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.

 

 

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War in the Far East – Soviet V Japan – 750pts – Demolition

Andrew was back from deployment and not on night duty so we were able to get a game of Bolt Action in last night. 750pts, Soviets v Japanese – it’s WWII in the Far East!

Battlefield

Never mind Sky Panzer, 37mm, and the Maxim – Andrew forgot his Chihi and AT gun, so I lent him the models for proxies.

Forces

Soviet (all regular expect the Rifle squad)

1st Lt with one staff

Meatshield, er I mean Rifle squad with AT grenades

Two LMG squads with 10 men and an LMG

One LMG squad with 10 men but no LMG (I accidently forgot this though, but, spoilers, didn’t matter much)

Zis-3 divisional gun

Sniper team

T-34/76

 

Japanese (all regular)

1st Lt with one staff

Imperial Japanese Squad with 14 men and an LMG

Grenadier squad with 12 (I think, might’ve been 10) men and 3 light mortars

Suicide AT squad with three men

MMG team

45mm AT gun

Chihi “medium” tank

Mission and Deployment

We rolled Demolition for the mission. The objective of this mission is to end a turn with one of your infantry units in contact with the enemy base.

I took the side with the barn and positioned my base behind it. Andrew put his base in the Church (we used SAGA dice to mark their location).

I elected to keep my T-34, one LMG squad, and my HQ in reserve, while Andrew elected to hold nothing in reserve. Drawing order dice to place our units, the Japanese line formed up with the Chihi and grenadiers beyond the forested hill on my left, Imperial squad on the road, HQ in the church, MMG to my right of the church, and AT gun way off to the right on the road. I positioned my Zis-3 on my left flank, one LMG squad to the right of that just in the field, Rifle squad forward and centre behind the field, sniper team up top the barn, and second LMG squad in the house on the right. Finally, Andrew’s suicide squad infiltrated behind the forward house near the road.

06 - Sniper team in the barn

Order of Battle

Turn one the Japanese drew the first three dice, and Andrew used them to place his MMG, AT gun, and HQ in ambush. I pulled the forth and my sniper zeroed in on the Japanese MMG, hitting but failing to kill. Next the Grenadier squad stayed put, and then the Imperial squad ran up the road into the centre of the field.

Knowing the Chihi was more or less stuck where it was this turn, I fired my Zis on the Imperial squad, but missed. My LMG squad then advanced, and the Japanese MMG sprung its ambush, but turned out to be just short of being in range! My LMG squad opened fire and picked off a couple of Japanese and added an all-important pin marker. Next my Rifle squad advanced to do the same, tripping the Japanese AT gun’s ambush. The Japanese gunner hit his mark, blowing apart two Riflemen and triggering Green. I rolled a six! My one inexperienced squad was now regular and was able to pick off another member of the Imperial squad.

Finally, on the right, the suicide squad and my LMG squad in the house went into ambush. This standoff would last until turn 5, so they’ll be absent from the report till then.

Turn two and the Japanese were again hot on the dice. Andrew tried to advance his Imperial squad, but they decided hitting the dirt on the road was the better idea. Next his Lt went into ambush and ordered the MMG to do likewise – unfortunately the sniper shot made the team think otherwise and they too went down (although we both forgot the morale boost from the Lt. I forget what he rolled for the test, but they possibly would have passed).

13 - T2 The centre

I then advanced my rifle squad and poured more fire into the Imperial squad, adding another pin. The Grenadier squad advanced through the woods before the Chihi rounded the corner and unleashed all its MMG fire (hull and rear turret) on the rifle squad, inflicting no casualties (I think) but adding another pin.

15 - T2 Japanese line

I realised the arc on my Zis was no good and readjusted, while my LMG squad nearby advanced and put more heat on the Imperial squad – which was now on four pins. The Japanese AT gun tried from my rifle squad, but missed, while my sniper missed the Japanese MMG. I then was able to bring on all my reserves.

