This post is a continuation of the 20,000pt Hel Fenn battle report, part 1 of which can be found here.
|Turn 2 under way|
Vampire Counts, Turn 2
|Vampire Counts Turn 2|
A more detailed map can be found here.
|Black Knights and Coach to the front, Spirit Hosts to the flank: All in a day's work for an Ironbreaker|
The host of the Vampire Counts was advancing rapidly, and already bitter hand-to-hand fighting was erupting up and down the line of battle. The Ironbreakers on the left flank hunkered down behind their shields and braced as Black Knights and a Black Coach crashed into their front, whist a Spirit Host rushed at their flank and howled as their ghostly talons tore at the Dwarfs' armour and weaponry. Though 4 of the Ironbreakers succumbed to the onslaught, the unshakable courage of the comrades showed through and they held their ground.
|Fell Bats charge the Dwarf Flame Cannon|
|Unfortunately what would have been some of our best shots came out a little... artistic|
The Dire Wolves on the right flank had been all but destroyed, but the survivors still made their presence felt. One decaying wolf rushed toward the horde of Slayers and skidded to a halt immediately in front of them, snarling and glaring at them as they hefted their axes. The other wolf made to dash past the other Slayers as they continued to fight the Zombies, however the distance was too great and it pulled up short with a frustrated growl.
In the centre, a Varghulf gave a bestial roar and crashed through the nearby Helblaster Volley Gun. The panicked crew looked to flee or hide, but none escaped as the brute plowed straight into the machine, sending it hurtling through the air and crushing 2 of the fleeing crew. The remaining member who had been trying to hide under the gun was snatched up and summarily devoured, even as the beast carried on its charge into the flank of the Averland Halberdiers, as they braced to receive the charge of the horde of Ghouls to their front. Panicked men on the flank cried warning to their comrades, even as the Varghulf crashed into the side of their formation. The fighting was savage. Urged on by the cries of their Warrior Priest, the Halberdiers fought bravely, but could only bring down a handful of Ghouls. In return some two dozen men died screaming to the raking talons of the Ghouls and the brutal onslaught of the Varghulf. Attacked on two fronts and now sorely outnumbered, the courage of the men wavered until the voice of their Captain restored order and exhorted them to hold the line. (The unit managed to roll double 1s thanks to the extra dice from the Captain's Hold the Line ability).
|The Ghouls maul the Averland Halberdiers, with a little help from the Varghulf (who killed 11 by himself)|
Count Martin's Knights and the Slayers made short work of the remaining Zombies they were fighting, however even as they reformed their ranks, another unit clawed its way out of the fen, blocking the path of the Slayers who cursed and made ready to continue their grisly work. The Knights turned to face the rear of the rampaging Varghulf, obscured as it was by the cloud of gore and flying bits of Halberdiers.
|More Zombies appear to tangle up the Slayers, led by Super Zombie himself!|
|Martin's Knights reform in time to witness the slaughter of a great many Halberdiers.|
The wounded Varghulf in the centre moved around behind the rushing Ghouls and set itself in front of the advancing Flagellants, roaring its defiance as they waved their flails about and those nearest the beast praised Sigmar that their end had indeed come, and was waiting just yonder.
|The second wave advances|
|The Black Knights charge the Stirland Halberdiers|
With a thunder of hooves and an eerie lack of battle cries or shouts, the Black Knights led by Mannfred's personal banner bearer charged into the Stirland Halberdiers, even as they congratulated themselves on the swift demise of the Skeletons. Smug though they were, the Halberdiers were not caught unprepared. The Knights crashed home but killed surprisingly few men, with the Vampire leading the way by getting his great weapon tangled in the banner at his stirrup and cursing more than fighting. In return the Halberdiers brought down a Black Knight, whilst the Captain leading the unit cut down 2 more with his Obisidian Blade making a mockery of their armour. The charge had been brought to a grinding halt and, robbed of their momentum, the Black Knights were in trouble.
|The Knights do not fare so well as they had hoped.|
|But reinforcements emerge in the form of another regiment of Zombies to the enemy's flank|
Beside the Halberdiers, the celebrations of the Pistoliers were also short-lived. Another large pack of Dire Wolves surged through the fen and attacked them, heedless of the fact that fully a quarter of their number failed to safely negotiate the foul waters. The Pistoliers fought bravely, and although more than half of them died, the remainder held their ground.
