Warhammer 40k Tactics: Assault Revisited, Assaulting Multiple Units

Today I will answer a request to open up a discussion on assaulting multiple units with a single unit. My single unit is going to be a 10 Blood Angels Veteran Assault Squad equipped with 2 power swords, a Power Fist, and a guy with Melta Bombs. My VAS will be assaulting some pesky Guardsmen. They are assaulting a squad of guardsmen hiding in cover with a Lascannon, the cover being ruins. They are also going to assault a Chimera that was immobilized previously by Lascannon fire, and a squad of 10 Veteran Guardsmen with a Power Sword, and 3 meltaguns. I do not have the IG codex so we will set the Guardsmen leaderships at 8 for this discussion, and the VAS at 10 since Dante is on the table elsewhere.

To set the stage, our VAS has managed to get very close to the Guard due to lots of terrain blocking LoS. They are able to jump right into their midst and assault away! Let us begin. It is top of turn 3 shooting. Oh, and the Chimera did NOT move the previous turn.

Turn 3:
BA VAS shoots at the squad in cover. Why? Because by shooting 10 bolt pistols at the other squad, they will probably kill over half of them in the shooting phase, and you really dont want that to happen. Your opponent can pull off enough guys to render you not close enough to assault, or they can break and run! You don't want them to break until you assault them. The guys in cover will at least get a 4+ save. You want to thin them a bit, not slaughter them.

10 shots, 8 hit, 4 wound. 2 Fail save. Perfect. It is not enough to force a leadership, but you have 2 less to slaughter in the assault.

Now time for assault. We have to roll Difficult Terrain since we are assaulting a squad in terrain. We will say a 6 was he result.

The first step is to move the closest model of mine, in to Base to Base (B2B) with the closest model of his. The cool part here is that you can ignore any thing you are not attacking. You MAY MOVE within 1" of enemy models. Absolutely. Don't let dudes bully you. The rule is on page 34 in the second paragraph. You just cannot move THROUGH models, so you have to allow extra movement space around them. In this case, it was the S BA attacking the Closest model. This choice should be well planned before you finish moving. You have to make sure you can keep the rest of your models in coherency as you move them.

Now, the rest of your models can move and assault whomever they choose. There are some restrictions though. Some guys are loose on them, some can be dicks. The way I do it is that so long as all models are in coherency at the end of my assault move, then they are fine. BUT, the rule says in the first rule bullet:

"The most important one is that each model must end it's assault move in coherency with another model in it's own unit that has already moved."

Be prepared to deal with dudes that will measure 2" between each and every model you move as you take your fingers off them. In that case, smile nicely and curse him under your breath, then nail him on his next measurement.

We will do this by the rules though, for rules sake!

Next two models are going to attack the Chimera. There was a good amount of space between the two squads, so I decided to send two models at the Chimera to bridge the gap. The next two models will move so that they end their assault move exactlly 2" away from the previous model moved. Now My power fist and melta bomb are in B2B with the transport. Now the last crucial move is for the guys getting into the 2nd squad. I have ensured that I can assault both squads and I can pretty much place these guys where I want... almost.

The next bullet stats that:

If Possible, the model must move into base contact with any enemy model within reach that is not already in base contact with an assaulting model. Just to be safe and protect yourself from your opponent's meddling, move the rest of the guys who will be assaulting the squad in cover, into B2B. This will stop him from saying you have to move the other guys into B2B with unengaged models in range... Now you cannot run through engaged models... So you are free to assault the guys on the left. You will see that one model was left and he cannot reach an unengaged model, but there is a nice space for him next to the S guy. I will move him there.

So, I have successfully, and by the rules, engaged 3 units with 1 squad. I first moved my closest model to the squad I shot at. I second moved two guys creating an "Assault Bridge" to the next model. I third moved the rest of the right side models into B2B with all models in their range, to engage any models my other guys may be forced to assault. I fourth moved the rest of my models into engage models if possible, then double engaged what was left. At the end of each models assault move, they were in coherency with another model that moved previously.

Lets move on!

Now it is time for Defenders to React!

Now that I have moved my models into B2B contact, the defender must move all of his in to B2B as well, up to 6" away. If not they can get within 2" of an engaged friend.

Time to roll dice! All models are engaged. The way assault works is that all models who start the assault engaged will get to attack, UNLESS they are killed by a model who gets to attack before them based on a better initiative. What this means is that, unlike in 4th edition, if your opponent removes casualties from models engaged with your power fist guy, leaving him "Out of Combat" he will still get his attacks when his turn finally comes up... no matter what. Remember that for when guys try to claim that some of your models cannot attack since they are not B2B any more.

