Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Battle of Vanhaldenschlosse: Part 2

This is a continuation of the Battle of Vanhaldenschlosse report. You can find the previous part here, or go back to the main page here.

Empire Turn 2

Empire Turn 2

With the opening stages of the battle concluded, the two forces were now coming within reach of one another. Volkmar knew that time was running out before the Empire’s advantage would disappear with the arrival of the enemy reinforcements, and he shouted encouragement as the lines began to clash in earnest.
The Knights decide they want to charge the Dire Wolves, and the Pistoliers had to charge as well to get out of the way.
On the Empire left flank, the regiments of Knights and Pistoliers spurred their horses forward and charged into the pack of Dire Wolves that they had seen lurking behind the trees. The Wolves and trees claimed a couple of the Empire cavalry, however the charge swept the beasts aside and carried on; the Pistoliers bravely into the Wraiths, and the Knights into the mob of Zombies beside the building.
With the Dire Wolves out of the way, the Knights are free to carry on into the Zombies. Which pleases them. The Pistoliers get to carry on into the Wraiths. Who they can't hurt. That is probably less pleasing for them...
The Varghulf put itself in the way, so it got charged. But not by the Knights, as was probably expected. Tim had other plans for them.
The large Greatsword regiment braved the dangers of the mostly-frozen lake to charge the Varghulf that had raced forward and was now snarling at the Empire lines. A few soldiers slipped and disappeared into the lake, but the remainder refused to be slowed in their charge. The Varghulf lashed out to dismember some of the elite Empire infantry before using its considerable bulk to bodily crush more, however the great double-handed swords of its attackers cut deeply into its hide as the Greatswords hacked and thrust at it, and it collapsed with a final whimper.
The Varghulf dealt with, the Greatswords were free to reform to face the enemy lines.
The other Varghulf on that flank also perished as the Cannons continued to bombard it and the damage became too great for its regeneration to repair. The remaining artillery continued to bombard the Zombie horde and other nearby units, the explosions tearing up great clods of the frozen earth and flinging broken bodies through the air. Realising they were under threat from the enemy Fell Bats, the  Volley Guns roared to life, filling the air with smoke and shot under the experienced eye of the Engineer. More than half of the Bats were torn to pieces under the assault, but still the (somewhat diminished) threat remained.
In a convoluted manoeuvre, the Knights Panther turned to advance across the front of the Empire lines in an attempt to influence the battle further afield. The undead right flank was exceptionally weak, so they figured their assistance was not required here.
Most of the undead strength was on the far flank. It would be a fair effort for any unit to make it all the way across there in 5 turns, even a cavalry regiment.
The Reiksguard ignore the peril of the forest and lake and charge the Black Knights. 2 Reiksguard died to the dangerous terrain on the way in.
Black Knights had been pressing forward through the trees next to the frozen lake and this drew the attention of the Reiksguard Knights. Ignoring the danger of riding head-long into a forest, they lowered their lances and charged the enemy cavalry. The impact of the charge unhorsed several of the Black Knights, but they fought back with a mighty Wight King at their head. He was crossing blades with the Captain leading the Reiksguard. The opening exchange nearly lost the Captain his head and only the enchanted talisman he wore around his neck saved him from the blow. For his part, he was unable to strike a telling blow on his resilient opponent.
The charge did significant damage, but the Captain was lucky not to die to the Wight King's killing blow.
Who put these bats in our way?
A flock of Fell Bats had descended to block the advance of the Knight regiment nearby, leaving them with little choice but to charge them in order to clear a path. The Knights obliged them, crashing through them and heading for the Grave Guard behind. Unfortunately they lost too much momentum driving off the last of the bats, and they fell short of the waiting infantry.
The Fell Bats are gone, but the overrun move was feeble. So much for another charge with the lances...
The mob of Flagellants in the centre of the line charged into the large Grave Guard regiment. The eyes of the undead glowed with magical energy thanks to the powers of the Corpse Cart nearby, but this did little to dissuade the doom-seeking lunatics. With enthusiastic howls and only the occasional complaint about the snow under their bare feet, they flung themselves at the enemy. The Grave Guard readied their great weapons and prepared to receive the charge. The Vampire in the front rank even permitted himself a small smile at the suicidal display. Matters changed somewhat as the Empire Wizards made their presence felt, however. The strongest of the Wizards from the College of Light gathered power about him and made to unleash the full power of the Speed of Light, however Ghorst recognized the danger and hurriedly dismantled the spell with his own powers. If the Empire Wizard was concerned by his failure, he gave little sign and instead cast a lesser-powered Birona’s Timewarp upon the charging Flagellants. Whether Ghorst was distracted by the more powerful incantation or simply lacked the resources to stop both spells, this time the spell was successful. So too was a blast of banishing power from the Grand Theogonist’s War Altar, which shot out with blinding force and hammered into one of the Black Coaches, blasting it to pieces.
A clash of heavy hitters: 60 Flagellants charge 60 Grave Guard with great weapons and the Banner of the Barrows. And striking at initiative order, thanks to the Corpse Cart speeding them up to compensate for their cumbersome weapons.
With the power of the Timewarp driving them, the Flagellants struck the Grave Guard with incredible speed and ferocity. Before the Grave Guard could react, fully a score of them had been smashed apart by the whirling flails of their assailants. The whole regiment was forced back under the impact, but then the eyes of the survivors blazed with renewed vigour and they hacked into the unarmoured crazies with brutal force. It was a savage exchange. The Flagellants had the better of it, but the immovable wall of elite undead infantry they faced robbed them of their momentum. And the Ghouls to their flank looked hungry…
In a single round of combat, the Flagellants have either killed or crumbled 36 Grave Guard. In return they have lost 19 members of their own regiment. And now, without the flail bonus and with Ghouls in the flank, they really are doomed...
The Griffon rider swoops in to the rescue.
A shadow fell upon the Hexwraiths attacking the Steam Tank as a Griffon flew overhead before descending upon them like a thunderbolt. The rider cut two of the Hexwraiths apart, but the mighty Griffon could do little more than roar in frustration as it swiped and snapped at its incorporeal opponents futilely. Its roars only increased as a scythe scored a wound across the beast’s breast. The magical blade of the rider was the telling factor however, and soon only a single Hexwraith remained to torment both Griffon and Steam Tank.
Gah, only one left. Job nearly done.
The Empire right flank continued its guarded advance, and once more the Cannon on the hill spoke. This time it had set its sights upon the Horror of the High Fells, a Strigoi Ghoul King who for decades had terrorized those foolish enough to live in the foothills of the Grey Mountains. His appetite was insatiable and his Terrorgheist was the source of a hundred horror stories told to frighten small children. None could face him in battle. Except this Cannon, which blew a great gaping hole in the Terrorgheist and wounded the Ghoul King himself, who was dropped unceremoniously to the frozen ground.
No combats on the right flank yet, but things are getting closer...
The jubilant cheers from the Empire forces were short-lived, however; the enemy reinforcements had come.