The third LMG squad came on the far left and the LMG gunner scored a lucky couple of hits on the Grenadiers, inflicting a casualty to go with the pin. My Lt ran up behind the fields in the centre, and my T-34 trundled on the road – but not too far, fearing the suicide squad. The T-34 shot at and missed the Chihi, and found the Japanese MMG to be just out of range.

Turn three and the Imperial squad kept put on the road. My Lt ordered the rifle squad and LMG squad to snap to, who continued to put the heat on the Imperial squad. The pins were certainly forthcoming, but casualties were not. The Japanese MMG went into ambush, while the AT gun took a wild shot at my LMG squad in the house. My Zis tried for the Chihi, but missed, which then poured MMG fire into my rifle squad, picking off another two. I advanced my third LMG squad again and once more, sharp shooting added a pin to the Grenadier squad, who then advanced, but whose fire was ineffective.

18 - T3 T34 v Chihi

I decided I didn’t want to edge my T-34 up, but needed to turn slightly to get arc on the Imperial squad. I opened up with the hull MMG and took another wild shot at the Chihi. At least the Imperial squad had another pin now, right? Also my sniper hit the Japanese MMG again, but still couldn’t kill it.

Turn four and the Chihi decided to mix its fire, putting the hull MMG into the Rifle squad and turret light howitzer into my sniper. Things I did not realise: the Chihi had a light howitzer. I put my rifles down in response, which saved them from damage, but the sniper team was not so lucky. Both team members were killed in the explosion. Turn four and first blood goes to the Japanese.

Andrew then figured laying on the road really wasn’t working. With a cry of “Banzai!” the Imperial squad charged my Rifle squad. In response, my Lt and an LMG squad opened fire. I was able to pour on the hits and add another two pins (taking them to eight), but six Imperial squad members were left standing. They promptly killed four riflemen, with the remaining four only able to take out one. The rifle squad were no more and the Japanese had another kill.

25 - T4 The Bloody Centre.jpg

My third LMG squad advanced up behind the fence near the road and put more fire on the Grenadiers – adding another pin. My Zis then took a wild shot on them, and likewise the Japanese AT gun on my LMG squad in the house.

26 - T4 Japs in the trees

Turn five and I’d decided to take the LMG squad on the right out of ambush, because, hey, we actually have an objective so we should probably do that. The turn began with me finishing off the Imperial squad with my Lt (one pin was all that was needed) and snap to gave me fire from my LMG squad on the Grenadiers. My Zis gave it a good try too, but really wasn’t helping. The LMG squad on the far left had the right idea though, and the grenadiers were down to six with four pins.

Andrew was able to rally them however, and worse, we realised my slight adjustment earlier left a small target of side armour of my T-34 open to the Japanese AT gun. It was promptly hit and knocked out. Not good. The Japanese MMG picked off one of the LMG squad members in the middle, while I ran my LMG squad on the right straight forward (but kept them out of sight of the MMG).

Turn six and a stalemate loomed. Andrew ran the suicide squad out towards my base. My Lt and LMG squad opened fire, but could only kill two. The Grenadiers put a mortar round on the LMG squad that had fired, but failed to kill a single man. My LMG squad on the right repositioned and opened up on the lone suicide squad member who became Very Dead, Very Quickly.

Finally, the LMG squad on the left and the Zis (who finally hit) took the Grenadiers down to a single man – who passed his last man standing test in a show of defiance.

The end of turn six, and it was clear I had no way to reach the Japanese base in a single turn. The Soviets were well in control at the end of the fighting, but with the objective out of reach of both sides in the allotted time, operations ended in stalemate.

Aftermath

An inconclusive result, but we both had fun getting there. Rolls were pretty terrible and we were unable to hit or kill much, especially early in the game.

There were a few rule errors: I forgot the +1 to hit for moving on turn one; that one of my LMG squads didn’t have an LMG; and Andrew forgot the morale boost from the Lt turn two. I also have to follow up whether there is a minimum target size (i.e. how much of a unit do you have to see to declare it as a target).

