Friday, March 17, 2017

Aeronautica Imperialis- Battle Report- Dawn Raid on the Saint's Triumphant Span

After the fall of Spacer's Point, the Dark Eldar raid on Perdition continued. Urgent calls for aid rang out across the void. However, until reinforcements responded, it was up to the Perdition PDF to fend off the xeno raiders and protect the loyal citizens of Perdition.

Reports came in from all across the planet of alien raiders appearing as if from thin air to attack civilian centers. The lucky ones were killed screaming in agony from the Dark Eldar slaver's exotic wargear, while the unlucky were hauled back into the blackest shadows from whence the aliens came.

Dark Eldar raiders appeared inside St. Drucker's hive. The local PDF troops immediately set-up a cordon across the Saint's Triumphant Span to keep the aliens from entering the St. Crozian Hive spire. However, to isolate them to the opposite side of the bridge, the local PDF called for an air strike to destroy the Saint's Triumphant Span to contain the menace.

In the darkness of the Perdition night, local PDF air assets were scrambled to the Saint Triumphant Span. As they approached, their chronometers alerted them to the coming sunrise. In addition, their ground controllers reported erratic augur readings moving to intercept. The pilots of the mission could only assume the worst, Dark Eldar aircraft were inbound. Each pilot was left in radio silence to make peace with the God-Emperor as the target areas zoomed into view.

This will be the second air battle between my PDF and my main gaming buddy using the Dark Eldar. He beat me last time, but this time I'm the one on the attack. Let's see if that changes anything. 

On the Dark Eldar part of the board we set-up a couple of spires linked by a long metal bridge. We decided that the bridge had 4 hits. Like our previous battle, each layer of the spire counted as two height. If you were not going the same height or higher when you touched a spire the plane was considered to have crashed. This meant the Span itself was at Altitude 2. There were a few other spires of various heights on the approach, so this was going to require some fancy flying and forethought.

To make things one more level of complicated, we decided this was a dawn raid, and would be fought under night fighting conditions until a reserves roll was successfully made by the Dark Eldar. Once a successful Reserves roll was made, the sun would have come up and removed the night fighting rules. 

The PDF were:

4 Sentry fighters with Skystrike Missiles
2 Lightning Strikes with Hellstrikes and IR targeting
2 PDF Skyhammers with Rocket Pods

The Dark Eldar were:

3 Ravens
2 Razorwings with Drainleech Missiles

The Dark Eldar came in on their board edge in a big clump. The Razorwings were in trailing positions and at mid-altitude and speed. The Ravens were leading the way at full speed and high altitude. 

The PDF had their fighters in the middle grouped together, they were also moving at full speed and high altitude. The Fighter-Bombers were to the edge over the river, and moving at full-speed at mid-altitudes. They looked like they wanted to follow the river to the target zone. 

Turn 1

Initiative: Dark Eldar
Reserves: Still Dark

The Raven fighters race forward and blast over the span at high altitude. The Imperials don't try to match altitude, but the PDF's Sentry Interceptors move forward at staggered heights to meet them. The Razorwings move in slower and at mid-altitude. The PDF Lightning Strikes move forward to follow the river, and the Skyhammers swing in behind them. 


Turn 2

Initiative: Dark Eldar
Reserves: Still Dark

The Ravens slow down and fan out over the central building by side-slipping. They cast a large net trying to catch the PDF fighters no matter where they go. For their part, the PDF break to the far side of the board. 

Meanwhile, the bombing element continues to follow the river, and begin to set-up their attack runs. The Razorwings move to intercept, but Razorwing 1 flies himself into a bit of a pickle, while Razorwing 2 vectors in on an attack course. 

Caught off guard by the PDF maneuvers, Raven 3 realizes that Sentry 2 and 3 are closing in on him. However, Sentry 4 also buzzes by and he takes a snapshot at the Imperial flyer, but his shots were a second too slow. 

Sentry 3 finds Raven 3 in optimal range,and lets fly with his Auto-cannon and Skystrike. The missile flies just wide as the Raven juke, but the auto-cannons stitch a trail across the delicate plane's fuselage. The Dark Eldar pilot ejects as his plane disintegrates around him and plummets into the Hive below. A cheer reaches out across the PDF's vox-net. 

