fell prey to dug in overlapping laser cannon positions, ATGW sites, AT armed tarantulas and infantry with RPGs and krak grenades who emerged from their hiding places once the tanks had passed in order to assault them from behind. 

The following infantry were mown down by machine gun nests and heavy bolters as well as small arms fire.  Mortars took their toll as well.  Whole units just melted away in the inferno.  By dwn of day two, 905 Division’s reports to Korps HQ have resulted in a detachment of six knights from one of the houses allied to the Legio Astorum being sent forward in support.  From their elevated position above the battlefield, they would have a better view of the PDF defences and be able to direct allied fire as well as adding their own destructive power to the assault.

The PDF did not appear to have a specific plan for the knights, defended as they were by their shields.  However, laser cannon and missile hits on legs and AT mine damage to their feet meant that four of them were experiencing reduced mobility by dusk.  3 Div’s evening counter attack included two Grenadier Battalions, two Volunteer Battalions, three battalions of auto cannon armed ‘Ridgeback’ armoured cars,  three more LRMBT Battalions and the Division’s four Baneblades.

The Baneblades systematically hunted down the knights, using their longer range and superior firepower to prevent them from linking up and rendering them hors de combat all within three hours.  The counter attack tore through the centre of 905 Division and, to quote one Palladian Officer, ‘shot the crap out of the Leviathan.’  Its shields over whelmed, the Divisional HQ was caught in a deluge of effective AT fire, immobilised and finally assaulted by 1/67 SF Regt, one of the PDF Grenadier battalions. 

At this point, rather than over extend, the PDF counter attack withdrew back to its hide positions.  It had certainly taken casualties, especially when passing close to earthshakers[5] deployed in the direct fire role as they withdrew.  But significantly, the ten formations which conducted the counter attack all withdrew in good order according to their rehearsed plan and would still be there to oppose 72AG the next day. 

[1] PDF 3 Div included three Fd Arty Battalions of Griffons, Wyverns and Manticores.  Additionally deployed were another two Fd Arty Battalions of remnants from other Divisions.  The PDF Corps Artillery and other assets also included five Bombardment Battalions of Basiliks.  There were also six Air Defence Regiments armed with Hyrdae, Manticore and static (wheeled) earthshakers. 
[2] The outer layers of the defensive grid were manned by the PDF 3 Div 1st Bde Combat Team: 1/10 and 2/10 Militia Regt, 8 (res) Fd Arty, 1/11 Cbt Cadre Regt and 1/23 Bde Support Bn were also thrown into the line.  The tanks which attacked from the north were 1/77 (res) Cav Regt.  Whilst it would appear from their unit designations that these are second and third line units, they have been at war for four years and are fighting battles which they have rehearsed for many times in the preceding centauries.
[3] The skies above the battlefield saw the biggest air battle of the war.  Above the levels observable from the ground, the skies churned and darkened as flights of Hell Talons appeared to engage the Imperial Navy, giving literal top cover for the PDF air assets waging their own fight closer to the ground.  Purple rain fell for the first time.  Across all strata, at its peak over eight days of continuous combat, there were nearly five hundred airframes involved in the melee.
[4] The Palladian formations within 905 Div were not symmetrical; 4th Legionary Regt included 55th Aux Regt plus a number of SPaG, Lt AT, AAA and other battalions.  11th Legionary Regt included 72nd Aux Regt as well as massed Artillery Battalions and a Penal Battalion.
[5] Batteries from the 295th and 296th Heavy Artillery Battalions, attached to the Palladian 11th Legionary Regiments. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

After Operation Dragonfire failed, the breakout from Fort Nuttar

The PDF 3 (“Security”) Division had been kept in reserve, Danny Bloodcoat had been aware of the drawn out nature of any campaign to defend his homeworld and the detailed battleplan had been distributed and practiced many times in Planetary Defence Exercises[1].

The remains of the PDF 2 (“Hunter”) Division had ambushed 18 Corps in the wadi system due east of what was now Fort Nuttar.   Despite information from the Drookian diaspora regarding the network of hidden bunkers and armoured subterranean stockpiles to the north[2], purpose built to allow the PDF 3rd Division to hide under the prairie, 72AG sent 17 Korps in that direction to go around region riddled with wadis via the north and then resume the eastward march towards Xyphonica.

