Assault On Skalk Point: Apocalypse: Earth Mega Battle Report

Welcome to our 2018 Summer Slam Megagame! It’s becoming a bit of a tradition during the summer months when I’m on glorious paid summer vacation and Dan is less busy at the warehouse, to congregate in my garage with a couple of boxes of Carling and whatever models we’ve managed to acquire or concoct to throw down for a BIG FIGHT.

This year we’re revisiting a concept we used last spring, with a gallant few Allied defenders holding off a endless horde of Holy Soviet Army attackers, but we’ve added a few twists..

The scenario began with our new League of European Nations platoon with 88Gw support laser deployed ahead of the Skalk Point plasma generator complex, performing regular rear area security duties – when out of the mist comes Dan’s entire Holy Soviet Army force! We deployed along the two narrow edges, the League forces up to the halfway mark, the Soviets up to 24cm forward.

Starting at the end of the first turn, the League commander could nominate 6 Alliance units (representing the local sector Quick Reaction Force) – if they passed a reaction roll, they would appear on his table edge at the end of the turn. Soviet casualties would be respawned within their deployment zone, and the forward edge of said deployment zone would move forward 10cm every turn, representing units rushing forward to find their officer (or anyone else to take responsibility for their decisions…). Once the last Alliance unit had taken to the field, the Soviets wouldn’t get any more reinforcements.

We – well, alright, me – decided to flex the literary muscles and try and write this in a narrative style.. so grab yourself a libation, this is quite a long post…

Skalk Point Power Substation, Location CLASSIFIED Northern Germany, 0600 July 21st 1956

The low cloud made him uneasy. Despite the early hour of the morning, it was already uncomfortably hot, and sweat patches were beginning to form in his underarms and under his peaked officers’ cap. Leutnant von Hulkenburg shifted his weight as he trained his field glasses on the horizon.

Rear area security was not a glamorous assignment, but the Leutnant and his command had spent enough time on the front lines to realise there was no glory to be found anywhere in this war. He was merely glad to have survived this long and the men under him shared his views. This posting allowed him and his men some rest, guarding a crucial power generation substation deep behind Allied lines – but it was essential work. Skalk Point was the nexus of the power grid for the entire sector – if it went down, it would cripple the logistics for the European and Atlantic Alliance armies operating in a hundred mile radius.

Behind him klaxons blared as the network of immense plasma rectors vented their exhaust gases. The Leutnant turned to watch despite himself, awed as always by the spectacle – clouds of vividly coloured gas moving through the vast plexiglass storage tanks, arcs superheated of lightning leaping between them as staff took cover in the specially designed bunkers. It never failed to impress him.

As he turned back to scanning the horizon, however – he saw something that took his breath away and turned his bowels to ice.

A monstrous mechanical walker, towering over the surrounding trees, cutting through the forest with the help of a massive flamethrower, leading a horde of Soviet tanks. Hulkenburg recognised T-48s in various configurations and a mammoth IS-6, leading a horde of infantry.

Mein Gott” he gasped – how had they got so close without detection? With a jolt, he realised there must be one of those damned sorcerers in the force, using and manipulating the low cloud to shield them from observation. He could’t believe how deep into the lines they had penetrated.

Achtung!” he cried to his men, “Take cover! Russ! Russ kommen!

Around him, his men dived for cover, taking up firing positions, fixing bayonets, removing safeties. His gunners quickly moved the support laser into position, initialising its systems. Hulkenburg grabbed his radio operator – “Get me reinforcements! Now! Everything you can!”

He prayed they could hold out long enough.

Task Group BUFFALO Staging Area, Anglo-American XXV Corps, Location CLASSIFIED Northern Germany, 0603 July 21st 1956

“Say again, Skalk Point, say again”

The static was ferocious, but there was no disguising the panic in the man’s voice.

“Russians! We have a heavy task group of Soviets inbound in our position, armour and infantry and superheavies – we need reinforcements now, we have no chance against them!”

“Stay calm, Skalk Point, we’re on it, the cavalry is coming” – the communications officer hit the Alert button and klaxons blared throughout the compound. In the distance, he could see soldiers running for vehicles, Silverbugs initialising their engines, tanks and Humvees gunning their engines – he turned back to the microphone.

