The last battle of Fifth Edition! With my Space Marines’ Fifth Company! And it’s my fifth battle! Okay, it isn’t, really, but it would have been cool…
It is, however, the first time I’m fielding a full 1000 points. Thank you, Justin, for the last minute call to battle. I am sorry I didn’t give you more of a fight before you had to go, but those blue orks are looking pretty darned good.
The Final Fifth: Space Marines vs Blyoo Orks (1000 pts)
Mork’s Blue Cheese: Orks (998 pts)
“Sighting confirmed. It is definitely Ghasghkull Thraka. And sir…
They’ve painted him blue.”
Scout Patrol, 1051st Lancers
Ghazghkull Thraka. Yes, Ghazghkull Thraka.
Grabba’s Grabbaz: 15 Lootaz with Deffguns.
Kobklippa an’ Da Ledbelliez: 1 Nob with Power Klaw, Slugga, Boss Pole and ‘Eavy Armour. 20 Shoota Boyz, 2 Boyz with Big Shootas.
‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry an’ ‘Iz Ladz: 1 Nob with Power Klaw, Slugga and Boss Pole. 27 ‘Ard Boyz with Choppas and Sluggas, 3 ‘Ard Boyz with Big Shootas.
The Brotherhood of Sleep: Space Marines (1000 pts)
“Captain, it’s been a long, hard fight, so please remind me:
What in the Emperor’s name are we doing here?”
-Brother Chaplain Seth,
Private conversation with Captain Adstrum
The Brotherhood deploys elements of the Fifth Company under the command of Captain Adstrum.
Captain Adstrum, with Bolter with Hellfire Rounds, Relic Blade, Digital Weapons, Iron Halo, Frag and Krak grenades
Brother Chaplain Seth, with Bolt Pistol and Crozius, Digital Weapons, Meltabombs, Frag and Krag grenades, Rosarius and Jump Pack,
Dreadought: Brother Batillus, with Multi-Melta, Storm Bolter and Close Combat Weapon.
Terminator Squad “Fax”: Sergeant Cautes with Power Weapon and Storm Bolter, 4 Terminators with Power Fists and Storm Bolters.
Tac Marine Squad “Tono”: Sergeant Tonitrum with Power Fist and Storm Bolter, 1 heavy weapons marine with Missile Launcher, 1 special weapons marine with Plasma Gun, 7 Tac Marines with Bolters.
Tac Marine Squad “Ignis”: Sergeant Ignis with two plasma pistols, 1 heavy weapons marine with Missile Launcher, 1 special weapons marine with Flamer, 7 Tac Marines with Bolters.
“Ghazghkull knows nothing of why we aligned, or what we fought.
His pig-headedness could destroy us all.”
– Captain Adstrum,
Private conversation with Brother Chaplain Seth
Only fragments of the Londinium campaign exist, but it is known to have quickly devolved into a stagnant, bloody conflict for nearly a year before taking a turn for the outright bizarre. For reasons unknown, elements of the Brotherhood of Sleep Space Marine chapter aligned with the Ork forces on the planet. This alliance was deemed so important that a Space Wolf delegation sent to evaluate the campaign actually came under fire and was driven off-world by a combined Brotherhood and Ork operation.
The final major record of the campaign shows that this unusual alliance lasted several months, but came to a sudden end with the unexpected appearance of none other than Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka. Rounding up a small but powerful force of the rare blue Orks, Ghazghkull led a week-long rampage through Imperial lines. Several military outposts and settlements perished before a detachment of Space Marines could intercept Ghazghkull’s warband.
Ghazghkull’s apparent objective was an anomaly designated only by its map reference of 0mG-W7F-88Q. The location was significant, though why is not known. It lay deep in territory considered neutral by both the Orks and Imperial forces. There is some circumstantial evidence suggesting that the Orks and Space Marines fought a fierce battle there against an unknown adversary. An Imperial supply depot in the area was heavily damaged and abandoned around that time. The remains of this depot became the setting for the last recorded (but no less strange) engagement of the Londinium campaign.
- Scenario: Capture and Control
- Deployment: Pitched Battle
- Victory Conditions: Each side must capture the other side’s objective while remaining in control of its own objective.
