Mantis Warriors Gain Firepower!

Following my new approach of painting small units quickly, the Mantis Warriors have gained a couple of reinforcements – a Devastator Squad and, to help support the recently arrived tanks, a Techmarine.

IMG_9269

The Devastator Squad is not optimised at all, being a (very cheap) eBay purchase, but that matters less these days with any squad being able to split fire as it sees fit. Just get them into position and let them unload on whatever takes each Marine’s fancy.

IMG_9272

The Techmarine was another eBay acquisition, requiring me to fit him with a new Bolt Pistol and Power Axe. Less of a conversion and more like surgery to get him properly equipped and table-ready!

IMG_9270

I have not got anything else lined up for the Mantis Warriors at the moment (though there are rumours of more air support coming their way), and for the next couple of weeks, my nose will be among Flesh Tearers Primaris Marines and Prospero forces (both Thousand Sons and Space Woofs).

IMG_9271

Badab War: End of the Beginning

This weekend we completed the first part of the first phase of the Badab War as we completed the mini-campaign that made up the initial landings on Bellerophon’s Fall of the Mantis Warriors and Salamanders.

The Salamanders had been forced back to their landing zones and were forced to quickly construct some hasty fortifications, while the Marines Errant had driven forward through the defences of the Mantis Warriors and were laying siege to one of the industrial centres.

For these battles, we used the All-Round Defence mission from the old Battle Missions book, with the Mantis Warriors as the attackers on one table and defenders on the other – to make things more ‘interesting’, we decided these battles would be played simultaneously, side-by-side and turn-by-turn!

IMG_9088

In the industrial centre, the Marines Errant quickly surrounded the Mantis Warriors with Tactical Squads, Terminators and an Assault Squad, while Devastators took the high ground to pound the Mantis Warriors’ bastion with missiles. The Marines Errant stole an early lead by destroying the Mantis Warriors’ Stormraven while it was still on the ground.

Very quickly, the Mantis Warriors were under extreme pressure.

IMG_9091

The Rhinos sacrificed themselves to hold up rampaging Assault Marines and Terminators, giving the Mantis Warriors time to formulate a response. While the Relic Deredo kept the heads of two Tactical Squads down and hunkering within buildings, the Tactical Squads inside the Bastion and Firestorm Redoubt maintained a steady rate of fire on the attackers, until they could be relieved by the Dreadnought and Captain.

The battle hung in the balance for perilously long minutes and things looked lost when the Devastator Squad finally brought the Bastion down in a shower of debris and rubble. However, the Mantis Warriors managed to rally and finally broke the back of the Marines Errant, leaving just a couple of Tactical marines to flee the battlefield.

Around the landing zones of the Salamanders, things were also going well.

IMG_9089

A Land Speeder, Attack Bike Squadron and Dreadnought had been scouting out the landing zone and quickly found a valley in which the Salamanders seemed weakest. Sending comms back to the Librarian leading the attack force, heavy support soon arrived.

IMG_9090

The Salamanders quickly found themselves under severe pressure as a Land Raider Crusader and squadron of Vindicators drove into the valley and began pounding the Bastion. They started taking serious losses and then the worst happened – a direct hit from the Relic Vindicator Laser Destroyer tore through the Bastion, crushing four Tactical Marines under the rubble.

IMG_9092

The Salamanders led a spirited counterattack against the Land Raider Crusader and the Terminators it had disgorged, finally driving the Mantis Warriors away from the landing zone.

 

Coming Next

An exciting weekend of battles! And the moral of the story – bastions are bloody hard to attack!

The Mantis Warriors managed to finally stall the seemingly unstoppable thrust into their territory by the Marines Errant but, in turn, were unable to force the Salamanders off of Bellerophon’s fall. The war for the industrial moon is now going to progress at a slog, as neither Loyalist nor Secessionist have managed to deliver a knockout blow yet.

For that, we are going to be spending the next few months on a sort of map-based campaign, with the fast-moving Mantis Warriors constantly striking at the Loyalists who are trying to deliver a telling strike. This will be resolved using the ‘rules’ presented for map-based campaigns in Age of Sigmar’s Generals Handbook.

However, that is not all that is going on – very soon we will be launching boarding actions on the Karthan Convoy, with the Mantis Warriors taking over merchant vessels and conducting fighter sweeps.

Stay Tuned!

