Double Envelopment – Soviet V German – 1000pts

This is the second battle I had last weekend, this time against my brother, Lee.

Battlefield and Mission

I changed the field up from the night before, but kept the forest and marsh theme. We rolled a random mission from the main rulebook, netting Double Envelopment.

Half our force would be in reserve, with no out flanking. We would score one point for each enemy unit destroyed, two for each friendly unit in the enemy deployment zone, and three for each friendly unit that moved off the enemy deployment edge.

Disposition of Forces

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Lee took control of the Soviet force, which was the same as the last battle. This included a 1st lieutenant with one staff, three LMG squads (two with 11 men, one with 10 men, all with a single LMG), conscript rifle squad, 10 man tank rider squad, two Zis-3 divisional guns, a Maxim MMG, and a T-34/76.

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I commanded the German force including a 1st lieutenant with one staff, two veteran Heer squads each with 10 men and LMG, one Heer Pioneer squad with flamethrower, an MG-42 MMG, Hanomag halftrack, Sdkfz 222, and a Panzer IV G.

Order of Battle

Lee deployed one Zis on the road on his right flank, and another in the forest in his centre-left flank. His Maxim was set up in the forest in the centre, conscripts just behind the hill on the right, and one 11 man LMG squad on the far left flank.

I deployed my veteran Heer squads on my left flank, Lieutenant just behind the ridge, and MG-42 on the ridge.

Turn one and I advanced both my Heer squads. They opened fire on the conscripts (though most of the squad was hidden by the hill), adding a couple of pins and killing a few. The conscripts rolled a 5 on their Green test and became regular, but when ordered to move they went down. The Zis guns tried to take out my MG-42 unsuccessfully, while the Maxim fired on one of my Heer squads unsuccessfully.

Meanwhile my MG-42 picked off one of the crew from a Zis team, and the LMG squad on the Soviet left ran up the flank.

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Turn 2 and disaster struck when one of the Zis crews obliterated my MG-42 – something that took me 7 turns of shooting to do in my last game! The Maxim scored some damage on one of the Heer squads, before both advanced. The one on the left inflicted more damage on the conscripts (who went down against when ordered to advance), and the other killed two of the three Maxim crew – the last stayed put though.

Lee’s two LMG squads in reserve both showed up this turn. One ran on the centre left to support the LMG squad that ran further up the left. The other came on behind the conscripts and opened fire on the Heer opposite, scoring hits and kills. For me, the 222 was called to the field and set up behind the forest on the far right, opening up with its MG on the LMG squad opposite. A stray Zis shot was triggered in response.

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Finally, all other reserves failed to materialise.

Turn three and it was wall to wall red dice to begin with. On the left, LMG squads advanced. One fired on my 222, netting a pin. The Zis guns failed to hit anything, along with the Maxim. On the Soviet right, the conscripts passed their order test and with the LMG squad advanced, both netting hits on the Heer on my far left and causing casualties.

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My Heer tried to advance, but both went down. Things went from bad to worse when not only did my reinforcements still fail to materialise, but the T-34 arrived, opened fire on my down Heer, and still scored hits when it needed 6s then 6s!

Meanwhile, on the right, the 222 passed its order test and continued firing on the LMG squad opposite.

Turn 4 and it was more red dice to start the turn. The LMG squad and conscripts on the Soviet right advanced and lay the hurt on the Heer. The other Heer squad stayed down as the T-34 advanced all guns blazing, and the tank riders disembarked to throw down more pain. On my right, the LMG squads advanced and pinned the 222 again, which kept itself down when ordered to fire.

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My halftrack still failed to materialise, but my Panzer IV arrived. I fired on the T-34 with the main gun, but missed, and used the MG on the Zis in the forest, managing to kill a single crew member.

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Finally, I used my Lieutenant to Snap To! my Heer on the far left. The two then conducted an assault on the conscripts, seeing them off without loss.

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Turn 5 and it again began with a tide of red. First the tank riders assaulted and mopped up one of my Heer squads with ease. Then the T-34 tried to take out my Panzer IV, but only netted a pin.

I had my Lieutenant Snap To! my last Heer squad again and conduct a do or die assault on the LMG squad on the Soviet right. My rolling was not good this time, I only scored three kills. The Soviets then struck back with a vengeance, scoring 5s or 6s on five out of their seven dice! And so the Heer and Lieutenant were no more.

My halftrack finally arrived, and put a pin on one of the LMG squads coming at my right flank. But in the very next dice it was blown apart by a Zis, forcing the Pioneers out and down. The LMG squads opened fire on the Pioneers, pinning them further, and killing more members of the squad.

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In positive news, my 222 was able to fire on the LMG squad and net hits even with 2 pins. My Panzer IV also took out the T-34, but its MG didn’t do anything this turn.

Turn 6 and it was clear things were over. Lee moved his squads on the right up, both being in a position to make it off the table in the event of a turn seven. The Pioneers continued to be fired upon and lay on the ground in fear for their lives.

The Panzer IV and 222 did what they could, and I was able to see off one Zis, but it was but token resistance.

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Turn 7 was rolled resulting in two Soviet squads exiting the field through my deployment, as well as the destruction of the Pioneers. The 222 was unable to clear its one pin and went down again, and the Panzer IV and last Zis shot at each other without effect.

Thus the battle concluded.

Aftermath

Another decisive Soviet victory! With two squads off the field, one in my deployment zone, and six of my units destroyed, Lee netted 14 victory points to my 2.

The dice were very much not in my favour. I failed the majority of my order tests, and my shooting was atrocious. The Soviets on the other hand showed strong resolve, and that they were very keen shots.

Addendum: I forgot to add that, yes, I did forget to recce move my 222 every time. I don’t believe it would have made a difference though.

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Battle of Pleshchenitsy – Soviet V Germany – 1000pts

After a long hiatus, here’s my first game of Bolt Action for 2018. On the other side of the table was Andrew, and both of us were eager to avoid the stalemate experienced in our last battle (Soviet vs IJA)

The Battlefield and Mission

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Andrew had recently acquired the Road to Berlin campaign book, so we decided to play the Battle of Pleshchenitsy. The scenario calls for a battlefield of dense woodland and shallow marshes. Lacking the latter, I quickly got some together that day (I’ll post up about these in the Future).

The mission for this scenario is Envelopment, just as in the main Bolt Action rulebook. The Germans are defending and score 2 points for every enemy unit destroyed. The Soviet are attacking and score 1 point for every enemy unit destroyed, 2 points for every friendly unit in the enemy deployment zone, and 3 points for every friendly unit that moves off the enemy deployment edge.

In addition, Soviets get a bonus to forward air observers (which the Germans are denied taking). Had I known this beforehand, I might’ve taken one, but probably not. The battle also lasts 8 turns with possible 9th and 10th turns (which neither of us realised till the end of turn six!)

Disposition of Forces

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I took a 1st Lieutenant with one staff, my free 12 man rifle squad with AT grenades, two LMG squads with 11 men including LMG, one LMG squad with 10 men including LMG, a tank rider squad with 10 men, a Maxim MMG, two Zis-3 divisional guns, and a T-34/76. All units were regular (except the free rifle squad of course).

Andrew fielded a 1st Lieutenant with one staff, two Grenadier squads with 10 men including LMG, a sniper team, two MG-42 MMG teams, a Pak40, Schwimwagen, and a Panther (not sure on the variant).

Order of Battle

Andrew deployed one Grenadier squad to the right of the forest on his mid-right flank. In the forest he positioned an MG-42 and the Pak40, as well as the Lieutenant. Just left off centre was positioned the second MG-42, with the sniper team in the forest on the ridge. All other units began in reserve.

I elected my T-34/76, tank riders, and 10 man LMG squad to be placed in reserve and out flanking (which the scenario allowed). Secretly I noted that the T-34 and tank riders would come on my right flank and LMG squad on my left. The rest of my force formed the first wave.

