Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Airborne Assault

When conducting an airborne assault in real life, there are many factors that have to be taken into account, even before deciding on what troops or equipment are required. With a Grymn force, it is no different and this post explores the possible options for a successful airborne assault using your Grymn troops.

The Target

The target dictates the choice of assets used for the assault. Things to be taken into consideration are:

1) Can a land force do the job better?
2) Does the target have air-defense capabilities?
3) Does the target have air superiority?
4) Is the target fortified?
5) What is the likely defensive capability of the target’s standing troops
6) What sort of terrain is the target located within?
7) Is the target part of a support network and are reserves close by?

Once you have the information about the target, you can decide on whether an airborne assault is viable and what equipment and resources will be necessary to carry out the assault successfully.

The airborne assault force may have many different sections from many different regiments/armies/air-forces all brought together under the control of the assault commander. If there is a requirement for stealth and precision, a small amount of troops and transport aircraft may be required. For a prolonged airborne assault, a vast number of bombers, fighters transport aircraft, troops and support assets may be required for the duration. There may be a requirement for initial airdrops of equipment with follow up support coming via the road network or even via the sea (depending on location) .

With all the above in mind, let’s think about the war-gaming tabletop and the likely use of an airborne assault.

Fully airborne

This sort of force is a fairly unusual one because it relies on all of your units being air transportable. That means you are tied to the sort of troops and support options that will fit into your fliers/skimmers. Think of a heavily equipped paratroop army with the addition of small buggies and hand portable heavy weapons…possibly with light tanks or walkers for the more heavy aspects of support. Obviously, the drop-off aircraft will be able to give cover to the troops on the ground and some may even be able to under-sling equipment, vehicles in addition to carrying troops…but generally speaking, this would be the lightest end of the airborne assault spectrum.

While thinking about this sort of force, there may be a requirement to drop troops from altitude using ‘deep strike’ rules or something similar. This could mean the use of jump-packs or parachutes which wouldn’t necessarily require the transporting craft to land. There could also be the option of using fighter and bomber aircraft as support options, rather than tanks and vehicles being transported in…it all depends on the target and how it can defend itself.

Partially airborne

This is where you have an airborne element of your assault force that has a ground based element either following up or leading the assault. This would be a more typical sort of table top army and it is one that provides a lot of options to keep things interesting.

With a mix of airborne and ground based assets, you can organise your army in a multitude of ways.

1) You could lead the assault with fighters, drop in your airborne troops to keep the enemy busy and then follow up with ground forces to finish off the job.
2) You could have your ground based forces lead the attack, gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the foe and then use air support to fly in and either breach the defenses or support the troops on the ground
3) You could use your air units to move ground troops around (like in modern helicopter ops) to make the best use of your troops and also to keep the enemy guessing.
4) You could even use your fliers as mobile cranes to quickly re position tanks and guns that would take too long to move under their own steam.

What do the Grymn have, currently available, in the way of airborne options? At the moment there are jump packs and heavy infantry in atmospherically sealed suits. The sealed suits could be used to represent halo-jumpers because they look like they could have a parachute in their packs as well as an air supply. The jump packs are useful because they could be added to a range of troops so that they could not only be air-dropped onto the battlefield but can also have increased mobility once they arrive. Apart from that, the Grymn range doesn’t cater for aircraft so we’ll have to look elsewhere for our air transportation needs.

There are plenty of options out there for ground vehicles but airborne ones are a bit more difficult to find.

The first port of call would be buying modern aircraft/Japanese anime kits and converting them. Depending on your personal requirements, anything from 1/72nd scale to 1/48th scale would be a good place to start and you could use anything from Apache helicopters to Hercules transport aircraft or Macross Space fighters to Robotech support helicopters.

Next we have plastic kits available from Games Workshop. Depending on what style you require you could have sleek skimmers like the Eldar Falcon, the slightly less sleek Tau Devilfish or the boxy and utilitarian looking Imperial Guard Valkyrie. There are plenty of other smaller options within the ranges such as Space Marine Land-speeders and Tau Piranhas to name a couple.