 

Badab War: Two Fronts

The fight for Bellerophon’s Fall in the Badab War campaign we are going through at the moment continues. We got through a few games this weekend, with both the Salamanders and Marines Errant making an appearance as they try to bust out of their landing zones and force the Mantis Warriors off the industrial moon.

IMG_9005

The Salamanders had been suffering from their initial landings, with the quick-striking Mantis Warriors harrying them at every turn. The Loyalists had seen their supply dumps pillaged by fast-moving Mantis Warriors strike forces, and now had no choice but try to force their way into enemy territory to extend their perimeter.

Unfortunately, the Mantis Warriors were watching and staged a classic ambush as the Salamanders column advanced – straight into the sights of three Vindicators.

IMG_9006

The Salamanders broke out of the ambush but sustained very heavy losses, before their Captain engaged his counterpart in the Mantis Warriors, and badly wounded him, finally forcing the Secessionists to withdraw.

IMG_9007

The Marines Errant were having an altogether happier time as they pushed forward out of their landing zones and forced the Mantis Warriors into a fighting withdrawal through a disused refinery complex.

IMG_9008

Three Librarians of the Mantis Warriors and a Deredo Dreadnought formed the anchor of the defenders, and they succeeded in stalling the Marines Errant for several crucial minutes.

IMG_9009

Needing to budge the Mantis Warriors without any further delay, the Marines Errant teleported a Terminator Assault Squad and then dropped an Assault Squad into the Mantis Warriors’ rear line, causing a great deal of disruption at the cost of their own lives.

IMG_9010

The Mantis Warriors made a last stand in the shattered shell of one of the refinery buildings, a Tactical Squad and Librarian weathering the constant pounding from a far-off Devastator Squad as a Venerable Dreadnought and more Marines Errant advanced under withering fire. In the end though, the position was untenable and the Mantis Warriors were forced to fall back further.

IMG_9011

Back around the Salamanders’ landing zones, the Loyalist advance had almost completely stalled, leaving them ripe for a counterattack by the elite strike forces of the Mantis Warriors. A single Tactical Squad baited the Salamanders to advance forwards, before they were caught in a pincer between Mantis Warriors Attack Bikes, Landspeeders, and a well-armed Stormraven.

The Salamanders’ Stormtalon bravely tried to fight off the Stormraven, which made continual strafing runs on its ground forces, who were completely disrupted by the appearance of a teleporting Terminator Squad led by a Mantis Warriors’ Librarian.

The two forces fought one another to a standstill and while the Salamanders were able to beat the Mantis Warriors back, their own force cohesion had been shattered.

While the Marines Errant were driving the Mantis Warriors back to prepared defensive positions, the Salamanders had no choice but to fall back to their landing zone and weather the Mantis Warriors’ last push. If they could hold out long enough, there was a chance that the Marines Errant would create enough breathing space to finish the landings and start the assault to take Bellerophon’s Fall.

 

Coming Next

Well, the battles, with two victories and one draw to the Loyalists. The Mantis Warriors have done sufficient damage to the Salamanders to force them onto the defensive, but have been put on the defensive themselves by the Marines Errant. In both cases, we will be seeing how Space Marines function against properly fortified positions in the very near future.

As mentioned before, all the battles in this part of the Badab War campaign have been drawn from the old Battle Missions book, with some slight conversion to the new edition. We are using the Imperial Armour volumes as a source for the Badab War itself, though we are in the process of making some changes, again because of the arrival of the new edition.

We have also started taking a good look at the battle of the Karthan Convoy, which will involve a lot of boarding actions and the odd dogfight in the depths of space!

 

Battle Report – Implacable Advance

As we continue our re-fighting of the Badab War, the Salamanders have had mixed results in their clashes with the Mantis Warriors around their landing zone and are in danger of getting pushed right back to their drop ships. However, the Marines Errant, arriving later in the invasion of Bellerophon’s Fall, have enjoyed many successes, forcing the Mantis Warriors to give ground at nearly every step.

With such momentum behind them, the Marines Errant ploughed through the Cygnus Valley to the first wilderness outpost of the Mantis Warriors. With little time to prepare, the Mantis Warriors deployed an elite force to stall the Marines Errant long enough to reinforce their defences.