On the Vampire Count left, Gothard the Undying watched the oncoming Steam Tanks, his eye sockets glowing with a baleful light. Seeing an opportunity to slow their advance, he ordered both of his Black Coaches into the rumbling Tanks. They slammed together with a crash, and both Steam Tanks were damaged by the impact. They were still operational, but they would have to get through the Coaches if they were going to threaten Gothard's Black Knights.
|The Black Coaches and Steam Tanks collide|
|Charges along the Vampire right flank|
|The Wolfygryphs cop a brutal combined charge and are wiped out|
Fresh from destroying the Vargheists, the Wolfygryphs reformed to face the oncoming enemy just in time to be hit by the combined charge of Blood Knights, a Varghulf, and Abraxas himself on his hideous Zombie Dragon. The impact of the charge was terrible, and none of the Knights survived to flee. With a satisfied cackle, Abraxas swooped on and attacked the waiting ranks of the Knights of the Divine Sword. He flew in alone however, as both the Black Knights and the Varghulf lacked the momentum to join him in his assault (they both fell 1 inch short on the overrun).
|Abraxas finds himself going it alone. "Surrender! I have you outnumbered 1 to 40..."|
If the Steam Tanks closer to the centre thought they had their work cut out for them to break free of the Black Coaches, this was nothing to the despair of the driver of the remaining Tank on the flank as a shambling horde of Zombies lurched up to his machine and started to paw ineffectually at it. With a sigh he withdrew inside his hatch, battening it down tight. There was only so much one can take of watching the living dead try to beat through solid steel with their foreheads and the fallen limbs of their comrades. The driver saw the truth of the matter; until the Zombies had all beaten themselves to pieces on his hull, he was bogged.
|Bogged in a sea of Zombies|
Behind this front line of assaults, the undead continued their general advance. On the far right of the Vampire Count lines, yet another hidden regiment revealed itself from under the water. This time some 75 Zombies climbed up from the depths, facing the flank of the Dwarf Longbeards led by their army standard. The unholy howling of Banshees echoed across the field, with a Gyrocopter and the Empire Captain on his Pegasus both wounded by their other-worldly shrieks. Seeking to consolidate their position and continue their morbid existence, several of the lesser wizards in the undead army cast spells of little significance in order to draw power into themselves and heal the damage done by Mannfred's earlier loss of control. Mannfred himself did not follow suit. Let his lesser minions gather power whilst they could. When the time came, it would be he that decided the fate of the battle.
|More Zombies emerge on the Dwarfs' flank|
|The general advance of the undead|
|The Grave Guard horde lurks behind the Varghulf|
|End of Vampire Counts Turn 2|
|And from the other end of the table|
Empire and Dwarf Alliance, Turn 2
|Empire and Dwarf Alliance, Turn 2|
A more detailed map can be found here.
|The Empire charges commence in the centre|
|Combats all up and down the line|
Bitter fighting erupted all along the line as the Empire and Dwarf forces responded to the continued advance of the undead hordes. Seeing their kinsmen under siege ahead, a regiment of Hammerers pushed aside their fears and charged the Spirit Hosts in the flank, relieving some of the pressure on the Ironbreakers, though they could not actually harm the ghostly apparitions they were engaging. Behind them, the horde of Longbeards responded to the commands of Kallad's banner bearer and reformed into a deep formation, in order to allow them to reach the Zombies that had boiled up from the fens on the left flank.
|The lines after the Empire moves|
The wide regiment of Slayers barely broke stride as they cut down the defiant Dire Wolf immediately in front of them and swept onward. In front, the remaining Gyrocopter flew over to the side of the massive horde of Ghouls and opened up with its steam cannon. The searing heat dropped a dozen of the villains, but it made little difference in the face of their seemingly limitless numbers.
|The Gyrocopter decides that the advancing Ghouls could use a steam bath and moves around the flank to oblige them|
The Thunderers trying to fend off the Fell Bats found themselves supported from an unexpected quarter as the small detachment of Empire archers charged in alongside them, swinging at the enemy with hunting knives or even using their bows as clubs. Combat troops they were not, but their courage was enough to force a stalemate in the struggle.
The Slayers to the right of the Dwarf lines charged the Zombies in front of them, even as they emerged from the fens. With brutal efficiency they hewed limbs and crushed skulls, tirelessly working their way through the foe. Nevertheless, the Zombies were sufficient in number to slow their momentum, holding them in place.
|The Greatswords advance behind the central combats|
Determined to end the Varghulf's bloody rampage amongst the Halberdiers, Martin's Knights lowered their lances and charged into the fiend's rear. As they closed with it, Arch Lector Axelbrand uttered a prayer and holy flames engulfed the tips of the regiment's weapons. The Varghulf howled at the searing touch of the flames as the weapons struck home, its unnatural regeneration no protection. It fell pierced by a dozen blows, but the Halberdiers were far from safe. The Ghouls to their front continued to scythe through their ranks, even as they struck back with their halberds. The combat was a bloody stalemate, and Count Martin led his Knights on into the flank of the Ghouls to continue their rescue mission.
