Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bolt Action 1500pt German vs. American AAR

My kids were off school Monday and Tuesday this due to the extreme cold.  When I came home Monday night night my oldest son (17) was excited to show me that he had reset the game table and was hoping to play a 1500pt battle.  I agreed to the match after dinner.
New Set Up
I have been playing my new Soviets lately, but do not have quite enough to make a realistic 1500pt force.  Of course my son was ready with an American list he had been tweaking throughout the day.  As a result I rushed some Germans that were still on the paint bench into service and put together a 1500 pt force adding to the 1000pt build I previously had.  Another kudos to Easy Army as this would not have been possible without that tool.  Not the ideal list, but I made do with what was available.

We picked the demolition scenario (the one where each side defends an area while trying to destroy the opponents). 

During set up he announced he had three units to forward deploy that included two Air Observers.  I thought you were limited to one, but could not find that so we moved forward.  I have since confirmed this is legal as he had two platoons, we just had not seen it before.  I had brought one air observer for the first time for me.

Turn one did not see a lot of action.  My squads were able to put some pins on his Greyhound.  My Panzer IV did not have a good target so it forced his greyhound to recce and go down and fired upon one of the observers in a building scoring one hit and then a lucky six for the kill.  My Mortar scored a rare first turn hit on his sniper team, but only managed one kill.

Turn two saw both Air Strikes come in.  He scored a fighter bomber and laid waste to the MK IV.  I was not so lucky and only received a straffer which managed to put some pins out, but did nothing to the M5 Stuart I had targeted.

Panzer IV Destroyed by Air strike
American Staurt and other units receive pin markers

At that point some reason he decided to try to move his greyhound early and failed the morale roll (4 pins at the time) which forced it to go down.  This brought up a question on recce.  It is my understanding that if a vehicle is down it cannot recce.  The rules/errata do clarify a vehicle can only recce once per turn, but do not state what happens if it is already down.  Since you have to put a down marker on a vehicle after it executes a recce move we agreed prior to the start that a vehicle with a down order cannot recce. (This is currently being asked and debated on some forums)  As a result I was able  to  successfully bring on my 251 w/anti tank gun and target the Greyhound.  I scored a hit and a kill (Such a good Dad).

M8 Greyhound the victim of Anti-Tank Gun

My large Vet Grenadier squad also advanced and took out hisParatrooper MMG.  My success was short lived. Just as he was complaining that the tide was turning against him his Sherman came on took a long range shot at the 251 and obliterated it.

As the final move at the end of turn two I also brought on my truck loaded with an assault squad and officer and parked it in range of a building with an American Squad inside.  I did have a MMG right next to the building so we agreed this was legal as the MMG was closer to the enemy than the transport.  Either way it was going to come down to that had the first die n the next turn.

Fortunately for the Germans they drew first Die and the 7 man Assault squad wiped out the American is the building taking 3 casualties themselves as it was simultaneous.  My transport was now prime target for him and he spent the rest of the turn on the side lighting it up with small arms until his HMG finally provided the killing blow taking out the truck and the officer who could not dismount in time.

Opel Blitz succumbs to small arms fire

I also attempted to assault his Stuart which was able to Recce to a safe distance leaving my squad in the open.

This ended Turn three and our play for the evening as it was already after 11PM.  The plan was to finish the next night as school had already been called for the next day.  The American final air strike was poised to come in on my last vehicle on the board (222) and my Ketterand with Flamethrower team are on a flanking move.

At this point I would say he has the advantage with two tanks still in play, but he had taken up a strong defense and to win he would have to advance across the board to get my base.  At best I felt I could still force a draw.  This is Bolt Action and we all know in turn 5 and 6 anything can happen. :D

The action resumed again as scheduled Tuesday night right after dinner with the start of Turn 4.  The American air strike came in and effectively destroyed the only remaining German combat vehicle the 222.  The U.S. Commander was feeling pretty good at this point as he now had two operational tanks (Sherman and the Stuart) and started talking a little trash.  

