Monday, 1 August 2016

I Go, I Go

 As the weather was not too sure what it was doing on Sunday and the missus was happy to potter about in the garden in between the rain showers I decided to get off my backside and get on with the solo game I had been promising myself. I had dabbled with putting a campaign together for Bolt Action and had tried the first scenario out at the club with Simon, but it was not a success, we were too slow being beginners and my efforts to mix Chain of Command with Bolt Action were less than perfect.

I had come to the conclusion to simply play BA at the club as it is in the book for now, with a new version due out in four weeks it probably makes sense to walk before I can run, but I did not give up entirely on the campaign idea. I have switched it back to Normandy from the Eastern Front and decided the scenarios needed to be tested at home with plenty of spare time to give a result, to this end I got my mate Matt to come up with a British 1100 point force for the first game so that I could choose the German defenders (800 points) without too much prior knowledge. It was also good that Matt had explained why he chose the list and how it was to be used.

Basically the Germans have been kicked out of their village and set up a temporary defence line on the outskirts, the British want to keep up the momentum and drive them further inland. I took three squads with an MMG, SdKfz 222, mortar and a Hanomag along with a Medic for support, I decided I would keep one squad in the transport off table as reserves. The British also had three squads but veterans instead of regulars, one having two LMG's, the rest consisted of a Humber MkIV, a 6lb anti-tank gun with a Universal Carrier as a tow, a truck, sniper, mortar and Forward Artillery Officer, I decided the British would also keep a squad back in the truck ready to rush forward.

The British arrive.
 The burned out house became chock a block with Tommies, the LMG squad, sniper, mortar and artillery spotters all set up inside, the sniper immediately opened up and made his first and last kill. The LMG's plastered the few Germans they could see as did the anti-tank gun firing HE as there seemed to be no German armour on the field, the Carrier also let loose as did the MMG. The hail of lead soon took effect on the German squad and it panicked and ran for the rear, the Medic had obviously left his kit in the village as men died around him. The German mortar however targeted the burnt house and spectacularly took out the sniper on its second shot. It was now both sides brought on their reserves.

The reserves turn up, German line was in front of the ruined house.
The British threw their down the road to try and occupy the ground vacated by the panicked squad, they also began to advance along the left hand field in support of this bold move. This forced the German reserve to occupy a nearby barn while the Hanomag sprayed lead down the road while keeping out of sight of the anti-tank gun, a good run of dice meant the poor Tommies in the road took heavy casualties.

As the German left tried to move over to where the main action was developing they took hits through the gap in the fence and went to earth.

HE lads!
British go all out against the barn.
 It was now or never for the British, they advanced on the barn wiping out the MG42 in a sheet of flame and preparing the same fate for the grenadiers in the building as their friends still could not be persuaded to move. Just before the advance the twice delayed British artillery finally arrived and turned out to be an anti-climax as the Germans shrugged it off, although it kept the suppresed unit from recovering and moving.

One more rush boys.
As the British left surged forward their right also sprung into action, the anti-tank gun got into a firing position while the rest ran desperate to get into action.

I had played six turns and therefore called it a day, granted it was getting to a very exciting part of the battle where to be honest anything could have happened but the game had done its job.

The game had pretty much run itself and because I had had a set of 'ops orders' for the British, playing two opposing forces was much easier, I did however let the Tommies down as I got carried away so much with their left flank battle that I should have moved their right up much quicker, this would have sealed the fate of the suppressed squad as I could not get it to move and its pins were mounting dangerously, one squad had been shot to bits and been pulled out of the fray leaving only the guys in the barn. You will have noticed the armoured car hiding beside the barn, it could not hit the nearby barn door if it tried. I had managed to get the British flamer up but he was about half an inch out.

It was a grand exercise for learning the rules and as you have no one else to rely on you have to find the relevant part and digest it without taking someone's word for it. I jotted down anything which was a problem for me and popped it on the Bolt Action Facebook page and got answers within the hour. What did come as a surprise to me was the thought put into Matt's choice of troops, I just go for the bog standard infantry squad, he had built a support squad with two LMG's and two assault squads with no LMG's but extra sub-machine guns to rush forward and deliver as much firepower as possible, he also counted his leader and his side-kick in with this, I just keep the guy out of the way and never think to make him shoot. I had wanted to try the Medic but he was hopeless during this game, I also made the armoured car into a command car to help with morale but then put it way out on its own where it could not help anyone. There is obviously a lot more to this game than meets the eye, if you are a time served historical gamer however, it does have the odd really stupid mechanic which pops up now and again, however I am not the only one who is hoping that some of these will disappear when the new edition turns up. Introducing Rob to Bolt Action tomorrow night and fighting his Italians, that's going to be fun.

Wait! What about the campaign? Well I think the points were spot on for the game and I deduced that the Germans had indeed been pushed back in this one, so I will now give some thought to the next game as they struggle to block the road against a further British advance.


  1. George,
    Sounds like a grand game! I'm glad that the list/notes I scribbled were helpful. Really enjoyed working it up so if you need any further stuff then just shout. The list was based around a 'standard' British platoon but I took the view that as they were veterans they'd re-organise their weapons to suit the situation - as indeed was the case at times I believe.
    There is a lot more to BA than some will credit. And yes, I'm hoping the few little oddities are tidied up in v2.
    Enjoy thrashing the Italians ;o)

    1. Will give you a shout about the second game later, ta.