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!

 

 

El Alamein Mini-Campaign 1 – Counterattack from Hill 28

Welcome to the first of three battles in a Flames of War mini-campaign my mate and I are doing. It will be an escalation campaign with force size increasing in each battle. Our theatre of operation is North Africa with our battles set during the Second Battle of El Alamein, which took play in late October and November of 1942. The battles will be loosely historical based, by which I mean I’ve selected mission types and objectives that are in line with the order of battle, but no attempt has been made to ensure terrain and force composition is accurate. And please excuse some of the photos, quality wasn’t so great this time round.

Background

24 October 1942, the previous night the Allies initiated Operation Lightfoot – the first stage of the Second Battle of El Alamein. Infantry were sent forward first under the cover of darkness to clear laneways through extensive Axis minefields through which the armoured divisions would attack. Over the course of the day this operation continued, but mine clearing was taking longer than expected and significant resistance was encountered. At dusk the 15th Panzer Division and Italian “Littorio” division mounted a counter attack from a feature known to the Axis as Hill 28 and engaged the 1st Armoured Division in the first major tank battle of the Second Battle of El Alamein.

Battlefield and Mission

I selected the Counterattack mission from the Flames of War rulebook for this battle. This mission calls for deployment in opposing table quarters along the long table edges, with the defenders reserves entering the battlefield from the long table edge of the table quarter diagonally opposite the defenders deployment zone (so the one adjacent the attackers deployment zone). The 15th Panzer Division’s objectives are either of the two ridges on the opposite side of the battlefield.

Forces

05 - 15th Panzer Division

15th Panzer Division (everything bar the Panzer III Ns are proxies)

HQ comprised of two Panzer III Js (late)

Three Panzer platoons comprised of:

1st – Three Panzer III Js (Late)

2nd – Two Panzer III Js (Late) and a Panzer III N

3rd – Two Panzer III Js (Late) and a Panzer III N

06 - 1st Armoured Division

1st Armoured Division

HQ comprised of thee Sherman IIIs

Two heavy armoured platoons comprised of three Sherman IIIs each

One light armoured platoon comprised of three Honey Stuarts.

Order of Battle

The 1st Armoured Division deployed one platoon of Shermans at the back and centre of their line and the second platoon on their right concealed behind the ridge. The Sherman command platoon and Honey Stuarts were held in reserve. The 15th Panzer division positioned one Panzer platoon front and left (next to the scrub), the second back and right (behind the hill) and the third front and centre the with command platoon behind it.

 

We, or rather I, made a fantastic mistake right off the bat. Probably because of how much Infinity I’ve played (where the player setting up first is almost always going first), my mate (the defender) went first when it should have been me (the attacker). Whoops! I’ll say more about this mistake in the aftermath, but I don’t think it really would have altered the outcome of things everything else remaining more or less as it was. The battle taking place at dusk, my mate rolled for night and the light held. The Sherman command platoon rolled on from reserve while the other two platoons shifted forward. The command platoon fired on the Panzers on the German right flank, knocking two out and seeing the other one reverse and high tail it home. Then on the left two more Panzers were knocked out, but this time the third stayed put. Meanwhile in the centre, two Panzers bailed but nothing went boom. Not a good start for me!

In the German turn, only one bailed Panzer remounted (but I forgot protected ammo, which likely would’ve seen the other remounted). I then rolled for night and the darkness descended on the battlefield. I was hopeful that I would be able to use the cover of night to advance more cautiously and force my mate to come to me. My Panzer crew’s night vision was, however, as bad as the shooting of those who actually could see. I did manage to bail a couple of Shermans in the centre, but it wasn’t much consolation for a brutal turn one. I Stormtrooper my command platoon up, but have the rest hold.

British turn two and the Command platoon moves up to set up a nasty pincer move. The Shermans on the British right stay put but the ones in the centre remount and move up a little. Thankfully the cover of darkness, poor shooting and Krupp steel saw my remaining Panzers through the turn safely. I decided to pull my one Panzer on the left back with the intention of repositioning to the centre. My other Panzers moved forward, with all tanks now remounted – I was aware of the danger of the pincer, but figured the aggressive move was worth the risk. Unfortunately my bad run of luck continued. My command platoon couldn’t see past the end of their main gun while the other platoon hit what Paddy shot at.

Turn three and the Stuarts showed up. They were wholly irrelevant however and made their way towards the unguarded objective, which is all that needs said on their behalf. The Command platoon moved up and the platoon on the British right swung toward the centre too – the Bulldog’s jaw was now poised to bite down on my Panzers hard. In the centre things went pearshaped with the Shermans blowing apart my command platoon, the other platoon remained intact though. The other Shermans failed to spot any targets.

In my turn I pulled what was probably an illegitimate move, but hey, all my stuff was going boom and the day was clearly ended badly for Germany so it didn’t bother us. I moved my Panzers in the centre in and through the Shermans in the centre to open up rear armour shots for two of my tanks. The lone Panzer moved towards the centre through the scrub. My Panzers in the centre opened up and managed to destroy a single Sherman. Germany: 1, Britain: 7 – oh dear.

Turn four and the Bulldog’s jaw closed. On the British right the lone Panzer is blown sky high after I forgot to Stormtrooper him the turn before. In the centre the Command platoon helps out the centre platoon by taking out one Panzer while the central platoon out the final two Panzers.

24 - End game

Aftermath

In the actual counterattack that took place on 24 October 1942 some 100 tanks were deployed by the Axis and by the end of the attack over half were destroyed with no ground gained. Our battle most certainly replicated that!

While we did make some errors, notably me having the Defender go first, my rolling was pretty atrocious throughout the game. I also kept forgetting to Stormtrooper things, which is something I’ll have to remember for next time.

That said, however, we both enjoyed the battle immensely. I think the best part was probably the visual spectacle of it all. I am really pleased with how the board turned out and the scene of wrecked tanks littering the desert was just fantastic.

Our second game is in two week’s time and will see the 2nd Armoured Division engaging the 15th Panzer Division while circling the point known as “Woodcock” in a breakthrough mission. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this AAR and look forward to the next one. 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.