Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bolt Action AARs: Get Back to the Front!

We've played two games in the last two weeks with Bolt Action and I feel like we're getting the rules down really well now.The two armies I played against couldn't have been more different: slower Soviets with lots of dudes, veterans, and anti-tank rifles, and US with move and fire and a Sherman rolling up my flank.

Last week I played against Joe and his Soviets. AARs are harder to write for this game because the turns aren't IGO / UGO - the order dice mean you don't use that static method, so it is harder to remember everything that happens and what order they happened in. I'll do my best!

This is the list I took in my second game. It is pretty similar to the list I used against the Soviets minus the panzershcreck, flamethrower, and Panzer IIIN, plus a Panzer IV and Puma.

1000pt Armies of Germany Roster (Platoon)

Headquarters (60pts)

  • Platoon Commander (60pts)
    • Leutnant Regular, Regular Soldier

Infantry (472pts)

  • Heer Grenadier Squad (118pts)2x Assault Rifle, LMG (LMG Loader), Panzerfaust, 4x Rifle, 7x Soldier
    • NCO SMG
  • Heer Grenadier Squad (118pts)2x Assault Rifle, LMG (LMG Loader), Panzerfaust, 4x Rifle, 7x Soldier
    • NCO SMG
  • Heer Grenadier Squad (118pts)2x Assault Rifle, LMG (LMG Loader), Panzerfaust, 4x Rifle, 7x Soldier
    • NCO SMG
  • Heer Grenadier Squad (118pts)2x Assault Rifle, LMG (LMG Loader), Panzerfaust, 4x Rifle, 7x Soldier
    • NCO SMG

Infantry Support (290pts)

  • Anti-tank Team (80pts)
    • Panzerschreck TeamCrew (2), Shaped Charge, Team Weapon
  • Flamethrower Team (50pts)Crew (2), Flamethrower, Team Weapon
    Flammenwerfer, Regular
  • Medium Machine Gun Team (50pts)Crew (3), Fixed, Team Weapon
  • Mortar Team (60pts)
    • Medium Mortar TeamCrew (3), Fixed, HE (D6), Indirect Fire, Team Weapon
      Regular, Spotter
  • Sniper Team (50pts)Crew (2), Sniper, Team Weapon

Tanks, Tank Destroyers, Self-propelled Artillery and Anti-Aircraft Vehicles (175pts)

  • Panzer III Ausf N (175pts)Coaxial MMG, Forward Facing Hull Mounted MMG, Medium Tank, Turret Mounted Light Howitzer
Created with BattleScribe

This list seems pretty solid to me. The AT capabilities are lower as the PanzerIIIN only has a howitzer, but I can deal with that. The number of bodies on the field is sweet and I have 11 order dice. The weapons teams help me put out pins and destroy dudes.

I really like the look of the PanzerIIIN and that is currently the best measure of what I'd like to take :P

Game One - Battle at the Crossroads - Germans vs Soviets

This game had us fighting over a small town with farm fields and hedgerows. Joe had a T34-85, some infantry squads, two anti-tank rifles, and engineers with body armor in a truck. I focus fired the truck as I wanted the body armored engineers to run across the field instead of drive (body armor means they can only walk 6" each turn total). I got lucky and managed to take out the truck pretty early on.

Our mission was basic kill points (one point per unit killed). I wanted to get close to make use of my SMGs and assault rifles and also hit better, so I pushed across the fields. My mortar got lucky and dropped a smoke round right in front of his sniper in a house so he couldn't see out to shoot. Joe got REALLY unlucky early on and called in an air strike on his own troops =D

I managed to get close and setup my close assault. I pinned out his engineers on the right so they couldn't really do much. Joe failed two straight order tests for them by ONE. Our tanks and my Puma shot ineffectually at each other for the whole game; eventually my Puma got immobilized.

Joe counter punched and shot me up with a ton of SMG and rifle shots. I wanted to continue into his backfield as he was bogged down. His engineers with body armor (need a 6 to kill them) wouldn't go away but couldn't do anything. They had a flamethrower that really scared me so I was glad they couldn't use it.

Eventually I busted into their back farm field and destroyed some guys while taking pretty heavy losses myself. The dudes in the back had body armor and it made it pretty hard to kill them. At this point it was mostly cleanup; I killed an observer, sniper, and an AT rifle team. I won 6-2 on 'kill points'.

