“This is Wolf 3 to Command we have received a distress signal from operations down below. They want out, over”
“Command to Wolf 3 do not extract, repeat do not extract. The ground fighting is too hostile and we are picking up a high level of Heresy!”
27 minutes later……..
“Wolf 3, this is Command you are clear to extract but watch your arses over”
“Wolf 3 to Command, we are commencing landing.”
3 minutes later…..
“Holy fuck…….. This is……. 3 to…. Fuck meeeeeee…..”
“Wolf 3 this is command what’s going on, have you landed? Confirm? Over”
-long static interference-
“It’s… It’s Lieutenant Walsh from Blue squad…. He’s…. He’s lost it… and he’s attacking the ship… Ronnie is dead, repeat, Ronnie is dead. Emperor save me….”
“Wolf 3? Captain Deegan report? Deegan this is command can you hear me? Over”
Game 2 of Space Crusade consisted of five players. Three older chaps, myself included. One of which is a cub leader no less. The other two players were young scallywags hell bent on making a name for themselves on the battlefield.
This battle felt Damned for both sides right from the onset. Very bad rolls from every player throughout the game. So bad in fact I wondered if the table/battle board exuded some strange unexplainable power? Zero after zero after zero was rolled with the occasional hero roll. None of the bad rolls dampened the excitement or the blood-lust though and it it was a bloody game indeed.
On the table for the dark side were a 10 man chaos space marine unit. A 10 man Ork unit, working in cahoots with Chaos. Also joining this evil war pack were two gruesome cybernetic monster war machines or “dreadnoughts”.
In the forever lasting light corner there were three Imperial guard units from the Mighty 77th. Blue squad, Red squad and Yellow squad lead by none other than Lieutenant Cassius.
The Imperial guard were assigned to Capture the Chaos Commander dead or alive, drag his sorry Hyde back to the extraction zone and call for the ship (Wolf 3) to come and collect them.
The Chaos Marines and Orks were to protect their commander at any cost.
All the troops deployed. The Marines and Greenskins mixed together but two clearly defined squads formed. One clung close to their beloved commander while the other squad bravely dispersed to secured an outer perimeter.
Meanwhile, the three Guardsmen squads took cover in the ruined chapels of old.
The tension in the air was a palpable thing and what was that smell? Was it fear? No. It was hunger. Every squad and every unit was ready and waiting for first blood.
A single Chaos Marine defiantly hulked out from cover towards where he was confident Guardsmen watched and waited. He wanted to be within range and new the Dark Gods would smile upon him if he took first blood. He stood poised and waited. A hundred yards away the second squad of dark forces positioned themselves in better shooting vantage points within some ruins. Marines carefully aimed their bolters through the decaying windows and waited. Just then, fire rang out from somewhere high above and forward of their position. Fortunately, the shots were wild but it signaled that the battle had begun.
Two heavy weapon Yellow squad troopers that had fired down at the Chaos Marines from, what they thought was, safer higher ground were mistaken. Angry return fire came from some Orks down below and both of the Yellow troopers heads were blown cleanly off.
Both Blue and Red squads saw this as a signal and cautiously started to advance towards the Chaos squad out in the open.
A pale skinned Chaos brute dreadnought came thundering out of meager cover to stand ready to face anything the Guard threw at him.
Heavy weapons started taking shots at the Dreadnought but round after round seemed to bounce off his ghoulish flesh. Four Red squad troops moved out a little further into the open battlefield only to be shot at from the very first Chaos Space Marine to venture out. Down went a brave but foolish soldier holding a flame thrower. Red squad fired back taking out an Ork. Across the battlefield Blue squad heavy weapons opened up while the other troopers held back waiting for an opportune moment to attack.
Yellow squads morale was all but gone after losing two good soldiers so quickly. Lieutenant Cassius mustered his remaining men together and called upon them to rise to the challenge. To dig deep and die fighting for the Emperor.
A few more scraps saw a few more Orks fall and a couple of Red Squad troopers too. Red Squads commander, Lieutenant Drummond, suddenly panicked, which was very out of character, and he called for reinforcements but alas no help came!
Blue squad fired again at the giant pale Dreadnought and finally inflicted a wound. This boosted the morale of the Red squad and two brave souls charged the Dreadnought monster. They fired and missed. They went in for hand to hand combat but both were squashed like flies.
Finally a cohesive plan was formed for the Guardsmen. They pushed to the right flank as hard and as fast as they could and grouped together as one mighty force.
