Victory at Sea – IJN v US Navy

Matthew was around the other day to showcase Victory at Sea to me.

The Fleets

Both fleets were 1,000pts in strength,, mostly from Warlord’s Battle for the Pacific starter set. I took command of the Imperial Japanese Navy, while Matthew took command of the United States Navy.

The IJN force comprised:

  • Two Mogami class heavy cruisers;
  • One Furutaka class cruiser;
  • Three Kabuki class destroyers.

The US force comprised

  • USS Idaho (battleship)
  • USS Indianapolis (heavy cruiser)
  • USS Chicago (cruiser)
  • Five Fletcher class destroyers.

Order of Battle

I deployed my Mogami cruisers on my left flank, a Kabuki and Furutaka on my right, and finally the other two Kabuki destroyers on my far right. From my perspective, Matthew positioned two Fletcher class destroyers on the far left, then the USS Indianapolis to the right of them. In the centre were placed a Fletcher and the USS Idaho. Finally, the remaining Fletchers and USS Chicago occupied the right flank.

Image of deployment.

I secured initiative for the first turn and with that our ships began to make their way toward one another. Matthew’s advance was mostly cautious, while I advanced most of my fleet forward at full throttle. With the exception of my right most Mogami, all of my ships moved up 7 inches (thanks to their Agile trait). My destroyers on the right also did some weaving to push themselves right to the edge of the area of operation.

My Furutaka opened the shooting with a few hits on the USS Chicago, including a crew critical. The Chicago returned fire, scoring equal damage (but no crits) on the Furutaka, and mauling my middle Kabuki.

My middle Mogami then failed to inflict any damage on the USS Idaho and destroyer opposite, with the Idaho then promptly blowing my inner-most Kabuki out of the water. I went punch for punch though when my outer Mogami gave the USS Indianapolis a devastating salvo. I netted a critical hit on the ship’s engines, inflicting 11 points of damage on its hull and rendering it unable to undertake damage control for the rest of the battle.

End of turn one.

The remainder of the first turn’s shooting involved light guns from the various Fletchers and remaining Kabuki class destroyers that chipped away at the hull of various ships here and there.

Turn two and I again took initiative. I pushed the two bodies of my fleet further apart to avoid the Idaho. My Mogami cruisers turned in to punish the Indianapolis, while my Furutaka and Kabuki destroyers manoeuvred to get up close and personal with the Chicago. In both instances I endeavoured to catch the vessels in my broadside while avoiding their own. I wasn’t successful, but I did set up large silhouette shots on them.

My left most Mogami opened the shooting and I opted to unleash all my torpedos at point blank range on the Indianapolis. This decision turned out to be overkill in the extreme as the majority of my torpedos hit and dealt enough damage to near enough sink the vessel twice over from full. I then proceeded to sink the nearest US destroyer and put the tiniest scratch on the Idaho.

In retaliation the Idaho opened up on my other Mogami, mauling it most pitifully. The ship was taken down to a critically damaged level and lost operation of its rear turrets.

Meanwhile on the right the Furutaka opened up on the Chicago, sending it to the bottom. Furthermore, one of my destroyers would later sink a Fletcher. In reply the various American destroyers were ineffectual, the most notable demonstration of which was the torpedo strike on my stricken Mogami that failed to do any damage.

Turn two and some American ships have decided to try out scuba diving.

Turn three and the surviving American destroyers all powered ahead and turned themselves around. I brought my barely scratched Mogami around to take on the Idaho while the damaged one slowly made its way around. Meanwhile on the right, my ships positioned to deal with the remaining Fletcher there.

Gunnery was less exciting this time round. The Idaho mauled my healthy Mogami,. Otherwise a combination of the light armaments and speed of American manoeuvres kept damaged low on both sides. The weight of damage was piling up however, and it was perhaps at this point my Furutaka slipped below the critically damaged threshold. It lost all its main guns and Agile trait as a result.

Turn 3 and the duel with the USS Idaho begins.

