I had a great game of Bolt Action Thursday evening, a friend came around with his British force and I put together German force to meet them.
The battle was set to take place at a strategic section of road somewhere in France and sometime after D-Day ( the forces in the battle were not taken from any Normandy list, it was just a quick list put together with what looked like it might be fun to use )
The force I decided to take was a 1,000 point mixed group of German Heer and a small unit of Fallschirmjager lead by a Second Leutnant, they also had a Forward Air Observer, a Pak 36, a medium mortar and a MMG team and to take on any British tanks he had I added a Panzerschreck team.
The only vehicle I decided to use was my SdKfz 222 just to add a little autocannon niceness!!
So other than my tiny Pak 36 my Panzerschreck and a couple of Panzerfausts I had nothing to deal with a decent British tank….
Luckily my opponent decided not to use a tank!! He decided to just have a couple of light armoured cars supporting his troops, yeah I know only one is allowed in the force lists, but I don’t care it looked right for the force he was using and I am not one that takes much notice of the lists, I like to use and allow my opponent to use whatever looks right for the game, as long as things are not picked just to give a huge advantage.
His main force was four infantry units lead by a second lieutenant, with a machine gun team, a medium mortar, a couple of PIAT’s, one of his infantry units was using Bren-Carriers for transport, and then he had his Humber Scout Car and a Humber MkII armoured car.
After the initial deployment, we moved on to the first turn…
Both sides moved everything they had forward to close the gap between them, most troops moved behind cover and the vehicles moved along the roads, and that was the end of turn one.
Turn two and the Germans moved their SdKfz 222 down the road to the junction and opened up with its autocannon at a British infantry squad crossing the road just the other side of the junction, but the gunners aim was off, and no hits were scored.
The Humber MkII moved up to the junction and took out the 222’s font wheel with a light anti-tank round, it was then immobilized, already!! Oh dear this was not a great start.
The British medium mortar decided that it would be a good time to hit the SdKfz 222 as well, this was to try and finish it off but they could not find the range.
There was lots of fire between some British and German infantry squads across the ploughed fields on the left of the junction, lots of pins but not much else… ( talking of pins, I was using my newly made pin markers in this game and I thought they look good )
The German FO was getting into a good position on top of the hill and the Panzerschreck team moved up into a position where they could put a shot into the front of the Humber MkII, well not this time, the shot went wide, maybe next time.
The Bren Carriers moved around the road towards the back of the main big hill, the squad disembarked and moved over to the hedge overlooking the small lake, but none came into line of sight of my little Pak 36.
But a unit of Heer Veterans saw them and moved through the rough ground and took some speculative shots at the British unit, causing one pin and one kill.
Another German squad moved over the edge of the hill by the junction and fired into another British squad taking cover behind the hedges… another pin but no casualties this time.
Turn three saw more of the same, the British mortar still could not bring any shots down on the immobilized SdKfz 222, so it used the opportunity to fire at the infantry unit just across the hedge, and only managed to get another pin on them.
British troops were falling all along their line, the German shooting was starting to hurt the British infantry, almost all of the infantry on the table had pin markers on them, the SdKfz 222 was immobilized but still shooting, and the German Forward Air Observer studied the scene and decided that it was time to call in some air support…
The British troops heard the plane approaching before they could see it, several units took some more pins out of fear! And then the lone German dive bomber swooped down onto a British infantry unit, and when the smoke cleared the unit was gone… first victory point going to the German’s.
But more importantly all that was left on that flank of the battle line was one badly shot up and heavily pinned British infantry unit, things were looking really good for the Germans at this point.
They held enough troops in the centre and on the right flank to keep the British tied up and had almost free reign over the ploughed fields to the left, the British moved the little Humber Scout Car over to the hedge to try and give a bit of supporting fire across the fields.
The next turn saw a almost half of a German Heer squad fall to very accurate fire from the British MMG team and a British infantry squad, the Germans decided that the only option left for them was to go down and keep their heads down ( I tried to move this unit back to try and save what was left of it but with 5 pins it failed so was given a Down order )
The British mortar missed the immobilized SdKfz 222 again!!! So a PIAT team that had managed to get to within almost point blank range put a shaped charge though its armour and that was that, my SdKfz 222 after being immobilized by some nice shooting from the British Humber MkII had taken so many hits and had received about 4 pins but had managed to survive for a few turns… ok it had done almost nothing but it had absorbed a lot of British fire.
The next turn was the decider for the British even though we were on only one point each, they had lost well over half of their infantry, what was left on the table had loads of pins on them so as it was getting late he shook my hand and decided it was time to withdraw what was left of the British force…
So, the Germans claimed victory this time!!
Well that was a great game, both sides were hitting lots of targets while firing but it seemed that the British could not kill anything.
Apart from the SdKfz 222 which was eventually destroyed, the Germans had only lost five infantry while the British had lost over half!!
The Air Strike was the thing that swung the game in my favor, I rolled so high that even if the troops had gone down to reduce the number of hits, they still would have all died.
At that point my opponent had almost nothing on that part of the battlefield to stop any advance the Germans made across the ploughed fields and they could have rolled up that flank fairly easily, but the PIAT team destroying the SdKfz 222 I am sure gave a little satisfaction to my opponent, he had tried to destroy that armoured car with the Humber MkII, the medium mortar and a PIAT.
My Pak 36 never fired a shot, it was always out of position, the British Bren Carriers never fired either, they just moved the infantry squad they carried and then parked.
Playing without tanks on the battlefield made a nice change, so much so I will have to do it again, I like my tanks, but it does make it a different game without them.