Monday, March 18, 2019

Battle Report: Operation Hemlock- Aeronautica Imperialis

You may recall, I first got startedin wargame design because I really enjoyed playing in some of the old GW online campaigns. I had fond memories of playing in the Eye of Terror campaign and the Medusa V campaign. Some friends and I tried a small scale community campaign called the Battle forAmmoriss. It was mildly successful and I had a lot of fun with it.

I had created a follow-up mini-campaign called Operation: Hemlock set on the same world as a follow-up to the Battle for Ammoriss campaign. It is kind of hokey, but I want to set most of my sci-fi games this year into this Operation: Hemlock setting. I never really got to use it as a mini-campaign so I might as well use it as a back drop for some gaming! I honestly do not think it is the best campaign document I have done. I have plenty more other, cooler ones for the Airspace Online campaigns for Aeronautica Imperialis. Maybe I will revisit one of those planets some other time.

So, here is some of the game systems I will probably be using and setting in Operation: Hemlock coming up:

As you can see, I plan on playing a diverse set of games to fit into this setting beyond just GW systems. I really just wanted a bit of a placeholder for my games and to give me some context for what story I was working on this year. I might play all of these, or I might play none of these. We will see what my family and group want to play and do.

Anyway, without further ado, here is my first Operation: Hemlock related battle report....

As part of Operation: Hemlock the Imperial authorities launched a three pronged offensive to eliminate the ork threat on Ammoriss once and for all. As part of Taskforce: Chalice the Ammoriss Air PDF and Imperial Navy was tasked with gaining and maintaining air superiority for the campaign in and around the Deff Islands. Commodore Miles of the Imperial Navy was placed in overall command of the operation.

The Deff Islands were a many miles away from the nearest PDF airbases in North Ammoriss. Therefore, Commodore Miles established a number of small Forward Operating Bases closer to the target area, mostly on abandoned or commandeered drill rigs. There he planned to use the larger assets of the Ammoriss Air PDF to spearhead patrols and operations in the approaches to the Deff Islands to isolate them geographically and eliminate the threat of other refugee orks from migrating to the Skarbash's aid.

In addition, he organized a number of reconnaissance incursion into Ork held airspace. The purpose of these missions was to try to locate and fix the Ork air defense and airbase network on the islands. Again, the larger air assets of the Ammoriss Air PDF were used while the Imperial Navy assets were held in reserve.

This is one such reconnaissance mission attempting to penetrate to the Green Zone on Ammoriss.


Ammoriss Air PDF
2 Sentinel Interceptors
2 Storm Interceptors
1 Watchman

Snaz Boomgobz Air Boyz
4 Ork Fighters

Today's mission will be the flight of the Vigilante. The Watchman will attempt to make it across the board without getting shot down by the Ork aircraft. If it survives then the mission is a success for the PDF, if it is shotdown the Orks win. This is a mission and the PDF forces are from the Airspace Rules Compilation.

The Watchman is coming in at high speed and medium altitude, with its escort squadrons on either sides of it at similar speeds and heights.

The orks are split into two groups who are deployed at both table corners. They are both high and mid-speed.

Turn 1:
Initiative: PDF

The Imperial aircraft start to shift tot eh right, while the Ork aircraft move towards the middle and drop altitude.


Turn 2:
Initiative: PDF

The Watchman and the Storms stay around Altitude 4 to 5 and head right again and Fighta 1 and 2 seem to be tracking with them. Meanwhile, the Sentinels go high and the Ork fightas facing them dive to the hard deck. They will both have a hard time getting into the action later.


Turn 3:
Initiative: Orks

The Ork fightas near the deck do a hard G-turn and gain altitude in exchange for speed and head for the bulk of the PDF aircraft. The sentinels do something similar but stay at the same height. The Watchman continues to gain altitude to avoid the Ork fighters, but they are closing in and have slipped behind the escort screen.

Fighta 4 opens up on Storm 2 and riddles the airframe with Big Shoota fire. It is our first kill of the day, and the pilot fails to eject in time to survive.

Turn 4:
Initiative: Orks

The orks all turn into the expected path of the Watchman, but the PDF plane is even slower than they expected, and they just barely overshoot and leave it out of range. However, Storm 1 is out of position, and the Sentinels have sub-optimal firing arcs.

Ork Fighta one whiffs gently and sprays Big Shoota rounds right through Sentinel two, easily knocking the plane from the sky, Another PDF pilot goes to their grave!

In return, Sentinel 1 manages to scratch what passes for paint on Fighta 3, and the Watchman misses Fighta 1 with her heavy stubbers.

Turn 5:
Initiative: Orks

The Storm and Sentinel try desperately to set-up some kill-zones behind the Watchman to deter an attack, but the Orks are all over the PDF planes. Fighta 1 easily drops into a tailing position on the Watchman.

Fighta 3 sprays Storm 1 and close range, but somehow the PDF plane flies through it unharmed.

The watchman fires on its pursuer, but fails to hit anything. Meanwhile, Fighta 1 lazily takes 1 hit off the big bird.

The return fire from Storm 1 is enough to splash Ork Fighta 3! The Ork fails to eject and is killed.

Turn 6:
Initiative: Orks

Tailing Fire:
The Tailing Fire from Fighta 1 is enough to take down the Watchman plane. However,t eh crew is able to bail out and live to fight another day!

With the Watchman down, the rest of the PDF simply disengage. The orks give a half-hearted pursuit until the reach the end of their fuel and return home.


Commodore Miles' strategy proved to be very costly in blood and iron. The Air PDF crews and aircraft were ill-prepared for the mission against the Ork stronghold most of the reconaissance craft never returned. Very little was learned from the effort. Instead, Commodore Miles turned to other methods to try to learn about what was happening in the Green Zone.

Worse, a rift began to form between the Ammoriss Air PDF crews and their Imperial Navy counter-parts. It was not lost on them that the Navy fliers had been held back, while the Air PDF did the dying for the past few days. In addition, Commodore Miles instituted a new, rigorous re-training program overseen by the Imperial Navy crews. This was another factor that only increased the rift between the two services as Operation: Hemlock was kicked off.

It has been a while since we played Aeronautica Imperialis. I think the last time was a mini-campaign early in 2018 with Varingyr vs. Orks? Well, my usual scumgrod took the Orks and the proceeded to take me to school.

I had just sculpted and painted the PDF Sentinels and I really was eager to try them out. Sadly, I didn't really have a battle plan for my force, and instead it just got ill used and shot to pieces! The PDF craft are of course underpowered and fragile, but they tend to make it up with some OK firepower and being cheap as chips so I was actually outnumbering Orks. I was rolling plenty of shooting dice when I got in the right position, which was not often enough this game. I couldn't really tell you how the Sentinel did, but the Storm proved itself to be a good close range gunslinger yet again.

Better luck for the PDF next time I guess.

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