AAR – Bolt Action – 400pts Soviet VS Wehrmacht (The Friday Post – 17 October 2014)

I’ve been quite busy this week, but other than finishing my farming commune I was able to get in a small Bolt Action skirmish against myself using my new terrain. Not having actually played Bolt Action before I did make some mistakes, or rather forgot to do things, but these were as much a result of playing myself as my unfamiliarity. I was using only what I had, which consists of a single box of infantry for each force. The full contents of each box were used, except the Soviet PTRS. I am really pleased with the ability to do this, in fact it was one of the things I noticed when I purchased my box of Soviet infantry. Warlord Game’s combination of good looking miniatures at a great price is very welcome!

The Forces

I used only what I had, less the PTRS, and as they were represented, expect the models with SVTs (Soviet semi-auto rifle) which I counted as Nagants (bolt action rifle).

Soviet:

Regular 2nd Lt with two men (Lt and one man with SMG, other with rifle)

Two 11 man squads of regular infantry, both with DP-28 LMGs, one with six SMGs, the other with five, the remaining men armed with rifles

One 11 man squad of inexperienced infantry (thanks to the Soviet special rule, Quality of Quantity) including a DP-28 LMG, the other 10 men were armed with rifles

A regular sniper team.

German:

Veteran 2nd Lt with two men (again, Lt and one man with SMG, other with rifle)

Two 10 man squads of regular infantry, both with MG-34s and three SMGs, the remainder with rifles

Veteran sniper team.

The Scenario

I chose to play Maximum Attrition from the rulebook: one victory point is awarded for each enemy unit destroyed, the side with at least two victory points more than the other is the winner. In the case that this is not met, the game is a draw. The game lasts for six turns, with a seventh played on a 4,5 or 6 at the end of turn 6.

The Table

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I set the table up with the barn in the centre of the field around which the other buildings and fields were variously arranged. My FoW rural roads are just wide dirt tracks at this scale. The fields and trees are also FoW scale, but do the job. The table is 1200mm square (4’x4′), which demonstrates just how much space a few buildings can take up with the supporting infrastructure. I’m really pleased with the result, these images look a lot better than the ones of the buildings without any tracks/roads! I’m definitely going to need to prioritise making some rural roads for Bolt Action!

Turn One

Turn one was spent moving every unit onto the table. Everything ran and the resulting battleline was (for the Soviet) one regular squad on the far left flank, inexperienced infantry in the centre, with the HQ behind, second squad of regulars on the right and sniper team on the far right. For the Germans the right and left flanks held the two infantry squads, with the HQ and sniper team positioned in the centre.

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Images from end of turn one: Soviet sniper position, Soviet line and German line.

Turn 2

Everyone advanced in turn two. The inexperienced infantry had the first order and shot at the regulars on the German right flank. They needed 7s to hit, so 6s and 6s again and I rolled five 6s out of 12 shots on the initial roll! Unfortunately none of those five were a 6 the second time round. In reply, the German infantry opposite them advanced and managed to kill three of the inexperienced infantry in reply. The Soviet regulars on the left moved up and picked off managed to put a pin marker on the Germans, but scored no kills. The other Soviet infantry squad moved up to the right of the building nearest them, putting them near to the centre of the field – this would be the first mistake I made with them. The German infantry on the (German) left flank killing the Soviet sniper team. I may have made an error here though, they actually needed 7s to hit, but I may have rolled thinking I only needed 6s. The resulting fire killed one of the two man team and then the sniper himself failed his morale roll (for taking 50% casualties from shooting) and fled. First VP to the Germans! The German sniper missed the infantry in the middle and the two HQs moved up.

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The above images are from the end of the turn (German right flank is in the left image, the left flank in the right image, just to be confusing). In hindsight, the right hand Soviet infantry should have moved around the right side of the building – or even into it – and I should have either assigned my first order to the sniper team to ambush, or not moved up the sniper team so far on turn one. Learning is the name of this game though, so it was good to take these lessons from this game.

Turn 3

Turn three began with a succession of orders for the Soviet, sending the inexperienced infantry forward (-just- passing their morale due to the pin marker) as well as the left most infantry squad. These opened fire again on the German infantry, this time killing a number (5 or 6, I forget) and laying on the pin markers. I also moved the infantry squad near the centre of the field to the right infront the building – the second mistake I made with them. In response the Germans on the left flank tried to advance to return fire, but failed their morale and went down.

