Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Invasion of Scipio - Chapter 3B - The Battle of the Eastern Valley

The stage has been set and the troops are in their positions, you can read about the scenario and setup here:

Today is the day of the liberation or destruction where the fate of the Delta Valley hangs in the balance;

The Imperium troops prepare for the assault.
Image of the Eastern valley showing cities and objectives.
The deployment of troops, the xenos are lying in ambush in the captured cities while the Imperial armour advances on the edge.

Imperial mechanised infantry on the right, super heavy tanks and war engines advance from the North simultaneously.

In the first turn, the xeno Trygons pop up and assault the Imperial Basilisk artillery. The help of the Imperial support tanks, Hydras didn't save the Basilisks from being wiped out in the first turn.

The xenos have hidden amongst the fortifications in the military zone and ruins, their heavy guns hiding out of site of the approaching troops. In the first turn, an Imperial orbital bombardment lands on the airfield at the top of the image scattering and shaking the bugs hiding there.
Without warning a formation of genestealers jumps out of the fortifications and assaults Imperial mechanised infantry.
The infantry doesn't have a chance to fire before they are engaged in close range combat with the genestealers, the results are not pretty and the majority of the Imperium troops that faced the assault are wiped out.

Meanwhile the super heavy tanks take fire from the long range guns of the Xenos and move out of engagement range of those genestealers. The Imperium forces were not expecting such a heavy onslaught this early, the xenos seem to have learned from their mistakes.

Meanwhile in the South, the Imperial Tank regiment finds itself surrounded as the Hydras are wiped out and the big bug comes out to hunt. They exchange fire with the Dominatrix while taking evasive manoeuvres.

Up North, the War Engine takes more shots and breaks, the Super Heavy Tanks are assaulted by another Trygon swarm that they manage to fend off. The Imperium is looking shaky and needs a morale boost.

The rumbling of distant helicopters can be heard and gradually build, just in time the Stormtroopers in their Valkyries are being deployed to save the day.
The stormtroopers land in the middle of the table to take an objective and clear out the enemy troops garrisoning it easily.

In the South, the tank regiment sees enemy closing on all sides and continues to take fire, they decide to retreat before their formation is broken.
The Valkyries release their rockets and break an enemy formation, the stormtroopers however are surrounded and assaulted by enemy xenos. 
The stormtroopers are in a fight for their life, they manage to hang out and throw back the waves of enemy bugs, just managing to hold onto their position. 

The thunderbolts in the centre right are sent in to provide fire support to the storm troopers, helping to break another enemy formation and provide an avenue for their escape.

As the game draws to a close, the tank regiment has met up with the war engines in the north as the combined force begins their retreat, the Imperium only contests two objectives while the Xenos still hold the majority of the cities in the Eastern Valley.

The stormtroopers have a brief respite where they abandoned their hopeless position and managed to capture the power plant. They have no supporting formations so their best hope is to hold on and take cover and wait for an evac.

Quiet falls over the Eastern Valley as the Imperial troops withdraw. Their air superiority and bombardment wasn't enough to kick out the dug in defenders who had apparently learned from their last encounter with Imperial troops. The fight for the Scipio valley will continue...

The map of the Delta Valley remains unchanged, the xenos have managed to hold onto the Eastern cities while the rest of the valley is in Imperium hands. Though the Imperial troops have lost this battle this was just the first hastily assembled assault, they are now assembling their reinforcements and orbital support to make another attempt at liberating their cities and relieving whatever citizens may have survived the horror.

Final thoughts: I played the Imperium this time and there were a few things I did wrong:
- First off my list didn't bring enough durable infantry to be able to survive the continuous assaults from the xenos. My opponent played very deftly and used the terrain to his advantage.
- Secondly, I had some really awful rolls on rallying which meant my thunderbolts, warhounds and super heavy tanks didn't get to really leverage their firepower.
- Lastly, in the previous game with a similar scenario, I gave the Imperium a bigger advantage in points to account for having to assault fortified positions.  I also forgot to give the defenders a +1 to hit for being in cover.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Invasion of Scipio - Chapter 3A - Preparations in the Eastern Delta Valley

After the surprise invasion by the Xenos captured many key cities in the Delta Valley:

The town of Gnaeus was liberated, by the Imperial troops who managed to secure superiority in air and space:

Now it's time to launch the counter-offensive on the eastern section of the Delta Valley to liberate the cities of Gisco and Barca and finish off the remaining invaders . Time is of the essence to launch this offensive while the defenders are isolated and without reinforcements from the hive fleet. The Imperial troops have gathered their Planetary Reserve forces supplemented by the heavy troops of the Imperial Rapid Response force.