- Table Size: 4’ x 6’ table
- Special Rules: None
The Space Marines win initiative, but lets the Orks set up first.
- The Ork objective marker is placed on the Ork’s left flank, in the corner of the Ork deployment zone.
- The Marine objective marker is placed centrally in the deployment zone, behind the ruins of a small building.
“Bury ‘em! Bury ‘em all!”
- Grabba and his Lootaz deploy on the Ork’s right flank.
- Ghazghkull joins ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry an’ ‘Iz Ladz in the centre.
- Kobklippa and his Shoota Boyz take the right flank, around the objective marker.
“One line to hold the enemy at bay.
The Orks are cowards at heart. They do not know
what sacrifice means.”
- Terminator Squad Fax deploys on the left flank, just beyond the edge of the ruined building and to the left of the Marine objective marker.
- Brother Batillus stands proud in his dreadnought to the right of Squad Faxe, on the other side of the ruined building and to the right of the Marine objective marker.
- Brother Chaplain Seth joins Tactical Squad Ignis immediately to the right of the Dreadnought.
- Captain Adstrum joins Tactical Squad Tono on the rise at the far right flank.
Here is an (unlabelled, sorry) overview of the field of battle.
Space Marines attempt to steal initiative, but fail. Mork’s Blue Cheese goes first.
Mork’s Blue Cheese
“Dem ‘umies better cover up. Looks like
a spot o’ rain comin’, boyz! Har!”
-Grabba to his Grabbaz
Though the Space Marine dreadnought stands fully in view as a warning, Ghazghkull plods slowly into the supply depot ruins directly for the Imperial war machine.
‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry and his Boyz follow in Ghazghkull’s wake, a massive tumultuous mob spoiling for a fight.
Kobklippa and his Ledbelliez take a more cautious approach. Despite Kobklippa’s rising battle lust, he has his boyz keeping a sharp eye out around them.
Grabba orders his Lootaz to stay put and set up their deffguns. He share’s Kobklippa’s unease, but he’s not about to let that get in the way of letting off a few (thousand) rounds.
Grabba’s Grabbaz unleash a massive barrage against Brother Batillus’ Dreadnought. The Imperial machine is shredded as the heavy fire strips away armour and demolishes the internal wOrkings. The Dreadnought is wrecked, but Brother Batillus manages to shut down the reactor and prevents it from detonating.
Ghazghkull lets loose with a fearful bellow and runs towards the Marine position. With his slow, cumbersome cybernetic body, this amounts to just a few extra steps. ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry and his Ladz run frantically in place beside the might Warlord in a show of encouragement and support.
Although Marine Squad Tono is within the range of Kobklippa’s big shootaz, for some unknown reason the Nob gives no order to fire. He seems distracted, and more focussed on watching for unknown enemies that might rise from the surrounding ruins.
None, though ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry executes a few snappy moves with his power klaw in the hopes of impressing Ghazghkull.
Brotherhood of Sleep
“Hold the line!”
The Marine force is shocked by the loss of Brother Batillus. Terminator Squad Fax withdraws behind the cover of a nearby ruined building before the Lootaz have a chance to redirect their deffguns.
Tac Squad Ignis and Chaplain Seth also head for the cover of nearby ruins on the right, but the position is just a little to far to reach quickly.
Captain Adstrum directs Tac Squad Tono to hold position. He is wary about fighting so close to 0mG-W7F-88Q. He sees the same thing in the eyes of Kobklippa, and despite the Ork advance the Captain does not move out to engage. He and his brothers will be needed to meet Ghazghkull.
Although Captain Adstrum and Squad Tono hold position, he directs the marines to fire warning shots at Kobklippa and his boyz. The Orks are just out of bolter range and ignore the firing until a frag missile lands in the mob. One boy is slain. The rest are showered with harmless debris, but they get the message.
None; however, Brother Chaplain Seth makes his feelings about the Marine deployment known to the Captain on a private channel.
Mork’s Blue Cheese
“…An’ den I’s gonna crush ‘em, an’ bash ‘em,
an’ stomp ‘em, an’ snip off da wobbly bitz…”
-‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry,
Private conversation with Ghazghkull Thraka
Kobklippa moves his Ledbelliez back to the Ork objective, well out of range of all the Marine weapons except the missile launcher. Kobklippa knocks a few heads get his Orks moving, as the missile hit has riled up the shoota boyz enough to forget the cause of their wariness.
