Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jornath : The Battle of Saine Yeltsville.

“Where iz Badbrag? i kalled 'em hours ago!” Warboss Domechoppa screams, slamming the head of his grot attendant into the wall. “Dis noise ‘as ta stop! I've not slept ‘n days.” As the looped music the Jornath Guard has been bombarding the Ork encampment with starts again.
The door slams open as large grease covered Ork steps forward, “Wot's up boss?”
Domechoppa’s eyes glow red as he turns towards the mek, “If ya were not so smart. I would bash ya into pieces. But for now, I need yer ta give me someth'n ta stop dis noise.”
The mek gives a toothy smile as he turns back to the door, “Don't worry boss i've got jus da fing for dis. Tomorrow we WAAAGH!”
Krspang. Krspang. Krspang. Krspang. went Tallin's helmet as he drove his head into the wall again and again, to relieve the mind-numbing boredom and the headache the loud hailers had given him.
"I thought they said the Orks would come at us within a few hours of this garbage.." complained Mustermann Eckhard to him. He didn't justify it with a response, it didn't matter anyway it was mostly rhetorical, and besides the most he could do is file a complaint with the company commander, which would result in a lengthy even more dull lecture about duty, moral and patriotism. Thus, when the crackling pops heralding the restarting of the single bombastic marching song, Tallin merely gave the soldier a hateful sidelong glance and returned to trying to relief his head pain through persistent frontal assault.
But then he heard it, just over the drone of the loud hailers, the sound of slapping footsteps outside the bolstered ruin. Suddenly forgetting his headache, Tallin rose from the ground and moved to the far side of the abandoned dental office his platoon command team had positioned itself in.
"Who is running?" he said to Mustermann Riccar, moving quickly to the sandbagged windows. Riccar, groggily shook himself awake from atop his slump on the team's heavy bolter, slurring a
"surrywhaddid ya say sah?" out of his mouth as he woke.

As Tallin made it to the window, he could see into the dugout below him just in time to watch the last man of Squad 2 impaled on the blade of a Blood Axe warrior.
"Oh throne..." he whispered, horrifyingly realizing the platoons' position was totally compromised.
"Whats the matter sir?" asked Eckard walking behind him. Tallin turned, and in his head knew to tell the man to warn the rest of the company, knew to barricade the doors and coordinate a defense. But the words caught in his throat, and instead he was overcome by fear, thoughts of his little girl, his sickly mother in St. Yeltsville. He was a Baker by Terra, not a real soldier!
Seeing the look on Tallin's face, Eckard peered around him into the forward defenses, seeing the bodies of their comrades he started at the sight and immediately ran to the vox. Eckard barely got the word out before a half dozen Ork warriors smashed the wooden door down and breached the "command center" of F Platoon, Riccar was actually able to kill one with his bolter before a Choppa bifurcated him.
At the last, it mattered not to Tactica Command Jornath that a conscript platoon had been obliterated, only that the Orks had finally reacted to the stratagem proposed by Captain Vorodivo of the Mortifactors. In fact many in regional command at the Indigo Sparrow FOB, were tense with excitement, after all, to lose so many men so quickly could only be an indication of Xenos specialist troops, and by transference, an alien warlord. Perhaps if enough men and guns could be brought to bear quickly, a harsh blow could be laden upon the foul greenskins.

Saine Yeltsville, is the name for the suburban areas that lie at the foot of the Keystone defensive position in the north known as both H-906 or Fort Behras. As the Ork Warboss Krump rallied his Blood Axes in the north and made speed towards the Fortress, other smaller greenskin warbands tested Imperial troops by hitting the less guarded eastern suburbs. In the early stages of this fighting, Imperial citizenry was very much in the midst of the combat, which limited the fighting capabilities of guard units who were simultaneously concerned with evacuating non-combatants and holding ground. It was after the formation of 1st Army Group (1AG) several weeks into the outbreak of the Summer Offensive that military coordination could be properly brought to bear to oust these smaller greenskin warbands out of Saine Yeltsville.  Loose defensive lines were set up a few kilometers outside of the suburban areas proper, the units comprising these lines where typically militia from the suburbs, bolstered by a few companies from the KCC in particularly vital strategic positions. 

The fighting along this eastern line was particularly static, with light skirmishing accompanying a daily artillery duel. For much of the time, the Ork warbosses and meks were quite happy to build up their warbands, with vehicles and strengthen their warriors with weekly firefights. While Imperial commanders were equally happy to allow the Eastern positions to rest in this static battle of attrition, as in the north Krump's forces smashed aside Astartes and armored formations alike on their warpath to the Fortress. 

When the Orks of Krump washed into the northern and western approaches to the Fortress, threatening to totally surround the vital position, Tactica Command's attentions were drawn back into the eastern lines. Eager to have a secure flank to work with, which would hopefully allow them to sweep up and back around from behind Krumps' Warband, High Command began to order the militia forward, into the teeth of the Ork defenses. Seeing disaster in the making Captain Vorodivo, the leader of the Mortifactor presence on the planet, suggested an alternative stratagem to sending thousands of militia headlong across no man's land. Playing on the Orks short temperedness, and the devout mentalities of the PDF, he suggested the deployment of hundreds of loud hailers, to blare out prayers. Instigating the alien to attack over open ground rather than the PDF.    

