Detecting anomalous readings from a ruined temple on the outskirts of an ancient imperial settlement, the 5th company of the Tempest Lords space marines were dispatched to investigate. Upon arrival, they discovered that the planet was occupied by ork forces lead by non other than Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, the Beast of Armageddon.
Both forces approached the ruined temple, presenting a broad front. The heavy support elements of the Tempest Lords set up in a ruined building and fortification, the scout elements advanced on the temple, and the remainder of the company advanced in force embarked on their transports. The force was lead by a captain and a chaplain both equipped with jump packs and joining the company's assault squad. The ork forces were a motley mix of light and heavy vehicles, heavy gunners in another building, and a large mob of crazed green-skins with rockets strapped to their backs known as stormboyz. Ghazghkull was joined by a big mek and a weirdboy.
Seeing the heavy vehicles arrayed against them filled with mobs of orks, the Tempest Lords called reinforcements from orbit and a drop pod containing a veteran squad armed with meltaguns shot through the atmosphere, crashing to the ground near the warboss' own battlewagon. They took aim and fired all five meltaguns into the rear of the vehicle, causing it to instantly explode. The explosion also killed four of the stormboyz. Two of the veterans, however, died in the explosion as well.
In the opening moments of the battle after the explosion, the space marine forces advanced cautiously, opening fire with heavy weaponry. The company land speeder zoomed out ahead of the battle line, however, attempting to destroy the battlewagon on the right flank but only causing minor damage. Several of the filthy xenos fell to the hail of fire, including one of their light vehicles, but in all the opening salvo's results were underwhelming considering the amount of firepower arrayed by the Tempest Lords.
The battle proper was soon joined in the center of the table as the leaders of the space marine force used their jump packs to leap on wings of fire into the center of the temple and charge Ghazghkull and his mega-armored nob bodyguard, a tactic that would soon prove to be a fatal mistake despite it's strategic success. Not only were half of the assault marines cut down in the opening charge by the flame throwing skorcha weapons of the orks and their massive power claws, but they were soon outnumbered as one of the battle wagons veered nearby and disgorged almost twenty more green-skins for them to contend with!
The Tempest Lords immediately sent two tactical squads to reinforce the center, and one of the scout squads went forward to join the fray in the temple. One razorback was critically damaged and several others had already taken fire causing minor damage. The battle in the temple was fully joined and quickly devolved into an unruly melee of swirling red armor and green flesh. The captain and the chaplain, meanwhile, bravely held back Ghazghkull himself and killed the remainder of his bodyguard. Elsewhere on the field of battle, heavy elements exchanged fire on the left flank with the ork lootas and their heavy weapons. Also, a trio of crude ork gyrocopters assaulted the fire support dreadnoughts on this flank and a brutal combat was underway between the war machines. On the right flank, another huge mob of orks had disembarked from their battlewagon. They attempted to charge into the massed fire of several squads of marines, however, and were cut down by long range firepower before they could initiate another melee.
Both remaining battlewagons charged and rammed razorbacks, flailing at them with mechanized claws and firing rockets and crude laser cannons, but they both failed to destroy any more of the vehicles. The dreadnoughts on the left lost one of their number, but managed to destory all three of the gyrocopters. The return fire from the tempest lords, however, finally managed to destroy both of the battlewagons. The forces on the left flank advanced and took the ork position in the other building with that part of the field clear of any other concerns.
On the right flank, a protracted melee between the stormboyz and a unit of burna boyz against a squad of marine veterans and a tactical squad had finally started to grind to an end. One of the devastator combat squads and a dreadnought charged into the remaining orks and ended all questions about the right flank, leaving just the giant brawl in the ruined temple itself.
Things here were not looking good for the Tempest Lords. Although they had already almost completely wiped out the mob of orks, Ghazkhul himself remained untouched and was now joined by his big mek. The chaplain and captain were both down, and only one of the two tactical squads still remained. Of the assault squad, only one was left and of the scouts, only two. Things here were looking dire, indeed, despite the remainder of the field being under imperial control.
In the end, the rest of the tactical marines and the remaining assault marine were wiped out, but the other scout squad entered the temple to challenge the huge ork leaders. One of the scout squads was murdered to a man by the big mek, but by the time this occured the remainder of the space marine forces were converging on the temple.
Displaying the human valor of discretion, or perhaps just the natural xenos bent towards cowardice, Ghazghkull and his big mek fled the field. Seeing their entire warband wiped out and almost the entirety of the space marine's armored vehicles advancing past the temple, the Beast of Armageddon must have realized that it would only be a matter of time before the remaining space marines overwhelmed him.
The day ended being a victory for the Tempest Lords, but a morbidly earned one. The casualties included both the captain and the chaplain injured, three of six tactical squads either killed or incapacitated, several devastator marines injured or killed, a third of the scouts dead, and one dreadnought destroyed.
After Action Report:
The push to the center by the space marine assault squad and its attendant leaders was, in retrospect, suicidal. However, they held the center open for the duration of the game, and with some reinforcements from both sides the temple quickly became the focus of the battle. The other ork threats were few in number of units if not in size. This was an advantage for the Tempest Lords, however, as their forces were divided into several smaller units and a number of light vehicles instead of several heavy ones. This allowed them to more quickly respond to changing threats on the field and, as these threats were managed, re-deploy rapidly to execute changing objectives.
The ork forces, while formidable, were in the end not flexible or numerous enough to match the mobility of the space marines. Their heavy hitters definitely did a lot of damage, wiping out almost half of the army in one melee, but the focus on heavy vehicles and shooting attacks in the hands of very poor marksmen became a detriment to their efforts, in my opinion. Given more mass of bodies and more light transports in lieu of the heavy vehicles and big guns, I feel that they could have overwhelmed the space marines through sheer weight of numbers.
Finally, a special thanks to my opponent Phillip, who not only allowed me the opportunity to live out my fantasies of massive space marines versus ork battles, but also hosted the game and provided the terrain. Also excuse the unpainted models as there is life, and because of reasons; also we are just doing this for fun and don't always have time to paint!