If you want to use the Games Workshop plastic kits, you may want to bolster them with some larger, resin fliers from Forgeworld. There are a host of bigger aircraft such as the Tau Orca and Barracuda…or the Imperial Guard Marauder. There are also smaller, fighter-type aircraft in the range.

Continuing on the resin theme, there are companies like Old Crow who have VTOLs and the odd skimmer in their range. The Scotia Grendel Kryomek range also has a drop ship available.

Finally, there is the option of scratch building with plasticard and bits-box spares. This takes a while but is worth the effort if you get it right.

So…what now? Well, as an example of a Grymn airborne army I will provide an idea of how I would go about things.

Airborne Force Alpha

Command squad of 8 troops with jump packs. Led by an officer with a Sgt as deputy, comms trooper, and a couple of support weapons (man portable). Mounted in a Tau Devilfish transport with the wing tip drones removed and replaced with missile launchers; it also has a chain-gun in the nose (I will call this a Pilum Drop Ship).

Infantry Squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable) mounted in a Pilum Drop Ship.

Infantry Squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable) mounted in a Pilum Drop Ship.

Infantry Squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable) mounted in a Pilum Drop Ship.

Heavy infantry Command squad of 8 troops. Led by an officer with a Sgt as deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable). This squad deep-strikes onto the table.

Heavy infantry squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable). This squad deep-strikes onto the table.

Heavy infantry squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable). This squad deep-strikes onto the table.

Heavy infantry squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable). This squad deep-strikes onto the table.

Piranha fighter squadron of three aircraft. All have a melta weapon with missile launchers.

Piranha fighter squadron of three aircraft. All have a melta weapon with missile launchers.

The above force would have all of the elements to deal with air-superiority, dropping the troops off and providing cover, with the ability to drop in the reserves to bolster the lines or take objectives.

The aircraft are easily converted by adding a cockpit to the piranhas and using the missile pods for the Sky Ray instead of the wing mounted drones.

For a mixed assault force, get rid of the Heavy infantry and sub them with tanks/ground based units.

That is how easy it is to build a Grymn airborne force and it doesn’t take too much conversion either.

Sunday, 16 May 2010



Skali sprinted for the cover of a shattered wall as fast as his legs could carry him. The sound of battle was all around him. He looked over to his left and saw Lars fall to the ground as his shoulder disintegrated in a shower of blood and plasma. Beyond Lars another trooper, who the fog of battle had rendered anonymous, was felled as his helmet ruptured after a hit from a sniper’s round; brain matter spewing from the ragged exit wound. Skali snapped his head to the front and looked over the wall. He could see hordes of Bohkin all around and suddenly realised that things were not going well. Everywhere he looked, Grymn were falling to the intensity of the incoming fire. Skali snapped off a few rounds from his SMG and was rewarded with two kills. He ducked back into cover, waited for a few seconds and then popped his head up to fire a few more rounds. He didn’t get to pull the trigger.

Skali felt the sharp coldness of water on his face and he choked as it filled his nose and mouth. He spluttered and turned his head to one side, gulping for air. He tried to open his eyes but found that only one would open. He looked around quickly, trying to find out what was going on but his vision was very blurred; he could only make out a few shapes and some movement.

“Prishhonner ish awake!” a voice said. It sounded like it was having difficulty coping with speech, or had some form of dental problem. After the sound of someone sucking teeth, the voice spoke again.

“Prishhonner had nyyche drink? Prishhonner talksh now.”

Skali tried hard to focus and began to get a picture of the speaker. It was a Bohkin; a male Bohkin with beady little eyes, a little button nose and fangs protruding from its mouth; pointing upwards from a jutting lower jaw. It appeared to be smartly dressed in what appeared to be a white doctor’s gown. Skali noticed that he had a small bag with him.

“I wantshh to hear where yooshh from” said the doctor Bohkin.

Skali said nothing.

“I wantshh to hear where yooshh from” repeated the Bohkin.

