Monday, 7 January 2013

The Battle of Hel Fenn, Part 3

This post is a continuation of the 20,000pt Hel Fenn battle report. For the other turns, head to the parent page of the battle report here.

Along the lines in turn 3

Vampire Counts, Turn 3

Vampire Counts Turn 3
A more detailed version of the map can be found here.

The undead legions continued to push forward across the field as the Empire resistance grew increasingly desperate. On the Vampire Count right flank, the surviving Varghulf, its eyes blazing with power as Hellish Vigour was cast upon it, launched itself into the flank of the Hammerers as they sought to aid the Ironbreakers in their struggles against several horrors at once. In the end it was finally too much for the Ironbreakers and they turned and fled, only to be unceremoniously ridden down by the Black Knights who chased them. The Hammerers fought on, their stubbornness even greater than that of their kinsmen.
A Varghulf flanks the Hammerers flanking the Spirit Host flanking the Hammerers...
The Black Knights break through and run down the Ironbreakers, giving them a clear view of the Dwarf missile troops.
Nearby, the Wraiths made a push toward to the Slayers, but found them to be too far away for now. The Gyrocopter was not so fortunate, and was dragged down and destroyed by a column of Skeletons with Adolphus himself at their head. Not that he did the fighting, mind you – that's what his banner bearer was for.
The Vampire Count right flank pushes on, and no pesky Gyrocopter will stand in their way. Meanwhile the Varghulf flanks the Hammerers, swinging the combat against the Dwarfs once more.
The Skeletons form an orderly queue behind the ongoing combats.
The Fell Bats continued to torment the Archers and Thunderers, but despite growing casualties, both units held their ground.
The Thunderers and Archers start to realise that they are so poor in combat that even Fell Bats have their number.
The Hexwraiths swept back through the ranks and out of the way of the Ghouls, but the damage had been done and the enormous unit continued to try to find a way to shoulder its way through the traffic. Next to them, the remaining Dire Wolf made another attempt to charge the Helblaster, but again found the distance to be too great. The Zombies in the fen continued to struggle futilely against the merciless efficiency of the Slayers, but behind them a group of Wraiths moved into position. They would prove far harder to dispatch.

In the centre the Dire Wolves leapt at the flank of Martin's Knights as they tried to hack their way through the flank of the Ghouls before they completely wiped out the sad remnant of the Averland Halberdiers. The Grave Guard behind the Wolves made as if to follow the Wolves in, but found that there was insufficient room for their unwieldy formation and so they bided their time.
Dire Wolves arrive in the flank of Martin's Knights
I demonstrate to Benji why the Grave Guard will not be joining the party.

Magic is a great and powerful tool, but it is not without its dangers. This was demonstrated by the Vampire Counts in impressive fashion when Mannfred's banner bearer summoned forth his fallen Black Knight comrades with Irresistible Force. The resulting feedback once more spread amongst the wizards of the undead army, with a number of them suffering wounds as a result. Mannfred himself was buffeted by the blast, and in a towering rage he unleashed the power of Soulblight in its most powerful form. This too was unstoppable, and yet again the backlash hammered Mannfred's allied spellcasters. This time it proved too much for a number of the lesser Vampires and Necromancers in the army, and they topped over with shrieks, their bodies contorted and smoking from the barrage of uncontrolled power. Their enemies sat bemused, unable to counter such displays of power, but somewhat consoled by the sight of the enemy destroying their own.
The central combat about to commence.
With Soulblight assaulting the spirits of the Empire army throughout the centre of the field, the ongoing struggles greatly favoured the forces of the undead. The Dire Wolves looking to drag down Martin's Knights would normally have been easily repelled, however the humans were weakened by the foul magic. Arch Lector Axelbrand himself urged his mount across to meet the onrushing Dire Wolves, and for his efforts was nearly dragged from the saddle. In return he crushed the skulls of 2 Wolves, whilst the Knights and steeds around him did sufficient damage that the magic sustaining the rest of the Wolves was dispersed and they crumbled on the spot. The Ghouls continued to tear into the Averland Halberdiers leaving only 6 of their original number of 60 alive. Despite this they continued to fight, and together with the armoured weight of so many Knights in their flank, the Ghouls found themselves bested and some of their number slunk away, abandoning their comrades to their fate.