Turn four and half my ships were limping around, though Matthew’s ships weren’t much better. Both my Mogami cruisers moved side by side toward the Idaho, preparing to unleash reloaded torpedos. Matthew hastened to bring his own torpedos to bear on my cruisers, while the right saw my healthy Kabuki sweeping around my paddling Furutaka and other Kabuki.

Thanks to holding the initiative I was able to unleash a devastating torpedo salvo on the Idaho from my more operational Mogami. In reply the Idaho ruined that ship’s day, but failed to sink it. I then proceeded to sink another Fletcher, while in response the American destroyers whittled away at my forces. By now I my Mogam cruisers were on 3 and 6 hull, my Furutaka 3 hull, and my damaged Kabuki was on 1 or 2.

The battle continues.

Turn five and the Idaho continued a wide sweep to my left while my healthy Kabuki sped toward it. With all my cruisers being heavily damaged they could do nothing but paddle as best they could toward it.

With the initiative I was able to get the ever important one point of damage to shift the Idaho into being critically damaged. All of its turrets were knocked out save the B turret as a result, but there was still no stopping the Idaho sinking one of the Mogami cruisers in the shooting phase, though in response I sunk another Fletcher.

Turn six and things continued to limp around. By now the Idaho was well on the left, nearer to my deployment zone than Matthew’s. My healthy Kabuki was hot on its tail, my Furutaka slowly making its way from right to left near the centre line, and my last Mogami turned around to face the Idaho’s starboard side.

A last hurrah of torpedos put the Idaho down to 16 hull before it sunk the culprit (my final Mogami). After this last bit of action, things petered out.

Don’t let your memes be dreams, little Kabuki!

In the turns that followed, my little Kabuki that could turned into the Kabuki that couldn’t, failing to land its payload and being sunk for the trouble of trying. From there it was clear my last two ships, so heavily damaged as they were and facing the Idaho’s superior armament could not hope to carry the day. And so there things concluded.

Aftermath

And so the US navy carried the day, the Idaho proving too tough a nut to crack.

Had any of my final payload been delivered things may well be different. As it was, I was quite proud of my clever manoeuvre to set the shot up. Rather than continuing in a line that would have put my Kabuki parallel to the Idaho and into its one functional turret, I swung my destroyed around to create a T at the back of the American vessel. This took the main armament out of play while giving my torpedos a shot on the less armoured portion of the ship.

For Matthew’s part, he was on the receiving end of a devastating first couple of turns of shooting that scuttled his cruisers good and proper. Furthermore, he suffered from fire being spread thin, leaving my ships crippled but not sunk. Some poor turns of shooting for him mid-game didn’t help things, with shots that surely should’ve sunk the Mogami cruisers only leaving them afloat with the barest structural integrity.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Victory at Sea was pretty decent. Was everything one expects from a system published by Warlord Games: simple, straightforward rules that are quick to pick up. I may very well get a Royal Navy fleet together at some point.

For now however I’m looking forward to Friday when I’ll be taking on Andrew’s Hungarians again. There’s also the promised Warhammer fantasy Battles game to come, though that’s likely to be pushed back to next weekend. Finally, I’m waiting for an order of movement trays to arrive so I can put the final touches on the unit I’ve been working on the past month. So there’s plenty to look out for.

Manhunt – Hungary v Soviet

As mentioned in my last report, I had the pleasure of having two games of Bolt Action in two days. I was spoilt indeed.

Andrew was keen to get his new Hungarian force on the field, so I put together a suitable 1,000pt Soviet list, shifted round the terrain, and got ready for another great game.

Battlefield and Mission

The Mission we rolled was Manhunt. In this mission one side is the attacker while the other is the defender. The attacker’s objective is to seize the highest ranking enemy officer. To seize the officer, the attacker must win a close quarters fight against the officer. Should the officer be killed, the battle results in a draw. The defender wins if their officer survives the battle uncaptured.

Both of us were keen to be the attacker, but it was me who won the roll off with a 2 of all things.

Andrew selected the side without the field as his table edge. The description of the battlefield below is from my perspective.

My left hand flank was open ground studded by two forests. The nearer was roughly halfway between my board edge and the centre line, while the further was roughly halfway between the centre line and the far side.

