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Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Empire vs Ogre Kingdoms 2000 points

warhammer themed fantasy battle report :-

"Then, just as his confidence surged beyond anything he had felt before, Rembrandt’s expectations were shattered. From behind the Camel Riders came an awful sound, a squeeling, tortured gargle born of hungry rage. The first Gorger had emerged from the glimmering haze and bore down dangerously on the arabs. "

(another battle reporting masterclass from "the Padre" in his Ogre guise)

source : ogrestronghold.comcredit : Padre26-Feb-2009

Rembrandt’s Fall

At the head of his column Rembrandt felt good. The desert wind was even blowing cool air for the first time since his visit to this realm. His knights were singing their battle songs with glee, whilst the mariners at the rear of the column sang more bawdy songs. The two regiments were trying to outdo each other in volume.

Pity the poor Arabyans in the middle, thought Rembrandt. Though he noticed that Nicco’s mercenaries had no complaints, nor ditties of their own to offer up. They rode silently, unconcerned by the singing. They had something else on their mind.

On the third day, just as Rembrandt was starting to worry about whether they really could find sufficient water regularly enough, the Arabyan light horse scouts came galloping with news of the sighting of an enemy ahead. A warband of ogres, they said, and not the mercenary kind that Arabyans and northerners hire, but the brute savage kind who serve their own gods and darker powers.

Rembrandt ordered the line be drawn up, while he rode with the scouts to peruse the ground that lay ahead. One really ought to know the lay of a battlefield, he remembered old Roderick saying more than once, before committing one’s forces to battle. Inwardly Rembrandt laughed – he used to find the old man so boring at times, but there was little he had said that was not true, and had not been proved so time and time again.

Unsurprisingly the battle would be fought in the desert – it did stretch from horizon to horizon – but there were some dunes and rocks upon the right that might have a bearing upon the fight. Rembrandt wondered if the enemy might have some warriors concealed there, but then dismissed the thought when he considered how hard it would be for a brute ogre to hide amongst such rocks. Behind them, yes, but not within them, and if they were behind then they could not attack without revealing themselves first.

Suddenly something appeared up ahead, emerging through the heat haze (ever present even with a breeze). The enemy!

Rembrandt asked himself how could they be so close, then realised they were not. It was a trick of perspective. Ogres were twice or even three times the size of men.

They looked laughably few in number, but Rembrandt couldn’t summon a laugh. He knew them to be vicious, brave, fearsome, thick-skinned and murderous fighters, who revelled in bloodshed and could stop to feast upon a fallen foe just as wolves might do.

Three main bands made up the enemy line – Ogre Bulls, led by two Butchers and a Tyrant. Beyond this, on the enemy’s far left, was a hunter with a brace of monstrously tusked predators.

What Rembrandt did not know was that the hills and rocks were concealing enemies: three Yettees were loping along behind them.

And worse, the heat haze effectively hid the two Gorgers who were right at that moment completely out flanking Rembrandt’s line of battle.

Ignorant of these threats, Rembrandt felt very confident about the battle – surely his army could easily overpower what was before him. He actually felt keen for the fight, he was itching to get at them. How much more would his men respect him once he led a charge of knights, and had felled such foes as this?

His own battle line started on the far right with the Arabyan Camel Riders, led by Al-Irnak the Sheik’s son. These men had already proved themselves willing warriors, and Rembrandt was entirely happy to have them guarding his flank. Then came Rembrandt and his household knights, the Army Standard carried by his lieutenant commander Aluishus. Upon Rembrandt’s left was Nicco and his band of battle hardened veterans, flanked themselves by the Merchant Rangers whose presence had made such a vital difference in the previous battle.

In the centre of his line were the Arabyan Light Horse, though they were there more to protect the left flank of the massed regiments of knights than serve as a point of strength. Further to the left were the Marines in a firing rank, then the archers, then the Pistoliers. Old Roderick would certainly have agreed to this last placement: “Good men to have on a flank, agile, brave and able to deliver a bloody volley at the foe.”

The ogres seemed to be the ones advancing, the ones more keen for battle, though that was not true in Rembrandt’s mind. Their line began to angle to the left, as if they were keenest to fight the knights and unwilling to waste their muscle on the skirmishing missile troops. Or perhaps they knew full well what bloody damage the enemy’s arquebuses could do to them? A horrible, gurgling war cry came from one of the butchers as he and his fellow butcher successfully wielded magic to bolster the ogres’ toughness beyond its natural measure. Then, going with the flow of magical power, the same butcher summoned up a protective force to guard his unit from enemy magics.