Meanwhile the left flank went to town on the Soviet squad that had foolishly moved into the open. An advance order from the German infantry and likewise from the HQ (moving into a building) saw casualties as well as the two pin markers – not good news for the Soviets. Meanwhile the German sniper missed again.

Unfortunately I have no decent images of turn 3 😦

Turn 4

The Germans on the left flank managed to pass their morale this time and opened fire on the regular soviet infantry. Now, I forgot to take into account the (now) -2 for the pin markers. With the other modifiers in mind, they should have needed 5s (I think, might have been 6s), but I only accounted for the -1 for the range. This shooting resulted in four regular soviet infantry dying, when there probably should have been none. It probably didn’t have an impact in the end, but I’ll remember it for next time.

Meanwhile the Soviet infantry on the left continued their advance and fire, taking the German squad down to four men. The Soviets on the left however were in a world of trouble, when German firereduced them to four men with three pin markers. They then failed their morale and went down, which saved them from further casualties (from the HQ I think?) but left them stuck in the open, ripe for an assault.

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On the left, the Soviet infantry are stuck in the open and getting cut to pieces. On the right, the German flank is facing a serious Soviet problem.

Turn 5

The turn of the assaults. The inexperienced infantry got the jump and assaulted in through the gap between the barn and the fence. The pin markers meant the Germans failed to hit anything as the Soviets rushed in. In the close quarters fighting that followed, three Germans died, before the NCO took out a single conscript before falling. On the otherside, the German infantry assaulted the Soviets stuck in the open, who also couldn’t hit anything with the amount of pin they were contending with, and were quickly dispatched with no ability to strike back. The German sniper picked off a conscript (finally hitting something), but the re-positioned HQ failed to hit. The Soviet HQ moved around the barn to open up on the German infantry squad, and did some damage, but this move was probably a mistake. The surviving Soviet regulars moved behind the barn – being unable to shoot through their own unit (the command squad).

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On the left, the Soviets push through the gap, on the right we have a shot of the field as of the end of turn 4 – the Soviet HQ is obscured by the barn.

Turn 6

The inexperienced infantry rush the veteran sniper team. The greater experience of the Germans pays off, enabling them to kill two infantry before the sniper was overwhelmed. Meanwhile the German infantry assault the Soviet command squad and kill it with ease. The German HQ exits the building to hunt the conscripts and kills one (or two?) despite their firepower (which should’ve made short work of the remaining men). The remaining Soviet regulars pop around the barn and open up on the Germans, but again the dice fail me and the Germans survive with only one or two losses.

I roll and score a 5 – Turn 7 is on! Currently the Soviets trail the Germans 2VPs to 3 – a draw.

Turn 7

Soviets score the first order and I do a quick calculation and consider shooting the German infantry (rather than assaulting) would yield greater results. The dice had different ideas however. Despite scoring 10 hits from 12 shots, or something similar, only two Germans die, leaving two SMGs and an MG34 (actually, on review one of the squad members had taken a lie down in the front yard of one of the houses, so there should have been four men left – blind wargaming, that’s what it is all about, people!).

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In response the Germans opened fire, turning the above image into this:

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With only two men left following withering point blank German fire, the remaining two men fail their morale and are Destroyed. Meanwhile the German HQ mopped up the inexperienced infantry with ease.

The end result: Soviet 2VPS to German 5 VPs. Victory to the Germans!

Aftermath

Well I had good fun playing against myself. The battle ebbed and flowed just as one always hope battles will. I made some poor choices though and those tactical errors ultimately led to the Soviet loss. The first two were with the Soviet infantry on the right, who should have hung right to cover the sniper (or the now dead sniper, which should have been set to ambush) and I should have let the other infantry move up to face the Germans after their comrades were destroyed, rather than putting the HQ in their path first. Still, either way I ultimately won, because I was playing both sides!

Hope you enjoyed this first (though small) AAR! I almost certainly won’t be able to do much hobby work this weekend, but a FoW game should be played either tomorrow or Sunday and I’ll have the AAR for that up ASAP after that! Till then, happy wargaming!

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