Welcome one and all to a rather special battle report here on the Astronomican. Not only do we have a guest opponent, in the from of Zzzzzz from the blog Devos IV (go on, have a look), but also we also see the departure of my Saim-Hann army. Zzzzzz had travel through dark and blighted lands (read as Southern England) to pick up his new army and we though it would be only natural to have a small game to celebrate.
We also decided to play in a much more narrative way than I normally do. I've spent the last couple of years playing really competitive games, and only occasionally thinking up fun scenarios and just making stuff up on the spot. I want to thank Zzzzzz for making me doing it again, it was a load of fun (we both ended up making silly sound effects at all the right moments!). To that end, what follows is not a 'serious' battle report, but a roughly narrative account of what happened to the Praetorian 5th during their brief posting to Devos XIII...
The Battle of Silo XI
Dawn was just breaking when the close range auspex scanners of A Company (5th Praetorian Regiment of Foot) went dead. The order 'stand to' was given immediately, the garrison was ordered to take no chances with its precious charge - an ancient and rare planetary defence silo.
Suddenly out of the darkness two red shapes advanced at alarming speed. The Praetorians checked their lasguns and readied themselves. The xenos pirates had returned...
Despite their incredible speed one of the heretical craft was brought down by the steady aim of Medusa 323 (11th Siege Artillery). Pouring smoke the skimmer bailed onto the deck. However, to the dismay of the defenders, most of its passengers seemed to survive, the lithe blue-armoured shapes taking cover behind their craft.
As soon as the smoke began to clear, a second wave of xenos vehicle arrived, this time the sleek forms of multiple jetbikes and Vypers. Meanwhile the remaining tank from the first wave continued to flank the Imperial line.
However it was not all bad news, as Sir Xavier Marbo (Praetoria's stealthiest noble - previously a Hive Spyrer) revealed himself in the midst of the Eldar host. He desperately tried to buy some time for the defenders with a well placed demolition charge, but ultimately the speed of the aliens saved them, as they rose above the explosion.
Marbo belatedly reconsiders his heroism...
To make matters worse, Imperial fire from the defences was dismal. Despite overwhelming fire-power, both Infantry and Tank gunners were unable to touch the 'Falcon' pattern craft. On his position on the front line, Lieutenant Caine ordered his men to fix bayonets.
With a hail of Shuriken discs, the Wild Riders launched their first assault. Marbo was badly wounded by a torrent of fire from the warriors later identified as 'Dire Avengers', but managed to survive in his hastily built fox-hole.
All across the Ageis Defences brave guardsmen began to fall. 1st and 2nd squads were badly hit, and even the carapace armour of the Spireborn veteran squad could not stand the punishment, with several of the noblemen meeting their end in the dirt. Even Commissar Thorn almost fell, his mind probed by the sorcery of Eldar witch. Thankfully his faith in the Golden Throne saw him through.
This firefight was followed up by 3 of the Jetbikers assaulting the lines. Their brutal charge claimed two more brave lives for no loss. However, more shocking events were taking place further down the line.
In a totally incomprehensible move (at least from an Imperial mindset!) the Eldar 'Falcon' gunned its engines and drove itself directly at the Leman Russ holding the left flank. After a hurried order to brace, the crew felt the full impact of a surprisingly sturdy grav tank moving at insane speeds...and survived. Proving the superiority of Mechanicus designs, the Falcon slammed into the front of the battletank and proceeded to 'skim' of its hull, coming to a halt behind it. Indeed the true surprise was that Flacon suffered no fate worse than scratched paint.
Regardless of the tactical sense of the move, the line had been breached.
The Imperial response to the assault was swift and brutal. Back on the line, the brave men of 1st and 2nd Squads, backed up by Lieutenant Caine and Commissar Thorn, cut down the three jetbikers who had logded themselves in the Imperial bunker. With the rest of the Aliens out of reach, cowering behind cover, Commissar Thorn led the assault. He had decided if the enemy would not come to them, then the regiment would have to dig them out. The Spireborn and Officers would hold the line (and the cover).
Ultimately though, as brave as the charge was, Commissar Thorn was not to wittiness its end. With Shuriken to the left of them, Shuriken to the right of them, Skuriken to the front of them, the vast majoity of 1st Platoon was cut down. Commissar Thorn suffered an ignoble death when his Plasma Pistol blew up in his hand, resulting in massive burn trauma. The few survivors went to ground, stuck between the enemy and their own fortifications.
An overview of the battle
Over on the left flank both the Medusa and Leman Russ tired to finish their work with the Flacon, but yet again the Skimmer prevailed. The surviving crew were to receive numerous 'motivation details'. This would not include the crew of the Leman Russ, who promptly discovered why the Eldar Aspect known as 'Fire Dragons' were to be so feared.
They might have orange jumpsuits, but they still pack a punch!
After suffering such losses, the Officers once again rallied their men and began a renewed counter-attack. The Jetbikers had tasted victory and had rushed toward the silo - finally leaving them in the open. After negligible fire from what remained of the infantry, the Spireborn jumped the line and charged into the squad containing the Eldar Witch, whilst Marbo finally recovered his wits and charged the remaining jetbike squad. Following this example (and with Lieutenant Caine ordering them back into the fight), the survivors of 1st squad bravely charged the Dire Avengers.
The results of this charge were swift and brutal. Marbo, true to his reputation, was able to bring down all three of this opponents, and turned to advance on the alien Psykers. They were entangled with the Spireborn squad who had, despite some losses, killed all of the Wildrider escort.
This level of carnage seemed too much for the cowardly xenos. Despite being so very close to their supposed objective (only the men of 4th Squad stood in their way) they abandoned the assault on the Silo as swiftly as it had begun. Despite the cost paid by the men of A company, they had gained much glory for themselves, the Regiment and the Emperor.
A thorough review of the silo's defences were carried out after the battle, and significant improvements were enacted.
4th Squad push the Xenos off the Silo, securing the area for the Imperial Forces.
Awards and Dispatches
Lieutenant Caine - Honorifica Imperialis
Commissar Thorn - Medallion Crimson (Posthumously awarded)
Sergeant Williams (1st Squad) - Medallion Crimson (Posthumously awarded)
1st & 2nd Squads - Mentioned in Dispatches
An extract from the Military History of the 5th Regiment of Praetorian Foot
So there you have it, a narrative game and a narrative battle report. If you enjoyed that I suggest you check out this post on Zzzzzz's blog to see why the Elday didn't loose after all, pesky pointy ears! Here's hoping I see my old Eldar on his site some time soon, and get another chance to play a great game with him!
Meanwhile, I'll working on the new army that I have been able to buy due to the sale of the Eldar; more on that soon! I'll also be trying to design a new banner, without the Cosmic Serpent of the Saim Hann. Any input/banners would be graciously accepted!
Thanks for reading guys!