Before the start of the battle, a preparatory bombardment rained down on the Germans. The Pak and sniper team escaped without a scratch, the grenadiers and one of the MG-42s suffered one pin, and the Lieutenant and other MG-42 suffered direct hits! They received two pins and lost a man each – the Lieutenant passed his Last Man Standing/50% casualties from shooting test though.

First turn involved a lot of moving and not much else. One MG-42s both rallied (clearing all pins), and the other successfully went into ambush. The Lieutenant failed his order test to rally and went down. The Pak40 and sniper went into ambush, and the Grenadiers moved up and right towards the forest on Andrew’s far flank.

For my part, my first 11 man LMG squad came on the left flank and did the only bit of shooting for the turn, managing to pick off a Grenadier with sharp shooting from the DP-28. Next to them ran the Maxim, with the two Zis guns coming on centre left and just left of the forest in my centre. Towards the marsh in the centre right I ran my second LMG squad, with my conscripts to the right of them.

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Turn 2 provided the first highlight of the battle. The German Lieutenant FUBAR’d his order test and fled to the back of the field. I then moved my LMG squad on the left up and shot at the Grenadiers again, once more causing losses. They failed their order test and went down when Andrew tried to advance them.

My Maxim and conscripts both moved up – which put the conscripts in spotting distance (just) of the sniper team. My second LMG squad moved up into the marsh, in response to which the sniper opted to take a shot and hit, but failed to score a kill. The MG-42s then all opened fire. The first failed to do anything, but the second dropped a couple of brave Soviet soldiers in the LMG squad.

Andrew opted to keep his Panther and Schwimwagen in reserve, but brought on his second Grenadier squad on his left. My Lieutenant dallied around in the forest in the middle.

Finally, my Zis guns tried to take out the MG-42 in the forest opposite and both missed. This would become a theme of the battle.

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Turn 3 and the conscripts advanced, opening fire on the sniper team and scoring a hit! But failed to net a kill. The sniper decided to keep his head down afterwards, which pleased me greatly. What didn’t please me greatly however was how the two MG-42s once again opened fire on my LMG squad in the marsh. More kills and more pins meant they were down for the turn.

My LMG squad on the left continued its successful advance though. And my Maxim moved up beside them to provide support next turn. The Grenadiers were able to pass an order test pick off one of the Maxim crew though.

On the right, the Grenadiers advanced and were joined by the Schwimwagen, who both opened up on the conscripts. The good news was I didn’t roll a 1 on their Green test, the bad news is I didn’t roll a 5 or 6 either. Also, Andrew’s Lieutenant finally decided to rally.

Finally, my Zis guns both missed. Again.

Turn 4 and I was ready to bring my outflanking units on, now they could come on up to 36” in. the Schwimwagen got the first dice however and moved up onto the road, and lay into the conscripts. I tried to get them to run at the Schwimwagen in response, but they decided laying on the road was a better idea.

On the left, my LMG squad continued doing good work, before the first of my out flankers showed up. Bringing on my third LMG squad, I opened up on the weakened Grenadiers, seeing off the rest of the squad. My victory was short lived however as the Panther was next to arrive. Right next to my outflanking LMG squad. 12 MG shots, 11 hits, 11 kills. And the LMG squad was no more.

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I was quick to respond though, bringing on my T-34 and tank riders. I knocked out the Schwimwagen with the main gun and put the hull MG into the Grenadiers. My tank riders them dismounted and opened up on the Grenadiers. This was a mistake, I should have assaulted. Andrew put the grenadiers down, and I scored less than 50% hits from my 20 shots and only a single kill!

Meanwhile, in the centre, things went as they had been. I put my squad in the marsh down as the MGs opened fire again. The Sniper decided to keep his head down once more, and my Zis guns both missed. Their ineptitude was Most Displeasing.

Turn 5 and the Grenadiers netted the first dice, opening fire on the tank riders and killing two. I was able to respond with the next dice though and assaulted the Grenadiers, making short work of them. The MG-42 in the centre turned and fired on the tank riders, but wasn’t very successful, and I moved up the T-34 to cover them.

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On the left, the Maxim decided not to run behind the hill away from the Panther and instead went down. Said Panther opened fire on the LMG squad on that flank. Having seen what it did to the 10 man LMG squad, I put them down. Meanwhile the conscripts decided to stop laying about on the road and ran along ridge beneath the sniper.

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In the centre, things continued as ever. Machine gun fire rained down on the squad hiding in the marsh, and the Zis guns continued to be unable to hit the backside of a barn.

Turn 6 and the T-34 and the tank riders moved off the field. If I’d known it was an 8 turn minimum game, I probably would have kept the T-34 around, but it didn’t really matter. The conscripts passed their order test again, advanced, and opened up on the sniper. Not only did they get a hit, they scored a kill, and the sniper failed his morale o stick around.

The rest of the turn was uneventful, with LMG squads rolling around on the ground as machine gun fire flew every which way. The Maxim ran behind the hill, and I wondered whether the Zis crew had actually brought live shells to the battle or left them all back at the depot.

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Turn 7, 8, and 9 I shall deal with all at once, because they weren’t very exciting. The LMG squads lay on the ground for these three turns while the sound of tearing calico echoed out across the battlefield. By turn 9 Andrew decided to make a move on the Maxim with the Panther, but that was wholly uneventful.

For my part, it turned out the Zis crew had actually brought some live shells! In turn 7 or 8 I finally managed to hit the MG-42, obliterating it. Then, it turn 8 or 9. I hit the Pak40, killing three of the four crew and causing the last to quit the field.

Finally, on the right flank, after two good turns, the conscripts spent the rest of the battle laying down.

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Aftermath

I was a little worried early in the battle when my right flanked look a bit dubious, but as it turned out it was a very solid Soviet victory. With two units having moved off the table, and having destroyed six German units, I netted 12 victory points to Andrew’s 2.

The poor performance of my Zis guns Did Not Impress me. Of the 16 shots they took between them, they only netted two hits! I really regretted not using indirect fire by turn four. For Andrew, his Panther obliterating a squad was very impressive, and his MGs did the job, but his left flank folding was decisive.

 

Retrieving the Reconnaissance – Soviet V Germany – 750pts

Battlefield and Mission

We rolled Top Secret for the mission. The objective was placed at the road intersection near the large building and was represented by a BA-64.

The crew had conducted some reconnaissance, but was knocked out. Our forces would be racing to the site to collect the vital intel and extract it from the AO.

Forces

Soviet (all regular, except the rifle squad)

1st Lieutenant with one staff

Rifle squad with 12 men and AT grenades

Two LMG squads with ten men, including one LMG

LMG squad with ten men (no LMG)

Maxim MMG

Zis-3 divisional gun

T-34/76

German (Pioneers are veteran, Hanomag is inexperienced, rest are regular)

1st Lieutenant with one staff

Two Heer squads with ten men, including LMG and NCO with SMG

Heer Pioneer squad with seven men, including a flamethrower

Hanomag halftrack

Panzer IV G

You will note that the Soviet list is the same I took in my last game against Andrew, but swapping out the sniper for the MMG. I also remembered that the third LMG squad didn’t have an LMG.

I let my brother pick which army to play after the field was set up, mission rolled, and objective placed. He chose the Soviets. My brother also won the roll off and elected to take the side with the forested hill.

Order of Battle

Turn one and I pulled the first dice. I decided I would end the battle as quickly as possible, electing to bring my Hanomag on and Advance up the road to the objective. In response, my brother brought on the T-34, but its main gun went sailing over the Hanomag.

