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venkelos

Storming the Fort

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So, plenty of OW could be, and probably IS "I have an army, you have an army. Let's see whose army can crush the other better." Now this is fine, and much of the table top is this, too, so it's fitting, but what about when a Fortification gets worked in? What's a good way to deal with this?

 

I can easily see using a Basilisk or LRD to blow down the door, but I often feel this game lacking when it comes to incorporating the tanks in with the troops, and they are loud and obvious, compared to troops, too. Would a group of Infantry, kitted out with some of the right stuff, be able to do the deed? Sort of as an advance squad to soften up the structure for a larger force. Using rules from Stronghold Assault, and such, converting some loose Leman Russ Armor and Structure Points into what a wall has seems easy enough. Not sure how well the missile launcher or lascannon would do to fort walls, but it COULD BE fun.

 

Also wonder what's overkill for an "important" fort's defenses. Certainly, if you make it too cheesy, PCs can't be expected to breach it before getting aced, but I don't know if they would have some heavy weapons on the wall tops (mostly autocannons and heavy bolters for troops, ith a lascannon for the incoming LRD), and maybe a Basilisk inside, at the corner, to IndFire over the wall, onto incoming troops.

 

 

Would you let your players just keep fighting other armies on fields, or occasionally make them tackle this sort of obstacle? How might you manage it?

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If I understand you correctly you want ideas for hosting a game where taking a fortified position is the center-piece? It depends on the fortification but here are a few ideas:

 

1: Infantry without armour support:

 

Look to world war 1, artillery destroys fortifications, supresses the enemy and causes casualties. While the enemy is supressed infantry crawls up as close as they can and charge in the moment the artilleryfire stops.

 

If your players have air-support or you wish to make it available you can do like the germans did in Belgium in ww2. Gliders (silent) landed on top of the fortress filled with elite infantry, it's hard to underestimate the amount of panic and confusion it creates to suddenly find the enemy in your midst when you though you were safe.

 

2: mechanized infantry

 

There is a metric ton of ways to do this, but this is one modern troops get taught. APCs, meaning chimeras and rhinos, carrying infantry drive straight at the enemy firing everything to keep the enemy supressed. The APCs drive on top of the enemy trench, the infantry inside storms out and murder everyone that are too close for the mounted weapons.

 

3: With tanks

 

Heres a few ideas: The tanks fire over friendly infantry to supress while the infantry moves forward. Alternatively tanks drive ahead, firing to supress whilst the infantry follows behind the tanks in relative safety of the cover. The soviets had handles mounted on their tanks so soldiers could hitch a ride into battle. Finally a pure tank charge can be pretty effective. They can collapse trenches, the crew can shoot and throw hand-grenades from the top hatch and it takes a disciplined fighting force to stand and fight when they have enemy armour in their midst, even though fleeing most likely means certain death.

 

You can mix artillery into the mix in all of these examples. Keep in mind that once the enemy position has been taken there is a new challenge; holding it. At this point the soldiers will be weary and quite likely low on ammunition, meaning that the enemy will launch a savage counter-attack as soon as possible.

 

Hope this helps, I would definitely try to variate and mix it up. =)

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Droptroops are often used as well, dropping in and keeping the defenders busy while the lineinfantry close in. I bet novels would have great advice for how the guard does sieges but unfortuneatly I haven't read any guard novels yet...

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Droptroops are often used as well, dropping in and keeping the defenders busy while the lineinfantry close in. I bet novels would have great advice for how the guard does sieges but unfortuneatly I haven't read any guard novels yet...

Well, when you ask you get answered. I use for this tactic Imperial Commanders used in Siege of Vraks.

Just short description.

 

Step 1. Get as many men you can get trained in Siege tactics.

Step 2. Transport them to destination planet.

Step 3. Dig huge trenches.

Step 4. Fill those trenches with men trained in Siege tactics

Step 5. Bombard the enemy first to get then to keep their head down

Step 6. Stop Bombarding

Step 7. Charge the enemys fortification.

Step 8. If steps 5-7 don't work, just repeat them until you succeed to invade enemy fortification.

 

Addentum: If you start to go Low on men, just ship more from close planets.

