The battle lines were drawn. Formations of the 3rd Company First Legion Astartes, the Dark Angels boarded their transports and attack bikes and prepared to protect an Imperial world against the expansion of the technologically superior yet numerically inferior Tau.
This was only my third game of Warhammer 40,000 in the last twelve months. The Tau have always appealed as a race, the miniatures are good, the background intriguing and their gun lines are dependable. Against the Dark Angels, the versatile super-human warriors of the Imperium of Man they were always in for a hard fight.
The Space Marines’ plan was to close the distance quickly in Rhinos and Razorbacks, disrupt the Tau gun line with fast vehicles and then smash them in close assault and point blank gun range. The Tau plan was simply to hinder that. To use long range guns and missiles to neutralise the transports, vehicles and heavy support; to maintain the distance.
The table was 8’x4′, the game set at 1750 points per side and lasted 4 full turns (before we ran out of time). There was one objective to take, located in the centre of the table and the deployment was diagonal across the battlefield with 24″ between the two armies.
The Tau started pretty well, Heavy Bolter and Quad Autocannon rounds pinging off their armoured battlesuits. In response rail gun rounds landed hits on the transport vehicles approaching them forcing troops to disembark before they were in position, troops that were then cut down in volleys of missiles and plasma fire.
Then the Ravenwing bikers arrived in turn 2 – behind the Tau gunline. And that was the beginning of the end. The Hammerhead took serious damage in its weaker rear armour and was immobilised, the Riptide became embroiled in close combat where its advanced weapons couldn’t be brought to bear on distant targets. Unsupported the fast Piranhas were destroyed by entrenched Space Marine Devastators and Fire Warriors fell under the Ravenwing’s wheels.
The Dark Angels paid a heavy price, 4 Ravenwing bikers, an Attack Bike, 20 Space Marines and a Rhino were slowly being added to the casualty list, but in return Crisis Suits, Fire Warriors, Devilfish Transports, Piranhas were being removed from play. Losing combat with the Company Master proved too much for the Tau Commander who decided at that point that fleeing was his best option…
The game ended with the Dark Angels controlling the relic and a final score of 9 points to the Space Marines and 4 points to the Tau.
I probably should be more upset about that than I am, but it was good fun (and I can feel a rematch coming on…)
It’s worth mentioning as well that the Dark Angels looked really good. The vehicles in particular with their row of Dozer Blades were a fairly intimidating sight. The only thing I regret is not taking more photos, but my opponent Graham did and I’ll be sure to point you in the direction of his battle report when it is undoubtedly written. Lessons learned? Use more Fire Warriors and try to take some Kroot – something that might make Space Marines think twice about charging across the battlefield and entering close combat relatively unopposed.