IMG_9024

The Marines Errant advanced down the valley on foot, but the Mantis Warriors were not fooled, having seen these slow-but-relentless tactics before. Their Captain held his ground alongside a Dreadnought and Attack Bike, as a Stormraven roared overhead to strafe the Marines Errant squads. However, the Marines Errant had their own ideas, as a Terminator and Assault Squad dropped into the Mantis Warrior’s rear position, destroying the Attack Bike before it could get its engine running, and putting the Captain on the back foot.

Responding in kind, the Mantis Warriors teleported a Terminator Assault Squad behind the Marines Errant Tactical and Devastator Squads, led by a Librarian. They immediately set about disrupting one Tactical Squad, and forced the Marines Errant Chaplain to retreat before their Thunder Hammers and Librarian’s powerful abilities. Things went from bad to worse as the Stormraven swooped in to drop off another Dreadnought, then took to the skies again to trade missiles with the Devastator Squad.

IMG_9025

A pitched battle erupted around the old comms array as the two forces clashed. The Mantis Warriors’ Terminators started to take casualties but the Marines Errant were unprepared for a Librarian and Dreadnought in their midst, and their losses started to mount.

Further away, the Marines Errant Terminators were crushed by a Dreadnought which, in turn, was wrecked by the Assault Squad who also knocked the Mantis Warriors’ Captain to the ground.

Firing their jump packs, the Assault Squad tried to aid the Tactical Squads, but it was too late. The Stormraven of the Mantis Warriors dropped into a hover and used its weapons to support the Dreadnought, Librarian and last Thunder Hammer-armed Terminator around the comms array. In a hail of Storm Bolter fire, the last members of the Assault Squad were shot down, leaving an eerie quiet over the battlefield.

The Mantis Warriors had been successful in stalling the Marines Errant, but it was only a temporary reprieve, for the main force of the Loyalists was close by and already moving in. However, time had been purchased, albeit at great cost, which the Mantis Warriors intended to use in preparing a solid defence against the Marines Errant inevitable assault.

The Badab War: Cut and Run

We are continuing our (re)fighting of the Badab War, with the Marines Errant trying to smash the Mantis Warriors line on Bellerophon’s Fall.

In our last battle, the Marines Errant had delayed their landings on the industrial moon to take advantage of the disruption the Salamanders’ landings had caused. Deploying swiftly on the moon’s surface, the Marines Errant tried to break through the Mantis Warriors’ line – but the Secessionists held.

As the Marines Errant committed more units to the fight, the Mantis Warriors enacted one of their classic strategies. Melting away from the assault, they would attempt to break contact from the Marines Errant so they could reengage on their own, stronger terms.

 

The Mission

We are adapting one of the scenarios from the old Battle Missions book for this fight, Cut and Run. Ostensibly it is supposed to be used for Orks, but the general strategy shown works well for the Mantis Warriors, so we will swipe it for our campaign!

The Mantis Warriors will be deploying first, close to the centre of the table, and throughout the battle their units will be able to shoot and/or charge if they flee from combat (representing the cut and run tactics). They will have the option of standing against the Marines Errant and fighting or, from turn three onwards, skipping backwards off the table to fight another day.

Victory is based purely on Kill Points – 3 for an HQ, 1 for Troops, and 2 for everything else.

IMG_9001

The Mantis Warriors prepared a hasty line at the edge of a disused refinery, intending to stall the advance of the Marines Errant, giving them a bloody nose for good measure before retreating.

Almost immediately, things started to go wrong for the Mantis Warriors as the close combat Terminators of the Marines Errant thundered through the barricades, slaying every Terminator except the sergeant.

IMG_9002

The Mantis Warriors Sergeant managed to escape the destruction of the barricade, and through the smoke and debris, he spied the Chaplain leading the Marines Errant force. Determined not to let his brothers go unavenged, he charged, seriously wounding the Chaplain with a vicious cut from his Chainfist. Unfortunately, the Chaplain recovered quickly and smashed him to the ground.

IMG_9003

Meanwhile, the Marines Errant flew a Thunderhawk overhead, dropping an Assault Squad right behind the Captain of the Mantis Warriors. Taking advantage of his surprise, the Assault Marines piled into him, but the Captain made good account of himself, cutting five of them down before finally succumbing to their greater numbers.

