On a pleasant day in February, I travelled to the wilds outside London to a small settlement known to its inhabitants as "Reading". (Pronounced as if it were spelled "Redding" for anyone not native to these shores.) My 'regular' Space Wolf opponent Paul had recently moved house, and wanted to show off his nice new gaming space.
The kitchen table was an excellent space, with room still to sort out food during the break.
We were playing a 1,500 point game (6th edition), and this is what I was facing - a lot of Grey Hunters and Dreadnoughts in drop pods, with a Vindicator and a Whirlwind to deal with.
Now, I'd gone really light on my basic infantry this game - with just a 20 man infantry platoon and my Veterans squad - no conscripts today! Given the worry about drop podding Marines, I set up a defensive perimeter on one flank - this involves carefully spacing infantry around the tanks to provide a shield against anti tank (particularly melta) getting up close to the tanks, and forcing the pods to come down further away.
Meanwhile, right at the far end of the field, I left my Manticore - this was to put Paul in a dilemma - he could easily put a Drop Pod down onto the Manticore and wreck it, but he'd then have a squad or dreadnought effectively out of the rest of the game as it was so far away from anything else. You can also see the Whirlwind and the Vindicator parked up neatly out of sight.
I decided to infiltrate my Storm Troopers. One squad took the flank in cover a distance from the Whirlwind, with a brief to run over and blow it to pieces.
The other Storm Trooper squad went and sat on one of the two objectives (both were on my right flank - the other is up past the barricade). They couldn't hold it, but it would cause problems for Drop Pod folk walking right in and claiming it.
And five Ratling snipers went and sat on some awkward bunker battlements in such a way as to cause grief to most of the battlefield until rooted out.
The first Drop Pods came down, and it was apparent it was going to get ugly fast.
The left flank Storm Troopers got pinned down by the Whirlwind, taking some casualties.
Some of the Space Wolves tried to deal with the Demolisher, and failed, while the Dreadnought and the others nearly annihilated the Storm Troopers, leaving the sergeant to flee into them.
The Manticore had a stellar shooting phase, turning the Vindicator into a crater, and seriously damaging the Drop Pod and Dreadnought.
The return fire from the Guard platoon was relatively effective, causing the Grey Hunters some significant casualties.
But it quickly became apparent from the reinforcements that this was going to go poorly for the Guard.
The firing was brutal...
And the squads that had arrived the previous turn charged into the tanks to get their revenge.
And the Demolisher was down! Fortunately, with only four Grey Hunters left to to assault the Chimera, it managed to just cling on for another turn.
The Ratlings did manage to distract an awful lot of Space Wolves...
The command HQ were rudely removed from the Chimera.
But they were clearly not long for this world.
The Ratlings didn't make it.
The Valkyrie and the Command Squad finally arrived from reserves.
But while the melta guns of the Command Squad took a harsh toll on the Wolf Guard Terminators, revenge was swiftly had.
The battlefield was swarming with Grey Hunters now, and I had few forces left on the board.
The isolated Storm Troopers had not done well with their uneven duel with the Whirlwind.
As the game drew to a close, I had my Veterans make a play to claim one of the objectives.
And while the short ranged firepower was enough to wreck the squad and even forced them to flee, it wasn't enough, and the field was lost to the Space Wolves.