This is one such battle.
“Right lads, gather ‘round. You have all seen the meteors. They are alien spores. The army is being dispersed to find them and destroy them. A meteor has been reported down in Aquila Square and we have been ordered into the city to clear it.” A murmur ran through the assembled platoon as the soldiers alternately expressed concern and bravado.
“Here is the plan” Lieutenant Robinson continued. “We will approach from the south in a rough line clearing the buildings as we go. The impact has damaged most of the buildings, so be careful.”
“Clarke and Gable, you will form our main fire line. The FSVs will advance north on either side of the square providing fire support. Bogart, your squad will be on the far right and you will clear the Shrine on the east of the square. Flynn, your squad will clear the Scriptorium on the west of the square. Scott, you will be the far left and clear along West St and then the Archive building to the north. Cagney, you will hang back in the centre as a reserve. And Wayne, you and your storm troopers will be the assault team. Once we find the hive, you will take it out.”
“Questions? Ok, mount up, speed is critical.”
Bogart and his men crept carefully through the Shrine, picking their way over the rubble. Unseen by Bogart’s men, a brood of termagants, that had emerged from the hive, scuttled into the ruined chapel directly north of the Shrine. Luckily, Corporal Gable, in his Razorback, detected the movement and turned his turret mounted twin heavy-bolters on the aliens, downing one of them. Corporal Clarke, in his Razorback, began picking off spore mines floating across the square.
On the other side of the Scriptorium, Sergeant Scott fired at a floating spore mine, causing it to explode. He then ordered his men to edge forward along the western wall of the Scriptorium. At the same time, Flynn and his squad climbed into the ruined Scriptorium and began picking through the rubble as another brood of termagants slithered out of the hive.
LT Robinson grabbed the vox and encouraged his men to push forward as rapidly as possible. Upon reaching the northern end of the Shrine, Bogart’s squad took up firing positions and destroyed yet another floating mine. On the other flank, Scott’s team ran toward the nearby spore mine nodule and dropped some krak grenades into its mouth destroying it with a satisfying bang. Flynn and his men clambered over the rubble to try and keep in line with Scott.
The second brood of termagants rushed towards the Archive building north of the square, while the first brood fired their fleshborers at Bogart’s men, killing one. Clarke responded with his heavy bolters and downed another two of the aliens, and Gable added his suppressive firepower. Meanwhile, Cagney fired at another pair of spore mines drifting across the square. Yet more termagants flowed out of the hive like ants.
Bogart’s men fired on and detonated another spore mine that emerged from a nodule in front of them, and Scott did the same, however, it did not explode. Flynn saw the mine and ordered his men to shoot at it too before it reached Scott’s squad. Cagney continued his long range fire at any spore mines that drifted into the open space of the square.
Gable engaged the termagants that were making for the Archive, catching them as they reached the protection of the collapsed walls. One of them didn’t make it. Lieutenant Robinson shouted into the vox for Flynn and Scott to get a move on before the critters could get established in the Archive. But they were still being held up by a couple of spore mines floating in the air between them and their objective. Both teams did, however, now occupy the northern wall of the Scriptorium and could at least bring fire to bear on the Archive.
Assessing that the hive node must be behind the Chapel, where both broods of termagants had come from, Wayne took the opportunity to advance up behind Gable’s Razorback, hoping for a chance to dash froward with his melta-bombs.
Clarke edged his FSV up to the corner off the Shrine and fired at a spore mine drifting towards Bogart. But the third brood of gaunts, armed with devourers, took the opportunity to rush towards a pile of rubble linking the Chapel to the Archive. The gaunts now formed a continuous line protecting their hive and a fourth brood, hormagaunts this time, scuttled out of the hive looking for something to attack.
The platoon seemed to be in a good position. Both large buildings had been cleared and the probable location of the hive had been identified. However, the gaunts had dug in amongst the rubble and would prove difficult to eradicate.
Gable turned his heavy bolters on the gaunts directly in front of him in the rubble. The explosive shells halted their advance and tore two of the bugs to pieces. The termagants in the chapel fired on Bogart’s men keeping them busy, but Clarke returned fire with his heavy bolters and swatted yet another bug. This didn’t stop the hormagaunts from rushing over the rear walls of the chapel ready to spring forward and carve up any humans they found with their scything talons.
Meanwhile, on the other flank, Flynn continued to shoot at the spore mines that kept emerging from the earth in front of them. Scott’s team also fired on the spore mines and, having cleared the area, advanced on the nodule. Cagney kept the square clear of mines by continuous fire and it seemed as if every one was firing in all directions.
