Friday, 21 April 2017

595 - TANK WAR!

Yup - I finally had a proper game of the Bolt Action supplement, Tank War! ...and there are three key words to describe it: 

  • fast!
  • brutal
  • fun!
I played against Mattenbury (again), at Dark Star (again), and he really is a thoroughly sporting opponent; not least because he didn't object to me playing with unpainted Germans for our first attempt at Tank War. 

Mattenbury's Brits:
Two small sections of Commandos in [my] Bren Carriers;
3 Cromwells; 1 Firefly; free Observer; M5; PIAT; HQ and more

My (unpainted) Germans:
Two Panthers; a Panzer IV; Sd.Kfz.251/22 (with a Pak.40); 2
squads of 5 veterans (each with 1 SMG and 3 Panzerfaust) and
2 Sd.Kfz.251/1 Hanomags. (the extra rifleman was a confusion)
What Happened: 

Well, we rolled up 4 objectives and rolled onto the table to try and grab them. 

And the Brits got absolutely tonked. 

Even without the stupid new 'Tiger Fear' rule (which I refuse to entertain playing as the German player), my Panthers were m.o.n.u.m.e.t.a.l.l.y intimidating, and the dice-luck was all with the Germans...

...Well, the luck was with the side that had two heavy- and two super-heavy Anti-Tank guns, against the Brits' single super-heavy and three mediums.

Here's the skinny:
The board during Turn 1. My Panther (cream; bottom)
has just destroyed the first Cromwell (top-right).
Focus on Panther...
...then focus on its victim.

Turn 2. By this point, everyone except outflanking troops are on
 the board, and another Cromwell (top middle; turret inverted) is
destroyed. The Firefly is tucked in behind the building top-right,
but by this point it's both pinned and immobilised.
Turn 3. By this point, the Firefly is dead, freeing up my right
flank completely for my PzIV to start its charge across the table
(top-right) whilst my 251/22 moves up to an objective (bottom-right),
the yellow Panther awaits an incoming arty barrage and, on the left,
Commandos converge on my Hanomag as the last Cromwell tries
to engage it from top-left. The Carrier outflanked.
What happens when a Panther unleashes its mighty MMGs.
Turn 4. Yellow Panther survived with three pins and rallied;
top-right is Hanomag 2, which outflanked to grab the objective
in the hamlet, the Pz.IV and 251/22 continue to harass the centre,
and on the left, the other Carrier arrives as the last Cromwell
keeps plugging away. The PIAT is up on the rocks, now...
Mattenbury was worried about losing empty transports, but
when his Commandos de-bussed and gunned down my last two
men (I forgot they were vets - d'oh!), we realised that actually
the Marines were closest to my Hanomag - so that went instead!
Turn 5: KABLOOM! The Pz.IV dispatches the last Cromwell
and his arty observer, thereby claiming objective 3 for me,
and the empty M5 is saved only by his lone and luckless PIAT. 
I love this shot.
Caring nothing for the three Commandos (comprising 75% of
Mattenbury's remaining troops), my painted Panther crunches
onto the bridge, thereby taking the objective and automatically
destroying the empty Carriers.


- A crushing German victory. Mattenbury conceded with just a PIAT, 3 marines and an M5 left to face everything of mine but for a valiant six-man squad and their transport. 4-0.


Brilliant. Just brilliant. I was actually unlucky with my order dice for the first two turns, but those German big tanks are just all kinds of fearsome, and Mattenbury was profoundly unlucky. 

For once, I'm actually happy with most of my tactical decisions - especially my outflank, which worked perfectly - and though I was unsurprised by the underwhelming offerings of the 251/22, I must say that those tanks were amazing. 

I need me some more Tank War!


- D.


  1. Looks like you're having fun.

    I must make time to get into Dark Star. I know one of the fellas who runs the place through his main job.

    Unfortunately I'm paranoid I'll end up being seduced by the Bolt Action! For example, I refused to click on their Wheels of Steel promotion linked in Warlord's e-mails!

    1. Do it.

      You won't regret it.

      Drop me an email, mate, and you can borrow force for an intro game: it's just the best game mechanic around, and the rules are so very easy to pick up!

      (Actually Mattenbury himself runs great demo games, and has the advantage of being often quite unlucky!)

      I promise I won't try to lure you in (all our hobby budgets are tight, right?) but for an easy, fun, occasional casual game you just cannot beat it!

      As I say: just drop me an email if you fancy it...

      - Chris.

  2. I have always wanted to play Tank War but it doesn't seem that my local group is too keen on it. So please keep playing and posting your reports so that I may play vicariously through them!:)

    Also, have you ever seen a PIAT do anything truly effective? -Just curious.

    1. Maybe you could ease them into it with a transport-heavy / light vehicles kind of tank war game? Like I did a few posts ago with a 'recce patrol' themed force of Bren Carriers? Something light, mobile and fluid?

      Either way, you're welcome to play vicariously through me: this is the first year ever that I've been able to actually play regularly in real life!

      - - -

      And as for my PIAT? - well, everyone knows it's the anti-tank world's answer to the pistol-with-a-'bang'-flag, but off the top of my head, mine has so far accounted for two Cromwells, a Crusader, a Greyhound and a Tiger at least!

    2. It's true. Drax's piat has been reported to have been a very different weapon in comparison to all the others I have read about. Somehow it not only hits, but brews up targets too!?

  3. Fun batrep mate. Panthers are fearsome in this game!

    I have the supplement, yet to play it though. Plus I'd need a load more tanks which I'm not excited about. I like the infantry game more I think.

    1. Yes, the mechanic is definitely more geared towards the infantry game, and rightly so, but it's a fun way at least of playing with a few more toys...

      ...and I couldn't resist (during the 'Tanksgiving' deal) getting 3 Shermans and 2 Panthers for what turned out (after I sold on the books) to be just 30 quid!


  4. Looks like a really good game. I've played the Tanks! game, which is derived from Flames of War - I'd be interested to see how the rules compare, but your choice of keywords at the start suggests they'd be very similar.

    1. I've seen videos of 'Tanks' and it looks really good... but it's fair to say that this is to 'Tanks' what Bolt Action always is to Flames: scaled-up and massively simplified.

      It's easier to play with more toys (and get a sense of distance), I think, at 15mm...


Thanks for taking the time to comment!