Off to the Ogres’ right the Yettees moved secretly through a gap in the rocks hoping to spring upon the enemy so close that there would be no time to bring their guns to bear.

Rembrandt’s men responded with an angled move of their own. To do so the knights were forced to reign in their war-horses’ natural urge to charge upon the foe, maintaining their line so that when the blow was delivered it would be as one, terrible, thunderous strike. Rembrandt felt a thrill rush through him when he saw the precision of his soldiers’ manoeuvre – this was surely to be a glorious moment, the stuff of legends. He thanked Sigmar for the opportunity to be on this field of battle.

Little did Rembrandt van Haagen know, however, that what he thought was an inevitable truth, was to be shattered so soon. For that moment though, every man in Rembrandt’s army felt confident of victory. The first volley of missiles was unleashed, felling two ogre bulls, and every creature on the field heard their death screams. The marines set about calmly reloading their pieces, the archers took a moment extra to choose just the right arrow for the next volley. The knights’ horses snorted their frustration at being held in check, while Rembrandt judged that the time to order the charge was mere moments away.

Then, just as his confidence surged beyond anything he had felt before, Rembrandt’s expectations were shattered. From behind the Camel Riders came an awful sound, a squeeling, tortured gargle born of hungry rage. The first Gorger had emerged from the glimmering haze and bore down dangerously on the arabs.

If it had come only moments later, the creature would have found itself too far behind the galloping line of cavalry to save it’s cousins, but Rembrandt was not to be so lucky. He knew that it was close enough to tear into the rear of his knights before their charge, and that if they turned to face it then the ogres behind would do the same.

Al-Irnak was quick to act, knowing his camels could get away and still do what they had come to do. He signalled that the target was to be the Hunter and his Sabretusks and ordered the charge. Two of his noble Arabyan warriors fell to the Hunter’s massive harpoon, but the rest hit and hit hard.

The Arabyans found the courage to fight even fiercer than the Ogre Hunter and his beasts could do, plunging their lances deep into the enemies’ flesh, mortally piercing one Sabretusk. With their numbers and magical standard, the Ogre had little chance of withstanding their charge, and he fled only to be run down by the shrieking arabs.

Upon Rembrandt’s left flank none of his soldiers knew what danger their knights were in, for they had their own dangers to face. The Yhettees emerged from the rocky dunes and every man with a bow, handgun or pistol made ready to unleash everything upon the monsters before they could get any closer.

The Pistoliers, needing to get within range, moved up on the Yhettees’ flank, but everyone else just steadied themselves for the shot. Almost as one, the four regiments shot, and the rain of missiles tore the horrible creatures apart. All three Yhettees succumbed. Now the rightmost Ogre Bulls unit suddenly felt somewhat exposed, and began to wish their heavy legs could have carried them a little quicker towards the enemy knights.

On the other side of the field, just as the thunderous blast of nigh upon thirty pieces echoed through the rocky hills, Rembrandt had made a difficult decision. He ordered his knights to continue their advance on the Ogres’ main battle line, but ordered his battle standard bearer to accompany him in an effort to dispatch the ravenous Gorger lolloping up behind them. The two men could not charge the monster as they had had to turn about to face him, but they moved towards him with steely resolve.

Now another Gorger appeared to the right of the first, so that Rembrandt realised with horror that his brave gesture could well be his doom. It seemed he would have to fight two of the monstrous creatures! Nor were his own knights and those of the mercenary captain Nicco feeling very lucky either, for in the confusion caused by the appearance of the Gorger they had misjudged their advance and it was them who were charged by the Ogres rather than the other way around. All both regiments of knights could do was trust to their armour and brace themselves to receive the Ogres’ bull charge.

While the Ogre Butchers unleashed magics upon the Rangers, causing several to collapse in agony as their very bones broke inside them, Nicco’s men fought as hard as they had ever done. The mercenaries faced the Ogre Tyrant himself, and their sombre mood of the last few days was proved to be truly prescient, for Nicco was torn in two by the Tyrant’s huge curved sword, his fine armour no defence against such a sharp sword wielded by such overwhelming strength. Another knight was felled by the Bulls, but none of the mercenaries could harm their enemy. Perhaps resigned to their fate, perhaps driven by an urge for revenge, the knights refused to break and fought on.