Some other pics:

Game Two - Battle for the Village - Germans vs Americans

Our second matchup was Andrew's Americans vs my german panzergrenadiers. I switched out my PanzerIV for a PanzerIII N (light howitzer tank) and added in more weapons teams. The mission this time was to take each other's 'base'. You can see in the shot above we each have a pile of crates in our deployment zones. If one player ended a turn with one of their models in base contact with it they won. Easier said than done.

We started out with only half of our units on the board. I put my medium machine gun, sniper, mortar, and two squads of infantry on. I figured the infantry could start firefighting while my weapons teams laid down pins. I didn't want to have to move them on the board as they can't move and shoot. This left my Panzer III N, flamethrower team, two squads of infantry, lieutenant, and panzerschreck team in reserve. 

Starting on turn two, they could take an orders test (roll two dice, equal or less than your morale value of 9 for regulars - minus one because they're off the board) to see if they came on the board. I brought on most of my stuff but left one squad in reserve just as a mobile force to help on either flank.

Andrew had his Sherman, air observer, and some squads of infantry on the board. He drove his Sherman up my left flank and absolutely destroyed one unit of infantry and my panzerschreck team who failed to hit it. I attempted a general advance across the middle of the board (we counted the farm fields as soft cover). Andrew used all three American special rules to his advantage: they don't take a -1 modifier when they move and shoot with rifles, they don't take a -1 modifier on their reserve rolls, and they can use two air strikes!

He targeted my PanzerIII N with his first air strike as soon as it entered the field.

You can see the red 'airstrike marker' I have there. The thing about airstrikes is they pin every unit within 12" of the target if they manage to come in. This is really bad as it makes it hard for you to do anything with your force that turn. He made a calculated maneuver by targeting my Panzer at the end of a turn; I couldn't drive it away from the rest of my guys.

The first plane came in and did no damage to my tank, but put four pins on it, which makes it almost impossible to do anything. I actually kept the tank 'Down' for the next turn to get a pin off for free. The rest of my dudes around it took an enormous number of pins and most failed their order tests. In the photo above you can see my squads moving across the middle of the field toward their objective; they were pinned quite a bit by the airstrike.

Throughout the game our two snipers were dueling to make each other's weapon teams keep their heads down. I used this dude to take out the air observer's buddy but it didn't help as he made his morale check to stay on the board.

Later on in the game Andrew had cleared out my left flank and moved up with his Sherman to start firing on my Panzer. I brought on my squad from reserve and promptly managed to roll a five to hit with my panzerfaust and a six to penetrate :D The Sherman exploded and the tide swung back in my favor.

After I destroyed the Sherman my flamethrower team moved up and took a shot at one of Andrew's infantry squads that he had pushed up the board to get to my objective. The flamethrower only did two wounds, but anytime you take a flamethrower hit you have to take a morale check. The number of pins I had put on the unit made it hard for him to pass and they all fled off the board! 

This was our ending position. You can see it was an extremely destructive battle. Andrew used his sniper, mortar, and air observer to great effect in holding off and destroying my center assault. I counterpunched his flank assault with my infantry and flamethrower and ended up pushing him back there. The Sherman is dead and the Panzer III N holds the middle. His bazooka team was creeping up but didn't manage to do much. My MMG, mortar, and sniper were protecting my base.

It was a very close match - neither of us could get to the objectives but we'll learn for the future. We used almost all the different mechanics and it went smoothly!

Panzer III N Medium Tank

The Panzer III N is really interesting to me. It mounts a light howitzer instead of an AT gun, so it is more like mobile artillery than an AT tank. It can do damage to enemy medium tanks but mostly it will just do pins and kill infantry.

I really like the look of the tank - I tried to make it look well worn from usage as Tiger support on the eastern front. I used chipping fluid from MIG Productions to make rust spots on the schurzen and front of the tank. The crew has added spare tracks to the front armor to provide more protection. They have tons of stowage on the back for the ride back to Germany. I used Secret Weapon Miniatures weathering powders to add mud and rust to the tank as a whole.

The camo netting was super easy and I think looks great. I bought some gauze and sprayed it various shades of green. It takes a few coats as there isn't much to pick up the actual paint. Then you take equal parts water and white glue (Elmer's is what I used. Some call it PVA) and soak the netting. You then put it on the tank wherever you want. It forms to the body and then won't move. The glue dries clear.

I added some brush and leaves from Secret Weapon to make it look like real camo netting, then added on foliage in various places. If you look at some photos of tanks from WW2 you'll see that in ambush some tanks just looked like piles of brush.

Keep your eye on the blog for more Bolt Action as I start work on my US Marines force. Thanks!

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