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Deployment Doctrine of the Adeptus Astartes
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Old 24 Oct 2006, 11:40   #1 (permalink)
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Default Deployment Doctrine of the Adeptus Astartes

From the Codicifers who brought you Armour of The Adeptus Astartes and Thesis on Vehicle Configurations comes another delving into the nature of the gods of war known as the Adeptus Astartes...


The Astartes are not like the Imperial Guard, who are a hammer and anvil on which the enemies of mankind are broken, they are a scalpel, a rapier, a precision-strike force capable of wiping out far more numerous foes through superior tactics, equipment and physical prowess.

The Codex Astartes details numerous ways in which the Marines can conduct themselves. However, it is perhaps their most overlooked role that we will consider now; Planetary Suppression.

The Astartes are purpose-built for planetary assault. During the Siege of Royal Garin, Captain Xaren of the Supernovas was quoted to say "If we cannot take this world in a day, it cannot be taken at all." The Imperial Guard and Navy had held the world under siege for three months. Ten hours after the Supernovas deployed, the planet surrendered. Such is the might of the Astartes.

We will break their operations down into several elements for ease of study.

I. Orbital Strike
The first task for the Astartes is to obtain Orbital Superiority. Normally only a Strike Cruiser will be deployed, possibly with Escort support. Battle-barges are used only when maximum force is needed.

Such is the design of Astartes vessels that blockade-running is of little difficulty for them. Possessing speed, agility and incredible armour, an Astartes taskforce can easily sweep aside most planetary defences with little trouble, ensuring instant and uncontestable domination of the stars.

Where such control is not attainable, the Strike Cruiser will blockade-run, deploying every Thunderhawk it can and firing waves of Drop Pods filled with Astartes. Mobilising the entire Company at speed, the ship can then disengage and begin a running battle, or hold back and await recall. However, most planets lack the defences needed to hold off an Astartes assault, so this second scenario is less likely.

The Astartes can deploy a Company-strength force with frightening speed, and deploy straight into the fray. Orbital assessments will quickly single out key targets for destruction, and forces will deploy to complete this task.

As a case study, we will look at the reclamation of Bar'rakt Tertius, which fell under the sway of a heretical cult. The Marines of the Emperor's Vengeance chose three targets for their attacks; the Arbite Precinct in the capital city, the Temple of His Light built into the mountains, and the promethium fields of the Northern Refineries. Each required very different deployment methods, and so act as an excellent example of how the Astartes operate.

II. Surgical Assault
A Surgical Assault consists of a rapid-attack by infantry forces, sometimes with vehicle assistance, where the aim is to conquer a location as quickly as possible, with as few men as possible. Surprise is often a key element, and Deathwind Pods are almost always used. As most enemies will quickly attempt to call for reinforcements, vox-jamming will be employed, either from a Damocles, Promethius or from an orbiting ship.

Captain Mathias chose these tactics to be used in taking the Northern Refineries. Orbital scans indicated that the defences were sparse, consisting of a small PDF barracks with light armour support, and two remote-turret point defences. Though almost two-hundred soldiers were guarding this objective, Mathias assigned only a single Tactical Squad to reclaiming it, supported by a pair Tempest-variant Land Speeders.

The strike-force struck immediately. A trio of Deathwind pods crashed down into the barrack complex, one ploughing through the roof of one of the bunk-rooms. The Deathwinds opened fire, slaughtering everyone in range with a torrent of assault cannon fire and missiles. The same barrage also managed to destroy one of the PDF's "Mantis" tanks and crippled several of their guntrucks, taking out much of their fighting ability.

No sooner had the dust settled did the next wave begin. Two more Drop Pods landed as the Tempests began their attack runs, the skimmers shrieking down from orbit and locking on to the remote turrets. Each fired a single Krak missile, destroying the automated positions.

