War Applied to Warhammer 40K by
nine principals of war as defined by the US Army. These principles have
withstood the test of time and I will now apply them to the game of Warhammer
every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable
be obvious to all. Each time you come to the board you need to know what
you are trying to accomplish. Also you need to know and understand why
you are moving and or firing a particular unit. Never do something unless
you have your objective in mind. Sometimes the battle dictates that you
must accomplish a secondary objective before the main objective. This is
fine, but know what and why you are doing what you are doing. When planning
your army, think about what a unit can do to help you achieve your objective.
And remember an objective must be obtainable.
retain and exploit the initiative
You must force
your opponent to react to you. If you are always reacting you will lose
more often than not. Also, if you are forcing decisions on your opponent
he is much more likely to fail at the critical moment. Think of it as his
confusion under your pressure! In the attack, initiative means never allowing
the enemy to recover from the initial shock of the attack. Always keep
pressing forward. If you have an assault type army, entangle and defeat
as many units as possible. In the defense, initiative means reversing the
game on the opponent to negate any advantage he took by being aggressive.
Mass the effects of overwhelming combat power at the decisive place and
one lasgun--everybody fears 60! Always support your forces with more of
your forces. As part of this, you must be able to get your forces where
they can be mutually supportive. Isolated units are simply victims. Do
not isolate your forces. Synchronize your actions, be they attacks,
fire, or counter attacks. Do not throw troops away one at a time. The principle
of mass allows you to dictate the outcome of the battle.
4. Economy of
Employ all combat power available in the most effective way possible; allocate
minimum combat power to secondary efforts
donít beat a dead horse. Always apply your army to be its most effective.
Have high rate of fire weapons (such as heavy bolters) shoot at large groups.
Have good AP weapons fire at good armor saves. Shoot Genestealers; donít
get into melee with them. Think about what each unit is capable of and
where they will need to be to make it happen. Never have a unit doing nothing
(sitting on an objective is not nothing--they are following Principle One).
have no choice here. Imagine you have a squad of Marines: the missile launcher
needs to kill the incoming Chaos Rhino, but you know the bolters will be
ineffective; if it fits your objective, itís OK: do it.
Place the enemy in a position
of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power
This is the
40K game in a nutshell. If you can maneuver you can force your opponent
to react to your moves. If you canít, you are simply reacting to his. And
remember Principle Two (Offensive: Seize, retain and exploit the initiative)!
Maneuver elements can even take the initiative from the opponent in the
middle of his best game ever. This principle is the most critical and often
overlooked facet of the game.
does not have to be fast. Even the Imperial Guard can be quick, especially
if the opponent disdains the IG player's Movement phase.
does not have to be to get into close combat. Use it to shift your fire
lanes or use it to force your opponent to move, or use it to get away from
your opponent (this last one, however, is bad--it means you are reacting
to him). Remember to keep all of your units working towards your objective.
6. Unity of Command.
each objective, seek unity of command and unity of effort
mostly to multi-player games. Generals need to know beforehand what is
expected of them and their forces. You must not argue with your co-commander.
Other than that, you as a single commander have all the unity of command
you need. This principle also touches on Combined Arms doctrine--using
different arms of your force to achieve the same goal. Anti-tank elements
destroy enemy transports so your assault element can destroy his troopers
in close combat. This meshes with Economy of Force (Principle 4).
Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage
If you keep
your eyes open for what your opponent is planning he will always be less
successful in his plans. Just like if he watches yours. Security here means,
ďTalk trash, but donít talk tactics.Ē Let him puzzle out your Master Planô.
But never feed it to him. You can do that over a Coke after the game!
8. Surprise. Strike
the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared
This one is
pretty tough to apply to most games of 40K. Each player generally
brings a similar-sized force and knows what the other does, so it is hard
to surprise the opponent. ďWell, Bob plays Orks, so Iíll bring lots of
heavy bolters and flamers.ÖĒ See what I mean?
you have a new plan, donít tell your opponent about it until it is sprung--advantage:
you. This includes how you build your army. You need to look for ways to
surprise your opponent. For example, if you always field Wave Serpents
with your Eldar, try a game without! If your opponent knows you, he will
be dumbfounded that his 10 lascannons are going to be much less effective
clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders to ensure thorough understanding
to 40K, this means donít have too many layers to your plan. Simple is better.
Think about how you will defeat your opponent, not about how each of your
units will defeat each of his units. Plan in enough detail where, when,
and who will move, but do not worry about writing the whole thing down
with footnotes in a journal. Get a clear idea of what you want and make
One of my favorite
acronyms is KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid! Donít overplan.
If you are the leader in a multi-player game, let your subordinates know
what you want to have happen and why--it keeps it clear in their minds
when they know what you are up to!
As an astute
reader noticed, there is a lot of overlap with these principles.
That is true and that is good. Be familiar with these ideas and put them
to work for you.
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© Copyright Paul
Hill, March 2001. Used with permission.