|The Varghulf dealt with, Martin's Knights carry on into the flank of the Ghouls|
The Flagellants whooped and shrieked as they charged into the waiting Varghulf, and though several of them fell to its attentions, wounded as it already was they swarmed over it and hacked it down. Disappointed that their potential doom had proven so ineffectual, the Flagellants spotted the oncoming tide of Grave Guard and, hope of doom springing eternal, they rushed into combat with them.
|The Flagellants rush to find their doooom|
The Stirland Halberdiers struggled on against the Black Knights, with the fervent prayers of their Warrior Priest granting them some protection against the enemy's attacks. In fact, the protection proved quite effective, and many enemy blows were turned aside by forces unseen. The Knights themselves were well protected by their armour, whilst the Empire Captain with his Obsidian Blade shouldered his way through the ranks to face the Vampire with his battle standard. He wounded the villain, but could not bring him down and both regiments remained locked in the struggle.
|The eccentric uncle on his Griffon and the Captain on Pegasus charge the Blood Knights|
|Fear the glorious birdie and his fearsome beak! Alas, the Blood Knights show him little respect...|
The Pistoliers fought to the last man against the Dire Wolves, but were dragged from their saddles too quickly for the Knights Panther to intervene, as they wheeled about and reformed in preparation to charge. The Griffon and Pegasus swooped overhead and charged the Blood Knights behind the Wolves. Lord Gerhardt took a swig from his vile home brew on the way in (“me Potion of Strength”, he often told those who looked askance at such questionable public behaviour) and flailed about him with his enchanted weapon, cutting down only a single enemy for all his flourishing and adopting muscular poses. His macho behaviour was cut short when his Griffon was unceremoniously gutted with brutal efficiency by the Blood Knights, and suddenly Gerhardt found himself landing face-first in the mud. Fortunately his comrade in arms, the Captain on the Pegasus, fared much better. Meeting the Kastellan of the enemy unit in single combat, he cut him down and held the enemy at bay long enough for Martin's eccentric uncle to regain his feet (if not his pride).
|Not only is the eccentric uncle reduced to walking, but the whole experience is sufficiently scary that he needs not only a change of pants, but a whole new uniform! (ie: we couldn't find a suitable foot model. Sorry, Gerhardt).|
The grinding duels between the Steam Tanks and the Black Coaches continued, however one of the Tank drivers unleashed a torrent of hot steam from the turret and blasted one of the skeletal horses pulling the enemy Coach to pieces. With a dismayed shriek, the Wraith driving the Coach began to loose form and dissolve, and the Coach itself shuddered and fell apart under its own weight, the magic holding it together all but spent.
|The Freelance Knights sweep around to face the Zombie Dragon's flank|
Cursing the uselessness of his allies who had left him to try to wade through a tide of Knights all alone, Abraxas Von Carstein found himself in a duel with the regiment's champion. He duly cut the fool down, but he could feel the weight of the enemy ranks pushing against him and his Zombie Dragon shuddered and sagged somewhat (he had lost combat by 2 and took a couple of wounds). If he didn't receive assistance soon, he would be crushed by the sea of steel before him. He turned to hiss a command to the Blood Knights nearby, but bore witness to them being torn apart in a hail of shot by the Volley Gun sitting next to the fort. Not a single Blood Knight was left in the saddle. Abraxas cursed again; he would receive no assistance from there.
|The Dwarf Stone Throwers with a commanding view of the left flank.|
All along the line the artillery was continuing to bombard the enemy, although the congestion of the lines meant they often didn't have an ideal target as milling units in front of them blocked their line of fire. The Corpse Cart in the centre was blasted apart by a Cannon, whilst 2 Wraiths on the left fell to the enchanted fire from a Dwarf Grudge Thrower, its runes glowing a sullen red as it fired. A Varghulf on the left was scythed down by another Volley Gun in a deafening roar, and the crew scrambled to reload the weapon once more under the watchful eye of their Engineer, who merely grunted his satisfaction at the damage they were inflicting. Mortar shots landed amongst Skeletons, blasting some apart but making little difference in the face of their overwhelming numbers. All across the field, the story was the same – the Empire shooting was doing damage, but it was barely a scratch for the numerous enemy. Still they surged onward, and the fighting would soon get nasty.
|End of Empire and Dwarf Turn 2|
End of Turn 2
Vampire Counts: 1