The air war is done, and now it’s on to the Commando Raids in our continued set of linked games at our local LGS, Drawbridge Games in Pittsburgh, PA. As before (https://the-dark-muse.com/2023/01/11/assault-neo-normandy-missions-1-strategic-air-war/), I wanted to provide the rules for what we’re doing in the missions in advance of our actual games. The Command Raids will be two missions, representing airborne forces dropping to capture a key location and to sabotage a gun emplacement. They’re meant to represent the Saint-Mère Eglise and Pegasus Bridge drops during the Normandy invasion in World War II–just with Warhammer 40k factions continuing their battles (Aeldari as the Allies, T’au Empire as the Axis).
Commando Raids and Sentries Rules
These sentries rules were directly adapted from the battlefield rules released along Moon Base Klaisus set for Warhammer 40k 8th edition (https://www.games-workshop.com/resources/PDF/Downloads/40K_Moon_Base_Klaisus_CB.pdf)
For a mission with Sentries, the Defender includes an additional unit beyond the PL of the game they’re playing. This unit should normally have the Troops Battlefield Role, contain up to 10 models, and have a Power Rating of 10 or less. In this scenario, note that the options can include Fast Attack—Drones or Pathfinders are valid choices for sentries as well as Fire Warriors, Breachers, or Kroot when T’au are the defenders.
The “Sentry turns” exist prior to the start of the game, where the Attacker’s Units are moving (and potentially shooting or charging) and the Defender’s sentries are on patrol and moving around the board. The Defender’s other forces are “encamped” and do not move until the alarm is sounded.
Each Sentry model moves and acts as a separate, individual unit throughout the battle. At the start of each of the Defender’s Movement phases, both players roll a dice for each Sentry model, in an order chosen by the Defender. The player who rolled the highest can move the model the distance indicated on their dice in any direction (a Sentry cannot Advance as part of this move). If the rolls are tied, the Sentry does not move.
At the start of the game, all is quiet and the alarm has yet to be sounded, but it is raised if any of the following occur:
- A model from the Attacker’s army fires a non-silenced ranged weapon. Silenced ranged weapons are weapons that can ignore the “Look Out Sir” rule (e.g. Sniper Rifles). If the Attacker’s army fires any silenced ranged weapons, the alarm is raised if they hit but fail to kill their target with that shooting attack (as the target certainly feels the shots!)—and if targeting units with multiple models, the alarm is raised if any of the models in the targeted unit survive.
- A model from the Attacking player’s army attacks a Sentry or a non-Sentry unit in the Fight phase but fails to kill them (in the latter case, the entire non-Sentry unit would need to be killed in the single fight phase). Note that the Defender’s models cannot fire Overwatch during the “Sentry Turns” phase of the game.
- A model from the Attacking player’s army is spotted by a Sentry. An enemy unit is spotted if it is within a certain range of any Sentry at the end of any Movement phase (whether or not that unit is visible to the Sentry). The spotting range depends upon the Power Level of the Attacker’s unit, as detailed below:
|Power Level*||Spotted Within|
|5 or less||3”|
|20 or more||12”|
When the alarm is sounded, the Sentry Turns end and the game begins with turn one. If the alarm is raised during the Attacker’s turn, their turn ends after the action that raised the alarm has been completed. It is now the Defender’s turn one. If the alarm is raised during the Defender’s turn, then the Attacker and Defender roll off, the higher roll being the first turn of the regular game. In either case, the Sentries are now under full control of the Defender. The sentries must move in the movement phase toward regaining coherency, and when they’re in coherency those elements “form up” and remain a unit for the rest of the game. They otherwise act independently (shooting and charging) until they “form up” in a movement phase or other movement on the board. The Defender’s units that were “encamped” now are fully active and participate normally.
Mission One: Capture the Town
The Attackers are conducting a night raid to capture a critically-placed town. Their goal is to disrupt the enemy reserves and keep them from massing at the nearby beaches the following morning where the full invasion will be taking place.
The Defender’s deployment zone should include two notable buildings that form the center of the “town”. These serve as the objectives of the battle. Sentries can be placed anywhere within 18” of the Defender’s board edge, and need not be in the deployment zone (can be closer to the board edges). The Defender deploys their army and sentries entirely before the Attacker deploys. See the deployment zone chart below for the layout for the mission.