17 Korps would either strike forward past the objectives of 18 Corps ‘Operation Dragonfire’ or would meet the PDF in battle and prosecute to a successful (from 72AG’s point of view) conclusion.  

Before Operation Restore, 72AG had reached the furthest extent practicable for their supply chain; it was costing them three gallons of fuel consumed for every two gallons delivered.  The establishment of Fort Nuttar would allow the offensive to relaunch with Xyphonica now only 600 kloms away.
Thus prepared 17 Korps took over the Imperial campaign to reclaim Devos IV for the Emperor.

The PDF plan had been created quite carefully.  At this point, defending the imperial planet from alien aggression, the PDF should have been relived.   In the event that this was not so, the remaining PDF manoeuvre assets would give battle in an effort to rob the invader of much needed strength for the forthcoming concrete hell when they reached Xyphonica[3]

17 Korps may have effectively been one Division below strength at the outset of the war[4], however, it had been in theatre longer and its constituent parts were well used to each other.   902 Division in particular enjoyed three armoured regiments which Comptroller Bellormus’ efforts had kept close to their collective wartime establishment of over a thousand armoured vehicles. 

17 Korps commanders  are used to war having an ebb and flow.  In order to avoid the censure from 72AG, the Korps Commander only reports after objectives have been realised.    All of the Corps Commanders do this. 

The Korps recce screen moves out onto the prairie three days (local) before the 905 (Palladian) Division advances as the Korps vanguard, with the Mordian 7th Iron Guard as the mechanised tip of the shiny spear.   901 (Cadian) Division anchor the southern parallel axis of advance, following a line on their maps, over printed to keep them 80 Kloms north of the Wadi system where 18 Corps advance stalled.  904 (Corbanian) Division, reconstituted since its evisceration piercing the Cudlip Defence Lines, arrayed itself to screen the northern flank of the advance.

902 Division, the Korps’ armoured heart, would be right behind 905 Division, ready to react to any requirement which might arise.  The Legio Astoria’s allied knight houses and pairs of warhounds have been directed by their liege lord to accompany each corps whilst the Reaver Maniples remain in reserve in Fort Nuttar. 

Danny Bloodcoat’s plans, revised since he learned that some of the Drookian diaspora had been recruited into the Imperial Guard, had included this ‘last hurrah’ of the PDFs manoeuvre elements before the last ditch street fighting in Xyphonica.   There are a suite of underground stores, and barracks, protected by a bunker complex, at each of the cardinal points around the city.  Essentially there is enough accommodation for a BCT, with the arms and equipment (including vehicles, a whole TO&E establishment) in deep storage. 

Successive Planetary Governors, for the best part of a thousand years, have been signing off on a plan which involves exporting foodstuffs in return for military aid for the PDF.  The requirement has always been overstated, although not too dramatically, and the resulting items moved from the SPOE to deep storage without being re-commissioned.  So no local servicing records were ever opened for the vehicles or weapon systems or other technical equipment.  This meant that when the DM scoured planets for surplus military gear for the Imperium’s wars elsewhere, Devos IV didn’t have any. 

The PDF plan has always been to fight and scatter when threatened, abandoning arms and equipment (usually either rendered unserviceable or booby trapped) to allow the vital asset (a well trained PDF) to reform at their next stage rendezvous.  It was a strategy designed to get the maximum fighting power out of a limited force.

“Last Base West” is obviously under threat and known to the Imperial Guard.  It contains a lot of resources which the PDF actually need[5].    A plan for its defence was drawn up, based on a wide checkerboard of emplacements in between the underground base and the invaders.   Tens of thousands of mines were laid, to channel attackers into enfilading fire from AT positions.
 Artillery positions were prepared, gun pits with specialised camouflage nets which blend with the prairie and hide field, medium and heavy assets with generous allocations of ammunition; LRMBT from deep storage are commissioned for the available crews and hidden in flanking positions[6].  The AT positions are reinforced with infantry platoons, all with overhead cover, camouflage and further defensive minefields.  

3 “Security” Division, bolstered by the remnants of 1 and 2 Division is now has its own four Brigade Combat Teams back to full strength and additionally had sent enough manpower into Xyphonica for another two BCTs.  These would rearm from “Last Base South” and prepare the city for its last stand.
General Chobi, Commander of 3 “Security” Division has not heard from his superior officer, Danny Bloodcoat, for three months.  But the PDF is organised to not require input from High Command in order to continue its mission; following the Cadian model, command is devolved down to the next appropriate level. 

