Planet Stalingrad is a unique planet on the rim of Imperial Earth space. The crystal oceans of Stalingrad provide for a rich strain of promethium not found elsewhere. The major continent, called Stalingrad Prime, has for this reason become an all-encompassing manufactorum-city that spans the entire continent. At its peak, Planet Stalingrad was home to over 1 billion souls.
The landmass stretched a quarter of the way around the northern quadrant of the globe, divided by numerous rivers which all begin their trek from the springs in the arctic mountains. The rivers are what gives the promethium to the crystal sea, and the largest processing plants straddle the mouths of the rivers as they pour into the seas. Along the riverbanks, which snake for hundreds of miles across the landscape, the most influential and rich have their land-holdings, including the planet’s fortress-palace on an island in the confluence of the world’s two greatest rivers, the Dnep and Volka Rivers.
Once a member of the Empire, the planetary government chose secession when they realized how important the crystal seas of the planet had become. The planet hosted its own chapter of Space Marines, called the White Guards, who helped defend the planet, along with its Planetary Defense Force, for two decades against the might of the Imperium, until they found their doom in a Tyranid invasion fleet. With the empire standing by with their weapons sheathed, Planet Stalingrad was decimated by the mindless hordes of the Tyranid, who swooped in, annihilated all life on the planet, and moved on.
Now a relief force has come to bring Planet Stalingrad back into the fold, and once it is secure, the empire will begin sending colonists to repopulate the world. The vanguard of the counter-invasion force is 7th Company of the Blood Angels, known as Satyr’s Raiders. The dreams of Empire are however being checked by a great host of orks. Led by Zigzag, the ork raiders who call themselves the Totem Goffs, have been pouring troops onto the planet for the loot left unattended. In a stolen imperial battleship re-christened the Deff’s Head Totem, the pirate Zigzag is a force to be reckoned with, and as the orks return to their stolen ship with more and more loot, Zigzag has become blinded by the lust for wealth. From a secret moon-base, he sends his troops down to the planet and chuckles to see the Imperium send more and more fodder into the meat-grinder known as Planet Stalingrad. Players Aside
The idea for the Stalingrad campaign came out of the need for my son and I to find a wargame to play together. Originally it was meant to be a WW2 game, and I have always harbored a fascination for the urban fighting of Stalingrad in World War 2. So, to make a long story short, we came up with this idea once we were sure Warhammer 40k was the game for us.
This campaign is a chance for us to learn the rules, throw some dice, and hopefully wrest a planet from spend some quality time together, blasting away at each other’s armies with bolters and shootas. We are starting small and ignorant of most of the rules. We have so far played four battles, including when we played as a team (Orks and Space Marines, I know, right?) twice at our local friendly game store. The first game we won, but the veteran whom we played was using an experimental army. The second battle we lost, but it was difficult because there was little to no hand-holding, and sometimes our opponent would be quietly moving and rolling so fast we had no idea what was hitting us.
Luckily at home, we can learn at our own pace, though there is no guarantee we are learning correctly. Also, there are some rules that you just don’t get unless you play against veterans. The idea that you cant measure before taking a shot, but have to guess and hope it is within range, is one such rule. Nonetheless, we are making some progress, and last night included vehicles, assaults, and plenty of difficult terrain.
The Set Up
At the time of this battle, the Space Marines army was valued at approx. 770 points, while the ork army was valued at approx. 715. The reason for the questionable points is that I was using his partially built Rhino as a looted transport with no options, worth 35 points, and I also upgraded all my nobs to ‘Eavy Armour and Twin-linked shootas. My ork army was composed of the looted rhino with a platoon of 10 gretchin and a runt-herder in transport. Behind that, was my troop of 29 orks and a nob, and I had 2 big shootas and a rokkit-launcher along with 26 boys with pistol and axe. The nob had a twin linked shoota and axe. My warboss stayed with my squad of 5 nobs, and finally, I had my set of three Deff Koptas, known as Mosquito Squadron, hiding behind some rubble.
Jack’s battle-force was made up of his 10 space marines split into two squads. One, with the missile launcher, took refuge in a tall ruined building, while the other squad prepared to advance. Besides the space marines, he had a troop of 5 terminators, a dreadnaught, 5 assault marines (beginning off-map for a drop strike) and his captain.
The battlefield was made up of a tall golden statue in the center of the map, and four ruined buildings spread outward, and another 4 or 5 piles of rubble. There was a length of road leading out from the statue in all four directions, and it made the battlefield look sort of like a central square surrounded by ruins. Of course, the golden statue was the single objective of the battle, and our forces rushed to take it. Jackson won the roll, but chose to go second, so with a roar of “Wag!” the orks set off with a run.
The battle began with my looted Rhino pulling forward towards the statue at full throttle. It was hurriedly painted red, so it went extra fast. Gretchin could be seen hanging from every handhold, and with their heads and weapons poking from every hole and opening in the tank. The nobs ran full tilt and behind them the ork boys also moved up. Finally, the Deff Koptas came tearing around a ruined building to strike at the platoon of terminators, and one of the rokkits had a direct hit, first blood was scored!
The ork boys fired their two heavy shootas into the building housing the space marines, but failed to cause any casualties. Nobody else was in range, so it was time for Satyr’s Raiders to retaliate. His troops moved up, then a missile streaked out from the space marines building, impacting amongst my ork boys. Limbs flew and he took out 6 of them with his frag missile.Next my gretchin piled out of the looted Rhino and found cover in, around and under it, and fired at the dreadnought, to no affect. The Deff Koptas fired another salvo of missiles, taking out another terminator, and the ork boys ran forward to stand in the shadow of the golden objective. Captain Satyr led his terminators forward and a huge clash of arms erupted under the beneficent gaze of that long dead hero of Stalingrad.
The gretchin left the safety of their Rhino and stormed forward to assault the dreadnought. They did very little damage, but by banging their pistols against the hull of the walker, they were able to daze the pilot, rendering him immobile for a few crucial seconds.
The nobs were slaughtered by the terminators, all except the Warboss Zigzag and his nob platoon leader, Iron Claw, who tore through the terminators with their power claws. Eventually Captain Satyr stood alone against the two orks, and he started to take wounds. He was nearly dead when the orks took cover against the assault squad dropping in from orbit. They managed to recover the unconscious form of their captain and the first battle ended as a draw, or a stalemate, as neither side was able to take and hold the golden statue.