Vampire Counts Turn 2

Vampire Counts Turn 2
All along the western flank of the field, movement amongst the trees betrayed the arrival of the second undead army. Legions of Ghouls, Skeletons, Zombies, Wights and Wraiths arrived in a wave, their formations quickly tightening as they cleared the forest. They moved with a discipline and coordination that could only be achieved by them being driven by a single will with the strength of iron. The will of Vlad von Carstein, the first and greatest of the Vampire Counts of Sylvania.
Here come the reinforcements. About 5500 points of undead appear on the Empire's right flank. At least they can't charge yet...
The big things near the edge are 2 Varghulfs and Lord Altschul the Vampire Lord, on his elderly Zombie Dragon. Nothing significant, then.
Vlad is in the building. Let's get this party started!
Marching at the head of his shambling army and waiting until it was properly positioned to strike had been a test of his patience. Vlad had not been seen by the men of the Empire in hundreds of years. They had believed him to be gone forever, slain once and for all after the magic ring that kept reviving him was stolen. But that ring had been stolen once more, and returned to its rightful owner. And now he walked the lands of the living once more… Even if he was not really counted amongst the living himself.
Nick knew this was coming, but it was always going to be a difficult thing to respond to so much extra stuff. He was already fighting the cream of the main undead force, and now things were getting a whole lot harder.
I'm sure there was a time that Vlad would not be seen dead at the head of a pack of Ghouls. Oh, the shame.
Striding onto the field at the head of a huge pack of Ghouls, the Vlad paused for a moment to savour the looks of horror on the faces of those nearby humans who seemed to recognize him. It was nice to know he had not been forgotten.
Things start moving on the undead right flank.
The arrival of the reinforcements seemed to be the tipping point. All across the field the undead army charged. The Greatswords braced as no less than three separate regiments moved to engage them. Perhaps fortunately, the largest mob of Zombies failed to get itself moving, tripping on those of their number that had fallen to the continued artillery assault. But still another pack of Zombies and a regiment of Grave Guard made it into combat, charging and sliding across the hard ice of the frozen lake.
The biggest regiment was too slow (it was a feeble effort on the part of Pete's dice), but everyone else made it.
The Greatswords met the charge head on, their weapons sweeping deadly arcs through the air and lopping limbs and heads from their attackers. Some Greatswords perished, but the efficiency and skill of the swordsmen was telling and the undead attack faltered and then withered, with both regiments collapsing, leaving the Greatswords free to look for new opposition.
Turns out the Greatswords were a bit too dangerous for those undead infantry to handle. Now they're free to roam...
Well this was always going to happen. The Volley Gun is the first to feel the wrath of the Batties.
Those Fell Bats that had survived the fearsome fusillade from the Volley Guns took wing and descended upon one of the machines. The crew scrambled for cover, but two of them were too slow and were snatched into the air and torn apart. The remaining crewman held his ground, trying in vain to keep the beasts at a safe distance with a long pole.
Charges in the centre.
Happy not to be facing a cavalry charge, the Grave Guard do the charging instead.
In the centre, the Knights whose momentum had fallen short of the Grave Guard were now charged by them as they re-gathered their formation for a fresh charge. The undead regiment was not large and the threat seemed minimal, however the Grave Guard struck with unexpected fury and precision. Each strike seemed to find its mark, seeking out the weak points in the heavy plate armour with unerring accuracy.  Half a dozen Knights were cut down in a flurry of blows, and the remainder were thrown into disarray. Panic set in, and despite the best efforts of the Captain bearing the battle standard to hold the line, the damage was already done. The Knights turned and fled, but were cut down by the pursuing Grave Guard. Dismayed by this turn of events, the Swordsmen that had been advancing behind the Knights also panicked and fled rather than face the onrushing, gore-splattered undead.
How on earth did this happen? 11 attacks, 6 or 7 dead Knights? Admittedly there were 5 killing blows rolled. But really, they should have been holding their ground anyway with the army standard at their head. Bad show, chaps.