Skali didn’t say anything but felt a sharp pain in his jaw as something heavy struck him, tipping him over. For the first time he realised that he had been strapped to a chair. He was in such a daze that he hadn’t even thought about moving so it came as a bit of a surprise when he couldn’t arrest his fall and his head struck the floor, making him struggle for consciousness. In moments, the chair had been stood back up and Skali looked into the eyes of the Bohkin again. He felt a dull ache through his jaw and when he tried to tense his muscles he realised that the pain it generated meant that it was broken.

“Shilly chylde” Said the Bohkin “the farshhers mussht be shad that you show shilly”. He reached into his small bag and pulled out a small metal implement. He held it up in front of Skali and said nothing. A moment later Skali felt pain like he never had before. It was so sharp that he had to catch his breath. His fingertips tingled and his legs twitched uncontrollably as fire engulfed his spine. He struggled desperately but could feel the room closing in as his consciousness faded. Just as he was about to pass out, the pain ceased and the room began to return to normal.

“Where yoosh from, shilly chylde?” asked the Bohkin again.

Skali carried on with the silence. He doubted if he could have spoken too much anyway as his jaw was throbbing and his throat was as dry as a desert. He gasped as the pain in his spine returned; this time it was even worse and his arms shook as badly as his legs. Skali drooled uncontrollably as he began to lose control of his senses. He cried out as wave after wave of shearing pain wracked his body and the room started to dim again. Suddenly the pain dimmed as quickly as it had arrived and Skali was brought back to full consciousness with another bucket of water.

“Yoosh very shilly, anshher queshhtion and we shhtop fun”

Skali gazed in the Bohkin’s direction and still said nothing. His head was swimming, his vision was blurred and he was struggling to come to terms with his situation. Without warning, the pain returned and the room went black as Skali finally succumbed to unconsciousness.

Day after day, Skali was shocked awake with water and tortured to unconsciousness. He wasn’t fed very often and was given just enough water to keep him hanging on to life by a mere thread. After a few days, his jaw became infected and along with the throbbing pain came the smell of gangrene. It didn’t stop the Bohkin dragging Skali from his cell, strapping him to a chair and inflicting the scouring pain that he had begun to become accustomed to. Through it all, he said nothing.

Skali lost count of the days he had been in captivity. He knew that he was near to the end of his torment as he was having difficulty breathing and felt the continuous nausea of septicaemia. His vision was blurred and he had become photophobic. He managed an inward, ironic smile as he wondered what sort of state he looked. He was drifting off to dream-world when the door of his cell opened again and he felt the strong grip of two Bohkin as he was dragged off to his chair again. He felt the straps tighten around his wrists and neck again and gazed, bleary eyed, at the Bohkin facing him.

“Yoosh Tired, chylde” said the Bohkin “yoo shay where yoosh from and pain endsh”.

Skali looked at his tormentor. He could feel his own pulse trying to burst from his neck as his heart pounded heavily, in his chest. He could already sense a dimness filling the room and realised that he wasn’t long for the world. He tried to focus and shifted his position so that he could look straight into the Bohkins beady little eyes.

“I am Grymn” he said.

There was a deafening roar as the Bohkin in front of Skali was vapourised in a rush of plasma energy. Chaos erupted as black clad troops burst into the room, killing every Bohkin in sight with the precision of a surgeon. In moments, all was quiet and one of the troops rushed up to Skali and began to release him from the chair. He stopped for a moment and raised his mirrored visor.

“You’re safe now” said the Grymn.

Skali smiled as his vision failed and the room went black.

The sun shone down as brightly today, as it ever had in the past. Standing on the parade ground in front of over a thousand Grymn; in parade order, was captain Torsten. He was dressed in an immaculately presented, white suit of powered armour. On his chest were many medals that were a testament to his martial prowess and bravery. His grey hair was greased flat and his beard was neatly trimmed. Torsten looked up and down the lines of the many Grymn on parade. There wasn’t a single foot out of place or rifle out of position. Every single Grymn was immaculately turned out. They all wore their polished medals and their smartest battledress and Torsten looked upon them with the supreme pride of a parent watching over his children. The parade stood completely immobile and in complete silence.

Torsten cleared his throat and began his speech.

