The mood was tense. The grenadiers and riflemen were trading rumours amongst themselves – an unstoppable horde of Virum Nascii, hundreds strong, which had overrun the outlying colony of Hadley’s Hope in the northern disputed territories, slaughtering the Sky Marines sent to interdict them.
Amongst the crew of the steam tank “McDaggett’s Fury“, however, such sentiments were notable for their absence.
“Sky Marines” scoffed commander Boddicker, “probably tried to buy them off.”
He patted the gunsights on the Fury’s main cannon. “Firepower! And lots of it! That’s all those beasts can be expected to understand. Franz? Louis? Are your rifles zeroed?”
The two foregunners saluted in eerie synchronicity. “Sir! Yes, sir – optimised to peak accuracy, ammo feeds and repeater mechanisms cleared and double checked”
“Good work” Boddicker nodded approvingly “Signal Colonel Murphy that the Fury stands ready”
Atop his horse, surveying his assembled forces, Witch-Colonel Alecius Murphy had already sensed the build up of adrenaline and arrogance within the steam tank- it’s very presence evidence of how seriously the Ancien Regime province command took the Virum Nascii threat. Sky Marines didn’t die easily – he knew that all too well. Underestimating his foe was not a mistake Murphy intended to make again.
He surveyed his assembled forces – lines of riflemen in their dark blue coats and peaked caps, columns of grenadiers imposing with their shakos and bayonets, a regiment of the illustrious cuirassier cavalry, the line anchored by the imposing iron beast that was the McDaggett’s Fury.
The Virum Nascii had plagued this province in recent months, and the slaughter of a Sky Marine force at the nearby colony of Hadley’s Hope had proven that these beasts were present in force, and not to be underestimated. Murphy cast his precognitive vision forth and in his minds eye sensed the presence of a huge horde of the ratmen, heading his way.
“We make our stand here” he announced, “prepare firing positions and make ready to receive the enemy”
He gritted his teeth. It would be enough. It had to be enough.
Welcome back to another Hyperian Wars battle report – and this one should be a doozy…
Well, that was a blast and right up to turn 4 it could have gone either way – Colonel Murohy may have failed to successfully cast a single spell but his presence definitely helped the riflemen in the centre beat off the ratmen assault. I think the main issue the Virum Nascii had was failure to concentrate force in one area – had they focused on one single area of the human lines they could have overwhelmed them and rolled up the line piecemeal, but poor coordination let their regiments get picked off one at a time, and when Ratticus went down their naturally poor morale really started to count against them…
Still, the story isn’t over, we’ve got more Hyperian Wars coming as the escalation continues – more troops, characters and war machines for the Virum Nascii, and the same for the human factions! Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you soon
Well damn. The dice are just cooling down after an absolutely blistering playtest of our steampunk/ fantasy/ VSF mashup system, “Hyperian Wars” – today featuring the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance versus the villainous Virum Nascii. And DAMN, the result was really not what we expected, but it was an absolutely corking game! So, with memories still relatively fresh and unclouded by liquor, time to dive into this evening’s battle report –
Grand Alliance Sky Marines (all troops are skirmishers):
5 x Poison Grenadiers (skirmishers) – Poison Grenades, Hand Weapons
10 x Stormtroopers – Hand Weapons
8 x Plague Priests – Hand Weapons
So, one side has the firepower – but the other has numbers. And speed. Who would prevail?
Virum Nascii were just about to hit Sky Marine positions, and things were about to get… interesting…
But in the end.. it was game over, man. Game over.
Wow. Holy sh*t but that was a blast – the Sky Marines deploying, full of confidence in our ranged firepower, taking down huge numbers of Virum Nascii….. right up until the rats got into charge range and then it hit the fan and no mistake! My outnumbered squads were ripped apart in short order, and damn but the Ratmen are FAST!!
In fact, the battle played out much like a steampunk/ fantasy version of the classic movie “Aliens” – the Sky Marines inflicting huge losses on the ratmen for no loss to themselves… right up until the moment when they weren’t.. and then it became a massacre! Hence the title – fans will recognise Hadley’s Hope as the colony established on LV426.
All in all, a hell of a game, right down to PFC Hudson’s last stand in the temple! And we should add, this got the attention of none other than Black Library author himself, Gav Thorpe!
