|The best bit!|
Not many pics in this post, as
So many models were unpainted.
Much as the title says, I managed to squeeze in another game last week - probably my last game in Portsmouth's 'Fistful of Dice' FLGS, sadly, as I no longer have the need to visit home regularly. A shame, on all fronts.
Still, as a final farewell, I got the chance to play Steve's Commandos again, as well as his friend Phil's US Army. Phil's an experienced gamer but new to Bolt Action, so we played a fairly open hand all game.
|The board. I'm advancing from the left.|
I had 1500pts of my Germans supplemented by 500pts of Steve's - mine were my Heer Grenadier Veterans with their Hanomags and my new Panzer IV, along with a squad of Luftwaffe Field Division and (for its first outing) my Nebelwerfer! Steve's German contingent was all regular and mostly comprised two LMG squads, a second medium mortar, an MMG and a PaK40.
Arrayed against us were a very 'vanilla' US Army force of 1000pts (2 BAR squads, Sherman, Greyhound, mortar, 57mm AT, bazooka and an air observer) allied to Steve's 1000pt Commando force (modelled after Rattenbury's force if a few posts ago, but with an AEC III in lieu of the Cromwell. Four well supported squads all grouped around a Captain's squad: very fighty and near impossible to break!).
It took us a while, but we actually played all 6 turns of a meeting engagement!
Things started well for me. My sniper dispatched Steve's artillery FOO, which was vital as with 2000pts arriving over a 72"x12" belt, my units were too tightly packed for comfort. Phil had chosen to place his air observer behind terrain, so I didn't have to worry about an air strike being ordered until at least turn 2.
My MMG was wiped out by (I think) Phil's Greyhound, but revenge was taken in the surprise form of my Sd.Kfz 251/10 trundling on and brewing up the US Sherman with its PaK36 "doorknocker!" Phil was not impressed.
The mortars and Nebelwerfer did nothing turn 1, but it was a stark realisation, I think, for Steve at one of the few weaknesses of the Commando Captain's powerful command bubble: everyone has to stay close!
Now things started to stall for the Germans - the Panzer IV had failed its order test and reversed back behind behind the buildings in the centre of my line, and I just wasn't able to destroy enough of the Allied units. To make matters worse, one of my mortars AND the PaK40 had both been zeroed-in on and wouldn't stick around much longer.
|Things start to hurt in my left flank...|
On the plus side, I'd killed and pinned a few models with the mortar/Nebelwerfer combo, and my sniper had managed to bag the air observer - the bad news was that just before he copped it he'd managed to call in a fire mission on the centre of my line. Luckily, it was delayed at the start of turn 3; unluckily it came in with a roar at the start of turn 4...
...but I'd not been idle. Trying to make up my points from 1465 to 1500 had been a cinch when I realised that giving each of my three Hanomags a rear pintle MMG would do it perfectly, and although I figured I'd never use them, as it happened, I now knew that an airstrike would (on a 4+) be striking the centre of my line, so I fanned the three half-tracks out in a loose triangle with their backsides covering the centre of my lines - exactly where the plane was placed! Eighteen MG42 shots later, and the 'Jabo' called off its attack - hurrah!
The tables turned on me again, though: I lost both of the 251s in quick succession, and then on both flanks my infantry started to get whittled away and a bazooka was threatening my tank. Meanwhile, I still hadn't dealt with the blasted Greyhound or AEC in the centre, not to mention the AT gun or the mass of Commandos advancing on my left...
My centre squad of Heer Vets got brave and launched three Panzerfausts at the two vehicles facing them - no luck and they were left exposed.
In turn five, with my back to the wall, the gods finally decided to roll with the Germans. A brave charge from the Luftwaffe Field Division finally took-down the Commando Captain and his last man, and at this point I really realised that I probably should've sniped his sorry backside earlier: he really is the lynchpin of that Commando formation! Ho-hum.
On the other flank, I finally lost my PaK40 and my regulars were withdrawing, but success at last! The command 251/10, still basking in the reflected glory of its Sherman kill, finally brought its doorknocker to bear on the pesky Greyhound, and blew it sky-high around the same time as the bazooka team were dispatched.
This in turn cleared the opportunity for my Panzer IV to sneak out in the middle and put an AP round straight through the side armour of the AEC III wheeled tank. Thank god!
|The Heer finally dig in on the right...|
|...and the vehicles break out!|
It was late in the day, but this was the real turning point: the Allies just couldn't come back from the loss of their vehicles and the Command HQ. Victory was agreed for the German Heer.
It was a fun slog, and I was grateful to Steve and Phil for their engagement and good humour. Lessons learnt? Well, probably these:
-- don't forget that I can pin the crud out of open-topped vehicles!
-- don't put too much faith in the costly Panzerschrek: it hit nothing;
-- the Nebelwerfer was every bit as fun and threatening as I thought it would be...and just as ultimately useless!
-- snipe any Commando Captains;
-- don't block in your own Panzer IV!
All in all, it was a fun game and a great chance to try out a larger German force. Thanks again to my hosts, and I wish them success in their various hobbying endeavours.
Until next time then,