Planet: Khai-Zhann (Agri-world)
Location: Southern Rim – Ashshore district 13
“Command, this is sergeant Jeager, current commander of the 176th, 3rd company. Requesting permission to withdraw from district 14.”
Jeager put down the comms unit and waited for the reply.
How had everything gone so pear-shaped so quickly? What had seemed like a small rebellion had crushed the 176th. He was now leading a group of survivors, mostly comprised of 3rd company. All the officers were dead or wounded, and because of what had happened during the siege of the forward operating base, the men had looked to him as their leader.
He now had about a hundred people to protect and lead, about half of them wounded or civilians. He had to get them out of here before the renegades launched another attack.
A bullet from a sniper suddenly blew through a boarded-up window, interrupting his train of though. He picked up the comms unit again and keyed in HQ.
“I repeat, we are under heavy attack and have many wounded!”
“Negative 176. Hold position. 32/1 is enroute to reinforce.”
“But the rebels control the road! We must break out to meet them!”
“176, you have your orders. District 14 will be held.”
With the courageous defense of the FOB, the bedraggeled remains of 176th KZ-PDF still hold an enclave of order in the outer districts of Ashshore. If this base were to fall, the rebels would cut of the main land route from Ashshore to the rest of Vogen. As such, the PDF command in the city decided to reinforce the 176th with the 32nd KZ-PDF regiment. However, with several outlying districts already in rebel hands, the route to district 14 is not an easy one. In district 13, the convoy encountered a road block. Could it be an ambush?
32nd KZ-PDF, 1st Company
Captain Schneider, power sword
2x SWS, 2x flamer, 2x melta, power maul, field radio
2x Cargo-6 APC, heavy stubber, field radio
Infantry Squad, 2x plasma, power maul, field radio
3x Scout sentinel, missile launcher
Scout sentinel, heavy flamer
176th, 3rd company
Veteran sergeant Jeager, chainsword, plasma pistol
Veteran squad, 3x grenade launcher, 1x melta, chainsword
Renegade commander, shotgun, power weapon, guerillia tactics
Renegade commander, eviscerator, guerillia tactics, hidden tunnels
Renegade commander, guerillia tactics
Rogue Psyker, level 2 psyker
3×10 Cultists, human bomb
3×5 Cultists, 2x flamer
10 Cultists, 2x missile launcher, 2x heavy stubber
2x Technical truck, rocket launcher
Technical truck, twin heavy tubber
2x Construction walker
I used an ambush scenario from the 4th edition 40k rulebook. The defender has to deploy his entire army in a 6″ wide column up to the middle of the board, with each unit being further back than the previous one. The attacker splits his force and randomizes one part that will start in reserve. The attacker can deploy from both long edges and the top short edge. The renegade force split in a 70/30 split, and the smaller part ended up deployed on the table.
Victory is decided based on kill count, with the attacker getting double VP for kills, and the defender getting VP for getting their units off the end of the board
Private Tyrell felt adrenaline run through his body as he charged into the renegades. He ran straight into a hooded man, impaling him on his bayonet. Another man fired an autopistol, but he ducked, and the priest sawed the man in two with his shrieking eviscerator a second later. It was total chaos as renegades and imperial soldiers clashed. The cultists fought back viciously, but his squad was pushing them back.
But then he saw him. A man strapped head to toe in grenades and explosives. The man was fighting with no sense of self-preservation, pushing himself alone in between the imperial soldiers, taking several telling hits. but still managing to push into the imperials.
Tyrell saw the red blinking buttons on the front of the man´s vest. He tried to scream a warning, but it was too late. With wide, crazy eyes, the man smashed his fist against the buttons on his chest.
The world disappeared in a bright flash, and he was thrown away by a shockwave. When Tyrell staggered back on his feet, three of his comrades were gone, pulled apart by the maniac human bomb.
However, he had no time to mourn his friends, as the surviving cultists charged in, and the swirling melee continued.
On the northern flank, the sentinels light up the construction walker with missile launchers, getting two hits past the heavy armor, blowing the walker up before it can act. One sentinel spots an artillery unit firing from behind a ruined residential house, and moves up to engage.
Except for half the scout squad, casualties are light for the PDF force in the opening phase of the ambush, with just some light damage to some of their armor. The renegades on the other hand have three squads below half strength, two of them pinned, and one walker is a burning wreck. However, focusing on fighting the renegades also mean that the imperials have not moved any closer to the exit point.
Jeager knew the convoy had little chance of making it unscathed to the FOB. Once he had received the news, he had quickly gathered a group of volunteers to link up with the reinforcements. They had snuck through enemy lines and made it to district 13 without incident, and were now covering an important roadway from a derelict gas station. They had spotted the roadblock as well as small insurgent units moving in the area, but they had been too late to warn the convoy.
“The convoy is under attack! Engage the insurgents at will!”
With the renegades getting a ton of reinforcements in turn 2, the imperial strategy of engaging to kill suddenly didn’t look so good, especially when the renegades managed to stun the hell hound and a sentinel and wear down the scout squad. A big squad of cultists also made it unscathed to the road block, threatening to charge any unit in the convoy. As such, the APC’s tries to get out of the trap, risking damage from dangerous terrain.
Turn 3 increased the heat on the imperials, with two sentinels, an APC and a hellhound being taken out. However, they did manage to push forwards, and the scout squad finally finished their opponents. They also all but cleared the insurgent infantry in their midst and stalled the spawn.
End of game
What a battle!
The old 4th edition scenario worked perfectly for the kind of game I had envisioned. There were lots of great moments, like the hard fought close combat and subsequent escape of the scouts, the heroic last stand of the rear guard, and the desperate attempted escape of the APCs.
I will certainly try out more of the non-standard scenarios from older editions of 40k. I never played any of them back in the day, always ending up with one of the standard ones like “Cleanse”. I think the more lopsided scenarios really help with creating a great narrative for a game.
Several characters are forming among the loyalist forces. Now “veteran” sergeant Jeager, the hero from game 3, managed to continue his legacy, doing a great part in securing the exit point with his veteran squad. Preacher Mattis sawed his way through lots of cultists and managed to escape the ambush at the end, so he will surely be back for more smithing of the heretics at a later point as well.
It was a hard fought game, and the end results shows how incredibly close it was. Had it ended in turn 5, the renegades would have taken a comfortable win, but with turn 6, the imperials were able to pull a lot of units off the board. The rear guard staying alive also saved the draw, keeping over 200VP from the renegades.
With a draw, the 176th is neither rescued nor defeated. Now other happenings in Ashshore will decide their next course of action.
Sergeant Jaeger led the remains of the convoy back to the security of the FOB.
Surveying the sorry state of the base and the 176th, Captain Schneider quickly understood their predicament. With his own force having lost practically all their transports and heavy material, there would be no further push to reassert imperial rule in the outer districts. Ashshore was cut off from the mainland. Now all they could do was to ensure that as much as possible of their strength was conserved for the battles to come. He knew that this bloody ambush was just the beginning of a long struggle for Khai-Zhann.