Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Battle Of Lernin Kerv

Prologue

Barely had the incursion of xenos been thwarted on Killa La Neck, when another call went out to reinforce Lernin Kerv, another inhabited planet in the Cyavunnh system. The garrison there were attacked by a strike force of xenos, bearing the same brood markings as those that attacked  here. Djemtri 'two guns' Vlashvilli company commander of the Krablokistan 47th knew what was coming. A series of shuttles up to the main orbital transports sent the Imperial Guard regiment back into the fray against the dreaded Tyranid threat.


So round two of my continuing series of battles against Hive Fleet Stuart began barely a week after our first one here. Barely any change to my list except for an Adeptus Ministorum priest was sacked and a platoon commander was hired. Will ignoring the spiritual needs of my soldiers make a difference? Only time, and this blog, will tell.


The Forces Of Hive Fleet Stuart

HQ; Flying Hive Tyrant, Brood Lord
Troops; 19 Hormagaunts, 13 Termagants, 2 units of Tyranid Warriors with devourers and barbed stranglers
Fast Attack; 3 Ravenors,
Heavy Support; 2 Carnefex


Stuart's side of the table before his Tyranids showed up.


The Krablokistan 47th

HQ; Company Commander, Primaris Psyker,
Troops; 4 Infantry Squads with 2 meltaguns, a plasmagun, 2 missile launchers and a heavy bolter.
Elites; Commisar, Astropath, Platoon Commander, flamer special weapon squad and ratlings.
Fast Attack; Bane Wolf
Heavy Support; Leman Russ with plasma cannons, battlecannon lascannon and storm bolter. Autocannon heavy weapon team and mortar heavy weapon team.
Dedicated Transport; A Chimera to carry an infantry squad.


My table edge before my Guardsmen got out of bed.


My plan was, advance with flame squirting units whittling down the nasty ichor dripping dill-holes whilst my bigger guns kill his bigger things. Finally using the infantry to mop up whatever was left. Simples. We played on a 4' x 4' table with 1000 points a side. The trouble with 4' x 4's is it leaves little room for maneuvering, but then I don't really want to field unpainted models either so I will have to get my skates on if I want grand sweeping flank marches.


The set up below had this plan associated with it; on the far left my flamer squad would advance up under cover burning as they went, the Bane Wolf beside it would do the same and the Chimera would move up, drop it's squad then do much the same. The heavy support centre would (hopefully) pound to mush the big scary Tyranids and the weaker right would shoot. I deployed the ratlings on the bridge over the pool of green goo ever so slightly out of my deployment zone. Stuart deployed with his two cheap units Hormagaunts and Termagants fairly centrally with his Tyranid warriors Carnefex's and HQ units behind them. I failed to seize initiative and the game started.




Turn One

Stu's army surged forward. His adrenal sack Hormagaunts and Flying Hive Tyrant (who I'll call John for clarity) moved forward at pace whilst most of the rest of his force lollygagged behind them. I think John cast the Horror on my Leman Russ and the rest of the shooting phase put a single wound on the Leman Russ. The assault phase was where it all went to hell though. I think the Hormagaunts needed a 10+ to get into contact, and they bloody well did! A few wounds from the heavy flamer didn't do enough damage in overwatch so a lot of geigeresque models attacked my transport. I think 1 wound was caused in combat by Stuart  but more importantly he consolidated into the Bane Wolf  and I couldn't overwatch! On the other side of the table John the Hive Tyrant assaulted the ratlings who consequently died to an abhuman.

That escalated quickly!
Now this is where eternal optimism really ruins your games. In my turn, what I should have done was back both Chimera and Chimera variant away from the Hormagaunts, sacrificing a turn of shooting but giving me some overwatch shots and possibly destroying them all in hideously painful promethium and other chemicals laden death. What I did (because I'm stupid/optimistic) was get the squad out of their Chimera and attacked the Gaunts. THIS WAS NOT THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!!! I had also advanced cautiously with the flamer squad when a more bold approach was needed. On the sensible right hand side of the table hell was unleashed on John, killing him in double quick time. This was mainly due to the Leman Russ and his trusty plasma cannons. Other guardsmen shot but caused little damage to the skulky Tyranids. In the assault phase my poor placement meant I could not get my superior numbers into the Gaunts thus dragging out the combat. So turn one ended with my plan in ruins and most of Stuarts heavy hitters not even in range.

My Guardsmen are blurry with terror!

Turn Two

Because Stu's quickest units were in combat in turn one and he hadn't really expected it (or he thought they had everything under control) the rest of his army wasn't as far forward as they could have been - which was lucky for me. So a reasonable bit of shooting later another wound or two from the Leman Russ and several dead weapons teams was the outcome. In the picture below you can see the godawful annoying combat below that had sucked in 5 of my units - and because they were guardsmen - they were making very hard work of it. Stuart's Ravenors appeared this turn killing a few of my rightmost infantry unit.