IMG_9004

By now, the surviving Mantis Warriors had retreated to a second line of barricades, and a Tactical Squad faced off against the oncoming Terminators. The Tactical Sergeant managed to dispatch the Marines Errant Chaplain with his power Sword but, by now, the Marines Errant just had too many units in the area. As the second Tactical Squad fled the battlefield alongside a heavily damaged Land Speeder, the assault Terminators carved through the last of the Mantis Warriors before tearing apart their Rhino.

 

The State of the Campaign

The Mantis Warriors are taking a beating from the Marines Errant and in our next set of games, they will be trying to stage a Fighting Withdrawal in an attempt to slow the advance of the Loyalists.

However, it is not all bad news, as they have had success in disrupting the landings of the Salamanders, and are now preparing a deadly ambush as Vulkan’s marines try to advance into Secessionist territory…

Badab War: Enter the Marines Errant!

We have not been doing too much with the Badab War campaign of late, mainly because someone who will remain nameless (James) has been taking his own sweet time painting up his forces, leaving the poor Salamanders fighting the Tyrant’s allies all by themselves. However, the gamer who will not be mentioned (James) has got his act together for the coming of 8th edition…

The Marines Errant have arrived!

Like the Salamanders, they are landing on the industrial moon of Bellerophon’s Fall, but are taking advantage of the distraction the Salamanders have already created with their own landings, and catching the Mantis Warriors offguard.

We are using a tree campaign structure for the Marines Errant, alongside a similar (but different) tree for the Salamanders, to represent the Loyalist landings on Bellerophon’s Fall, as you can see here.

So, the first battle for the Marines Errant is the Vanguard mission from the (old – perfectly serviceable though) Battle Missions book, where the Mantis Warriors managed to string together a ragged defence that the Marines Errant tried to punch through to expand the perimeter around their landing areas.

The Mantis Warriors were strung across the battlefield in an effort to take on the Marines Errant from any angle, and were gratified to see their enemies advancing in two formations, one with two Tactical Squads led by a Chaplain, the other a Devastator Squad led by a Venerable Dreadnought.

However, the Marines Errant had a trick up their sleeves as two Terminator squads teleported right in front of the Mantis Warriors, while an Assault Squad dropped in behind them. However, the Assault Squad veered a little too close to an enemy Dreadnought, which quickly tore them apart.

IMG_8906

The Terminators proved to be a real problem, and a Rhino selflessly crashed into one of their units an in effort to stall them until sufficient heavy weapons could be massed.

IMG_8907

In the end, one Terminator Squad entered the bunker and killed the Mantis Warrior Captain before they were finally shot to pieces, while the Terminator Assault Squad took its time to destroy the Rhino, and then charged and killed the Mantis Warrior Librarian who had been holding the centre objective before the Dreadnought once more waded in and stomped them into the snowy ground.

Meanwhile, the Mantis Warrior Stormraven had free reign of the skies and after pounding the advancing Tactical Squads, it veered across the battlefield to explode the Marines Errant’s Venerable Dreadnought with a single salvo of Multi-Meltas, Lascannon and Stormstrike Missiles.

IMG_8908

This freed the two Marines Errant Tactical Squads to assault the central objectives, and they had only a single Mantis Warrior Tactical Squad to hold them off.

IMG_8909

However, the Mantis Warriors dug in around the refinery, and weathered a great deal of punishment, all but finishing off one of the advancing Tactical Squads before the Marines Errant Chaplain broke their line.

IMG_8910

The two forces continued trading fire, but it was rapidly becoming clear that the Mantis Warriors were secure around the objective on their back line and it was the central one that was being contested.

The Assault Terminators of the Marines Errant had already been driven off by the Dreadnought, who was in turn destroyed by the rampaging Chaplain, who was then blasted apart by the last Mantis Warrior Attack Bike after the Stormraven destroyed the last of the Tactical Squad who had been shielding him.

IMG_8911

The battle ended with the Stormraven moving in to hover over the objective before the last Marines Errant Tactical Squad forced it away.

With one objective each, the battle was a draw!

 

Summary, Thoughts and Conclusion

We have managed to get a handful of 8th edition games under our belt now, but this was our first ‘serious’ campaign game with the new rules.

First things first – we like the new rules, let’s get that out of the way.

However, this game did underline for us that a) we don’t really know what units do any more, even if they made regular in older editions and b) we don’t know how to use them!

I mean, consider the Rhino… we had two of them in that battle. Are they any good? No idea! One got destroyed pretty quickly by a couple of Tactical Squads, while the other held up Assault Terminators for a few turns and was instrumental in holding the Marines Errant back.

