I put on a “first” game of Bolt Action for a new member at the club last week, as it was his first game of Bolt Action I decided that it should just be a simple meeting engagement, that way it would give him time to learn what his units do and to learn the rules rather than having to concentrate on achieving a scenario objective.
Well I pointed up two 1,000 point forces which for this game were German and British based on a Normandy build ( loosely based!! ) both forces went a few points over, but that didn’t really matter for this game.
I tried to keep the two forces similar, they both had three 10 man units ( although two of the units in the British force were commandos )
The Germans had a Panzer IV while the British had a Sherman 75mm, I never have any luck using a Sherman so if I got the British force then I didn’t expect it to survive the first shot!!
Well my opponent picked the Germans and after the terrain was set up, I went very quickly through the basic rules, including the order dice and how they worked.
The first turn I did as a rolling onto the table start rather than a deployed set-up, this gave my opponent a chance to see how the movement worked.
There was no shooting the first turn as both sides were too busy trying to get into good positions, although as the British commander I was having trouble finding any!!
I blame the person who set up the table 😒
Turn two saw everything moving forward again this time there was a short exchange of fire from a German squad and a British Commando squad, which saw one of my Commandos getting hit, so first blood goes to the German side.
Turn three saw the moment I was dreading the Panzer IV opened up on my Sherman and hit… and then penetrated causing a fire, luckily the fire fizzled and went out!!, but then I failed the turret roll 😢
So I now had a Sherman that couldn’t move it’s turret for the rest of the game… well at least it was still on the table and usable.
This turn saw the spotter for the German mortar give exact coordinates for the first round they fired and it hit one of my rifle squads who had just run to get into position ready to enter a small field next turn, ouch!! that hurt.
The spotter for the British mortar, after seeing that, decided that he could do as well and called in the position of a German squad in a field on the opposite side of the table… and well the British mortar team missed!
A German squad moved into position behind the church using the gravestones for cover, ready to move around and attack my Sherman, with the German Officer moving close to them, ready to give them some moral support.
I moved one of my Commando squads up to the Sherman to give it some support.
Turn four and I said good-bye to one of my infantry rifle squads, they had decided that they would go and see if the pub was open!! It was and they promptly left the table, that German mortar was exceptionally deadly!
Mmm things were not going well, but the good news was that my Sherman was still on the table and was taking fire from the Panzer IV and the Pak 38 but the Germans were having trouble getting their shots on target.
But I did notice the German Panzerschreck team moving closer through the wooded area down the road, it wouldn’t be long before that was in range and add its shots to try and take out my tank.
I sent a Commando squad over the hedge and chased the Panzerschreck team but they didn’t get even a single hit!!
The German squad ran out from behind the church and moved in position to try and take out my Sherman with the units single Panzerfaust, I had to try and stop that…
My Commando unit by the Sherman moved around so that it could fire at the Germans but only managed a single kill, my Officer moved up to give more covering fire for the Sherman.
Turn five my Officer got the drop on the Germans by the church and hit them hard taking another couple of riflemen, then my Commando unit added their firepower and took another one out of the fight.
The German unit then failed to activate so the Sherman was safe from the Panzerfaust for this turn at least… but the Panzer IV and the Pak 38 shot at my Sherman again, but they missed!!! 🤣
The Panzerschreck team decided to hit my QF 6pdr and took it out… now that was a mistake by me as I mucked up the rules slightly by assuming that the shot could take out the gun, when it should have only taken out one crew member, but it felt right at the time so it happened.
Turn six saw a few more shots at the Sherman including the Panzerschreck this time… and they all missed!!!!
I had been trying to finish off the German squad by the church but I just couldn’t hit them with enough shots to take them out, but at least they were far too pinned to do anything.
My machine gun crew had been trying to kill the remaining German machine gun crewman opposite but hadn’t managed to kill him, he was obviously hunkered down low behind his gun.
So ignoring the gun this turn I turned the machineguns hot barrel towards the German First Leutnant and managed to put him out of the fight!!!
And so that was it battle over.
So at the end of the battle the Germans managed to get a slight win over the British with a 2-1 victory.
Well lots of interesting stuff going on in that battle, hopefully it was fun for my opponent.
The Sherman was ridiculous in the battle, it was missed so many times during the game it was almost laughable ( I promise I didn’t laugh ), after the first shot from the Panzer IV set it on fire and jammed its turret, I thought it was a gonna!
But somehow it stayed and took lots of shots from the Panzer IV and the Pak 38 and while they were firing at my Sherman they at least didn’t hit any of my other units.
I did make that mistake with the Panzerschreck taking out my QF 6pdr but I had forgotten the rules and got a little carried away with the game to realise I had done it wrong, anyway it didn’t cheat my opponent so not a problem.
Although the Sherman didn’t get destroyed its firing was almost as bad as the Germans, it managed to put some machinegun rounds into a German squad or two, but its main gun did nothing.
I am not sure if it was unfair or just the luck of the dice during the game, but my two squads of Commandos did make a difference to the battle… I have to state now that I don’t have any other British troops so the two Commando squads and the one regular infantry squad is all the figures I have so I didn’t really have much choice… but their Veteran status did give me a slight advantage in the battle.
Even though I lost they were harder to kill than the rest of my troops, and with all the Germans apart from their Officer being regular troops, my opponent had a slightly harder time passing order tests when pinned.
But having said that both forces were pointed up at about 1,000 points so there shouldn’t have been too much of an advantage on either side… and my opponent did have the choice to play either list and he picked to play the Germans.
Well that was great to get my WW2 stuff out for a battle, hopefully it won’t be too long before I get to play them again.