Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Helios Pass - Praetorian v Ork Battle Report

Welcome back everyone for the Battle Report of Helios Pass!

Be warned this post is going to get picture heavy very very quickly.

When we left you last the Praetorian IV Mechanised Infantry were in a perilous position, outmaneuvered by Warboss Gorblud's Bad Moonz and trapped in Helios Pass, the Praetorian forces would have to attempt to break out and take valuable intelligence to the defenders of Mercatura Hive. Be sure to check the previous post for the background to this epic battle.

Will Colonel Winterborne survive? Will the Praetorians manage to escape the Ork trap? Read on to find out...

The Batle for Helios Pass...

Just to refresh you all of the objectives of this mission the Imperial Guard need to get infantry off either of the short edges, and in particular the officers and Colonel Winterborne. While the orks need to kill the lot of them and get points for doing so (1 point for each infantry unit, 1 point for each officer and either 3/5 for the colonel depending on whether killed in combat or by shooting).

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The deployment for this battle had the IV placed squarely in the middle of the table being allowed 6" either side of that. The orks deployed first and the big decision to make was whether to try and break out left, right or have a go at both. To the left we had just the one battle wagon, mega armoured nobz, plenty of boys and the big mek, while the right had both warbosses, mega armoured nobz, two battle wagons, and once again plenty of boyz and nob bikerz!

After a good 10 minutes of mulling it over I decided to take a chance and head as fast as I could towards the pair of warbosses. A bold move, and certainly risky given that you normally try and stay as far away from them as possible! However my thoughts were that the other orks were less mobile and I was I better having the warbosses front of me than behind, at least then I could meet them on my own terms.

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The Praetorian right flank contained the vast majority of the infantry laden chimeras while the left flank had the blob of 30 guardsmen with the priest and a commissar. Their last rights had already been administered, their orders given to die to a man, and they would buy as much time as possible for the mobile elements to escape.

To help us out with the game (there being an awful lot of points on the table) we decided to ignore difficult terrain and just treat it all as open.

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The two armies face off against each other. The Praetorian firing line make themselves ready for the onrushing ork horde.

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The Praetorian's get the first tun and cautiously make their first moves. The infantry safe in their chimeras largely stay back hoping to get some valuable shots before the orks get to close. The rest of the armour moves forward,vying for position hoping to make their opening salvo count.

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The Praetorian heavy shooting focused on the two battlewagons containg the warbosses. Both the medusa and Macharius targetting them, both managed to score penetrating hits but do little other than prevent them moving or shooting the next turn. Not a bad result as it keeps them a little more at arms length.

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In a hail of autocannon shells, both groups of deffkoptas were annihilated! The fearsome exterminator accounting for one unit, while the hydra and leman russ combined to account for the other. The guns on those  and their maneuverability would have been a real hindrance to my chimeras, so it was a real stroke of luck!

The rest of my shooting was largely ineffective with multi lasers and heavy bolters damaging a war trukk or two and eliminating a few of the ork boyz.

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The orks response was unsurprisingly to leg it forward as fast as possible! Both warbosses disembarked and figured and tried to get as close as possible in the hope of assaulting my lead units. My 30 strong blob squad had advanced in my turn and were now dangerously close to return ork fire.

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The psyker adds his power to that of the squad but to little effect against the ork hordes.

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The orks having disembarked from there transport were a real threat, one unit of mega armoured nobz with Gorblud (my AP2 weaponry consisting of the medusa and nothing else), and the other warboss leading the cybork nobz with a painboy.

As the orks get close they attempt to charge the hellhound and medusa, however the dice gods smile upon the Praetorians and both fail there charges by mere milimeters.

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Eager to score some easy victory points the ork shooting targets the 30 strong blob squad. Targetted by countless boyz, the kannon on the truck and a myriad of other weaponry, as the smoke clears only 6 and the psyker remain standing.

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The table as it stood at the end of turn 1. Eliminating the deffkoptas had opened up the flanks for the escaping Praetorians, providing the ork centre could be occupied they might just be able to make it out alive. In turn two we would surely see the carnage reach new highs.

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Getting through all these orks in the centre was going to be a real struggle. Surely in their next turn they would be in assault. Time to fix bayonets...

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Praetorian Lancer, the noblest cavalry in the Imperial Guard, and the worst led. Seeking to avenge the near destruction of the holding platoon the lancers see the orks (out of square formation) and prepare to charge a rather large unit of boyz (a good 15+). They certainly don't lack for bravery. None survive.

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The Thunderbolt arrives in the second turn aiming to run interference for the withdrawing units. Meanwhile the Praetorian armour maneuvers further into position, establishing firing lines and hoping to capitalise on the orks currently in the open. If they let this many orks get within charge range the armour of their tanks will provide little protection.

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After a few shots at the mega armoured nobz proved ineffective the shooting refocused on the cybork nobz. Shell after shell and round after round was expended attempting to lay waste to them. When the smoke cleared one very angry Warboss was left standing there.