Analysing the battle, force composition wise, I’d have done better to take an MMG than a sniper I think. Also Comrade Zis really let me down. I actually wanted to take a forward artillery officer and a BA-64 (because beep, beep), next time though. Next time.

Strategy wise, I’d say putting the three units in reserve was a Bad Idea and I should’ve deployed everything at the start. Especially with the lack of transports, I needed to make sure everything was out and advancing towards the objective. Speaking of which, tactics on both sides were very conservative. The lack of aggression meant we spent a number of turns shooting at each other (or rather, I shot at Japanese units while they cowered on the ground). We both needed to be far more aggressive if we wanted to successfully complete our objective.

Next Time

Unfortunately Andrew is on deployment next month, but when he’s back in November I’m sure the red bear and the rising sun will meet again, hopefully with more conclusive results. Next month I am aiming for a game or two with my brother though, so fingers crossed there won’t be as much of a gap between this AAR and the next one.

Till then, happy wargaming.

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!

British Paras v Soviet Guards – 750pts – Key Positions

I finally was able to organise a game of Bolt Action last Wednesday, my first in over 12 months and my first in 2nd Edition. This write up has also been slightly delayed due to a lack of internet.

Forces

Soviet (Me) – All regular except the free rifle squad

1st Lieutenant and one staff

Guards squad, eight men with LMG

Guards squad, seven men with LMB

Guards squad, eight men all with SMGs

Rifle squad (free)

Zis-3 Divisional Gun

ISU-152

 

British (Andrew) – All veteran

1st Lieutenant and one staff (SMGs)

Para squad, ten men with LMG and some SMGs

Para squad, ten men with LMG and some SMGs

Light mortar team

Medium mortar team

6pdr AT gun

Tetrarch light tank (The Little Tank that Could)

Battlefield and Mission

The mission rolled was Key Positions. A total of seven objectives were rolled, with me placing the first one.

They were placed as follows: both ridges, the church, the barn, the wooded hill, the centre most house, and on the painted road leading off the short table edge (so the one near the wooded hill and village).

05 - Down the road.jpg

Order of Battle

I won the roll off to choose a side, and took the one with the wheat fields and wooded hill on the basis that four objectives were closer to that side (although further away from the table edge than the three on the other side). The first turn involved moving all out forces on. It was a stack of red dice to begin with, but I ended with the last dice which was Very Good.

I ran the eight man Guards squad on the right flank; seven man towards the barn; rifle squad straight up the middle and into the wheat field; SMG Guards squad up in between the seven man Guards squad and the rifle squad; HQ behind the rifle squad; and Zis3 behind the SMG squad.

In response, Andrew moved the 6pdr on his right/my left flank (in the village, with sights down the road); Tetrarch behind the house near the road heading off the long side, HQ behind the centre most house, medium mortar in the centre, first para squad behind the trees near the ridge on his side, second paras just to his right of the ridge, and light mortar on the left.

The ISU-152 was the last unit to trundle onto the field, rolling on via the road and lining up a shot on the second para squad. I rolled a six to hit, hitting four but only killing three, and then rolled six pins! Glory to the ISU-152!

Turn two and the paras got the jump. The second para squad went first, passing their order test (being stubborn, the pins weren’t an issue for them taking morale tests) and running out of sight of the ISU-152 behind the ridge. The first para squad then went down, as the medium mortar attempted to range in on my rifle squad, but failed. I ran my seven man Guards squad into the barn before the light mortar moved up but still drew range just short of my Guards on my right. Said guards were up next and ran into the church.

In the centre, I ran my rifle squad and SMG Guards straight forward, the Zis3 trundling up behind them. The 6pdr took a shot at the barn, but missed (we didn’t realise this shot shouldn’t have incurred hard cover negatives, can’t remember what the roll was, so it may have still missed – it wasn’t high). The British HQ moved into the centre house, but were just out of range on the rifle squad. The Tetrarch, however, did not have such issues and moved up and put heat on the rifle squad, killing two. They rolled for Green and I rolled a one! This resulting in an extra three pins!