A road entered the battlefield from my mid-left flank. It curved up toward the centre line, before following the line through a village in the centre of the field, then curving back towards me to head off the right-hand side of the field. In the centre of the village was an intersection. A second road intersected the first there, running from the centre to the far side from the middle of the centre line.

Right and slightly forward from where the road entered from my side was a small church. Fences surrounded it on the near, left, and far sides. The near and far centre portions of the field were clear, but the centre of the battlefield was occupied by houses around the intersection. One was on Andrew’s side of the road left of the second road, the second house was opposite it to the right. The third was opposite the second house on my side of the road.

My near mid-right was occupied by a field from the table edge. Beyond and left of the field was the third house, while open ground lay ahead and right until the road. Across the road on the mid-right as a wood. The near far-right was open ground, though a barn was positioned just beyond the forward right corner of the field on my side of the road. Beyond the road on my right was a barren hill, behind which was open ground.

Disposition of Forces

I fielded a single reinforced platoon. All are regular, except as noted:

  • Captain with one staff
  • 1st Lieutenant with one staff
  • Artillery forward observer with one staff
  • 12 man rifle squad with anti-tank grenades (inexperienced, the free squad)
  • Two 12 man LMG squads, each with an LMG
  • Flame thrower team
  • Maxim MMG team
  • Medium mortar team with spotter (inexperienced)
  • PTRD team
  • 45mm 1937 gun
  • BA-64 armoured car
  • T-26B light tank

Andrew’s Hungarians were all regular and consisted of:

  • 2nd Lieutenant with two staff
  • Three 10 man rifle squads, each with an LMG
  • Medium mortar team with spotter
  • Medium howitzer with spotter
  • Csaba armoured car
  • Turan medium tank
  • Panzer 38T light tank (German Allies)

Order of Battle

In this mission the defender deploys half his forces (rounding down), one of which must be the highest ranking officer in his force,  within 12” of the centre of the table. These units start in hidden deployment. Meanwhile the attacker nominates half his forces (rounding up) to form his first wave. All other forces are in reserve.

Andrew selected one rifle squad, his mortar, and his howitzer to join his officer on the field. His officer was positioned in the house nearest me, with the rifle squad on the road behind the house. The mortar and its spotter was then placed at the intersection. Finally, the howitzer was positioned on the road leading off Andrew’s side and at the very extremity of the allowed distance from the middle.

Hungarian deployment.

I elected my 1st Lieutenant, artillery officer, mortar, Maxim, flame thrower team, and one LMG squad to form my first wave. Next I rolled for the preparatory bombardment. The Hungarian officer and rifle squad both took two pins, the howitzer one, while the mortar managed to avoid any damage or disruption. With that, the battle commenced.

Repositioned Hungarians at the end of turn one.

The action began with my first LMG squad running on through the field. Their arrival was heralded by the boom of howitzer fire, though thankfully the Hungarian crew failed to range in. With the next dice however, Andrew brought his rifles up to the right of the near house and opened up on my first LMG squad, killing one man.

Soviet forces advance through the field toward the Hungarian position in the village.

The rest of my first wave then made their way on. The artillery observer moved up the road, wile my mortar positioned itself behind the church. The BA-64 drove on in the middle of my line and shot wildly at the Hungarian mortar. Meanwhile on the right, the flamethrower team ran up beside the LMG squad in the field, while my Lieutenant hung behind them. Finally my Maxim ran up short of the barn, facing itself toward the Hungarian rifle through the field.

My artillery forward observer scouts the village, ready to call in the barrage.

The arrival of the rest of my men was heralded by more Hungarian artillery fire, this time from the Medium mortar. It too failed to range into my relief. Finally, the Hungarian Lieutenant ran back toward Andrew’s line, ending on the other side of his mortar team.

Turn 2 began with the Hungarian rifle squad going down. While they’d passed their order test the previous turn, they still had one pin left on them and subsequently failed the necessary test.

