1500 Deathwatch Vs Orks: Secure and ControlCaptain Andiev Boleski had seen much of war. He had been fighting on Orthos IV for three years, and in that time had fought in trenches, cities, blasted wildernesses, and arctic wastes. He'd fought in desperate hand-to-hand combat with orks. He'd hunted them through stinking sewers. He'd been ambushed in mosquito-infested jungles. But in all that time, he had never seen anything quite like this.
It was--or had been--a fortified ork camp. There were barricades, gun emplacements, foxholes, pillboxes--all dug into a hill that the orks piled up themselves. Captain Boleski had been tasked with seizing such fortifications himself. They had been costly operations, and only partially successful. The orks dug themselves into these makeshift hills like bloodticks in the backside of a megodron. It was the bloodiest fighting he'd ever seen, except for the second battle of Arendt.
And yet here he was, looking at one completely destroyed. Utterly, completely erradicated--every gun ruined, every ork a stinking corpse. There had been no apparent retreat--the orks had simply not had time. The craziest thing? Boleski had not seen a single Astartes casualty.
"Something troubling you, Captain?" Boleski jumped at the sound of the booming voice. It was the Master of the Watch, Raziel. He towered over Boleski so that the sun itself was blocked by his bulk. Boleski felt small and weak and stupid. He hadn't even heard the giant approach.
He saluted lamely. "Captain Andiev Boleski reporting, sir...errr...milord . Field Marshal VonGrune sends his regards. He wishes a report to hear how the war against the orks is going, sir. Milord."
Raziel's hard face did not shift. "VonGrune is aware that I do not report to him. Not over the vox. Not via courier. Not in person."
Boleski had nothing he could reasonably say to that, so he defaulted to a simple. "Yes, milord."
"How does it look like the war is going?" Raziel said, gesturing to the battlefield. A single battle brother was walking along with a flamer, setting all the ork corpses alight to prevent their spread.
"Begging your pardon, milord," Boleski said, "but...how did you do it?"
Raziel looked down at him, a mere mortal, and grinned. "Why don't you tag along, Captain - we're about to do it again. Then you can bring some tales back to satisfy VonGrune."
This game marks the second game in a campaign narrative arc against Roboknee. You can read about it all here
, but basically the orks are retreating in disarray and have managed to make a firebase as a last ditch attempt to stall my advance. Deathwatch BattalionHQ
Watch Master Raziel (Warlord: Lord of Hidden Knowledge)
Watch Captain w/Jump Pack, Relic Blade, Stormbolter (Bane Bolts of Eryxia)Troops
Primaris Kill Team w/5x Intercessors (Sarge w/Chainsword), 3x Hellblasters (Plasma Incinerators)
Primaris Kill Team w/5x Intercessors (Sarge w/Power Fist), 2x Aggressors (Boltstorm Gauntlets)
Primaris Kill Team w/5x Intercessors (Sarge w/Chainsword), 2x Aggressors (Boltstorm Gauntlets)Elites
Venerable Dreadnought w/Twin Lascannon, Missile Launcher
5 Terminators w/Stormbolters, PowerfistsFast Attack
3x Inceptors w/Plasma ExterminatorsTransports
Razorback w/Twin Lascannon
Razorback w/Twin LascannonOrk Garrison ForceBad Moon BattalionHQ
Warboss w/Killa Klaw, Kustom Shoota, Attack Squig (Warlord: Invul Save Thing) on Warbike
Big Mek w/Kustom Force FieldTroops
10 Shoota Boyz
10 Shoota Boyz
10 Shoota BoyzHeavy Support
3 Smasha Gunz
3 Smasha Gunz
15 LootasEvil Sunz BattalionHQ
10 Nobz w/Power StabbasHeavy Support
Battlewagon w/Ard Case, DeffrollaFlyer
Dakkajet w/6x SupaShootasMission, Terrain, and Deployment
As indicated by the campaign, the next mission was a basic Secure and Control with Search and Destroy as the deployment type. The terrain was rocky, hilly, and mostly open. There was a very large hill in the NE quadrant with a little forest on top, hills in all four corners, a small scrub/cover area at about board center, and a bunch of rocks and ridges. My opponent won the deployment roll, and he chose the NE quarter, giving him access to the huge hill.