“Today, we have the honour and privilege to celebrate courage beyond the call of duty. Today we stand in the company of giants. What we witness today is a testament to the bravery, martial ability and utter dedication to duty that a Grymn soldier represents. Every one of you should feel nothing but pride as you stand here today”.

The sound of a single trumpet echoed across the parade ground as a party of silver clad Grymn, with high plumed helmets slow-marched onto the square. Their swords were held vertically in an iron grip, their shiny black boots clacked in unison on the concrete under their feet. Between each pair of immaculate guards hovered a casket. On the lid of each casket was laid a helmet and the weapons that the Grymn inside had used while he fought. The first two caskets had twin pistols, the next one had a pulse gun, two more had a pistol and power axe and finally, a few paces further back came a casket with an SMG laid across it.

The casket party solemnly marched towards Torsten and all but the final casket passed in front of him and was set down on a red carpet to the right of him. The Casket with the SMG was set down on a pedestal to Torsten’s left.

“PAAARADE! GENERAL SALUTE...PREEEESENT ARMS!” sounded across the square as the parade officer issued his order.

With incalculable precision the entire parade ground moved in complete unison, presenting their weapon types in a show of respect. The lone trumpet played a short, haunting tune and was silent.


Again, the Grymn moved as one and their weapons were brought to order.
Torsten began to speak again.

“Brakki Silvertooth: Order of Bravery...posthumously awarded. Frekki Strongarm: Order of Bravery...posthumously awarded. Gerri Axebearer: Order of Bravery and Star of Valour...posthumously awarded. Anja Firegaze: Star of Valour...posthumously awarded. Olaf Greybeard: Star of Valour...posthumously awarded.” Torsten paused for a moment, turned towards the five caskets, stood to attention and saluted them. He turned towards the parade again and continued.

“Within these five caskets lie the bodies of five warriors. Each one died carrying out their duty to the highest possible standard and with fire in their hearts and bellies. Each one gave their all, for their brothers and sisters who fought beside them and each one made the perfect sacrifice.”

Torsten paused again and slowly walked towards the lone casket. He brought himself to attention and saluted the casket, just as he had done with the other five. He turned to face the parade again and continued his speech.

“Skali Ironfist: Most Beneficent Order of Valour, Iron Cross and medal of leadership...awarded posthumously.”

Torsten steeled himself and continued.

“Among those pillars of valour, there was a giant among Grymn. Not only did trooper Ironfist lead his brothers forward after his platoon and squad leaders had fallen but he also managed to take and hold a critical objective under the most severe onslaught. When the objective was secured, he further advanced into a Bohkin force that heavily outnumbered his unit, providing valuable protection for a pinned platoon and taking a heavy toll of the attackers. He continued to lead his unit valiantly until he succumbed to his wounds and was captured. For seven weeks he endured the humiliation of torture and spoke not a word. Although he was broken of body, his Grymn spirit continued to burn as brightly as a sun. As his rescue was about to begin, his final words were picked up on our monitoring system...I am Grymn.” Torsten stared at the assembled Grymn “No truer words were ever spoken”.

“PAAARADE! PREESENT ARMS!” Bawled the parade officer.

The Grymn snapped through their drill movements in perfect unison. The trumpeter played a general call to arms as the caskets were led away and when they had gone, the parade officer followed up with:


“March off the officers!”...

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Air Drop.


Kjaran slammed himself against the rock wall as bullets whipped passed and ricocheted off the loose rubble where he had until recently been taking cover.

“Ana, have you managed to get through yet? It’s getting a bit too warm for comfort around here”.

“Alpha control, this is Alpha one niner, we are pinned down at grid; figures 5165 6734. Multiple hostiles are advancing on our position. We are running low on payback and request immediate extraction; Over” shouted Ana into the microphone of her radio set.

“Alpha one niner, this is Alpha control, negative on extraction, supplies in bound; Out” was the rather curt reply.

“Sorry Sarge, we’re stuck here but control is sending supplies” Shouted Ana.

“Supplies!? What the hell do they mean by supplies!?” was the rather bemused response from Kjaran.

