|I'm proud to say I own a copy of every Codex from second edition...these are two of my favourite front covers!
Being a generous sort I had already bequeathed him a copy of the 1995 Imperial Guard Codex some time ago so that he could familiarise himself with his force and how they are supposed to work. Whilst I chose my own forces from the original Codex Ultramarines from the same year.
|Mission Cards showing...well...the missions!
I let him set up the terrain and then I chose the table edges in order to keep things fair. Keeping with the full-retro theme we used a green battle mat, authentic card terrain and some multi-coloured lichen transporting us into the Games Workshop battles of yesteryear! With the table set up we drew our mission cards: the guard were tasked with 'Take and Hold' while my own Crimson Fists drew 'The Assassins'.
|My friend's very impressive Imperial Guard force...it's taken him ages to achieve their unique look and I'd say they look pretty cool...kinda like the troopers from the appropriately old-school DOOM computer game!
The Imperial Guard were led by a Colonel along with his command squad equipped with a lascannon and plasma gun. His 'regimental units' consisted of two ten man squads both issued with missile launchers and plasma guns, these were supplemented with a heavy weapons squad equipped with three autocannons. His sole 'additional unit' was the imposing form of a Leman Russ Destructor...the Guard get some real bang for their buck; this was a lot of troops and materiel compared to the meagre forces my Astartes could muster for the same points cost! The heavy weapons squad were upgraded with the 'slick drills' veteran skill, meaning that if they hit their target with their initial shot then they would automatically get another shot...potent stuff, meanwhile the infantry squads were given the 'street fighters' ability which granted them some enhanced protective abilities whilst in cover.
I had a Space Marine Captain, a tactical squad and a terminator squad...only sixteen models! Wow...pretty heavily outnumbered!
Let battle commence...
'Form up maggots!' Bellowed Lieutenant Rock as he shouldered his shotgun and moved slowly forward through the rubble of the ruined town. It had been seven months since his platoon had defected from the Imperial Guard and established themselves as a mercenary force within the Oborealis sector and in that time his force had prospered, gathering a reputation for both victory and brutality in equal measure. Unfortunately this success had also drawn the attention of the Planetary Governor and Rock was aware that he was now a man with a price on his head.
He smiled as he glanced up at 'Old Painless', his men had liberated the tank from a Cadian armoured squadron a few weeks back and since then the venerable war machine had enhanced their firepower substantially. The presence of the Leman Russ comforted him, if there was a bounty on his head then at least he had some heavy firepower to deter anyone from coming to collect it.
Whilst Rock enjoyed the freedom of being a soldier of fortune the one issue that his force suffered from was any tangible logistical support. Without the grinding power of the Munitorium's logistical chain behind him he had become reliant on looted supplies to keep his force going...and that need was what had brought him to this wrecked township, a recovered map from a dead enemy officer had revealed the possible location of a Planetary Defence Force ammo cache nearby.
'Objective sighted!' Corporal Clayton's voice came over the vox-net, '200 metres north of our current location... but it's guarded; I'm trying to get eyes on the sentries...wait out.'
There was a momentary pause before the NCO's voice returned, notably tenser than before, 'Throne...they're...they're Space Marines...'
'Shit!' Muttered Rock shaking his shaved head, this wasn't part of his plan, not at all...But he had no choice, he needed those supplies. With the decision made he pressed the transmit stud on his own comm link; 'Bring up the damn tank!'
|The Astartes split themselves evenly between the two flanks
My small force of the Emperor's finest warriors set themselves up on each flank clearly hoping to use the assorted cover to allow them to pincer the mortals that dared oppose them. A combat squad was co-located with the Commander on the left flank whilst a second combat squad set up on the right flank with the Terminators to their rear.
|The Imperial Guard spread out along the battlefront, the assorted heavy weapons squads setting themselves up in the buildings
Meanwhile the Guardsman spread across the entire front, the full heavy weapons team occupied a building on one flank whilst the command squad with the lascannon established themselves on the other side of the battlefield, also in hard cover.
With the fire support in place the tank and the infantry squads rolled up the centre of the line...and then the first shots rang out...
|The Sons of Rogal Dorn survey the battleground before them
The first turn was relatively uneventful with both forces sacrificing much of their shooting in order to allow them to more effectively maneuver their troops into better positions.
|The lone survivor of the weapons team trembles in fear as he operates the autocannon
However in the second turn the Terminators proved the sheer ferocity of the assault cannon as it unleashed its wrath upon the guard heavy weapon teams hidden in the building. The hard cover and walls meant little as the mighty shells shredded both brick and man alike. By the time the heavy weapon's barrels had stopped spinning five guardsman lay dead, and only one gunner remained in situ his face covered in the bloody remains of his fallen squad mates.
|Even the might of tactical dreadnaught armour isn't proof against the Guard's heavy weapons
Nonetheless the men of the guard proved their mettle in the next turn as their heavy weapons retaliated... butchering a Terminator and two tactical marines...