Most of the rest of the turn was fairly uneventful movement onto the table. I brought my two Heer squads on either side of the road, with my Lieutenant behind the one nearer the centre. My brother brought the Maxim on and ran it into the house, the Zis-3 on near the road, but hiding behind the hill from the Panzer IV which had trundled on and failed to land its main gun on the T-34.

The LMG squad with no LMG came on the Soviet left (my right), and one of the ones with an LMG moved on behind the forest. My brother kept his Lieutenant and Rifle squad Down.

With one dice a piece left, I pulled my first and ran my Pioneers out the half-track and collected the objective. My brother brought his final LMG squad on and some sharp DP-28 shooting saw one Pioneer dead.

Turn two and I again pulled the first dice. I elected to Run my Pioneers, who just barely passed their order test. The next four dice went to my brother. The T-34 acted first, moving up and hitting the Hanomag, but only managing a Crew Stunned result. The T-34 also opened up with its MMG, picking off another Pioneer. The Zis-3 tried for a shot on the Pioneers, but missed, while the Maxim put more heat on the Pioneers and killed a third.

The LMG squad on the road moved up further and added another pin to the Pioneers, but didn’t kill any, before my Panzer IV again missed the T-34. Its hull MMG was able to pick off one from the LMG squad on the road though. The second LMG squad advanced through the forest but their fire was ineffective on the Pioneers.

16 - Panzer's Sights

19 - Tank battle

I moved my Heer squad behind my Pioneers up to collect the objective from them. My Lieutenant also shifted up beside them. I wasn’t really squad what to do with the other Heer squad, so they went into Ambush. Finally, my brother moved up the rifles only LMG squad, brother on his Lieutenant near the Maxim, and the Rifle squad came on the other side of the battlefield and ran along the road.

Turn three and my luck continued with the first dice, again! I ran the Heer squad with the objective back towards my deployment edge. In response my brother moved his Lieutenant and ordered the T-34 and rifles only LMG squad to Snap To. Both advanced and opened fire on the Heer squad with the objective. Three men dead and a pin later, I moved my Panzer IV into action. My machine gun fire was useless, but my main gun hit the T-34, but only just. A six on the damage roll put the Soviet tank On Fire, but my brother passed the morale test and the tank fought on.

Next Zis-3 tried for a shot on the Heer with the objective, but missed. Meanwhile the Rifle squad continued to run up, LMG squads with LMGs advanced and added another pin and two more casualties to the Heer squad. The Maxim didn’t have any shots, and my second Heer squad were Rather Ineffective. My Hanomag decided just staying put was a Good Idea, while the Pioneer’s Rallied and cleared all their pins.

Turn four and what do you know, I drew the first dice. I ordered the Heer with the objective to Run and they promptly passed their order test and got the hell out of the AO. With the intel secure, victory went to Germany!

Aftermath

Basically it came down to me having a transport. Without it, the Pioneers wouldn’t have been able to reach the objective turn one. That’s not to say it was a done deal from the start. The order of dice pulled also went strongly in my favour. If any of the Soviet units had been able to act sooner in turns two or three, I likely would’ve faced more pins and casualties which would have severely impacted my ability to get out with the intel.

It was a fun game though and both of us enjoyed it. It never ceases to impress either of us how smooth the Bolt Action rules system is every time we play.

 

 

Soviet Last Stand – 600pts – Surrounded – Soviet v Germany

My brother came round today for a game of Bolt Action, which I realised the other week I hadn’t ever shown him. I pointed some Operation Barbarossa lists, set up the field, and we cranked some Sabaton as the battle began.

Forces

Soviet (all inexperienced)

1st Lieutenant with one staff

Rifle squad with AT grenades

Three LMG squads with 12 men and LMG

Maxim MMG

82mm medium mortar

AT rifle team

45mm 1937obr AT gun

T-26B

German (regular, expect where marked)

2nd Lieutenant with one staff (veteran)

Two Heer squads (one eight man, one seven man, NCO with SMG in both)

Heer pioneer squad (six men, flamethrower, veteran)

Sdkfz 221/1 “Hanomag” half track

Panzer III J

Table and Mission

I rolled Surrounded for the mission. I took the Soviets and would be the defender. Half my force needed to be deployed within 12” of the centre of the table, half Lee’s force would be the first wave with the other half in reserve.

Order of Battle

I chose to deploy my mortar on the hill, AT gun at the base of the hill, an LMG squad forward of centre behind the fence, Maxim in the most central house, and my Lieutenant behind the same house.

The preparatory bombardment came down, with a pin for the LMG squad, two apiece for the Lieutenant and mortar, but a direct hit with one casualty to go with the two pins on the AT gun. The Maxim escaped harm. Then the battle commenced.

06 - Soviet setup

Germany pulled the first dice and Lee brought on the Panzer III. It took a shot at the AT gun with its main gun, hitting, and blowing apart the rest of the crew. First blood on the very first order dice. I rallied my Lieutenant and cleared his pins, but my LMG squad decided they wanted to be down. My Maxim repositioned to the rear centre building.

One of the Heer squads entered the field in the centre, and shot at but missed my LMG squad. My mortar returned fire, passing its order test, scoring that lucky six to hit, blowing apart four Heer troops and adding a couple of additional pins. They barely passed their morale check, but were very much weakened. The final unit to enter the field was the other Heer, which skirted the hill on the German left.

Turn two and the Soviet were up first. My mortar once again passed its order test, clearing the last pin, dropped another shell on the Heer in the centre, blowing apart three of the remaining four. The NCO as all that was left, but didn’t fancy his chances and quit the field. It was good I got that action in with my mortar though, because the Panzer III followed up its first turn to fire on the mortar and take it out easily.

17 - T2 Panzer III

The rest of the turn involved units moving on to the field, for the Soviets at least. Both the halftrack and the German command team botched their order tests and failed to materialise. Unfortunately, so did my AT rifle. I kept my rifle squad down, but brought one LMG squad on the far left, and the other moved into the forested hill. Meanwhile my T-26B showed up on the left to cover that flank, moving up behind the church. Finally, the second Heer squad moved up and took some shots at my LMG squad on the far right, killing a man.

Turn three and the Soviets were up first. My LMG squad on the right advanced and opened up on the Heer opposite, killing three. The Maxim went into ambush, the command team hanging with him. My men in the forest Advanced slowly. The Heer tried to advance but failed their order test, while the halftrack showed up on the German far left and put some shots into the LMG squad, killing another man.

In the centre, the Panzer III trundled up and opened up on the LMG squad behind the fence. Half the squad was blown apart, but they hung in there. I probably should have remembered to respond by going down, which is where they stayed when they tried to rally. I brought my rifle squad with AT grenades on the right side, but my AT rifle still refused to respond to orders to deploy. Finally, the German command came on behind the Panzer while my T-26B trundled up on the left.

Turn four and I again scored the first dice. I decided to take a risk and try take out the Panzer III. It did not pay off. Not only did I miss my shot, the Panzer III knocked my T-26B out, while mowing down more Soviet infantry with its hull MG.

24 - T4 T26B

I ran my rifle squad up the road, heading towards the Panzer III. Meanwhile, my LMG squad on the right finished off the Heer, while the halftrack trundled up, spraying them with machine gun fire. The pioneers then jumped out and added rifle fire to the mix. Despite scoring hits with both units, Lee failed to score any kills.

22 - T4 Soviet right

The LMG squad on the hill advanced again to reach the centre of the forest and tried shooting the pioneers, but failed. My Maxim remained in ambush, which was probably a bad idea, with my commander hanging nearby. The German command moved up, using the Panzer for cover.

23 - T4 Panzer III

Turn five and I thought I was in luck when I pulled the first dice and went to fire on the pioneers with my LMG squad. They had other ideas though and when they scored a FUBAR on their order test, they proceeded to open fire on the rifle squad right next to them (which was just barely within 12” of the pioneer squad). Luckily with their two pins along with light cover and being inexperienced they couldn’t hit the backside of a barn. Their failure was pretty bad though. It went from bad to worse when the pioneers went next, moved up, and saw off the rifle squad with a torrent of flame, mixed with rifle fire, which the squad very much did not want to stick around for.

