AAR – Bolt Action – 750pts – Soviets V Germans – Kursk Mini-Campaign

My mate came round for some Warfare Wednesday. We played a 750pt game of Bolt Action. I took control of the Germans while my mate took command of the Soviets in a hard fought and very enjoyable battle. Some notes before I get into it: I only have four order dice each of brown and red (from the Normandy Firefight box), so the large D6 (red for Soviet, white for German) are being used as order dice. The small red D6s are our pin markers. My account below is fairly accurate, but there are a few things later in the battle my memory is a little hazy on, so images don’t quite match up with my account.

Update 13/11/2015: We decided to make this the first of a three game mini-campaign. To the victor go the spoils of $20 worth of sushi and sake from this sushi train place in the city.

The Forces

 01 - Soviets

Soviets, all units are inexperienced:

First Lieutenant and two staff, all with SMGs

Three 12 man LMG squads, each with an NCO with SMG and an LMG (I accidently left one guy in the box for the squad on the front right)

One 12 man SMG squad with an LMG, all with AT grenades

One 12 man rifle squad (free)

One medium mortar

One Maxim MMG

One T-34/76

 02 - Germans

Germans:

First Lieutenant with two staff, all with SMGs

Three Heer grenadier squads, each with an NCO with SMG, second SMG model with panzerfaust and LMG

One MG42 MMG

One Stug G.

Having played a sum total of one game of Bolt Action previously, I wasn’t sure how robust each of the lists were. I had concerns the inexperience of the Soviet horde would be their undoing, but figured their superior numbers would balance the scales.

The Table

Unfortunately I snapped the jigsaw blade good and proper last weekend so I couldn’t finish off the roads (they need to be cut in half and other pieces need to be cut out), but I’m very pleased with my new faux fur fields. Also the hills saw some action.

 03 - Battlefield 04 - Battlefield 2 05 - Battlefield 3 06 - Battlefield 4

I selected Maximum Attrition as the mission we would play – my mate had never played before and I’m really only learning myself. You score one point for each enemy unit destroyed. Score 2 more points than your opponent to win a clear victory, 0 or 1 higher nets a draw.

Turn 1

All units begin off the field for this mission and so it was mostly moving things on, however two shots were fired. The first Soviet LMG squad ran into a building in the centre, followed by the Rifle sqard into the field on the Soviet right. I then brought my MG on up onto the hill. I consider the move fairly safe given I didn’t think anything could shoot at it – except I forgot about the medium mortar. It was the next to come on, advancing and firing indirectly at my MG – though he needed a six to hit, my mate managed, causing four hits and three casualties. The German MG team became the victims of first blood.

 07 - now you see them 08 - now you don't

The rest of the turn was spent moving things. SMG squad and an LMG squad went behind the hill, Soviet commander hung hard right with the Maxim, the T34 came on the road, shooting and missing at some Heer that had moved on opposite. The final LMG squad advanced into the forest in the centre while I brought one Heer squad each on the left and right flanks (in addition to the centre), my commander on the right and my Stug in the centre – firing and missing the T34.

 09 - Right flank T1 10 - Armoured stand off T1 11 - Left flank end T1 12 - right flank end T1

Turn 2

Turn 2 began with the LMG squad on the Russian far left moving up and firing on my Heer, scoring a kill. My Heer passed their order test and returned fire, killing four. The Stug and T34 both shot and missed each other. Meanwhile my Heer on my left came under fire from the Maxim, but lost no one and in returned landed on kill on the team. Other squads just moved up: the SMGs cresting the hill and running forward. The LMG squad in the house stayed put, the other moved up, likewise the commander and the Rifles. The mortar shot at and missing my Heer on my right while my other Heer squad run into the house in the centre on my side. My commander and his men made a risky move moving up to try fire on the SMGs but were out of range.