“Skalk Point, this is Buffalo Six, we have QRF inbound to your position. Sit tight now, don’t do anything stupid, we’ll get you out of there”

Lieutenant Grant swore softly under his breath. BUFFALO 2-7 had 36 hours left on their rotation as sector Quick Reaction Force. Mostly spent doing maintenance, the Lieutenant and just grabbed a coffee and a bacon sandwich from the mess after a morning spent checking engines and supervising range practice.

He slid into the command Humvee as the ARPANET downloaded coordinates and planned a route.

From the other side slid Platoon Sergeant McAuliffe, cigar ever present and smelling suspiciously of bourbon. Grant didn’t mention it – after everything they’d been through together he couldn’t blame the sergeant for wanting to take the edge off. War did that to you after a while. He reached forward, unclipped the microphone from the Humvee’s dashboard and opened up the platoon ARPANet.

“All call signs, report in”

The receiver chimed as vehicles, tanks, gunships and infantry fireteams checked in with a “ready” status. Grant cleared his throat.

“Gentlemen, I’m sorry there isn’t time to brief you all properly. We are responding to an Priority One emergency call from the reactor installation at Skalk Point. There’s a German rear area platoon there fighting for their lives against what looks like a Soviet armoured battalion – they’re outnumbered, outgunned, and in deep shit. We all know what that’s like.”

He paused.

“You also need to know what happens if Skalk Point goes down. That’s power, communications and logistics across the whole sector. 100 miles – that’s all of us, XXV Corps and the whole European 7th Army, without comms, ammo, mail, food. That happens – well, we’re fucked. We’re not going to let that happen. Understood?”

“SIR, YES, SIR”

Skalk Point Power Substation, Location CLASSIFIED Northern Germany, 0605 July 21st 1956

“They’re coming, Herr Leutnant, Atlantic Alliance QRF inbound on bearing 275 – down the service road to our rear, sir.” The RTO looked up at the Leutnant, who was peering through field glasses at the oncoming crowd of Soviet tanks. The HQ section had dived into the cover of a ruined farmhouse while the 88 crew had manoeuvred themselves into a covered defile. Meanwhile the two rifle and two assault sections had spread out along the line, taking whatever cover they could.

“Thank you, Dieter – everyone, don’t do anything stupid, ok? Just stay alive, till the Americans get here”

“Americans” snorted his platoon sergeant, “Don’t know who’s worse, them or the Russians”

The Leutnant stared at him. “Yes you fucking do”

The sergeant looked away.

“Targets, sir” called one of the 88 gunners.

“Fire at will – but for Christ’s good sake, everybody keep your heads down”

The mighty laser cannon thrummed to life, unleashing, a flash of light appeared on the side armour of the Soviet SU-152 assault gun nestling a few hundred yards behind the lead elements and almost too quickly to register, forty tons of steel became a fireball. Battle was joined.

The Soviet horde appears on the table edge, whilst von Hulkenburg’s security platoon hunker down in what cover they can find
88Gw gunners score their first kill, immobilising the Soviet assault gun – lacking a turret, this had the effect of neutralising the vehicle for the entire battle!
Recognising their impotence in the face of the Soviet armoured horde, No. 1 Assault section begin to infiltrate forward through cover, preparing to ambush the follow on infantry squads
Led by a wave of T-48s, the Soviet horde barrels forward – with the League security platoon sheltering in cover, their only target is a solitary rifleman… two 140mm shells from the Rampager takes care of him! Overkill? Nah… it’s how the Holy Soviet Army rolls!
While the main Soviet infantry force follows close behind the tanks, the Lightning Storm attack squad detaches to work through the buildings and clear out any resistance
League assault troops shelter in the ruins of a department store. “Go easy boys, let them get closer – there’ll be plenty for everyone..”
Holy Soviet infantry dash forward under cover of armour as the superheavy Rampager and Colossus lead the way. “Forward for the Motherland, comrades!” bawled Lt. Polikarpov, being careful to ensure Commissar Kuryakin was close enough to hear and take note.
“Skalk Point, this is Buffalo 2-7, be advised friendly forces are in back of you – say again, friendlies to your rear” – Silverbugs and a hard driven M60A3 Centurion arrive to reinforce the hard pressed position.

