This battle was the second part of a planned 3-part mini-campaign between my Tyranids of Hive Fleet Maturin, and some Orks who have taken over an entire continent on an Imperial world. You can read the battle report from the first game in the campaign here.
This second battle would represent the Tyranid forces staging a preemptive attack on some Ork mobile reinforcements to prevent them from counter-attacking at the point of the main Tyranid attack. If the Tyranids could delay the Ork counter-attack, their breakthrough of the main Ork defenses would stand a much grater chance of success.
We used the Surprise Assault scenario from the Battle Missions book, with my Tyranids as the Space Marines and the Orks as the enemy. Basically, the Orks had to deploy everything with each unit a certain distance from any other, to represent them being naturally spread out and not expecting trouble. The Tyranids moved on in their first turn from any table edge, and could move different units on from different table edges. The Ork army would all have Move Through Cover and Stubborn. The winner would be determined by Kill Points, with HQ units earning 3, Troops units and dedicated transports worth 1, and everything else worth 2. We decided, because of the nature of the story, to change it so that the Tyranids scored 2 points instead of 1 for dedicated transports, and to make up for it the Orks would score 2 Kill Points for each Tyranid Troops unit. The armies were 1500 points.
If the Orks lost, they would be required to re-roll all their successful reserve rolls in the final, climactic battle of the campaign. This final battle would represent the initial landing and assault on the main Ork fortifications on the coast of the continent.
The Tyranids of Hive Fleet Maturin are in the midst of an invasion of an Imperial world designated 18-D93. Having completely secured and cleared the land mass they made planetfall on, they are now ready to attack the other contents. The first task would be an assault on Fortress Antorktica, which has been heavily fortified by the Orks in order to repel counter-attacks from Imperial forces. Now the Tyranids would have to break through the defenses on the coast in order to reach the population centers of the Ork-held continent.
To support the landing, the Tyranids have sent an infiltrating force to spring a surprise attack on Ork reinforcements waiting near where the main assault will take place. They would attempt to cause as much of a disruption as possible, with the priority being taking out any Ork vehicles that could carry reinforcements to the front lines, where the battle will be decided.
Tyranid Turn 1
The Ork reserve troops behind the main defensive lines were now out and ready to advance at a moments notice. They only awaited word letting them know where their counter-attack would be most needed, and where the enemy attack would be strongest. The Warboss nearest the main Tyranid assault waited with his retinue, which included some Bikers, Lootas, a Weirdboy, Nobz, Grot Kannons, and some DeffKoptas. They oddly had only a single Trukk, containing a unit of Shoota Boyz. The Warboss himself had a personal bodyguard of many Slugga Boyz.
Suddenly, the Tyranids sprang up seemingly out of nowhere to surround the Ork reserve troops on two sides. The Zoanthropes immediately blasted apart the Trukk, their primary objective, which careened back towards the Warboss's bodyguards before exploding. All other Tyranids advanced at full speed, though many were slowed by the difficult terrain they had to traverse. A unit of Hormaguants seemed to be easily close enough to charge the Lootas, but they must have spotted some broken glass or jagged rocks amongst the ruins and had second thoughts.
Ork Turn 1
The Orks didn't let the surprise attack disorder them, and quickly responded. The Weirdboy moved to support the Lootas, while the Warbikers moved up to fire on the Zoanthropes. The Warboss bravely led his bodyguards into an assault with the menacing Trygon, which killed 6 of the Orks and took a wound before being surrounded by the swarming enemy. The Shoota Boyz from the Trukk moved into the cover of a ruined building, while the nearby Nobz advanced towards the Tyranid Warriors sheltering in a crater. The Deffkoptas flew over the unit of Genestealers and dropped a bomb, killing two of them, while the Grot Kannons shelled the Termagants.
The Nobz were close enough to assault the Tyranid Warriors, and they launched themselves down the lip of the crater with great enthusiasm, perhaps partly due to the effects of the Painboy in their midst. The waiting Tyranid Warriors killed one of the Nobz and wounded two others, but it wasn't nearly enough. With all the Power Claws flailing around wildly, the drugged up Nobs tore the Tyranid Warrios to pieces, ripping them apart limb from limb as the nearby termagants and Hormagaunts watched helplessly. Their turn would surely come.
Tyranid Turn 2
The Tyranids continued to push forward the assault, with mixed results. The Hive Mind rather forcefully insisted that the Hormagaunts charge through the rubble to assault the Lootas. It was a brutal fight, with the Orks striking first as Hormagaunts bounded over rubble and through broken windows. Several Orks and Hormagaunts were cut down, but three of the Lootas held out and the melee would continue.
