Friday Hobby Check In – April

This past month I’ve been hard at work at my late war German force.

German Forces, 1944-45

With ANZAC Day on a Wednesday this year, I decided to take off the four days around it. So I’ve spent the week furiously painting, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

01 - The Force

I got the officers, medic, and Puma were all done about a fortnight back. But the grenadiers and MG-42 team were assembled last week and painted this.

The officer models are pretty cool, but the medic is my favourite.

I used Army Painter Desert Yellow for the undercoat of the Puma. I sponged on German Camo Medium Brown and then German Camo Dark Green for the camouflage pattern (I know, I’m old school. Also I’m unable to use spray paint beyond undercoating). I’m also big on hand painting my vehicle numbers, symbols, and inspirational messages (see my T-34/85: победа!), and I think they came out ok.

I was out of Army Painter German Fieldgrey, so the MG-42 and grenadiers were undercoated with Army Painter Uniform Grey. I find the MG-42 team a little annoying to put together. It’s the tripod and gun assembly and getting that to fit right with the gunner’s hand, plus the belt from the loader. I think this one was assembled better than my first though. I also didn’t realise the loader’s head was on his base until I was partway through painting (that’s why he’s got a non-covered helmet).

I assembled both grenadier squads with an LMG-42, two panzerfausts (one being aimed, the other carried on the back of a rifleman), and an NCO armed with an STG-44. The box set isn’t bad, but your weapon options are pretty limited in that you only receive three Mauser 98k rifles per sprue (one being aimed, one being cycled, one without arms attach that you can use the advancing arms or carrying arm for). So each squad had a couple of G-43s.

The covered helmets and camo ponchos are painted in the same fashion as the Puma, except the colours are dabbed on with brush. I’ve also put streaks (mostly thin) of German Camo Beige around the place too.

All in all I think they came out well. The 600 point force is an officer, the two grenadier squads, MG-42 team, and the Puma. I didn’t assemble a spare grenadier to escort the officer (I can always use one of my eastern front Heer), but I think I’ll likely take both NCOs with STGs and a panzerfaust or two (I might only be able to afford one, I forget). I just find I tend to keep my officers at the back out of harm’s way – I’m not playing a British force after all!

Next Month

I’ll be working on my Americans next month. I still need to buy a couple of things for them, but I’ve a couple of infantry squads and an M8 to work on in the meantime. I’m not sure how much I’ll get done

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A Friday Hobby Check In

Just a quick post to show the things I’ve been working on over the past month.

Soviets

Motivated by my then upcoming game the other week, I painted some new additions to my Soviets for Bolt Action. I did a much better job of assembling a Zis this time round, so the barrel is actually straight. The gun shield is in the wrong spot though I think, but it looks fine to me. Third time’ll be a charm I’m sure.

I also got my light mortar and flamethrower teams done. I undercoated these quite some time ago, so it was good to finally get them done. I’m not sure the light mortar will see use, but I’m sure I’ll field the flamethrower at some point.

Finally, I painted up my T-34/85. Warlord’s vehicles kits are nice, although they don’t have the detail of Rubicon kits. My one issue with this model is that the turret is not removable (the T-34/76 model’s turret is though).

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Through painting all of these I was reminded what I like most about Bolt Action, or 28mm WWII in general: it’s really easy to paint. If you want you can go all out with fancy techniques, but basic techniques of solid colour, washes, and only small amounts of highlighting on key areas (e.g. skin) come out great. Especially for someone like me who is vision impaired, it means I can still get a good looking tabletop army out in good time.

Marshes

Next up, here are some shots of the marshes I made the other week. These were really easy to make. The base is 3mm MDF on which I’ve applied a heavier amount of PVA than usual to glue sand. I made sure to leave areas glue free for where I’d be applying Vallejo Still Water.

Paint them up as usual (base of dark brown, dry brush lighter brown, very light dry brush of bone if desired), flock, and seal. Then mix up Vallejo Still Water with some light brown acrylic paint. Pour that into the sections without sand, wait for it to dry, then put some grass tufts about the play. Very quick and easy.

American Civil War Infantry – 2nd Battalion

07 - ACW Union Infantry

Before all the above, however, I had just finished my second battalion of American Civil War Union infantry – well, painting the men at least. I’m two short, so I still need a couple of extra guys for the officer’s base, but otherwise I just need to base the unit. I also got my Union general done too. Again, he just needs basing.

I don’t really have a time frame on my Union force. It’s been work in progress for quite some time now (closing in on two years I think). I need another box of Union infantry to finish my second battalion and make a third, a couple of extra Zouaves, an artillery box, then to assemble, paint, and base it all (including my cavalry battalion). It’s quite a bit of work when put like that, and without an opponent I don’t really have any motivation to get it all done in quick time.

Hoplites

05 - Hoplites

Finally, here’s a unit of hoplites. I bought a box each of Greek hoplites and Spartan hoplites from Warlord last year for a Kings of War project I came up with (a mythological Greek army).

06 - Hoplites.jpg

It’s another long term project, although if my brother does get around to getting his undead together I might focus more on it. The idea is to have a mix of human units alongside units of mythological creatures like minotaurs, centaurs, and so on. No official list exists for such an army, it’s just a cool thematic idea for friendly games with whoever is willing to play.

Next Up

I’ve decided my next Bolt Action army will be American GIs on the Western Front (France, Holland, and Germany). American infantry I have from the old Normandy box and the M8 I bought at the same time had a lot to do with my choice (I also have the downed US airman figure, I can’t remember what that came with). So I’ll be finishing off the undercoated Bolt Action things I’ve not gotten to (Puma, Tiger, another Stug G, and German officers and medic) and then working on some late war German and American forces. I’ll also be doing some new terrain, including hedgerows and houses.

I’m not sure on a timeframe, but I’m sure I’ll have a Western Front battle before the end of the year.

In the meantime I’ll be working on other things when I can or feel inclined to.

Addendum: I forgot to mention, you may have noticed from my last AARs that I got more roads painted. Well they’re now all done, including some new pieces (short sections, crossroads, and more bends). I might see about hitting them with some matte varnish though to take the sheen off the road surface in certain light.

 

Double Envelopment – Soviet V German – 1000pts

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

Battlefield and Mission

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

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

Disposition of Forces

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

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

Order of Battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Finally, all other reserves failed to materialise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus the battle concluded.

Aftermath

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

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

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

Battle of Pleshchenitsy – Soviet V Germany – 1000pts

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

The Battlefield and Mission

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

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

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

Disposition of Forces

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

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

Order of Battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, my Zis guns both missed. Again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aftermath

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

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

 

Retrieving the Reconnaissance – Soviet V Germany – 750pts

Battlefield and Mission

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

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

Forces

Soviet (all regular, except the rifle squad)

1st Lieutenant with one staff

Rifle squad with 12 men and AT grenades

Two LMG squads with ten men, including one LMG

LMG squad with ten men (no LMG)

Maxim MMG

Zis-3 divisional gun

T-34/76

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

1st Lieutenant with one staff

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

Heer Pioneer squad with seven men, including a flamethrower

Hanomag halftrack

Panzer IV G

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

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

Order of Battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 - Panzer's Sights

19 - Tank battle

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

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

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

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

Aftermath

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

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

 

 

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!