 13 - Maxim and rifles left flank 14 - right flank end T2 15 - Left flank end T2

Turn 3

Turn three I moved my Stug up into the field and used my MG to open up on the Rifles, I killed one and they fought on as normal, rolling a 4 for their Green check. My Heer on the left followed up by advancing onto the road and shooting at the Rifles, inflicting some casualties and adding a pin. In response the rifles failed their order test and went down. The Maxim moved up and shot at my Heer scoring three hits, but only one kills – a six. Rerolling again another six was scored (resulting in three consecutive sixes, because one of the hits was a six too!). My NCO was chosen to be removed and my Heer failed their initiative training test. Meanwhile on the right things looked not so good for me. The SMGs moved up and shot at my Heer on my far right – killing three. I passed my order test and returned fire, then also issued a fire order to my commender. The SMG squad lost some men and acquired two pins. The LMG squad on the Russian far left advanced and picked off another two Heer, while the other LMG squads also moved up: one going into the barn, the other leaving the house. My Heer in the house shot at the LMG squad in the barn to no effect. The T34 shot at and missed my Stug, but the mortar managed to again hit with indirect fire needing a six on my Stug. It did no damage (it needed a 6 to glance), but the Stug received a pin none the less.

 16 - Soviets close in on right flank 17 - Road end T3 18 - Heer V Maxim 19 - Armoured stand off 20 - T34 and Mortar

Turn 4

Turn four was a turn where things went south for the German let flank. I ordered my Stug to fire on the Rifle squad, but it rolled a 9 for its order test – failing by just one – so it reversed and went down. Things went from bad to worse when I followed up with my Heer on the left, who were ordered to fire on the MG, proceeding not just to fail their order test, but roll double sixes and FUBAR! They paniced and ran back towards my long table edge. To add insult to injury the Maxim opened up and again scored exceptional damage, choosing to remove the Panzerfaust. On the right things went quite a bit better than I imagined. I ran my Heer out the building over to where the melee would begin expecting a poor outcome. My mate decided to order his LMG squad to run first, fearing the two pins on his SMG squad. They assaulted my Heer squad (now four men strong), who opened up with some excellent defensive fire. Thinking about it now, he probably needed a morale check for 50% casualties from shooting. Either way, he only managed to kill one of my remaining men in close quarters while I took out two and won the melee.

 21 - The disasterous assault 22 - Rifles down in the field24 - Panic Heer

The SMG squad failed their order test and went down. I decided to run my Commander to the left to try amend the situation taking place over there next turn. The LMG squad in the barn shot and killed one of the Heer in the squad that had run up to assist the right side, while the other LMG squad fired and picked another one or two off. The T34 fired on the Stug and scored a glancing hit, resulting in a crew stunned result – the Stug now had 3 pins. The mortar fired on the Stug and missed. Finally the soviet commander moved up to be in range of the Rifle squad, who passed their order test because of the morale boost. They then ran into the building on my left.

 23 - Aftermath of the assaults

Turn 5

Things weren’t looking good for the Germans. I assaulted the SMG squad with my other Heer squad nearby and wiped them out, but lost a man for the trouble (by the look of the image above I think this actually happened in turn 4, so perhaps I didn’t waste a turn shooting the men in the barn like I thought, it matters not though). My Commander ran up to be in range of the Stug – which enabled it to pass an order test and fire, but missed. Before that shot, however, the T34 machine gunned my commander’s staff members. On the left the Heer passed an order test and fired on the Maxim, killing it, but took more casualties from the Rifle squad now in the building. In the centre the men in the barn opened fire and wiped out the last three men of the Heer squad on the far right. The other LMG squad moved up and took out a couple from the Heer squad now alone on the road. The T34 (whom we forgot to put a pin marker on) shot and missed the Stug, likewise the mortar team.

  27 - Consolidating on the road 26 - Armoured warfare

Turn 6

My Stug passed its order test again, fired on the T34, hit, but rolled a one for penetration. The T34 finished off machine gunning my commander. My Heer on the right failed their order test and went down, with another one picked off by the Rifle squad. My Heer on the road shot at one of the LMG squads, but caused no casualties. The LMG squad in the barn left the barn and ran towards the Heer on the road. Otherwise events this turn were minor moves. At this point we actually thought we were on turn 5, so we played turned 7 as though it were six, then rolled for a turn 7 which was actually a turn 8. This did alter the outcome of the game, but I’m still happy with how it went.

