The first battle of the Shadow Wars:
"Lord K'Lian, contact, contact. Death Guard outpost confirmed. Currently deploying fortifications."
Behind his Cataphractii plate, Deu K'Lian, Terminarch of Aethonion, once of the Salamannders, bared his teeth in a snarl.
"Attack, I say. Everyone else can follow but we must attack now, or lose our surprise."
1500 pts, modifed force org (1 compulsory troops, 2 troops.
The Salamanders. L-R, recon squad in rhino, Pyroclasts in Proteus, Deredeo, Terminator command Squad and Praetor in Phobos, Tactical squad in rhino
The Death Guard. L-R Quad mortars, Land Raider Achilles, Forge Lord & Grave Wardens, Scorpius, dual Kheres Contemptor, Lascannon support squad, Tactical squad in Rhino, Bastion
The mission was hunter/hunted, where you split your army in half and have some in reserve, hammer and anvil deployment. The Death Guard set up a gun line with most of their force, while the Achilles/Forge Lord/Grave Warden, as 3 seperate units, were the reserve. Additionally, the DG warlord trait allowed him to move a unit out of reserve, so the Contemptor deployed as well.
In reply, I had a single Land Raider Phobos and the Deredeo to deploy, facing an intimidating ammount of firepower. It was a really thematic start - I felt desperately like the odds were against me, and the only route was to throw caution to the wind.
I decided my route was to assault the left of his line, avoiding the lascannon fire from the bastion as far as possible and as I outranged the shatter shells and contemptor I might have a chance to whittle the gunline down before I had to face them.
And it worked - the Deredeo bombarded the quad mortars and destroyed one, while also glancing the rhino, which the Land Raider polished off. In return, innaccurate lascannon fire failed to damage the Phobos.
Turn 2 and my proteus failed to come on, but the 2 rhinos did, the tactical squad following up and followed the Phobos up the left, moving flat out. The recon squad emerged from outflank and caused havoc, stunning the Contemptor and killing the remaining quad mortar.
Again, the Death Guard guns spoke, but the lascannon, scorpius, kheres and Achilles couldn't stop the Salamander Land Raider.
Finally, the combined firepower halted the Land Raider, and melta and Khere's fire cut down a pair of Cataphractii. But the Tactical squad was nearly up to the battle, and the Proteus and Deredeo were providing long range fire support.
The rhino manouvered to take down the Contemptor from behind. The recon squad finally went down to the combat blades of the Death Guard, but the batttle line was broken. Forge Lord Durer and his bodyguard emerged from their Achilles.
The decisive moment in the battle. The tactical Squad deployed into the jungle and unloaded their bolters, the rhino killed the Contemptor and then Deu K'lian and his Chainfist wielding bodyguard killed the Achilles. Meanwhile the Deredeo took care of the Scorpius in its long range duel.
Carnage on the left. All Durer could do was attack and hope.
And hope was not not enough. K'Lian climbed on top of the wrecked Achilles and challenged Durer to a duel. The Lustral Maul swung and Durer crumpled.
Overall, this was a most surprising result. Facing a gunline I genuinely didnt expect my Land Raider to survive. But it did, and even with the Pyroclast squad arriving too late to do any damage, the havoc caused by the Deredeo and Recon squad allowed me to close and destroy a good proportion of the Death Guard army.