10 - Soviets advance in fields

My HQ moved up through the field they were in before the ISU-152 was again the last to make a move, trundling up and setting its sights on the medium mortar. And I rolled a six to hit again. I was only able to kill two of the mortar crew, but I again rolled six pins!

Turn three and the paras again got the jump. The medium mortar tried once more to range in on the rifle squad, but failed, while the Tetrarch shifted up and sprayed the SMG squad with MMG fire, scoring only one hit and failing to kill! The British HQ went into ambush, anticipating a move from the SMG Guards. Next I opened fire from the church on the light mortar squad, taking it out. First blood to the Soviets! I then advanced my Guards squad out the barn and shot at the 6pdr, killing one man. The first para squad ran to Andrew’s left flank, fleeing the terror of the ISU-152, before I successfully rallied the rifle squad! A total of three pins were removed (one for the successful order test, and two from the rally).

My SMG Guards went in on the British HQ, who opened fire with their SMGs. They scored three hits and no kills! Andrew’s dice were sorely against him. I shot back with my SMGs, killing the Lieutenant’s staffer. Next up was the Zis3 and on examination, the Tetrarch had mot moved quite enough to get out of its arc and in short order it was reduced to the Little Tank that Couldn’t when my shot hit, and very thoroughly blew it up.

16 - Little Tank that Couldn't

17 - Zis3 Sights

At some point the 6pdr fired on the Guards who’d left the barn, hitting, killing two, and scoring an additional two pins.

19 - 6pdr

The last two dice and the second para squad was first to move. They shifted up and sprayed the church will bullets, but with all their pins (now down to four), they couldn’t land a hit. And finally, the ISU-152. It shifted up, pivoted to face the second para squad. Once again, I hit with a six. Five paras were caught in the blast but three ones meant I only killed two. Then came the pin roll. Six. The second para squad were set to 10 pins, which broke them and the squad fled.

At this point that meant the ISU-152 had rolled a six to hit each time it fired, had only killed 7/12 infantry struck, but inflicted maximum pins each time. The British paras were suitably terrified.

Turn four and things were Not Good for the British. I scored the first dice this time and moved by SMG Guards right up to the centre house and poured on the lead on the British lieutenant, but failed to kill him. I then move my Guards near the barn. They passed their order test and shifted closer to the objective, shooting at the 6pdr ineffectually along the way. The medium mortar again tried to range the rifle squad (who I kept down), but failed.

The British lieutenant was again unable to kill a Guard, while the 6pdr continued to actually do things, blowing apart another two Guards on the left and again adding two extra pins. I put my Guards in the church on ambush, and my HQ down, but kept pulling red dice. The Zis3 fired over the down rifle squad at the centre house, but missed (again, a mistake). The ISU-152 was next, shifted up, fired at the repositioned para squad. Another six to hit, half the squad blown apart, and another six pins. Finally the remaining para squad ran back towards the centre.

23 - ISU 152

Turn five and the game was all but over. I tried to move the Guards on my left, but they decided staying down was a better idea. The ISU-152 trundled up, fired at the mortar, five to hit, and finally ended its existence. The rifle squad ran towards the barn, giving the Zis3 at the centre house, hitting, and finally killing the British lieutenant.

The battle being over, Andrew sent the paras into a suicide charge on the SMG squad. Four of them were shot before they made it in, before the last failed to kill a man and was beaten down. Finally the 6pdr took a long shot on the exposed ISU-152 and missed. I spent the rest of my dice shifting units around to secure objectives.

At the start of turn six, we declared the battle over. A very decisive victory to the Soviets.

Aftermath

Andrew rued not putting the Tetrarch in reserve. He needed it to move on after knowing where the ISU-152 was to knock it out. He also noted he should have run more, and smaller infantry squads (for example, he could have run two seven man squads and one six man para squad). The dice were very much in my favour though. The ISU-152 rolled 6, 6, 6, 6, 5 on its rolls to hit, killing 12/17 targets, and applying 24 pins (noting that it didn’t need to roll for pins when it killed the medium mortar).