Next up I brought my second LMG squad on. It was at this point Andrew noted the Confusion of Battle special rule that applies for the mission. Essentially the mission takes place as a battle rages around the AO, lines having become muddled for whatever reason. As a result, reinforcements may come on any table edge except the table edge the last enemy unit deployed from that turn. Things were about to get chaotic.

I advanced my second LMG squad on from the opposite side to my first wave and dumped fire into the howitzer. With the gun shield being on the wrong side to protect them from the attack, I wiped the crew out without much trouble. First blood to the Soviets.

Soviet forces outflank Hungarian forces in the village.

The zaniness continued when Andrew brought his Panzer 38T on the short table edge on my very near right flank. Its MGs blazed away into my flamethrower team, but while it scored a hit, it was unable to drop a man.

Cognisant of my artillery observer’s vulnerability I used my next dice to activate it and call in a barrage on the centre of the field. The BA-64 then charged forward just short of the road while blazing away at the Hungarian mortar, but only managed to kill one man.

I scored another order dice and attempted to bring my PTRD team on, but was unsuccessful. Getting the next dice as well, I decided to have my Lieutenant get my men to snap to with the intention of mopping up the Hungarian rifle squad.

My flamethrower team was first to act, passing its order test (just), and advancing to turn the dreadful device on. Unfortunately I failed to hit with a 2. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, I rolled a 1 on the test to see if the flamethrower was exhausted. And so a poor Soviet supply line managed to achieve what German MG fire could not and the flamethrower team was removed.

It was up to the LMG squad and Lieutenant to do the job instead. I had intended to charge the LMG squad should the rifles remain after a dousing of flame. Instead I had them fire, while the Lieutenant advanced. Between them, the two units applied another two pins and killed three men.

Hungarian infantry out flank my mortar team and artillery forward observer.

A flurry of units then entered the battlefield. I moved my 45mm anti-tank gun into the field, ready to strike the 38T next turn, while Andrew moved his second rifle squad on to protect the tank. The third rifle squad came on the left-hand short edge and picked off one of my artillery forward observers. Finally my T-26B trundled on behind the 38T and picked off two riflemen from the second squad. The Turan and Csaba however were nowhere to be seen, both failing their order tests to materialise.

The action in the corner next to the field.

The final moves saw the Hungarian Lieutenant pick off men from my second LMG squad, while my rifle squad ran on ready to assault the officer next turn.

Turn three, and before the first order dice was drawn the distant booming of guns saw all heads turn toward my table edge. I rolled Fire for Effect for my artillery barrage and Fire for Effect it did. I rolled the maximum area of effect. I had already realised my mistake at moving my BA-64 up so far, and now there was no doubt it was about to take a pounding. As it turned out, it, the first Hungarian rifle squad, Hungarian mortar, Hungarian Lieutenant, and even my rifle squad, were in range.

Andrew suggested I start with the Hungarian rifles, but instead I went with the BA-64. It was a direct hit. Somehow the little clown car survived, though the engine caught fire. I passed the resulting morale test however and the armoured car stuck around. It netted a total of five pins from the experience however, so it was doubtful it’d be much use.

Next the Hungarian rifles took three pins, taking them to six, much to my satisfaction. Next was the Hungarian mortar, and I rolled a direct hit yet again. Of course, the Hungarian officer being so close he too was caught in the blast. When the dust cleared the mortar’s spotter was fleeing for the hills while everyone else was reduced to their component body parts.

With the Hungarian officer dead, so were either of our hopes of victory.

Aftermath

And so I snatched stalemate from the jaws of victory.

You may be wondering why I didn’t just reposition the blast template in such a way it did not hit the officer. This choice was an option and it did cross my mind, but we weren’t playing for sheep stations and, besides, things were both more cool and more hilarious this way.

And how hilarious it was indeed. From the reinforcements popping up everywhere, to the impotent flamethrower, to that fateful artillery strike. Andrew declared it to be the most hilarious game of Bolt Action he had ever played and I heartily agreed.

The destruction in the middle would’ve been even more complete had I remembered the impact of the BA-64 being open topped. That would’ve bumped the On Fire result to Knocked Out. I’ll have to remember that for next time.

All in all though, comedy gold.