But, still unobserved, another brood of hormagaunts, erupted from the hive, hungry and angry.
Gable kept up his fire on the gaunts at virtually point blank range and another two bugs were left nothing but pools of ooze amongst the rubble. Wayne joined in, firing on the chapel. Flynn took out yet another spore mine and Scott rushed to reach the now unguarded nodule.
The second hormagaunt brood rushed around the chapel, on the eastern side, heading straight for Bogart’s squad in the Shrine. The spore mines continued to drift around the battlefield, and, just as one of Scott’s troopers reached the nodule with a grenade in hand, one emerged and detonated right in his face. The two gaunt broods with fleshborers returned ineffective fire, and the devourer armed brood fired at Gable. The volume of fire from the devourers temporarily knocked out the FSV’s sensors.
The hormagaunts in the chapel then leapt the walls and charged directly for Bogart and his men. Luckily, they saw it in time and scrambled backwards away from the wall just in time at the gaunts stabbed at every gap with their long talons. Falling on their backs and kicking as fast as they could to escape, Bogart’s men fired almost blindly at the gaunts as they attempted to climb through the walls, and, unknowingly, managed to kill one of them.
Cagney maintained his clear-by-fire across the square, and Clarke, having missed the chance to shoot at the first group of hormagaunts, turned his guns on the brood east of the chapel and killed two of them. Lieutenant Robinson tried to encourage Bogart and Scott to keep pressing forward, but Bogart could only manage to keep firing at the gaunts only metres from his front. Worst of all, a brood of genestealers now climbed from the hive.
The rear group of hormagaunts, although taking heavy fire from Clarke’s guns, shrugged it off and remarkably leapt towards the guns reaching the cover of a pile of rubble in only a few bounds. The genestealers followed up behind the gaunts, using them as a shield. The gaunts in the Chapel, switched their fire from Bogart’s squad to he FSV only a few metres in front of them.
Recovering from the previous explosion, Scott sent another soldier forward to drop a grenade into the nodule, but he must have still been flustered as it did not go off. He was saved from disciplinary action by the mine that immediately popped out of the nodule’s mouth and exploded before he had a chance to look up. Flynn’s men, meanwhile, kept the gaunts in the Archive busy.
Cagney continued to fire at any spore mines that moved across his field of view, but some now drifted behind Gable’s FSV. Wayne saw this and turned his fire on the mine before it got too close. Gable got his sensors rebooted and, encouraged by Lieutenant Robinson, once again fired at the gaunts to his front and killed a further two. While Bogart’s men kept firing as fast as their trigger fingers will let them desperately trying to keep the hormagaunts out of the Shrine, but completely unaware of the genestealers advancing unhindered behind them.
The genestealers reached the Shrine and, climbing up and over the bodies of the hormagaunts, poured through the holes in the wall and onto the surprised guardsmen beyond them. With the benefit of the rubble for cover, the guardsmen briefly fought back, but, as they realised the hopelessness of their situation, and watched in horror as their squadmates were eviscerated around them, the last few tried to run. The screams did not last long.
The gaunts in the Archive fired on Scott’s men, still reeling from the two mines that had already hit them. The hormagaunts that had advanced on Clarke’s FSV, kept going and closed on Wayne and his squad, but he and his men turned to meet them and killed three of them with their concentrated hellgun fire. Gable also rolled forward and turned his turret towards the hormagaunts mowing down the remainder.
As yet more spore mines bubbled up from the remaining nodules, Cagney turned his fire on the Shrine suppressing the Genestealers. All these distractions allowed some of the mines to close on the Guardsmen. One detonated against the side of Gable’s Razorback, scaring the armour, but doing no permanent damage. Yet another one detonated amongst Sergeant Scott’s bewildered men, but the Emperor’s protection, and their armour, saved them. But, a third one detonated on the front glacis of Clarke’s Razorback, killing the driver. Corporal Clarke himself, jumped from the turret and began running back towards the platoon CP.
Lieutenant Robinson was on the horn again yelling at Scott and Flynn to pull their fingers out and clear the f#$king Archive building or he would shoot them himself. When, before his eyes, the brood of hormagaunts that had been chasing Bogart’s squad erupted from amongst the Shrine, leapt onto Clarke’s FSV and launched themselves at the running Corporal. No one saw him die as he was smothered by their claws and talons.