This being my first game of 2nd Edition (I don’t even own the book yet), and Andrew also being fairly new, we certainly made some mistakes (particularly, as noted, firing HE at buildings), but we had a lot of fun, and a lot of laughs. He’s away soon, but when he’s back, expect to see more Bolt Action after-action reports, and some SAGA to boot!

 

British V Deutsche Afrika Korp – Engagement

The Easter long weekend and my mate Tom was keen to catch up, so what better time to (finally) play some more Flames of War?

Mission and Table

I rolled up engagement for the mission. Tom won the roll off and was the attacker. Objectives were placed more or less opposite each other. My side (the one with the two ridges) had one behind the rough terrain on my left flank, and the other just behind the ridge in the centre. Tom has one just over the hill and the other I placed near the road on the other side of the field.

Forces

We just ran with everything we had (only my force fits an organisation chart).

German:

HQ with two Panzer III Ls

Two Panzer platoons – 1st with two Panzer IV F2s, two Panzer III Ls and a Panzer III N, 2nd with one Panzer IV F2, two Panzer III Ls and one Panzer III N

Heavy anti-aircraft battery with two Flak 88s with extra crew (so rate of fire 3)

Priority air support from Ju87G Stukas

 

British

HQ and two heavy armoured platoons with three shermans a piece

Light armour platoon with three honey stuarts

Kingforce armour platoon with three Churchill IIIs – this platoon wasn’t actually part of the force organisation chart, but we were doing a fun “use everything” battle, so it came under the company’s command

Sporadic air support from Hurricane IIICs

 

Order of Battle

I deployed my Flak 88s on the objective on my left flank and my second Panzer platoon behind the ridge in the centre. Tom positioned a platoon of Shermans in the centre of the field and the Churchills on the road.

19 - British Advance

I had first turn and did a big fat load of nothing. Meeting Engagement meant I couldn’t call in air support. Reserves were on delay. I didn’t want to sneak my Panzers out yet, and I made the call that the Flak 88s couldn’t fire (everything for me was supposed to count as having moved, Flak 88s are immobile. So I considered they’d been towed on and set up). Tom similarly did little, moving up his Shermans and Churchills. The Shermans opened fire on the Flak 88s, but were in effective.

Turn 2 and I kept my Panzers still again. My Stukas came in and wrecked two Churchills, while my Flak 88s bust open a single Sherman. Tom’s turn and the lone Churchill stuck around and moved up. The Shermans returned fire on the Flak 88s, but again were ineffective.

Turn 3 and there were no reserves to be seen. With two of the Churchills dead and the third showing me side armour, I moved out my Panzers. The Flak 88s wrecked the remaining two Shermans, but my Panzers couldn’t penetrate the Churchill’s armour. Toms turn and his Churchill turned to take on my Panzers, and his Hurricanes showed up to strafe my Flaks. The Hurricanes managed to take out a Flak, but the Churchill’s shots were ineffective.

Turn 4 and I still had no reserves. My Stukas came in again as I moved my Panzers up. The Churchill took a hit from the Stukas, but somehow wasn’t knocked out. The Churchill failed to remount, and the Hurricanes didn’t show up either.

Turn 5 and finally my first Panzer platoon showed up, driving in on the centre of the field. My Stukas were back as my Panzers continued their advance. Once more I just couldn’t crack the Churchill. British reinforcements also arrived in the form of two Sherman platoons (including the HQ). They came in from the corner opposite the Flak 88 though, which was not ideal. The Churchill remounted and decided to advance, opening fire and scoring one kill on the second Panzer platoon. Unfortunately the Shermans were out of range.