By this point both sides had secured two objectives, but losses on the human side were mounting up more rapidly than the more numerous Ratmen – could superior human firepower prevail?
As we ended Turn 3, It was 4-1 to the Ratmen in terms of objectives secured as superior numbers were beginning to tell..
Turn 4 (Final Turn)
Heavy losses all round but the vastly superior numbers of Ratmen were better placed to soak them up, and I think I really needed to focus absolutely everything on annihilating one unit at a time – rather than getting my riflemen duelling with the archers and the cavalry mixing it up with Poison Grenadiers, we should have plowed everything into hammering the central Ratmen units the infantry were facing… still, plenty of time for another game!
Once again, a really fun game from the One Page Rules folks and a great “introductory” wargame – you can play this one with the nippers (and I intend to once my youngling stops regarding dice as tasty snack treats) as well as your mates and having everything immediately accessible is a big help keeping the game flowing. I could say it’s almost too simplistic, but… the guy’s stated intent was to produce a game that could fit onto one page! It’s a cracking fun game and a great framework to houserule extra bits and pieces on if you want more depth, and there’s plenty that we’ve learned about game design and economical rules writing that will be making it’s way into our next series of releases (probably next year sometime, don’t hold your breath!).
Meanwhile we’ve got some scenery to paint for the League Of Extraordinary Riveters on Dakkadakka.com, and something pretty cool (and big.. and VERY red) on the horizon to show off… stay thrifty out there, we’ll be back soon!
Anyhoo, recently he’s been putting up some battle reports using the system formerly known as 1page40k – Grimdark Future. This is billed as a fast playing, easy to use, quick and dirty version of the 40k we all know and sort-of-love, sort-of-loathe. Rules and army lists are free to download from the One Page Rules website here. And seeing as we are drawn to free stuff like a moth to the flame of a slow burning crack pipe, we were all over this.
We set up terrain with a ruined village to the east and a disused plasma generator station to the west, set objectives (one of the generators, central hill, ruined church and a ruined shop)…and GAME ON!
Human Defence Force won the roll off and force the Orcs to deploy first:
And battle was joined!
End result, 2 objectives to the HDF (plasma generator and central hill) one to the Orc Marauders (ruined church, held by the transport)
Casualties – HDF lost a weapons team and some of the infantry squad, plus wounded Captain… the Orcs were pretty much down to the transport and their Power Armour elites, and even they were pretty beaten up.
So a pretty decisive victory!
Thoughts on the game? A LOT of fun. Grimdark Future is simple, fast playing and intuitive, absolutely brilliant for a quick throw down kickabout. We did wonder about the balance of point values given the pounding the Orcs took, but Jim did point out the he might just’ve sucked at playing the game.
So, a new system, and props to OPR designer Gaetano Ferrara for the effort he’s put into creating a fun and fast game that really benefits from not being supported by a major model company (more thoughts on that another day). We had a blast and next up on the list is OPR’s “Age Of Fantasy- Regiments” – we’ll let you know!
(Side note – free rules and army lists, 1/72 miniatures, scratchbuilt terrian and vehicles… could this be the cheapest wargame ever played?)
With the Soviet offensive of summer 1956 successful in capturing a number of Allied plasma generation facilities, UNIVAC, Majestic 12 and Supreme Allied Command Europe were all agreed to focus their immediate strategy on recapturing these vital installations before Emperor Djugashvilli could build on the momentum the Holy Soviet Army had lmanaged to create (at great cost).
It therefore came as something of a surprise when Stalin’s next move did not come across the front lines in Europe, but a massed amphibious assault on northern Scotland coming from an armada of massive transport submarines. In one of the opening moves, Lt Polikarpov would lead the infantry component of the assault task force assigned to knock out the plasma generator station powering Faslane naval base.
The Scottish campaign was notable for the complete and total inebriation of both sides – commissars would ladle out vodka liberally to the assault troops while the Scottish defended their homeland fuelled on a mix of Iron Bru and McEwan’s. Fighting was close and brutal, fuelled by borscht on the one side and deep fried Mars bars on the other. In the end, however, there could be only one victor.
Welcome to another Apocalypse: Earth megagame! We’ve been planning this for a while to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and figured doing our own weird war retro sci-fi take on things would be our little (if slightly strange) contribution to commemorating the immense bravery shown that day.
