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Go figures: Protector sailors fight world’s most southerly Warhammer battle

10 February 2023
Don’t you know that war is banned in Antarctica?

That mattered not to the Rift Stalkers and Imperial Guard who slugged it out in the snow and ice of Rothera Base on the Antarctic Peninsula in possibly the most southerly game of Warhammer 40K ever fought

Directing the battle were Lieutenant Jonny Talbot, one of the specialist hydrographic and meteorological officers HMS Protector and shipmate Lieutenant Max Friswell from the executive department.

With eight-hour spells of watchkeeping the day job keeps both junior officers busy at sea, they only have time for one game a week on Protector’s conference room table – hence the desire to play on the ice.

“The wind and snow can make games difficult, blowing models over and making charges more and more challenging,” said Jonny. “But in general, with a little bit of additional effort, the reward of playing in such a scenic environment is definitely worth it.”

He’s been collecting and playing Warhammer since 2015, especially in competitive formats, attending tournaments and even co-forming one of the UKs top-ten teams, the ‘Savvy Submariners.’

His opponent drew on nearly two decades’ experience, although he is relatively new to this particular format/edition of the game.

Connectivity can be a major issue, so having a game which requires no internet is a real advantage to us.

Lieutenant Jonny Talbot

The way Jonny’s Arctic-themed Rift Stalkers were set up and deployed in the Rothera snow proved too much for their foe and despite inflicting heavy ‘casualties’ (‘damage output’) the Imperial Guard were beaten on points. 

All of which probably means nothing to the uninitiated… but Warhammer 40K is the world’s most popular miniature war game in the world. 

To assemble either army costs several hundred pounds – and patience and skill, for the figures and equipment have to be pieced together and painted.

As for the battles, it takes up to 20 minutes to ‘deploy’ the forces… and once the dice start rolling, the clashes themselves can be over inside half an hour… or rumble on for three and more.

Jonny says there’s a thriving community of fans/players in the Services and their game on the ice drew considerable attention. 

“Warhammer is a really great way for us to unwind and decompress,” Jonny added. “Connectivity can be a major issue, so having a game which requires no internet is a real advantage to us.”

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