 

That is Imperial Siegecraft in the nutshell (at least the Kriegs way  :D)

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Depending on the skill/specialty the soldiers could disable it like the Germans did Fort Eben-Emael in WWII. 56 soldiers/engineers using gliders and armed with enough shaped charges took apart what was considered the strongest fortress in the world, suffering 6 casualties and 21 wounded, while disabling the Fort and pinning the troops long enough for the ground forces to reach them.

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Shell with artillery from a distance, then let the Valks dive in and disgourge the paratroopers.  From the ground have mechanized infantry approach.  When the drop troops have taken the gates, they let the ground pounders in.  This gives you superemacy on the ground and along the walls of the fort, letting the infantry (preferably stormtroopers in the chimeras/rhinos) take the interior sections of the fort more easily.

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What defences are we talking about?

Void shields to negate enemy bombardment?

Cameras, servitors or humans sentries?

Strong AA-sites against planes?

Daemons and Warpbeasts?

 

 

How accessible is it?

Single route, cliffs or a beach on one side?

Clear terrain or marches, dunes, forests as cover/hindrance?

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Night recon, Sappers, ind fire at sapper placed beacons/ trigger demo charges, forlorn hope charge on breach.

 

Ther perfect mix of stealth, escort, and front line madness for any OW campaign.

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I'm with Segara82, you need more information before you can start planning how it will work.

 

An important fort is unlikely to have 'overkill' when fortifying it, but the kind of defenses will depend on the kind of fort it is; if it's a field build fort it will most likely be trenches, sandbags, dug-outs, minefields, bunkers and the like. A position like a city or military base will likely have walls, bunkers with artillery guns, massive stores of ammunition and weapons, watchtowers, shelters, void shields and so on. WW1 forts and the Maginot Line should be good inspiration when designing the mission.

 

As for the assault; what do you want your players to do during it? They could be part of the Forlorn Hope, sent to take a breach in the defenses and having to survive a charge into what would amount to hell. Or the breaching party who's job is to create the breach by sneaking in during the night. Then there's scouting, being part of the main assault and having to fight in close quarters to expand the breach, drop troops, the possibilities are endless.

 

You could even make it into a campaign in which your players are part of the besieging army in which they have to scout, skirmish, clear mines, defend against an enemy counter attack or maybe even digging under the walls in an attempt to collapse them.

 

 

I may have to nab your idea and work it into my campaign at some point. :)

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No sir!  This is the land of IG Intelligence, the most wasteful div in all the God-Emperor's forces!  Attacking a fort?  CHARGE!  That can be the only answer, for nothing can withstand humanity's endless numbers!

 

It reminds me of a player in our group talking about us doing a HALO drop to avoid detection and anti-air elements.  I had to laugh.

 

The IG doesn't do HALO, doesn't do HAHO, they do TED (Troops Exposed to Death).

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While High Command at times may see and use it, TED is not really an option for the field commanders and their limited numbers. They have to make due with what they have. Some like the Krieg regiments have no qualms about dying in a charge, but most don't. Dead troops can't fight.

Elysian Shocktroops do HAHO, HALO and the rest.

Savlars don'T do TED.

Nor do the Catachans.

Tagget likes this

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It was more of a joke, but yes.  matter of fact we did a HALO jump last night with a small scouting part to collect intel because the IG had only 100 year old sat-scans of the area we were dropping into.

 

Of course, listening in on comms we discovered that our low-orbit troop transport had been compromised and the enemy dispatched a freaking HELL DRAKE.  It ripped two of our valks before they manged to release troops and THAT was certainly a TED drop haha.

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Depends very much on the nature of the fortress. But the 'classic' Tactica Imperialis approach will generally be "flatten it with siege guns, then send in some people to rifle through the rubble for loose change".

 

You'll probably find that 'emplaced' defences tend towards energy weapons on big, permenant defences due to logistics, but frankly, a fortress could be armed with just about anything.

 

One thing you can be confident about; a major fortress emplacement (as in core-of-continental/planet-wide defences) will be void shielded and have anti-orbit defence lasers. That is, after all, the reason the guard have to go in at ground level without just bombing it from orbit.

 

Frankly, the fortress walls set from GW is a nice visual depiction of a major fortification - walls ~ 20+ foot high, void shields to resist artillery, regular heavy weapon emplacements and flak turrets, and battlements with ammo stores for defenders.

