The History of the Imperium: Tanks of Old Terra

I particularly enjoyed this “history lesson” from the latest issue of The Regimental Standard.  Informative and inspirational!

“… the Tyger is probably named after an animal of Old Earth, in this case, large, nine-legged insectoids from the Yndonesian Bloc, bred as beasts of war.”

As one of my friends and regular opponents likes to say, “Seems legit to me!”

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The Regimental Standard

Attention Guardsman! The Imperium, and indeed the Astra Militarum, has a long, grand history, an unbroken line of memory from the distant days of Terra to the modern era.

While the study of history beyond great Imperial battles and the names of Imperial saints can, for simpler minds, raise heretical questions, we here at the Regimental Standard are committed to keeping you informed. Today, we look at the older predecessors of the Leman Russ in the first of our exciting History of the Imperium series.

We’ve enlisted Tech-Priest Kappa-Nu AX77446 to share some of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ valuable insights into the history of tank warfare.


Kappa-Nu AX77446: Greetings, Guardsmen. While many of you will never know the joys of replacing one’s body with an invulnerable augmetic shell, some of you may get to experience the next best thing – serving worshipfully in the belly of one of…

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Daemonkin vs. IG, Dark Angels & Officio Assassinorum (2000 points)

Santa Cruz Sector, Mythic Games: March 31, 2017

Frantic reports of daemonic incursions emanate from the agricultural hinterlands of the ninth planet in the Ben Lomond system.  Elements of the Dark Angels space marine chapter investigate and find several warp rifts to Khorne apparently opened by means of the ritualistic sacrifice of entire villages.  There is nothing left when they arrive but death, red mist, blood and horror.  Astra Militarum forces, garrisoning the planet, are air lifted to support the quickly beleaguered marines.  This is one of many desperate actions.

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Imperial armored forces cautiously take up positions surrounding the warp rift.

Captain L. Danielus  and I played the Warp Rift scenario.  This time we used the Superior Reconnaissance special rule.  As things turned out, we both agreed this balanced the scenario nicely for a shooting versus assault army and made for an enjoyable game.

The Khornate forces were a Slaughter Cult formation within a Bloodhost Detachment.  In addition to my usual host of uglies, there was quite a lot of small arms potential this time with three squads of extremely angry daemonkin space marines (not Angry Marines though).  The backbone of the imperial forces was mechanized Guard veterans, assisted by nicely painted Dark Angels tactical marines and terminators led by a chaplain.  An eversor assassin rounded out the loyalist forces.  Our good captain as usual led a Combined Arms Detachment into the fray.

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It isn’t too active now, but soon deamons will come screaming from the living stone!

The early stages of the fight didn’t look too promising for the Imperium.  A squad of possessed space marines clamored out of their rhino and up three floors inside a ruin where a Dark Angels devastator squad had taken up excellent firing positions.  Say what you want about possessed, but they are as agile as spider monkeys!  Predictably, after a sharp, gruesome fight, the possessed were in possession of the ruin and the devastators were but a gruesome memory.

Also, a mob of bloodletters erupted out the rift and made straight for Captain Danielus’ massed line of chimerae.  Despite focusing almost all of their considerable firepower on that single group, apparently the daemons were strong with the might of Khorne, for when the red mist settled the remaining daemons, reduced in number but still hissing and howling scuttled onward with their black swords held high.

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Dark Angel devastators take aim.

Still, the company commander and his men never give up, and of course Dark Angels know no fear (or if they do they are pretty good at hiding it, at least in front of a chaplain), so they stood fast, determined to close the rift or at least sell their lives as dearly as possible.  Not that they would appreciate the sentiment, but they earned a grim salute from your Sanguine Narrator.  Blessings to the Strong!

Only through heroic sacrifice and much blood spilled, mostly on the imperial side, were the loyalist forces able to hold the field.  Their grip was tenacious but weakening by the second.  As the rift energies peaked, shining like a coruscating red giant, disaster was at hand.  A towering bloodthirster strode out of the midst roaring with laughter.  He was unpainted but mighty nonetheless.

The few remaining veteran guardsmen were in no position to help.  They had their hands full with a particularly frisky chaos spawn.  It seemed to have become stimulated while in proximity to one of the glistening stone menhir, which needed to be seized if the gate was to be closed.

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Death Wing terminators teleport in to challenge the deamonkin terminators.

Everything pointed to a complete victory for the daemonkin.  In the end the mighty daemon prince stood alone controlling one objective.  He was busy cavorting over a grease spot that used to be an eversor assassin.  A vendetta gunship interrupted its dogfight with a heldrake and hovered over another objective.  To pick what what survivors they could, perhaps?

