Battle for Stones River - Game One

Assault on Orlov Bridge

During the battle for the planet Charon IV, Orlov Bridge became a very important strategic location for Imperial supply lines.  Due to its location and age, it acted as a severe choke point.  All other bridges in the area had been destroyed by either the Imperial or the Chaos forces. On top of that, only one vehicle could cross Orlov Bridge at a time, otherwise it ran the risk of collapsing.  

Unfortunately, the Great Enemy became aware of this choke point, and eventually took hold of it, cutting off the imperial front lines from their much needed supplies.  Colonel 'Blitzkrieg' Caine stepped forward and offered his contingency plan to the Charon Campaign's High Command that would allow the mechanized elements of the 523rd to mobilize and break through the Chaos blockade.  High Command was working on a combined attack from the both sides of the river, but were having difficulty coordinating such an attack with the front line commanders.  They approved of Caine's assault, thinking it would be a suitable distraction at worst, giving them more time to prepare their own battle plans.  They only required that Caine keep the bridge intact, a request that would be much more difficult to fulfill than he realized.

Colonel 'Blitzkrieg' Caine surveying the field from the back of his chimera.

I attended the Battle for Stones River last weekend, it was an 1863 point tournament(in honor of the Battle for Stones River which took place in 1863) and this is the list I took:

Company Command Squad, Straken, 2xMeltas, Regimental Standard, Medic, Astropath, Bodyguard, Carapace armor, Chimera w/Dozerblade


Veteran Squad w/ 3xMeltas, Shotguns, Chimera

Platoon Command Squad, 3xFlamers, Chimera
Infantry Squad, Melta, Chimera
Infantry Squad, Melta, Chimera

Platoon Command Squad, Al'rahem, 2xMeltas, 1xFlamer, Chimera w/Dozerblade
Infantry Squad, Melta, Chimera
Infantry Squad, Melta, Chimera



My first round opponent was playing Chaos Space Marines, this is his list, from memory:

Khorne Demon Prince
Slaanesh Demon prince? (I know it had a 4++ invul save, versus the Khorne demon's 5++)

Two units of Thousand sons with sorcerers, in rhinos (one blue, one red)

One unit of plague marines with a melta in a rhino(Green rhino)

One unit of Khrone Berserkers, Champion with a power fist, in a rhino(old 2nd edition rhino, red)

Three dreadnoughts, one with twin-linked lascannon/close combat weapon, one with plasma cannon/close combat weapon, one with twin-linked lascannon + missile launcher.

I don't play Chaos very often so I played very conservatively.  The demon princes were intimidating for me, so I kept my distance.  One of them ended up losing his last two wounds to lasgun fire, so I learned a little about them at least.  It also didn't help that his first two shots of the game downed two vendettas.  He didn't have a lot of long range shooting, but his damage rolls were spot on.

Round one scenario was as follows:
Primary objective (11 points): Hold the bridge with a scoring unit, and have no enemy models on the bridge.
Secondary(6 points): Score more kill points than your opponent.
Tertiary(3 points): Destroy your opponents most expensive unit (shown in this report as the blue thousand sons squad on my left flank) and keep yours alive (which would be my Straken unit).

Deployment was Dawn of War, seen above.  It looks like he might have had two HQs deployed here, but it is possible this picture was taken just after his first turn started, so maybe the blue demon prince had just walked onto the board.

He has a plague bearer squad in the green rhino on my right flank, and his 'most expensive' unit of thousand sons in the blue rhino on my left flank, along with the Khorne demon prince.

In the picture above I have Straken's chimera to the right, hidden behind the pipes. Next in line is the Veteran squad, I tried to keep them as close to Straken as possible for support.  Following along to the left, moving out of the picture, I have my infantry platoon lined up together inside their Chimeras, thank you new FAQ.  :)

My opponent moved onto the board his first turn, spreading his dreadnoughts across the back of the board.   The red rhino on the left holds his berserkers, and the red rhino on the right holds his second thousand sons unit.  The 4++ invul save on the thousand sons had me worried, and I didn't want to mess with the plague marines and their t5 + feel no pain.  Luckily his shooting didn't do anything to my deployed chimeras.  I don't think he even saw anything through the night fighting.

I brought one vendetta onto my left side, and two vendettas onto my right side(one is out of the picture).  The Manticore rolled on in a central location.  There wasn't any large terrain on my side of the board to hide behind, and he didn't have much range so I wasn't too worried about losing it.

My turn one movement is seen here. Straken jumped over the pipes, making a move on the bridge.  The veterans took a slower route, not wanting to get immobilized on the pipes early on.  My infantry squads drove around each side of the terrain piece directly in front of them, while the platoon commander stayed back near the veterans.

My vendetta was able to pick out the shiny red rhino through the darkness, and unloaded with its single lascannon (due to moving fast to get on the board), wrecking the vehicle.

One of my chimeras even drew a bead on the central dreadnought, spot lighting it, but also getting a glance and knocking off the dreadnought's twin-linked lascannon.  I think it would also take a few hits from the manticore and vendettas, losing the other weapon and become immobilized.

End of turn 1. KPs = IG(1), Chaos(0)

He ordered a general advance across the board.  He played rather conservatively with his demons at first, I think he might have been waiting to see where Al'rahem showed up at.  The red thousand sons moved towards the bridge, and the plague marines began moving to flank the bridge in support.

As I said, his two remaining dreadnoughts opened up on two vendettas, exploding one and wrecking the other.  This turn two bloody nose set me back some.  I was hoping to de-mech him completely before losing the Vendettas, but things happen.  Luckily my chimeras were still mobile.