Not to be thwarted I pressed on as I still had a surprise or two remaining.  I opened with my Mortar team who amazingly hit again taking out what was left of his sniper team.  This Mortar team would go on to be cited for valor as they ended up hitting 5 of the six turns (twice with a roll of six).
Mortars range in and keep the fire hot
Now that the sniper was removed my Veteran Grenadiers were free to move on to other targets.  Since they contained two Panzerfausts they sought to even up the match a bit and successfully struck the Sherman with one causing massive damage and removing it from the battle while the rest of the squad took out the only other visible target a lone American officer.

Panzerfaust strike hard
Oh how quick Bolt Action changes with the pull of two order die the Americans were down three units and no longer feeling as confident.  The rest of the turn was spent maneuvering my Germans up closer to support the vets in hopes of possibly taking the objective and some long range shooting.  His Stuart blew away my one small Squad that was caught in the open, but I was now significantly up on Order dice.  At the end of the turn I then made a critical error.  I missed the fact that he had a unit which had not activated and I revealed which direction my flame thrower team was flanking from.  DOH!  Of course he drew the next order die and wisely put the 6 man squad in ambush.  At first I was going to abandon the flanking move, but then I decided to throw all caution to the wind and bring them on anyway right in front of the ambush squad.  He hit, but failed to roll the required six to destroy the ketterand.  The flamethrower dismounted and of all things rolled a six wiping the entire Vet Paratrooper Squad out…OUCH!
Flame on!

Turn Five was very interesting.  I had a large advantage in order dice and luckily pulled the first one.  In order for my flamethrower to get a shot they had to advance into the open, but this time only rolled a one.

Flame on Part two
I drew the next die and in a last ditch effort to save the flamethrower my reduced 4 man vet SMG squad assaulted the target.  He took one out coming out of the building leaving me with six dice vs.  five guys.  I only rolled two successes.  He rolled two hits as well causing another round of combat.  I hit one more time and he eliminated my squad.  Now reduced to two men he had to make morale roll and failed…mutual destruction.
Desperate assault results in mutual destruction
The Flame throwers were now his target and he successfully eliminated them with his HMG, but they had accomplished their mission.  My Vet Grenadiers advanced to take up position behind the destroyed Sherman and possibly get a chance to destroy the objective and snatch victory from what earlier seemed like certain defeat earlier.

Vet Grenadiers take cover
Turn six started with the Americans having only five units remaining set up in a strong defensive position around their base.  Three of the five were set up in ambush.   They had no chance of taking the German base as they had yet to even cross the center of the battlefield.  It was going to come down to could the Vet Grenadiers get to the objective   and then stand the fire until the end of the turn.  With only two dice in the bag to my 8 it was pretty good odds that I would have initiative.  I drew first die and opened with my mortar scoring another hit on the HMG.  My MMG then opened and finished off the HMG.
Hitler's buzz saw opens up
With the third die it was time to make the assault and I moved in on his Stuart who chose to recce.  This would put me within 3” of the objective and a possible win if I could hold out.

Assault to challenge the objective....maybe not
Wait a minute it is not within three inches we read it wrong you have to be touching the objective.  Additionally, with the water right there my squad could not reach the Stuart as we had rated that rough terrain….REDO!  The Squad went back behind the tank and chose just to fire as they could not reach the objective do to the water.

Do over back behind the Sherman

They took out the only available target his officers.  This was likely a mistake.  I probably should have advanced them anyway if there would have been a turn 7 I might have had a chance at victory, but that would have meant standing for two turns.  Either way there was no turn 7 and the game technically ended in a draw.

My son wanted to figure out the points remaining.  The Americans had four units remaining, the Stuart and two greatly reduced squads (1 Paratrooper and 1 reg Infantry).  The Germans still had the Mortar MMG, small regular squad, large Grenadier squad  a large Vet grenadier squad and the ketterand.
Final disposition

Based on other reports I have read this was a typical Bolt action style game with it see sawing back and forth.  We were both convinced at the beginning of Turn four after the airstrike that it very possibly could be an American victory.  In the end it was a draw, but the Germans were clearly in a better position to continue the fight.

Most importantly in the end we had a great time.

Some of the post battle carnage and troop positions:
Road littered with German casualties
Killing zone
Facing off
American hanging on to the objective

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for an excellent review. It's fun playing with your children, but difficult when they learn all the clever tricks you have taught them and use them against you!