At the end of the game (5 normal turns), the Attacker wins if they hold more buildings than the Defender—holding both buildings or holding one while the Defender does not hold the other. If both hold one building, it’s a tie. Any other result is a win for the Defender. “Holding” a building requires that a unit be inside the building’s board footprint, and that no enemy unit be inside that footprint.
Mission Two: Spike the Big Guns
The Attackers are conducting a night raid to disable one of the massive artillery weapons of the Defenders—in this case a titanic battlesuit waiting in a drydock staging area. The goal is to destroy the towering battlesuit so the Defenders cannot use its long-ranged capabilities to bombard their landing forces the following morning of the full invasion.
The Defender’s deployment zone has a single additional model added to the game—a Lord of War Battlesuit such as a Ta’unar or Stormsurge (if adapting to other forces use something similar), which counts as the “Big Gun” objective and should be in the center of the battlefield. Sentries are maintaining a close perimeter to the Big Gun, so they must deploy within 3” of the Defender’s deployment zone. The Defender deploys their army and sentries entirely before the Attacker deploys. See the deployment zone chart below for the layout of the mission.
The Big Gun model is inactive for the battle, and the Defender’s forces should not include an equivalent or larger model. This model is not “active” in the battle, and a piece of terrain should be set up next to it to represent the suit being still connected to staging rigging. The staging rigging means the suit cannot be disabled at range (fueled defensive shielding or otherwise encased safely). Instead, the Attackers must destroy it with the demo charges that they have brought for the purpose. A Ta’unar Big Gun has 30 wounds, while a Stormsurge Big Gun has 22 wounds. Attacking infantry units can begin an action in their shooting phase instead of shooting (unless they have a special rule to shoot and do actions) as long as they did not advance that turn and are in base-contact with the Big Gun to “Plant Explosives”. The action concludes at the end of their turn as long as they do not Charge in the charge phase or are not engaged in the Fight phase. At that point, count the number of infantry models that conducted the Plant Explosives action and record it. Defender’s infantry models on their turn have an action as well, called “Clear Explosives”. Their action has the same restrictions as “Plant Explosives”. Again, at the end of their turn count the number of models who completed the action. At the start of each Attacker’s Command Phases (and once more at the very end of the game) the Attacker rolls a number of d6’s equal to the count of Attacking models who successfully completed the Plant Explosives action, counting all dice of 3+. The Defender rolls a number of d6’s equal to the count of Defenders who successfully completed the Clear Explosives Action, counting all dice of 5+. Subtract the Defender’s successes from the Attacker’s successes, and then apply the remaining number of Attacker successes as wounds to the Big Gun. The mission ends after 5 turns. If the Big Gun is destroyed at or before that timing, the Attacker wins. Any other result is a Defender victory.
Capture the Town: This affects the response time for the Defenders’ reinforcements. If the Attackers win, then any Defender reinforcements suffer penalty on their reserve rolls for the invasion missions (cumulative with the penalty for the Strategic Bombing mission from the Aeronautica game if that was an Attacker win).
Spike the Big Guns: This affects the quality of the barrage against the Attackers’ large landing ships, leading to slower deployment of the flotilla of landing craft. If the Defenders win this mission, then the Deployment zone for the Attackers on sea landing missions is only 12” rather than 18”.
More progress on the Drukhari, this time finishing up five Incubi. I’ve been needing to get squads of these together for my force, as they’re quite effective in the game. I’d been fiddling with the paint scheme, but finally found what I wanted. I think they turned out quite well. Setting them amidst the rest of the force makes them certainly stand out, but they still keep the same core colors (just in a different pattern), so I think they click nicely.
I also added yet another unit of five Wracks to my force. That makes a total of 25 Wracks–two squads of ten and one of five, which should make for a really good foundation of warriors for my force.
Next up I’m adding a whole set of models to my Wych Cult for the Commando Drop Missions, so stay tuned for those. I’m also painting up a set of ship-board battle terrain that I’ll leave at my local gaming store (it’s the basic set from GW for Into the Darkness kill team boarding actions, with a bit of an Orky mod to it). I’ve also got a plot for an Aeldari Outcasts/Corsairs/Exodite ship and/or base that is in my long-term plans for my own gaming table which I’ll do up at some point.
Army Painted Totals
40k Aeldari (Primarily Drukhari but also Asuryani, Ynnari, and Harlequins): 129 PL
Aeronautica Imperialis Aeldari: 373 points