The Imperial troops gather in their staging areas, while the titans conduct live fire drills in the background
This will be co-ordinated attack focused on liberating the eastern zone of the Delta valley, highlighted in red below. Xeno troops from Gisco and Barca will be able to support each other, therefore it is imperative to isolate each of these key locations and conduct the attack simultaneously.

The Imperial troops use dropships to quickly surround Gisco, however, during the invasion the xenos landed defence batteries in Barca preventing troop drops in the vicinity. Therefore the approach on Barca will be from the north by troops travelling overland.

Picture of the table set up based on the map above.
The scenario has 5 objectives, each is worth 1 victory point for the side that controls it at the end of Turn 3.
  • If the game is tied after Turn 3, regular EpicA rules apply for determining Turn 4 and a tie breaker
  • The Imperial troops have the initiative in this battle having complete air and space superiority, to represent this:
    • They can deploy anywhere in the designated blue areas, 15cm from the table edge.
    • Imperial troops can keep up to 1/3rd of their formations off-table and arrive on any table edge at the beginning of each turn. They don’t need to mark this in advance.
    • They have been given a 150 point advantage for an Lunar class orbital bombardment.
  • The Xenos are defending and can deploy anywhere in the infested areas highlighted in purple.
  • The defensive battery is immobile, and has a 45cm, AA5+, MW with the stats: DC2, 4+, RA. It is deployed next to an objective and is able to count towards capturing it.
  • Other rules follow the regular EpicA deployment procedure.

The hive mind has learned from the defeat and Gnaeus and is putting their troops into position to ambush the attackers

Army lists used for this battle are as follows:

Steel Legion, NetEA 3150 POINTS
REGIMENTAL HQ [525] - Supreme Commander, 12 Infantry, 7 Chimera, Chimera
TANK COMPANY [650] - 10 Leman Russ
SUPER-HEAVY TANK COMPANY [500] - Baneblade, 2 Shadowsword
STORM TROOPER PLATOON [350] - 8 Storm Troopers, Valkyrie Transport
ARTILLERY BATTERY [250] - 3 Basilisks
FLAK BATTERY [150] - 3 Hydra
ORBITAL SUPPORT [150] - Lunar Class
THUNDERBOLT FIGHTERS [150] - 2 Thunderbolts
THUNDERBOLT FIGHTERS [150] - 2 Thunderbolts

Steel Legion Infantry mustering for battle

Armour checking their comms and last minute maintenance checks.
Stormtroopers are ready for boarding onto the Valkyries

Tyranids, EpicUK, 3000 POINTS
NORMAL ASSAULT SWARM [225] - 2 Tyranid Warrior, 8 Termagant
NORMAL ASSAULT SWARM [225] - 2 Tyranid Warrior, 8 Termagant
NORMAL ASSAULT SWARM [225] - 2 Tyranid Warrior, 8 Termagant
BIG BRUTE SWARM [350] - 2 Hive Tyrants, 6 Exocrines
DOMINATRIX SWARM [500] - 1 Dominatrix
GENESTEALER SWARM [150] - 6 Genestealer
GENESTEALER SWARM [150] - 6 Genestealer
SPORE MINE SWARM [150] - 6 Spore Mine Clusters
SUBTERRANEAN SWARM [250] - 1 Trygon and 2 Raveners
SUBTERRANEAN SWARM [250] - 1 Trygon and 2 Raveners
SUBTERRANEAN SWARM [250] - 1 Trygon and 2 Raveners
NEST SWARM [275] - 4 Termagant, 4 Biovore

The hive is ready for upcoming onslaught
The report and results of the battle are given here:

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Invasion of Scipio - Chapter 2 - The Liberation of Gnaeus

This is the second battle in the Invasion of Scipio campaign. You can read about the introduction to the campaign here:
The initial space invasion here:
The defenders of Scipio barely had any time to take stock and consolidate their forces, they needed to conduct a counter attack on the cities that were overtaken during the invasion and were now being subject to unspoken horrors by the xeno invaders. They needed to do this immediately not only to relieve the populations of these cities but also while they had complete superiority in the space and air in the Delta Valley. There was no knowing precisely when reinforcements would arrive for either side of this conflict.

The xeno invasion wreaking havoc on the captured cities

Of the three cities that were captured by the invaders Barca would be the most difficult to counter-attack; during the initial invasion the xenos had dropped defense batteries that were effective in shooting down the drop pods that the defenders attempted to land. Many marines died in the skies over Barca before reaching the ground. This means that Barca would have to be taken overland from a northerly approach and thus time would be required to assemble the necessary troops.

Of the remaining two cities, Gnaeus was an isolated target and a smaller settlement, it would be easier to launch an immediate counterattack using launch troops and orbital support. Gisco would have to wait to be liberated afterwards; it was a much larger urban centre, it could be reinforced overland by xeno forces form Barca, and the dropships would need time to avoid the batteries there.