Nearby, the Hive Tyrant and his two Tyrant Guard charged in to assist the Trygon fighting the Warboss and a horde of Boyz, killing many of the Boyz. Recognizing the biggest threat, the Tyrgon focused entirely on the Warboss, dismembering and devouring the Ork leader. His enraged bodygaurds had their revenge, however, and managed to drag down and butcher the massive beast.
Elsewhere, another unit of Hormagaunts assaulted the Shoota Boyz from the Trukk. The Boyz used the cover of a ruined building to their advantage, however, gunning down the enemy as they approached and using walls to shield themselves from scything talons. In this way, the Shoota Boyz managed to take down all of the gaunts while taking minimal losses.
The Genestealers assaulted the Deffkoptas, but were unable leap high enough to reach the contraptions
Ork Turn 2
The Warbikers, Nobz, and Shoota Boyz surrounded the three Zoanthropes and poured fire into them. When the dust had cleared, only a single wounded (and clearly headless) Zoanthrope remained. Elsewhere, the Weirdboy piled his unit into the back-and-forth combat that had the Hive Tyrant battling the Warboss's bodyguards.
The Termagants had been out of Synapse range after the slaughter of the Tyranid Warriors, and so they simply milled about in the ruins while being fired upon by the Grot Kannons. Meanwhile, the Genestealers figured out how to leap up onto each other to form a living pyramid, which allowed them to reach the Deffkoptas and take down two of them. The remaining Deffkopta pilot defiantly held his ground.
Tyranid Turn 3
Having finished off the Lootas, the Hormagaunts charged in to the continuing battle around the Hive Tyrant. The ferocity of the combat continued to escalate, with more Orks and the Tyrant Guard falling, but once again it ended in a stalemate, neither side having any thought of retreat.
The Genestealers killed the last Deffkopta pilot, and menacingly made their way through the field of craters towards the doomed Grots.
Ork Turn 3
Another round of fire from the Nobz and the Shoota Boyz put an end to the exploits of the headless Zoanthrope. Not many people, or Orks for that matter, know that a decapitated Zoanthrope can survive for several minutes.
The Warbikers saw that they were missing out on a legendary scrap, and headed towards it at all possible speed. The Weirdboy was unable to contain the buildup of physic energy caused by all the brutal fighting around him. He attempted to unleash this power on his enemies, but it instead overwhelmed him, causing his head to explode spectacularly. The fight continued on without him, and finally the Tyranids prevailed, finishing off the Ork Boyz and Nobz. The seriously wounded Hive Tyrant and three Hormagaunts were all that survived the melee that laid low a Trygon, a Warboss, several Hormagaunts and Nobz, and a couple dozen Ork Boyz.
Tyranid Turn 4
With no time to recover from their ordeal, the Hive Tyrant led the last of the Hormagaunts in a charge against the Warbikers. Exhausted as they were, they only managed to kill two of the enemy before the Orks struck back, killing a Hormagaunt and wounding the Hive Tyrant with a carefully placed swing of a Power Claw.
The Genestealers made their way through the maze of craters to assault the Grot Kannon crews. The result of this was a foregone conclusion, and should be immediately obvious to the most casual observer.
Ork Turn 4
The remaining Ork Nobz turned their attention to the Termagants, who, left without the influence of the Hive Mind, had simply made themselves comfortable in the rubble of some ruined buildings. Their feelings of contentment in their current situation were shattered by the assault of the Nobz, and the Termagants who survived the initial attacks immediately fled. The Shootas, having witnessed the mess that had been made of the Grots, moved out of their position to fire on the advancing Genestealers, but their nerve failed them and all of their shots missed their mark.
The Hive Tyrant killed two more of the Warbikers, but the one with the Power Claw remained. The Ork drew his arm back, took careful aim, and very deliberately delivered the blow that finally brought down the Hive Tyrant.
Tyranid Turn 5
While the final Ork Warbiker was finishing off the last of the Hormagaunts, the Genestealers were assaulting the Shoota Boyz. The Genestealers easily massacred the Shoota Boyz without taking so much as a scratch.
Ork Turn 5
While the remaining Warbiker approached, the Nobz assaulted the Genestealers. A brutal combat ensued, but neither side would give.
In another minute, either the Genestealers would be wiped out, or the remaining Orks would, but it hardly mattered. The Ork reserve forces had been devastated by the sudden Tyranid attack, and it was now too late for them to be able to recover enough to mount an effective counter-attack. The ambushing Tyranid force was destroyed, but the Tyranid army on the front line had been given the best possible chance for victory.