Mazarius directed his force to rendevouz with the Devastator Squad and Ravenwing scouts near the crystal-ore fields. He'd deployed his heavy weapons squad there upon arrival weeks ago in order to defend a semi-valuable resource that is used to fuel fusion reactors. Fighting eastward through the plains and woods, the two armies had come to these fields by chance. Mazarius felt proud of his strategic deployment only now and was determined to hurt the renegades again. Deny them fuel, ambush and weaken the force, and take more supplies- all objectives he and his force could accomplish, he thought. After a few days march, they'd found the likely battlesite and established their line. Mazarius, riding with the combat squad serving as his command unit in their Razorback, took the west flank and parked behind the woods and boulder. He didn't want to lose the initiative right away by getting his wheels blown up. He told his Devastator squad to set up on the eastern hill and observe and engage anything in the north. Unfortunately, the squad was unclear on instructions and deployed themselves behind the hill, seeing nothing but a grassy slope. Mazarius cursed at himself. Rashiel stood behind the massive clutch of crystals piercing the sky in the center of the battlefied, enjoying the beautiful sight and shielding himself from fire. The Tactical Squad split into section A and followed the Razorback on foot, while section B covered the eastern approach and the wooded cover. It was a setup that made Mazarius anxious, especially knowing that his Land Speeder would come screaming in at the right time. This battle was going to be bloody, that much the Master planned for and more.
When the morning sky had just begun to brighten past pitch black, the Word Bearers had appeared on the battline. The 1st Coterie had taken position with their objective atop the eastern hill, while the 2nd had taken approach over the western hill. In the middle strode the massive metal beast, the Defiler. No sign was seen of the Daemon Prince, probably still very anguished over his defeat. Unfortunately, darkness soaked the battlefield as the sun rose, so it could be anywhere...
Having the advantage of position, Mazarius launched his attack suddenly. Section B, under cover of darkness, advanced in a line- point man moving towards the woods. Unable to see anything in the trees, they established fire lanes and stood to. The Devastator Squad, meanwhile, had to advance up the slope of the hill and gain better firing positions. Sergeant Midas was less than happy with his squad, but at least they'd gained control of their objective pile. Rashiel marched foward and took up position behind the crystals, making sure to use cover as he advanced on the enemy. Firing his Assault Cannon at the marines on the western hill, he felled one. It was first casualty! Meanwhile, Mazarius, his Razorback, and Section A sped towards the western woods and established a defensive position. Taking aim with the Lascannons, the crew of the tank fired at the Defiler and actually succeeded, or so they thought. The darkness had tricked them and the daemonic walker was not there anymore. Mazarius looked at his Sergeant and sighed. It seemed that darkness mattered to laser weapons...
Not standing around to be shot, the 2nd Coterie advanced towards the woods, thinking to sneak upon the Dark Angels and overtake those supplies. Taking snap-shots through the trees at movement beyond, they were able to fell one. Casualties had been returned and the battle began in earnest. The Defiler took a bead on the Razorback in the distance and fired its massive cannon. The shell was on target despite the darkness and filled the quiet morning air with a bass that shook the trees. When the smoke cleared and the situation was assessed, it was found that two of section A's number were caught in the blast, but miraculously the tank survived. The reaper rounds simply pinged off the armor, knocking off a chunk and some machinery, but doing no real damage. The 1st Coterie stood and aimed a Krak Missle right at the Dreadnought's advancing form, but the missle did nothing as it smashed into the thickest armor and exploded with no impact. It appeared that the darkness was a friend of the Dark Angels after all! Of course, the sun crested the horizon and took that advantage away.