The Marines deployed just outside the main refinery building, and advanced quickly into it. The defenders within, approximately twenty men, were blasted apart by Bolter fire, giving the Astartes a high-ground advantage. The Tempests kept the pressure on, strifing the now-panicked ground soldiers with their Assault Cannons, and blowing vehicles to scrap with their missiles. What followed was a brief and violent firefight, with the Tactical Squad adding their Missile Launcher and Meltagun to the Tempest's firepower, taking out the last of the armour whilst their comrades cleaned out the refinery. The position was secured within ten minutes of landing, and the Astartes quickly moved on towards the crippled barracks. There as no fight left in it now; the Strike Cruiser had blocked their calls for help. The surviving PDF surrendered immediately.

III. Blitzkrieg
A strong enemy must be broken, and the best way is to strike where it is weak. Blizkrieg tactics are favoured by the Astartes, using Rhinos, Bikes and Assault Marines to rush an enemy location, supported by Land Speeders, Predators and Land Raiders, with Devastators and Whirlwinds providing long-ranged fire support. Vindicators, if used, will usually be employed to try and soften-up heavily armoured bunkers prior to the main assault. Once the enemy line is broken, the Astartes can turn and assault the enemy from the side and rear, trapping them and crushing them utterly before moving on to the next objective.

In the case of the Bar'rakt offensive, Mathias saw that the Imperial Temple was under serious threat. The Sororitas Mission within had held out as best they could, but with a large military force approaching fast, Mathais had to deploy heavy armour as quickly as possible. No landing sites were available in the sheer mountain pass, however, and the Temple would not drop its Void Shields to allow the Thunderhawks to land on the temple's landing field, for fear of enemy artillery.

Thus, Mathias landed his forces behind the enemy army, and resolved to push through and reform a battle line between them and the temple.

Deploying every tank in his arsenal, and over half his Company, Mathias himself joined the battle to lead from the front. His full force consisted of two Assault Squads, one mounted on Bikes, five Tactical Squads, two Predator Destructors, one Predator Annihilator, a trio of Land Speeders, a Whirlwind and his Damocles Command Rhino. He also deployed two squads of Scouts from the 10th Company into the mountains ahead of the enemy advance, equipping them with Sniper Rifles and Missile Launchers.

Moving swirftly, Mathias and his men made for the enemy line. Their descent had not gone undetected, however, and the PDF quickly reformed themselves. Their leaders had not been lax, and had erected defences in anticipation of an attack from behind before pressing towards the Temple. What faced the Astartes was a ramshackle, but effective line of trenches, walls, mines, razorwire and gun emplacements. Mathas decided to take no chances, ordering a trio of Thunderhawks to airstrike the position, blasting the mines and tank-traps to rubble while hammering the enemy defences. The PDF retailiated by deploying anti-aircraft guns, severely damaging one of the Thunderhawks and forcing it to disengage. The others followed; Mathais had no plans to lose such valuable craft.

Of the seven bunkers erected along the line, the fifth was all but destroyed by the airstrike. Mathias made this his target, throwing everything towards it. Rhinos and Predators sped across the plains, aiming for the rising smoke-column of the strike. The Bikers pressed ahead, closing on the position ahead of the other vehicles and strifing it with Bolter fire before pulling away towards Bunker Six. The Whirlwind targetted Bunker Four, hammering it with supressing fire. The Predators quickly moved into range, firing at the flanks of the position to prevent reinforcements approaching. Enemy fire whipped through the air, bouncing off the armoured tanks as they charged. Three Rhinos suffered engine damage, but such is the durability of the Rhino they were able to make it close enough to deploy their troops. Fifty Tactical Marines, led by Mathias himself, assaulted the damaged bunker, and the sky above was filled with contrails as the Assault Marines leapt into the fray.

