Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command


(Under the Freedom of Information Act of 40931, a selection of reports on one of the recent wars has now been made available to the public.)

Mission Report Five, by the Leader of the Ultramarines Squad ‘DS’, during the War against the Word-Bearers of Chaos, on the Planet of Rhur III in the Forty First Millennium.

Commander, The most recent mission has been completed successfully, although there were a few minor incidents marring this otherwise enjoyable campaign.

The squad I command, five space marines and a vehicle, has been enough to complete the assigned missions so far against the chaos army, even with the unfortunate incidents today when several issues combined to almost cause the mission to fail.

The overhead view of the battlefield I use to command my squad has been the biggest issue in every mission so far, but it is only now that I have suffered casualties because of it. I understand that there are limited resources available, but being able to see the battlefield from another angle would avoid these problems. A camera mounted on my marines’ helmets would be extremely useful. The view is also very grainy and it can be difficult to make out some details, especially the brown chaos cultists standing on the brown dirt. The other map, showing where the units are on the battlefield, mitigates these problems, but it would be better if it was not a problem at all.

The first incident was early in the mission as the first wave of enemies approached my squad. Being short of time, I ordered the soldier with the plasma gun to shoot a chaos cultist from a distance without moving to a better position. I prefer my marines use more time to take a precise shot but I didn’t have the time for that. I was told that he had a line of sight to the enemy so I ordered him to shoot. Unfortunately, because I was directing which enemy to fire at, I could not see that the shot would pass close to another of my marines. The rushed shot was off target and the ball of plasma hit the other marine in the back, killing him. His sacrifice shall not be forgotten.

The second incident happened while hunting down some chaos marines in a maze of ruins. The squad had been moving slowly, so that they would have overwatch enabled and be ready to fire first if the chaos marines tried to ambush my squad. The cowards would not come out to fight, so I sent my chainsword marine to flank them and force them out, as he was more lightly equipped than the others and could move faster.

Unfortunately, one of them also had a chainsword and was able to run to my marine and attack him. I knew that chainswords were deadly in close combat and that it is safer to shoot from a distance than to risk charging the enemy with them, as it uses all their time just to get the one kill, and they are then not able to find cover before being shot by the enemy. However, I didn’t know that our marines were not trained to use them in overwatch, so when the chaos marine, armed with a chainsword, charged my marine, armed with a chainsword, my marine did not attempt to fight back, and was hacked to pieces. We shall mourn his loss.

Another marine was lost during the middle of the mission. I do not know who shot him or where his body lies. The map of the area only shows where my marines are and where the enemy is, but not what is happening. I can only watch a small area of the battlefield at a time and don’t know what is happening elsewhere. I heard a gunshot and my marine was dead. I couldn’t remember where he was, and was given no clue as to who shot him. Our force would be much more potent if the map could show who was on overwatch, who was shooting and where the shots were going. Rest in peace brave soldier, as the scavengers eat your rotting body.

Late in the mission, there were no enemies on the scanner, so I thought I’d try the new touch screen controls to practice giving the dreadnaught orders, instead of using the regular controls. I was attempting to find a suitable place for the dreadnaught to move to, when the dreadnaught walked out of cover and stopped in the middle of the open battlefield. It turns out that the new controls are very sensitive and misinterpreted my look command as a move command for the dreadnaught. This in itself wasn’t a problem. The dreadnaught is tough enough to survive an attack from a chaos marine and while the dreadnaught has a small sight range, there were no enemies in sight. Then, from beyond my range of sight, came two twin-linked lascannon shots, destroying the dreadnaught. Shocked, I moved up a marine to see what had destroyed my dreadnaught. It was a chaos tank, a Land Raider I believe. The marine hit it with his lascannon twice and hid in cover to act as a spotter for my plasma gun marine, who was a long way off. He hit it with his plasma gun several times and took cover. The tank responded by destroying the wall my lascannon marine was crouching behind and due the large size of the tank, was able to shoot over the pile of rubble and killed the marine.

This left me with just the plasma gun marine, who’s involvement in the mission had been so far was best described as poor. It’s clear now he just needed the right motivation to inspire the hero in him. He cleared the battlefield and demonstrated just how powerful the plasma gun was. It is explosive and was able to take out three cultist in one shot, by destroying the wall they were hiding behind, and then them. It was also strong enough to destroy the enemy tank, although it took some time, and my marine made sure to keep at least two walls between himself and the tank. He was also lucky that I had learnt my lesson from the previous mission, and had sufficient ammunition. I had been skimping on ammunition, so that the marines would not weighed down and be able to move faster. Last mission they ran out of ammunition for their heavy weapons and I was forced to rely on their weak bolters to finish the job. They were able to move faster when they dropped their ammo-less heavy weapons though.

My last marine survived and destroyed the last chaos marine. I know it is Ultramarine policy that all marines are the same and that it is following orders, not experience which wins wars, so no one gets individual recognition. That’s why the battle report only lists how many enemies were killed and not who killed them. Still I think we should give him a medal or an award to recognise his bravery. At least we could ask him what his name is.

Mission Report Ten, by the Leader of the Ultramarines Squad ‘DS’, during the War against the Word-Bearers of Chaos, on the Planet of Rhur III in the Forty First Millennium.