Final Thoughts

Manhunt was a highly enjoyable mission. I look forward to playing it again sometime. On the topic of my next game, Matthew is keen to show me Victory at Sea on the last Sunday of this month. I also have another Warhammer Fantasy Battles game pencilled in for the first weekend in July. I’d also like to get another Bolt Action game in next month too. So hopefully there’ll be plenty to come in July.

In the meantime, I’m intending to have a general hobby update at the end of the month. Been working on some fantasy things I’m looking forward to having done.

Demolition – Fallschirmjäger v Soviet

Hello Comrade, it has been a while. I am sure you knew however that it would only be a matter of time before I made a new Bolt Action post.

Today we return to the eastern front, 1944, as Matthew’s fallschirmjäger take on my Soviets.

Battlefield and Mission

We rolled Demolition for the mission. In this mission, we each have a single objective marker placed in our deployment zones. If an enemy unit is within base contact of the objective at the end of a turn, the objective is destroyed and the destroying side seizes victory.

The battlefield.

I won the roll off and opted for the side with the fields. The below description of the battlefield is from my perspective.

The ground on my left flank was open, with a road entering from my side a little in from the left table edge. This road ran on a slight diagonal up to a village roughly at the centre line. The road continued off the opposite side of the table, with a second road intersecting it at the village. This second road ran left-right, roughly along the centre line, until it veered slightly forward after passing a hill before heading off the right-hand side.

The village on my left.

To the left of the intersection in the middle of the village was a small church, while the far left of the field was open. Fences created a small yard around the church. Two houses sat on the other side of the road to the church at the intersection. One was north of the left-right running branch of the road, while the other was to the south. A third house was further along on the southern side of the road, roughly near the centre of the battlefield.

A small wood sat on my table edge just left of centre. It was here I positioned my objective marker. To the right of the wood the ground was clear until the fields on the right flank. Forward of this central portion, passed the central house and on the other side of the road, was a wooded hill. Beyond the hill, the far side of the field was clear.

Another shot of the battlefield.

On the right flank was a field against my table edge, a field width away again from the right-hand side. A barn was positioned forward of this field, to the right of which was another field spanning to the table edge. Forward of the fields was the road. Finally, on the far mid-right was another small wood. It was in this wood Matthew placed his objective.

Disposition of Forces

My forces, all regular except where stated, comprised of:

  • captain with two staff
  • 1st Lieutenant with two staff
  • 12 man rifle squad with anti-tank grenades (inexperienced)
  • Three LMG squads with 12 men, including an LMG
  • SMG squad with 12 men
  • Tank rider squad with 7 men (veteran)
  • MG team
  • Sniper team (veteran
  • Two Zis-3 divisional guns
  • T34-85
  • Half-track (inexperienced, I don’t have a suitable Allied half-track model, so it is a captured Hanomag)

Matthew’s forces, all veteran, were:

  • 1st Lieutenant with one staff
  • 10 man fallschirmjäger squad with LMG
  • 7 man fallschirmjäger SMG squad
  • Flamethrower team
  • Medium mortar team with spotter
  • Sniper team
  • Pak-40
  • Puma armoured car
  • Tiger I
  • Hanomag half-track

Order of Battle

The German left flank.

As mentioned above, I placed my objective in the wood on my mid-left and Matthew did likewise (my far-right). Matthew placed his Lieutenant next to the objective with his mortar to the left of the wood, while the spotter was on the far left beyond the church. Also on my far right was arrayed the hanomag, behind which was the SMG team, and Tiger. The rifle squad was left of these units.

The Puma, Pak-40, and German sniper.

Meanwhile, on my far left, the Puma was positioned on the road with the Pak-40 next to it. Finally, the flamethrower team was right of the road behind the house, while the sniper team was positioned behind the church next to the spotter.

A sweeping shot of the Soviet deployment.

As for my forces, I placed one Zis on my far left covering the road. The second I positioned in the middle of my line, covering the road between the hill and barn. On my mid-left, my Maxim, one LMG squad, and Captain were all in the wood covering my objective. Forward of them I placed the rifle squad.

The Soviet right flank.

