Tuesday 30 January 2018

624 - 2000pt Bolt Action: Going Dutch

Hullo, All.

Another week; another game. I have never ever been able to game this regularly in my life, and it's doing me the power of good.

Last week saw me siding with Guy and facing off against previous foes (and sometime allies!) Alex and David at the club - we were playing Heer, and they took an Allied force of British Paras and US: 2000pts/side comprising four separate 1000pt forces. 

With a variation on a mission from the main rulebook, the set-up was that the Paras were surrounded in the middle of the table and the Americans had to play 'cavalry' and come in to their rescue. This was quite a tough ask for the Allies, but they had a hefty amount of veteran troops and the classic Brit-artillery-plus-US-double-airstrike hurt to bring against us, and with 'victory' dependent on units killed, we had more on our side for them to bag...

The table was really good fun: it became (á la Market Garden) the edge of a Dutch town, and I was persuaded to dig my old windmill out of its dusty retirement in the club's scenery store...
The Paras are in the block bottom-right

...so this provided a lovely rural contrast to the sprawling industrial site at the other end of the board - too big, incidentally, to easily capture in one pic!

Well, the Paras set up in a 24"x12" area plum-centre (with the US due to arrive from turn 2 onwards) and we set about entering the table to bring the fight to them...but 'hidden' veteran troops in hard cover on ambush make for tricky shooting, and all we managed to do was to put a couple of pins on one unit, whilst the Para sniper managed to destroy Guy's MMG team as it sprinted across to the factory to set up. First blood to the Allies.
Paras. Double-hard bastards to kill.

This first blood was quickly followed by yet more claret, as the British artillery barrage came down accurately in turn 2 and obliterated my poor, not-so-innocent Nebelwerfer team. Boo.

2-0 to the Allies.

So we had to strike back, and strike back we did. Guy's Nebelwerfer (yes - we took two) opened up on the tightly packed Paras with surprising and gratifying success and - although they were hard to kill - we started laying down pins on the Paras. 
At the same time, the Americans were arriving on the board, but bizarrely, they drove in M3 half-tracks right into the open space before our tanks had even entered! Mindful of the threat posed by a British Comet (a little out of whack for a Market Garden setting, but everyone was fine with it), our two Panzer IVs edged onto the board and started laying down hurt and pins on the half-tracks, blocking the road with one and killing its heavily-pinned occupants before my Panzer IV was itself knocked out by the Comet's first round. Drat. 

The destruction of that first half-track though, was great, as it killed the US officer AND their air observer in addition to the vehicle itself, and the veteran engineers within were forced out and 'down', badly depleted*. 

Now came the turn of the tide. From this point on, the Allies were on the back foot. In a thoroughly cinematic way, the Paras were holding fast but just couldn't get rid of their pins, and the American rescue mission had ground to something of a halt - equally cinematically, their commander declared at one point (and here I paraphrase), "Forget rescuing the British!"

After this point, and for the following four turns(!) all hope of victory was essentially abandoned by the Allies, but to their considerable credit they battled on regardless. I've never seen veteran troops whittled down to destruction by pins before, but it happened here, and in the end - after a desperate attempt to assault their way out - the Paras were wiped out to a single man: the now impotent but surprisingly resilient artillery observer...although their Comet survived, albeit pinned and reversing.
The Lone, Brave FOO
For the remainder of the battle, it was really just a matter of mopping up. It'd seem almost churlish to detail the many and varied ways in which the Americans were pinned, gunned, or assaulted into oblivion, but the highlights for me included the following:
  • One of my Grenadier squads surged forward to assault and wipe out the US Engineers before shooting a couple of grunts and damaging the Hellcat with a Panzerfaust;
  • Guy's sniper team wiped out the US bazooka team with an impeccably timed shot, and
  • My Panzerschreck actually (finally) killed something: after chasing the Comet, the Hellcat reversed into view, so the team swung round and popped it. Kaboom!
Taking the fight to the American Engineers
Meanwhile, on the side of the windmill, another Heer squad
fend off the last attack of the GIs. Desperately unlucky.
In the end, the Allies pretty much just disintegrated, and the final score was a shocking 12-3. 

The game was a slaughter, and I felt bad for the poor Paras, but it looked absolutely beautiful on this table, and the Americans were a little bit out of practice with Bolt Action, so we can forgive them getting carried away with the cool-looking mounted advance. If the Allied reinforcements had either spread out more or maybe even surged against our left flank across the paved surfaces, we would have struggled a great deal more to concentrate our fire.

Luckily, they didn't.

Big shout-out to Dave, Alex and Guy for a fun and pretty-looking game...and here's to the possibility in the near future of a Market Garden at the club over the coming months...!


- Drax.

*Note to self: don't load up a transport with three high-value targets and then advance it in the open toward the enemy guns.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

623 - Bolt Action Germans Join Battle Again

Hullo, All.

Another bat-rep, but for the first time with a proper force of my German troops, as Real Life (TM) has actually conspired to allow me to get a bit more painting finalised of late.