The map of the Delta valley after the invasion
Gnaeus is a commercial and industrial town surrounded by smaller villages and country side. With their complete superiority in space and the air, the Imperial fleet is able to surround the city, dropping troops on all sides and bombarding it from orbit in support of the counter-attack. In this scenario the Imperial troops are tasked with liberating the two key areas of Gnaeus, while the invaders have been cut off and are trying to defend their gains. The scenario is played using Epic Armageddon, with NetEA army lists as per below.
8 Exterminator, 2 Demolisher

8 Exterminator, 2 Executioner

3 Basilisks



10 Infantry, 5 Chimera

3 Salamanders, Salamander Command Vehicle
Emperor Class
3 Termagants, Dominatrix, 3 Hormagaunts

3 Termagants, 3x Tyranid Warriors, 3 Hormagaunts

3 Termagants, 3x Tyranid Warriors, 3 Hormagaunts
2 Termagants, Hive tyrant, 2 Carnifex, 4 Hormagaunts

2 Termagants, Hive tyrant, 2 Carnifex, 4 Hormagaunts

6 Geanstealers
5 Biovore

3 Exocrine
The Xeno defenders have encamped in Gnaeus, both in the eastern industrial district and the western commercial sector, while the Imperial troops have surrounded the town on three sides. The scenario provides one victory point (VP) for each sector of the city that is held by either side (circled in red), one VP for destroying the opponent's most valuable formation and one VP for capturing the opponent's blitz (circled in blue, this represents the supply line).  The game would last three turns, after which the VPs would be calculated.
The battle began with the Imperials moving their tank companies within shooting range of the towns while the Basilisks rained down some artillery fire: 
The alien defenders taking cover in the industrial sector. The biovores move to the edge of the sector to return fire on the artillery.

The firepower of the Imperial tanks proves to be overwhelming, even with cover they manage to destroy a hive tyrant that was the leader of the forward xeno formation.

The might and firepower of Imperial armoured vehicles.

Meanwhile in the western commercial sector, the Dominatrix is kept in reserve to counter the Imperial attack while another tank company advances on the town.

The tank company moves forward and takes fire from the exocrines but their return fire breaks the small exocrine formation. Meanwhile the Imperial salamander scouts advance to identify targets.

The Imperial salamander scouts got too close and underestimated the speed of the xenos, they are assaulted by a terrifying formation lead by a hive tyrant and carnifexes. The scouts are wiped out to a man, a heroic sacrifice for the planet.

At the end of turn one, the xenos have taken heavy losses from Imperial firepower but still have a grip on the sectors, the Imperial troops are moving forward slowly and cautiously. However, this is when the Imperial dominance over space really pays off. The Imperial troops call in an orbital bombardment on the industrial sector, soften up the target before moving to liberate the sector.
Coordinates and timing of the bombardment received by the Imperial space fleet.

 Bombardment launched, stunning the xeno troops fortified in the industrial sector and causing many losses.
On the other side of the battlefield, the dominatrix exchanges fire with the Imperial super heavy tank, baneblade, the first round of shots were inconclusive.

While the baneblade was focusing on the xeno war engine, the same formation advanced quickly and overwhelmed the tank, wiping it out.

Meanwhile the Imperial guard infantry, supported by their tanks assault, into the commercial sector. Being careful to stay out of close combat and using their firefight capabilities they push the defending xenos out of the town.

In the bombarded industrial sector, the Imperial tanks mop up the broken enemy formations. The remaining defenders fall back to get out of line of sight

At the end of the second turn the situation doesn't look good for the defenders, they are being pushed out of both sectors, their one formation that counter attacked attack was broken from short range fire from a tank company.

The third turn ended pretty quickly with the xenos limited in what they could accomplish due to many broken formations and the Imperial shadowsword killing off the dominatrix. The scenario was a 3-0 victory for the Imperials. Their firepower and the extra orbital bombardment were decisive in this battle. For my part I played the xenos wrong and should've started out of the enemy line of sight, forcing them to move forward to shoot me, I was relying on the cover of the urban terrain. I also deliberately didn't bring the best units I could've in order to replicate a
Gnaeus was liberated, and while the orbital bombardment devastated the industrial sector, it was critical in softening up the defenders and enabling to attackers to move in. The sector was back in Imperial hands and the rebuilding process could begin. Now onto the rest of the cities in the Delta Valley


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Invasion of Scipio - Chapter 1 - Planetary Invasion

Introduction and background to the campaign can be read here:
This game was played using Dropfleet Commander with each side commanding 999 points.
Standard scenario scoring was used with the space station being a critical location for the Xenos only.