And, to make matters worse, the fourth brood of gaunts, that had emerged shortly before, scuttled over the rubble to reinforce their similarly devourer armed swarm-mates in front of the remaining FSV.
The situation now looked dire. Their right flank had been turned, as the genestealers wiped out Bogart’s squad and the CP itself was threatened. Flynn and Scott were making little progress against the spore mines and the termagants dug in amongst the ruined Archive building. And the direct route to the hive node was now blocked by fresh gaunts.
The hormagaunts, still covered in poor Corporal Clarke’s blood, launched themselves at Cagney’s squad guarding the CP. The brick walls of the ruined building provided some protection, but the guardsmen were forced back. However, their firepower must have surprised the gaunts because, inexplicably, they turned around and bounded back towards the Shrine.
Meanwhile, after another ear-bashing from the LT, Sgt Scott once again shot the nearby mines and attempted to get to the nodule. This time, the krak grenade went off and turned the nodule into a smoking crater. Corporal Gable once again turned his guns on the devourer armed gaunts in front of him. The remaining troopers and gaunts exchanged fire with little changing. However, ominously, the genestealers were seen moving around inside the ruined Shrine.
Sgt Cagney ordered his men to fire everything they have at the genestealers, and they were lost in a cloud of smoking rubble. Flynn and Scott, no longer held up by mines, advanced on the Archive building and fired continuously on the gaunts huddled amongst the ruins. Gable continued to fire at the gaunts between the two buildings, and Wayne exchanged shots with the remaining brood of gaunts in the Chapel. But the firepower was too dispersed and the hormagaunts once again crept towards the CP providing a screen for the genestealers that skulked out of the Shrine behind them. In response, the HQ and Cagney’s squad began a hasty withdrawal in an effort to avoid the same fate as Bogart.
Gable turned his turret and fired at the hormagaunts, but his shots went wild. Wayne fired on them too, and the extra experience of his storm troopers paid off as they downed one of them. Under the protection of this volume of fire, Cagney’s squad managed to make it all the way back to the Scriptorium. Again, the battle for the Archive building continued with shots exchanged on both sides.
Confronted by the storm troopers, the genestealers did what they do best and charged Sgt Wayne and his men. Whether it was training, or whether it was fear, they quickly fell back behind the cover of Gable’s FSV. But, LT Robinson noticed they were advancing more cautiously than normal and ordered Wayne and Gable to stand and shoot while they were in the open and crossing the square.
Gable kept firing his twin heavy bolters until the barrels were close to melting, but it was having the desired effect of both slowing down the genestealer advance and cutting them down. Wayne and his men added the firepower of their hellguns and the plasma gun to this wall of lead. When the smoke cleared, all of the genestealers were lying in shattered pieces. The hormagaunts flung themselves towards the platoon HQ, while it was otherwise distracted directing the fire of the platoon. Cagney’s squad, now occupying the eastern wall of the Scriptorium, stopped their charge with well timed fire.
With the principle threat of the genestealers eliminated and only small groups of gaunts huddled amongst the ruined buildings. The platoon quickly regrouped and destroyed the hive node before it had a chance to convert more biomass into additional alien constructs. The mission was successful, but at considerable cost. Fifteen men were dead, only two of whom had enough body parts to be buried, and one Razorback Fire Support Vehicle was badly damaged.
The men were too tired to celebrate, and were not given an opportunity do so anyway. Not every search and destroy mission had been a success. The remainder of the platoon were soon re-deployed to counter the emergence of an expanded alien threat. The fight for the Anglia System
I have played a similar scenario before that pitted Space Marines against a similar Tyranid force. However, this is the first time I have used Tyranid rules based on the latest codex. The primary changes are that the gaunts no longer have the ‘without number’ special rule and the refinements to the ‘instinctive behaviour’ rule. The specific rules and the conversion to SGII will be described in a separate post.
The Tyranid force was deliberately quite light. Anything more difficult would have been impossible for the light infantry of the Guard to deal with. The Genestealers were as destructive as expected and the only hope the Guard have against them is to keep them suppressed so they can not engage in close combat. The lack of any Synapse creatures limited the flexibility of this Tyranid force and the ability of the Guard platoon HQ to focus sub-units and keep the pressure on the Tyranids proved critical. Firepower was subdued in this scenario because almost every unit made use of the prevalent hard cover. However, I am concerned that the Guard still lacks sufficient firepower. Particularly if they are faced with larger creatures.