Knights and Wolves and Ghouls, oh my! The casualties start to stack up from the Empire attacks
The Averland Halberdiers suffer horrendous casualties from the sustained assault of the Ghouls.
The Knights see off the Wolves, but still have work to do against the Ghouls.
The Flagellants throw themselves at the Grave Guard with reckless abandon.
The Flagellants threw themselves at the Grave Guard with enthusiasm, however the effects of Soulblight slowed their efforts somewhat. Lashing out wildly with their flails, they beat down no less than 16 of the Grave Guard. Alas, the wights were in such number that such damage meant little to them, and they struck back savagely, killing all but 2 of the raving lunatics. “The end,” they howled delightedly. “The end has come at last!”
The end is nigh!
The Zombies arrive in the Stirland Halberdiers' flank, swinging the combat badly against them.
Zombie's eye view.
Until now the Stirland Halberdiers had had the upper hand against the Black Knights they were fighting, however now things changed. Even as Soulblight sapped their spirits and weakened their limbs, a horde of Zombies lurched into their flank, robbing them of their strength in numbers and throwing their ranks into disarray. They fought bravely and their Captain nearly took the head of the still-wounded Vampire standard bearer, but ultimately the combined assault was too much and they turned and fled. In a mad scramble they fled around the fort and through their Free Company and Crossbowman comrades, up to the crest of the hill upon which the Empire artillery was stationed. For a wonder, the undead Knights and Zombies failed to catch them, and no panic spread through the ranks as a result of their flight.
The Stirland Halberdiers flee through several units without panicking any of them, leaving their pursuers far behind.
Still licking bits of Pistolier from their jaws, the Dire Wolves bite off more than they can chew with the Knights Panther.
Having dealt with the Pistoliers, the Dire Wolves near the fort turned and charged the Knights Panther. Unfortunately the armour of the enemy was more than their fangs could handle, and they lost several of their number to the swords of the Knights and the hooves of their mounts. Behind the Wolves, Lord Gerhardt and the Captain who was with him found the Blood Knights to be every bit as fearsome as the stories suggested. The Captain and his Pegasus were cut down and Gerhardt barely escaped with his life. Having guzzled all of his home brew the previous turn, he found himself unable to penetrate the armour of the Knights, and at last his nerve failed him. Turning and running, he only escaped thanks to the corpses of his noble Griffon and the fallen Pegasus hindering the enemy's pursuit.

The Steam Tank that had managed to destroy the Black Coach it was fighting the previous turn found itself instead assaulted by an even more difficult foe as a group of Wraiths raced toward it. With her hideous keening howl reverberating inside the Tank's metal hull and damaging vital equipment, the Banshee all but crippled it, whilst her flunkies ignored their scythes and reached straight through the sides of the machine, reaching for anything vulnerable with their deathly chill grasp. The driver huddled at the back of the Steam Tank in horror, curled in the foetal position and unable to defend himself in any way. The other Tank nearby fared better, but the Wraith driving the Black Coach it was fighting still managed to damage it a little more with its scythe. Behind these combats, Gothard led his Black Knight legion forward, confident that the Steam Tanks were no longer a threat.
Fell Bats swarm up behind the front lines of the Vampires' left flank.
The Steam Tank problem all but sorted, Gothard's Black Knights advance.
Abraxas fights on against the huge unit of Knights of the Divine Sword.
On the Vampires' left flank, Abraxas Von Carstein was rewarded for his patience by the arrival of the 2 Varghulfs by his side, launching themselves at the Knights of the Divine Sword. The Grand Master rode across and challenged Abraxas to single combat with his brightly glowing magical sword, however even as he brought it back to strike, the Vampire Lord ran him clean through. The Templar fell silently from his saddle as Abraxas spat his defiance. The Varghulfs dragged a couple of Knights from their saddles and gained the upper hand, however the Knights were encouraged by their numbers despite the loss of their leader, and their courage held.
The combat swings in the Vampire Counts' favour with the arrival of the 2 Varghulfs.
A lower view of the field
The centre after the Vampire Counts' turn
Along the table at the end of Vampire Count Turn 3

Empire and Dwarf Alliance, Turn 3

Empire and Dwarf Alliance, Turn 3
A more detailed version of the map can be found here.

The Longbeards on the Dwarfs' left flank charged into the waiting Zombies, following their Lord's standard into the fray. Though they were the some of the oldest, strongest and bravest of the Dwarfs on the field, yet they found they could make little headway with the shambling corpses. They could not gain the upper hand and at this rate they would take an eternity to break through the vast column of undead.

The Black Knights that had ridden down the Ironbreakers now had a clear path through to the Dwarf missile troops, however the Thunderers lived up to their name and between them and the Organ Guns, they wiped the Knights out in a brutal volley.
The Varghulf finds itself fighting more Hammerers than it can handle.
The Hammerers fought on against the Spirit Hosts and Varghulf, and another regiment of hammer-wielding Dwarfs rushed to their aid. Though most of the first unit were now dead, the arrival of the second unit was enough to crush the Varghulf with vicious hammer blows, and they clambered over its corpse and joined their brethren fighting the spirits.
The Dwarfs struggle to deal with the multiple Ethereal units on their flank
The Wraiths had made for the Slayers and failed to get there, however the suicidal Dwarfs obliged them by charging in instead. With his runic weapon a blur, the Daemon Slayer leading the unit cut down one of the Wraiths, but 5 Slayers fell to the enemy scythes in return, their death songs on their lips.

The Dwarf Thunderers found the ongoing struggle with the Fell Bats not to their liking as several Dwarfs and humans fell and they turned to flee, however the sole surviving Archer held his ground bravely and refused to break, thus denying the Bats the chance to pursue. The Thunderers scrambled away through Empire Handgunners and Crossbowmen, however both units held their ground. So much for the fabled Dwarf courage...

