Monday, 27 March 2017

Another Alien Squad Leader AAR

My Human Imperial army was on the table at the club again yesterday. This time my forces were pitted against Richard's Alien Enslaver horde, who might look somewhat familiar. Alien Enslaver armies are led by members of a Master Race with psychic abilities who command large numbers of psychically-enslaved Thralls. The leaders are also able to unleash psychic attacks against their enemies. This ability proved to be a huge problem for me.

Anyway, time for some scene-setting;

Still smarting from the forced withdrawal from the raid upon the despised Neo-Solar Autarky's planet, Hospar IV, Brigadier Natasha Franklin's strikeforce had withdrawn to Themis III, one of the Third Human Condominium's smaller homeworlds. The planet was not heavily militarised, but did have a 3HC military training academy and a resupply and repair facility. Brigadier Franklin fumed and kicked her heels as vehicles were repaired and new units were integrated into her command. "If only I'd been given enough troops", she fumed "That farming centre would have been dismantled and shipped off to one of our Homeworlds, and we would have stripped Hospar of produce too."

Her troops were almost back to full combat capability and had been reinforced by additional tanks and troops. Unfortunately, some of her jump-pack space marines had been detached for duty elsewhere, but additional heavy weapons teams would make up for their loss.  

With mere days before her force was scheduled to ship out, a hyperspace communication was received from the southern hemisphere, warning her that a strong Alien force of a previously unknown type had landed and was sweeping across the region of Euboea, destroying settlements and carrying off the populations. Within hours, her force was transported to the scene.

Brigadier Franklin's forces were deployed on the outskirts of a small industrial unit, with a number of units detached to hold the strategically-important command centre. 

The remainder of her troops were to the east of the site, under the cover of forests and low hills.

The powerful offensive punch of her main battle tanks was on her left, supported by infantry stormtroopers.

 Surveillance droids revealed the alien threat, which had already occupied the western industrial complex and the country to the south of the built-up area.

Franklin had never seen such troops. They were silent, eerie and their presence filled her with foreboding.

Armoured fighting vehicles began to deploy in the centre.

 Franklin's worst fears were intensified as reports came in from the Command Centre of casualties caused by unknown means began to mount. Her soldiers just fell screaming to the ground and their comrades looked on in horror as heads simply exploded. 

Despite this, Brig. Franklin ordered her troops forwards. The only way to win was to fight.

Some of the defenders of the Command Centre were forced to fall back but the only available jump-pack marines were despatched to reinforce the advance guard.

On the left, despite taking fire, the armour rumbled forwards, accompanied by doughty stormtroopers. Suppressing fire by these troops would prove invaluable on the left flank of the battle.

The evil alien invaders packed the industrial complex in silent ranks and began to advance inexorably towards to Command Centre. Waves of psychic assault finally eliminated the brave defence, leaving the Command Centre at the mercy of the enemy.

The 3HC force had comms links to powerful orbital batteries and commanders were able to call down indirect fire to devastate the alien hordes. Slowly but surely, powerful barrages began to thin out the enemy ranks.

However, despite taking casualties from the guns of the Vanquisher class heavy battle droid and the armoured vehicles, the aliens remained in possession of the Command Centre. Their ability to seemingly shrug off all but the heaviest fire was uncanny.

From the cover of the forest, the powerful battle mech rained fire down on the aliens, destroying a number of floating weapons platforms and depleting the enemy ranks even further.

However, a nasty battle was also being fought on the right, with both sides taking heavy losses before the aliens were finally eliminated in hand-to-hand combat.

 3HC casualties were heavy, mainly from psychic attacks, and the butchers bill grew more and more costly, even though I'd secured my right flank.

On the left, one of the MBTs swung round to occupy a copse of trees from where it launched a series of frontal attacks on the enemy, eventually eliminating them by simply overrunning and crushing them. This swung things my way on this flank, too.

Things were also turning the 3HC way in the centre as the alien numbers were further diminished;

Until, calamitously, after taking a number of hits, the volume of fire told and the giant battle mech exploded in a giant fireball and was eliminated. This left the centre pretty much unable to mount any kind of assault.

Finally, though, the MBT on the left literally crushed all opposition.

Although the aliens still controlled the industrial complex, their numbers were so much depleted that defeat was inevitable and the battered by unbowed 3HC troops cheered wearily as their opponents simply withdrew, as silently as they had arrived.

So, an interesting battle. From my perspective the real threat to my troops came from the psychic Oscillating Force attacks from the Alien commanders. These were pretty devastating early on. In hindsight, I shouldn't have bothered occupying the Command Centre, which was an objective for the aliens, stayed out of range and just blasted everything in sight. My big Mech and MBTs had a longer range than anything on the other side and effectively could have just stayed back, in the open with good lines of sight and picked off anything with heavy weapons. The main body of the alien army were the Thralls, who were pretty rubbish at shooting and in hand-to-hand combat, although the Heavy Weapons Thralls in the centre did eventually manage to kill off my Mech. 

What swung it for me was the indirect fire. I had some incredibly good dice rolls and eliminated a lot of stands of troops, which brought me to the brink of breaking Richard's army. Unfortunately, I was also on the brink of being broken too. Luckily, in the very last round of combat, with nothing left to do except mount three oscillating force attacks against one of my AFVs, only two caused damage, whereas my MBT on the left, plus supporting infantry fire enabled me to destroy the final stand of Thralls I needed to reach Richard's break point, leaving me a very lucky victor.

I think that my new casualty recording bases worked well too. I'll be using them again.

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