Kjaran ducked down as he saw a Bohkin with a heavy machine gun aim in his direction and fire. A steady stream of heavy calibre rounds slammed into the rock and ground nearby, kicking up great plumes of dust and debris. Nearby there was a curse as Sven took a hit on his shoulder plate and was knocked to the ground; fortunately he was saved from harm by his trusty armour and he climbed to his feet and returned fire. The Bohkin were massing nearby and appeared to be happy taking pot-shots at the Grymn patrol for now. They hadn’t started to close in but seemed to be building up for a push in the near future.

The Grymn patrol was made up of five heavy infantry with an attached sniper. They were armed with extremely effective weapons but were being pinned down as a result of the high level of incoming Bohkin fire. Kjaran was the sergeant in charge and had made sure that all his troops had conserved their ammunition as much as they could but they were beginning to run low and were now getting to a point where they needed some help. They were stuck and things were beginning to look very uncertain for them.

Kjaran was beginning to plan a desperate dash to freedom for his troops, when he noticed the sound of grav motors nearby. He looked to his right and caught sight of a Grymn fast transport flying low over the rough terrain. As it roared towards them, three large pallets fell from the back and hit the ground heavily in a shower of dust.

“Fething hell!” shouted Kjaran as the transport flew over head and disappeared “they’ve dropped the supplies too far away!”

Kjaran was furious. He watched as some of the Bohkin broke off from the attack and started running towards the supplies. His desperate dash for freedom was starting to look like the only option for his troops now.

Suddenly there was a grinding crunch from the supply crates and Kjaran looked towards them. The sides had fallen away and they appeared to be getting taller. Kjaran grabbed his monocular and watched as the contents of the crates began to unfold. First they grew legs; then, what appeared to be a cockpit came into view.

“Sarge! “ shouted Ana “We’re getting comms chat from the supplies and they want to speak to you.”

Kjaran kept low and dashed over to Ana and grabbed the handset...

“this is Alpha one niner leader; send message; Over.” He said as bullets whipped up the dust where he had just been running.

A metallic voice replied:

“Alpha one niner leader; this is Eagle two. It’s good to hear you are breathing; we’ll be joining you shortly; Out!”

Kjaran turned to Ana with a questioning look and she just shrugged her shoulders. Neither had ever heard of call-sign Eagle before. But whatever it was, appeared to be their only hope for survival at this moment in time so Kjaran was happy for any help he could get...no matter where it came from.

Kjaran ducked again as incoming rounds whizzed passed him. He shouted to his troops to start giving more aggressive return fire as supplies had arrived so they could afford to be a little less frugal. He popped his head above cover and fired his pulse gun; punching a fist sized hole through a Bohkin. He was about to fire again when the sound of heavy weapon fire caught his attention and he glanced towards it. Where the supplies had landed there was a great deal of confusion. Bohkin were running away from the area, amidst the sound of anti-personnel rockets and chain-gun fire. Kjaran watched as bodies began to fly into the air as the rockets found their mark, and other Bohkin were being shredded by the concentrated fire from a chain-gun. Amidst the carnage, three metal giants strode; firing in all directions as they moved towards the Grymn position. Of the Bohkin that had gone to investigate the crates, none remained whole.

The Bohkin fire lessened and Kjaran dared to peer above his cover to see what was happening in the Bohkin position. One of the larger Bohkin appeared to be shouting at a smaller one who was pointing at the metal giant’s approach. A number of other Bohkin were looking rather frightened and were fidgeting rather uncontrollably. Kjaran saw his opportunity and with a shout of “Rapid Fire!!” let loose a stream of pulse rounds, felling the confused aliens in their droves. The other Grymn followed suit and the Bohkin began to take better cover and snap out of their bemused state for long enough to return fire. Although there was dissention in the enemy ranks, they still remained fairly effective.

Suddenly the Bohkin position erupted in a huge series of explosions. Kjaran and his patrol flattened themselves against the ground as debris began to fall all around them. The whine of chain-guns could be heard above the din as the multiple impacts found their marks amongst the soft bodies of the Bohkin. After what seemed an age, the noise lessened and ceased. The Grymn patrol remained flat against the ground for a short while and listened for movement. Kjaran was startled by a tap on the shoulder and rolled quickly to bring his weapon to bear. He looked straight into the face of an impeccably dressed Grymn in a jet black flight-suit and helmet.