At first the Chaos horde held their ground but soon wizened up to what the Inperial Guard Scum were up to.
The Chaos troops guarding the Commander opened fire on the large formation of imperial guard and at the same time they made good use of their cover. However, before they knew it and out of nowhere, several Blue shoulder padded soldiers were upon them and trying to capture the Commander. The unit of Chaos and Orks, out in the open, rallied to the commanders position to help and there commenced some of the ugliest and bloodiest fighting in history. Up close shooting and hand to hand combat was ferocious. As the Imperial guard fell more guardsmen came to help but mid charge out stepped an even more monstrous and nightmarish dreadnought. (He was affectionately called Four Piston Tristan The Devout Christian, by his Chaos brothers). This monster had two heads, a giant drill in place of one hand and a circular saw in place of the other hand. He blocked the Guards charge by literally stomping his way in front of them. Even the most bravest guardsmen trembled but they stood fast and readied themselves to fight and die for the Emperor. A Vox-Caster from Red squad made a mad dash for the first dreadnought and immediately called for reinforcements which promptly arrived. One of the troopers was armed with a flame thrower and took the beast out just like that! Moments later all new reinforcements and the vox-caster were dead, cut down by bolter fire and chainsword.
Meanwhile Blue squad were outnumbered and in trouble. They miraculously managed to capture the commander only to be nearly completely slaughtered by a wave of Chaos Space Marines. What was left of Red squad, including Lt Drummond, joined the fight and more blood was spilled. Yellow team missed shot after shot trying to take out the second dreadnought but they did not quit. They were angry and wanted blood. They kept fighting as hard as they could and finally started to land some shots on the monster, weakening him. A couple of Red squad troopers tried to help too but were easily cut down by the buzzing blades of the beast.
After a vicious fight the Chaos Commander was rescued by his twisted cronies. Lt Drummond fought bravely and took out a couple of foes but was soon cut down. Morale dropped for the Guard. They felt as though the battle was lost but Lt Walsh of Blue squad, dug deep and fought even harder. He swung his chainsword with skill and slowly but surely carved a path through the chaos mass. Then Yellow squad dropped the second dreadnought and, filled with a new vitality and determination, they charged at the Chaos commander. More up close combat ensued and the dead piled higher and higher. Lt Walsh killed the Chaos commander but a brave Yellow Trooper picked up the body and slowly and painfully started to drag the carcass to the extraction zone. It was going to be a long haul. Lt Cassius of Yellow squad, who was already at the extraction zone, called for help but no one came.
The few remaining chaos warriors fought harder, they were desperate now to stop the Guard any way they could. Unfortunately the dark gods were not on their side this day. Each shot they took missed. Each swing of a chainsword was parried. They were fighting a losing battle but this didn’t stop them giving it their all.
Red squad was gone. Annihilated.
All that remained of Blue squad was their blood smeared commander, Lt Walsh. He started a fighting retreat, covering the Yellow squad trooper hauling the dead chaos commander across the outskirts of the battlefield. Lt Cassius called to them in the darkness before making one more try for the extraction ship.
“This is Wolf 3, we are on our approach over.”
A smile creased Cassius’s battle scarred face. Mission complete he thought but then he saw it and couldn’t believe his eyes. Lt Walsh had finished off the last Chaos warrior but was so blood hungry and demented by battle he attacked the brave Yellow Squad trooper dragging the dead Commander. “Noooooo….” Cassius cried. Walsh ripped the poor soldier apart with his chainsword and then slung the dead chaos commander over his shoulder.
“This is Heresy damn you!!” Cassius screamed.
Cassius fired at the man who was once his friend but missed. Tears filled his eyes and the last thing he saw were the buzzing teeth of Walsh’s chainsword coming towards his face.
The ship landed a few seconds later. Walsh charged at it roaring like a wild animal. He swung his chainsword hard at the hull of the ship ripping a huge hole in its side. Co-Pilot Ronnie Stenn went to the hatch to find out what was going on only to be hacked apart by Walsh. The Traitor blue squad commander then went into the cockpit and cut apart the pilot right there in his seat.
The vessel slowly lifted up into the darkness, it’s passengers, a dead chaos commander, a hacked up pilot and a Heretic warrior who chuckled to himself in the gloom.
It was a fun game, despite the terrible rolls and the ending was a complete surprise to all of us but happened so organically we just went with it.
Some photos from the battle.