 

the Siege of Vraks series has more detailled maps and descriptions of an awesome imperial super-fortress than you could need. 

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See, this can be my problem. The Imperium paradoxically uses big things to guard stuff, but also doesn't care about anything getting lost. They have huge military budgets, and still can barely make anything, some of the time, so vast is their self-imposed field of conflict. I could imagine a nice, heavy-fortified wall structure up on a hill, with Basilisks at the inner corners, ready to indirect-lob ordnance at spotter-guided enemies, heavy weapon squads up on the walls, and stuff besides. Each wall could have a couple autocannon or heavy bolter emplacements, AND a lascannon emplacement, or some missile launcher groups. That would be a wall I don't want to fight.

 

What's a good guide? The Ramillies fort in No Surrender might've had LR Demolishers ROLLING ALONG ITS HALLWAYS as a defense mechanism. I can never tell if it's better to assume the enemy can get anything, and plan to hold that fort against every risk, or be stingy, and say the above yous sent your materiel to some other dumb front, because that Jericho thing you don't know about is ONLY a resource sink, so you only have some stuff.

 

None of that even really takes in the players. While I as a GM wouldn't necessarily send an infantry platoon to break a fortress that the Cadian 3692 "Safecrackers" Siege Specialists would be better for, there's only so much ordnance people can carry, and then you need tanks most players aren't a part of, and those are only so stealthy, from atop the hill.

 

I also don't know what the "typical" fort in 40K is set up like. I can look at the stuff in TT, from Core, Apoc, and Stronghold Assault, and get an idea of some of the buildings, but I don't know how many usually make up the fort. Also, TT has a flexibility of available unit types that the very nature of IG regiments doesn't really allow for. If your group is Mech Infantry, there are a lot of other unit types they won't see.

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I'd imagine forts are set up as hodge-podge as regiments can be.  On a hive world you're going to have thick walls (though maybe made of scrap) and some heavy weapons (though likely SP stuff), guards, lookouts and maybe patrols.  On an imperial world, things might be more serious business with void shields, orbital defense weapons, las cannons, multi-lasers, missile launchers etc.  Fortress worlds will be the silliest, definitely, but on feral/jungle/feudal type worlds, you're going to see wood forts, castles, entrenched positions on hills and everything from thrown objects and bows to heavy stubbers.

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I tend to take the view that imperial settlements are defended much the same as an equivalent sized orbital. As such, A Hive city would probably have defenses very similar to a Ramilies class Star fortress. This would also explain why most invasions do not target the Hive directly (Since the transports would be quickly blown out of the sky!). Since most imperial ground vehicles are too small to be targeted by such Ordinance ground assault troops are fairly safe from anti Ship weapons in a settlement. Of course, Given the size of a Hive, Entire ground wars lasting generations could be fought within it's walls! :o

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Entirely possible.  Though laying siege from the outside has either got to be very quick or very harrowing.  I've seen text to suggest that hiveworlds are far from being able to support their populations, and that foodstores aren't in abundance.  So a hive might fall quickly from lack of will to fight...sans cannibalism.

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Depends on the Hive. Certainly that's true for some, but a lot of hives do include hydroponics. Equally, if there are hives on fortress worlds (or worlds which expect to come under attack), expect significant siege reserves.

 

On Armageddon, Hades Hive held out for quite some time against the Orks, despite only very limited supplies getting in.

 

Also...corpse starch rations. The Imperium has historically had no problem with the soylent green solution; and a hive city under direct attack has 'dead people' as a widely available resource.

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I wonder how they make the ration.  I mean the process might be slow or limited unless it's a production center for it.  Also, you don't get a lot of corpses if the enemy decides to wait you out.  Not until you exectue people to feed the rest, or people start dying of starvation.  Though i would assume many hives have some kind of ability to make other food, however i'd say the amount likely isn't enough to feed the billions that could live there reliably.

 

I could be wrong, but the factors are fun to think about.

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Would also depend on invasion scale. Some hives are MASSIVE, and it require miles of troops to cordon it off. If you can't control most of the planet's skies, supply ships can probably land elsewhere, and lug food in, underground, I have nothing concrete to base this on, but I imagine a hive city as a huge artifice, constructed in ever-rising fashion, leaving old levels trod underfoot, sort of like Troy. These old tunnels, for lack of a better term, could be a fine avenue for supply to enter, and a hard spot for unknowing enemies to block. I imagine that capturing a hive might actually be a rather insurmountable endeavor. Not impossible, but even Orks might not frequently bring enough individuals, at least at first.