Meanwhile, on my left, the second LMG squad was as far forward in the nearer field as possible, and the third just behind the further field. Behind these squads was my Lieutenant and sniper team. My half-track, SMG team, T34-85, and tank riders were all placed in reserve.

The battle commenced with a salvo of gun fire in the literal sense. My divisional guns opened up on the Puma and Tiger respectively, but shot wide. Both vehicles moved up and returned in kind, with equally unimpressive shooting. The Puma’s bold advance along the road however had brought it quite close. So close in fact I judged it in range of a run order of my rifle squad.

Urah! The Riflemen assault the Puma for the glory of the Soviet Union!

Without need to take an order test thanks to Tank hungers granted from their anti-tank grenades, I charged them left and forward. Needing 6s because of the Puma’s move blunted the assault however, and nothing came of the brave charge.

Meanwhile, on the right flank, my second LMG squad advanced up to the left of the barn and my third LMG squad advanced halfway through the far field. The two squads then opened up on the fallschirmjäger rifle quad.

Brave Soviet heroes advance through the distant fields toward the fascists.

Where my guns couldn’t hit the backside of a barn, my riflemen were crack marksmen and I managed to pick off three or four of the squad. In response, the fallschirmjäger rifles advanced and picked off one man from my second LMG squad.

The sniper skulks around behind the church.

The rest of the turn consisted of moving. The fallschirmjäger SMGs mounted the Hanomag, which moved up almost to the field. My sniper and Lieutenant entered the barn, and the German sniper and flamethrower both ran forward, the sniper behind the church, the flamethrower into the intersection. The Pak-40 went into ambush, as did my Maxim. My first LMG squad and Captain and the enemy Lieutenant all went down. Finally, the mortar failed to range in on my second LMG squad.

Turn two and to my horror it began with two black dice. First the Puma machine gunned my rifle squad, though it only lost two men. It wasn’t all bad either, as I rolled a 5 on their Green test, turning them regular. The Tiger then tried to take out my Zis again, but failed.

A red dice was drawn and I knew I had to act with the rifle squad. The flamethrower team was closing in and if they didn’t act now, they’d be burnt bread. Unfortunately their one pin from the Puma’s machinegun fire meant an order test. An order test I subsequently failed. The next dice was black and it was all over for the rifle squad. Half the squad was burned alive by the advancing flamethrower while the others fled in terror. First blood to the Fascists!

German forces move to blunt the Soviet advance.

Thankfully the right flank was looking a little better. Though my sniper missed the mortar team, an order to snap to from the Lieutenant saw the Lieutenant and my LMG squads advance. The third squad were now at the far end of the field, while the second squad crossed the road.

They poured fire into the fallschirmjäger rifles, culling them to three men. In response, the fallschirmjäger SMGs advanced out the Hanomag and opened up on my third LMG squad, killing half of them. The squad held its nerve however and stuck around.

The left-most Zis-3 faces down the Puma armoured car.

The rest of the turn was more poor gunnery from the divisional guns and movement. The sniper headed into the church, and my T34-85 arrived carrying the valiant tank riders on my far right. It moved up into the far field, hugging the right side.

Turn three opened with a tide of red. The divisional guns continued to demonstrate an impressive ability to be wholly ineffective. The crew in the middled missed yet again, while the gun on my left flank fired a dud that bounced off the Puma.

The true might of the Red Army is, of course, its people. The Lieutenant again ordered the second and third LMG squads to snap to. Unfortunately the third squad was too busy cowering from SMG fire. I decided to get the Lieutenant to show them how things would be done and had them act next. Firing on the rifle squad, not only did all shots hit, but I wiped out the last three men to a man. This allowed my second LMG squad to advance into the wooded hill, shooting at the mortar team as they moved.

Tiger v T34-85

The third LMG squad were not long for this world, as another three were taken out by SMG fire. A re-rolled morale test however kept them in the fight. In retaliation, my T34-85 unloaded on the SMG squad, which was quickly mopped up by the tank riders. In response the Tiger advanced to the barn. Its cannon missed the T34, but its MG neutralised the last of the third LMG squad.