The remaining marines and sergeant from section A advanced into the woods, firing their weapons into the Chaos marines just beyond and felling two. Mazarius simply observed, waiting to see when that cursed Daemon Lord would appear. The Dreadnought advanced from behind the crystals towards the chaos squad in the west, firing with his Assault Cannon and killing another one. Rashiel was advancing with reason, his anger at being so ignominously destroyed days before (the serfs had emptied the stores to make him battle-worthy). His rage carried the massive armored form foward. Meanwhile, the Devastators fired at the Chaos Marines who stood tepidly at the edge of the trees. Adding their firepower to that of section B, they successfully killed the three that had entered the woodline. That squad, the 2nd Coterie, had found these woods to be cleverly evolved Razorvine trees, capable of ripping even a marine apart. The Aspiring Champion, watching the three morons in the woods die, ordered the rest of the squad to walk around the woods. It would take them to the easternmost flank of the battlefield, keeping them from aiding the rest of the force, but the champion was determined to take some supplies and exact revenge on these loyalist scum. The Defiler, sensing his allies advancing, slowly strode toward the center of the battlefield and levelled a battlecannon shot at the Razorback. Striking the front armor and easily penetrating, the tank was damaged again but continued to operate, barely. The 'Mouth' roared displeasure. Seeing this damage, the 1st Coterie advanced down the hill and into the trees, hoping to close fast and kill the captain. Firing a Missle into the Dreadnought, they destroyed it with an explosion that shattered some of the natural crystals. The battle had become one of attrition too fast for Mazarius' liking.
The Land Speeder finally screamed onto the battlefield, flying in from the western quadrant and aiming directly at the advancing squad of renegades. Unleashing a punishing array of Assault Cannon and Heavy Bolter rounds, the gunner watched as three enemy were annihilated. Section A, still in the woods, shot and focussed on the same unit, felling another one. It was looking as though the Dark Angels would take the western flank and steal the objective! Taking revenge for destroying the Dreadnought again, the Lascannons from the limping Razorback fired at the Defiler. The bolt must have struck something vital since the machine was knocked backwards and remained motionless afterwards. The Daemon-tank was wrecked! The 1st Legion's luck continued as the Devastators and section B again targetted the onrushing Chaos squad. Firing instantly, the two units resulted in the death of three more Chaos Marines. Luckily, the battle to hold off and destroy the advance was working, and still no sight of the Daemon Prince.
Finally emerging from behind the hills came a screaming squad of Possessed, utterly lacking in discipline or combat knowledge. It was clear that the bodies of these monsters was no longer that of their mortal owners. They dashed across the battlefield, heading for the western woods where some hapless victims waited. Charging straight past the Razorback and leaping effortlessly through the trees, they charged and easily shredded section A. The sergeant, wielding a Power Fist, didn't even survive long enough to swing twice, killing only one. The 1st, not to be outdone by their more beastly counterparts, crawled through the trees and blasted the Razorback with their Plasma Gun. The white-hot bolt seared straight into the armor and melted the vehicle's flank, forcing Mazarius and his unit to disembark. Following through with the momentum, the Chaos squad charged out of the trees and attacked the bone-armored Captain, only to hear the obligatory challenge. The Aspiring Champion, sporting his massive Power Fist, stepped foward and found himself skewered immediately. The rest of the command squad fought bravely, killing one but losing two in return. The Dark Angel captain refused to run. Kharsis, the Daemon Prince, leapt in from the western flank, towering above this scrum and impatiently waiting for an openning. Clever movement by the Dark Angel kept his chaos marines in the way. Finally, the Chaos Lord saw another target and wandered off.
The Ravenwing Land Speeder, seeing the Daemon Prince fly over the woods and land near the Captain, flew wide and decided to light up the Possessed in the trees. Deft flying and good aim saw perfect hits, but no damage. The pilot even managed to halt his skimmer just far enough away to avoid getting charged by their targets and planned to turn and help Master Mazarius by providing cover fire. Before he even had time to react, the Daemon Prince flew back over the woods and slashed the Speeder in half from above! The monster stood over the downed vehicle and screamed with rage and elation. But the Dark Angels fought on, the Devastators and section B firing at the relentlessy oncoming Chaos Squad. Felling another, it wasn't enough as the squad was suddenly assaulted by the surviving three renegades. Losing horrendously, the four marines of section B fled from the battlefield, unable to handle the ferocious charge. Just then, the sky began to darken with eerie clouds the color of metal. The Dark Angels knew of the strange weather of this planet, but both armies were equally worried. Mazarius gave the order for 'final stand' and renewed his strength in his fight with so many Chaos Marines. Determined now to end the battle quickly, he and his sergeant killed half the squad in an instant and chopped down the rest as they tried to run. Filled with adrenaline and focussed on his mission, the Master and his sidekick charged towards the enemy objective on top of the hill, only to be intercepted...