Or take Dreadnoughts. The one belonging to the Mantis Warriors destroyed an Assault Squad by itself, then finished off the Assault Terminators in a single charge. It only ran out of steam when the Chaplain came along, but that was partly poor luck and there was every chance it could have finished him off too!

However, the Venerable Dreadnought was typically out shot by the Devastator Squad next to it, and just exploded when the Stormraven swooped in.

So, is the Stormraven good? It killed the Venerable Dreadnought and then failed to repel the Tactical Squad from the central objective (it might have done better with a different weapons fit). That said, I am liking the Stormstrike Missiles in this edition, and they are a nice compliment to the Lascannon and Multi-Meltas that I have mounted on the gunship.

Anyway, looking forward to getting this campaign properly under way and finding out what more units can do!

Battle Report – Pillage

The Mantis Warriors failed in their attempt to throw the Salamanders off Bellerophon’s Fall, but that does not mean they do not have some other nasty tricks up their sleeves!

 

The Story So Far

The Salamanders had begun their landings on Bellerophon’s Fall, but they were hardly unopposed. A Mantis Warriors counter-attack had been blunted but the Secessionists were now splintering their armies and fading into the wilderness of Bellerophon’s Fall. From hidden bases and through the use of long-ranged patrols, the Mantis Warriors came back time and again to hit the Salamanders where the Loyalists least expected it.

Setting up a small staging post to continue their advance to more valuable targets, the Salamanders gathered supplies and ammunition in preparation for their next push. Seizing their chance, the Mantis Warriors attacked, with the dual aim of depriving the Salamanders of much needed equipment while adding to their own armouries with weapons and ammunition taken from their enemies.

This was an important part of the Mantis Warriors’ overall strategy, as even now the Marines Errant were moving into orbit to start their own landings, and both Codicier Senufu and Captain Fulani led the raid.

 

The Forces

The Salamanders have taken a (very) similar force to the last battle, but the Mantis Warriors have removed a small handful of units and replaced them with a Captain and a Terminator Librarian, leading a whole squad of Terminators!

Mantis Warriors
Librarian (Codicier Senufu): Level 2 Psyker, Terminator Armour, Storm Bolter
Captain Fulani: Artificer Armour, Power Sword, Storm Bolter, Digital Weapons
Tactical Squad (9 marines): Veteran Sergeant (with Power Sword and Meltabombs), Grav Cannon, Graviton Gun, Rhino (with Extra Armour)
Tactical Squad (10 marines): Veteran Sergeant, Plasma Cannon, Meltagun, Rhino
Terminator Squad (6 marines): Assault Cannon
Dreadnought: Multi-melta
Land Speeder: Multi-melta
Vindicator Squadron (3 tanks): Siege Shields

With this force, the Mantis Warriors are looking to bring the fight to the Salamanders in a more convincing fashion, teleporting the Terminators in to seriously disrupt any plans.

Salamanders
Captain: Artificer Armour, Lightning Claw, Primarch’s Wrath
Tactical Squad (10 marines): Multi-Melta, Flamer, Rhino
Tactical Squad (10 marines): Multi-Melta, Flamer, Rhino
Tactical Squad (10 marines): Multi-Melta, Flamer, Rhino
Ironclad Dreadnought: Heavy Flamer
Centurions (3 marines): Hurricane Bolters
Centurions (3 marines): Hurricane Bolters
Assault Squad (10 marines): Veteran Sergeant (Lightning Claw, Meltabomb), Jump Packs, Flamer x 2
Devastator Squad (8 marines): Lascannon x 2, Missile Launcher (Flak Missiles) x 2

The greatest punch among the Salamanders remains the two squads of Centurions, though their Tactical Squads have proven quite hard to shift in the past battles…

 

The Mission

In Pillage, a random number of objectives are placed on the battlefield (three, in this battle), each representing a supply cache or ammunition dump. Any unit that is close to the objective, that is not also engaged in close combat or running away, gains a Supply or Loot point at the end of their opponent’s turn. Both armies start with just two Troops units and one HQ on the table, with everything else arriving as Reserves.

Victory is determined by the number of Supply or Loot points gained when the game ends. The force with the highest total wins.