Rembrandt’s own knights, however, proved luckier in their fight, for not only did they withstand the Ogres’ powerful charge but they broke their foe and pursued them down, their lances coloured almost to the grips with the Ogres’ lifeblood. As they cheered exultantly their young captain found himself locked in combat against the Gorger. Facing just one such creature, he and his companion found they could just about hold their own – they gave as much as they received and blood from both sides mixed as it spattered through the air. They exchanged another round of blows, and yet still could not fell their stubborn opponent, so that when the other Gorger came crashing in from the flank Rembrandt knew that had let youthful impetuousness allow him to bite off far more than he could chew. Not so the Gorgers – one of them now battered Rembrandt’s Standard Bearer to the ground, pulping man and horse as one, while the other one wrenched at Rembrandts shield, then bit his arm right off (killing blow). Rembrandt tumbled unconsciously backwards from his horse for he had no hand to clutch his reins.

Captain Rembrandt now lay in the sand, blood bubbling from the mangled stump of his arm. The Gorgers, not truly comprehending that they had killed the enemy commander, leaped over the two knight’s corpses and squealed in delight as they thought of the much better feasting they could have when they reached the Arabyan camels.

Rembrandt’s household knights and the young Sheik’s camel riders both now turned to face the enemy as best they could. On the Empire left the Pistoliers moved right around the Ogre Bulls, while the Arabyan Light Horse bravely moved up in an attempt to protect Nicco’s flank. Both these two units plus the handgunners all now fired upon the surrounded foe. Three Bulls fell, another clutched at a hole in his shoulder, and yet such was their rage that they refused to run.

In the centre Nicco’s men tried with all their might to fend off the huge warriors afore them, but they could do little to harm them. When more of them toppled to the ground, some in more than one piece, the fearsome nature of their foes finally overwhelmed them, and they turned to flee. The Tyrant roared with laughter as he and his ‘boys’ ran after the knights to smash them to the sandy earth.

This was all too much for the Arabyan Light Horse and they too fled, their flight taking them through the body of Marines so that they too turned and ran! The wizard, sitting upon his horse behind the marines, joined them to flee off the table. The Arabyan horsemen would rally to reform and ride forwards once more, but their part in the battle was pretty much ended.

Nor were these the only ones to flee at that moment, for the surviving Ogre Butcher unleashed powerful magic at the Empire Knights, once again snapping their very bones so that three rolled in noisy agony from their steeds, and the remainder galloped away to distance themselves from such horror. They too would rally a little while later, but they would find the courage to deliver one last blow at the enemy, for they now realised that their master must be lying somewhere on the field.

While the Pistoliers, Rangers and Bowmen slaughtered a Butcher and another Bull with their next volley, so that only one lone Bull remained, the two Gorgers were advancing towards the now rallied handful, of Knights and the Camel Riders.

The Camel Riders were suddenly hesitant and began to back off, unwilling to commit to more fighting that day. They failed to move far enough however, and when one of the Gorgers charged them he did indeed reach. Emboldened by their captain, they fought bravely, wounding their foe. Rembrandt’s last surviving Knights were not so lucky, however, for the other Gorger hurled into them, tore two apart and sent the last galloping away in abject terror into the desert never to be seen again.

The Pistoliers brought down the last of the Bulls on the Ogre right, while the other missile troopers shot as best they could at the Tyrants’ unit, wounding him and one of his boys. The Tyrant was no fool, and knew that if he lingered here much longer, he and his men would die before they ever reached the foe again. He ordered a withdrawal from the field and the battle was over.

(Minor Victory: 301 VP to the Empire in a 2,000 pt game, i.e. by 2 VP!)
[Ed. now that's what I call cutting it close !]
As the Ogres disappeared into the gloom of the evening, the young Arabyan captain scoured the field to find his fallen commander. When he did he almost turned away from the bloody, mangled ruins of Rembrandt’s body, but something made him stoop down to speak a word of farewell. To his surprise Rembrandt answered him.

He whispered quietly, so weak it had to be repeated,

“Not dead yet. Take me back to Al Hadok.”

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