Monday, May 18, 2015

Bolt Action: Winter 1944

For something different: Bolt Action WW2. Nathan is off down to Southcon so wanted to try out his tournament list. There has been a whole new Eastern Front book since last I played, but I do not have it. My lot are still my Assault Engineers out of the "Armies of the Soviet Union" book and using the standard force selector, since I understand they are using it at Southcon to clamp down on 'out there' builds. With that list, my 1000 pts gets me a T-34/76, Two squads of 8 Assault engineers with LMG and flamethrower (but no body armour, because: move 6"), another Vet squad of Tough Fighters with a LMG, 120mm Mortar, Flamethrower, Sniper, HMG, and Lieutenant. I also get a free Inexperienced SU76. I think that actually requires a specific theatre selector. However, we'll deal with any balance issues if and when it ever lands a single hit on anything....

 The mission was Demolition. That is highly appropriate for my Sapper Heavy force and our German opponents, all kitted out with Pioneers and Assault rifle toting Vets as they were. I set up a big hill in the middle of the table. Ruined hamlet on top and scattered stands of half dead trees. The Roads counted as cross-country due to the snow. I set my Tough Fighters in some trees around the objective, the HMG guarding the approach round one side and my Sniper and Observer up by the hill where they could see the German advance.

The German forces were directly on the opposite side of the hill, nearer to my right-hand side of the table. I had all the Assault Engineers and the armour in reserve. So the Germans likewise held back their pioneers, 50mm ATG and a HMG to trey and react to the Red Hammer falling.

 Meanwhile, Pavlov the Sniper and his spotter saw movement over the crest of the hill. The Fascists approached! Stupid Nazis, they must have emptied the clips on the Assault Rifles trying to get the well hidden pair.

 Slightly nonplussed at the quiet amongst the key central ruins, the German squad took up position to try and get that Sniper next time.
Pavlov however stalked bigger prey. His spotter had located the enemy 120mm Mortar. The crack of the scoped Mosin-Nagant gave away his initial position.

A miss! and they had to briefly duck behind the wall as apparently the Hitlerites had changed clips and were prepared to empty those too...

 The battlefield was getting a whole lot noisier as the barrage and counter-barrage of the Mortars thundered and then came the rumble of German armour arriving from reserve. It's auto-cannon also tried and failed to root out the snipers from their nest. Under cover of the German armour, another squad of Germans with Assault rifles advanced though the trees to the Soviet left.

 What to do, what to do. The Soviet armour was still delayed and hopefully those Assault Engineers hadn't got lost. Meanwhile, Starshiy Sergeant Yuri's Heavy Mortar team repeatedly failed to nail that enemy Mortar. Then they lost their line of fire entirely as the observer finally succumbed to overwhelming fire from Hitler's Buzzsaws as they blazed away from around the German base.

Pavlov had the answer though. A fervent adherent of Scientific Socialism and a crack shot, he nailed the German weapon team and took it out. Those Germans almost look like they are now in assault range of his position though.

 For the Motherland! The flamethrower crew has stealthily advanced up the hill, got the drop on those Fascists and are prepared to take one for the team if they fail. They do not. Hald spooked by the shadows of the abandoned village, disheartened by the sight of the Soviet tank finally rolling onto the field and now bathed in fire. They break and run for their lives. Sadly, the tank is also empty and the team retires.

 There are many more Germans though. Under the watchful eye of that Panzer, more Germans give walking fire with their Assault Rifles. Yet more empty clips for the Fatherland! These are slightly better shots and actually kill one of the unlucky Tough Fighters guarding the objective. 

 With the Germans closing on the Soviet position, the Germans look safe and secure, if short a Heavy Mortar team. But wait, is that movement in the treeline to the right?

 Za Rodina! The Veteran Assault troops arrive exactly to plan, giving marching fire with their LMGs. they are not so wasteful of the fruits of Soviet labour as the Hitlerites and manage to down a couple of Germans and pin them slightly.

 And then an Ambush! German pioneers come charging into the Assault Engineers flanks... the Soviet Sappers retaliate with withering SMG and flamethrower fire, and the Germans are no more. Bowing to inevitable, the Germans concede their position will be overrun and retire!

A great return to Bolt-Action. The Germans weren't really properly prepared to deal with the Soviet flank assault. They should have kept their reserve behind their objective (like the Soviet Tough Fighters were) and tried to thin my attack before delivering the counter-punch. As it was, the quick defeat of their ambush (they cant come on from the back edge and advance to flamethrower range in one turn, I made sure of that) left two almost entirely intact squads of determined and well armed Vets to crush a few weapons teams. Demolition is a Soviet Sapper's speciality. Thanks for the fun game, Nathan - and good luck for Southcon.

I'm still not sure if I am getting one of these or a ISU-152 either. Pros: the Suka is a cool and widely used unit and seems more appropriate for a 1944/45 theatre selector than the free inexperienced squad. Cons: I've never once hit anything when I've tried to proxy one, I already have the models for the free infantry unit, and only some theatre selectors (and not the standard book one) allow it. And lets not forget its competition is a ISU-152. Bolt Action is a fun game anyway. LMGs may be 120 points but somehow I struggled on with three of them. Chris now has Finns painted up so I might need to give him a game. Who else plays?

Thanks for reading.

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