So super-fun, in fact, that I forgot to take enough pictures!
Last week, a new fellow - David - came along to the club in Torbay in the hope of trying out some Bolt Action, so I jumped in on the game that Alex and Sam were going to have and we bumped it up to a 2v2, 1500pts per side game instead, with US and British Allies in Normandy defending three hard-won crossing points over the upper Meuse River from a German counterattack.
Sam had got there early enough to set up a gorgeous table and come up with the scenario: cleverly, there was no set-up (all units had to advance on), but - having won the toss - the Allies got to choose their table edge, and this made them defenders too, meaning that contested objectives would go in their favour.
David had chosen to play Brits, so he took charge of 750 points' worth of my 4KSLI with a Cromwell in support...
...and Alex had his Yanks - including his stalwart Rangers, whom we allowed a pre-game 'run' onto the board.
Facing them, Sam and I opted for an attack across a fairly broad front - we were very restricted in our movement by terrain, especially a tributary of the Meuse which cut our side in half. The Allies also had two bunkers in one corner, which was bound to make them a very tough nut indeed to crack!
Some of the Germans:
I shan't provide a blow-by-blow account; instead, here are a few of the highlights...
On turn two, a squad of my Heer de-bussed from their Hanomag and opened-up on the unsuspecting Rangers...without a shadow of a doubt this was the best single roll I've ever made in twenty-mumble years of wargaming - distracted by a firefight across the river, the Rangers were slaughtered from their flank, losing ten of the eleven men remaining at one fell swoop:
Shortly thereafter, the plucky British PIAT team snuck-up and blew their Hanomag sky-high with a beautifully placed spigot round. Everyone loves a rare PIAT success, and David was no exception!
Whilst the opposing tanks flirted with each other and the troops jockeyed for position, the Allied forward observers were setting up to call in their support: the British FOO called in a fire mission on a dense concentration of Germans in the bottleneck on our right flank, whilst the US air observer called in a strike on the Germans approaching the bridge. Sadly for him, his transmission was cut short as he was gunned-down in his OP. Did enough of the target information get through?
Turn four started with the off-table 25pdr batteries raining death on the German lines: some fortuitous rolling from David led to a MASSIVE bombardment of our troops: the 12'' radius caused a huge amount of pins and the loss of another three German units - the sniper, the mortar, and the PaK36 Hanomag.
Ouch. Sadly, no pics.
Then came the roar of engines and the USAF zoomed in...straight at the wrong target! Yes, the AOP's dying message had evidently been garbled, because the 'Jabo' took after its own Sherman and spread around an awful lot of pins. A pity that it didn't finish off that pesky tank, but after the awesome success of the British artillery, the airstrike cock-up did cause much hilarity at least!
The biggest moments after this, really, were the Germans taking the bridge and whiffing another two Panzerfaust shots before being gunned down by the vengeful Tommies, and the Yanks consolidating the ford on their right flank.
Game over: a secure Allied victory, with them holding two of the three crossing points.
This was an absolutely cracking game, and a pleasure to meet David, as well as playing my old sparring partners, Alex and Sam - thanks, guys!