The plucky guardsmen almost broke against the chaos spawn, as it ate several more of their number.  The tentacled monstrosity seemed impervious to chainsword, krak missile, and that king of weapons, the lasgun.  Fortunately the spawn was so busy vibrating it didn’t notice a single guardsmen, who wasn’t taking part in the fight.  He placed his hands on the menhir and mumble an incantation.  The soldier exploded in a bloody mess but the red mist around the stone abruptly vanished.

Finally, the Dark Angel chaplain and his men advanced toward their objecrtive in the face of harrowing Daemonkin marine bolter fire.  Despite being almost under the bloodthirster’s gray hooves, the giant paid no heed to the angels in his exultation.

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Waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

“For the Emperor and Mankind!” the chaplain screamed as he slammed his crozius arcanum against the stone objective.  It exploded like a malevolent volcano.  Marines were thrown back in all directions.  The chaplain and a couple of men came to a few moments later.  The rift and all trace of the daemonkin were gone.

So it was a 3-1 win for the Imperium.  The warp rift was closed and a great swath of civilization saved.  Huzzah for the loyalist’s Objective Secured!  Without that special rule the game would have ended in an unsatisfying 1-1 tie.

The Blood God was pleased because, as I told (in an appropriately mock serious tone) one skeptical onlooker who innocently wandered over between rounds of Magic, “Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!”

Yul Brynner King and I

Let Hate and a halfway decent set of abs be our armor!

Still, the architect of this appalling heresy remains unaccounted for.  Who knows where he will strike next?

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IG vs. Daemonkin (1850 Points)

Santa Clara Sector, Mountain View Game Kastle: March 17, 2017

Commissar Alex and I played the Warp Rift scenario for the first time.  We used the Rift Gate as well as the Tactics and Mystics (maelstrom cards) optional rules.  My army was 1850 points of Khorne Daemonkin.  I ran a Blood Host Detachment with a Slaughter Cult formation, as well as a CAD.  Alex, playing Imperial Guard, ran a CAD with an Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company formation.

Commissar Alex wrote the summary for our game or rather the good General Nesson did.  I’m not revealing how I got my hands on it, though rest assured I have my sources!

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The blue boxes were the objective markers.  The warp rift is the tower.

The forces of chaos struck once again against the Imperium, attacking an imperial planet in the Segmentum Ultima.  [Name and location of planet withheld under security edicts.] The local planetary defense forces were no match for the traitors and after just a few months the planetary defense force had no presence outside of a few major cities.

After several more months the Imperial navy arrived, bringing with it the forces of the Imperial Guard. After a few weeks the traitors were driven back towards the equator by our numerically superior forces.

However the deaths from all the fighting caught Khorne’s attention and the vales between realities weakened. Using this to their advantage, the forces of chaos enacted obscene rituals and the sacrifice of an entire village to break open a warp rift, which allowed daemons into material space.

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Synchronized Summoning ought to be an olympic sport!

The ritual was successful but only allowed for a few daemons to come at a time; however the deaths of guardsmen and traitors fueled the warp rift and soon the trickle became a stream. As the rift grew our commanders realized that if they wanted to have any hope of preventing [name of system redacted] from becoming a daemon world they would need to seal the rift before it enveloped the entire planet.

In a desperate gamble they headed directly towards the rift hoping either the priests or sanctioned psykers attached to the regiments could find a way to close the rift before it was too late.  As they approached it reality began to distort and madness reigned.

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Vendetta on an attack run against a Chaos Space Marine rhino.

While the exact events are unknown what is undeniable is that the imperial guard forces failed to seal the breach. After a few hours the rift began to grow rapidly and soon enveloped the planet in just a few days. Imperial command on the planet sent reports to orbital assets for as long as they could but the last transmissions degenerated into gunfire and maddening screams. The planet in question is currently under quarantine by the Imperial navy.

— Administratum Summary based off the final reports of Imperial General Asher Nesson

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As a sort of post script, we found this scenario gave a bit of an advantage to the assault-based army, all other things being equal.  I have to say this was not unexpected.  So we came up with the following optional rules and I added it to the scenario page.

Superior Reconnaissance:  The daemon player’s board edge for purposes of moving reserves onto the battlefield must be the same as the board edge she picked for deployment on turn one.  This is to help balance the scenario, since assault armies seem to be advantaged over shooting armies, all other things being equal.  If further balancing is needed, the daemon player must declare her board edge before the enemy player deploys.

The Emperor’s Tarot:  This is used with the Tactics and Mystics optional rule to help balance the scenario, if needed.  The enemy player deploys and draws his tactical objective cards before the daemon player deploys.  The enemy player may then decide to roll off to see who takes the first turn if he likes the look of his cards, or if both players agree the enemy player can take the first turn without a roll.  Note there is no Seize the Initiative rule in this scenario.

