Assault on Neo-Normandy Missions (1) – Strategic Air War

Assault on Neo-Normandy Missions (1) – Strategic Air War

As I indicated in my prior post, a few of us at my LGS (the outstanding Drawbridge Games, in Pittsburgh, PA, USA) are doing a Warhammer 40k re-fight of the Normandy invasion in WWII as a series of linked campaign games. The story set-up for the entire invasion can be found in this post: https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/02/the-invasion-of-planet-noohrm-haan-d/ We’re doing the missions as Tau as defenders, with Aeldari (both Drukhari and Asuyani) as attackers. I’ll have a blog post about how each of the battles fares as we play them, but I also wanted to set up the parameters of the various games that we’re playing so that if others were inclined to do their own Normandy-themed campaign they could. There are four phases of the campaign, which include multiple games within each phase. The four phases are: the Strategic Air War, the Airborne Landings, the D-Day Coastal Landings, and the Consolidated Invasion. We’ll be using a modified version of the Planet Strike rules from Games Workshop to guide these, where we’ll fight every battle but they result in consequences for further battles down the line, from rules modifications, bonus units, or just different missions based on results. Huge kudos to my friend Ryan for putting together the core of these rules for the set of games and having the idea for it in the first place.

Phase One: Strategic Air War

This phase of the invasion involves the dogfight squadron battles to establish air supremacy, followed by an attempt by the attackers to strategically bomb the supply lines of the defenders in the lead-up to the invasion. We’ll play this out with two sequential games of Aeronautica Imperialis.

Game One: Air Supremacy

The attackers are seeking to gain air superiority by tackling the defender air assets directly. This game played as a standard Aeronautica Imperials dogfight with two equal sides. Points for enemy flyers eliminated are used to calculate margin of victory.

For our game, we’re having a whopping 500 points vs 500 points (or more!) battle, with the mighty Tau Tiger Sharks and Barracudas being struck by swarming Aeldari Nightwing Fighters and Phoenix Bombers. We use the optional damage rules, as tailspins, smoking hits, and on-board fires make for a much more amusing game overall.

For outcomes, a victory by the defenders slows the ability of the attackers to completely own the skies on landing day. However, they still have the strategic advantage at this point of the war in the air, so there’s no bonus conferred for a defender win. If the attackers win, however, the leave the skies of the shores undefended while the defenders’ air force withdraws to protect more inland targets. That awards the attackers the following ability for the D-Day Coastal Landing missions in Phase Three.

Tactical Bombing Run: Once per game in the D-Day Coastal Landings battles, the attackers can call in air support to soften up a visible-by-air hard target and/or defensive position of the defenders. During their Command Phase of any term, the attackers can nominate a single enemy unit or fortification, and roll a d6. On the score of a 3 or better, the bomb hits on-target. They get a +1 to the roll if the target is a Titanic Vehicle (in this game, that’s the KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Suit or the KV128 Stormsurge), and a +2 to the roll if the target is a Fortification. If they target an infantry unit, then instead there is a -2 to the roll. On a successful 3+ hit, the target takes 2d3 mortal wounds. On the result of a modified 6, all units within 3″ of the target take 1d3 mortal wounds. If the target is a fortification, on a hit the fortification takes 2d6 mortal wounds rather than 2d3, and units inside take 1d3 mortal wounds. This also can explode on a modified roll of 6 as above (as ammo stockpiles or critical machinery detonate).

Game Two: Strategic Bombing

The attackers are preparing for the coming invasion by bombing roads, bridges, railways, and landing pads to deny options from the defender in preparation for the looming coastal assault. This game is played as a modified Aeronautica Imperialis bombing mission, where the defender has three bomb-able ground targets that can yield points to the attacking forces. Each has 5 structure points, and yields 5 victory points for each structure destroyed plus a bonus 5 if destroyed completely. Two of the targets have defenses that can return fire as normal until destroyed.

Again, we’re hoping to have 500+ points of planes per side in our fighting of the battle, which makes for a pretty epic air combat, and again use the optional damage rules as well for the game.

For outcomes, again the defenders are trying to just hold on and keep their defenses intact. A win for them ensures that their reserve forces and materiel are un-interrupted. However, a win for the attackers in this mission will disrupt the reserves of the defenders. They gain the following bonus during the D-Day Coastal Landings phase of the battle:

Delayed Reserves: The Defender in this scenario suffers a -1 to all reserve rolls using the Planetstrike Mission Rules reserve charts.

Once the Strategic Air War phase of the invasion finishes these two missions, it moves on to the second phase: Airborne Landings (which will be the next rules post on this site).

Painting Update

Air Force and Airborne units both are things I’ve added to my painted pile. I had four Aeronautica Aeldari planes done, so I added two Phoenix Bombers and a Nightwing to increase the force (and I have more to finish).

And while it’s looking a bit ahead, I also finished up a unit of Scourges to help flesh out the Airborne troops of my force for that phase of the invasion. I’m super-pleased with the Hawk Wing paint scheme on these, which matches the first unit of Scourges that I painted up with Haywire Blasters.

All-in-all a good amount of painting progress to get ready for the Assault on Neo-Normandy invasion missions that we have ahead these next few months.

Army Painted Totals

40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 113 PL total, 5 PL in 2023

Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 198 points, 86 points in 2023

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