“Sorry about the delay sergeant, we couldn’t leave until we’d toasted the mission...and we’d run out of mead” said the newcomer as he proffered his hand towards Kjaran; who grasped it and was helped to his feet.

“Sorry, sir...but I don’t recognise your unit” replied a quizzical looking Kjaran.

“That’s alright sergeant...it doesn’t exist” said the newcomer, who winked as he passed a small satchel towards Kjaran.

“What’s this?” asked Kjaran.

“Your supplies of course, sergeant” The officer replied with a smile. He then turned on his heels and walked away.

Kjaran looked into the satchel and found five small pulse-gun power packs and a box of 20 sniper rounds. He looked over towards the officer who was nimbly climbing into the cockpit of an armoured walking machine with various heavy weapons mounted on it. It was painted in matt jet black and had a gloss black eagle, with spread wings, emblazoned across the front. He then looked towards the Bohkin position and could see that it had been completely and utterly obliterated. He returned his glance towards the armoured walker as it raised itself up from the crouched position it had been in, to allow the officer to climb in, and steadied itself on sturdy, armoured legs. From the cockpit the officer could be seen to flip down a monocle and flick some overhead switches before he glanced a look at Kjaran, grinned broadly and looked to his front, before firing up the motors and striding off; closely followed by two other walkers.

The Grymn patrol was left in stunned silence; staring after the walkers as they disappeared into the distance.

“What the hell was that?” asked Ana.

“That” said Kjaran “was a delivery of supplies” and he handed each of his troops the single re-loads that had been delivered.

“Humph!” said Sven “they could have brought some chocolate!”

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Is that a...ROBOT?

I've been thinking about the whole host of sci-fi out there and have been wondering about all of the options for support.

The idea that Grymn would go to war on foot in masses of troop formations is great but what would they use to support them?

Would they use tracked armoured vehicles for transport and heavy fire-power? Are they advanced enough to use anti-grav vehicles? what about hovercraft like Hammer's Slammers use? Maybe they would use buggies, trucks and huge land-crawlers. Alternatively, they could use walkers, like in Star Wars, for transport and support? Finally, how about skimmers, helicopters or drop-ships?

I suppose that all of the above options...even a mix of different ideas, could be perfectly viable as support options for your Grymn army. I would say that one of the most important things to consider is what sort of battlefield the army would be fighting in and how they actually fight.

It would be foolish to think that a giant land-crawler would be very good at carrying out urban ops...how would it fit between the buildings for a start? A heavily wooded/jungle covered area would make any sort of vehicle a liability but maybe walkers would be of use? What about desert ops with trucks? Things could get bogged down quickly...

When deciding on the support, the terrain won't just affect the choice of vehicle, it will affect the choice of colour scheme and to a certain extent, the whole theme of the army.

Will all of the army get transport? Will some be using jump-packs? Maybe some will be mounted on bikes or even local animals for transport? Maybe, the only transport will be what they can cling on to...the side of a tank or skimmer even?

There is so much to choose from out there and so many rules systems that you could use to tie everything together that deciding on what direction you want to take is better done before you start the army...an army needs leadership and that starts with knowing your assets and learning how to use them effectively.

Failing to plan...is planning to fail ;)...