Scarbag’s Saga: Curse of the Red Git!

Santa Cruz Sector, December 2016.

Senior Lieutenant Scarbag Flashboy was given the mission of helping by dropping his stormboyz into the front lines and attacking heavy support targets of opportunity in one of the many battles in the Santa Cruz Sector against the Imperium.  In the target rich environment of a general Imperial Guard advance, the target in question turned out to be a manticore.

Everything went according to plan.  Their air assault went perfectly.  Actually it was 11 inches off target and another half inch would have dropped the entire squad into no man’s land, but it all worked out so that is what counts.

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Death and rude gestures from above courtesy of the semi-mysterious Red Git!

The manticore blissfully continued to fire its gigantic storm eagle missiles at distant ork units as the stormboyz prepared for their attack.  Bundles of grenades were checked, rokkit packs dialed to full throttle red line, and Scarboy himself produced a steel bar to jam into the tank’s track.

A few guardmen ran in their general direction but they were apparently retreating from general ork mayhem and soon disappeared in the fire and smoke.

Suddenly a deffkopta roared overhead in a red streak, spewing oil, gears, and stikbombs in its wake.  The ground vibrated under the stormboyz’ feet.  As they stood watching aghast, their now useless weapons falling from their hands, the deffkopta pilot corkscrewed a pair of rokkits into the missile tank.  The remaining two storm eagles detonated in a hellish fireball.  All that was left of the manticore was a burning crater.

Naturally Lieutenant Scarboy found himself stand alone, dumbfounded and patting out flames on his uniform, with all of his boyz laying dead around him.  Those who hadn’t been vaporized of course.

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The distinct red deffkopta flew back and hovered over Scarboy.  It was shedding even more parts than before after being damaged in the explosion. Clearly the only thing keeping the increasingly grotesque machine in the air was the pilot’s invincible belief in his own airmanship.

‘You! Ya you, da stoopid grot dat be on fire. Zog off an’ die, mate, cause I’m da bestestz an’ I’m da fastestz too!  ‘Cause I’m da Red Git!’ the pilot screamed.

‘Wot?’ The stormboy looked up.

The pilot replied with a rude gesture and tossed a ticking melta bomb at Scarbag’s feet.  He zoomed off cackling into the sunset.

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‘We need ta talk,’ the drone said.

Lieutenant Flashboy became introspective as the ebb of battle drifted away from him.  He woke up when the melta bomb laying in a nearby puddle of mud and fuel misfired with a depressing fizzle rather than the usual white hot boom of coruscating light.  The ork sighed and kicked some muck onto his now smoldering boots.

A universal drone trundled up to him on squeaking treads.  Waaagh! Hungry has always made good use of the ubiquitous drones as ammo carriers, mobile bombs, soldiers (remote-controlled or sporting a primitive AI), and especially for recon.

A tinny voice come from a crackling speaker on top of the drone.  “My name iz Big Mek Fixxit an’ we need ta talk if yer lookin’ fer revenge.”

‘Revenge?’ Flashboy asked.  The drone had his full attention.

Imperial Guard vs. Orks (1500 Points)

Santa Cruz Sector, December 14, 2016.

So I played my first game of 40K recently at Mythic Games in after taking well over a year off.  It was Guard versus Orks. Eternal War Scenario: Big Guns Never Tire.  Some pictures from our game:

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Manticores deliver an interesting and indisputable form of Detante.

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Boyz piling out of their wrecked trukk: a pretty common sight for these guys.

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Outflanking mechanized infantry on the attack.

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Tearing the turrets off of APC’s and throwing them with lethal effect at the disembarking infantry.

“They Came Out of the Storm” Scenario

Our first game was piratical marines using a blizzard to launch a surprise attack on IG in a ruined village.

This is a narrative scenario where one side attempts to achieve surprise by attacking an entrenched opponent in the aftermath of a storm.  Players should cooperate with terrain or have a third party set up the board.  The defender’s table half should contain a village, industrial works, supply depot, trench works, or some other such theme.  The attack’s side should probably contain less terrain, though this depends upon how the list match up.  Perhaps they are attacking out of sand dunes or from the edge of a jungle.

Of course one can vary terrain density depending upon the army and list match-ups to make for a fair game.  For example, a terminator force lining up against defenders who are light on AP 2 weapons may not require any cover at all, whereas a force of light infantry against say a typical Tau list probably should not be forced to walk across a bare board.

