Flight of the 2nd-into the jaws of death. A 5700Pts apoc report

Wow, what a game! Fought out at Warhammer world, lee Bedford and I played out one of the most exciting games of 40k either of had been part of. It’s cinematic feel and epic sweeping moves took the apocalypse format as it was meant to be played. We tried, and in my humble perspective, to recreate an epic struggle for a bridge. Looking like part of wider campaign we set the objective before the game to help forge a narrative.this helped plan the game and the lists we took.

The battlefeild

The forces.
This was an epic clash between ultramarines and imperial guard. Both using the current 7th ed codex and rules.

The 1st Albion army of lord Bromhead.
Lees army was huge! Centred around 2 Superheavy tanks (baneblade and stormlord) was a solid gun line. 6 tanks, with pask in a punisher (Lees favoured unit) 3 basalisk, 3 hydra, 2 large troop blocks, and a host of characters, including Yarrick. In reserve was a host of 10 scions (2×5), 20 vets 2×10), 6 snipers and 2 flyers. We had to expand the deployment zone to fit it all in. To cap off his list the knight ‘pride of Albion’ took his place supporting the storm lord.

2nd company ultramarines
Lead by Cato sicarius, the ultramarine force was dominated by airpower. Central to the plan was a thunderhawk. Supported by 5 other flyers that transported a big part of the force . Taking over half of the 2nd company, 2 squads of 1st comp and a couple of dreads, the army was highly mobile. In support, a pair of house verdan knights and demios pred excutioner.

Deployment and table.
We played on the bridge of J’migan, a 6 x 12 board, the central feature of which was a 4′ long bridge. At each end was an objective marker, with the 3rd in center. The game was simple. Take the bridge. Each marker was worth a single point. Victory was won or lost by taking the J’migan bridge.

Ultramarine Deployment

To speed up deployment, we both set up at the same time. The ultramarines spread out over their 18″ deployment zone, really quiet thinly, with lots in reserve. The guard filled their zone with a sea of men and tanks. Split in to 2 forces, you could see his plan. The bane blade, pask (with 2 other tanks) Yarrick and a large blob of men took the road to the bridge. The storm lord, along with 3 more tanks, the knight and Bromhead took the open ground to the right of the bridge. His 6 support tanks took up places at the back. His deployment took a while, so I went for coffee. To add a small surprise I infiltrated tactical squad 4 w/multimelta on the Aquila emplacement to the left of his deployment. (Using sicarius battle hardened skill)

Imperial Deployment

Turn 1
We rolled for 1st turn and the ultramarines won. My act of this game was to declare devastator tactical doctrine. My first move was to drop some diversionary troops into his army, drop podding with a devastator squad was always going to be a risk, but as they could move and shoot this turn, it was worth the risk. The squad had been split into 2 squads, las cannons in 1 and heavy bolters in the second. My army at the other end of table slowly advanceds, but nothing was in range. The devs and tactical of the diversionary squads took a few shots, killing a hydra and taking a hull point off the 1st bask. This left it unable to shot this turn.

Ultramarine turn 1

Imperial turn 1 was a slow advance, with little shooting. The basalisk took a hp off a rhino, and he also shot at the division force, kill 6 from the tactical squad and 5 dev marines. My plan to divert actually worked. He turned around 3 leman Russ tanks to deal with dev squad and this would effectively keep them out of the game. He also tried some psychic powers, with little effect.

Score 0-0

Turn 2
Turn 2 saw the much anticipated arrival of a Thunderhawk. The massive model flew 36″ and was still pretty much out of range. Along side it came the fireraptor and stormwing, the 1st time I used this formation. It won’t be last either! Only the stormeagle didn’t arrive. Back down at the other end of the table, I dropped in the 2nd pod, this time with 10 sternguard and a 10 man assault squad, split into combat squads. The locator beacon on the first pod was very useful for this deployment. The combined diversionary force now stood at nearly 1000pts. The shooting phase this time was a bit better. The hawk, only in range with the dorsal cannon blew up a single guardsman and took the fists hull point off the storm lord. The knights hit out out their erstwhile brother machine, taking a hull point of the walker.

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The distraction force ripped into the guardsman, slaying over 20. The sternguard killed off the auto cannon squads, the devs combat squad with las cannons, spinning on the spot took a pot shot at the bane blade taking a hull point. I also charged into the side of a bask with the remaining marine from the dev combat squad near the center of the board. He then spent 4 turns trying to harm it! He took 2 of the 3 hp by the end turn 6!