Now to figure out who goes first. My Assault Marines are initiative 4, higher then the Guardsmen 3. So the space marines will go first. All except for the Fist, who goes last. Since my marines have Frag Grenades, they may go at initiative value. Other models who do not have frag grenades, like Terminators, do not get this benefit and will go after the defenders. So the order is 9 marines first, then all surviving Guard, then the Power Fist.

We will resolve the Meltabomb first... this is actually very interesting.

The meltabomb will auto hit because the Chimera has not moved. It is Str 8 plus 2d6. I roll a 1 and 2 as customary, but that is still enough to penetrate the Chimeras back armor. (when assaulting vehicles, you use the back armor value) Remember, Melta Bombs are NOT Ap 1. So you do not get a bonus to the damage chart... BUT I just rolled a 6! The chimera explodes out, and crap, 6"... I am actually rolling these dice by the way... Some damage is about to happen... Actually, to make this easier, we will say I rolled a 5, and destroyed it... no need to get into messy explosion casualties.

The reason why I said this was interesting was that the chimera is now destroyed, and the power fist, who was initially B2B with it, has not gone yet... Well sadly, on page 35 it says that workign out which models are engaged in combat is done at the start of the fight and cannot change. Since the Fist was engaged with the tank at the start of the fight, he cannot attack any thing else.

Now to resolve the rest of the models. We will start with the 4 marines assaulting on the right. Assault Veterans get 2 attacks base, 1 for charging, and 1 for two weapons. That will be 16 attacks, 4 of which are power weapons.

The marines need a 3 to hit and a 3 to wound since they are stronger and better fighters then the guard. 3 Power Weapon shots hit, and 7 chain sword shots hit. Now to wound, 2 power weapon hits wound, and 3 chainsword hits wound. The guard player allocates these wounds... he has to place one on each model that he can before stacking them, so he will place the 5 wounds on 5 normal guardsmen. 2 die from the power shots, and 3 fail to save. The guard player removes 5 men. He takes off the Lascannon tea and 3 others, leaving the Sgt and two more.

ON the other side, 6 chainsword wounds are dealt, and 2 power sword. Like the right side, he has to place each wound on a different model. He places the 2 power sword shots and 4 of the chain swords on the 6 normal guardsmen, and the remaining two chainsword shots on two of the melta guns. Five of the normal Guardsmen die, and 2 of the melta gunners die. Leaving 1 Guardsman, 1 meltagunner, and 1 sgt.

Now for the Guard to hit back! First squad. Sgt has a power sword and gets 2 attacks. The guard get 1 each. They will hit on 4 and wound on 5. Sadly, none of them wound. On the other side, none of them even hit!

Getting towards the end!

Now both of the squads must make a leadership test. On page 63 it says to ignore the vehicles in a multiple combat for determining attack results. So we need to total up the number of Guard killed, which was substantial! 13 total! Egads. They need snake eyes... snakes always mean a success. (Page 43)

Neither makes it.

They will both now fall back, and the marines must do a sweeping advance. Squad 1 rolls a d6 vs the marines. Then add their initiative. Guard 1 rolls a 4, marines roll a 3... this result is a tie, which means the marines catch the guard in a Sweeping Advance and slaughter them all. On the other side, guard roll a 3 and marines roll a 2, another tie... dead marines.

Now all the guard are dead, and the marines get to make a consolidate check... (a six is the result...) and they can now move into the cover that was once being occupied by the guard... having successfully assaulted and killed 3 units. :)

If one of the guard squads had made their leadership test, then the marines would not have been able to sweeping advance the other since they would have been locked in combat. The guard would have rolled 2d6 and run away.

So there you go Sabb! I hope that makes sense. I will now illustrate this and pop in the pics!

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! The guard in my illustrations turn up as white and you cannot see them. I need to remake them. I will do it later and add them to the post. Enjoy!


eriochrome said...

Arranging multiple assaults is tricky if the opponents are more than 4 inches apart for standard bases.

As a rule note, your 2 assaulter bridge is against the rules as described since it the tank has someone in base to base you can only move the second guy in after he has no one new to get into base to base with.

Moving guys at the back first to get into base to base can be helpful allowing the guys in the front edges to expand out. Find the last guy who just makes assault range. Move him next and then start fanning off him with anyone behind.

Ash said...


I think you are mistaken on one point. I believe you are only able to sweeping advance one of the units. The first to fall back falls back while you are still engaged with the other unit.

It is the second one to fall back that you can sweep. I know this might be rules lawyering but it is the point I would argue if you did this to me.