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Drop Zone


Agnar sat with his eyes closed, listening to the drone of the anti-gravity motors. He could feel the motion of the drop-ship as it fought its way through the turbulent air currents that surrounded their objective. His stomach lurched with every bounce and he longed for the feel of the ground beneath his feet. He opened his eyes to see how the others were coping and noticed that one of the seats was empty. He looked around and noticed that Karla was leaning against the frame of the cockpit access aisle, talking to the co-pilot whilst holding her unfastened helmet on her head. Karla was one of the lieutenants on the trip and was currently asking for an estimated time of arrival to the drop-zone. After a few moments she turned to face the troops in the cabin.
“Drop-zone in three minutes; prep your kit” she said flatly. Without looking around, she wove her way to her seat and began to strap on her jump-pack. Agnar was already prepared so he watched her as she fastened the straps on her helmet and began to check her pouches to make sure she had enough ammunition. She bent down and started to rifle through her satchel and Agnar couldn’t help but marvel at her shapely physique.
“Seen enough yet?” came a voice from his left. Agnar turned and saw Ana looking in his direction.
“...And I thought I was your sweetheart!” she said as she feigned a hurt look.
Agnar grinned broadly “you know you’re the only one for me Ana” he retorted.
Just then a klaxon sounded and a red light appeared over the exit ramp.
“Places everyone!” shouted a heavy set, gnarled veteran who everyone knew through personal acquaintance, action and deed.
“I expect no mercy and I will give no mercy!” he shouted while looking into the faces of all the Grymn present “the spilt blood of our brothers and sisters will be avenged this day!” He paused for a moment and finished “today we will fight like wild tigers!”
From behind him a booming voice roared “WHOSE TIGERS?”
In answer to Thor’s question the cabin was filled with the cries of every single Grymn present “TORGE’S TIGERS!”

Torge stalked to the back of the drop-ship. He closed his eye-shield and thumbed the button on his power-axe; making it glimmer to life as the energy played over its metal surface. Thor, an OGrymn of immense power, followed him doggedly. He had to crouch as he walked because the drop-ship wasn’t really designed for his giant size. Either side of them, so as to make a diamond formation, were two more heavy set, veteran Grymn. All four of them were wearing the colours of the white tiger and all four of them had glowing power weapons. Once the four of them were in place, two lines of Grymn made their way towards the rear of the drop-ship to join their leader and his retinue. In amongst the lines of orange painted tigers there was the occasional white of a sergeant or lieutenant who also had a powered weapon. There were now forty Grymn; poised for battle.

The light flashed amber as the ramp began to lower. The smell of the desert rushed in, along with the heat and the dust. The drop-ship was at about two hundred feet above the ground when the ramp finished its traverse and the light switched to solid green. Without a single word or shout, Torge stepped off the ramp and was gone. His retinue were gone a heartbeat later. In a rushing stream of boots and silence, the two columns of Grymn dashed towards the rear of the ramp and disappeared. The ramp rose to a closed position and the drop-ship returned to base.
Agnar felt alive again. He felt the rush of the wind against his face as he plummeted towards the ground. He kept his arms crossed and had a pulse-pistol in each hand. He gripped them tightly and rejoiced as the freedom of falling engulfed him. Suddenly he was brought to his senses as his jump-pack fired to position him in a feet-first drop. Then a longer burst meant that the ground was nearly ready to meet him. He braced himself as he watched the closing ground and a second later a violent burst from his pack slowed his fall to a standstill and his feet touched the earth as lightly as a feather.

On landing, Agnar immediately took up a defensive position and looked around the drop-zone to locate the rest of his squad. In the centre of everything was the towering form of Thor who bellowed “RE-ORG!” With that all the Grymn began to reform their squads and again take up defensive positions. Once the squads were united and everyone was accounted for, the leaders went to meet Torge and get a briefing. Agnar tried to listen but instead of hearing what they were saying he heard a humming sound. The sound was getting louder and Agnar shouted “ENGINE NOISE TO THE SOUTH”. With that, the briefing ended and the squad leaders returned, forming their squads into the correct positions.

The Grymn waited...

They were in a gully but that meant nothing as their jump-packs could put them on a hill instantly. Agnar looked over at Thor. He looked terrifying. He had a set grin on his face and he was flexing his huge, gauntleted hand as he glared at the rise of the dune, in the direction of the engine noise. The power hammer he carried in his left hand was three times the height of a normal Grymn and Agnar watched the little sparkles of energy dance around its head. Thor suddenly looked towards Agnar and winked. There was a keen glint in his eye and it meant that the enemy were really going to meet their makers today.