The orks deployed the Battlewagon with its payload of nobz in the Tellyporta (question just occurring to me: does the Power Level of the embarkees count towards the total power level of things being put in the tellyporta?). The six Smasha Gunz got placed in the western half of the big hill and the Lootas crowded into the forest on the little knoll at the very top. Two groups of ten grots screened these from the front and the three small groups of shoota boyz deployed up the eastern half of the hill. The Big Mek with his forcefield deployed so as to shield all the big guns and the Lootas. The two ork psykers and the warboss sort of deployed at the center of the big hill-fort. Finally, the third group of grots took up space in the backfield and claimed the objective (which my opponent placed at the far NE corner) and the Dakkajet deployed at the eastern board edge.
As deployment went on, it became clear that my opponent was using the hill and therefore wound up very, very close to me. Ordinarily this is good for orks, but not so with an army of orks like this, which is barely bringing any close combat oomph. I decide, then, to deploy as close as possible myself, so as to come to grips with the enemy very quickly. The Dread and two Razorbacks formed a gunline behind a ridge just by my objective, which I placed atop the ridgeline and pretty far forward. The Hellblasters and one Aggressor Kill Team deployed right at the front, close enough to move into cover on turn 1. The second Aggressor unit deployed along the western edge of my DZ, pretty far forward, too. The Inceptors hid behind a giant rock and the Jump Captain deployed just behind the Aggressors in the center. The Watch Master hung back, deploying on the objective and remaining close enough to grant his re-roll bubble to much of my army. The Terminators would teleport strike.
DeploymentSeems like we're playing a game of "King of the Mountain"My plan, at this point, is "GO GET 'EM"The Orks bring air support!Turn 1
I finished deploying first by about 3 drops and the orks fail to seize the initiative, so I go first. Malleus Tactics are in effect, since pretty much everything of consequence the enemy has is a heavy support slot. Target priority goes like this: Lootas first, then Smasha Gunz, then deal with the Battlewagon when it shows up. Had the Battlewagon started on the board, target priority might have been a little harder to manage, so that was something of a gift on the part of my opponent.
All kill teams move forward, with the Hellblasters and center Aggressors moving into the shrubs at board center and the east Aggressors swinging wide on the advance. The Aggressors are tasked with removing the grot screen, which they do in very short order, and some of the overflow firepower kills 4-5 Lootas on the hill (I massively overkilled the grots, which is a bad habit that I'll need to address some other time). The Hellblasters took most of the wounds off one Smasha Gun and killed a couple more Lootas. That gun was finished off by the Inceptors, who jumped forward, and they also killed an additional gun. A third Smasha gun was wiped by the lascannons on by backline, despite some good force field saves by my opponent. Finally, the Watch Captain scored 3 more wounds on the Lootas (thanks to the Bane Bolts!), leaving only 5 Lootas left, two of which ran away at the end of the round's shooting. This was a very, very solid round--my top two target priorities badly damaged if not crippled, and not a dangerous counterstrike possible that I could see from my opponent.
Top of Turn 1Forward!Imagine smoking wreckage here
In the bottom of the turn, my opponent does his damndest to wipe out the eastern Aggressor squad, which has no cover. The Dakkajet, one group of twenty orks (two groups of 10 that Mobbed Up), the remaining Lootas, two smites, and a couple Smasha Gunz later and there is one Aggressor that just WILL NOT DIE. Also of note, in their haste to get off their super-smites, the two weirdboys each do 3 wounds to themselves by channeling too much warp energy for their tiny brains to cope with.
Irritated by the last Aggressor's stubborn refusal to die (he made, like, 5-6 saves without a fail), the Warboss shoots at him (to no avail) and charges the Inceptors, which he slaughters in short order and then consolidates into the lone Aggressor (who chokes on both powerfist attacks). Surely he should fail his 6-casualty morale test! But no, he Knows No Fear (says so right on his Datasheet), so the Aggressor survives the round to my extreme surprise.
Finally, one last Smasha Gun smashes one Inceptor in the other Aggressor Kill Team. Battle Brother Todd is tossed over the horizon, to the mute appreciation of his brothers. He will be found later stuck head-down in a bog, calmly awaiting rescue.
Bottom of Turn 1The Lone Aggressor Lives!Turn 2
I'm expecting the Battlewagon to show up at the end of this turn, so I need to tie up some loose ends. First off, my durable Aggressor falls back from combat so that the mostly intact Aggressor Kill Team can blow the Warboss off the board, which they do. The Lascannons and Hellblasters keep trying to kill Smasha Gunz and are less successful this turn thanks to that damned force field and they only manage to ace one of them. The Intercessors in the Hellblaster group shoot at the mobbed up shootas, killing about 6 or so.