Turn 6 and my Panzers made it onto the objective, if I started next turn with them on it I’d end the battle. My final lot of reserves, the command platoon, showed up in the centre of the field. Meanwhile, my Stukas again tried to knock out the last Churchill but failed. The second Panzer platoon moved up to engage it but were likewise ineffective. Meanwhile my Flak bailed a single Sherman. The Sherman failed to remount while the others moved up. Unfortunately for me the Honey Stuarts not only showed up, but arrived right in front of my Panzers. The Hurricanes also came back for another strafe. The dice were not in Tom’s favour though and by the end of the shooting phase, only a single Panzer from the first platoon was destroyed.

Turn 7 and I turned everything in the centre towards the Shermans on the left. My Stukas were back, this time on the Shermans. When the guns stopped firing, one of the Sherman platoons and the Honey Stuarts were all smoking wrecks. The battle was all but over, but Tom shifted up his Shermans (the bailed one remounted) anyway. The Shermans failed to do anything, but the Churchill took out two more Panzers and the last Panzer from the first platoon quit the field.

 

Turn 8 and my second platoon was on the far right objective uncontested. Victory to Germany! It was a good battle, though the dice were definitely in my favour. Tom was a big fan of snake eyes, and he really could have used one of the Sherman platoons on the other flank.

Next Time

I’ve a game of Bolt Action, and hopefully some SAGA too, teed up for next Saturday. In addition, Thursday night is Guild Ball. Finally, I finished Kraken yesterday and Veteran Siren today. Unfortunately Sakana’s blister was baseless, so I’ll need to solve that problem before I can do any work on him.

Happy wargaming!

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!

 

El Alamein Mini-Campaign 3 – Assault on Tel El Aqqaqir

We played the third and final game in our El Alamein mini-campaign last night. The campaign had already gone the way of the Allies with two crushing defeats inflicted on the Deutsche Afrika Korp, so I was really hoping for a win to avoid a clean sweep.

Background

2 November 1942 and Operation Supercharge begins. The 2nd New Zealand Division is tasked with carrying out the initial thrust, the objective being the capture of Tel El Aqqaqir (the base of Axis operations). The division had suffered significant losses in July (1,405 men in three days of fighting) and the toll of the battle so far had seen it further worn down. To reinforce the division, several brigades and battalions were brought under its command – including the 9th Armoured Brigade. As a result of the depleted manpower, the 9th Armoured Brigade was tasked with leading the assault – headlong into dug in German anti-tank gun positions, including Flak 88 guns.

Table and Mission

I selected Hold the Line for this mission. The Allies would be assaulting along the road heading towards the village with the hill off to the left. The objectives were the hill and the far house (back and right of the road).

The Forces

I’m afraid I don’t have pictures of the forces for this battle.

German:

HQ with two Panzer III Ls

Two Panzer platoons – 1st with two Panzer IV F2s, two Panzer III Ls and a Panzer III N, 2nd with one Panzer IV F2, two Panzer III Ls and one Panzer III N

Heavy anti-aircraft battery with two Flak 88s with extra crew (so rate of fire 3)

Priority air support from Ju87G Stukas

British

HQ and two heavy armoured platoons with three shermans a piece

Light armour platoon with three honey stuarts

Kingforce armour platoon with three Churchill IIIs – this platoon wasn’t actually part of the force organisation chart, but we were doing a fun “use everything” battle, so it came under the company’s command

Sporadic air support from Hurricane IIICs

Order of Battle

I positioned my Flak 88s to cover my right flank and held my 1st Panzer platoon in ambush (with the intention to appear them on my right flank). My mate deployed his two Sherman platoons on his left and right flanks, Honey Stuarts centre left and Churchills centre right. His HQ was positioned at the rear behind the ridge.

Turn one and three Hurricanes would have come roaring in had Axis fighter aces not shot down two of them – already a good start for me. The entire British force moved up save the HQ and all opened up on the Flak 88s – scoring very few hits, all of which were saved. The lone Hurricane dropped its payload, but the Flak made its save with ease. Things only got better for me in my turn. I sprung my ambush on the right flank and opened up on the Shermans opposite, although I only knocked out one and bailed the other two. On my left flank however my Flak 88s decimated the Shermans that had moved up to take them on. I also managed to call two Stukas in which failed to score any kills on the Churchills.