The 8-hour long engagement was hard fought, with thousands of casualties on both sides. Imperial force commanders looked to hold the greenskins at bay by organizing into ranks, platoons of lasgun armed troopers, and supporting them with massed artillery fire. As forward platoons were hacked to pieces by the Orks that survived the barrage, the alien would be slowed down and open to fire from the platoon directly behind. A costly, yet effective tactic. 

Imperial ground commanders looked to utilize large, more classical Jornathi formations. With a rigid organization of troops in blocks, firing in volleys at close range they were able to quickly adapt to pressures. The downside would come late in the day as Ork mekanized forces arrived.

The lines of Row houses and shops proved to be a vital high ground in many spots on the battlefield. These positions were often the objective of the more veteran soldiers from the KCC.  It was not uncommon for these buildings to change hands a half dozen times. 

Mining trolleys were retrofitted by tech-adepts from the Usamiljen Heights Mechanicus Outpost. The machines provided some much needed long range supporting fire to the defenders. The majority were overrun and destroyed before they could be brought to bear against the Ork armored reserves, however. 

Saine Yeltsville Cohort's armored vehicles, a mixture of Leman Russ and refitted refinery tractors. pushed forward into the midst of the alien's onslaught, their commanders annihilating the light armored transports and dreadnaughts of the Ork's early assault.  
Infantry accompanying these armored forces would dismount in the midst of the enemy, using flame and lasgun to cleanse the xenos filth from Jornath's surface.  

It was late in the day, when Ork specialist troops and additional formations of Ork dreadnaughts, slammed against the beleaguered guardsmen. Overwhelming the armored forces and KCC units holding many of the row houses. 

At the onset of dusk, the Ork Warlord presented himself, as the last of the blasphemous alien walkers stomped through the burning wreckages of Leman Russ and the misshapen hulks of broken greenskin vehicles. His surviving warriors wrestling control of the row housing for the final time that day, a great cry of vengeance was issued forth among the defenders, who surged forward and plunged their bayonets into the foul alien warboss laying him low.

While the Ork host had been largely obliterated, those that remained were specialist units or heavy combat walkers in decent positions on high ground. In comparison to the Imperial forces' mostly unsupported Infantry platoons. Ground force commanders, seeing the enemy on the high ground and the alien leader at the best severely wounded, opted to preserve their fighting forces and withdrew from the field into Saine Yeltsville proper.

The Strategic analysis was determined as largely inconclusive. Imperial troops had maintained decent fighting strength but had given up vital ground to the Orks, without being able to yield much more than heaps of expendable light infantry or scrap vehicles alongside an unconfirmed kill of a greenskin warboss. It was a devastating conclusion for Tactica Command, who now had to come face-to-face with a very real possibility of the total encirclement of Fort Behras, by multiple xenos formations 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fictional Histories: Jonathan Hedgecock

Fictional Histories is a Fine Art project that seeks to analyze the world of tabletop gaming and looks to use the voice of the hobby to tell the stories of the men and women who engage in the hobby community. This work was among 4 others that were displayed at the Gatewood Gallery in May of 2017. 

This is the first post of those 4 pieces that features an interview with my long time vengeful opponent JD. Whose forces featured in the Road to Orleans campaign, as well as the Siege of Lychke, and many others. Presented below is the interview and photos from his diorama.

JD Hedgecock

“What tabletop games do you play and how often?”
I play Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons and things of that nature, multiple times a week

“What is the most memorable thing to happen to you during a tabletop game?”
I and my friend Aaron, were playing a set of rules called Valor Steel & Flesh, and it was between two characters that we had created within the game, and through just sort of the random chance of the dice these two characters had become rivals. Well in one of the games, there two characters met on their own outside of their units above this hellish carnage. It was a really cool moment because it was just this really cool moment that came  about through the rules and through just talking outside of that. It was very cool because it was just this sort of collaborative story that happened very naturally.

“Can you tell me more about the lore, setting and context of the game you were playing during that memorable event?”
The setting I think was an extrapolation of the 100 years war, that we took and expanded out into the victorian age, and gave everyone magic and steampunk tech.  He was playing the British, and I was playing the French.

“Can you tell me about the character/s you were playing or that participated in that event”
One of them was Commander Bosch, which was mine who, felt that he could change the course of the war by gaining enough prestige and momentum through success in the army to eventually usurp the government and bring the fighting to a halt. The other was Captain Teague, who was under Aaron’s command, he was also very prideful and nationalistic but i don’t really recall too much else

“Can you tell me about the character/s you were playing or that participated in that event”
One of them was Commander Bosch, which was mine who, felt that he could change the course of the war by gaining enough prestige and momentum through success in the army to eventually usurp the government and bring the fighting to a halt. The other was Captain Teague, who was under Aaron’s command, he was also very prideful and nationalistic but i don’t really recall too much else

“What do you think the upswing in the number of people playing tabletop games, both in person and online means,
in social terms?”
I think that people are looking to find more common ground between themselves, I think that areas of creation, of sports and games. You get all of these things in Tabletop gaming, the creation arts, the camaraderie and competition of sports, and i think that all of those things harbor the feelings people are really looking for.