Flekkzo said...

Chainsword shots? I would have said Chainsword 'hits'. I am not being a grammar nazi or anything, just made me confused when I was reading it.

Do you often do these kinds of maneuvers or is it a rare treat to pull one off? Also, wouldn't it be fairly easy to guard (lots of pun attended there) against by making sure you don't set your own units up too close to an attacker? I assume that you have to pile your dudes up B2B against your original enemy unit and then secondary within 2" of those already in B2B with the enemy. Or is that just after any potential B2B situations even with other units?

eriochrome said...

I had one game where I probably could have attacked 3-4 different guard units at the same time with 1 5 man termi squad since they had moved forward to get into range to first rank second rank me. Game ended before the charge due to time but it would have been interesting.

jawaballs said...

The fall back happens simultaniously. You roll all Morale tests before Sweeping Advance. Once the unit fails that morale test, they are considered "Falling Back". After all morale tests are done, you go to page 40 for the Sweeping Advance rules. On page 40 under Disallowed Sweeping Advances, it disallows sweeping advance only if the victor is locked in combat with units that are NOT falling back. So really, before either of the falling back squads moves, you roll their initiative check to see if they are destroyed.

Eriochrome, true! I would only be able to get the first guy in on the tank, then hold back the fist until all other models are engaged. This will simply require moving guys from the back into assault before going for the bridge to ensure that you can reach the other squad... Hell, or just shooting and assaulting the vehicle. Then you can send as many of your models into B2B with it as you want be fore branching out to the other squads. Just make sure both squads are no more then 3" away from the vehicle.

This is an area where the guy being assaulted will really get his personality tested. Be prepared for him to measure each 2" measurement you put down, and for this process to take an hour. No one likes losing 2 or 3 units at once and even the best of sports will try to make sure it is done properly. The poor sports will fight you tooth and nail.

The most important thing here is to remember to get your assaulters as close as possible to the enemy units to give you as much play room as possible.

jawaballs said...

Well, since a chainsword cannot shoot, I would think the words shot, hit and attack could be sort of interchangable. I see your point though.

Since I do not use 10 man assault squads any more, it is a lot more difficult to get 3, but yes, I routinely get 2 squads into assault. Especially since usually when I do get into assault, it is in the thick of things, and there are a lot of squads in a small area.

I did once get my Furioso Dread into B2B with two different squads of necrons. We resolved that combat with me attacking, and slaughtering both squads, but I think that by the rules my dread could only actually attack the squad it charged... It was cool though!

I wish my damn illustrations worked... I just dont feel like going back and messing with the colors. :(

Flekkzo said...

I can't see why the dread can't attack any of the squads, but I do think he (she?) needs to make all the attacks on one and the same squad.

How could you output enough attacks to wipe out two squads? And I assume that you can't make a sweeping advance with a dread, or? Did they phase out?

About the illustrations, what software do you use? If you are still stuck with paint or something you can always download paint.net since I am guessing that you run with windows. It's free and sucks far less than paint.

Have you solved your video-problems? MPEG4 really should be an excellent format for you after all (and us, quality wise). Because if the illu fails, it would be real neat to see this done in a vid. It's by far the easiest way to see what you are up to:)

Draccer said...

awesome! thanks alot, jawa. I was playing it wrong

jawaballs said...

Enough attacks? a Death Company Furioso Dread can get 7 attacks on the charge. With Dante giving him preferred enemy, that can be 7 dead necrons. On my opponent's turn, that can be 6 more dead. It wont take long for bodies to pile up!

Necrons are not fearless. So they have to make morale tests.

On page 73, Walkers make sweeping advances, pile in and consolidations unless they are stunned or immobilized. So yes, if my dread managed to get in and attack 2 squads of necrons, and killed 7 on the charge, they will probably both fail Morale, fall back and be destroyed. But at the top of the page, it says that they may only assault the unit they fire at.

jawaballs said...

Oh, and I use Illustrator and Photoshop. When sending the Jpeg I made with PS into Blogger, it changes the colors... It turned Black into White... and all of the infantry bases I used for the IG were black, changed to white, on the white background...

As for my video cam, Windows Media Player and Movie Maker, the programs I use to make my youtube vids, does not recognize MP4. So, I have to use the software that came with the camera to turn the MP4s into MVA files. The software is clunky and way slower then Windows Movie Maker... what is the value of higher quality video when it takes 5 times as long to produce it! And I also need to play with the settings. The video quality was not as good as my little Power Shot...

Flekkzo said...

