Sunday, September 29, 2013

BA: Rumble in East Prussia II

Nathan is REALLY keen on Bolt Action. In addition to his totally sweet 4Ground Terrain (not featuring in this battle) he has accumulated numerous army books and two armies for it. He is also trying to get a 'tournament' going at Conquest 2013. If anyone is interested in some 28mm WW2 action at Labour Weekend in Christchurch then you should let him know. More details here: Note in particular how he's convinced Tim to run it at half the normal entry fee. If it runs, I'm coming. Much more interesting than 1750 LW FOW. The event is planned to be 800pts so we thought we'd also play an 800pt game and keep it simple. The mission objective is maximum attrition. That's right, charge up and try and take out the enemy! I had my Soviets with a couple or Reg Squads, a Vet squad (Assault Sappers, played without the body armour rule), a Green Squad, MMG, Heavy Mortar, Sniper and the Inexperienced T-34/85. Nathan had some Germans, assault rifles, his own heavy mortar, and the slippery, slippery recce Luchs. 

In this mission your guys run on to the board when they activate so the battle deployment kind of unfolds unit by unit. This is exactly the reason I don't like the body armour rule for the Sappers. +5 pts AND they can't run. I find 1-2 turns of running is key in this game.... even if you have to lug a MMG.

 My T-34 ended up in the middle and so Nathan felt it safe enough to have the sneaky recce Panzer II come on to the board. My tank totally outclassed his. On the other hand, if mine shot at his he got to use a full move to attempt to get out of LOS. So the usual strategy was to resist the urge to shoot at the tank. My original plan was to push the left flank.

 While that was happening, I was going to see if two squads could force their way up the right.

However, things did not initially go our way. Firstly, despite putting my men in ruins on a 'down order', they tip of the spear got pinned downed by German LMGs. And that was just the good part.

Unable to swing around the right because there was a Panzer waiting to MG them, my troops were stuck behind cover but receiving flanking fire from the German center. Assault rifle dice pilw up quickly.

 So I threw the plan out the window and went Panzer chasing. Nathan was completely unperturbed. My Heavy Mortar was trying (unsuccessfully) to range in on his Heavy Mortar, my MMG had nothing in it's FOF and likewise my sniper was out of place. Apart from the German Pioneers on my right, the rest of Nathan's force were nailing the Soviet lead elements. His heavy mortar even had the poor pinned squad on the ruins on the left zeroed in. Going down was not enough to save them from successive 120mm mortar barrages.
 My mortar wasn't achieving anything, I was down a squad and who knows how long my T-34 was going to have to spend trying to bottle the wind (ie kill that Panzer). So in go the Assault Engineers. We all know that in Bolt Action a flamethrower is the ultimate Swiss army knife. I bet the poor guys who have to escort it wish I has bought them body armour!

 The aim here was to keep out of LOS of that German LMG nest, hope his heavy mortar didn't get a lucky quick range in on a new target and then try and unstick the German center. So I threw the officer and his buddy in too. Every unit that gets a hit inflicts a pin. My aim was the rattle the German vets so much that they'd break and run when the flamethrower hit. And they did.

 There was a little more fuel in the tank. So the Assault Engineers got ready to have another go.
Handily throwing the officer forward meant he was there to motivate them next turn.

 They got another squad but the flamethrower was empty and retired to the rear.

 You have to wonder how anyone lives long enough to be considered a Veteran in the Soviet Army. Or at least, I did until I read the 'Armies of the Soviet Union' book. turns out you just lower the entry bar enough! Interestingly, it appears that if a tank would evade off the board it is allowed to slide laterally to avoid this.

 Fortunately my Heavy Mortar ranged in and the enemy mortar didn't go down. I love payback.

 I also love that old classic - an observer in the top floor of the ruins. That sideways sliding Luchs was out of LOS of my T-34 but not from the Heavy Mortars. Boom a 6 to range in next turn. Suddenly that tank got a lot of pins.

So I let up on chasing his tank with mine and started using it's MMGs to blast away at the German vets left in the center. My own vets retired to the rear but I had more troops to take their place. This is the Soviet army afterall.

On the repeat bombardment, the little Luchs was not so lucky. Yes the turret was probably blown there by that direct hit.
 Meanwhile the rest of my army just kept shooting, shooting and shooting at whatever was left of the Germans. I think my MMG teams was on the verge of mutiny though. After this game, I am actually considering taking a HMG as in BA this is yet another thing that can put pins on Tanks. I think the slippery Luchs gets one evade per turn so that if I can pile up the pins then I might be able to bag it more often.

Za  Rodina! Thanks for a hard fought battle Nathan. You were ahead at the start so I was glad to be able to claw things back.


  1. Sounds like a fun battle. I'm getting into BA myself so glad it looks fun and interesting!

  2. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with it, what are you getting/running?

    1. I have a load of old soviet and german FOW figures that i will use, but i'm also using it for a low level sci-fi setting i've created.