Poor deployment clusterfuck type situation.
Excerpt taken from vox conversation  between Bane Wolf and HQ during skirmish:
Bane Wolf; HQ, this is KRBSTN4537 we are engaged by one, repeat one, Gaunt hostile, permission to ignore it and attack larger target?
HQ; Negative KRBSTN4537 engage hostile before advancing.
Bane Wolf; It keeps moving out of the way! Our reverse warning bleeper keeps alerting it! 
HQ; Folow your orders KRBSTN4537 and wait for infantry support.
Bane Wolf; Infantry Squad KRBSTN4889 are all crowding round another hostile, they seem to be getting in each others way! Permission to advance?
HQ; Negative KRBSTN4537 wait for back up. 
Bane Wolf; Doesn't matter now HQ the rest of the enemy is getting nearly upon us!

Turn two was when I found a couple of irritating foibles of the new 40K. Granted, tactical optimism was a governing factor but two rules stand out for me.

1) A unit within 1" of an enemy unit can't do anything but fall back or stay there and in both instances can't shoot unless armed with some sort of pistol weapon. I'm sure it all made perfect sense to the design studio but when a single Hormagaunt can tarpit a vehicle then something is a bit wrong. There should be a 'drive over the fucker' special rule to get round this as I can see no valid reason a small infantry model can hold up a 5 ton tank.
2)Models in combat that consolidate must move towards the nearest enemy model, not a unit or a model in that unit, the nearest model. It means that if a single enemy model is surrounded by your troops and another unit (in this case a Chimera) doesn't allow you troops to get into combat with it meaning loads of guardsmen stand around scratching themselves while a stupid tank tries unsuccessfully to roll 6's.
So the upshot of turn 2 was I was certain I'd do enough to get rid of the Hormagaunts to free up the vehicles but in reality I didn't. I damaged a Carnefex in the shooting phase as well as killing a Ravernor or two then assaulting the final one. This turn Stuart decided to deny the witch when I was trying to pick off stuff and generally proved to be annoying with saving throws too.


Turn Three

Things started going awry  when my terrible tunnel vision cleared and the Brood Lord sauntered into combat. The Termagants and the Carnefex on my right moved up to act in a threatening manner as did the one on my left. Both units of Tyranid Warriors also got themselves into firing positions. Shooting picked off some more guardsmen and took a wound or three from the Leman Russ. The assault phase came and the Brood Lord destroyed the Bane Wolf in one fell swoop. It wouldn't even have the decency to explode giving the Brood Lord some mortal wounds. The Hormagaunts still refused to die! And now the Brood Lord having destroyed one vehicle, consolidated into the next. Things were looking grim. The Commissar assaulted the Carnefex. His powerfist took a wound off him and luckily it didn't wound him back as it was chomping on another unit. The only chink of good news was the Ravenors were wiped out. Also the unit that killed the Ravenors consolodated into the Carnefex (well one of them did, rendering the whole unit bulletproof). 

8 Guardsmen fighting (or attempting to fight) a Hormagaunt but unable to advance further as to do so would take them not closer to the nearest enemy model! There is another unit of Guardsmen in there but they had the sense to come in from the side.


The big cowardly Carnefex on the right is pretending to be a watchtower ornament. Lots of senior military personnel mope around at the back hoping not to get noticed.

Turn Four

Time was getting on and the last  picture should tell much of the story. The remaining Tyranids advanced up getting into combat. The Cadian unit got ate but the Tyranids on the right of the picture. Who consolidated into the Commissar who had in turn eaten the Carnefex. The other unit of Tyranids  very nearly ate all the guardsmen next to the Chimera. The Chimera itself was reduced to the combat effectiveness of a 1997 Opel Corsa with a dodgy fuel pump and no handbrake cable. The Hormagaunts and Termagants were sent to the little biomass reconstitution vats in the sky.  As I had to pack up for work it was agreed that Stuart had won but not crushingly. Had we played another couple of turns it may well have been. 


The main moral victory is that not one member of the Krablokistan management team was injured during the whole battle. The Commissar was probably about to get injured, but that's just a matter of conjecture.

Post Match Analysis

Well I know for certain where the main problem lies, that was my entire  left flank got raped by adrenaline sacked Hormagaunts before I was ready. Compounded by poorly parked vehicles it was a perfect storm of contributing factors that made a large part of my plan ineffective. That said had I withdrawn (ooer) with the Bane Wolf and not shilly shallied with the flamer squad I probably could have achieved more. As noted earlier in this post, the lack of a priest was also probably important. All credit to Stuart for playing well and keeping me under pressure the whole game. One thing is certain though, the valet parking attendant has been sacked!


Epilogue

Nightfall came just in time for the beleaguered troopers of the 47th. The initial attack was blunted but not repulsed so more Imperial Troops would need to be dispatched to this unpleasant  heap of rock that was known as Lernin Kerv. As the force retreated to it's secondary defense outpost it was difficult to be certain who survived and who would now be biological material for the enemy. Commander Vlashvilli knew his duty, regroup, dig in and prepare to fight!

Thanks for reading.
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