 

Deployment

The Salamanders had grouped their supply caches together, so there were only three sites for the Mantis Warriors to target. By the time the Salamanders had realised what was going on, the Mantis Warriors had already parked a Rhino next to one of the caches and started loading weapons and ammunition on board under the watchful eyes of Captaihn Fulani.

img_6243

The Salamanders massed their Tactical Squads in an offensive line that shielded one of the other caches, but a third was between the two forces and ripe for the taking!

 

Turn One

As the Tactical Squad led by Captain Fulani began loading their Rhino with ill-gotten gains claimed from the Salamanders, the second Tactical Squad raced forward in its own Rhino to claim another cache, conscious that the Salamanders were very close.

img_6244

The Rhino’s Storm Bolter chattered, but its shells simply sparked off the armour of a Salamanders marine, and the Loyalists started to salvage what they could from the cache closest to them before the Mantis Warriors could steal it.

However, one of the heavy weapons marines among the Salamanders had the presence of mind to stop salvaging for a moment to take a shot with his Multi-melta at the Rhino. The super-hot beam burned through the transport’s armour in a fraction of a second and its fuel tanks detonated in a bright explosion. With their squads already on foot, the Salamanders’ Rhinos then sped forward to provide cover and force the Mantis Warriors to reconsider their attack.

 

Turn Two

Now the Salamanders’ supplies had been located, Captain Fulani gave the order for the Mantis Warriors reinforcements to arrive and lend their weight to the pillaging operation – a Dreadnought, Land Speeder and the Vindicator squadron all appeared and started to move towards the battle.

img_6245

The Vindicators opened up almost immediately, destroying both of the Salamanders’ lead Rhinos in one titanic series of explosions. Captain Fulani had disembarked from his transport with his Tactical Squad, thinking they would have to leave the shelter of the silo they had taken cover behind to deal with the Rhinos. He smiled when the smoke cleared and saw his task had already been completed.

Meanwhile, the Salamanders had been desperately calling for their own reinforcements and, already alerted to Mantis Warrior activity in the area, they appeared quickly – another Tactical Squad, Devastators and Centurions.

img_6246

The rest of the Loyalists concentrated their fire upon the Tactical Squad in the open, the prefabricated bunker next to them providing scant cover. Bolter and melta fire rained down upon them, and casualties were extremely high. A few marines, however, managed to weather the storm and stubbornly refused to give up on the supply cache their squad had taken.

img_6248

Turn Three

Lightning crackled behind the Salamanders’ line and, when the flash had cleared, six Mantis Warriors Terminators were standing, led by Codicier Senufu. The squad seemed quite disorientated by the teleportation, and their fire went wide of the Tactical Squad closest to them, knocking down only two marines, while the Librarian could not focus enough to manifest any psychic powers.

img_6249

The rest of the Mantis Warriors were out of range, but they advanced confidently as the Salamanders had come to respect the raw firepower of the Vindicator squadron.

img_6251

The Salamanders second Centurion Squad finally arrived on the battlefield, along with an Ironclad Dreadnought and their Assault Squad, bringing the Demi-Company up to full strength. The second squad of Centurions followed their Ironclad Dreadnought in a flanking manoeuvre that threatened to trap the newly arrived Terminators.

img_6252

The Assault Squad, however, chose to drop out of an over-flying Thunderhawk and land right next to Captain Fulani’s squad, intent on decapitating the Mantis Warriors force and taking back the supply cache that had by now been heavily pillaged.

img_6253

As they landed, two Assault marines opened up with a torrent of fire from their Flamers, catching the Tactical Squad off guard as several marines were toasted inside their power armour.

img_6254

Meanwhile, the rest of the Salamanders focussed on the two biggest threats, the Vindicator squadron and the Terminators. Most of the Devastators’ heavy fire went wild, doing little more than dent a Vindicator, but two Terminators succumbed to sustained fire from Tactical Squads.

 

Turn Four

Taking care not to expose itself to heavy fire, the Land Speeder took a long and circuitous approach around the Ironclad Dreadnought. Its Multi-melta did little more than slag thick armour, but it reminded the Ironclad’s pilot that he could not simply ignore it, and he was forced to make a decision to either chase the Land Speeder, effectovely taking him out of the battle, or continue forward to the Terminator Squad and risk exposing his side and rear armour to a devastating attack.

img_6256

Both the Vindicators and Terminators began an advance that would enable them to seize the remaining supply caches and crush the remaining Salamanders resistance. Codicier Senufu blasted the minds of a Tactical Squad with a Psychic Shriek, forcing two marines to sink to their knees as they clutched their heads, while the Vindicators let loose a mighty roar as shells landed amidst another Tactical Squad. The Salamanders had no choice but to leave their dead and retreat under this firepower.

img_6257

Voxing his warcry, Captain Fulani charged the Assault Squad who had immolated his marines, and was joined by not only the surviving members of the Tactical Squad, but a Dreadnought too.

img_6258

The Assault Squad was hit hard, leaving the survivors no choice but to retreat and regroup.