Straining against his cybork body, Ghazghkull puts on an unusual burst of speed. ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry and his Boyz suddenly find themselves being left behind and rush forward to catch up with the warlord.
Grabba holds his position and tells his Lootaz to rack up for another volley of firing.
Grabba’s Grabbaz unleash a volley on Tac Squad Ignis as it runs for cover. Two Marines are riddled with bullets and simply come apart under the withering fire.
Despite Kobklippa’s disciplinary meansures, his heavy shooters start firing at Tac Squad Tono. Bullets ricochet off power armour, but no wounds are taken by the Imperium’s finest.
Ghazghkull continues to run, covering an impressive amount of ground. He has a vague hope that he’ll be able to stop before he runs right past the Marines. ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry and his Boyz sprint alongside, whooping and yelling at the thought of actually making it to the enemy lines at some point during the fight.
None. ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry describes at length about what he’s going to do to the ‘umies until Ghazghkull asks him to stop with a polite punch to the head.
Brotherhood of Sleep
“Blood of the Emperor!
I said hold the line!”
The Space Marine force holds position and prepares to receive Ghazghkull’s imminent attack.
In Tac Squad Tono, Brother Fulgo fires a retaliatory frag missile at Kobklippa’s boyz, taking out two of them.
The missile launcher in Tac Squad Ignis fires a quick shot at the Lootaz, but it lands short of the Lootaz’ position.
None, but it’s coming…
MOrk’s Blue Cheese
Ghazghkull continues the momentum of his cybOrk sprint and covers a remarkable amount of ground. Caught up in the exhilaration of finally engaging the Marines, Ghazghkull unleashes his Waaagh! All the Orks take up the cry.
‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry and his Boyz race in behind Ghazghkull, an avalanche of blue bounding along.
Grabba’s Grabbaz heft their deffguns and set out towards the Space Marine lines.
Kobklippa’s shoota boyz yell and bash their fists against their armour, but Kobklippa keeps them in position.
Kobklippa’s big shootas open fire again, pelting Tac Squad Tono with bullets. The Marine armour holds against the bursts, saving the battle brothers from a fate worse than scratched paint.
Grabba’s Grabbaz get caught up in the Waaagh! and break out into a full run towards the Marines.
Ghazghkull, his artificial legs pummelling the ground, rounds the corner of a ruined building and pistons into Tac Squad Ignis. ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry and his Boyz spill out behind to envelop the marines and Chaplain Seth. The vaunted Chaplain and his brothers dispatch three Orks in close combat, but they cannot stand against Ghazghkull. The monstrous Ork slays four Marines. Seth rallies the survivors to continue fighting, but a fifth marine perishes in the fighting.
Brotherhood of Sleep
“For glory, brothers! Show them the Emperor’s light!”
-Brother Chaplain Seth
Captain Adstrum keeps Tac Squad Tono in position. As much as he wants to assault Ghazghkull and ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry’s Boyz, he needs to keep the squad free to respond to threats.
Terminator Squad Fax abandons their objective and marches to engage the Orks on Ghazghkull’s flank.
Brother Fulgo in Tac Squad Tono fires another Frag missile at Kobklippa’s boyz, but it goes wide and detonates too far away to be dangerous.
Tac Squad Ignis desperately struggles against the overwhelming Ork assault, but only one more of the strange blueskins falls to their attacks. Ghazghkull rips apart another three marines with his power klaw, and a lucky strike by one of the Boyz slays one more. Only Sergeant Ignis remains to face Ghazghkull’s fury. Chaplain Seth was separated from the squad in the fury of combat and cannot fight his way back to the sergeant’s side.
The Terminators tear into the flank of the Ork assault. Massive power fists flatten four Orks easily. The Ork choppas bounce off the heavy Marine armour. Even ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry sees his power klaw scratching harmlessly at the hardened ceramite. The Orks still have numbers on their side, and though Ghazghkull is soaked in blood it is not his own and the brute remains unwounded.
Mork’s Blue Cheese
“Shaddap! Der’s somfin’ owt dere, I tells ya.