The fighting was close and bloody, the exact style of fighting Marines do best. With much of their heavy firepower destroyed or pinned, the PDF could do little to prevent the Marines overrunning them. Mathias ordered two squads to push through and destroy the enemy flak, whilst splitting his remaining forces and moving them down the Trench Line. The Predators rolled over the shattered earthworks, followed by the Bikers who withdrew to aid in the mop-up. It took a little over an hour to take the position. In total, over two-thousand PDF were killed, two-dozen gun-nests were destroyed and four enemy vehicles left as smoking ruins, along with every enemy artillery position and AA weapon.

The Astartes lost one Rhino and four Marines, with two others needing medical evac. The Predator Annihilators also required immediate recovery for repairs.

Rallying the rest of his troops, Mathias returned to his Damocles to conduct the rest of the operations. The Blitzkrieg force chased the enemy advance-column into the mountains, where the Scouts lay in wait.

IV. Ambush
Despite their power, the Astartes will rarely engage in open war if it can be avoided. Their true strength lies in denying the strength of others. The Codex dictates that, where possible, the enemies of Mankind should be denied of every advantage, and an Ambush is a perfect way to do this.

Scouts in particular favour ambush tactics. They will lie in wait in concealed positions, using Sniper Rifles to pin down enemy infantry. When heavier armour emerges, they can use Missile Launchers to destroy them, and Heavy Bolters to hold off a dedicated infantry assault. If needs be, Scouts can be equipped for close-quarters combat, taking their foe apart with pistol and chainsword rather than from a distance.

The Scouts are also trained to employ mines, booby traps and all manner of anti-personal devices to further their advantage. A skilled Scout unit can hold off an enemy much larger than themselves for a considerable amount of time, even indefinately. However, they will normally need only do so until reinforcements arrive.

In the case of Mathias and his forces, the two Scout Squads were ordered to stall the enemy until the Captain's army could strike from behind. The Scouts knew they would face enemy vehicles, and so buried Krak-charges with remote detonators in the winding mountain road. Hiding on the clifftops, they allowed the enemy to move into the trap. Thirty tanks ground their way up the mountain, supported by nearly four-hundred infantry and three field-howitzers on flat-back trucks.

The Scouts allowed 2/3rds of the tanks to move clear before detonating their charges. The explosions annihilated five tanks, and trapped the rest in wreakage. Wasting no time, they deployed missiles to take out the lead tanks of the column, reducing three to burning scrap before withdrawing.

At the rear of the column, Snipers shot out drivers and gun-crews on the Howitzers, leaving them inoperable before hunting for enemy infantry. They targetted weapon crews and officers before fading from the fight. Perhaps recklessly, the enemy infantry made for persuit, but the Scouts were ready. Using the terrain to their advantage, the Scouts fired Frag Missiles into the enemy infantry and pounded them with shotgun volleys. Enemy casualties were heavy, for the Scouts had the height, cover and crossfire. The enemy were forced to withdraw, and as they could not bring their tank-guns to bear due to the elevation of the cliffs, they called back to HQ for artillery-strikes to clear out their enemies.

Anticipating this, the Scouts fled onwards towards the temple, setting up a second ambush point. When the artillery fell silent, Mathias radioed for them to prepare to support his forces, and once more the Scouts joined the fray.

As Rhinos and Bikes raced up from behind, missiles streaked from the cliffs once more. Bottled in and with nowhere to go, the enemy were ruthlessly massacred by Bolter, Missile and Chainsword. No quarter was given, and not a single foe survived.

Though several Scouts were wounded, no casualties were suffered by either the Amushers or their relief force. A solid victory for the Astartes.

V. Siege
Sometimes the Astartes must fight a defensive war. It is undesirable, but necessary. On defence, the Astartes are still formidable warriors. They cannot be removed save by the heaviest of firepower, and have the equipment and skill to repel all but the strongest of assaults. They are trained to make every use of cover, to prioritise targets and to cover blind-spots. These traits ensure that if the Astartes want a position to be held, it will be held.