By the end of turn 1, things were looking bleak for the Germans – they’d managed to immobilise an assault gun with an inspired laser cannon shot, but with precious little in the way of anti-tank capability (1 panzerschreck per rifle squad, both operated by the squad’s token half blind members…) and the Soviet infantry using cover to conceal themselves, there was precious little they could do other than to pull into cover and save themselves for a counter offensive when Alliance support arrived. Meanwhile, Assault section No. 1 was infiltrating up the buildings on the Allied left to spring an ambush, while No. 2 assault section hung back waiting to strike when the Soviets hit the main League force sheltering around the ruined farmhouse.

Resolving to sell their lives dearly, the 88Gw laser gunners score a direct hit and brew up the lead T-48
“Good shot boys! Now – can you do it again?”
Picking it’s way carefully up the treacherously steep slopes of Fellowes’ Peak, the Soviet BTR APC disgorges No. Heavy Weapons Squad onto it’s heights, with a commanding view of the battlefield
More Alliance support arrives – from left to right, elite power armoured Dreadnaught infantry, Stinger/TOW and laser cannon equipped Humvees and an M113 sporting an automatic grenade launcher

As turn 2 drew to an end, the Soviets were very much on a roll but with the newly arrived Alliance firepower starting to bite, things were hanging very much in the balance.. the Soviet deployment zone was creeping forward steadily however, and the main infantry force had yet to close with the enemy.. too many factors to call!

Stinger/ TOW missiles and laser cannon fire streaks out to brew up another T-48
Allied fire lights up the Soviets as they push toward the objective
Soviet Shock Drones leap forward, eviscerating the 88Gw laser and crew in a flurry of razor sharp limbs and tentacles
Assault section leap forward and gun down the Holy Soviet Mystic and bodyguard at point blank range
Alliance HQ arrives at the bottom of the picture, accompanied by another APC and the Rocketeers of Warhawk 4-9

Turn 3 saw more Allied firepower rolling onto the table, but at the same time losing the 88Gw laser, a crucial part of the League firepower, and the gradual erosion of Allied infantry was taking it’s toll. The Soviet steamroller as gaining momentum, with losses respawning further and further up the board, but with as yet all to play for..

Alliance Silverbug gunship gets in close amongst the Holy Soviet infantry, providing close air support with deadly Avenger cannon
Meanwhile, his wingman wreaks havoc amongst the lead T-48 elements
Meanwhile, a T-48 from the follow on echelon catches the League Assault section out in the open, mowing them down at point blank range
Rumbling forward, an Alliance Centurion draws a bead on the Shock Drones and with grim efficiency, annihilates them with missiles, .50 cal and 120mm cannon fire
The Soviet lead elements reach the gulley, tantalisingly close to the objective..
A new wave of armour threatens the hard pressed defenders!
Finally with some targets to shoot at, League rifle troops break cover to return fire
While on the Soviet right flank, the plodding Lightning Storm squadron fry an APC with their Lightning Launchers
Soviet artillery brackets the ruined farmhouse as Lt. Hulkenburg screams for his men to disperse
Gutter fighting around the gulley as a Stinger/TOW takes down yet another T-48
The Soviets are breaking through..
An M60A3 gets in a successful sniping shot on a T-48 trying to infiltrate through the ruined buildings
Lt. Hulkenburg can only watch in horror as his riflemen are torn limb from limb by the nightmarish Siberian assault mutants!
Soviet troops overwhelm and capture the other rifle squad
More desperately needed antitank firepower is lost to barrages from massed Soviet armour
“There’s too many!”

By this point (in true SKG style) we’d got too pissed and too involved in the game to take proper notes, but suffice it to say that both sides were all in, no more reinforcements, and it was desperately close, the Soviets could almost touch the objective… but there was still enough fight left in the Allies to make it tough!

 

M85 ‘bots enter the fray..
One falls to a Shock Drone, the other to a Siberian
Elektra leads the final wave of Soviet armour – the objective is so very close now..
It’s the last few men standing..
Lt. Hulkenburg falls!
The final M60 Centurion surveys the scene..
Lt. Grant guns down a Shock Drone, but  will it make a difference?