Insult to injury: The Swordsmen and Light Wizards panic and flee from the grisly spectacle of the Knights' demise.
This was inevitable, but that doesn't mean it was going to tickle.
Having bludgeoned two-thirds of the Grave Guard horde to pieces, the Flagellants were tiring. Without the impetus of the charge, their cumbersome flails became a hindrance and they found themselves outmatched by the tireless undead. The situation was not helped when a huge pack of Ghouls swept into their flank and leapt into their midst. Flagellants died by the dozen, screaming out prayers to Sigmar and wailing about their doom being fulfilled. The carnage was terrible, but still a handful of the lunatics held their ground, waiting for their end to come.
Ha! Didn't wipe us out! Yet...
The Black Coach charges the Griffon and scratches it up a bit.
A Black Coach charged into the Griffon attacking the Hexwraiths, its heavy bulk catching the beast unawares and crashing home with tremendous force. The Griffon shrieked in pain and was driven off, fleeing for safety even as its rider cut down the last of the Hexwraiths. The Black Coach rattled along in pursuit, but could not match the speed of the winged creature. As the noise outside suddenly subsided, the hatch of the Steam Tank popped open and the driver carefully peeped out the top. Both his tormentors and his rescuers had disappeared, leaving him and his machine all alone.
Poor birdie. Run for the hills! At least he got away.
The Black Knights enjoy a scenic ride through the trees before charging the regiment of 60 Halberdiers. This was surely suicide. The question was just how long the Empire troops would take to get through the heavy armour of the cavalry.
A regiment of Halberdiers had been marching toward a stand of trees in the centre of the field. If they had been hoping to use it as cover however, they were sadly mistaken. The trees in front of them suddenly burst apart as a regiment of Black Knights charged straight through. The Captain of the Halberdiers barely had time to shout for them to brace and then the charge struck home. Many Halberdiers fell to the lances and hooves of the undead cavalry, but they had the advantage of numbers and they held their ground, trying to press the enemy back with the points of their halberds.
Casualties on both sides, but the lances of the Black Knights ensure they win the first round.
The Vargheists make it to the White Wolves now that they have advanced a little closer.
The Vargheists took to the skies and swept across the field before diving upon the Knights of the White Wolf like a pack of enraged gulls. Knights and horses were torn asunder as the beasts sought to bathe in the blood of their foes, but the Vargheists did not have it all their own way. The great hammers of the White Wolves struck back with great force, breaking limbs and crushing skulls. The panicked horses too lashed out with their iron-hard hooves, and a bitter struggle erupted. Half of the Knights died to the charge, and yet they were holding their own both in terms of damage and sheer ferocity.
Wow, really thought the Knights would get murdered there. They fought very well.
Having disentangled itself from the ruin of its beloved Terrorgheist, the Horror of the High Fells limped toward the relative safety of a regiment of Grave Guard, eventually taking its place in the front ranks and glaring with hatred at the Empire forces.
I'm not dead! The mostly-dead Ghoul King reappears at the front of the Grave Guard, trying not to cry when he thinks about what happened to his beautiful Terrorgheist. Nick was only 1 wound off having killed 2 dragon-sized monsters and their riders with 2 Cannon shots. Outrageous.
Wind of Undeeeeaaath!
Surveying the carnage with satisfaction, Vlad decided to make his presence more properly felt and unleashed the power of the Wind of Undeath across the Empire ranks. Men screamed and died as the unholy wind tore through their formations, whipping the flesh from their bones. The spell was cast with such force that the Empire Wizards had been unable to stop it, but it came with a cost as the sorcerous backlash struck Vampires and Necromancers across the line, tearing at their minds. This was not enough to stop Ghorst from casting magic of his own, and he used Invocation of Nehek to bolster the Grave Guard, restoring a full rank of those that had fallen to the flails of the Flagellants.
A shot across the field during the turn.
And again.
Run, birdie!

You can find the next part of the report here.

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