Defending the Minos crossing was actually quite challenging! It was the first time the orks gave me some real opposition. The early stages (up to around turn 10 or so) were easy enough - contain the orks along a narrow armored front, hammer from a distance, repeat - but once they started fielding super-heavies and other nastiness things became more complicated. The VH difficulty also started to have a real effect - rather than just providing my men with more XP opportunities - as a Str 3 Skullhammer is MUCH harder to deal with than a Str 2! And those pesky Deff Koptas can be a REAL danger as 2-3 units times Str 9!
My unit purchases were sound I think. The Demolishers were very disappointing in terms of damage output (doing less then half damage vs Inf compared to one of my vet Salamanaders), but they did their job: soak up enemy fire. Note how they soldiered through the scenario, taking only 1 hit each! The top tank took hits from the Skullhammer before dropping to Str 4! The lower one got an early damage point, and was nearly brought down to Str 3 by a Deff Kopta.
The only alternative to the Demolisher would by the Russ (armor upgrade), but it has even worse weapons vs Inf. It costs 25 pts less (50 total for 2 tanks) and is better vs armor. Maybe it would have been a better choice, since my tanks were doing little damage vs Inf. If I were to play again I might try this approach.
My setup was sound. The first ork charge fell short of my lines, allowing me to mop them up without taking much damage.
The advance to the forward river was also well executed, using the mountains to shield my troops.
For a time I was worried I might not reach the river in time, but the God-Emperor guided me and I made it.
The bottling operations went as planned, slowing the advance for several turns and killing lots of quality ork inf.
The fallback operation went more or less as planned, but my limited counteroffensives up north were ultimately ill-conceived. Yes, I got a lot of kills, and by the end of the scenario there was no credible ork threat anywhere, but it cost me precious armored units points. Not a whole lot, but I could have avoided damage to my Russ and my Medusa if I had retreated a tad bit faster.
Overall an acceptable job by Commander Maximus, but with room for improvement: he can't afford these little errors of judgement, his command must be flawless if he's to win this war.
My tank force is in desperate need of an upgrade. I would really like to turn them into upgraded Annihilators - but it's a whooping 550 points for both of them; quite a bit when you have ZERO Requisition!!!
The God-Emperor provides, however, buy changing my infantry around some, and turning BOTH Basilisks into Medusas (200 points there, I take the Armageddon pattern).
Relatedly: there are four tanks with dozer blades, but only one gets the improved movement type? Intentional or not?
I deploy rather spread out, but will gather together quickly, over around the top and link up with Steel Hammer.
My plan is to link up...so why no just kill those pesky buggies and move along the top of the map?
I'm off to a good start I think.
On the ork turn a buggy races up the road, runs into my Conscript Chimera, gets ravaged by the mortar, and finished off by the Chimera's guns. Further upĂĄ the line the ork mechs walk up to my tanks...and shoot some unsuspecting ratlings having lunch behind the hills.
This goes to show the AWESOME power of vet mortars; the combination range, indirect, RoF and no range penalty makes it the bestest inf killer. Maximus' considers sending a stern letter to Holy Terra: why doesn't the Astartes have something similar!?
More orks that need killing. I move up my Arma Medusas - they fire at the battlewagon with awesome results. Range 4, Str 90 + Pen, RoF 3 gun works really well.
I concentrate my fire on the mechs.
Near the end of turn 2 I've wiped out (more or less) the first orky line of green. Note the 1 Str damage on Maximus' unit. He got it charging some ork rabble.
The next turn is spent wiping out the orks: the titan, salamanders, mortars, snipers, medusas, chimera guns...no return shots were fired that turn.
Now that we're together we can plan the march south.
I'll march down through the urban area, taking care to use the buildings the screen me from surprise attacks from the eastern quarter (there are none, but it's a sound tactic). I also keep well clear of the river - I don't want to draw the attention of any ork spotters on the other bank.
The ork units in the buildings/trenches/in between the buildings are utterly unable to resist my advance. My long-range rapid-fire mechanized force wipe them out without a single shot being fire in return.
This is as far as we go together Princeps. It's been an honor to serve in your titan's shadow.
Pulling back north, using the buildings for cover. Sure got out in time.
Steel Hammer marches to it's glorious doom - I get this:
If this was a victory it sure felt hollow. By far my easiest 'win' since the Jaxxon days. Total losses: 2 ratlings, 1 staff aide.
Musings: this scenario feels a little unsatisfactory. You get to play with the awesome power of a reaver titan...but that's about it. A few orky inf to kill, but no challenges at all - there is simply no point in provoking any more orks into attacking. I didn't feel I was escorting the titan, as much as we were sneaking.
Faldrak has a point (for once): they should have stayed and died for the Emperor.
No Req (as usual), but 1 new slot! I could REALLY need a 3rd tank, but how on Terra am I going to fit that one in? I manage - barely - to get a Russ (armor upgrade) by downgrading the Medusas to Mars patter, the Annihilators (upgraded) to normal, and all the info to Chimera conscripts (except the Command and 2xmortars). It's a TIGHT fit, but I think it'll work.