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Warboss Gorblud and his retinue crest the hill and sound an almighty WAAAAAGGGHHH!!!

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The two warbosses, the mega armoured nobz, the biker nobz and a unit of boyz all make it into combat with the Praetorian armour. The medusa somehow survives but is bereft of its main gun and tracks. A Chimera containing an infantry squad is destroyed. The hellhound is seriously damaged and left unable to fire, while the Devil Dog after failing to inflict any casualties with its chem cannon is destroyed.

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On the left flank the orks are also closing dangerously quickly, the hydra was the first of the tanks to fall to the onrushing orks.. Buoyed by their success against the lancers the main mob then makes short work of the holding platoon. A brave challenge by the psykers was met by an ork nob resulting in mutual death while the rest of the squad died without giving an inch.

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The squad from the wrecked chimera were forced to emergency disembark only to find themselves eye to eye with the meg armoured nobz.

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At the end of turn two and start of Praetorian turn three the casualties on both sides were begin to mount up. At this stage the Praetorians had yet to score (no infantry having made it off the board) while the orks had accounted for a heavy weapons squad and the holding platoon and so had two victory points.

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The remaining mechanised infantry made their way for the right board edge, making the most of the time afforded by having the warbosses tied up in the middle. The exterminator imposed itself between the nearest warboss and the chimeras, hoping to present itself as an irresistible target to the orks and prevent them from engaging the infantry. The Thunderbolt continued strafing the ork positions while both leman russ and the macharius moves to impose themselves in between the orks on the left flank and the rear armour of the retreating chimeras.

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The Praetorian heavy dragoons offered themselves up to the Emperor and also prepared to sell themselves dearly, heading for another large mob of orks. Once again, in what may be the last time I am able to use Rough Riders (if the new codex removes them as is rumoured), none survived.

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The Thunderbolt having made its attack, surveys the devastation and begins to pull up and heads for the board edge to re-enter the fray at a later stage.

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The Macharius continues to prowl the centre ground, its gunners reliably picking off ork targets. However, now with the battles lines compromised and chaos ensuing, it will surely only be a matter of time before it gets some unwanted greenskin attention.

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The Tech Priest will leave none of the machine spirits behind, he soothes the last of the escaping chimeras before moving to intercept a mob of outflanking orks.

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With no AP2 weaponry remaining the Praetorians are helpless in preventing the mega armoured nobz and the mekboy from closing on the Macharius, while another mob of orks destroy the supporting Leman Russ.

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The mechanised infantry and Colonel Winterborne's Command Chimera make good their escape and almost reach safety as the Praetorian's begin their turn 4. The Thunderbolt flies off the board while the hellhound regroups and takes revenge against the boyz who destroyed the Leman Russ.

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With the Colonel and 3 infantry squad almost safe victory seems to be slipping from the clutches of Warboss Gorblud. The Macharius attempts to withdraw from the mega armoured nobz but is left with little room as it is surrounded by the second unit and a warboss.

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The Macharius Tank Commander frantically swings the turret guns round hoping to take down some of the mega armoured nobz, however the shells prove no match for the orks armour. The Exterminator continues to wreak havoc among the orks and single-handedly fells the second ork warboss in one round of shooting!

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The Tech Priest can only watch on in horror as the green tide closes on the Macharius. He knows it is lost before they even make contact and moves closer to it to to sooth the machine spirit. The orks then charge in, revelling in assault finally getting their power klaws in to combat with the tank, tearing the armour apart before...

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KABOOM!!! The ensuing apocalyptic explosion flattens the local area, killing the Tech Priest and all but one of the mega armoured nobz. In the confusion that followed Colonel Winterborne made good his escape and made best possible speed to Hive Mercatura.

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The battle field that was once so full no nothing more than a tank graveyard, with Warboss Gorblud cutting a solitary figure as the last of the Praetorians withdraw.

The orks had managed to decimate the Praetorian army but had failed to prevent the Colonel and enough of the guardsmen from escaping. Only 5-10 models remained on the table at the end, it had been utter carnage.

Game Result - Praetorian Victory

Post Game Analysis - 
Colonel Winterborne
Well that was one hell of a battle! Not much left standing for either side at the end, and far closer than it finished points wise. Had only a few dice rolls gone the other way (the orks charge distances in particular!) then I may well be writing an obituary the esteemed Colonel!

The battle plan I formed turned out to be a sound one, make for the scarier quicker orks and delay the rest. I managed to score a great result downing the deffkoptas straight away which made a convenient hole which the orks couldn't plug. They were far more intent on charging forward and smashing da umies! When they got amongst my lines there was very little I could but drive the chimeras as far away as possible.

Notable performer for my army was definitely the exterminator, that tank is a beast and when it comes to orks nothing kills them better. The cavalry where about as useful as a chocolate teacup but made for some cinematic moments.

