Evacuation from Spacer's Point
The sky above Spacer's Point on Perdition was suddenly lit up at midday with the horrifying light show of battle. Early warning detectors triggered too late as the dreaded Dark Eldar had managed to infiltrate past the space defense network and their cruisers suddenly opened fire on the low orbit monitoring ring.
Desperation and shock floated across the spires of Spacer's Point as the emergency klaxons sounded. No one had practiced the evacuate drills in decades. Herds of refugees scampered and scurried to safety, heedless of the peril any individual member was placed in. Suddenly, the civilian communication channels were filled with static, horrifying screams, and other ghastly sounds and images. Panic spread.
From the hangar bays of the Dark Eldar cruiser's swooped out a payload of misery. Ravens, Razorwings, Voidravens, and Slave Bringers descended on the fearful masses of Spacer's Point. There mission was simple, destroy anyone trying to flee the Hive.
Unlike the civilian's of Spacer's Point, the Planetary Defense Force reacted bravely and professionally. Air defense stations were manned, augur arrays snapped to life, interceptors were scrambled, and all commercial and non-military transports were quickly pressed into service in the evacuation. The brave pilots of Perdition's PDF rose up to meet the invading Xeno to protect the Emperor's realms and drive the foul alien from their planet.
My main gaming buddy came over and we had pre-planned a game of Aeronautica Imperialis! He liked the look of the new Razorwings I had made and wanted to give them a try, so he took command of the Dark Eldar. I had put together a suitable scenario prior to the battle, so when he showed up everything was ready to go. Game on!
In the center of the board is a tall spire. There is a circular landing platform that rings the spire at level 2, and a series of smaller platforms at level 4. The Spire climbs above altitude 9. Arvus and Argus Transports are placed on these pads, for a total of 7 transport points. 2 Hydra platforms also defend the spire.
At the corners of the board are other spires of various heights. Each level of styrofoam counts as two heights bars. If an aircraft comes in contact with spire, but is not at or higher than the altitude, of the spire it is considered to have crashed. The spire in the South East corner also had a Hydra and Blitzen gun emplacement at level 2 and 4 respectively.
The Transports start on the center hive, but can not take off until they make a successful Reserves role starting turn 2.
The Dark Eldar were at high speed and level with their targets. They seemed to be split between a force of two Ravens and a Razorwing heading south, and a Raven and a Razorwing heading North.
The PDF were in a clump moving at mid-range and speed. They did not seem to have decided on a course of action, or were waiting for the Xeno attack to develop before committing.
Initiative= Dark Eldar
The Dark Eldar race towards their objectives. Raven 1 and 2 team up with Razorwing 1 and head to the North side, while the remaining Dark Eldar craft head towards the South side.
The PDF Defenders stay together as they approach from the East, they are still trying to determine the best attack angle.
Raven 1 finds a Hydra weapon platform ahead of him and in medium range, where he has a good chance of destroying it. He activates his weapons and fires! His Dark Lance beams straight through the defense platform and lights off its stored ammo, the Hydra explodes spectacularly.
The Hydra on the South side takes aim at Raven 3 and opens fire. Its shots spray the area the Raven is in, but fails to take down the fighter.
The other DE opt to not make desperate long range shots at their targets yet. The PDF have no other shots.
None of the transports are ready to take off!
The Lightnings circle around the central hive and blast over its upper launch decks, they are intent on diving in on the Razorwing2, which is bearing down fast on the Hydra defense platform. Meanwhile, Raven 3 skims the lower landing pad and is almost on top of the Arvus waiting to load refugees.
The Sentry move to engage the Dark Eldar on the North side of the tower. It looks like the Dark Eldar are willing to oblige and move to strike head-to-head!
The crew of the Hydra platform realize that Razorwing 2 is almost on top of them and spray the sky with bullets, but none find a mark.
The Razorwing returns the favor, and a storm of firepower blasts the Hydra into next week.
The Lightnings dive in on Razorwing 2, and Lightning 2 fires everything it has at the xeno craft, but the pilots aim goes wide, tearing up the hive below. His wingman does little better as his shots fail to cause any damage on the Xeno craft.
Raven 3 fires on the Arvus parked in front of it. The Dark Lance beam skims across the paint leaving a deep black gouge, while splinters tear into the side wing. The Arvus begins to leak fluids, but still seems capable of flying!
To the North, Raven 1 targets in on Sentry 2. However, his shots miss their mark as the Imperial pilot jinks wildly. His wingman in Raven 1 also fired on Sentry 2, but his shots bounced harmlessly off the fighters durable frame. Sentry 2's auto-cannon chatters in return, and a line of tracers blast Raven 2 from the sky! However, the alien pilot escapes his craft's destruction.
Sentry 3 goes weapon's hot and fires on Razorwing 1. A Skystrike missile flies free, but flies just under the alien fighter-bomber. Sentry 1 fires on Raven 1 but fails to hit anything.
Razorwing 1 unloads a barrage of firepower on the powering up Argus Transport plane. A shatterfield missile turns the craft into a smoking ruin!
Initiative= Dark Eldar
Reserves: Arvus 2 and Argus 2 both are at capacity and ready to launch!
The Dark Eldar on the South side try to stay close to the hive and circle around it. However, their plan is spoiled as Arvus 2 and Argus 2 take-off from their landing pads. The Lightnings wing over and give chase.