Nice and tight deployment, but with a detached force up on the far left flank.
Main force. Pretty powerful, both vs Inf and Arm.
The flanking force wipe out an ork inf on the ridge. The Medusa + 2xSala combination is very powerful. Not the ork war-bikes up in the corner. Despite a 4 Spot they fail to counter-attack my force. General passivity - or fear of my 75 Armor tank?
Mechanized forces on the move. Locates orky walker unit. Medusas + Annihilators wipe it out.
I push forward on the flank, murdering 3 units of war-bikes. The new tank isn't terribly effective and neither are the conscripts, but they're not there to kill, but to draw fire...
Behold the power of the veteran Medusa!
On its turn the ork comes out to fight the refugees I'm using as bait: 3 units of refugees go around the flank, but the other two units will be used as meat shields. It will be their way of atoning for the crime of cowardice. And it will no doubt make my Commissar happy.
Under the cover of contless guns Maximus personally leads the charge that wipes out the last of the greenskins. He's awarded the Armageddon Medal of Honor.
Meanwhile, on the flank: refugees are almost safe...maore war-bikes keep appearing around the town, but the Medusa/mortar just one-shot Str 15 units as quickly as they appear. It's like shooting fish in a barrel - with dynamite!
Final approach. Well screened.
Victory is mine! Damage: negligible (1 pip new tank, 1 pip each salamander, 4 pips ratlings, 1 pip command, 10 pips from one conscript).
Overwhelming firepower aside: what could have been a very fun scenario is marred by the AIs complete inability to make a coordinated offense. All his units seem cued to respond only when they have direct contact with my forces. Therefor it's too easy to move slowly and wipe out the orks, pocket by pocket.
Medusas were HUGELY useful in the scenario. Standard Annihilators performed very well. Same with veteran mortars and Salas.
The mission brief has something about securing some bridges held by orks. Not sure why this is important, but Maximus is a doer, not a thinker. Or maybe he's just hung over from the party the refugees threw in his honor.
I put the bulk of my forces on my center-left. I plan to secure the left bridge first, it seems weakest, then attack the next two bridges from both sides.
I develop my attack slowly, taking the time to wipe out what ork units I can, while weakening the rest of the visible ones in the hope that they won't be tempted to fire back (very un-orky, but that's the AI for you). Also note that I take care to place my valuable units outside of spotting range.
The noose tightens. There is not real return fire at this stage. The Medusas hammer in the first barrages, and after that the enemy is so weakened that he can't do much damage in return.
Those boys in the fortification prove very resilient. The combination Inf + cover + def bonus + big unit size is very reliable. The left bridge is held by powerful nobz and some dreds. I cannot avoid taking some damage. I've also misplaced my Medusas - I have only one available this turn for bridge assault. A mistake worthy of Jaxxon.
Maximus charges the enemy strongpoint, wiping out the last greenskins. Maximus aide is killed :'(
Nobz are bought down. The dreds are next. My RUsses have taken damage, but not enough to kill any tanks.
More medusas are brought up, but the crossing is tricky. A tank and some inf block my route.
The flak-dakka isn't that powerful, but the Inf and the Str 6 tank is blocking my advance, forcing my units to park on the bridge (not a good place to be - penalties to def).
On the center bridge I make a very limited advance, wiping out the unit defending the objective - BUT I DO NOT ADVANCE! Advancing will make the orks spot me. Getting spotted while parked on the bridge is BAD. Rushing over on the next turn is GOOD!
It's slow going across the bridge - until I can bring up some mortars to finish the job the Medusas have started.
Note how the Russ (armored) has parked in the river to make room for more units. It looks kind of odd...
I rush the second bridge on turn 6. It's no coincidence, as my Salamander (you can see it at the top edge) is able to drive around the buildings and help kill an artillery emplacement. My mortars take cover behind the building and start shelling the orks - which can't fire back. They are also outside spotting range, so I'm safe from retaliation on the ork turn.
End state turn 6. Plenty of time left. My tanks have taken some damage, but overall losses are low.
I spend some time shooting, scooting and spotting.
More Medusa awesome!
The noose tightens around the center crossing. The orks did get in a good shot on some of my conscripts, and killed a Sala, but that's about it. Medusas are hitting the ork range 3 units from...range 4.
Beginning the two-pronged drive on the final bridge.
Range 4 fire all the way, until the ork units can't shoot straight. Than my range 3 units kill them off with negligible or no losses.
Only some nobz left...
And Maximus personally leads the final charge (knowing that Yarrik is watching - it never hurts to have a Commissar's approval)!
The scenario was fun overall. The constricted bridges and the long-range artillery posed a significant threat during the first bridge crossing. BUt taking it slow worked wonders, as the orks can't react to what they can't see. Also my Medusas rocked.