If I was to play this again I think I'd like to see even more orks! It was a shame my chimeras had such a clear line down the flank to get off the table, if there had been another unit of boyz playing sweeper it could have made for a very tight finish. With regards to my tactics, I think I'd do much the same, distract the scary stuff, kill the fast stuff and keep the troops out of harms way.

I'm definitely looking forward to the big battle in the summer after this warm up game, and who knows next time I may well be fielding an army of Praetorian Astra Militarium!

Warboss Gorblud - 
It was a great game.  A disappointing result for the Orks, but still great fun.  The battle was pretty close (with some awful dice rolling on both sides) but the large number of points for getting the Colonel off the side of the board made it far too tempting a focus for the Praetorians early on.

I think I split the Ork forces in a sensible fashion, but maybe could have deployed them better so that the blast weapons couldn't cause quite so much havoc.  Not getting any of the Ork units in to close combat on the first turn really cost me as it just gave the Praetorians far too many opportunities to slim the Ork numbers and create gaps in the Ork lines.

If I was to play it again I think the most important thing would be to have a Bik Mek with a Kustom Force Field on each side of the board to get some more of those much needed cover saves – unfortunately that would require converting another model!

Colonel Winterborne


“Gorblud casually swept a piece of tank wreckage aside to reveal an injured Praetorian artillery man.  Bringing his shoota to bear he ended the life of the miserable wretch with a quick burst.  These humies died so easily!  The last of the artillery man’s squad mates chose that moment to leap out of his hiding place and charge Gorblud from behind, firing his lasgun at point blank range and raising his bayonet to try and skewer the mighty Ork.  It was a brave but ultimately futile attempt as the fusillade bounced harmlessly off the Warboss’ armour.  Before the bayonet even scratched its surface Gorblud had swept round and sliced the guardsman in to three neat pieces with one swipe of his mighty klaw.

Gorblud stepped out of the wreckage, searching for his next target.  The Praetorian’s guns had taken a heavy toll on his forces before he had managed to reach their tank line, but once the Orks had a chance to utilise their Power Klaws the Imperial armour formation quickly fell apart.  He turned his head towards the direction he had seen the tank with the big aerials – he was certain their leader would be in that one so he had headed in that direction as quickly as he could.  But as he gazed out through the smoke a bare patch of desert greeted his eyes – the small group of Imperial transports had vanished.

Looking round the battlefield he saw the surviving members of his warband swarming towards the last few human tanks that were still able to fire.  He’d lost a lot of Orks today, but they’d killed a lot of humies as well.  A roar overhead drew his gaze upwards and he spotted the Imperial plane lining up for another strafing run on one of his units.  It didn't keep his attention long – it could do little damage on its own to his spread out force, and the dakka wagonz  would have their own fun with it once they arrived up the hill.

Turning around he finally spotted the tanks he’d been looking for, and to his annoyance they were racing off through a gap in his lines.  He spied the wrecked deffkoptas and bodies of the ork unit that had meant to be blocking that route, and cursed there pathetic attempt to slow the tanks.  The Imperial Leader was escaping with his head intact and there was nothing Gorblud could do about it!  He hadn't even found one of the Imperial sub-leaders’ heads to decorate his pointy stick.  It would be a frustrating walk back down the mountain.  Maybe one of the Mek’s had survived and could fix his wagon...”


  1. Mega.

    Excellent news that Col W got away. I think his cavalry units just need to be bigger.

  2. "Out of square formation" - Brilliant! Love it!

    This is hands-down oneof the best battle reports I've ever read. Just brilliant! I love the pics, I love how well the exterminator did (yay!) and most importantly, I love the end result.

    Any news on a prospective date for the summer? Only, Mrs D is starting to ask...

    Speaking, by the way, as (I think) the most southerly interested party, I'd not worry about moving things too far south. If we need to travel to this, then we need to travel. Let's just get it booked eh?

    PS: I'm really impressed by tha orkish army, y'know...

  3. brilliant report. cant wait to read the summer battles!

  4. Excellent battle Report!! I really enjoyed reading this one, especially with the mix of photos and text highlighting the exciting parts of the game. Also glad to here that the good Col. has managed to escape, woulda been a bummer if you had to create a new CO.

  5. Thanks guys!
    Zzzzzz - I've got to admit I was pretty scared before the game! and I think you are right with the cavalry, more is definitely the solution
    Drax - No dates yet, been very busy since the plan started forming so haven't had time to find a venue. It's on the list of things to do and hopefully we will have an idea soon. It'll certainly be towards the end of Summer so likely not before August I should think, and WW is certainly still possible.
    AJ - Cheers fella, if we can pull the summer battle off you can only imagine the size of that battle report!
    Marshall Argos - Pleased you enjoyed it, once I started writing it it just seem to take a life all of it's own!

  6. May the Emperor receive their souls!

    Fantastic report, can't wait for the summer!

    And yes, being probably the second most southernly, well as you know I fancy WW as a venue!

  7. One of the coolest reports I think I've ever read.

    Pictures are fantastic! Then again, Praetorians always look stunning :)