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That's a thought, certainly.  Working under those conditions though, the only way to be sure is nuke it from orbit.  There's got to be a plan people use for attacking something that big, or at least an acceptable point of, "Okay, we've done enough, let's move on."

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Another thing, in the game i'm currently playing in, we've been attacking a trainstation to capture and hold until reinforcements arrive.  We've taken the majority of the area and are about to close in on the station HQ.  The enemy is the mutant and we've encountered massive ogryn-sized lizardmen, chaos type weaponry (plasma-ecto-cannons) and a daemonengine, as well as a slew of crazed troops using everyhing from shivs to small arms.  The HQ building is 3 stories and we don't know how many enemies are inside, but if previous encounters tell us anything, there could be 30-50 mutants within, likely another sorcerer and several of these lizardmen types.

 

Our platoon has taken about 30% casualties so far.  We've got 3 sentinels (the flamer-equipped one is out of prometheum, the others have multi-lasers and chain attachements), a command chimera (hull-mounted heavy bolter, multi-laster turret, heavy stubber up top) and about 23 guardsmen left, then the lieutenant's retinue (the PC's), as well as 3 heavy weapons teams (running out of missiles).  At the end of the last session, we've learned that a platoon from another regiment has landed and is coming to reinforce us.

 

Given the job and the resources, what do you guys suggest?  How do you think the enemy would prepare for us?  Also, some of the group sees the incoming help as a reason to hurry it along and not let them get any of the glory. ;)

Edited by Alrik Vas

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I provide advice from Discworld's General Tacticus: "If the enemy has an unassailable fortress, see that he stays there."

 

You're at a numerical disadvantage, possibly as bad as 2-1, but a significant proportion of the enemy's forces are only a threat at close quarters. Going into that building is therefore a bad move if you have a way of making the enemy come out to you, especially if you have fresh reinforcements (and just as important, fresh flamer and anti-armour ammunition) inbound, allowing you to cause breaches and provide firebreaks, allowing you to counter the chokepoints the enemy might set up inside the HQ building, and - in extreme cases - just burn the freaks out of the building.

 

Getting less glory < Less people getting dead.

 

The trick is that you're allowing them time to fort up or to summon reinforcements of their own (they are an HQ, after all, and you should assume they've got comms capability - in the form of the witch's abilities if nothing else). You need to make sure that the latter is prepared for - and if you do send in an assault party then there are plenty of eyes and heavy weapons pointed in other directions in case a new block of enemy troops turns up mid-assault.

 

The most important problem is that you're giving them time to sanitize the building. I don't know how organised this lot are, but any HQ for a 'normal' military is a potential gold-mine of intelligence; maps, rosters of troops, vox codes, etc, etc, and if they realise they're trapped they're likely to try and destroy it. That is a real reason for a hurried assault, which is likely to get really bloody.

 

The best suggestion I have is to be as unpredictable as possible. You have two and a bit squads of guardsmen. Feed them one at a time through the front door and you're all dead men. You need multiple points of entry, ideally not protected by the enemy because they weren't expecting you to break in there. A military building is probably too heavily constructed for a chimera to ram its way inside (although there might be a weak point somewhere), but there might be points of access at the 1st floor reachable from a chimera's roof hatch. Or sewer access. Or a wall breachable by krak missiles.

 

If you don't have an internal layout for a building, breach-and-clear is one of the most dangerous activities infantry can undertake - the only advice I can give you is to punch your way in simultaneously along multiple lines, close enough to one another for mutual support but far enough apart to avoid a single choke point blocking you off.

 

If you have the opportunity, an additional assault on the other side might draw off any reserve before the real assault goes in - or (if the other side's officers are good) - throw in the main assault then launch the secondary attack, and with luck they might think your secondary assault is the diversion until it's too late.

Myrion likes this

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We ended up shoving smoke grenades down the building's throat and using our grappnels to go in through the second floor.  Our preysense goggles made controlling the chaos pretty easy.  We captured a high value target (base's commander) and it looks like the initial assault is over planet wide.  Now we have to dig in and start seek and destroy missions.

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