29 - T5 Soviet right

Worse then went to even worse when the Panzer moved up, fired on the squad on the hill, and stacked on the pins. This forced them to rally (which they did). The German command moved up and took out another Soviet infantryman in the centre, leaving two. In response they charged the command squad, like true heroes. Unfortunately heroes they were not to be, rolling a one and a three for damage. They were promptly bayonetted by the veteran officer and his staff.

With the Maxim and Soviet command again being Very Inactive, the AT rifle finally showed up. I ran it into position for a side armour shot on the Panzer III and crossed my fingers for the first dice.

27 - T5 AT Rifle finally arrives

Nope. Turn six and Germany, sensing victory was near, seized the initiative. The Panzer turned to face the house the Maxim was in, and put an HE shell through the window, followed by a hail of machinegun fire, after which only corpses remained inside. With the front armour of the Panzer now showing, the AT rifle was neutered. I decided to go for a shot on the German command, but missed it. They tried likewise on the AT rifle, but also missed.

33 - T6 Middle.jpg

Meanwhile the pioneers and halftrack opened up on the LMG squad on the far right. But despite the hail of bullets and torrent of flame, five men still stood, and were keen to hang in there. The squad on the hill tried for some shots, but failed. Before finally my Very Pinned LMG squad decided it best to stay down than give assaulting the pioneers ago.

Although we did roll a turn seven, there was no way the Soviets could even bring the battle to an inconclusive result, and so operations ceased. A victory for Germany!

Aftermath

We had a lot of fun. I really like that the battle see-sawed, with the early game very much looking quite positive for the Soviets. The Panzer III was MVP though, and really cleaned up. I made some poor choices with my Maxim and T-26B, but the fourth turn order dice and FUBARed order test really hurt me too.

Lee really enjoyed the game, and loved the simplicity of the core elements of the system. No doubt we will play again in the future!

Operation Barbarossa Mini-Campaign 3 – 1000pts – Kiev Defensive Operation (Point Defence)

The third in our three game set of Operation Barbarossa. I’d already lost the set, so I was very keen to a void a clean sweep!

Table and Mission

 

The battle was set in the outskirts of Kiev, 1941 – the First Battle of Kiev, also know as the Kiev Defensive Operation. We selected point defence for the mission with the Soviets would be defending from the built up side. The objectives were the church yard on the far left, the government building in the centre, and the house of the far right flank. To win, the Germans would need to hold two or three objectives.

Forces

Again, no image of the forces. In the images of the battle, pretend like the men with SMGs have rifles, I don’t have enough! Also it’s a struggle for me to read the yellow on red order die, so if you can read them in the images (which is doubtful I think) they are very unlikely to be on the order that was actually issued.

Soviet

Captain with two staff (Regular)

1st Lieutenant with two staff (Regular)

Three rifle squads, each with 12 men, one with AT grenades (Inexperienced)

Two LMG squads, each with 10 men and an LMG (Inexperienced)

Maxim MMG (Regular)

82mm Mortar (Regular)

Zis-3 AT gun (Regular)

T-34/76 (Regular)

German

1st Lieutenant with one staff (Veteran)

Four Heer squads, each with eight men and LMG (Regular)

Heer Pioneer squad with eight men, including flamethrower team (Veteran)

Two Hanomag halftracks (Inexperienced)

MG-42 MMG team (Regular)

Panzer III J (Regular)

Deployment

 

I positioned one of the rifle squads without AT grenades behind the fence covering the church yard. In the central building I positioned my Maxim on the upper floor on the left, sniper on the upper floor on the right, Lieutenant on the stairs out of sight and one of the LMG squads on the ground floor. Finally on the far right I deployed my Zis-3 and the rest of my force was placed in reserve. The German preparatory bombardment failed to hit the Zis-3, but added two pins to all other units except my LMG squad, which only received one.

Order of Battle

 

I pulled the first die and immediately put the Zis-3 into ambush. I tried to do the same with the Maxim but it rolled double sixes – FUBAR! Luckily I rolled friendly fire and with no valid target it just went down. Then came the interesting move of one of the halftracks with a squad of Heer driving straight at my Zis-3. Springing my ambush, the Zis-3 hit and destroyed the halftrack, then rolled a maximum six hits on the unit inside, killing four of them! First blood to the Soviets thanks to some very questionable German tactics – more on that in the Aftermath. The rest of the turn was fairly uneventful. The rifle squad near the church yard failed their order test, likewise the Lieutenant so they both went down. The rest of the German force moved on: Heer squad on the far left, halftrack with pioneers on the left road, Panzer III behind that (it fired on the Maxim and managed three sixes in a row to score a wound with its hull MG), two Heer squads in the centre of the field (one moving through the wheat field, the other on the hill), then the MG42 and Lieutenant on the far right. Finally, my sniper took a long shot and hit the Heer in the field (centre left) but failed to kill the target.

 

Turn two and I brought my Captain on first to motivate the riflemen on the left. His support ensured they went into ambush when ordered. The Maxim also went into ambush. On the far right, the Germans moved up the MG42 and Lieutenant into the house. Meanwhile in the centre the two Heer squads ran into the houses opposite the government building. On the left the Heer advanced and engaged in a firefight with the riflemen opposite – with one of the riflemen being killed. The surviving halftrack advanced up the road and I pulled the next die to bring on my T-34 behind the government building, but with an angle on the halftrack. Which it promptly missed. Next die was me again and I went with the Zis-3. I considered the Heer in the building opposite, but decided to go with the long shot on the halftrack – which I hit and then, thanks to the +1 pen on side armour, destroyed! I again rolled six hits on the squad inside and again killed four! Things were not going well for the Germans. The Panzer III trundled up behind the wrecked halftrack and tried to pick off the Maxim again, without any success. I then brought on my remaining squads: rifle squad with AT grenades on the road of the left; mortar in the centre with spotter to the right behind the trees near the road; LMG squad between the mortar and spotter; and last rifle squad into the objective house on the far right. I also conducted some fire against the squad in the house in the centre on the right, scoring a single hit from my sniper but nothing from the LMG squad on the ground floor and no kills. Finally: the Heer that bailed out the halftrack ran up to the trees on the right but got caught in the open.

 

The Panzer III was up first turn three and zipped towards the T-34 and out of sight of the Zis-3. It shot wide and in return was struck by the T-34, but also to no effect. I opted to fire my Zis-3 on the unit in the right house but only scored a single hit with HE ammunition, killing the unlucky Heer. On the right the four man Heer squad ran forward and I opened up with my rifle squad in the house, killing two. The Heer in the right house then ran out towards the Zis-3. I lobbed a mortar shell at them, but missed, and then opened up with the LMG squad – killing five! In the building my Maxim and LMG squad went into ambush, expecting an assault from the remaining squad in the house. Meanwhile the sniper shot at the Heer in the house but failed to score a kill. On the left, the Pioneers and Heer ran into the church and the riflemen shot at them to no effect.

 

Turn four and the two Heer on the road assaulted the Zis-3, scoring only one kill. In response the Zis also scored one kill and a second round of the assault was fought. One kill a piece again saw the Heer dispatched but the Zis down to a single man. My rifle squad on the right opened up and finished off the other two man Heer squad, before the MG-42 ended my Zis-3. I repositioned my sniper to take on the MG and lobbed a mortar shell at it for good measure – but missed. On the left the Panzer III failed to do anything to the T-34 again, but in response this time the T-34 dealt it a crew stunned result. The Heer in the church assaulted the left most rifle squad and cut it down, but not without taking casualties. The Captain added to those losses with SMG fire. The remaining Pioneers then lit up the flamethrower and took on the other rifle squad on the left, but only scored a single hit! Rifle fire from the Pioneers further whittled down that squad, but they held firm and then proceeded to assault the Heer in the church yard. The Heer were eliminated, but only three riflemen remained. Finally, the Heer in the house knew they had to do something and ran left, with the Maxim and LMG team opening up as they repositioned, killing three and adding two pins.