Turn two and more Hurricanes came roaring in, two planes this time and my interceptors failed to shoot any down. All British tanks remounted, the Churchills moved up to take on the Flak 88s and the two Shermans on the left pivoted to engage my Panzers. The Honey Stuarts moved up the centre and turned left to also engage my Panzers. The HQ moved from behind the ridge to the back centre of the British line. The Stuarts failed to do anything, but the Shermans knocked out both my Panzer IV F2s. Meanwhile the Churchills silenced a Flak 88 while the Hurricanes did nothing. My turn and my reserves were still delayed, but two Stukas came in on the enemy HQ. I kept everything put and in shooting took out two Churchills with my Flak 88, with the third failing its motivation check and quitting the field. My Panzers bailed two Honey Stuarts, but otherwise were ineffective. My Stukas managed to knock out the enemy command tank though.

Turn three and the Hurricanes were back and again I wasted another air support die on trying to intercept. All tanks remounted, the Stuarts repositioned further into the centre and turned to take on the Panzers. HQ shermans, now commanded by the 2iC moved up to assist the remaining Sherman platoon. Shooting saw the Panzer III N obliterated but the remaining to Ls kept their cool. The Hurricanes failed to inflict damage again. In my turn reserves again failed to materialise, but my Stukas were back on the British HQ. My Flak 88 took out one from the Sherman platoon, but the remaining tank held. My Panzers bailed all three Honey Stuarts, which I was most unimpressed with. My Stukas failed to inflict any further casualties.

Turn four and the skies were as silent as the Honey Stuarts’ engines, with all three tanks failing to remount. The Shermans remounted and opened up on the two Panzer III Ls obliterating the both of them. My turn and I still had no reserves and no Stukas this turn too. My Flak 88 took out the last Sherman in the platoon, but the British passed their company morale check.

35 - Stuarts Take Hill

Turn five and no Hurricanes again. Two of the Stuarts remounted and took the hill that was a mess of burning Panzer wrecks. The command tanks moved up and turned right to deal with the Flak 88. My turn and it was all down to  my reserves roll: fail and have the British snatch victory from the jaws of defeat; pass and have my Panzers move up to contest the hill. I scored two fives and was able to bring both my 2nd Platoon and command platoon on. They bailed both the Stuarts on the hill, which wasn’t particularly fantastic, but good enough because I was contesting the objective.

37 - End Game

At the start of turn six we decided to call it a win for the Germans. We did movement and shooting with the Shermans and they took out the Flak 88 command team, with the gun failing its platoon morale check so my mate could have the satisfaction of seeing it off, but the battle had already been decided.

Aftermath

In the real world the 9th Armoured Brigade suffered heavy losses, but silenced close to all of the German guns, including the Flak 88s. It was another fine battle last night and it was good to finally do some real damage. Again the visual impact of the battle was fantastic and the scene of tanks trundling across the desert and the board slowly filling with wrecks really is quite powerful. That’ll be it from North Africa for some months though. We’ll probably return later in the year, but next up is Operation Barbarossa played out in Bolt Action. That won’t start still late April when my mate returns from his holiday to the US. Until then, I might post some other content, perhaps of my Ariadna and of the terrain I’m working on for Infinity. Happy wargaming.

 

 

El Alamein Mini-Campaign 2 – Push for “Woodcock”

We played our second battle in our El Alamein Flames of War mini-campaign last night. We have brought forward the last battle to next week on account of my mate being interstate for a work conference.

Background

On the night of 26 October 1942 elements of the 2nd Armoured Brigade was ordered to circle north around an area of resistance known as “Woodcock”. They would then strike south while the 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps would also attack the point. The units were moved forward under the cover of darkness. Unfortunately the lack of light made going slow and units lost their position. By daylight, however, Commonwealth forces continued with their orders to take the point and regroup.

Battlefield and Mission

I selected the mission Breakthrough for the scenario. The objective would be the large hill opposite the canyon through which the road leads. My mate (the attacker) would deploy in the quarter with the canyon and I (the defender) in the other two quarters without the objective.