The Salamanders were starting to take serious casualties but they realised that if they could just neutralise the Terminators and Vindicator squadron, they might still be able to save enough of their supplies to continue the war effort in this sector.

img_6259

With this in mind, their last surviving Rhino gunned its engines and sped forward in an effort to block the fire of the Vindicators.

img_6260

A brave but foolhardy move.

The Assault Squad collected their wits and threw themselves back at Captain Fulani and his marines, more confident now the Mantis Warriors Dreadnought had departed to reinforce the battlefield’s centre and support the Vindicators. Captain Fulani ruthlessly cut one marine down as he came into reach of his Power Sword and the melee erupted once more.

img_6261

Turn Five

The Salamanders’ own Captain ordered the Tactical Squad he had been leading to train fire upon the approaching Terminators, as they were now close enough to engage him. However, the Salamanders collectively cried out in a mixture of fury and dismay as the Mantis Warrior’s Librarian cloaked the Terminators in the energy of the Warp.

The Salamanders could now see only shadows approaching them, but their Captain had seen the Librarian’s Force Staff glow with barely restrained power before he disappeared.

As the Vindicators unleashed another salvo at the Tactical Squad they had battered earlier, Codicier Senufu led his Terminators in a charge against the bunker the Salamanders had taken cover within, and immediately sought out their Captain, challenging him to face the fighting skills of the Mantis Warriors.

img_6262

The Salamanders’ Captain fought well, but he could barely land a single solid blow upon the Librarian. He did not see the Force Staff swing  until it was too late, and his soul-shrivelling shriek was heard across the battlefield. The other Terminators clambered onto the bunker and made short work of the few surviving Tactical marines.

img_6263

The Mantis Warriors had taken the bunker and, with it, another supply cache that they immediately started to pillage.

Determined not to let the Mantis Warriors take a single shell more than could be helped, the Ironclad Dreadnought and two Centurion Squads closed in on the Terminators.

img_6265

However, only one squad was close enough to reach the Terminators and, despite going in without any support, they charged.

img_6266

This fight was extremely brutal and short-lived as the Centurions smashed through the flimsy bunker with their siege weapons, the Terminators desperately trying to avoid being crushed by the mechanical monsters.

However, once again it was Codicier Senufu who saved the day. Maintaining his concentration on the cloak of Invisibility that wreathed his Terminators, the Centurions mighty swings could not find a target. Unseen by the brutes, Senufu leapt down from the bunker and laid about himself with his Force Staff, quickly snatching the souls of two Centurions while the third was pummelled by a Power Fist to the chest.

As Captain Fulani dispatched the last of the Salamanders’ Assault Squad, he looked up to gauge how the rest of the battle was going – and it seemed very much in his favour. Knowing that the Salamanders would move more reinforcements into the area very quickly, he gave the signal to retreat, his Mantis Warriors weighed down with supplies stolen from the Loyalists.

It had been a good battle for the Secessionists.

img_6267

Conclusion

The Mantis Warriors managed to pull a victory in this battle, with just one more Loot point than the Salamanders had Salvage points – the Secessionists had claimed a small but early lead in the battle, and managed to maintain it throughout.

The Vindicators, once again, more than proved their worth, and I have a feeling the Salamanders will be moving up some serious heavy support in future battles in order to deal with them! The Terminators and Librarian made good account of themselves too, though I am not sure they could have held back the second Centurion Squad, much less that Ironclad!

 

The Story Continues…

The Mantis Warriors have managed to severely deplete the front line supplies of the Salamanders, which will greatly slow down their assaults across the entire moon of Bellerophon’s Fall – their advances will be blunted until they are able to bring down replacements from orbit and then transport them to the front line. However, the Mantis Warriors are masters of this sort of warfare, and you can be sure they will be targeting any supply train their scouts can find…