 

Turn five and the T-34 scored the first dice and took out the Panzer III. I rallied my three riflemen into another assault, this time against the Pioneers in the Church. All three Pioneers were cut down and in response only two riflemen died with the last man standing keeping to the field. The last Heer squad ran into the church, which the Maxim peppered with rounds, scoring a couple of this but no kills. My two LMG squads ran across to the left while my rifles on the right shot at and scored a kill on the MG-42 team, which took out the mortar’s spotter. The mortar repositioned for a view on the MG.

 

Turn six and everything converged on the church. The Heer were whittled down to three men with five pins and went down. On the right the riflemen took out the MG-42, leaving only the Lieutenant at the back of the field.

 

Aftermath

We didn’t bother rolling for a turn seven because there were only five Germans left on the field and only the most impossible of odds that the battle would result in anything but a Soviet victory. So, just like the real battle, the Soviets held on for that bit longer!

I was very pleased to have taken an extra officer and my Zis-3 did a sterling job. I was very much aided by some questionable German tactics. Basically what my mate attempted to do was completely ignore the centre and split his forces into two, striking at the flanks. I was very surprised he decided to go head to head with the Zis. I expected the next units to come on to try overwhelm it, but they deployed on the other side of the field. He regretted his tactical decisions almost immediately and in hindsight would focus his entire strength on one objective. So a good game, but a very decisive Soviet victory to end the set.

Next Time

It’s to be decided what we’ll be playing and when next time. We are waiting for our Perry Miniatures Battle in a Box to arrive so we can dive into the American Civil War – something I’m very much looking forward to. In the meantime I want to get my Prussian Landwehr done and some other Bolt Action things. Next post or two will likely be about things I have painted and terrain – notably the government building from this after action report. Happy wargaming!

 

Barbarossa Mini-Campaign 2 – 750pts – Minsk Pocket (Envelopment)

My mate forgot that he had a Star Wars quiz on May 4th, so we had to delay a day, but here it is game two of our Operation Barbarossa mini-campaign.

The Table and Mission

 

The setting is the Minsk pocket. Soviet forces have been encircled by German forces and are desperate to break out. We went with the Envelopment mission with the only modification that the attacker (the Soviets) would not get preliminary bombardment. The Germans would be defending from the side of the board flanked by the two hills, the Soviets would be coming on through the fields.

The Forces

Given the size of the Soviet force, I skipped on force pictures.

Soviet (all inexperienced, also note that I don’t have enough riflemen, so there are a bunch of guys with PPShs and even the rest of the artillery observer crew used to represent them)

2nd Lieutenant with two staff

Commisar with one staff

Four rifle squads, one with 12 men and AT grenades, the other three with 11 men

Two LMG squads, both with 12 men and LMG

Maxim MMG

82mm Mortar team with spotter

45mm AT gun

T-26B

German

1st Lieutenant with one staff (Veteran)

Three Heer squads with eight men each and NCO with SMG (Regular)

Heer pioneer squad with five men and flamethrower (Veteran)

Hanomag halftrack (Inexperienced)

MG42 MMG team (Veteran)

Panzer III J (Regular)

Deployment

The Germans deployed the Panzer III on the road on the Soviet left; a Heer squad roughly in the centre of the field with the command team behind it; MG42 in the woods in the centre of the field; and a second Heer squad on the road on the Soviet right flank. The last Heer squad, halftrack and pioneers were all kept in reserve.

I nominated two rifle squads, my 45mm AT gun, Maxim MMG, T-26B and 82mm mortar to form my first wave.

Order of Battle

 

Turn one was a fairly dull affair. My first wave all ran onto the field with the exception of the T-26 which advanced and laid down machine gun fire on the Heer squad on the road. They took a couple of hits and scored a pin, but none were killed. For Germany, the Panzer III took a shot at the 45mm and scored a single wound on it, the MG42 and Heer on the road both went into ambush and the other Heer squad advanced and pick off a couple of Soviet riflemen opposite – who became regular as a result.

 

Turn two began with the 45mm firing on the Panzer III, scoring a hit but failing to do any damage. The Heer in the forest continued to lay down fire on the Rifle squad, killing a couple more. In response the Soviet command team came on and thanks to their motivation the rifle squad advanced to the fence and returned fire on the Heer. Also on the left flank the Commissar moved up, as did another rifle squad on the far left and an LMG squad in the centre of the field. The mortar failed to range in on the Heer on the road, but the T-26 advanced and fired on them scoring more hits and a couple of kills. The Maxim then also opened fire, stacking on another pin and more losses.

On the far right the last Heer squad ran up the hill while the Soviet riflemen in the field advanced but failed to land any hits on the new squad on the hill. The last LMG squad came on behind the rifle squad on the far right. Meanwhile the halftrack moved onto the left side of the field. Finally the Panzer III with its one pin failed its order test because the German command team was 1” too far away! The final rifle squad came entered on via the road on the Soviet right flank.

 

Turn three and the 45mm continued to be ineffective against the Panzer III which subsequently unpinned and scored another wound, leaving the 45mm with a single crew member. The 82mm struck home and blew apart four Heer and added another two pins. The little that remained of the unit fled the field – first blood to the Soviets! On the right the Heer on the hill picked off a few riflemen, who in turn added added a pin to the Heer. The LMG squad behind the rifles moved up, as did the Maxim. The T-26 trundled up the road again and fired on the squad on the hill, causing another pin and kill.

Meanwhile in the centre of the field the LMG squad shifted up behind the fence and joined the firefight with the Heer in the forest. The squad in the forest was whittled down and gained a couple of pins resulting in it failing its order test and going down. The Panzer III unpinned but was ineffective against the 45mm. The halftrack moved up and fired on the rifle squad on the right, taking out a man. They passed their order test and moved up. Finally on the right the rifle squad on the road ran up, tripping the ambush from the MG42 and taking some casualties and a crucial pin.

 

Turn four and the rifle squad on the right broke out into the open, this time firing more effectively on the Heer on the hill. Behind them ran the LMG squad. The Maxim also fired on the Heer on the hill, causing them more strife. In response they were able to fire back at the rifle squad but without great effect. In the centre the MG42 whittled down the central LMG squad. It passed its order test and advanced though. The Heer in the forest then failed their order test and went down.

In better news for Germany the halftrack advanced and then the Pioneer BBQ Funtimes squad hopped out and killed most of what remained of the rifle squad on the far left (after some more hits from the halftrack MG and having failed to go into ambush in response). The 45mm was unable to take out the halftrack and the mortar failed to range in on the pioneers. In all of this the commissar and Soviet command were both running around in the centre of the field to share their motivation. Meanwhile the T-26 advanced again and fired a wild shot on the Panzer III. Finally, more bad news for the Soviets was that the rifle squad on the road failed its order test and went down.

 

Turn five and the Heer squad on the hill was killed in an assault from the rifle squad. The LMG squad behind ran up behind. In the centre my LMG squad advanced, adding another pin to the Heer in the forest. They managed to pass their order test and in an audacious assault sent the final three men at my six LMG squadmen – and won! Only a single Heer was left however and he was quickly shot by the advancing rifle squad. Meanwhile on the far left the Pioneers took out the 45mm after it failed to take out the halftrack.

Finally the T-26 and Panzer III were ineffective against each other, the Maxim ran up and the MG42 put a pin on the Maxim.