For Mathais, that position was the Arbite Precinct. Heavily damaged, but still standing, Mathias deployed his two Devastator squads via Drop Pod straight into the Precinct courtyard, and his troops quickly joined the Arbites on the ramparts. Mathias also deployed Brother Viganus, a Dreadnought, and dispatched a Transporter to bring down two Vindicators on the outskirts of the city. Supported by the Old One, these tanks would push to relieve the siege; the Devastators would hold until then.

When the Astartes landed, the enemy had already begun their push. Enemy sappers rushed across the rubble-strewn wasteland towards the Precinct Door, hauling demo-charges to blow it down. The Tarantulas, now destroyed, sat useless on their burned-out wall mounts. The Devastators deployed Heavy Bolters to wipe out the charging enemy, whilst Lascannon and Missile Launcher hunted for lurking armour. The PDF used several heavy tanks, sporting siege-cannon, and the Astartes had no wish for these machines to make use of their weaponry. Six tanks died in quick succesion, though they had already caused significant damage to the Precinct walls.

Realising the Arbites had support, the PDF commander chose to throw his entire force into the fray. The Astartes and Arbites killed hundreds, but the defenders were too few, and soon grapnels and stumm-charges were employed.

The Astartes ordered a retreat, falling back to the inner Precinct. As the enemy came over and through the walls, they were met by a torrant of Bolter fire and executioner shells. The Precinct itself was largely intact, and it was clear the enemy would seek to force their way in through the Gate of Law, the only entrance to the building proper. The Devastators held this door, forming a ring around it an mercilessly blasting everything that came into weapons range. Grenades and missiles exploded around them, and one by one they began to fall, yet they refused to give ground. Soon, the fight descended into a bloody melee, the Marines using their weapons as clubs, or hacking with combat knives. For three hours the battle waged, the Arbites giving what supporting fire they could from the upper levels whilst below them the Marines stabbed and punched and killed.

The arrival of the Vindicators was hailed by a deafening explosion. The Siege Tanks blew the gates off the Precinct, allowing the Dreadnought to join the fray. Its Assault Cannon shrieked, obliterating everything in its arc of fire while the Heavy Flamer burned dozens. The fight within the courtyard was now well and truly won, and Brother Viganus led the counter-attack. The enemy had lost their fighting spirit now, having suffered too many losses to continue the fight. Scattering into the streets, the Marines consolodated their position, and voxed their success to the Captain.

Bar'rakt officially surrendered two hours later. The Astartes had conquered the world in just six hours.
Farewell, Kangaroo Joe, you shall not be forgotten.

Originally Posted by Tom Norman
"Wargamer is never wrong, Frodo Baggins; he knows precisely the rules he means to."
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Old 24 Oct 2006, 11:42   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Deployment Doctrine of the Adeptus Astartes

Very nicely written, reminds me of the style of the forgeworld books.
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Old 24 Oct 2006, 12:19   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Deployment Doctrine of the Adeptus Astartes

Yes, nicely written Wargamer!


I will add this to the important topics collection. As well as the Vehicle Configuration one.
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Old 24 Oct 2006, 12:48   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Deployment Doctrine of the Adeptus Astartes

That reminds me, I need to update my Vehicle entry; the current Land Raider is the Mk V, not Mk III...
Farewell, Kangaroo Joe, you shall not be forgotten.

Originally Posted by Tom Norman
"Wargamer is never wrong, Frodo Baggins; he knows precisely the rules he means to."
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Old 24 Oct 2006, 19:35   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Deployment Doctrine of the Adeptus Astartes

I really enjoyed reading that. Thanks!
Originally Posted by Colonel_Sanders
When all was finished, the battlefield was a smoking crater. UDC, Valoran, US Army, Tau, the Nazis, a random pirate ship, and a bunch of ninjas, all were enemies to the Vulture. All were turned into scrap metal. Or plastic. Depends which game system you play.
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Old 28 Oct 2006, 05:41   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Deployment Doctrine of the Adeptus Astartes

Lol for some strange reason after reading that excellent work i have a desire to play DoW... anyways brilliant as always wargamer... That was excellent

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