I had the pleasure of playing Guy again, but we fancied a scenario. Unable to pen an original one to my satisfaction, we used one from the D-Day to Germany supplement: [insert name here!] in which the Allies have to clear Germans from their defensible 24" deep deployment zone. 

Here's what I brought along:
Veteran 2Lt;
9 Heer Grenadier Veterans w. LMG and 2xPF;
9 Heer Grenadier Veterans w. LMG and 2xPF;
9 Assault Pioneer Vets w. flamethrower, LMG and 2xPF;
Veteran sniper team;
Veteran Panzerschreck team;
Veteran Medium mortar w. spotter;
Veteran Nebelwerfer;
Regular Sd.Kfz.251/10;
2x Regular Sd.Kfz.251/1;
Regular Panzer IV Ausf. H.
Time to werf some Nebel.
I can't begin to do justice to the force that Guy put together, but it was pleasingly characterful: two platoons, one of which was carrier-borne, supported variously by a 2" mortar, a PIAT, a 6pdr, a 25pdr, a Firefly and - for the first time I've ever seen one - a Wasp flamethrower vehicle.
This is MOST of them. The Brits
had almost twice as many dice...
This force was very mobile, although I tried to use my two free minefields to funnel them away from my flanks.

Luckily for me, I had ample cover in which to deploy upto half my troops 'hidden'. 

Unluckily for me, the Allies had a guaranteed (and fairly effective) preliminary bombardment AND I COMPLETELY FORGOT THAT HE COULD RUN HIS VEHICLES IN ON TURN 1.


I took some pins and lost a Nebelwerfer crewman to the preliminary bombardment, but turn 1 was okay, overall. Guy's troops were mostly just charging forward in carriers, and I'm pleased to note that my Nebelwerfer put some pins on a handful of them and killed his artillery FOO and one of his Lts. Guy had refused my right flank, but this had forced his units into close proximity: perfect Nebelwerfer fodder.

Inevitably, his nasty-ass Wasp got close enough by turn two to flame-grill my left-most veteran squad, but after that, things started to balance out. He couldn't get rid of that squad for the rest of the battle: they hung on to quite literally the last man, despite being the target for much of the enemy's shooting and - later - assault. 
My heroic left-hand squad.
The middle squad: happily they
managed to cut down an advancing
squad, wiping them out.
...and the right flank. In the
foreground is my sniper.
After turn 2, I started clawing back a little, as the vets on my left set such a great example. 
Setting a great example.
Here you can see the left-hand vets
surviving yet again as the closing Brits
fail their order test. Yay!
To the right of the picture is my
Panzerschreck team. Pretty, but they
failed to do anything other than deter.

The Pz.IV arrived with the 251/10 and they started to make their presence felt; the Nebelwerfer didn't do anything else useful for the rest of the game, but it was a good deterrent, and the pins that its turn 1 barrage had left on the Humber armoured car was enough to negate its usefulness from then on too.
It's all getting a bit hairy here on
my left flank. Wasp is in foreground.
To my amusement, later on one of
the Bren Carriers fails its order test
and promptly reverses into one of
my A-T minefields!

On my right, my sniper finally got his act together, killing both the PIAT team and a 25pdr crewman, and, with the British attack faltering, I started to chew through the carriers and dismounted small sections too, although the 2" mortar and the Firefly were both thorns in my side. 

By turn three, the far more experienced Guy had been computing his chances of winning VP within the scenario, and it turned out that he was going to really struggle! As usual, I'd completely failed to acknowledge or even fully read how the VP worked in the mission, but essentially I got points for each unit I killed and double for each unit remaining in my deployment zone. The attackers needed either to kill way more of me or get their units into (or through) my deployment. Luckily, he had tons of units available for this; unluckily, I had few units for Guy to easily kill off and all I really had to do was stay put and take it. Which I did.
A last-ditch charge. I would've lost
a team or two to them, but they would not have lived long .

Guy pointed out how stacked the odds were against him, bit to his credit continued for the enjoyment and story. Even me lackadaisicallly running out my Panzer for a giggle (straight into the deadly Firefly fire) didn't do enough to address the imbalance: we declared on 16-3, with the defenders carrying a clear victory. 

Kudos to Guy for a fun (albeit for him very tricky) game, and much respect to the two best units, for my money at least: the redoubtable 2" mortar and my left-hand squad of veterans. 

Thanks for reading; more soon, with luck!

- D.

Saturday 13 January 2018

622 - Bolt Action 6pdr Medium AT Gun

Hullo All,

Just another quick-pic post: painted a couple of years ago, actually, but I never gave it its own post - my 6pdr:
It's mounted on a (rather too thick) circular 80mm acrylic base that a friend kindly cut for me at work, and it's not quite as GREEN! as it looks, I promise...
(Note the gun and trails detach for storage)

Well, until next time then,

- Drax

Wednesday 10 January 2018

621 - More Bolt Action Games (part 2)

Yup. Here's the second of my most recent games.
 Game 2: 1500pts.