My turn two saw Al'rahem arrive on my left flank, which is where I wanted them.  Marbo stayed in reserve, and I would forget to roll for him on turn 3. Al'rahem and his posse wrecked the blue thousand sons' rhino with 12" meltas.  The Manticore would then drop two pie plates on the bunched up blue marines, causing 4 deaths out of 10.

I moved the rest of my chimeras closer to the bridge, with one infantry squad pushing towards Al'rahem in case they needed support next turn.  I didn't want to over extend this squad too much.  Along the same thoughts, I didn't want to commit my main force to the bridge too early either.

One special rule for the bridge this round was that any vehicle moving over the bridge that had an armor value of 12+ on any facing would collapse the bridge on a 3+, making it difficult/dangerous, and immobilizing the vehicle on the spot.  This added to my hesitance to attack the bridge.

End of turn 2. KPs = IG(2), Chaos(2)

On turn 3 my opponent jumped his khorne demon prince across the river and would charge the slightly over-extended infantry squad.  He needed 4's to hit, but after some bad to hit rolls, and even worse pen rolls (failing two of his pen rolls on 2d6), he managed to only stun the vehicle.

Demon prince charging into the Chimera wall.

Colonel Caine eyes the heretics across the bridge as they prepare their charge.

The sorcerer seen on the front right of the picture above shot some psyhic bolt at Straken's chimera and wrecked it in turn 3.  It didn't matter too much as I was already as close to the bridge as I needed to be.

Reacting to the arrival of Al'rahem, the berserkers disembarked from their rhino and charged headlong into the new threat.  This was a good move I think.  He was trying to protect his 'expensive' unit of blue thousand sons.  Unfortunately he only just made it into contact with Al'rahem's chimera with his champion, so only the champion and two other marines were able to swing.  He did no damage at all.  Very bad rolls for him this round.

Next turn Al's platoon put their chimeras in reverse and...

After one round of shooting...poof.  Three heavy flamers, four meltas, a plasma pistol, and eight rapid firing lasguns turns out to be just enough fire power to kill 7 berserkers.  I wanted to do more damage to the thousand sons, but since they were running away from me I decided to deal with the most imminent threat first.

My remaining Vendetta destroyed the plasma cannon dreadnought this turn, and the Manticore would fire two rounds into the red thousand sons near the bridge, scattering over and hitting the immobile dreadnought, destroying it, while also taking down three marines.

So far my plan on my left flank was working.  Al'rahem was keeping most of his army away from the bridge, especially the demon princes.  This would allow my right flank to apply pressure with a larger portion of my forces on a relatively small portion of his, and hopefully take control of the bridge towards the end of the game.

Since my Chimera hadn't moved, due to being stunned, his demon prince had free rein on it when my assault phase came.  In hindsight, I probably should have pulled that squad out of the chimera that turn.

He blew it up and killed two guys from inside, but not before my troops pulled up and dropped two wounds off the creature.  The squad inside the Chimera would have their revenge next turn, when they caused the final wounds on the monster with their lasgun volleys.

End of turn 3. KPs = IG(4), Chaos(4)

This picture is the middle of the Chaos movement phase.  The red demon prince would jump over the nearly evicted infantry squad, and land behind the Platoon Command Squad's chimera, wrecking it I believe.  I thought he would go for the demeched infantry squad, but I guess he received a kill point either way.  They would take a first rank, second rank order from Straken and lay low the chaos spawn during my turn 4 shooting.

I think he might have destroyed a chimera over on Al'rahem's side somewhere, because we ended up being tied on kill points at the end of turn 4 as well, after my infantry squad, helped along by a 'fire on my target' from Al'rahem, blew the final dreadnought sky high.

End of turn 4. KPs = IG(6), Chaos(6)

We were running close to the end of the round so we both made our final push for the bridge.  He moved forward with six plague marines out front, and two red thousand son marines behind.  I focus all my fire on the two thousand sons and killed them off, saving Straken and one infantry squad's fire for the plague marines.  His blue thousand son squad ended up having ONE model left, they I could have easily put fire against and killed, but in my rush to take the bridge before dice down was called I completely forgot to even try to kill him.  This only cost me 3 points, but it is still disappointing.

"Colonel Caine rallied his men with the shout they had all been waiting for,  'Fix bayonets!' as if the order was even needed. Most of them had their bayonets attached before they even left their transports.  With only four men from his personal retinue still able to follow him, the part-machine part-man officer of the 523rd Coriscan leveled his shotgun at the heretics that were mocking him from the crest of the bridge. With an augmented shout he charged headlong into his enemy.  The plague marines braced themselves for the incoming attack, but they were not prepared for the force of ten men that had scaled the bridge from behind.  They never had a chance..."

Straken's squad and the ten infantry from the chimera shown to the left would all make it into combat with the plague marines at the bottom of turn 5, but right as I was calculating the dice I would need to roll dice down was called.  I slammed my codex shut and let out a frustrating sigh.

Unfortunately I think my opponent thought I was frustrated at him, so he offered to let me go ahead and roll out the assault so we could see what would happen.  I felt bad about how I had reacted.  I was frustrated that we didn't get to finish the combat, because I think I could have won and perhaps killed them with that charge, but I didn't mean for the frustration to be directed at him.

We did roll out Straken's attacks, and he only hit 2 out of his 5 attacks, wounding two as well. The rest of the guardsmen hitting on 4s and wounding on 5s, due to furious charge, probably wouldn't have done enough to get past the 3+ save, 4+ feel no pain.  I really needed Straken to carry this combat.

We ended with a tie on Primary and Tertiary, and I had inadvertantly won on Kill points, 7-6, with that 7th kill point coming from killing the two remaining thousand sons, that were on the bridge, through shooting.

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