Thus far the VH experience has been a positive one for me. I'm enjoying the game again and I do feel challenged after a fashion. I take care with the placement of my units, use the terrain to good effect, and generally work to maximize the effectiveness of my forces. I've gotten more respect of the powr of veteran units in general - and mortars in particular. I've come to appreciate high Spot - and low spot among the ork units. I've tried units I haven't liked before - and fallen in love with the Medusa. The list is rather long.
However, barring a few exceptions, I've readily adapted to the VH setting. In a sense it's actually no more difficult than Normal. Bigger unit sizes just means more XP for my units mostly. The AI is just as passive and timid, even with 50% bigger units. And I've yet to come up short on time, so instead of rushing I can afford to be methodical. Every time.
AI limitations: the AI isn't so bad overall. On several occasions it has proven to be rather good. It does, however, suffer from some compounding issues.
Issue 1 - Scenario settings: most scenarios group orks around different objectives. They will sit there and do nothing until they spot your forces. Meaning you can deal with the piecemeal. The best scenarios are those where the ork is on the offensive or if he has a mobile force that can actually attack you, even if his overall position is defensive.
Issue 2 - Spotting range: most ork units have poor spot. And what the ork can't see, he can't hit. So the BEST tactic is to carefully eye the ork units' spot ranges - and simply don't approach them until you're ready to kill them. Couple with Issue 1 and you can move from unit to unit, utterly annihilating them in a single turn, before moving on.
Issue 3 - Constricted terrain: the AI handles constricted terrain very badly. Bridges, narrow passes, as long as it's narrow, the AI can't maneuver. If the AI meets some high defense unit it'll often stop and do nothing. The Defending Minos Crossing - which is otherwise one of the best scenarios - suffers badly from this flaw. The ork needs to be more willing to attack and die. The AI also needs to be able to rotate units, rather than sticking one unit up front until it is dead (and if you don't kill it, it will just sit there, preventing other enemy units from acting).
Once again I'll push over the bridges one at a time, starting on what looks to be the weaker flank and then hooking around. So I go for the leftmost bridge. As an added bonus it has a parallel bridge that I can use for fire support and to bring over more troops as needed.
My forces are quite sound ATM. A mix of Inf and mech forces (all inf save the ratlings are also mech).
I have one 10-skull mortar, and the other one isn't too shabby either. Command platoon and snipers also getting there. The conscripts are just mean shields so...
I've 2 10-skull Medusas AND one 9-skull. Tanks get upgraded to Annihilator mod A. TO save points the new tank becomes and Imp destroyer. All tanks thus have Def 70. I've a few points to spare, so a buy yet another super-cheap and super-effective Sala. It's my go-to suicide vehicle.
I deploy thus to maximum my 1st turn spot/firepower. I want to wipe out the orks that can see me before they can fire.
Heading over the first bridge. Medusas rock as usual. As do snipers, salas and annihilators.
Lots of orks die - but I fail to nail one group of boyz. My bad for not planning properly. As a result some ork long-range arty fires from within the FOW and hits the Sala on the bridge. I'm lucky one one dies. I quickly wipe out the boyz and push forward.
Next I focus long-range fire on the ork super-heavy (failed to take screenshots). Again the point is: if the orks can't see, they can't shoot.
I methodically slaughter the remaining orks in the first defensive line.
The blue tank has a long-range weapon, so I deliberately use my least-valuable tank to soften it up a bit, even thought eh Annihilator would get better odds.
And for the final kill.
More of the same. Spot. Shoot from inside the FOW.
On turn 6 I spot these guys. I absolutely dislike them. It's going to take a to of fire to wipe them out. They start with 37x2 hits, at def 105! Plus they are in cover :'( Good thing their spot is only 2.
Anyway, lots of other units to kill.
Vet Annihilators are quite nasty up close.
I want to clear out the left objective before heading to the right. More mega-noz, anotehr super-heavy AND some support!
I just keep at it for a few turns, taking minimal return fire. The AI makes no attempt to make contact. The orks just die where they stand.
Mortars move in behind the mountains and lob shells at the nasty support boys.
I haven't had time to deal with the other nobz, but no worries: they are just hanging around their favourite forest.
It takes a LOT of fire to whittle them down.
Two Medusas and a handful of tanks, snipers and salas send them to the abyss. I also continue my slow crawl towards the final objective.
Ork defenses are collapsing.
Goodbye blue tank-thingy. Mortar first...
...Annihilator (resilient bastard!)...
...and finally the destroyer!
Maximus needs his daily heroic charge. This time his adjutant isn't killed. He just sprains his ankle.
More nobz-meat for the Medusas. Range 4 Str 90 RoF 3 gets them every time. Especially with 10 skulls of XP.
Absolutely no reason to muck around down in the ruins. I just leave one conscript platoon to guard the objective (no need actually, but it feels like the right thing to do)
The spot/long range from FOW + AI passivity is getting a bit stale. I lost all of 1 Salamander and 1 Destroyer. Not whole units. Str points. On VH. With time to spare. That's not good enough Mr. AI Ork.
Nice thread. Right now i decided to finish original campaign on very hard difficulty, and record my walkthrough. As this thread is not updated some time, i want to show my efforts here, but can't post off-site links.