 

Turn six and the first dice went to Germany and boom went the T-26 – not a good start to the turn for me! Things went from bad to much, much worse though when the MG-42 put a pin on the rifle squad on the right then it and the Maxim all failed their order tests and went down! Thankfully the suqad on the road passed its order test, but it was still a move from the German deployment zone. The pain wasn’t over though because my rifle squad on the road on the left ran up (in a mad dash and hope for a turn seven) only to be assaulted by the two man German command team. Now, error here: I thought there were three men in the team and had my mate roll three dice, scoring three kills while I only scored two, leading to a loss. While we did realise this killed the whole squad, it was late and I was tired and this information didn’t seem to register. That said: there was a Panzer III right next to them, I don’t think the five men that were there would have survived the eight MG42 shots in turn seven!

The mortar didn’t get a chance to shell the pioneers who jumped in the halftrack, but it did missed the halftrack. The command teams ran up the middle in a mad dash to maybe get in a position to score some points for me.

44 - end game

As it turned out there was a turn seven. My rifle squad on the road managed to get into the deployment zone and the two squads on the right both left the field. The Maxim continued to stay flat on the road (it rolled 10 for its order test three turns in a row!). The Commissar and Command team were both killed though. The Commissar fled after his staff member was shot by the Hanomag MG42 while the Lieutenant was shot to pieces by the MG42 and Pioneer rifle fire.

Result and Aftermath

The Germans had taken out 7 Soviet units for 14 victory points while the Soviets had taken out 4 German units (4 points), had one unit in the German deployment zone (2 points) and had run two units off the German table edge (6 points) for a total of 12 victory points. The day went to Germany!

What a great battle. Early on things were very much in my favour. A gutsy assault on the left and the endless burning murder of flamethrower pioneers and their halftrack really set me back. Then the MG42 scored crucial pins that just stopped my advance on the road in its tracks. The Maxim had three turns to pass its order test to get into the German deployment, but failed them all! Luck did over my T-26 too. In hindsight I should have taken two officers with such a horde list, one for the right flank and another for the left, rather than the Commissar. Or at least the Commissar should have been deployed on the right side of the field. I positioned both command teams very poorly too, which led to their deaths and gave away easy victory points. Next time, Germany, next time!

Next Time

In two weeks we’ll be back for game three. Though I’ve already lost overall I am hopeful for a victory in the defence of Kiev! If I am really motivated I’ll even get a new building together for it… Until then, enjoy!

 

 

Barbarossa Mini-Campaign 1 – 600pts – Point Defence

With my mate back from the States it’s time to head back to the Eastern Front during late 1941 for some Operation Barbarossa in Bolt Action.

The Table and Mission

The Germans would be advancing up the road to the village, which they would seek to encircle. The two road sections either side of the village in the Soviet deployment zone were the objectives. The Germans just had to hold one uncontested to claim victory – a modified version of Point Defence in light of the 6’x4’ table and 600pt forces.

The Forces

01 - Soviets

Soviet (all inexperienced):

1st Lieutenant with two staff

Four rifle squads: 12 men with AT grenades; 11 men; and then two squads with ten men each

Maxim MMG

82mm medium mortar

45mm AT gun

T-26B light tank

02 - Germans

German:

1st Lieutenant with one staff member (Veterans, both with rifles)

Two Heer infantry squads, one 8 man and the other 7 man, both with NCOs with SMGs (both regular)

Heer pioneer squad with 7 men including a flamethrower (veterans)

Hanomag halftrack (inexperienced)

Panzer III J (regular)

Deployment

 

On the left flank in the field I deployed the 12 man rifle squad with AT grenades. In the left house I positioned my MG and a 10 man rifle squad with my HQ behind the building. In the right house I deployed my 11 man rifle squad with the mortar behind the building (the spotter was in the field just to the left of the road). The T-26B, 45mm AT gun and other 10 man rifle squad were held off the table. The German force was off the board to come on first turn. Preliminary bombardment was rolled inflicted 2 pins on the rifle squad and mortar on the right; two pins and a casualty to the Maxim and one pin to the rifle squad on the left. The command team and 11 man rifle squad were unaffected.

Order of Battle

Turn one involved things moving. The eight man Heer squad came on and moved into the woods on the right. The seven man squad moved into the centre. The Panzer III came trundling down the road and fired on the Maxim, doing nothing. In response my T-26 came on and drove up into the field, fired on the Panzer and missed (I rolled a 1. The T-26 was very good at rolling 1s). The halftrack came on the far left and likewise the German command squad. The pioneers went down. My other moves were to run the 12 man squad up; move my AT gun onto the road to face off against the Panzer III; and move my other 10 man squad on and up the road. The Maxim and 11 man squad both rallied and got rid of their pins. The mortar tried but failed to range in on the Heer in the woods and the command team went down.

Turn two and my AT gun fired and missed the Panzer III. In response it opened up its MGs and scored exceptional damage, killing the gun – first blood went to the Germans! On the right my squad on the road ran up ready to assault the church in the following turn. A move which predicted the Heer in the centre’s moves as they shifted into the church. In the process they tripped my MG and 10 man squad in the building which I had put in ambush. They managed to pick off a couple, which was nice. My mortar fired and missed the Heer in the woods again, which then moved up slightly. On the left the halftrack advanced and gunned down a couple of Soviet riflemen. It was then a game of Who Gets the Next Die. It was me and I decided putting the squad on the left in ambush was the best response to the pending BBQ. Unfortunately the dice didn’t agree. With the pin from the halftrack MG I had to take an order test, which I failed on an 11! The rifle squad went down to the delight of the pioneers. They jumped out their transport and started cooking. I can’t remember how many riflemen died, but an additional four pins were added (taking the remaining squad to 5) and they well and truly did not feel like sticking around. Another Soviet unit destroyed! Meanwhile our armoured units continued to be Very Useless. The Panzer III did nothing to the Maxim and the T-26 rolled another 1 to hit the Panzer.

Turn three and I dropped mortar shells on the Pioneers scoring six hits! Unfortunately I followed that up with three ones, I still managed to kill three pioneers though. They passed their motivation and hoped back in the halftrack which then sped across the field to the left house. On the right I assaulted the church and kill the Heer squad inside to a man, I took four casualties in turn. The Heer in the woods then shot at me, managing to pick off one rifleman. The T-26 was, yet again, useless when it rolled another 1, this time to hit the halftrack. The Panzer III tried for the T-26 but joined the 1 club. Units in buildings just kept their heads down.

Turn four and Han’s House of BBQ saw the ten man squad with the Maxim burnt alive or running. In response my command team popped their heads round the corner and gunned down two more pioneers – including scoring exceptional damage and ending the flamethrower’s run. The other two stuck around. My T-26 fired and actually hit the Panzer III, but only scored a glancing hit that immobilised it. In response the Panzer III shot at my T-26 and rolled a 1 again. My mortar then lobbed shells at the Panzer and hit, but failed to do anything. Over at the church the Heer assaulted and cut the riflemen down, but lost four in response.

31 - Repositioned MG

Turn five and the pioneers hoped back in the halftrack and then proceeded to murder my command squad. The German command started running up the field too. My Maxim repositioned out the building to defend the objective but was gunned down by the Panzer. I chose to keep my T-26 steady and fire on the Panzer III (its view was obscured if it moved to the objective). My mortar hit and did nothing to the Panzer. On the right, the Heer entered the now vacant church and my remaining rifle squad did some ineffective shooting in their direction.

32 - end T6

Turn six and the situation did not look good. The pioneers jumped out the halftrack and assaulted my T-26 scoring a Fire result. Accordingly my T-26, having not acted yet, automatically went down but at least it didn’t flee. The German HQ joined the halftrack on the objective. My mortar did a world of nothing. I then had to make the choice of whether to re-position my rifle men, or ambush to stop the Heer in the church advancing. I decided to reposition. This allowed the Heer to move up, but they were not yet to the objective.