I sawr it!”
Kobklippa becomes convinced that there is something lurking in the ruins. Despite his Shoota Boyz’ raucaus belligerence, Kobklippa’s head-bashy discipline keeps them from moving against the Marines.
Grabba’s Grabbaz continue to advance down the edge of the battle. The crafty Ork sees an opportunity to gain some ground—and possibly some glory, if he can make it all the way to the Marine objective.
Kobklippa’s big shootas continue sniping ineffectively at Tac Squad Tono.
On the other side of the melee, Grabba’s Grabbaz make a dash for the ruin sheltering the Marine objective.
Chaplain Seth desperately fights his way to Sergeant Ignis, brutally beheading an Ork standing in his way. He his too late. With a vicious swipe of his power klaw, Ghazghkull bludgeons the sergeant. Power armour shatters, and the sergeant’s broken body bounces across the ground. Squad Ignis is no more.
The Terminators continue to exact a heavy toll on the Ork flank. Five more crushed xenos bodies litter the ground. The Orks mount a futile response, and for all of ‘Ard ‘And ‘Arry’s bluster he can do little more than scrabble at the terminators’ armoured forms.
Brotherhood of Sleep
“Oh, no you don’t.”
Captain Adstrum spots Grabba’s Grabbaz making a play for the Marine objective. Ignoring the random fire from Kobklippa’s boyz, he and Tac Squad Tono set out to intercept the Lootaz.
Captain Adstrum urges Tac Squad Tono to a run, hoping to catch Grabba’s Orks before they make it to the Marine objective.
Brother Seth is stuck on the far side of the Ork melee. He fights defensively, taking no wounds but slaying none of the beasts.
One more Ork falls to the terminators, and suddenly the elite Marines find themselves facing the mighty Ghazghkull himself. The warlord bellows with fury. A vicious backhand crushes the head of one marine. Another falls in pieces as Ghazghkull’s power klaw shears him in half. The massive Ork picks up a third terminator, pumps several rounds into his torso at short range, and tosses him aside.
The Orks howl with glee at this sudden change of fortune, and the remains of Terminator Squad Fax brace for a new round of battle.
The outcome of the battle is unknown. While it seems at this point the Marines are headed for defeat, the combat telemetry suddenly ends.
There are fragments of recordings later in the battle, but the quality is extremely poor and the images presented are disjointed and confusing. There are glimpses of things on the battlefield that are neither marine nor Ork. One sequence depicts elements of the Lootaz and Tac Squad Tono combining their fire at an unseen target. Another portrays Ghazghkull facing something truly massive. It seems that some entity or entities may have existed at map reference 0mG-W7F-88Q and the fighting attracted its or their attention.
The battle was actually called because we ran out of time to play. Although no objectives had been won or lost, it was pretty clear where things were heading. I don’t mind calling it an Ork victory over Space Marines, conceded.
This battle goes firmly into the “What the Hell Was I Thinking” category. I know the narrative of the battle is written to justify the Marine actions (and as official Imperial historian, it is my job to skew the perspective of every event I record), but I made some big mistakes.
Cover is very important. I knew what those Lootaz could do–I even borrowed Justin’s codex to look at their stats before I deployed–but I hung three units out without cover anyway. I admit I had all eyes on Ghazghkull and neglected another unit that packed a whallop. After the dreadnought was wrecked, I was pretty much on the defensive for the rest of the game, letting the Orks come to me which is never a good thing, especially with Ghazghkull.
Strangely enough, I think the best thing to negate those Lootaz would have been an assault. It would have tar-pitted them long enough to allow some of my other units to maneuver. I’ve been working on a Marine Assault Squad as well as a Counts-As Kayvaan Shrike, so perhaps this won’t be a problem in the future.
Slay the Beast. Okay, how the heck do you deal with Ghazghkull Thraka? Especially if he’s in the middle of a large mob of ‘ard boyz? Maneuverability could help, not to mention a lot of template weapons. Frankly, I’m open to suggestions.
And so ends Warhammer 40,000, Fifth Edition. I am looking forward to Sixth. There are some things I don’t like, but this new edition goes a long way to addressing some problems I’ve had not just with the Fifth edition, but with the game as a whole.
There’s a lot more to learn…