So, without further ado, on to the battle report!
The Soviet force would be landing on the beach from the gigantic transport submarines they had created in secret and infiltrated up to the Scottish coast (which meant no need to scratch build landing craft), and would be landing with the intent to capture the (suspiciously familiar looking) plasma generator station that powered Faslane Naval Base – knocking that out would take down the base forcefields, allowing the next stage of the Soviet invasion.
Task Force Polikarpov, therefore brought EVERYTHING to the battle, including some new recruits to bolster the rifle squads to a full 14 men each. We were also trying something new – grouping the Soviet tanks into platoons, each consisting of two regular gun T-48s and either the Inferna or Elektra assault variant. This meant less flexibility (alternating unit activations favours multiple small units, a fact that the Atlantic Alliance is built around) but also the ability to bring down a LOT of firepower in one go. In short, playing like the slow moving iron clad firestorm the Holy Soviet Army should be!
“Contact – no, wait, multiple contacts!” called out the sonarman monitoring the sonobuoy pickets out in the bay. “Bearing 060 through 065, closing up on the beaches fast.. where the HELL did they come from?”
“One of their damned sorcerers” snarled Lt. Grant. He quickly swallowed the last bite of his bacon sandwich and thumbed the ARPANET transceiver on to the platoon network.
“Buffalo 2-7, this is Sunray. All units stand to. I say again, stand to. Prepare for amphibious assault.”
Around him the troops were already scrambling. Men checked weapons, drivers gunned engines. Grant thumbed the channel.
“Kampfgruppe Hulkenberg, this is Buffalo 2-7 Sunray, we have multiple- “
“We have them too, Lieutenant”. The clipped, precise tones of his European League counterpart cut through the static. “All units moving to prepared positions as rehearsed.”
Grant smiled grimly. “See you on the beach, Nico.”
“It’s a date. Von Hulkenberg out.”
The game opened with a salvo of 152mm shells from supporting Soviet naval firepower, smashing an Allied jeep and causing damage to the Kugelpanzer squadron, but no sooner had the ground stopped shaking from the explosions than appeared the gigantic, terrifying form of the Soviet Colossus – Stompy Uncle Joe leading his children to war!
As the second turn ended, the Soviets were ashore with heavy losses – but at the cost of gutting the Allied formations!
By this time both sides were on the ropes and tottering, but the Soviets had managed to push the Allied forces off the beach, with catastrophic casualties on each side!
The pain flared across his temple. Lt. Grant struggled to consciousness to find himself looking into the darkness of a Kalashnikov assault rifle barrel. As he struggled to clear his vision, a second figure in a peaked cap wielding a pistol swam into view.
“Lt. Grant, I presume”, said a Russian voice, “I have been waiting a long time for this..”
So, a Soviet victory! At great cost – HQ, a couple of riflemen, the Mystic and his bodyguard, a Tesla trooper and sniper were literally all that were left. On the Allied side, however, we were down to a German medic armed with a pistol. So, now what for our story? Lt. Grant trying to effect a breakout from a Soviet POW camp? Some more fluff and battle reports on the Scottish Front? Let us know!
On a more serious note, no one reading this will have been unaware of the 75th anniversary of D-Day a few days ago, and certainly that was in our thoughts as we finished this quite epic game.
Dan – “That was a laugh and everything, but f**k me, can you imagine having to do it for real?”
No. No I can’t. We both agreed that neither of us could have done it. But mercifully, we haven’t had to.
So thank you Grandpa. Thank you Grandad. Thank you to all of you who summoned up the courage to do the impossible – not just on D-Day, but the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, for eleven more months.
Stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you again soon.
On the Marine side – two tactical squads of Space Marines, each comprising a Sergeant with bolt pistol and chainsword, a Marine with a missile launcher, a Marine with flamer, and 7 Marines with bolters. For the Orks, it was the Dread, twenty Boyz armed with bolt pistols, axes and stikkbomz and no fewer than FORTY Gretchin, all armed with autoguns – quite the horde!