The invasion of Scipio has begun, with the spearhead of the attack focusing on the resource rich Delta Valley. The planetary reserve forces combined with the Imperial Rapid Response force were able to muster a defensive battlegroup to meet the invasionary forces.

Imperial Rapid Response Force and Planetary Defense Space station deploy to meet the Invaders
The Delta valley has several strategically important cities, the most important is the city of Theseus which is central to the valley and contains the military, communications and orbital defences infrastructure. The other cities surrounding the valley contain key commercial and industrial assets.

Delta Valley and legend showing location and content of cities
Orbital defences in the stronghold Theseus
The defenders focused their forces centrally in the valley enabling them to react to any attack trajectory from a central strong point.  Meanwhile the invading force advance on each of the flanks, avoiding the orbital defences in favour of the softer civilian targets.

The Invader right flank, the Xeno heavy ships, Basilisk and Shenlong advance aggressively with their cloaking technology

On the Invader left flank, the cruisers and carriers advance towards the vulnerable sectors of Gnaeus.

The Imperial forces advance up the middle of the valley towards Theseus, the Atlantis battlecruiser on the far side holding up the Imperial left flank.
The xenos advance aggressively towards the civilian soft targets and trying to go around the Imperial flanks with their speed. They seem, however, to have underestimated the firepower that the Imperium has at it's disposal. The heavy cruiser Shenlong blows up to concentrated fire from the burnthrough laser of the cruiser Berlin and the supported by battlecruiser Atlantis. The terrible explosion also damages the Xeno battlecruiser Basilisk  which is left to spearhead the assault on the right flank.
Behind the spearhead advances the Xeno dropships and landers capturing the key assets at Gisco and Gnaeus.

The heavy cruiser Shenlong blows up in spectacular fashion as a result of concentrated enemy fire.

The Basilisk is now spearheading the attack and is in position to return fire at close range.

Xeno troopships advance behind the spearhead and capture soft civilian targets.
On the opposite flank, the defenders manage to secure Flavius with troops just in time as the invaders continue their advance up the flank. Once again firing at close combat turns decisive as the advancing attackers take long range fire from the cruisers the defenders but inflict terrible damage with their close action weapons and bombers launched from the cruiser Hydra.

The Xeno Djinn frigates and Wyvern cruiser get in range to use their close action weapons, supported by the bombers launched by the Hydra.

This flank turns into a stalemate as both sides shoot down each other's frigates and cruisers in mutual destruction. In the end the invaders manage to land some troops Flavius but they are quickly overwhelmed as the Imperials had managed to secure the objective in advance.

The invader left flank cancels out the defender right flank as both sides take heavy losses from the exchange in fire.

Over the skies of Flavius, the invaders try to land troops but to little effect as the defenders had time to prepare. 

Meanwhile in the middle of the board and on the invader right, the Basilisk manages to shoot down the Imperial cruiser Berlin and the Toulon frigates supporting it. However, the big guns of the Atlantis and the bombers launched by the Seattle finish the Basilisk off before it can do more damage.

The Basilisk goes out with a boom.
The destruction of the Basilisk leaves the remaining frigates and Chimera troopships of the attackers vulnerable. Knowing that their doom is pending these ships rush to their objectives and drop more troops on the undefended cities of Barca and Gisco. They are then shot out of the sky by the Imperial defenders, who were one turn too late to prevent the suffering of the populations of these cities.

Xeno dropships landing from atmosphere on their targets

Xeno troops get shot down in the process of capturing their final objectives. Gnaeus and Barca are now overcome, one can only imagine the horror of the inhabitants.
In the last turn the Imperial forces attempt to counter-drop troops on Barca, however the Xenos had anticipated this and dropped orbital defence guns which shot down the dropships as they were landing from atmosphere. The poor marines on those ships never had a chance before their ships were turned into burning wrecks.
The last of the attackers on the right flank drops troops to secure Barca

The Imperial troopships fall to heavy defensive fire as they try to land on occupied Barca.
In the battle's conclusion, the attacking force was destroyed almost to the last ship, but not before the invaders were able to land troops and capture Gnaeus, Barca and Gisco. It was a pyrrhic victory for the Imperial Rapid Response Force; it proved able at doing it's job in space and in the air, however, large parts of the Delta Valley have fallen to the invaders. It will now be up to the Imperial ground troops to retake these strategic areas, and they must do so quickly while they have complete superiority in air and space.

The next chapter in this war is set; the Xenos are busy wrecking terrible damage on the cities they have captured but have lost their fleet in the process, the Imperial troops now race to liberate these cities with the support of their spaceships. The Imperial troops await their reinforcements knowing that there will be an enemy relief force behind the first wave of the attack.......