Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bolt Action: Stalking Big Cats

Last week, I dropped by Nathan's place last week to take on his Germanic Super-Men. He's got a hold of some very cool 4ground ruined buildings. Pricy, but they look great all made up. For something different, we play the mission with a single objective in the middle - Scenario 4: Hold until relieved. Nathan had his newly painted up Pz II Luchs (I understand the theory is that it is 'invincible' due to Recce.) He also had his mix of Vets and VolksGrenadiers, along with both an 8cm Mortar AND a 75mm field gun. I had my mighty T-34/85, the Assault engineers, my so far ineffective 120mm mortar, as well as the sniper etc. Last time, we drew through lack of aggression - but this time he was defending and I was determined to capture that Panther!

I like this one, a single objective (placed by the defender) somewhere near the middle, the defender gets two squads on, then the attacker gets to put his stuff down at least 18" from enemy troops. The defenders then get some of their troops coming on as a 'first wave' (like reserves but they don't have to roll to come on' and can put others in reserve. As you can see, I set my main force up as a group and prepared to plow onto the objective. Nathan had put his artillery into reserve, along with Engineers toting an integral flamethrower (hop I get that in the new book!) and the sniper Konig. The objective was held by Veteran infantry. And an observer.

I moved up as quickly as I could - it was clearly going to be a bloodbath around the objective and even one remaining enemy troop could 'contest' it and turn my rightful win, into a draw.

My artillery fire was pretty uninspiring, as always, turn one. The usual bantering went on about how this unit had yet to hit anything over about three games. Then turn two.... incoming! The 120mm mortar barrage smashed a squad of Veterans, killed most of them, and caused the rest to break and run. In this game, arty does multiples of D6 hits, rather than using a template. So you can smash one unit but adjacent friends are completely safe.

 The German mortar had come on from reserve in the first wave. Once their observer had got the ringing in his airs to stop, he poked up his head and zeroed in on one of my Assualt Engineer squads that was moving to converge on the remaining squad of German Vets. They didn't even get the opportunity to make a morale check.

 When in doubt - improvise and hope it works! My short mech recon squad rushed the German Vets, on the theory that swinging first would carry the day.

It did not.
 Meanwhile, the Germans had obviously developed a healthy appreciation for the capabilities of my heavy mortar. The German Panzer moved up to suppress it, and then take it out.

Up in the second floor of a nearby ruin, my sniper  was unperturbed and took out the German Captain. I told you guys - stop saluting him! My own tank hadn't been idle either - round after HE round had been smashing the German reserves, helped along with hull mg fire.

 This still left the problem of the stubborn German Vets. When assaulting doesn't work - try shooting them! That worked much better, my Green troops even got the free upgrade to regular out of the shooting exchange. Things were looking up!

Until, dun, dun, dunh. The German engineers, flamethrower and all, began to get close to my own troops. I have to admit, the best plan I could formulate against them was 'tactical withdrawal' - good thing the Kommisar was the first casualty of last turn's shooting....

While my remaining Assault engineers were pulling back, my Tank and other infantry were shooting up Nathan's forces as they tried to move up to contest. He had sneakily worked a Sniper into the ground floor of one of those cool 4ground buildings. So of course I tried to blow him to pieces with 2d6 HE goodness. I got all excited when I got that 6 to range in right away. Then we looked up the building rules and I found out that I had a 50% chance of the shell detonating for each floor - and there were tow floors above the target floor! Yes, I didn't get the 12 on 2D6 to collapse the whole building, either. 

 Who should come to the rescue though? Yes it''s not quite Stalingrad but Zaytsev (he must be, given what he's achieved for me so far) came through again. Nathan resolutely ignored him though and stuck to eliminating my heavy mortar.

Things got close near the end. I threw my flamethrower at the advancing German engineers. I got a few kills, remained on the board, but so did my target. And next turn their flamethrower fired back. His sacrifice was not in vain though. despite all the craziness shooting every which way, I had managed to preserve three okish sized units, and the CO, for the last push to secure our objective. Facing them was.... not much really. The T-34 had done a number on the enemy artillery. And since Nathan said out loud (without touching wood!) that my sniper wasn't a problem, since it could only kill one model a turn - I killed a model in one of his squads, caused them to break, and so took out two with the one shot.

 For all that - his two Vets with Assault Rifles (the escort of the ill-fated German CO) actually beat off my initial assault and wiped the former green troops out. Sure they were free, but they should have won. Next turn I finished the job with my Assault Engineers.
Nathan's Engineers ended up far too far away to contribute. His Luchs did try the mad dash on the last turn - we went to 7 - but Nathan decided to not have it sit there and take the heavy AT shot from my waiting T-34/85. So we had it!

 Man of the Match award goes to Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev. Definitely deserving of the title 'Hero of the Soviet Union.'

In other news: The New Armies of the Soviet Union book is up for pre-order!

 I can't wait. That flag bearer is a very cool fig and is exactly what I need to round out my forces. I am really looking forward to seeing what rules they come up with for my Assault Engineers as well. Hmm, maybe I should get another pack along with the book, just in case?


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    1. They are pretty much the ideal 28mm skirmish building for WW2. The warlord ruins are more flexible and do more periods but the 4ground ones are fully to scale with rooms, stairs, levels etc all modeled. Highly recomended if you can afford to buy a set just for bolt-action.

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    1. Thanks Rodger. I had a blast playing too. I like hlw the mission forces you to get stuck in.