Monday, 26 June 2017

A return to Alien Squad Leader

Having not played Alien Squad Leader for a while, yesterday was a chance to get the Human Imperial Army out again for a 200pt game against Richard's Alien Predatory Warhost.

The scenario was a Pitched Battle. Here is some background.

The Third Human Condominium has been fighting against the Canid Predators who had appeared in the sparsely populated but mineral rich Bowza system for several months, and the conflict had recently arrived on Bowza IV, a dry and inhospitable mining world. 

Following the fighting on Themis III, Brigadier Natasha Franklin and her strikeforce had been augmented by the addition of a number of units of Class C Line Droids. These robotic infantry units would better able to withstand the parched heat of Bowza IV, which is where Brig. Franklin's troops had been posted. Their role was to act as an advance force on the left flank of the main 3HC army on the planet. Elsewhere, combat had been heavy and both sides were currently regrouping, but Marshal Otto von Bizmüth, the 3HC planetary grand commander saw the broken territory to the north west of his lines as a possible line of advance. Franklin's troops were sent to explore. Before long, her scouts brought back reports of an advancing Canid battle host. The 3HC commander halted her force and constructed a hasty defensive line.

She had a weak right flank. This was a deliberate ploy, the idea being that the hated Xenos would concentrate their attacks here.

In the centre was a heavy Vanquisher Class Battle Mech. Before long, this would be reinforced by a couple of units of Line Droids.

The 3HC left wing contained the armoured threat of the fearsome Goliath MBTs. A stealth-equipped sniper was also deployed on this flank.

The lighter droids would act as a screen for the heavier giant Mech.

Stormtrooper infantry soon deployed along a low hill to protect Brig. Franklin's ACV.

The hated Canid barbarians began to swarm around the low hills in front of the 3HC right flank.

An artillery bombardment from orbital gun platforms soon caused the Canid centre to take casualties, pinning them in the cover of a rocky outcrop.

Unfortunately, the Canid tanks soon began to find their range and targeted the smaller droids, causing casualties. The giant Battle Mech was immune to their puny fire.

With no enemies visible on the 3HC left, the troops there remained on Overwatch, while the Xeno beasts advanced across the plateau in front of the 3HC right.

Their troops charged into combat with the 3HC light AFVs, and massed fire took out the Stormtrooper commander on this flank. This could have been a major blow, but Brig. Franklin's command range was still able to control her forces here.

The giant Vanquisher poured bolts of fire onto the Canid tanks, stopping them from advancing.

Aware that there was something in front of the 3HC left, but unable to see it, the Goliath MBT's swept around from the left, one advancing behind the Canid lines and destroying a tank, and the other swinging around behind the 3HC defensive positions to bring its guns to bear on the Canid foot troops.

It was clear that hand to hand assaults were the most successful Xeno tactic and the weak 3HC right was finally eliminated, with the emphasis switching to the central area dominated by the combat droids.

This area would soon become the make or break part of the battlefield.

Realising that the rocks on her left had been infiltrated by stealth Canids,  Brig. Franklin left sufficient troops on overwatch to counter any threat from this quarter. More and more indirect fire was called down from above, destroying the Canid centre and causing a mounting casualty list.

Eventually the aliens tried to break out from their hiding place but Stormtrooper fire, supported by the stealth Sniper soon defeated this threat, while the central battle raged on, with the giant Battle Mech finally being overwhelmed by the feral Xeno hordes.

However, this was still not enough to tilt the balance against the gallant Human troops, whose core forces remained relatively intact. Things looked hopeless for the aliens, who were forced to concede the day.

OK, so I won. Terrific, except that it was only after the battle that we realised that according to strict tournament rules. Rich had actually eliminated half of my elements in the final round, just before I eliminated 50% of his. However, it was obvious that with no armour he was unlikely to actually defeat my army, particularly as he had few stands of troops who were not carrying hits. So, therefore a moral victory to me. This was an excellent game, with my overwatch tactics effectively neutralising his infiltrated units, and vice versa. The thing that really swung the balance was the power of the Human indirect artillery barrages, coupled with the long range threat from my MBTs and the Battle Mech.

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