No other shooting occurs. 

Turn 3

Initiative: Dark Eldar
Reserves: Still Dark

The PDF Interceptors swing back towards the target area. Sentry 1 and 2 stay high, while 3 and 4 move to a mid-range and get ready to cover the strike fighters. Meanwhile Raven 1 spirals back to chase the interceptors and Raven 2 spirals around to try and get the drop on the strike package. 

Meanwhile, the Strike fighters of the PDF get in close with the Razorwings. The Lightning Strike fighters power dive past the Dark Eldar defenders while the Skyhammers turn and move in very close to the Dark Eldar. 


Despite the darkness, Razorwing 2 has a quick shot at Skyhammer 2 at close range as the two aircraft race by each other. The Dark Eldar's fast reflexes allow him to fire, but the altitude difference throws off his aim, and he misses. 

Skyhammer 2's pilot sees the muzzle flash in the pre-dawn sky and instinctively returns fire at the passing Razorwing. The primitive fighters dual Auto-cannons and Heavy Bolters fill the sky with lead. Several lucky shots blast through the canopy of the Razorwing, and kill the pilot outright. His aircraft slowly drops altitude and crashes into the river below. 

Raven 1 uses his advanced sensors to detect Sentry 3 ahead of him in the darkness, and on instinct fires at him. His aim was true, and his Dark Lance burns straight through the Sentry's tail. However, the durable design of the PDF craft allows it to keep flying. 

Skyhammer 2 sees the distinctive shadow of a Dark Eldar Razorwing scurry past him, and he tries to snag it with his weapons. His Heavy Bolters find their mark, but fail to find a weak spot in the enemy plane. 

The Lightning Strikes moved in on the bridge; their primary objective. Their IR targeting gave them a clean view of the target. However, neither was at optimum altitude. Fearing they wouldn't get another chance at this, they took aim and fired. The missiles arced out leaving a trail of fire. All of the Hellstrike missiles found their mark. Their detonations temporarily illuminated the night sky. The Saint's Triumphant Span groaned under the impacts, then slowly began to fall into the river below. 

A ragged cheer went up across the PDF's vox-net. 

Turn 4- Disengagement Turn

Initiative: Imperial
Reserves: Still Dark

Things get pretty crowded in the gap between the two hives. The Ravens try to swoop in and gain vengeance by shooting down any PDF stragglers. The bombing section tries to power through, and Lightning 1 has to gain speed to cross over the Span's central support. This causes him to slow down and put him in the kill zone of Raven 1. 

Meanwhile, the Sentry Interceptors try to swing in and protect the fleeing Strike Package, but don't have the proper angle. They over fly most of the targets, and fail to get into attack position. 

Raven 1 opens fire on Lightning 1 as it climbs in front of the Dark Eldar Fighter. The Dark Lance flies wide of the mark, and the splinter cannons pepper the area around the Imperial craft, but fail to find a weak spot. 

No other shooting is available. With that, the game ends. 


Victory for the PDF! Not only did they destroy the primary objective, they managed to splash 2 Dark Eldar craft for no loses! So, what went right and wrong? 

For my part with the PDF, the split approach seemed to work really well. I thought I was telegraphing my attack plan early with my deployment, but it didn't seem to matter this time. In hindsight, my opponent should have concentrated on the strike package of Lightning Strikes and Skyhammers. Those craft can be hard to kill as they have 2 hits each. 

He spread his interceptors out wide, and I think he was expecting me to go head-to-head with him using my interceptors. It was tempting, but I veered away and tried to bypass the majority of his firepower. After that, he never really managed to get decisive firepower on me again. 

In all fairness though, things did not go well for my Dark Eldar opponent. He couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, and the one decisive hit he did get was ignored due to a durable save. Plus, Razorwing 1 was flying really poorly due to one misjudged maneuver. For my part, I was really lucky, with almost all key shots going my way. The most important being the Hellstrike missile barrage on the Saint's Triumphant Span. 

That being said, it was a fun game all around. I hope you liked the Battle Report! It made me realize that I need to come up with some Dark Eldar specific wargear. I have a feeling they would have some sneaky stuff like augur bafflers, mimic engines, night viewers, etc.

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