Meanwhile, on the left, the Puma shifted up the road next to the Zis and out of its arc. Its machinegun took out two of the three crew, but the last man held his nerve, again thanks to a re-roll. The German sniper shifted into position in the church, while the flamethrower team entered the house nearest me, ready to threaten my objective. Finally, back on the right, my half-track entered the fight and drove up left of the barn.

Turn four and my T34’s main gun opened up on the Tiger to no avail. In response, the Tiger returned fire. The devastating 88mm shell was no match for superior Soviet tank design however as it ricocheted harmlessly off the T34’s hull. Unfortunately the barn did not offer my Lieutenant similar protection from the Tiger’s MG fire. With a dreadful tearing sound, the barn was filled with a hail of bullets, killing everything on the ground floor.

Recompense was not long in coming however, with my middle Zis landing a shell that penetrated the side armour of the Tiger and destroyed the tank in an almighty boom. Meanwhile, on my left flank, my other Zis sent a HE shell into the nearest house, killing the flamethrower team inside.

Soviet forces advance following the Tiger being knocked out.

With the Tiger neutralised, I was clear for an all-out advance. Though the Hanomag moved along the road to pester my second LMG squad, the squad were able to shift up to the far side of the wood and take out two of the mortar crew. To check the inevitable, Matthew turned the Pak-40 to face the right flank. I was unfazed however, gunning my half-track forward just short of the far wood and advancing my tank riders across the road.

The Pak40 is turned to cover the German left and all important objective.

On the left, the Puma picked off one man from the first LMG squad, while the sniper took shots at my Captain who kept himself down.

Turn five and the Pak-40, which I had completely forgotten about prior to my half-track gunning it forward, finally came into play. A boom echoed out across the battlefield as it fired, followed by a second explosion as my half-track was totalled, sending the SMG team inside sprawling to the dirt.

Vehicle graveyard on the Soviet forward right.

With the end of the battle looming, and my SMG squad down, I attempted to speed my T34 forward, only to have it fail its order test. The turn’s bad luck continued as the Hanomag opened up on the LMG squad in the wooded hill. My decision not to put them down resulted in all but two of the remaining men losing their lives.

Soviet forces press for the objective.

The near obliteration of the squad did not perturb it however, and it advanced across open ground, rifles firing, toward the objective. Their movement was backed up by the Zis. Buoyed by its destruction of the Tiger, it sent a shell into the Hanomag, immobilising it. My other Zis meanwhile turned to face the Puma.

Other actions for the turn were uneventful, with both snipers trying to take out the opposing force’s officer, and the Puma failing to land shots on the first LMG squad.

The desperate push for the objective.

Turn six and I threw everything at the objective. The SMG squad refused to budge, failing their order test, while both the T34 and tank riders didn’t have the distance to make it. The last two men of the second LMG squad however just had the range and secured it.

The impotent Zis-3. I need to requisition new shells.

The rest of the turn was uneventful, with guns failing to hit (Pak-40 and middle Zis) or inflict damage (left-hand Zis), and both snipers continuing to miss.

The remainder of the second LMG squad seize the objective.

And so turn six concluded with the Soviets destroying the German objective, securing victory for the Motherland!

Aftermath

As ever, there were some small rules errors made here and there early on, but once we were in the swing of things the battle progressed at a pace. And what a battle it was. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and while the Soviets certainly controlled the field, there was every chance of a sneaky German win.

Matthew and I both agreed he should have turned the Puma to face my units in the wood and gunned it towards them. By assaulting with the Puma he could have bullied my men off the objective and potentially secured it.

For my part, I’m very happy with how things went and my decision making. The turn one assault on the Puma was a bit silly and got my rifle squad killed but who could resist such a tempting (and hilarious) order?

Final Thoughts

It was so awesome to play Bolt Action again, but what was even better was it was just the first of a Bolt Action double-header. Yes, you read that right: there is a second after action report in the works. So come back next week to read a report on what was hands down the most absurd battle of any game of any system I’ve ever played (yes, even more absurd than Warhammer Fantasy Orcs & Goblin things).