...including the heavy weapons trooper...ouch!
|The might of 'Old Painless' in the centre of their force bolsters morale amongst the guardsmen
Whilst their heavy weapons were keeping the Space Marines pinned in cover the Leman Russ rolled forward and the infantry squads scuttled around in hiding.
|Strangely the shrubbery wasn't sufficient to conceal a group of giants in Terminator armour
Having never faced Imperial Guard heavy weapons before I was suddenly beginning to realise the potency of their kit and even my Terminators took the opportunity to snuggle up to a nearby bush in order to get some respite from the bullets and laser rounds that were flying their way.
|A template that was bigger than most dinner plates covers the Terminators in fiery death
However this proved to be of little use as the Leman Russ unleashed it's terrifying volley of weapons at the noble first company veterans. Plasma rounds, lascannon blasts and the horrendous power of the Demolisher Cannon shredded Tactical Dreadnought armour and the men within as though they were wicker dolls (just look at the size of that template!)
As the flames lapped their ankles and the smoke cleared only two of the azure terminators were left on the battlefield...
And they quickly took the opportunity to move forward into some hard cover...
In the next round of firing the Space Marine Commander 's combat squad were hit first by a small template from the missile launcher and then the huge template from the Demolisher cannon...
|Five marines with one shot...you gotta be kidding me
Which resulted in the death of five Crimson Fists! That f*+king weapon is so powerful!!!
|Another Terminator falls to a heavy weapons shot
The Imperial Guard infantry squads then took the opportunity to jog forwards and seize the ammo cache that Lt Rock had tasked them to secure. The lone autocannon operator gave these troops covering fire to protect their advance, accounting for yet another Terminator.
|Bolters...you gotta love 'em .... unless you wear shitty flak armour
The Space Marines were now heavily on the back foot, but the Emperor's Astartes are nothing if not stoic in the face of adversity and so the lone Terminator and nearby combat squad leveled their bolt weapons and unleashed hell, taking full advantage of the 'Rapid Fire' special rule. Round after round of mass-reactive death pumped into the bodies of the Imperial Guardsmen, killing nine of them and causing the survivor to flee in terror.
However the Terminator's celebrations were cut short as a lascannon shot slammed into his ancient faceplate. The anti-tank weapon punched through the ceramite of the armour, incinerating the veteran warrior's skull. He stood still in place for a moment before toppling forward in a heap of blue and crimson armour.
|The Leman Russ and the Space Marine Captain battle for final control of the objective
In the final turn both the Leman Russ and Astartes Captain rushed forward to try and seize/deny the central objective. However the speed of a main battle-tank proved to be superior to that of a genetically enhanced post-human and it finished the game fractionally closer to the ammo cache thereby wringing out vital victory points for Lieutenant Rock and his men.
As my mate popped on the kettle I tallied up the score, though I already had a fairly good idea of who had won!
Overall the scores were:
Imperial Guard: 9
Space Marines: 2
Wow...what an absolutely brilliant game that was (even though I lost)! I rarely play against a Guard force and so this was a real learning curve. The firepower these guys can bring to a battle is amazing, from individual heavy weapons squads to tanks and orbital bombardments. I looked on in horror as their heavy weapons cut down my men like wheat! Remember what I said in the last post about Terminators being nigh on indestructible.... I was wrong, the Leman Russ Demolisher is the perfect antidote to these venerable veterans, and the sheer massed firepower of heavy weapons squads comes a close second.
My tactics for facing these guys failed right from the start ...namely at the point of initial army selection, my force was too slow moving meaning that they had to weather more time in the line of fire than they should have. In hindsight the tactical squad was shit for the points cost, and the Terminators were just too slow. I should have taken a devastator squad to secure the firing line, with lascannons to kill the enemy tanks and heavy bolters for the infantry. The Terminators would have been replaced with an assault squad, their jump packs would have allowed them to close the distance rapidly and the assorted close combat weapons would have made short work of the Infantrymen.
Overall we had a great time and both took a lot from the game. I have learned that I will need to tailor my approach for facing non-space marine armies in future...especially those with access to über tanks of doom!