Kharsis, worried that the storm would open up and wreak havoc to his force that he couldn't handle right now, turned and flew straight for the Devastator Squad overlooking the Dark Angel's stash. Seeing his three Chaos Marines closing on the same position from the east, he waited patiently for the unit to charge. After all, he gains glory by sharing it. The Daemon Prince waited for a lifetime, in warp-time of course, before finally charging the heavy weapon-toting loyalists himself. Without any real effort, he cleaved the entire squad and celebrated by spreading his wings and howling at the darkening sky.
Master Mazarius, now only one of two active Dark Angels on the battlefield and with little time left to sieze victory, watched as Possessed emerged screaming from the trees to his left, and felt the shadows as mutated Chaos Marines with wings and chainswords fell in front of him. Surprised by the new opponent for only a moment, he charged in and swung his sword, but missed the nimble enemies. His sergeant faired slightly better, slicing one to death, but only in time to watch his captain finally succumb to a battle's worth of wounds, the final strike with the chainsword causing the heroic leader to fall to the ground, spent. Alone and demotivated, the Sergeant fought on, but the sky openned up with a lightning storm of dangerous levels. The Word Bearers simply turned and left (flying away in the case of Kharsis and the Raptors), seeking shelter in nearby caves. The last surviving Dark Angel Sergeant gathered up his wounded captain's body and began the trek to safer grounds...
We played 1000 points (now graduated to that level, but I have some more painting to do before we can get any higher), same armies (of course, it's a campaign!), and again the scenario Emporers Will. This time, the battlefield saw the center dominated by a massive crystal forest, with the north dominated by hills. Both flanks of the field saaw woods, with the eastern woods turning out to be razorvines and the western woods just normal trees. The southeastern corner of the battlefield had another hill, but the western side had only a massive boulder. As the Word Bearers always attacked from the north (some of y'all might know what I'm talking about :-) ), they had the most cover.
For our warlord traits, the Daemon Prince gained outflank while Mazarius attempted to redeploy three of the units (to no end). The Objectives were placed on hills in opposite corners (nw and se) with my brother and I simultaneously declaring "take the high ground!" We laughed, but it mattered.
My first turn wasn't great, as you saw, he just pounded away at me. By the end of the game, I had one remaining sergeant alive while EVERYTHING else was killed. Him killing the Devastator squad in the last turn was just icing on the cake, making the kill score 7-2 in his favour. It was a whoopin'. Luckily for me, this game isn't about killing, but about claiming objectives!
The end of the game saw neither of us claiming either one. My sergeant COULD if he were to survive three possessed and four raptors, and somehow then move another 3". His last three chaos marines COULD, if they had successfully charged the Devastators and then wiped them out, but a failed charge and a distance of 10" was too far to count. So it all came down to secondary objectives.
Of course the Word Bearers scored first blood, and of course they achieved slay the warlord, but he also finished with linebreaker while I was only inches away myself. So I lost 0-3, fair and square.
This game was actually quite good. The final score doesn't show it, but the battle report certainly does. We both admitted after the game that it was the best one so far. I loved the Daemon Prince suprising and smashing the Ravenwing boyz, and I especially loved the one-wound captain and his trusty sergeant finishing off one Chaos squad only to dash and charge some more! It was truly heroic. Next game should see some emboldened Dark Angels...
|The final view as we left for the night. What a bloody battle! And that tea was tasty, too...|