On the Imperial forward airbase at Fort Nuttar, Avenger dive bomber Squadron Commander Brae Lang attended a Close Orbit Command briefing which made it clear that the success of ground attack missions in the forthcoming offensive was imperative to overall success.  "Operation Dragonfire had shown the Imperial Guard as too weak for the job and incompetently led. Breakthrough by our troops depended on the efficacy of the first missions - Each aircrew must be fully aware of the decisive importance of their efforts."  Close Orbit Command was in no doubt that it would be hauling the land forces proverbial arse out of the fire.  

[1] Even this battle had been rehearsed by the PDF within ten years of the beginning of the invasion.
[2] All up to date and accurate information, after all, these were the people who built it.  Eventually Gen Mantueffel, Gen Zhukov’s COS, would divert G2 data straight to Corps HQ, as leaving it to Zhukov’s circle of intimates at AG HQ inevitably either misinterpreted or simply did not pass on in an efficient manner, any information of any use.
[3] It would also allow time the evacuation of the last civilians and the preparation of the urban landscape for total war.
[4] 903 Division is being reconstituted in the Imperial Guard facilities on continental Acre.  By the time 72AG eventually reach Xyphonica, the Division has caught up with 17 Korps and joined the line.
[5] Now distributed where it will be required.
[6] Not just Leman Russ but also four baneblades and Chimera enough for a battalion. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Frostgrave Cultists.

If you a regular browser, you'll know that I am the proud owner of a number of Inq28 warbands.  As fluftastic as it can be, the various Ordos and factions cannot always be fighting each other, they must have some baddies to fight some of the time. 

This guy came with the rest of the Devonian emigres.  Obviously, a high functioning psyker with a long pedigree has is going to end up with a huge chip on his shoulder if he's left lanquishing in someone's bitz box for years.  And years.  Stewing in his own anger and resentment for years.  Connected to the warp.  So now he's got appropriate arms, with those characterful hands (from the cultist kit).  He's out for rewengy.  Don't laugh at the way he talks, you'll just make him madder.

Some of these old skool minis are just so wonderful.

And on to the cultists !  VL arms and blightwheel backpacks have turned out some interesting minis

The frostgrave kit is fine, with enough pointy hood heads for my needs plus s selection of other bits and pieces which would make it an option for other purposes.  I see it mixing up with the flagellant kit quite nicely.

Angry men, now undercoated and destined for series of browns and greys and possibly red pointy hats.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Random waffle about a particular sculpt

Some of you may remember a GW series where various hobby luminaries waxed lyrical about their favourite mini by one of their compadres.  Whadda bunch of luvvies.  Anyway, the recent influx of Cadians from Devon included a slack handful of junior officers in classic 2Ed pose:

Now people will point out that the figure is essentially over dressed.  He could easily be wearing a stillsuit under his padded uniform.  Although, he is nearly tall enough for his head even if his legs are a little short and his arms ever so slightly long.  But hey, I'm nearly his shape, so whilst he ain't perfect, he's not totally ridiculous.

On the brick of scrutiny today then, four examples.  There were many permutations of this figure, with various combinations of peaked cap/helmet, plasma pistol/bolt pistol and chain sword/power sword.  So you could end up with any one of eighteen minis. I don't know if they actually ever did that many. Obviously this bunch mean business as they are wearing the Mk VIII bone dome.

Anyway, the pose.  Leading from the front, the junior officer (and they were junior officers in that Codex, remember) has his best foot forwards and his main weapon pointing (vaguely) in the direction of the enemy.  He is beckoning on his charges, waving them on with his ceremonial melee weapon.  Crucially, he is facing backwards, away from his direction of travel, away from his purpose, his intent.  He has turned his face back to his men, to encourage, shout, cajole and perhaps even inspire them.

Of course we know that the ceremonial melee weapon he is brandishing is nothing of the sort, on the battlefields of the forty first millennium, that weapon is very real fighting instrument; the cleaver like powersword and brutal chainsword are not tools for the faint hearted.

So whilst this is not 'my favourite sculpt of all time, ever', I do think that he is idiomatically appropriate for the imperial guard.  And so commend him to the house.  I would be interested to know if anyone else out there has had similar cogitations about the little men they have been working on.