Forces were organised as follows:
Marines (all Space Marines have Mk7 power armour, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades):
Squad Raphael (red shoulder pads):
Sergeant Raphael – bolt pistol, chainsword
3 Space Marines – boltgun
1 Space Marine – flamer
Squad Mephisto (blue shoulder pads):
Brother Mephisto – bolt pistol, chainsword
3 Space Marines – boltgun
1 Space Marine – Missile launcher (targeter, frag and krak grenades)
Squad Lazarus (grey shoulder pads):
Sergeant Lazarus – bolt pistol, chainsword
3 Space Marines – boltgun
1 Space Marine – flamer
Squad Cleon (cream shoulder pads):
Brother Cleon – boltgun
3 Space Marines – boltgun
1 Space Marine – Missile launcher (targeter, frag and krak grenades)
Orks (All Orks and Gretchin wear flak armour):
Da Krusher – Ork Dreadnought armed with two power klaws, heavy bolter and lascannon.
Grugnat’s Mob – ten Orks armed with bolt pistols, axes and frag stikkbomz.
Snikbog’s Mob – ten Orks armed with bolt pistols, axes and frag stikkbomz.
Grit’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.
Grot’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.
Scumbo’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.
Fergit’s Mob – ten Gretchin armed with autoguns.
The Marines got points for wiping out as many Greenskin mobs as possible, while the Orks got a 5 point bonus for getting a mob of six models or the Dread into the Marine deployment zone. Game length was four turns.
To everyone’s surprise, the Orks won the first turn and barrelled forward, Gretchin screening the boyz who were hugging the available cover until they could get within bolt pistol range.
This time probability reasserted itself and the Marines scored first turn.
Once again, the Marines won the first turn and the missile launcher teams desperately pumped bolter fire and frag missiles into the oncoming greenskins, while the flamer teams attempted to manouevre in to use their devastating short range weapons to better effect..
First turn passed back to the Orks and the boyz burst from behind the screen of Grots to engage the Marines at point blank range!
At the end of the turn, we totted up the points – Orks 4, Marines 1 – a solid win for the Greenskins!
Dan owned up to a lack of concentrating fire on single mobs, as he caused a solid amount of casualties but not actually wiping out or seriously damaging complete units. I did get pretty lucky with Da Krusha’s lunatic rampage not just taking down three Marines from Squad Mephisto but also taking him squarely into the Marine deployment zone! However if Dan’s flamer teams could have gotten in range, or if he’d finished off Da Krusha with a couple of extra krak missiles, things could easily have gone the other way..
So if you’re keeping score, that’s 2-1 to the Orks, so a Greenskin victory in this mini campaign! Props to Dan for a brilliant job on his Marines (whatever he may claim to the contrary) and being a gentlemanly and sporting (if perennially unlucky) opponent.
This project has been a blast, but it doesn’t have to end here – we’re toying with adding a few bits to make these forces 8th ed legal, and just maybe to take them on a pilgrimage to Warhammer World itself, for a game on the hallowed tables themselves! A great way touch base with the roots of what got us into this hobby in the first place.
The sun glittered on the waves, reflecting across the expanse of the North Sea. At this altitude you could smell the salt, and thanks to the backwash from the helicopter blades and manoeuvring thrusters on the Silverbugs, you could taste the spray too.
Lt. Grant looked back at his new command, a platoon of infantry jammed inside the brand new Westland Wessex transport. Spread out either side of him, as far as the eye could see, were transport helicopters and Silverbug antigrav gunships, skimming across the waves. He felt a mixture of immense pride and trepidation – Ivan wouldn’t be expecting this, but the 1st Air Cav, although an elite division on paper, was as yet untested in battle. Grant himself was fresh from West Point, a young officer with much to prove. He flicked through his briefing notes one last time – get in, destroy all the supplies you could reach and get to the extraction point before Ivan could react and summon reinforcements. The damage they did here would be crucial in stemming the tide of Holy Soviet Empire forces currently engulfing Central Europe, and rampaging across Eastern Germany.
It would work. It had to work.
The pilot tapped his helmet, held up a hand, four fingers and thumb extended. Grant nodded, and turned to his men.
“Five minutes to drop!” he yelled. “Lock and load!”
With a metallic crash, his men did so. Grant smiled – they looked ready..