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The guard responded with a slow advance. Both flyers arrived, but lee forgot to roll for reserves on a vet squad and both scions squads. The armour on the bridge took let rip, causing lots of wound. The storm lord opened up at a rhino. I’d love to say the plucky little tank held up, but no. It was shredded. The crew got out ok, but it’s game was over. As in over killed. It was an awesome dice roll from, the 15 s6 hits was great fun for lee to roll, with more than a little look of glee! In the psychic phase, lee shot of a power, killing nothing, but rolled 2 6s. He was killed before Yarrick shot him. The basalisk all took exception to cato’s rasorback, taking a hull point and making it unable to shoot for a turn. For those that have fought his basalisk, you’ll know that by now, all would normally be dead or the targets would be inside the minimum range. On this table however, they dominated the shooting for the whole game.

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Score 0-0

Turn 3
Arriving in the 3 turn was the last if the airpower, the stormeagle stuffed to capacity with the terminators. It swept in at full speed, dropping the chance to shoot, but catching up with the rest of the airpower. With movement complete, Every other unit shot at the enemy, slowly whittling down the hull points spread across the board.

The thunderhawk blew up a few tanks, it was finally living up to promise. The marines inside were itching to get on the ground, but the river, that we had decided was impassable, was to wide. By turn 3, the hawk was still 8″ from the other side!

Hi lights from shooting was death of the vendetta and the ending of the last of the hydra guns. (While I didn’t kill the tank, but the maingun was gone! ) The sternguard killed of more troops and the last of missile squads died. In the assault phase the assault squad with flamers charged into the guard, killing 5 of them, including Yarrick! The rest of the squad went off to kill the last of the Leman Russ demolishes. The thunder hammer came into its own, smashing the tank to bits.

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Turn 3 for the guard was a mixed affair. Remembering that he hadn’t rolled for his reserve troops. Getting them this turn, they tried to retake his deployment zone. The scions killing not only an assault marine, but also 2 sternguard. His veterans also took a pop shot at 1st company veterans, with no effect. His other vets just jumped out of the Valkyrie taking on the tactical squad blown out of the rhino last turn. Pask and his unit took the first strategic vp of the game!

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The storm lord took aim at the hawk, taking off a whole heap of hull points, with 4 left after the turn. The knight took more hp off the opposing paladin. The basilisk killed the demios before it could unleash it’s conversion Beamer. The 2 artillery shots blew it apart with some great accuracy. The shoots, both over 100″ hit, the second earth shaker killing it.

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At the start of combat, Yarrick got back up only to die a second time.

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Score 1-0

Turn 4
My plan for turn 4 was to start the charging. The Ravens dropped centurions and the ironclad. The hawk was due to drop it’s marine cargo. Sadly, I couldn’t as it was still in the river, so it couldn’t drop into hover mode. Instead, moving 12″ it was now directly over the storm lord.

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The knights took the SVP on my side of the bridge and took aim at the pride of Albion. The sternguard at the far end of the table killed a unit of scions, the elites of the 1st company showing the scions what true elites did in battle. Across the board the ultramarines showed their dominance, but the 2 Superheavy tanks still held the ground. The storm lord in particular looking like the king of this battle. I really needed to die! Unloading on the Vulcan tooting behemoth. It still had 6 left and was still in this fight.

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His 4th turn had single objective. Kill the Thunderhawk! His forces moved in to position to line up as many shots as possible. His 3 sentinel moved to get a clear shot. Pask and the remaining tank all lined up for a shot and the big blue.

Shooting phase from the guard was so much fun. Unloading almost his entire army at hawk. With 4 hull points left it was close to crashing, but it held on in there. After 65 shots, it was down to 1 hull point. The entire army had fired and only the Baneblade’s main gun was remaining. The 10″ blast s9 shot couldn’t harm the hawk, but it’s coaxial auto cannon could. The dilemma was simple. Waste his main gun shot and target the hawk on the slimmest of chances or stick to his plan and kill some ground troops.

After some thought he picked up the 2 dice for the auto cannon. Needing 6s to hit and not being twin linked , he rolled to hit his 66th and 67th shot. The last of the dice to come to rest was a 6! Rolling to pen, he got a 5! It was done! The fatally wounded hawk peeled to the left, crashing on the river bank. 18 of 20 marines died in the explosion and the cry from lee was simple. “Thunderhawk down!”