The Forces

01 - German Force

German (all proxy again, except the Panzer III Ns)

HQ with two Panzer III Js (late)

Three panzer platoons with three Panzer III Js (late), except for the two Panzer III Ns (one a piece in two of the platoons)

One Flak 88 with extra crew.

06 - 1st Armoured Division

British (yes this is the image from last time, just imagine a Hurricane IIC is also in it)

HQ and two heavy armour platoons each with three Shermans

Light armour platoon with three Honey Stuarts

Hurricane IIC limited air support

Order of Battle

I deployed the Flak in one quarter near the central line on the long edge and one platoon of Panzers behind the building and scrub in the other quarter, the rest of my force had to be kept in reserve. My mate put down two platoons of Shermans, including his HQ, and his Honey Stuarts in the canyon, the last platoon of Shermans was kept in reserve.

The battle began at dawn and under the cover of darkness only movement occurred. One platoon of Shermans moved up the road while the others swung around the cliffs. The Honey Stuarts stayed put, likewise the immobile Flak 88. My Panzers moved up ready to strike.

Turn two and day broke and with the sun’s rise so came the roar of Hurricane engines as a full sortie was successfully called in on my Flak 88. Thankfully no reserves showed up for the British. The Shermans moved up again and the command platoon took out the Flak 88 before the air strike hit. The other Sherman platoon knocked out one Panzer III. My Flak’s command team survived the bombing run and I just kept his head down. I also scored no reserves, much to my dismay. My Panzers opened up on the Shermans and actually managed several hits, but all were saved with ease. I stormtroopered them back to lead the Shermans on.

Turn three and still no British reserves, but the Hurricanes returned, this time swooping for my Panzers. The Shermans continued to move up and the command platoon opened up its machine guns on my Flak command team to no effect. The Sherman’s shooting was equally ineffective and I thought I’d get out of the turn ok, but then the (single) Hurricane blew up one of my Panzers and the final tank lost his nerve and reversed out of there. In my turn I managed to score some reserves and I decided to come in to swoop at the side of the Sherman platoon that’d emerged from the canyon. I scored a single hit which managed to bail a Sherman. Not good.

Turn four and the Hurricanes stayed away, but the final Sherman platoon arrived and drove straight onto the objective, which was to be expected. The Shermans and Honey Stuarts moved up across the field. My mate ignored the Flak command team this time, but the Sherman platoon that had just pivoted opened up on my Panzers – knocking out two of them. The Stuarts, unsurprisingly, did nothing. My turn and some more Panzers arrived, but by now it was too little too late. I couldn’t get in range and what little shooting I put into the Shermans in the centre of the field missed its mark.

Turn five and the British had secured the objective. Another crushing defeat for Axis forces in North Africa.

Aftermath

It was an even worse showing than the last battle for the Axis, having only managed to bail a single tank in two separate turns. My force distribution was quite poor and I really should have run two larger Panzer platoons, rather than three small ones. I think fielding my air support would also have been a better choice than the Flak – I’d have interceptor capability and good tank knock out power (especially because my mate tends to group his tanks closer than I do). Still, it was a good game if for no other reason than it was visually awesome. I really do love my desert board and the view of tanks rolling across the desert and flaming wrecks exploding is really quite fantastic.

Next Time

Next time the points go up again, but we’ll be running “just everything” lists. This means my mate will have four Churchills which don’t actually fit into the Heavy Armoured Company force organisation chart, but hey, it’s for fun and he’s already won the campaign anyway! I’ll have to give more careful consideration to what to field, but I might see about cracking open the box of Plastic Soldier Tigers I picked up last weekend…

 

Our next battle is next Wednesday (2 March 2016), but then it’ll be a drought till late April because my mate is off to the US for a holiday. I’ll be busy painting things though, so you might see some of that, otherwise look forward to the next mini-campaign which I plan to be three games of Bolt Action set during Operation Barbarossa! Happy wargaming!