With all the 40k stuff that’s been going on of late, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’d forgotten our first love – our own universe and game system, cobbled together over the years and finally codified back in 2014. For those who aren’t familiar, Germany wins (sort of) WW1, and the result is a proto-EU (The League Of European Nations), an Atlantic Alliance bloc comprising the UK & Commonwealth along withe the USA, and a demented theocratic hellhole Holy Soviet Empire, ruled over by everyone’s favourite baddie, Emperor Josef Djugashvilli I! (aka Stalin to his mates).
January 1954 sees the Holy Soviet Army invade the West, and in the first catastrophic days the Europeans struggle to contain the Red Hordes as they mobilise their reserves. So it’s Blighty and the Yanks to the rescue, as on Valentine’s Day 1954 the joint US-UK 1st Air Cavalry division (including a few experimental vehicles) pull off a devastating raid from an unexpected quarter on a massive Soviet forward logistics base, causing severe damage to the ammunition and fuel supply chain.
We’ve been kicking around a few scenarios to try out, and this has stuck with us as a fun one to try, focusing on a single platoon trying to get in, cause havoc, and get out again before the Holy Soviet Army wakes up and flattens them! So, as Valentines Day dawns and you think you’re in trouble with the missus – well, it could be worse!
We laid out the 6 x 4 board with the objective in the middle, and let the Soviets deploy within 60cm of the objective marker with no idea yet where the attack might be coming from. Next up, they were subjected to three barrages of 155mm artillery fire, simulating the bombing runs from the lead Silverbug attack vehicles. At that point, the Atlantic Alliance forces would deploy on the table anywhere at least 50 cm from the objective, and the Soviet player would nominate which edge should be the extraction point.
The Atlantic Alliance job is to hit all the buildings around the objective marker with C4 demolition charges (setting the charge counts as a Combat Action) and extract as many forces as possible off the nominated table edge. The Soviets would be trying to stop and/or kill & capture as many of the elite cavalrymen as possible.
The Soviets had the Platoon HQ, three rifle squads (nos. 1, 2 & 3), a support squad (no. 4)reinforced with an additional Lightning Launcher, a Noble Sniper (who we both forgot about throughout the game), a squad of Siberian “Strong Men” assault troops, a section of Tesla armoured troops, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard, an APC, the SU-152 assault gun, 4 T-48s, the Inferna and Elektra specialist tanks and the two Shock Drones – basically everything but the big superheavies!
Meanwhile Buffalo 2-7, were in lean, mean “airmobile” mode, which meant leaving the tracked vehicles behind, giving us Lt Grant and his Platoon Command Element, two rifle squads (Alfa & Bravo), a heavy weapons squad (Charlie), machinegun squad (Delta), Rocketeers (Warhawk 4-9), Dreadnaught squad, three Humvees armed with minigun, Stinger/TOW and railgun, and sniper team (Ghost 7). Also present were our ace in the hole – two Avrocar Silverbug gunships toting Stinger/TOW launchers and Avenger autocannons, along with the M85 combat support robots.
Grab yourself a beer – this is going to be a good one….
Stumbling through the undergrowth, nursing a gunshot wound to the shoulder, Grant and Macauliffe ran for their lives. His lungs afire, Grant stumbled and fell, pain shooting through his shoulder like a lightning bolt. It was nothing to the pain he felt on the realisation that apart from the big medic, his entire command- men he’d trained with, whose lives were his responsibility – was annihilated. Destroyed. His men dead or prisoners. He dropped his M15 in the dirt, sagging to his knees.
“Go on without me, doc, I’ll only slow you down” he panted, throat raw.
The big medic looked at him. “I don’t leave my men, sir. I ain’t leaving you. We did what we came here to do – those boys knew the risk. “
The next thing Grant knew, he was across the medics shoulders, being carried a trot to the extraction point. The sound of rotor blades had never been so welcome.
Whichever way he looked he saw flames. Lt. Polikarpov tried not to cringe as caskets of ammunition cooked off in the blaze around him. He straightened as the pair of riflemen – all he could spare from the shattered garrison – threw him a salute.
“We are sorry, comrade Lieutenant, but the fascists made it out. We have a few personal effects they abandoned, however” – the riflemen handed over Grant’s pack for inspection.
Polikarpov’s lips moved as he read the stencil. Grant, 2nd Lt, B-2-7 1st Air Cavalry.