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Combat saw fights across the board and the battle had, at this point, split into 3 games. In his deployment zone, the vets were unable to charge the sternguard, the combat with Yarrick vs the assault marine finally ended, with Yarrick out for a 3rd time, the rest of that blob of troops killed the last of the assault squad. To the other end of the table, the marine tactical squad struggled to kill off the last of the Valkyrie vets, the flyer having returned to air in pursuit of the contemptor mortis.

After a massive turn for guard, turn 5 would be critical for the game.

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Score 1-1

Turn 5
While the attempt to kill the hawk was awesome, it left most of my force un scratched. There would be revenge! The eagle dropped in to hover mode, disgorging the terminators, the other flyers took aim at the storm lord. The centurions lined up to kill the bane blade. The 2 remaining marines from the hawk, a sgt with a power fist and melta gun worked their way back towards the stormlord. The knight paladin took the center of the bridge, it’s errant compatriot taking the other end of the bridge.

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Shooting saw everything in range take out the storm lord. The titanic explosion killed a terminator and both surviving marines. The pride of Albion also died knee deep in the mud of the river, a blast into its un shielded flank from the thermal cannon. The mortis dread, taking it’s only shots in the game killed the Valkyrie. Shots that could not hit The stormlord all went into killing Bromhead and the guard commander died in revenge for ordering the targeting of the hawk. The sternguard killed off the kilt vets and the Lascannon toting devs took out a basalisk.

By now the guard ranks were looking thin and combat saw the death of remaining scions. The centurions charged the bane blade, taking the hulking tank to its last few hull points. Killing 2 superheavies in a turn was a good results, but killing a 3rd was beyond even the mighty ultramarines.

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The guard, feeling that the battle was lost, tightened their belts and dug in. The last of the troops all took up defensive positions. The only survivor of the exploding stormlord was a mortar team, who facing 9 terminators, still didn’t run. The baneblade killed the hovering eagle, and along with pask killed the paladin knight. The explosion did not affect any troops, but the loss did free the SVP.

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Combat saw the final death of the veterans from the valk. The Yarrick again got back up. Despite the losses, this game was still close!

Score 1-1

Turn 6
It was nearly 7 hours after we first arrived. Over 5000pts worth of casualties had been removed, including 4 superheavies. And yet the score still stood at 1-1! Turn 6 really would make the end of this titanic struggle!

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With extreme prejudice, all the fliers took up positions to kill survivors, the errant knight surged forward to take the central bridge SVP. Cato’s razorback took the SVP at the marine side of the bridge, it’s command squad and warlord having got out 2 turns ago to try to kill the valk. The command squad now held some ruins on the bank of the river. The librarian supported by the infitrating combat squad (remember them from turn 1? No? Neither did we!) took the SVP on the guard end of the bridge.

The shooting phase saw a clinical removal of threats, the largest of which was pask and his unit. The errants thermal cannon taking both out.

Combat saw the death of baneblade, the explosion kill 2 of the centurions.

The guard had been broken, but still fought on. And in a display worthy of mention, killed Cato sicarus, again with a display of outstanding artillery. A basilisk shot hitting the commander of marines. With Most of his force dead only Yarrick, a wounded basilisk and a few other bits remined. The bridge had fallen, the ultramarines were swarming over the table and the battle was lost. But still, Thunderhawk down!

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Final score 0-3, Ultramarine win!

Conclusions
I hope you got a feel for the passion of this game. Such cinematic moments, great movement and real drama. The 2 armies looked great in such numbers. The 6 superheavies were awesome to use, but they didn’t dominate the game. Other smaller units hard their parts in the story. Here are my hi-lights.

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-the super accurate basilisk! They really came into their own this game.
-the lone marine trying for 4 turns in vain to kill a basilisk with crack grenades.
-the combat between 7 marines a 1 guard vet that took 3 turns of combat to resolve!
-the only shot from a hydra, a heavy bolter, trying to kill a talon.

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The star of the game for me was the battle to kill the hawk. It was such drama and so close, it made the game for lee, and I, despite losing my hawk, really enjoyed the spectacle of the attempts to kill it.

We both forgot bits of army, with both made mistakes, but the game allowed for that. I really enjoy fighting lee in 40k, his approach is to make games as much fun as possible. Both lists were full fluff based, fully painted and driven by the narrative. This drove the game and by focusing the story on the bridge, led to an epic clash!!

Till next time, see you all across the battle table.

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