Friday, 11 August 2017

The Invasion of Scipio - Chapter 2 - The Liberation of Gnaeus


This is the second battle in the Invasion of Scipio campaign. You can read about the introduction to the campaign here:
 
The initial space invasion here:
 
The defenders of Scipio barely had any time to take stock and consolidate their forces, they needed to conduct a counter attack on the cities that were overtaken during the invasion and were now being subject to unspoken horrors by the xeno invaders. They needed to do this immediately not only to relieve the populations of these cities but also while they had complete superiority in the space and air in the Delta Valley. There was no knowing precisely when reinforcements would arrive for either side of this conflict.


The xeno invasion wreaking havoc on the captured cities

Of the three cities that were captured by the invaders Barca would be the most difficult to counter-attack; during the initial invasion the xenos had dropped defense batteries that were effective in shooting down the drop pods that the defenders attempted to land. Many marines died in the skies over Barca before reaching the ground. This means that Barca would have to be taken overland from a northerly approach and thus time would be required to assemble the necessary troops.

Of the remaining two cities, Gnaeus was an isolated target and a smaller settlement, it would be easier to launch an immediate counterattack using launch troops and orbital support. Gisco would have to wait to be liberated afterwards; it was a much larger urban centre, it could be reinforced overland by xeno forces form Barca, and the dropships would need time to avoid the batteries there.

The map of the Delta valley after the invasion
Gnaeus is a commercial and industrial town surrounded by smaller villages and country side. With their complete superiority in space and the air, the Imperial fleet is able to surround the city, dropping troops on all sides and bombarding it from orbit in support of the counter-attack. In this scenario the Imperial troops are tasked with liberating the two key areas of Gnaeus, while the invaders have been cut off and are trying to defend their gains. The scenario is played using Epic Armageddon, with NetEA army lists as per below.
 
IMPERIAL ASSAULT SQUAD (2365)
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TANK COMPANY [545]
8 Exterminator, 2 Demolisher

TANK COMPANY [545]
8 Exterminator, 2 Executioner

ARTILLERY BATTERY [250]
3 Basilisks

SUPER-HEAVY TANK PLATOON [200]
Shadowsword

SUPER-HEAVY TANK PLATOON [200]
Baneblade

MECHANIZED PLATOON [300]
10 Infantry, 5 Chimera

SALAMANDER SCOUT PLATOON [125]
3 Salamanders, Salamander Command Vehicle
 
ORBITAL SUPPORT [200]
Emperor Class
 
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TYRANID DEFENDERS  (2000 Points)
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TYRANID SWARM [425]
3 Termagants, Dominatrix, 3 Hormagaunts

TYRANID SWARM [250]
3 Termagants, 3x Tyranid Warriors, 3 Hormagaunts

TYRANID SWARM [250]
3 Termagants, 3x Tyranid Warriors, 3 Hormagaunts
TYRANID SWARM [300]
2 Termagants, Hive tyrant, 2 Carnifex, 4 Hormagaunts

TYRANID SWARM [300]
2 Termagants, Hive tyrant, 2 Carnifex, 4 Hormagaunts

GENESTEALER SWARM [150]
6 Geanstealers
BIOVORE SWARM [150]
5 Biovore

EXOCRINE SWARM [175]
3 Exocrine
 
The Xeno defenders have encamped in Gnaeus, both in the eastern industrial district and the western commercial sector, while the Imperial troops have surrounded the town on three sides. The scenario provides one victory point (VP) for each sector of the city that is held by either side (circled in red), one VP for destroying the opponent's most valuable formation and one VP for capturing the opponent's blitz (circled in blue, this represents the supply line).  The game would last three turns, after which the VPs would be calculated.
 
The battle began with the Imperials moving their tank companies within shooting range of the towns while the Basilisks rained down some artillery fire: 
 
The alien defenders taking cover in the industrial sector. The biovores move to the edge of the sector to return fire on the artillery.


The firepower of the Imperial tanks proves to be overwhelming, even with cover they manage to destroy a hive tyrant that was the leader of the forward xeno formation.


The might and firepower of Imperial armoured vehicles.

Meanwhile in the western commercial sector, the Dominatrix is kept in reserve to counter the Imperial attack while another tank company advances on the town.



The tank company moves forward and takes fire from the exocrines but their return fire breaks the small exocrine formation. Meanwhile the Imperial salamander scouts advance to identify targets.

The Imperial salamander scouts got too close and underestimated the speed of the xenos, they are assaulted by a terrifying formation lead by a hive tyrant and carnifexes. The scouts are wiped out to a man, a heroic sacrifice for the planet.

At the end of turn one, the xenos have taken heavy losses from Imperial firepower but still have a grip on the sectors, the Imperial troops are moving forward slowly and cautiously. However, this is when the Imperial dominance over space really pays off. The Imperial troops call in an orbital bombardment on the industrial sector, soften up the target before moving to liberate the sector.
 
Coordinates and timing of the bombardment received by the Imperial space fleet.


 Bombardment launched, stunning the xeno troops fortified in the industrial sector and causing many losses.
 
On the other side of the battlefield, the dominatrix exchanges fire with the Imperial super heavy tank, baneblade, the first round of shots were inconclusive.

While the baneblade was focusing on the xeno war engine, the same formation advanced quickly and overwhelmed the tank, wiping it out.

Meanwhile the Imperial guard infantry, supported by their tanks assault, into the commercial sector. Being careful to stay out of close combat and using their firefight capabilities they push the defending xenos out of the town.

In the bombarded industrial sector, the Imperial tanks mop up the broken enemy formations. The remaining defenders fall back to get out of line of sight

At the end of the second turn the situation doesn't look good for the defenders, they are being pushed out of both sectors, their one formation that counter attacked attack was broken from short range fire from a tank company.

The third turn ended pretty quickly with the xenos limited in what they could accomplish due to many broken formations and the Imperial shadowsword killing off the dominatrix. The scenario was a 3-0 victory for the Imperials. Their firepower and the extra orbital bombardment were decisive in this battle. For my part I played the xenos wrong and should've started out of the enemy line of sight, forcing them to move forward to shoot me, I was relying on the cover of the urban terrain. I also deliberately didn't bring the best units I could've in order to replicate a
 
Gnaeus was liberated, and while the orbital bombardment devastated the industrial sector, it was critical in softening up the defenders and enabling to attackers to move in. The sector was back in Imperial hands and the rebuilding process could begin. Now onto the rest of the cities in the Delta Valley