The first of the buggies crested the dune, broke hard when the driver noticed the awaiting Grymn, steered to one side and promptly rolled; throwing the top gunner from the vehicle as the driver was crushed when the roof collapsed on him. Three more light buggies followed over the crest but gunned their engines when they noticed the Grymn and began to fire their weapons as they sped towards them. Following the buggies was a caterpillar-tracked, armoured vehicle with two others just like it.

The squad leaders barked orders and Agnar heard Karla’s order to assault the left buggy. He was about to fire his pack when a huge battle-cry was heard and Thor took to the air, with Torge and the two veterans in hot pursuit. Agnar fired his pack and followed his squad towards the buggy. It was destroyed before they’d even got there as a lucky shot from Ana’s pulse-pistol had pierced the fuel cell and ignited the vehicle; taking the crew with it. The squad landed close by and noticed that all the other targets were being successfully engaged so they took up a defensive stance and watched for further threats.
Without warning a huge explosion erupted from the earth behind the squad, throwing debris high into the air and scattering it far and wide. Agnar snapped his head around and looked towards the rise in the dune. Where there had been nothing before, a huge armoured vehicle crested the rise. It had a massive battle-cannon and a multitude of smaller weapons mounted in little armoured turrets. As Agnar watched, the cannon fired and everyone hit the ground as the massive shell hit the wreckage of one of the buggies, spitting molten metal fragments in a wide arc. Amongst the Grymn, Agnar could hear the sounds of grenade launchers firing but he doubted that their small munitions would penetrate the armour of this enemy behemoth. His doubts were answered as the grenades hit their mark but barely scratched the paintwork. The position looked bad and Agnar expected to receive the order to fall back. Instead he heard the scream of a large jump-pack as it roared over head...closely followed the lesser roar of three more, normal sized, packs.

“Agnar, keep the squad defensive!” Shouted Karla as she fired her jump-pack and roared after the veterans. All around, other squad leaders were doing the same. It was like a small snow flurry as the white tigers from all the squads fell upon the enemy vehicle, amidst the crackling of small arms fire from the small turrets. Agnar set his squad to ground and watched as the cream of Torge’s Tigers landed on top of the huge vehicle and began to cleave at its armour with blades wreathed in energy. The battle-cannon fired again but was just as inaccurate as before as the shell whizzed overhead and exploded a fair way from their positions, in an empty patch of desert. Slowly the smaller turrets were being destroyed but the big gun remained a threat. Torge realised this and pointed at it. In moments the hulking form of Thor was next to the barrel. With a mighty bellow and a face of absolute wrath, he swung his mighty power-hammer. When it struck the barrel there was the sound of thunder and an almost unbearable peal, as if from a massive bell. The weapon was no match for the power of Thor and the barrel split along its entire length, rendering it useless. Thor hadn’t finished and swung again, this time at the base of the barrel; smashing the mantle and opening a rift in the front of the turret. The white tigers saw their opportunity and began throwing grenades into the stricken vehicle before firing their packs to get clear of the expected explosions. They soon came and the hulking form of the enemy armour heaved as the power of the grenades ripped through the superstructure, killing all those poor unfortunates inside.

After the explosions had ceased, there was silence.

“WHITE TIGERS!” roared Thor.
“Torge’s Tigers!” roared the Grymn army.
“RE-ORG!” shouted Torge.

The flight back was a buzz of excitement. Torge had ensured that every Grymn now had a mug of mead and was currently stood in front of them all, in preparation for the toast. He raised his mug and silence followed.
“The fallen” he whispered.
“The fallen” was the whispered response from all those present.
Torge turned and walked towards the officer’s cabin. He looked tired and full of woe. He walked inside and was followed by two of his veterans. Thor stood watch at the door and looked towards the rest of the Grymn. He spotted Agnar and grinned “well met Agnar” he said.
“Aye, well met sir” Agnar responded.

Agnar strapped himself in as the drop-ship bubbled across the turbulent sky. He was looking forward to walking on the solid earth. He looked over to where Karla was sitting cross legged on the ship deck. He smiled inwardly as he watched her press a power pack into the hilt of her pulse pistol.
“The chance would be a fine thing” he thought to himself as he closed his eyes and tried to ignore the nausea that the flight was causing.