 28 - Last stand on Butcher Road

Turns 7 and 8

I’ll deal with both these turns under one heading, because there are really only three things that need mentioning across the turns. In turn 7 the LMG squad that had left the barn assaulted my Heer. I killed six men in defensive fire, but they passed their morale and promptly kill three of the four remaining Heer. I killed one in retaliation but was ultimately destroyed. My Stug fired on the T34 in turn 7, hit, and again rolled one for penetration. In turn eight it fired again and scored a hit, but only a glancing one, resulting in crew stunned. At this point I realised we had forgot to put pins on the T34 – it didn’t matter though because it missed in turns 6, 7 and 8.

Finally the Heer on the left continued to be shot at by the Rifle squad. They were finished off in turn 8 by the Soviet commander and his staff, who came around from behind the building and SMGed the remaining men.

 29 - Armoured stand off 30 - Soviet Commander opens fire T8

 The Result

With the last Heer squad dead the Soviets were able to secure 5 points while the Germans only had three – a clear victory to the Soviets. However, as mentioned, we did accidently play one additional turn so it would have been a draw if we’d realised. Still, I’m fine with the result, it was a very fun game with MVP clearly going to the mortar for first blood and a crucial pin on my Stug.

The learnings for me were to be a bit more defensive with my opening moves, and grouping my units a bit more probably would have helped. That said, two terrible order rolls in turn four meant that I completely lost the left flank – right when I was in a position to secure it and enable forces to be shifted right to deal with the horde. I’ll probably see about getting my Panzer IV G together before next time we play and swap the Stug out for it. It’s only five points more and gives me some more infantry killing power.

 All in all, a great battle and I’m looking forward to our next game.

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3 thoughts on “AAR – Bolt Action – 750pts – Soviets V Germans – Kursk Mini-Campaign

  1. Hullo, and hearty congratulations on what looks to be a really fun game! It has a great game mechanic, Bolt Action, doesn’t it?

    A couple of points (although I really do NOT profess to knowing much about these things:

    1. As far as I’m aware, the medium mortar, being classed as ‘fixed’ cannot move and fire (light mortars can), so that opening salvo really was lucky!

    2. Those faux fields really are smashing, and I might just steal the idea…but they do seem very high I’m comparison to the buildings – could one lower them a little, do you think, by taking an electric razor to them? – I’m thinking of those beard-trimming blades that stick out like haircutting shears…

    Oh, and those trees are fecking AMAZING! Are they scouring pads? Please tell me there’s somewhere I can pick up how to make them…please?

    I look forward to exploring more of your posts.

    Cheers,

    – Drax.

    Like

    • Aha! Well I knew we couldn’t have played a whole first game without making a mistake! Yes, you would be right re the mortar (and ditto the MMG).

      You certainly could, according to some posts on Warlord Games’ forums I read before making mine. You could also pick up shorter pile – I was just worried about getting something too short. I think you are right, they are perhaps a little tall, I’m not too keen to use my clippers on them, but I might give it a go with the next batch. Ideal height would be shoulder height on the infantry – I think that’d be about 20mm. The advantage of clippers would be it’d be more even too.

      Haha, thanks! I’m super pleased with them. I have 20 in total now. They certainly are scourers! If you live in Australia you can pick them up in packs of 5 from Coles. As for making them, I worked off a guide I read on Beasts of War. My full method (with links to BoW) can be found here (below the Infinity stuff): https://blindwargaming.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/the-very-late-first-update-of-the-year/

      Enjoy!

      Like

      • You’re a real gent – thanks, cobber!

        I’m in the UK, but I found some great scourers in bulk for making 15mm hedgerows, so Ill just get me some more of them!

        I’m super glad I saw our link on facebook now, please anticipate me popping up a bit more now…

        – Chris.

        Like

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