We rolled and scored a turn seven – good for me! Unfortunately the Germans got the jump. The Heer moved up and shot at the mortar, scoring two kills. The remaining man stayed around but when ordered to advance to contest the objective he decided to cower in fear! On the left my T-26 moved to put itself on the objective and took out the halftrack. The pioneers tried an assault again, but had no success. The German command then shot at and killed a couple of riflemen. My last order dice and I was to advance my riflemen and take out the three Heer to the right. They had to make an order test though and what do you know, they decided to cower too! And so ended the battle, with the Soviets trying to hide on the ground!

Aftermath

It was a close game and with more luck on my order tests I could have held the game at a draw with the objectives contested but held by no one. I was probably a little aggressive on the left and at the end there I should have held my riflemen in ambush in the house. It seemed the better choice to put them in a situation where they could threaten either objective rather than just one, however. A good game though.

We’ll be back in a fortnight’s time with another Barbarossa themed game. Until then, happy wargaming!

 

AAR – Bolt Action – 1000pts – Soviets V Germans – Hold Until Relieved – Kursk Mini-Campaign 3

With the mini-campaign tied at one all and $20 worth of sushi and sake on the line, my mate and I were looking forward to our third and final game for the campaign to decide the winner.

 Forces

I upped the points this time round and included some new things.

Soviet01 - Soviets

1st Lieutenant, plus two staff with rifles (inexperienced

Forward Artillery Observer team (two members)

Two SMG squads, comprising of 10 men each with AT grenades (regular)

Two LMG squads, comprising of 10 men each with an LMG (inexperienced)

Free green rifle squad (12 men, inexperienced)

Maxim MMG (regular)

82mm medium mortar (inexperienced)

Zis-3 AT gun (regular)

T34/76 (regular)

German: 02 - Germans

1st Lieutenant, plus two staff with SMGs (regular)

Seven man pioneer squad with flamethrower (veteran)

Hanomag halftack (for the pioneers, inexperienced)

Three Heer Grenadier squads, each with eight men, two SMGs and a panzerfaust (regular)

MG42 MMG (regular)

81mm medium mortar (inexperienced)

Sniper team (veteran)

Panzer IV G (regular)

Table and Mission

Here is the table. I bought a new jigsaw and finished cutting out my roads, but didn’t get around to finishing them. I did, however, make three new houses and a small rural Orthodox church which turned out really well. The mission chosen was Hold Until Relieved. The church in the centre of the field was the objective. To hold the objective one side needed infantry or artillery within 3” of the objective at the end of the game – turn 6 with a 50% chance of turn 7.

Order of Battle

As the defender, I set up one Heer Grenadier squad and the MG42 team up in the church. Half my remaining force would constitute wave one and the rest would be in reserve. Wave one was the Hanomag, Pioneers, sniper team and 81mm mortar. Reserves consist of the other two Heer Grenadier squads, HQ and Panzer IV G. My mate deployed, from my left to right, an LMG squad forward in the field, Maxim in the upper floor of the barn, HQ in the lower floor of the barn, 82mm mortar behind the barn, SMG squad left of centre on the road, the other SMG squad right of centre next to the house, second LMG squad on the hill and the rifle squad in te forest. The T34/76 and Zis-3 were both placed in reserve, as they were not infantry untis, along with the forward artillery officer team.

 Turn one was mostly uneventful. The two SMG squads ran towards the church so that they would be within assault range come turn two. The mortar fired on the church and missed. My Heer shot and missed the SMG team to the left, while I made the incredibly stupid decision to move my MG42 team out of the church and into the open to bring to bear on the right SMG team next turn. What then happened was both the rifle team in the woods and LMG team in the field opened fire and killed the MG42 – the first casualty of the battle, again! Meanwhile the LMG squad on the hill ran forward onto the road and the Soviet HQ went down. My sniper ran on into the house roughly left of centre in my half, the mortar moving up behind it with the spotter darting off the left. My half track came on and took out two or three men in the LMG squad on the road – including scoring exceptional damage and taking out the NCO! My pioneers then jumped out and lit up the Rifle squad. The flamethrower scored three hits, but only killed one, and only added one further pin. My mate tested for morale and seven. Now, I wasn’t sure which order things needed to be done in at this point. As it was, the Rifles were going to be destroyed after failing their morale by 1, but given they were Green and had taken one casualty from the flamethrower, they also needed to check to see if they turned regular, stacked on more pins or had no change. I wasn’t sure whether this check came after all shooting from my squad was resolved, or before shooting from the rest of the squad. We did it before the rest of the shooting, they turned regular which upped their morale by one and they stayed in the game. The rifles then fired and picked off two or three more – again scoring exceptional damage and taking out the NCO!

Turn two and my sniper fired on the SMG squad on the left, picking off the NCO of that squad. The mortar fired on the church again and missed before the SMG squad to the right assaulted scoring 8 kills while my men (fighting simultaneously, could only score two and were destroyed. On the road, the LMG squad assault my pioneers – which resulted in a disaster when they scored only one kill to the pioneers 3 and were destroyed. The T34 came on and put the halftrack on fire, but didn’t destroy it, and machine gunned the pioneers to no effect. The rifle squad failed their order test and went down, likewise the left SMG squad. I ran my pioneers across the road towards the centre. My mortar fired and missed the SMG team before they assaulted while my other two Heer squads came on and shot at the LMG squad in the field. The first squad only killed one man before taking three casualties in return shooting before the other Heer squad picked off two from the LMG squad – again including the NCO. My half track (which had rolled snake eyes for the morale check in response to the fire) passed its order test on a 3 and advanced left behind the house right of the church. My Panzer IV G then came on and popped the T34 in a single shot. My mate had decided to put the Zis-3 down – we forgot about the forward artillery officer team.

Turn three and the Pioneers struck again. Moving up and flaming the church they scored six hits, but only killed two, and two pins. The SMG squad failed their morale and were destroyed. The Rifle squad went down again, the Zis-3 moved on next to the T34 wreck. I moved my Panzer left behind the house right of the church. I kept my HQ down behind the right house in my half while the half track went down. One of my Heer squads advanced and whittled the remaining LMG squad down a little more, which then assaulted my other Heer squad and destroyed it. The surviving SMG squad made their way into the house left of the church. The Soviet HQ went down again and Maxim moved up while the mortar missed the pioneers. Finally the forward artillery officer team came on and called artillery down in between the pioneers and Panzer.

The artillery came in without issue at the start of turn four, but it wasn’t very spectacular – the Pioneers received one pin, the Panzer three and the half track two. I moved my HQ up to provide the morale bonus to my Panzer – and then promptly forgot it when I actually made the order test, forcing the Panzer down. My pioneers moved up without issue though and doused the house left of the church in flame – causing a couple of casualties and resulting in the SMG squad failing their morale and being destroyed. The Zis-3 moved up to get range on my Panzer IV while the Maxim moved up to be near the church and open to shoot at my Pioneers. My remaining Heer squad assaulted and destroyed the remaining LMG squad without loss while the sniper took out a crew member from the Maxim and the mortar missed everything. The Soviet HQ and forward observation teams both moved up to be able to contest the church, while the Rifle squad finally passed their order test and moved onto the road from the forest.

The Zis-3 scored the first dice of turn five and popped my Panzer IV. My pioneers then flamed and destroyed the Maxim – but my flamethrower then ran out of fuel and was removed. My remaining Heer squad moved up to seize the church. The Soviet HQ moved into range of the church and the forward observers entered it. The Rifle squad, yet again, went down.

Turn six and the Soviet HQ and forward observer were both killed. From memory the Pioneers assaulted the forward observers in the church and took them out without loss, while the last Heer squad (which was still at full strength) blasted away the HQ. By this time it was 10:30 and we were both tired. The Rifle squad failed its order test and went down again and we decided we would call it there.