Use “Dawn of War” deployment where each player sets up within 12″ of his long table edge. The attacking player automatically sets up and takes the first turn, though the defender may attempt to seize the initiative. Night Fighting takes place automatically on turn one without a die roll. Secondary objective changes are noted below in the victory conditions. The game ends as per the normal rules.

Six objectives are placed in the defending player’s half of the table.  We found it best to set up the objectives collaboratively. This resulted in a more thematic placement and also because it can be difficult to legally set up six objectives on one side of the board if both players aren’t cooperating.

The storm could just as easily involve sand rather than snow.

Infiltration and Scout Moves work as normal but there is no deep striking allowed by either side in this scenario, unless both players agree to it. Thus units such as drop pods, which are required to enter play via deep strike, may be limited in number or even completely disallowed.

The attacker’s outflanking units must be positioned so the entire unit, including transports, are entirely within the owning player’s deployment zone on the turn the unit arrives. (This also applies to units with unusual special rules such as ork kommandos with Snikrot.)  The defender may not outflank units. Other reserves for both players are allowed but they enter play from each player’s long table edge.

Victory Conditions

Players score 3 victory points for each objective they control at the end of the game.  Secondary objectives are as normal except Line Breaker.  If the attacking player has more units completely within the defender’s deployment zone than the defender at game’s end, then the attacker receives one point for Line Breaker.  If the defender has more units then he receives 1 VP.  If a tie then neither player gets a point.  The defender cannot receive points by ending the game in the attacker’s deployment zone.

Alternately, you could play this scenario using the Maelstrom of War missions with the tactical cards, but if you do then I would remove the prohibition against deep striking, and also ignore the scenario restrictions for outflanking.  Otherwise the attacking player may find himself not able to score any cards until turn three at best!  If I did want to play a maelstrom scenario without deep striking, I’d probably use “Tactical Escalation” where the cards each player receives and can hold increases with each passing turn.

Our “They Came Out of the Storm” Games

 Space Wolves vs. IG (1500 Points, August 2015): A bloody game with the marines walking out of a blizzard in order to attack IG positions in a shattered village.  The defenders successfully held until turn five, but Legion VI-XIII was able to turn the battle around with a healthy dose of luck and several well-timed curses laid by a random shield maiden who wandered by to watch our game.

Swords Against Tanks!

I played my orks in a three player game recently.  My friend played Imperial Fists, who were my allies, and together we took on a mechanized Guard player.  There were ruins in each of our deployment zones but otherwise a featureless board in no-man’s land. The mission was a custom one featuring victory points for controlling table quarters, so we had to spread our forces out a bit.

The Guard sent their battle tanks to deal with the space marines and earmarked two veteran squads in chimeras and two devil dogs (fast melta tanks) to roll up the orks on their right flank. After a couple of turns of maneuvering and counter-maneuvering, the Guard managed to blow up both of my battle wagons. The one with 20 boyz ended up taking no wounds.  Pretty surprising to be sure.  Although none of the boyz were injured they were plenty agitated!

This game the boyz acted like they had “Preferred Enemy: Unpainted Models”!

The boyz charged both of the devil dogs and beat them to death with their swords, axes, and clubs. (Never had to use the power klaw, which was good because I was hoping to avoid having my boyz climb all over tanks and then have them blow up.) They received a bit of an assist from a couple of nobz with great axes on the devil dogs, but otherwise the nob squad and warboss were only a small factor in the coming onslaught.  It was as if the nobz and boyz had sort of traded places.

One of the chimera trundled up, unloaded their veterans and shot a few orks dead. Then the boyz got together and turned their vehicle upside down and ran off what few veterans remained. The nobz finished off the survivors, apparently taking care of the boyz’ light work.

Not a spent force yet, they then ran over to the second chimera pictured in the far right corner of the picture and beat it to death with their swords too. The boyz soon finished off those veterans as well, but suffered heavy losses to flame throwers. So one squad of 20 boyz settled the hash of the entire Guard right flank and now the remaining boyz set their sights on a leeman russ squadron that was dueling a couple of razorbacks entrenched behind some ruins.

It was not meant to be for the boyz. Their beautiful Waaagh! dream was just about over. They finally bit off more than they could chew and were obliterated three battle cannon shots, along with a little supporting fire, later. Still, the sole survivor was the nob, who sheltered behind a ruin in the Guard deployment zone and scored at the end of the game for line breaker and also victory points for the scenario we were doing.

Pretty fine work for a squad of ork boyz. I think that nob deserves a promotion or least an assignment to another squad of boyz he can lord it over. For what it is worth we scored a resounding victory, which was good because we were otherwise 0-2 in the tournament. Going home 1-2 is a lot better than 0-3!