To the right, the other Slayer unit had finished the dirty work of disposing of the second Zombie unit and rather than rush to embrace death in good Slayerly fashion, instead they backed away from the approaching Wraiths and waited for the enemy to come to them. Next to the Wraiths the final Dire Wolf was finally shot down before it could finally make it to the Helblaster it had tried so hard to reach.

In the centre of the lines, the last of the Averland Halberdiers and their Captain were dragged down by the Ghouls. Their courage had held and they had fought to the last man. The Knights continued to cut into the side of the enemy unit as the wounded Axelbrand managed to grant their arms strength and their souls protection through the power of his prayers. Soon there were only 9 Ghouls left. Seeing the Ghouls about to reform toward him, the wounded Count Martin prudently moved further up the line, but there was no escape and they fiends followed him even as the weight of the huge cavalry unit pressed against them and threatened to destroy them. Martin would have to fight for his life before the last of the Ghouls had been dealt with.
The Free Company prepare to engage the Black Knights, but are stopped by the warning cries from behind...
The Free Company regiment had departed the fort and made room for the Averland Greatswords, and found themselves directly in the path of the Black Knights as they pursued the fleeing Stirland Halberdiers. Readying themselves to charge, their leader suddenly called a halt in response to a chorus of shouts from behind them. On the hill to their backs, the Stirland Crossbowmen were taking aim at the riders as they rounded the edge of the fort. With an accurate volley they took down several of the Black Knights, and suddenly the wounded Vampire leading them was looking very vulnerable. The enemy's standard was there for the taking, and the Empire artillery had been awaiting their opportunity. With a deafening roar, several Great Cannons fired directly at the Vampire. Two of the shots were hits, but by some foul magic or cruel twist of fate, the villain stayed in his saddle! Cackling triumphantly even as he untangled his accursed great sword from the blasted banner, the Vampire leaned back in the saddle, gloating to the heavens, “Mortal fools! I am invincible! Invincible!!” Even as he opened his eyes however, a darkening shape against the sky resolved itself into a descending mortar shell and caught him squarely in the face. The detonation tore the Vampire in half, ending his boasting somewhat prematurely. The shredded remains of Mannfred's personal banner dropped unceremoniously to the ground and was trampled under the hooves of the Black Knights. (Yeah, the Cannons both rolled 1s to wound – he didn't have a ward save. Took a Mortar to finish the lucky guy off...)

Following the lead of the Free Company, the Averland Greatswords also emerged from the fort, making room for the Swordsmen to occupy the building behind them. As the enemy didn't look likely to assault the building, the fort was becoming more of a hindrance than a help to the Empire forces.

On the other side of the fort, the Knights Panther found the Wolves more fearsome than they had at first imagined, and that fear robbed them of strength as they tried to fend the beasts off. Their efforts were sufficient to buy them time to regain their courage, and they held their position. Nearby, Lord Gerhardt realised that the cold stone wall before him would offer little in the way of protection from the villainous Blood Knights, and continued his flight around the fort.

The Steam Tank fighting the Wraiths was all but finished, and the driver realised his plight. Mustering his courage, in a final act of defiance he cranked the boiler up to a dangerous level and waited for the inevitable explosion. It was not long coming, as the Tank was already ready to fall apart, and the detonation was spectacular. Not that the Wraiths cared at all. They simply looked around for another victim. Their gaze settled upon the other Steam Tank nearby, as with a sudden burst of power it finally managed to crush the Black Coach it was fighting. With a triumphant cry the driver stuck his head out of the turret, looked about and spotted the Wraiths. His eyes nearly popped out of his head before he disappeared once more and the hatch was closed again in record time.

On the hill behind the Steam Tanks, the Knights of the Divine Sword found numerous allies rushing to their aid. The small Reiksguard unit to their left wheeled about and charged the nearest Varghulf, whilst the Freelance Knights on the right did the same to the Zombie Dragon. The Knights were further bolstered by the fervent prayers of the Grand Theogonist nearby, and they felt strength rushing through them and their weapons blazed with holy fire as Sigmar answered his most favoured servant's entreaties. This turn of events flustered Abraxas somewhat, as did the sight of the Varghulfs that had rushed to his aid being hacked down by the emboldened Knights. It was all too much for his gruesome steed, and the Vampire Lord landed lightly on his feet amongst the scattered, dusty remains of his once-proud Zombie Dragon as it crumbled. Abraxas snarled his defiance and brandished his baleful sword, but he was surrounded and alone. Things were not looking good for him.
The Empire right flank at the end of the turn. Note that Abraxas is still there, minus his Dragon and his Varghulf friends. Looking a bit lonely, really...

End of Turn 3

Battle Points:
Vampire Counts: 3
Empire/Dwarfs: 4

The Empire and Dwarfs maintain their narrow lead after 3 turns.

You can continue by reading Turn 4 the battle report here.
Alternately, you can go to the Battle of Hel Fenn main page.

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving this battle report... keep them coming!