Aftermath

With victory for the Germans, the mini-campaign ended 2:1 in the German’s (my) favour. And to the victor go the spoils: in the next fortnight we will be going out for sushi and sake, with my mate shouting me $20 of what I eat/drink. I’m not sure what we’ll play next time, but we’ve agreed to delay our Flames of war games in North Africa until sometime in the future.

Post Script

Firstly, this battle actually took place two months ago, I’ve been very lazy in posting it. Secondly, the new WordPress media browser is utterly terrible.

AAR – Bolt Action – 750pts – Soviets V Germans – Envelopement – Kursk Mini-Campaign 2

I had a Remembrance Day game of Bolt Action against a mate this week for Warfare Wednesday. We have decided that we will endeavour to play fortnightly on Wednesdays and we’ll change up the game and theatre of battle in sequence. It was decided that last fortnight’s game will be the first of three of Bolt Action on the Eastern Front. With the lists being drawn from Operation Citadel (German) and Battle of Kursk (Soviet), it’s quite a nice little mini-campaign to break us in on the Bolt Action rules. To make things interesting the loser will be buying the winner sushi and sake at a sushi train restaurant in the city to the value of $20 (approximately 2-3 plates of sushi and one cup of sake). Given I lost last fortnight, I was very eager not to lose on Wednesday and have the mini-campaign decided so soon!

 Forces

We used the same forces as last fortnight.

 Soviet (all inexperienced):

HQ plus two staff, all with SMGs

Three LMG squads, one with 12 men the other two with 11. Each squad had an LMG and an NCO with SMG

An SMG squad with 12 men, an LMG and all with AT grenades

A (free) rifle squad (green)

Maxim MMG

82mm medium mortar

T34/76

 German (all regular)

HQ plus two staff, all with SMGs

Three Heer Grenadier squads, each with 10 men, two SMGs, an LMG and a panzerfaust

MG42 MMG

Stug G assault gun

 Table and Mission

Our first game was Maximum Attrition and with the German loss, it put me on the back foot so Envelopement was chosen for this game. Half the German force began deployed defending the village side of the field. As the defenders, the Germans would score 2 points per enemy unit killed. The Soviets as the attacker would score 1 point per unit killed, 2 points per unit that ended the game in the German deployment zone and 3 points for each unit moved off the German deployment edge.

 02 - Table shot 03 - Table shot 2 04 - Table shot 3 05 - Table shot 4

Above you can see the battlefield with my forces already deployed. One Grenadier squad behind the house roughly in the centre, the MG behind the house left of that and my HQ is hiding in the rear house.

 Order of Battle

The Soviets began with their preparatory bombardment, which was successfully called in and inflicted 2 pins on the Grenadiers, 1 on the MMG and nothing on the HQ. The rest of the turn was then spent moving things. My MG and Grenadiers both ran into their respective houses while the rest of my force (HQ included) went down (units in reserve must go down till turn 2 in this mission). The Soviets ran on, from my left to my right, their HQ, an LMG squad, T34/76 (which advanced, fired and missed the MG), an LMG squad behind the T34, an LMG squad into the field, the Maxim, the Mortar (kept at the back), rifle squad behind the hill and the SMG squad on my far right.

 06 - Soviet advance 07 - End T1 08 - End T1

Turn two and the Soviets pulled the first dice, which was given to the mortar team. It lobbed a shell at my MG, again. It rolled a six, again. It rolled six hits, again. It obliterated the MG, again. (If you haven’t read the first AAR in this series, this happened last game, except we forgot about the Fixed weapon rule, this time we remembered and it still happened!).

 11 - Mortar shooting10 - Mortar firing09 - Goodbye MG

The T34 then moved up and fired on my grenadiers, but missed. I then pulled a dice and called on my Stug. It trundled on and opened fire on the T34, hitting it, rolling a six to score a penetrating hit and setting it on fire. The crew then failed their morale check and bailed from the vehicle – a kill that more than made up for the loss of my MG, especially because the only other Soviet anti-tank capabilities were on the other side of the field! Most of the rest of the turn was spent moving things up, mostly via running them. Both my other Grenadier squads came on, with the one on the right opening up on the SMG squad opposite and causing significant casualties. My squad in the house fired on the LMG squad in the field, but only picked one or two off.

 12 - Wrecked T34 13 - SMG squad advances 14 - Advancing through the field 15 - End T2

Turn three and the Soviet HQ and LMG squad on my left continued to run up, skirting around my Stug. The Stug opened up on them and killed a few. The mortar tried to pin the Stug, but failed. In the centre the LMG squad assaulted my Grenadiers in the house and after a bloody combat took it – only two men remained (although you may note from images that some men were accidently left in the centre of the field, so 5 may have actually survived, it’s not clear what happened but they were later removed when we realised). The SMG squad continued to take a beating and went down after being reduced to four men, but didn’t flee. The rifles moved up and with some sharp shooting took out some Grenadiers on the road. The Maxim and last LMG squad moved up into the centre field. My other Grenadier squad conducted a counter assault on the Soviets in the house and re-took it without loss.

 16 - Assault on the house 17 - battlefield T3 18 - German right flank T3 19 - Maxim in the field 20 - End turn 3

Turn four and on my left the Soviet HQ and LMG squad continued to move up. My Stug and HQ did little to them, but added pins which I hoped might be enough to stop them running off the board edge, even if there weren’t many of them. The rifle squad in the centre advanced and shot at my Grenadiers on the road, who wiped out the SMG squad. The mortar also picked off a few grenadiers on the road. In the centre the Maxim and LMG squad were ineffective against the Grenadiers in the house, who shot at and inflicted a couple of casualties on the rifle squad – who became regular as a result of their Green test.

 21 - Making a break for it 22 - Rifle squad

Turn five and the Soviets got the first dice and got their LMG squad off the table. I then proceeded to ignore the HQ – thinking the pins I put on it would be enough. My grenadiers on the road went down failing an order test to fire. The rifle squad assaulted the Grenadiers on the road, but this ended very badly for them and the Grenadiers won with four men remaining. My mate realised his folly of not using his mortar to shell the squad first, but when it did on the next order dice it only caused a casualty and a pin. The HQ then passed its order test and got off the board, the Grenadiers in the house shot at and killed a man on the Maxim. My Stug then turned and advanced and finished the Maxim off.

 23 - Assault on the road 24 - Stug lines up a shot

The potential final turn of the battle and some ineffective shooting transpired. The mortar failed to finish off the Grenadiers on the road, once again scoring minimal hits and casualties. Meanwhile my other Grenadiers shot and missed, while my Stug put a pin and a couple of casualties on the LMG squad. My HQ moved up behind my Stug in case of a turn seven, but we rolled and it was not to be.

 26 - End of Game Shot 2 27 - End of Game Shot 28 - Soviet Mortar

Result

The Soviets had killed two German units and moved two units off the table for a total of 8 points. In response the Germans killed five Soviet units (T34, LMG squad, SMG squad, Rifle squad and the Maxim) for a total of 10 points. With the required two point lead, the Germans scored a clear victory.

 Next Time

Next Wednesday fortnight (28 November 2015) we will play the final game for this series of three. The mission we will use is Top Secret (I think?), representing the Germans being caught up in the Soviet counter attack after the order to withdraw with the cancellation of Operation Citadel. It will take place in a village or small town and I’m hoping to change the lists up a bit (provided things I’ve ordered arrive before Friday next week) and have a few new terrain pieces to use (a rural Orthodox church and some more houses). It will be the deciding match and to the winner will go the sushi and sake! The mini-campaign to follow will be a three game set of Flames of War in North Afrika (where Lebanese food or similar will be on the line) so there is plenty to look forward to.

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.