Monday, September 1, 2014

Bolt Action Batrep: Maximum Attrition

 It's been a while since I've played Bolt Action. A few people I know have armies, however out of them only Nathan M is still dead keen on the game. Well except maybe Chris who joined me in investing in the Baker Company kick-starter (we have the infantry, still waiting on the rest of our stuff) but who may never paint his stuff. I think it has taken of a bit locally but I never go to the club these days, so never see that. Luckily, Nathan M is dead keen! I dropped by his place on Saturday so we could enjoy his cool terrain and the happy occasion of my finding the other half of my beloved Soviets....

 With everything packed in storage for our turn with EQC, I was forced to use Nathan's Brits last time. Half of my own guys turned out to be packed amongst my Wife's baking stuff. Non-essential baking stuff that was not unpacked for a while. We play Maximum Attrition and I had two full squads of Assault Engineers (without armour, that rule is silly) fully kitted out, two squads of guards infantry with mixed SMGs and rifles, the Kommissars school party, HMG, Sniper, 120mm Mortar and T-34/85. Nathan had two squads of assault rifles, one squad with LMGs, one Pioneer squad, Pak 40, mortar and Luchs. Virtuousness score: 2 LMGs to me and 2 LMGs to Nathan = equally virtuous.

In a shock move, Nathan had opted for no buildings. If I had known, I would have brought some along. We did however have very nice hedges and cornfields. Sadly these flanked the 'road' (aka the no-mans land of death) and there was nothing blocking LOS to and from tanks. This mission saw units activate to come on from reserve and I ended up weighting my infantry ready for a left-hook.  As the two-year old had got a fold of my army and dumped it on the floor that morning (only a few casualties, mainly dislodged heads), the T-34 crew were sweating it out wondering if the bent barrel had been straightened enough to shoot....
There was a morbid subtext to the game as Nathan and guest were talking about recent Soviet military documentaries on WW2 as well as a documentary about General Haig and I was also commenting a bit on Zhukov's reputation. Zhukov was a meticulous planner but when committed, would spend resources freely....
This table was a lot like the environment Haig was working with too, just imagine the trenches are behind both Nathan and my lines.
 With the draw of the dice, Nathan got the crucial hedge line position in the centre first. So if I attacked he would be simultaneous in assaults and would benefit from cover while I advanced in the open. However, due to pinning one of Nathan's squads, I achieved this to the left. On the up side, two of his squad had managed to misplace their NCOs due to withering fire from my T-34's mgs and the onrushing troops. My Sniper also attempted to kill the enemy CO but after the first shot missed, he ran out of LOS. His Pak 40 spent the game trying to take out the tank.
First assault of the game was the Kommissar's school detail (ie my free Green squad, with their leader subbed for a Kommissar for a laugh) at full roar. They had got around the hedge and despite being inexperienced, had the numbers to crush the opposition.
Nathan had been using his own light tank to reduce my other squads as they tried to cross the 'road' (aka no mans land). It was pretty effective. I hear tell that the new FAQ stops heavy weapons that have no chance of damage causing pins on Vets. Good thing the target of my HMG was the flank of a light tank then... Nathan thought it was all a ploy to scare him into disengaging. Sure enough, I rattled the tank (do it again and its incapacitated)  and caused a pin.
The real shame of the situation was, due to Nathan making the correct choices, my two Vet Assault Sapper squads with flamethrowers were quickly whittled down. In fact, I had been forced to use other tools like bullets and bayonets to do the damage, what is the world coming to?
I'm sure that was what was going though (Hero of the Soviet Union, newly minted) Pavlov's mind at the end. He had the job of assaulting a German Veteran squad, defending a hedge, armed with his trusty potato masher grenade. He was denied even the dignity of inflicting a kill or two before he went down. He is an inspiration to us all.
I had to run at 16:00, so we didn't total up the results. I think both sides can claim the victory there, with solid hits inflicted both ways. I'd have to invent arbitrary (but cool) victory conditions like 'most tanks pinned', 'most officers/NCOs killed', 'most troops over half way' and so on to claim a definitive win. Despite those being clearly legitimate scoring points, they are not in the book so I have to let them go on that technicality...

Good game Nathan! Heaps of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed our all-out brawl at the Somme somewhere in East Prussia. Can't wait for a rematch, and this has got me wanting a third Assault Sapper squad (for three LMGs worth of Virtuousness) and/or maybe a ISU-152. Hmm. Possibly.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Hey Jamie,

    Nice battle report as always. Yet another game system we should play some time...still have my Japs!

    Not that I remember how to play lol.

    1. Cheers, Jason.

      Nathan and I didn't let us having totally forgotten the rules (we forgot forward deployment units for Starters!) hold us back from having fun.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyable read. Terrain looked good and as always your comments in the photos are spot on.

    I too am tempted to get an SU 152 for my soon to be ready Russians but decided on a JS II to torment Kent with instead :)

    Nothing wrong in taking LMGs, I find them damn handy- points min maxing be damned!


    1. The JS-II would be a close second for me but the massive shell of the ISU is too crazy for me to pass up. But I only remember I want one on the rare occasions I play.

  3. I thought long and hard about both but since Warlord didn't to an SU 152 only an ISU I decided to go with the JS 2 for LW, T34/76 for midwar.Still need to get an SU 76 too.