“I’ll get you, you bastard” he swore silently. “I will see you again, Amerikanisch, and I will end you”
Probably the mostbrutally violent four turns either if us have ever played! We agreed it was a draw – 3 out of 5 buildings blown, but Grant and Mac the only Allied survivors. Probably a bunch of things we could and should have done differently, but we got so swept up in the cinematic feel of the game, we were both running on adrenaline! Action packed and immense fun – props to Dan for also suggesting that it functioned rather well as an “origins story”, setting up the saga of Grant v Polikarpov for many years to come!
Thanks to all who stuck with us through a pretty sizeable post -hope you enjoyed t as much as we did, and if you want to get in on the fun, check us out on Wargames Vault.
Brother Lorenzio tapped his comm-link again and muttered a curse. No matter what he did, he couldn’t tune out the sibilant high frequency pulsating that he would almost swear sounded like some form of rhythmic high pitched bell… He put it out if his mind as the sonorous voice of Brother Sergeant Garcia came across the squad net.
“Stay close, brothers, the enemy is lightly armed but numerous. Brother Fiorian, your flamer to the fore.”
The net chimed as Brother Enricio chimed in. “Forgive me, Brother Sergeant – enemy sighted, three contacts, each ten strong, bearings 294, 012 and 027”
The combat squad clustered behind a ruined wall. Garcia’s voice across the net again – “Close and destroy, brothers. Grenades and flamer, bolter and sword. On me!”
With that, the five Space Marines roared their assent and charged toward their foe..
Welcome to 2019! Over the last few months, Dan & I have been working on a plan to utilise the contents of our accidental 2017 purchase in the manner they were originally intended – recreating the mini campaign in the scenario book included with 1993’s Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition box set. It’s taken a little while, but now we’ve got the urban board, the ruins, as well as enough Marines and Gretchin to tackle the first scenario in the booklet – “First Blood”.
So, with bellies strained to bursting point with mince pies and mulled wine, we deployed troops (Dan taking the Grots) and had at it!
All in all, a very fun game, fortune went back and forth between the two sides – allowing my flamer marine to lead the advance was a rookie error, as that flamer template against the close packed Gretchin would have been carnage!
A few criticisms – why (oh WHY OH WHY OH WHY…) must I move and then shoot? Why can’t I shoot and then move? And why phases????? It just seems unnecessary unwieldy complication…
But overall, it was a giggle, and while there are definitely better systems out there, 2nd Ed 40k is genuinely FUN, nostalgia angle entirely aside. Next scenario will be soon, just as soon as the frankly spectacular hangovers Dan and I are currently nursing decline to more manageable levels. In the meantime, happy new year and a prosperous 2019!
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.”
“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.
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.
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!
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..
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!
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!
But then something mighty shook the ground below –
Oh Help! Oh No! It’s Stompy Uncle Joe!
Stompy Uncle Joe? Who’s Stompy Uncle Joe?
Stompy Uncle Joe? Why, didn’t you know?
He’s fifty feet tall, with a terrible roar
And a terrible flamethrower on his terrible claw
He can fire lightning into the air – his antiaircraft machine guns have our Rocketeers scared!
Where his he headed?He’s on our left flank –
AND HIS FAVOURITE FOOD IS CENTURION TANK!!!!!
(thank you Julia Donaldson)
New board. Newterrain. Newandimprovedarmies. After a summer of repainting and terrain building, Dan and I are champing at the bit to get this game underway and try out all our new toys, and this is going to be a BIG post. So big, in fact, we’ve decided to split it into two parts. This week, we’ll cover the army lists, deployment and strategies, and once the dust has settled and the empties cleared away, we’ll take a look at how the battle unfolded.
We decided to flip the narrative for once – the Atlantic Alliance would be the attacking party, striking deep into formerly Polish territory to try and secure the strategically vital village of Kubica Pass (yes, named for the racing driver.. we’re both rooting for you and hope to see you back on the F1 grid in 2018!) while the Holy Soviet Army would be trying to hold them back and protect this newly acquired slice of Motherland.
There were six objectives on the board, each worth 30VPs each – the central gulley and various hills and buildings around the battlefield. We reckoned each force chimed in at roughly 3000 points, so it should give us a good balance of manoeuvre and flat out slaughter!
