The imperium triumphed against the blue invader tonight, winning an objective based mission 2-1 (with the objective in the middle of the battlefield, in the open, surrounded by nothing but the remnants of a charnel house)
Using the army list displayed in guardsman guardsman guardsman, I set up a bastion of fire in a building near one of the objectives. I'd cunningly placed two of the objectives at the top of buildings, while Rich went for ground floor targets. When I got to choose deployment zone, I chose the best defendable of his targets. Rich was astounded by how many men I was putting out, and was quite relieved when I revelaed there were no tanks joining them today.
I had sent Marbo in to take up position several days before, and a penal legion of hardened fighters had advanced around to the flank of the army. The other penal legion, armed with assault lasguns, took up position in the building with the highest objective, and scout moved into a better position. We must assume they were assault lasguns, there was no way to be sure as they didn't fire a shot all game. The squad in fact over the course of the game hunkered down early on, suffered too mcuh and legged it almost to the byeline, before being ordered back into the fray by one of the command squads and making thier way steadily back to their objective. By the end of turn 6, with some good run moves, they had reclaimed the top of the building where they started. I iamagine they were somewhat breathless.
The first turn went quite badly as Rich siezed the initiative. My men were clustered at the starting blocks ready to diffuse towards the enemy, meaning they were tightly packed for his ordnance. Particularly his commander, who had a devastating ordnance barrage weapon that ignored cover saves. In the first turn alone I must have lost 40 guardsmen. Luckily in the imperial guard you soon learn life is cheap, and the squads held firm. They then advanced as planned, with Richs annoying stealth suits and commander popping out, shooting to devastating effect, then popping back into cover again.
It was in turn three that the game truly turned. My outflanking penal legion arrived and advanced towards one of the elusive stealth teams. More importantly, Richs commander, who had hopped out of cover so he could correct his ordnance barrage by his BS, had lingered too long. Rich having forgotten to withdraw him, several giardsmen squads advanced with murderous revenge in mind. Sadly for them all they got was showered with viscera as Straken had spotted his opposite numbers error, and brought it to the attention of one of his lascannon teams. Their prize may have been taken, but with the devastating weapon now silenced the guard advanced towards the central objective in greater confidence. Sadly the penal legion (with furious charge) were relying on me for their dice rolls... they managed to inflict one casualty, and lost 1 in return. Over the course of the next couple of rounds of combat they were dragged down, but at least they kept the stealth suits away from attacking my flank for a couple of turns.
The course of the game was generally two entrenched forces in buildings firing across the open space trying in vain to dislodge each other. The brave imperial forces had the advantage of being sat on an additional objective deep in their deployment zone. While every time they advanced into the central objective the squads were cut down, this was at least drawing the bulk of the Tau fire, leaving the heavy weapon teams free to exact a punishing revenge of their own. The Hammerhead that shot to such great effect on the first turn was immobilised and stunned in return, then every single turn it was stunned once more, until turn 5 when the gun was eventually dislodged after the sheer amount of hits it had taken. At the end of the game, the guard had lost a tremendous amount of men, but still had 6 out of 7 heavy weapon teams firing (5 to full effect) Not knowing if there would be an additional turn or not, Straken attacked and wiped out one of the stealth teams that had proved so elusive until the pressing time matter forced them to be more bold. The other team, under similar pressures, decided to attack the other command section. They hadn't realised the commander was wielding a power fist, and suffered for their mistake.
Marbo once again appeared at a brilliant time. A battlesuit team had deep striked in, done some damage, then withdrawn from the line of fire. Little did they realise they had withdrawn right next to Marbo, whose demo charge took out two of them. Sadly the survivor gunned him down before moving on to get locked in combat against 3 guardsmen for about 3 turns. This wasn't the only display of fighting ineptitude, as a squad and command section of guardsmen were locked in combat by a solitary flying dinner plate for about 5 rounds of combat. It's a good thing Straken was too busy beating down the enemies of the imperium to see htis, otherwise the troopers involved would no doubt be in serious trouble.
At the end of turn 6 the dust settled to reveal the tau clinging tenaciously to one objective, a guard squad and a penal legion holding another, and the heavy weapon teams still ocnfidently holding their bastion of fire around an objective. The central objective was in a bloodsoaked mess, with only Straken and his command anywhere within sight of the objective. They don't count as scoring anyway.
On a more interesting note, the orders system was yet again dominated by the heavy weapon squads. The 70 points I spent on vox links yielded a single re-roll. On the ability to run a bit further. I think in any game where I will have heavy weapon squads, vox links are likely to be a needless expense. If I go for an army that is more infantry based and mobile, with less reliance on static heavy weapon squads, then it may be worth it. The downside of this then being that more mobile forces are less likely to stay within range of their commanders orders. Personally, in most of my army lists I see vox links as being a thing of the past. Incidentally, the only truly disasterous roll, of double 6, happened once. Typically, it was on a heavy squad so couldn't be rerolled.
Anyway, back to that valkyrie...