This time I was up against Steve and his Germans in a 1500pt 'meeting engagement'. To make it more interesting, we'd absolutely covered the board in LoS-blocking scatter terrain, and to Steve's credit he agreed with me that the 'Tiger Fear' rule is unnecessary and easily forgotten BS. 

Sadly for me, he DID still field a Tiger I and a Panzer IV (H)... but I had two Cromwells, my Staghound, a 6pdr and a PIAT team, so I wasn't hugely worried.
...the rest of Steve's toys.
Sorry for the crappy pic.
My lot, in two platoons.

...and that was apparently my first mistake! On turn 1, everything trundled on; with his first two dice of turn 2, Steve's two big cats annihilated both of my Cromwells. Lucky bastard.
My two tanks really didn't get
much further than this, sadly!

Didn't take very many pics with this game (I was too busy fretting and frantically thinking-up a 'plan B', I expect) but basically I invested a couple of ruins on my right, and scooted the bulk of my force round on the far left, spearheaded by my faithful Staghound and the plucky 3 Section, with the RAF Regiment boys in support.

My artillery FOO was rubbish: his super-helpful bombardment didn't arrive until bloomin' turn FIVE, but at least when it did it neutralised the sniper and Tiger a bit, with some pins. Glad I wasn't relying on him to smoke-out the Tiger...

My 2" and 3" mortars, on the other hand, were great - they did exactly what they were supposed to do, by pinning units and forcing them to choose to go 'down'. Hooray!

The Staghound did its thing pretty well, but it was very unlucky against the side and rear armour of his Pz IV - even at zero range! Luckily for me, by this point, Steve seemed bafflingly unable to penetrate the Staghound, so it really just became a silly slap fight.

How did I deal with the Tiger? Well, the lorry-borne PIAT managed to hit its side armour, but failed to pen, and it took revenge by plowing into (through) the ruin holding 1 Sect. They were very lucky to escape with only one casualty, and assaulted it (twice, actually) - pinning it and jamming its turret. After that, a lacklustre 6pdr hit and the belated artillery strike, it was no longer combat effective, so I could at least stop worrying about it.
I must say, my lorries did
Sterling work as usual...

On my right, the only remaining threats now were a soon-to-be blinded medium mortar and a vicious assault-rifle-wielding Fallschirmjäger squad, but the left flank by the end of the game was completely mine...apart from the Pz IV... So we called it a draw.
Endgame. You can see the cluster
of Brits around the Pz IV, top-right.

After my disastrous start, I was really quite happy with a draw, but most importantly, it was a smashing game!

Steve was a really fun and gung-ho opponent, and I look forward to facing off against his Germans again before too long...!


- D.

Saturday 6 January 2018

620 - More Bolt Action Games (part 1)

Hullo Folks,

As usual, the title says it all. I've been finding an oasis of calm recently in the midst of real life rubbishness, and I've found it at the new gaming club. Not that there's anything amiss with my normal club(!) - it's just that this one is - well - quieter*. 

ANYWAYS, I've played two games there in the last fortnight, and I fancied just quickly breezing through them in two posts:

Game 1 - 2000pts

Something of an ad-hoc affair, which led to me and Guy teaming up with our Brits attacking Steve, Ben and James and their nefarious Germans in order to secure three objectives.
(Some deployment and turn 1 goodness)

The game started well for the Brits as with our opening round Guy's Firefly put a 17pdr shell into a building and blew it to smithereens, taking two German units with it and leaving that objective far less protected. 
The building that was flattened.
This is from later on, after the
lorried PIAT flattened the Puma

Guy and I used the 'denied flank' tactic, and our tactics worked, but we had luck and experience on our side too, it seems. The Germans invested way too much energy and firepower into dealing with my weak but distracting feint on the right, and in the meantime our tanks sat back and blatted away with HE at densely-grouped troops, and our lorries surged forward carrying PIATs and flamethrowers of sure and certain destruction (see above).

Surprising speed and aggression from the Brits paid off in the end against a faltering and uncertain German defence...the presence of my two armoured cars helped, too!
On the centre-right, meanwhile,
MY sneaky wee PIAT immobilises
another threat

...and the AEC III zooms along
the road to join in the fight too!

In the end, we'd somehow gained both the left and right objectives, and the Germans only had tattered remnants with which to defend the centre, so it was a solid win. Top units really could go to the Firefly, the PIATs or the flame team, but it simply MUST go to the transport section and its super-brave deliveries! Pete Johnson Beharry VC, eat your heart out!
In these last two pics, you can
see my troops seizing the right
objective after flying down the
road in a lorry. Next, another
section surges toward the centre.
There you go - uncharacteristically brief; if not the most spectacular of bat-reps.

Take it easy, Good People,

- Drax

*It's also in the most archetypical village hall imaginable, which (on a socio-architectural level if nothing else) brings me a huge amount of happiness.