The board (Soviets nearest the bottom) – objective 1 just out of shot extreme left Soviet flank, objective 2 the rocky hill next to it, objective 3 the central gulley, objective 4 the ruined department store to it’s right, objective 5 the hill near the Allies, objective 6 the ruined church
Holy Soviet Army – Task Force Polikarpov, 63rd Guards Tank Division
Platoon Headquarters : Lt, Commissar, RTO, Standard Bearer, 3 x Riflemen
M60A3 Platoon (3 x M60A3 including 1 command tank)
M42 Stealth Tank
Humvee – Minigun
Humvee – Railgun, targeter
Humvee – Stinger/TOW launcher
M113 – HMG, 2x LMG
M113 – Light Autocannon, 2x LMG
M113 – Automatic Grenade Launcher, 2 x LMG
Avrocar squadron – 2 x Avrocar Silverbugs w/ 2x Stinger/TOW launchers, targeter and Avenger cannon
Trying to read the terrain to best advantage, I stuck the SU-152 on the far left with the Artillery Observation team, with the intent of capturing and securing Objective 1, which looked safe enough and would also function well as a firebase with cover and plenty of views over the battlefield. Over on the right, I anchored the superheavies – the IS-6 Rampager and Stompy Uncle Joe, the Colossus, as they could command the open ground and the layout of the village streets gave the Rampager crew a nice field of fire for their twin 140mm cannons…
Objective 2 looked within reach and would provide a nice firebase, so I earmarked No. 4 (Support) squad to take that, and they would be led over the top by the T-48 platoon as I suspected we might see some allied vehicle activity in that area of the table. Once it was secure, No. 4 squad could sit on 30 VPs of territory, sweep the board with heavy machinegun fire and lightning blasts, as well as dropping mortars wherever we felt like.
Objective 5 looked safely in the Allied zone so I decided to focus on 3 and 4 – this would be the main body of the infantry assault who would use the buildings for cover and get close enough to flush out any deployed Allied infantry with Molotov cocktails and vodka fuelled violence! I deployed the Siberians, Elektra and Inferna to support the HQ and squads 1, 2 & 3 in the centre. This would be my hammer blow, and the Shock Drones went with them to soften up anything foolish enough to get in their way.
By this point I was running out of space in my deployment zone! Vasily the sniper took up position in the ruined tenement block and the Lightnng Storm squad took Uncle Joe’s back as these slow moving but rugged troops would cause carnage when they got in range.. finally, the Holy Mystic and his bodyguard found themselves a nice little ruined shop to take refuge in and plot their evil deeds…
The stage was set. Za Rodina!
I found myself with a bit of a mental block trying to form a plan, so I decided to deploy my most powerful assets first and build around them. First up was the flight of Avrocar Silverbug gunships – these chaps packed a pair of Stinger/TOW launchers each as well as a potent rapid fire Avenger cannon (essentially an A-10 in B-movie sci-fi clothing). I stuck them out on the far left where I could see the opportunity to pull off a flanking manouevre and quickly secure Objective 6.
The Stealth Tank simply HAD to go in the woods where he would best be able to utilise his ability to transform into a tree, so that solved that conundrum, and I decided that since that looked like a good area of tank country, most of my anti-tank units would go there – Charlie Squad, two of the Humvees and the Dreadnaughts all took position.
The Rocketeers would be a mobile fire brigade, so I kept them fairly central with the intent of having them close up and slaughter vulnerable Soviet infantry, and hopefully the Mystic, and the main grunt of the armour went where I figured the Soviet armour wouldn’t be – the Holy Soviet Empire has little conventional antitank capability, preferring to drown the enemy in T-48s and if that fails get their Mystic to start chucking tanks around like tennis balls. This meand that if you catch them out, they have no answer to the powerful Allied main battle tank. So, 3 M60A3s and 3 M113s formed the central punch, supported by Alfa, Bravo and Delta squads, as well as platoon HQ in order to ensure unit coherency. We would punch through the gulley and secure Objective 3, maybe 4 too. Ghost 7 deployed forward onto Objective 5, the craggy hilltop giving a fine view of the battlefield.
That was the plan. Now to see if the enemy would co operate…
Next time out – battle is joined! How will all our new toys acquit themselves? Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon 😉