Commander, I’m pleased to report that the campaign is going to plan. All the missions I have been assigned have been completed and I’m told the heretic and all associated with him shall soon be cleansed with fire. Achieving our aims is of course our top priority — I have no qualms with that — but I have some concerns about my squad’s role here. It’s just that my squad were called upon because we were told our skills would be essential in bringing the traitor to justice. All we’ve done is fight small skirmishes in ruined towns. I’ve only seen several dozen cultists and some chaos marines. I’m sure it has aided the war effort, but my men are disappointed in not being allowed to aid in a more pivotal role. Surely you don’t need a decorated veteran like myself for these routine clean up missions. I hope when the final battle comes, my men and I will be allowed to the opportunity to win the glory we desire.

When that happens, we would like to call bagsies on the Land Raider. When we were assigned Land Raider as our support vehicle, we had no trouble blasting our way through the battlefield to victory. As the final battle should be the most difficult, we request the use of that tank for that mission. No doubt it is a popular vehicle, so we have to share the few that we have, instead of using it every mission like we want.

The Land Raider is ideal for this battlefield. Its twin linked lascannons can fire quick enough and are powerful enough that the easiest way to kill the enemy is to destroy the buildings they are hiding in. The lack of civilians means no collateral damage, and most of the buildings are already in ruins, so they are easily and satisfyingly removed.

Once the buildings are cleared from the battlefield, it is easy to spot the enemy and exterminate them. This does have the disadvantage of leaving us with no cover as we advance and we had some trouble when the chaos forces received unexpected reinforcements, but chaos does not seem to be intelligent enough to take advantage of that fact. They prefer to hide in buildings until we flush them out.

Their preferred tactic is to guard the entrance to their building and use overwatch, so that if we were to walk into their range of fire they would fire at us before we could fire at them. This is negated by our levelling-the-battlefield tactic. Conversely, they will walk right into our overwatch fire and die, or loiter just out of range until we flank them. This rarely happened though, as in most cases the enemy was killed as soon as they appeared on our radar

My other concern is the repetitive nature of our missions. War fatigue is an important issue in today’s army and variety is important to keep the troops alert. We’ve fought on many battlefields, each on a new and exciting shade of brown, and even one with snow. That’s enough variation for me. My problem is with the mission goals. It is always to kill all the enemy. Once we had to get a strategic point, or kill all the enemy. The enemy were all standing between us the our destination so we had to kill them all anyway. There was one other mission in which we had to survive until we were evacuated, or kill all the enemy. As there were not many chaos forces nearby, we killed all the enemy because it was faster than waiting.

This campaign has been an enjojable skirmish so far but it is more routine and straightforward than I was expecting. I hope to experience more dynamic and interesting combat before the end of the war.

Mission Report Fifteen, by the Leader of the Ultramarines Squad ‘DS’, during the War against the Word-Bearers of Chaos, on the Planet of Rhur III in the Forty First Millennium.

Commander, The campaign has been successfully concluded. We killed the heretic before he could summon a Greater Daemon from the warp. I personally would have like to fight the Greater Daemon, but I was told that it would be against our Health and Safety in the Workplace policy. That’s not the only problem I’ve had with this campaign.

The final battle was anti-climatic. I did lose a marine to the two large spider robots guarding the traitor during his summoning, but they were no match for my all-purpose tactic of sitting back and shelling the entire area with explosive weapons to remove cover and kill the chaos forces. Destroying the buildings means my units can shoot anywhere on the battlefield, provided there is a marine up ahead to act as a spotter. By not moving, they can get at least two accurate shots off before the enemy can do anything. An entire squad is easily able to take out a giant spider robot before it can do anything, especially if they are all armed with plasma guns. They are slightly weaker than the missile launchers and lascannon, but are much faster firing than the former and are explosive, unlike the latter.

All of those are safer than using the short-range weapons. The chainsword and powerfist, while they have a visceral appeal, are only good for hunting down the last hiding enemy. The shotgun can take out a group of enemies close together, but because of its wide range and the explosive barrels littering the battlefield, it is difficult to use without killing the marine.

The choice of primary weapons assigned to each soldier puzzles me. Why give them the weak and inaccurate bolter? I only used the more powerful secondary weapons, and despite the variety of options, usually just the plasma gun. Perhaps the marines could be equipped with plasma guns by as their primary weapon, as this would make them more effective.

I was frankly disappointed with the performance of the much vaunted terminators. Their only advantage over regular marines was that their increased toughness allowed them withstand an attack from the small daemons, but they weren’t allowed to use plasma guns.

There’s also disappointment about the mission briefings. We were promised state of the art, “cinematically-linked” mission briefings yet all we get are two sentences about the mission and a small irrelevant picture. I’ve heard that Squad ‘PSP’ were shown videos with voice overs before each mission. And perhaps a little more information into how our mission fits into the scheme of things. For most of the war, we were sent on missions with no idea of how critical our missions were or how the rest of the war was going.

Your running of this campaign has been adequate. However, I expected a lot more of you. This was basic straightforward set of missions. With your background, I hope that the next war we fight is more inventive and interesting. What’s the point of living the forty-first millennium if all we do is fight boring wars?

Oh, and thanks for not letting me use the Land Raider in the final mission. Was there something more important for it to be doing than preventing the emergence of a Greater Daemon?


2 Responses to “Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command”

  1. Overwatch close combat? N00b.

    Awesome review. I never liked Space Marines, though, I’ve no sympathy for you at all. I hope the sequels allow you to play more sensible races.

  2. It’s not so much that I want overwatch in close combat, rather that there are no close combat rules. It seems odd for them to stand there while they are struck down.

    A sequel could be excellent. The game is fun to play and with the right improvements, it could be a fantastic game.