To the North, Razorwing 1 turns into towards Arvus 3 and closes in for the kill. However, it picks up a trail of Sentry fighters, and Raven 1 moves to intercept them.
Razorwing 1 fires on the grounded Arvus 3. Refugees are thrown from the platform as the Arvus explodes in a huge fireball, reigning debris down on those still on the platform!
Lightning 1 sees Razorwing 2 angling in on the refugee laden and fleeing Arvus 2. The pilot picks up a tone for weapon's lock and opens fire. A huge explosion engulfs the Razorwing fromt eh detonating skystrike. However, surrounded by a flickering black nimbus, the Razorwing flies on; but trailing smoke.
Razorwing 2 fires on the Arvus and easily blows it out of the sky. Lightning 2 fires on the Razorwing at long range, but misses. The Hydra also misses at long range.
Raven 1 fires on Sentry 3, his Dark Lance cuts the poor Sentry in half. The PDF pilot plummets to the ground with his shattered plane. The comm-links filled with his terrified screams.
Sentry 1 and 2 open fire on Razorwing 1, but fail to find their targets. Sentry 4's only Skystrike reaches out and explodes around Raven 1, but those accursed shadow fields save it from destruction.
Initiative= Dark Eldar
Reserves: Only Arvus 1 is left, and it is damaged. However, it fails to activate.
Sentry 1 and 2 fail to hit Razorwing 1 with Tailing Fire.
All the Dark Eldar move to chase the fleeing Argus, and the PDF follow them.
Razorwing 1 goes weapons hot against the Argus that is just in medium range. The Splinter cannons just pepper the fuselgae moments before the Dark Lance cores its way straight through the center of the transport plane. The Argus explodes in mid-air, killing all the refugees on board.
Lightning 1 fires on Raven 3, but fails damage the xeno craft.
Raven 1 fires on Sentry 2, but fails to hit the jinking fighter.
Sentry 1, 2, and 3 fire on Razorwing 1. They also fail to cause damage. Out of ammo, Sentry 1 and 2 prepare to try to disengage.
Raven 3 takes a long range snap shot at the Blitzen AA gun. He hits it and the gun platform detonates from extra damage.
The last AA platform, a Hydra takes a long range shot at Razorwing 2 and the shadow field absorbs the hit but flickers out. Lignthing 2 fires his auto-cannons and las-cannons at the same craft. The Las-cannons strike home and bore through the bombers engines. This sends the Dark Eldar craft plunging to the ground on fire. The dread pilots managing to escape before impact.
Reserves: The damaged Arvus 1 activates!
Raven 1 fires on Sentry 2 with the last of his ammo. The PDF plane goes into a long slow dive, but the pilot ejects safely.
Razorwing 1 circles back towards Arvus 1 while it tries to take off. Raven 3 swing out wide to strafe the Hydra. Meanwhile, Lightning 1 and 2 half loop back towards the Arvus. Sentry 4 circles in and tries to get behind Razorwing 1. Raven 1 and Sentry 1 attempt to disengage.
Sentry 4 targets Raven 3 and fires away with his auto-cannon. The shells stitch themselves along the side of the fuselage and bring the Xeno plane down! Caught by surprise, the pilot fails to bail out, and crashes with his plane into the hive spire.
Knowing he will need to disengage, Razorwing 1 makes a desperate snap shot at the Arvus with his Dark Lance, but misses.
The Hydra misses the Razorwing as well.
Turn 6: Disengagement Turn
Initiative= Dark Eldar
Raven 1 and Sentry 1Disengages successfully.
The Razorwing turns into towards the Arvus, but it just scoots out of range beyond the alien attacker.
The Lightnings and the Sentry turn towards the Razorwing. Lightning 2 strays in front of the fleeing alien, while Lightning 1 closes in for a kill. The Sentry is out of position.
The splinter cannons stitch small holes all across the fuselage of Lightning 2, but the shots fail to find a mark.
In return, Lightning 1 opens fire on the side of the Razorwing. The auto-cannon strikes deep and causes the Razorwing ot blow smoke. However, it isn't enough to down the craft.
With that, the game ends!
What a blood bath! In this scenario, the attacker earned +10 for each point of Transport destroyed and the defender earned +10 for each point that survived. These points would be the difference.
VP Imperials = 78 for destroyed craft, 15 damaged, +10 for Tranports= 103
VP Dark Eldar= 52 Destroyed Aircraft, 18 AA Destroyed, +50 for Destroyed Transports= 120
Decisive win for the Dark Eldar!
I think the mission was pretty fun, and using the “Reserves” rules before they can take off adds a nice element of suspense. Also the various heights of the targets made for some interesting strafing runs and ground attacks. I wonder how it would go down against other enemies rather than the fast moving Dark Eldar? I actually thought the scenario was fairly well-balanced. If I get time, maybe I'll make an "official" version of Rules Compendium?
As for aircraft performance, the lone auto-cannon is rather poor weapon for dog fighting. It just doesn't have the rate of fire or the hitting power. Considering that is the main weapon of the Sentry and the Lightning, well that meant the Imperials had underwhelming firepower. However, since the Dark Eldar targets were pretty obvious that made things easier. I didn't feel completely outclassed by the Dark Eldar using the PDF.