Last week I used my Imperial Guard for the very first time and they performed beyond expectation. True, my esteemed counterpart made a few tactical errors and the dice godess smiled more in my general direction than his. Still, I’m quite happy with my overall composition and disposition of the Stahlians.
The game was 1750 points Annihilation with Dawn of War deployment and the 57th faced an Ork horde with tons of walkers and light vehicles. I knew that my only chance lay in keeping the Orks as far away from for as long as possible. For this reason I was relieved that I got to deploy first.
The board had a good spread of terrain with a fairly open center. From my point of view, the Ork deployment zone was covered by a few industrial buildings to the left, with rocky terrain to the right. On my side of the board I had ruins to the left and center with a forest of big trees to the right. As the trees were quite large we agreed that they in fact did not constitute a single area of terrain but were in fact seperate terrain pieces. This allowed unhindered movement for infantry and tanks alike.
My deployment had a single purpose: push the Orks as far back as possible. To this end I deployed a Chimera with Veterans backed up by a 21-man strong infantry squad in a line stretching from in front of the ruins to my left all the way to my center. In my center, two heavy weapon squads and my command squad gathered around a tiny ruin. To my right an infantry squad with a heavy bolter held the forest with the platoon command squad in a Chimeera deployed at the tree line. Facing them was a 30-strong Ork mob with some Gretchin in front for cover.
My confidence took a hit when the Orks seized the iniative and brought everything onboard. Three full squadrons of Buggies, three full squadrons of Killa Kans, two Deff Dreads, two Big Meks, Lootas, another mob of Orks and anoth section of mobile cover (grots) came crashing in. Luckily the Orks had little room to effectively deploy and the nine Buggies didn’t move as fast they could. Lack of reliable long range fire meant I only lost two guardsmen from my larger squad.
My first turn began with my flanks falling back before the advancing horde. At the same time my armour showed up. To my left an Armoured Sentinel stalked through the ruins while its Plasma Cannon counterpart crashed through the forest to my right. A Leman Russ with Plama Cannon sponsons and another Chimera with veterans came onboard just left of my center; a Demolisher just right of it.
For the next couple of tirns, the orks advanced while my flanks fell back. The larger infantry squad took casualties, the platoon command Chimera was disabled, the anti-tank heavy weapons squad lost a missile launcher team. However, the orks lost a few killa kans and buggies as well as quite a few foot-slogging orks and gretchins. My mortars proved themselves at this point. Also, at the start of my second turn my squad of storm troopers and my squad of (count as) Tauros enteted play. I had hoped to have my “Tauros” squadron assist my storm troopers in putting presure on the Orks’ left flank (my right), but alad it was not to be. Instead five storm troopers made a suicidal gravchute drop next to the Lootas mob. Over the next few turns the two units would be reduced to a single Storm Trooper fleeing for his life and a single Loota following a Big Mek into battle. Round later heavy bolter fire would kill the last loota and force the big mek to run away.
By the fourth turn of the game, all Chimeras were either immobolised or completely taken out of action. The left-mot veteran squad had managed to destroy a killa kan, but was engaged in a brawl with the rest of the killa kan squadron that would be the end of the veterans. The larger infantry squad was finally wiped out by a deff dread that got close enough to bathe the unfortunate guardsmen in flames. The very same walker would wreck the second veteran squad’s Chimera, but also be melted by the veterans in return.
The anti-tank heavy weapons squad performed admirably, reducing buggies and killa kans to heaps of junk. The mortar squad and the master of ordnance kept raining death on the advancing orks. To my right the ork and gretchin mobs were halted and reduced to a few survivors that were dispatched in hand-to-hand combat.
After the orks sixth turn (before my sixth), there was no question who was the victor. I still had around forty guardsmen on the field as well as two sentinels and both tanks (of which one had had its track blown off). The orks had a single nob, two buggies (one withour weapons) and two killa kans (yet again, one without weapons). Apart from a big mek running for his life the rest of the greenskins were dead, dead, dead.
Fifth turn had been devastating for the orks as I wiped out the deff dreads as well as the remaining killa kans in the center. All of a sudden the only orks left in play were to my right where my “Tauros” squadron, Chimera and veterans had delayed and contained them.
The 57th Reserve regiment of Stahl had survived the onslaught and repulsed the ork assault. To my surprise they had done so with more than half their combat strength intact.
I learnt a few lessons from this game. First of all, an infantry squad (even combined) needs to bring a heavy weapons team along for the ride. I had twenty guardsmen and a commissar that did nothing but die as they constantly were a) moving and b) out of range. Two heavy weapon teams would’ve at least negated point ‘b’.
Secondly, heavy and special weapons is everything when it comes to Imperial Guard. The rest is just ablative wounds. I’m seriously considering deploying special weapons squads in support of my infantry next game, against better “Internet knowledge”.
Thirdly, mortars can be devastating and with enough BS 3 lascannons, any armour goes up in flames. I clearly need more heavy weapon squads.