As the last few elements of the Allied defence fell, one by one, it was left to the lone M60 crew to hold the line at the entrance to the generator complex – this she did to great effect before being rammed by two T-48s who’s cannons had been destroyed after fending off the remaining Siberian assault troops.. but it couldn’t last, and the tank went down in flames –  taking with it the last chance for Allied victory. The newly arrived sniper team, Ghost 7, could only flee the scene and bring word to Sector command…

So the Soviets were victorios, but by the end they only had one fully functioning runner, which the Centurion (heretofor to be named “Leonidas” after his brave and heroic stand at the gates of the generator complex) took out before being mobbed by rams, Siberian mutants and Molotov cocktails.. what an end to a game!

Afterwards, we played a small Black Ops game (a WIP skirmish take on Apocalypse: Earth) where an SAS team managed to infiltrate the command centre and at great cost hack the central computer to stymie Soviet attempts to redirect the power – next up, the League of European Nations gathers an armoured fist to strike back and retake the complex!

That was a biggie, so thanks for staying with us – stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon!

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CheapHammer 40k – the 2nd Ed Revival Project! Pt. 2 – Deathwatch

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS ACTUAL CITADEL MINIATURES.

I KNOW :-O

So, some of you may remember these guys from an earlier post:

20171109_205617

..and our wondering exactly what the hell we were going to do with them, being as we’re pretty heavily committed to our beloved uber-cheap and thrifty 1/72 figures.

You may also remember our dabbling in the Horus Heresy game “Betrayal At Calth”, which we picked up sans miniatures for £4.99.

And I think you can start to see where this is going.

Thing is, over the years GW have published a great many games set in the 40k universe – Space Hulk, Space Crusade, Advanced Space Crusade as well as the current generation (Betrayal at Calth, Burning Of Prospero, Deathwatch Overkill) – all cracking good fun, easy and quick to set up and crucially, with a very low model count. 20 Marines and a big crowd of Grots to play the bad guys is plenty for these types of games (not to mention the nostalgia factor of those 2nd ed sculpts.. opening that box was Christmas ’93 all over again!), and as we discovered with the Calth box set, many players by them for the minis and disregard everything else. As for the older games, rules, tokens etc can all be found online and downloaded for free (often there are fan remakes to be found too – check out this one).

As a side note, I’m also hoping to track down a copy of Alternative Armies’ Firefight rules from 1991 – that was a brilliant game, fast paced and utterly addictive!

If you like sci-fi skirmish games, you need to try this game.

All these games are board or tile based, so easy and quick set up, perfect for a quick hobby fix!

(edit – add Mantic’s Deadzone 2.0 to that list – just downloaded the rules from their site and very much looking forward to trying it out!)

So, onto painting them – I figured the Marines should be Deathwatch, as that seems to fit with the fluff of small scale alien (or heretic) -hunting skirmishes in narrow streets, cramped arcologies or abandoned spacecraft, so I stripped them using meths, primed with black spray paint, popped a beer and watched Duncan’s excellent Deathwatch painting tutorial video, and had at it!

I did deviate slightly from the Duncan’s template – black acrylic basecoat (cheap £1 store black), light drybrush with Vallejo German Grey, then took a deep breath and tried some edge highlighting, having mixed the grey with some bone and a little blue, and was pleasantly surprised with the results! I’ve seen edge highlighting look pretty cack handed and splodgy (particularly when I’ve done it), but I think the trick to it is ensuring your paint is thin and you create a smooth colour graduation. Clearly all that time painting weeny 1/72 figures has helped get my eye in as these chaps came out better than anything I painted back in the 90s! Metallics were Vallejo silver, washed with thin black ink, skulls were bone washed with thinned brown ink and the red was a cheap £1 acrylic that I layered up with some yellow to create highlights. Flesh was craft paint skin tone washed first with Vallejo skin wash and then thinned brown wash.

For basing, I was briefly tempted to go full retro – PVA, sand, Goblin Green, remember that? – but instead took things a little further. I put a bit of home made texture paste (sand, PVA, filler powder, water) on the base before the priming stage and after I’d painted the model, painted this dark brown and drybrushed up with a couple of layers of lighter browns. Then dabbed on a bit of PVA and drizzled on some flock, than another dab and drizzled on some Garage Floor Dust (TM) which is one of the best basing materials I’ve ever discovered, despite it’s humble origins!

Finally I edged the base in black as I wanted a cinematic look (and brown just looked weird) and done! So the first group are complete, and (deep breath) – here are the pics!