The terminators dropped in along the eastern edge of the board, pretty close to the back end of the mob of 20 and the backfield grots. Their shooting finishes off the remainder of the 20 boyz (less the Nob, who just ran away) and then they charged and thoroughly squashed the grots, giving them good position to threaten the ork artillery in succeeding turns.
Finally, the Watch Captain shoots down the remainder of the Lootas and charges both the Weirdboy and Warphead. He kills the Weirdboy with no trouble and then piles into the Warphead, who does two wounds to him before I spring Honor Your Brothers and attack again, killing him, too (two psykers in one round? Not bad.). He then makes the error of consolidating into the next group of 10 orks, who manage to drag him down with sheer numbers. The guy had a good run, though.
Top of Turn 2My terminators haven't been painted yet. Sorry.
In the bottom of turn 2, I've done *tremendous* damage to the orks, but my opponent wants to play it out another turn or so to see how things go. First off, the Dakkajet sees an opportunity to strafe my Watch Master, who was getting a little cocky and standing by his lonesome halfway between the kill teams and the gunline. The ork pilot zeroes his sights and pulls the trigger, doing 9 wounds! I save 8 of them. EIGHT! For those of you who know me, this pretty much never
happens to me, since I roll armor saves like a chump. But not today!
My good luck continues as the Battlewagon drops in very close to the Hellblasters and I get off an Auspex Scan that does a whopping 6 wounds to the vehicle before it can even charge and then, when it *does* charge, they do another 2 wounds--half the thing's wounds accounted for in the ork turn! It does then proceed to grind up three marines and the orks inside use Boarding Action to stab a few more guys, killing 1 more, which is unfortunate, but my unit is still there and the Battlewagon is in precarious shape.
The Smasha Gunz kill one Terminator in their backfield and the remaining shoota boyz take off one more wound with their guns. They charge and do no damage, however, and the Terminators respond by killing 6. Three of the remaining 4 orks run away, leaving me with a nob tying my termies up in combat which, while irritating, is not that big a deal overall.
Bottom of Turn 2Getting it from both endsTurn 3
In my third turn, the three dual lascannons lined up make very short work of the Battlewagon. The Nobz that pile out of the wreckage use the Loot It stratagem to earn themselves a MEQ save, but they can't withstand three Aggressors and four Intercessors firing Special Issue Ammunition, losing 2 to the exploding Battlewagon, five to the shooting, and then another two when the Aggressor Kill Team charges. The remaining Nob runs for the hills.
The Terminators crush the nob tying them up and consolidate toward the Smasha Gunz. I can't kill another Smasha Gun this turn, despite my efforts. At this point, seeing he only has a flyer, a Big Mek, and two artillery pieces left, my opponent concedes.
Top of Turn 3Final Score
Deathwatch: 6 (1 objective, First Blood, Warlord, and Linebreaker)
Roboknee and I had a frank conversation after the game in which he expressed how helpless he felt against the withering offense of the Deathwatch. Aggressors with Special Issue Ammunition rip straight through any non-vehicle they face, and my anti-tank capabilities are no slouch either, thanks to my gunline of 6 lascannons, not to mention a fair amount of plasma hanging around. Oh, and Tempest Shells (I forgot--my Watch Master used them twice during the game, both time scoring 3 mortal wounds). Clearly he needs a totally different strategy, but is at a loss for what to do. My instinct says more Trukks and more Buggies and more Power Klaws, but I confess to not being an ork player.
Larger than that, I think my opponent made two mistakes here. First was deploying very, very close to me. Given that I was almost guaranteed first turn, a more conservative deployment was preferable. He ranged me with his big guns and could have taken advantage of that. Second, I think, was putting the Battlewagon in reserve. True, I could have killed it turn one, maybe, but consider how much firepower that would take (I fired a rapid-fire volley from my Hellblasters and all 6 lascannons to take it out) that would not, then, have ripped through his artillery line. There's something to be said for saturating the board with important targets. This is a strategy I use myself (I take two Aggressor units here for a reason) and has worked well for me over many editions, so I suspect it might work well here. Or maybe not.
As for my own force, I have few complaints. My dice were hot, all units performed their duty admirably, and while there were a couple niggling details I could improve (be more aware of flyer strafing; don't put the sergeant with the powerfist in the unit you know is going to get hit first, don't consolidate into fresh enemies if they have a lot of attacks), but otherwise all was well.
Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!