7? Wow. That is pretty significant. The Ironclad I'm going to assemble puts out 4 on the charge. Blood Angels sure sounds attractive now:)

In what way would an infantry unit be different to a walker in assault when they choose enemies? I'm sure you can't do "four on one and three on the other" but why can't one just choose to attack the other squad as infantry would?

I find it entertaining that dreads gets to do sweeping advances, but guys in terminator armor does not. Those terminators got to be slooooow:)

Have you tried just saving them as PNGs and try it that way? Sounds like something is going horribly wrong™

About mp4, isn't there some drivers you can install to make windows understand mp4s properly? You can't be the first guy with this problem after all. A quick search on the google makes it look like it can be fixed. Needs some codecs and installs and whatnots.

Ash said...

The simple solution is to get a Mac. PCs are for emporer loving lackies.

"Death to the False Emporer"


Flekkzo said...

Ash, I sooo tried to stay away from that comment, and now you go and write that! No good:) But yes, a mac is way more friendly for these things. I'm a happy mac owner myself:) But I will stay out of any computer wars, the 40k wars are far more fun, and easier to fight!

jawaballs said...

Google search? But I would rather write blog posts! I just made a video illustrating this whole discussion, on my OLD cam... that should be up soon.

I think terminators not being able to SA is silly. I was looking for that rule and could not find it. Can any one tell me where it is? And can Blood Angels terminators sweeping advance?

Ash said...

I think that the rule is in the armour discription in the codex armories.


eriochrome said...

A individual model in base to base with 2 different units can divide his attacks however he wants provided he decides before he rolls any of the attacks, So your dread can put half the attacks on 1 unit and half on the other unit if he can actually get into base to base with both. You have to take the most direct legal path to the nearst model in the target unit. The only way this probably gets you in base to base with both is if you have to wheel around a model in the other unit to get into b2b with the closet one in the target or you position some type of obstruction like a rhino or another unit just right.

Flekkzo said...

Page 102 of Codex Space Marines:

"On the other hand, this armour is somewhat cumbersome, so Space Marine Terminators are not able to pursue a more lightly armoured foe when they flee. Terminators cannot perform a Sweeping Advance."

So nobody is Terminator Armor can make a sweeping advance. Not even on other Terminators.

Jay Bee, get some computer-nerdy friend of yours to fix the mp4 problem. They tend to see a problem as something that has to be fixed, so they will get it fixed. That way you can post and cam all day long :) Delegate man, delegate!

Ash said...


I thought that all teachers had Mac's? Especially Art Teachers.


jawaballs said...

The difference nowadays is minimal I think... only Professional IT and Designers see it.

Oh, and I only know two guys who are computer nerdier then me, Fritz is one of them. But it is just a matter of downloading the proper codec, which I will do now. I just had to stop being lazy and look up answers on Google! :)

Flekkzo said...

Does that mean that Fritz is incredibly computer nerdy, or that you have few computer nerdy friends?

Plus I'm sure there a good portion of comp. sci. people reading your blog :)

Oh, and macs are like the eldar. There, said it, it has been said.

Oh, and no more comments before you have searched every corner of the internet. We demand new vids! ;)

SgtMikey said...

Hey Jawaballs, I think you made one mistake in your post: the sergeant with PF could have attacked the guards!

Rulebook p. 35 states that a model is "engaged" with a unit if it's
a) in b2b with an enemy model of this unit OR
b) within 2" of a model which is in b2b with a model of this unit.
This is determined at the start of the assault phase (as you stated correctly). But only the fact THAT the model's "engaged" with the unit(s), not which unit it has to attack!

So your sergeant was in cc with both units (b2b with chimera and within 2" of his comrade who was in b2b with a guard).

Rulebook p. 41 now only talks about "engaged" models. When a model is about to attack, it may only attack a unit which it was "engaged" with at the start of the assault phase. Your sergeant was "engaged" with both units, so he may choose which unit he wants to attack.

So if I read it correctly, a model doesn't even have to attack the enemy model it's in b2b with, but can choose to attack another model that is in b2b with a friendly model within 2".

Correct me if I'm wrong!

White Fang said...

awesome i play a guard army that my brother has with 120 guardsman in a 1500 point battle
now i can stand a chance

as always you give the most valuable information jawaballs
*two finger salute*

Brother Spiros said...

about the two necron squads if one of them has a necron lord with veil of darkness he could just teleport away from the dread even if they are in close combat and then after you deal with the other squad he could just hit you with that gauss weapons,which are very bad for vehicles, so he could end up destroying your dread,
i now this, i've done this, you don't want this. So i believe that you should first kill the lord and then get into B2B(Oh and I'm actually a Blood Angels player)
Am I right?

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