Friday, January 24, 2014

Panther Fear-Bolt Action AAR

My son finished semester exams, so he challenged me to a 1000pt Bolt action battle Thursday evening.  I think we was eager to use the new BTD paratroopers we added to his force.  Good opportunity to field my Panther in a friendly game.

When I arrived home from work he had the board set up and his forces ready.

Cross roads set up slightly smaller than standard 4'x6'

Forces were arrayed as follows:

Americans (My Son):
1LT +1 Man-85pts
Vet Paratrooper SQD NCO w/ SUB +5 rifles, 1LMG-101pts
Vet Paratrooper SQD NCO w/ SUB +5 rifles, 1LMG-101pts
Vet Paratrooper SQD NCO w/ SUB +5 rifles, Anti-Tank grenades-93pts
Vet Paratrooper SQD NCO w/ SUB +5 rifles, Anti-Tank grenades-93pts
Regular FAO +1 man -85pts
Regular MMG-50pts
Vet Sniper team W/SMG-71 pts
Regular Bazooka Team-60pts
Regular M4A1 76mm Sherman W/ Pintel HMG-260pts

Germans (Me):
1LT + 1man (Reg) -85pts
Regular Grenadier SQD -NCO w/ Sub +5rifles -63pts
Regular Grenadier SQD -NCO w/ Sub +5rifles, w/3 Panzerfausts-63pts
Vet Grenadier SQD NCO w/SUB +9rifles, 1 LMG, 2 Panzerfaust-163pts
Vet Grenadier SQ-NCO w/Sub +6 w/sub Antitank grenades-126pts
Regular Sniper Team-50pts
Regular SdKfz 222-95pts
Regular Panther Ausf A -355pts

1000pts total

He had picked Point defense for the scenario.  The objective was placed in the middle of the intersection and we rolled.  I chose to attack and found out he wanted to be on defense anyway.  He deployed a squad in the undamaged building and a MMG team opposite in the mostly intact damaged building.  His Sniper and FAO deployed in another damaged building while my sniper took the hill top in light cover.  I then deployed three squads around the intersection in various cover and kept the Panther, SdKfz 222 and one vet assault squad in reserve.

Initial deployments
First turn in my haste to take out his FAO I made some critical errors.  My sniper hit, but failed to kill, so instead of maneuvering my squads closer I fired and missed as the shots were to long to be effective.  Since the German vehicles were in reserve the American FAO wisely targeted the large VET Grenadier squad with the while he had the chance.
VET Grenadiers in the wood line
The air failed to come in on turn two, but the Germans were finally successful in taking out the FAO so the target was marked and could not be changed.  The Vehicles were now free to enter the fray.  I made another critical error though as I left a regular squad on the edge of an orchard in my focus to eliminate the FAO.  The American paratroopers were able to enter and take clear shots at the exposed Squadfrom the opposite direction taking it out with two consecutive attacks and a failed morale roll.

Grenadiers exposed by the orchard
Although the FAO was out of action the air strike did come in on turn three and decimated the VET Grenadiers.  They only took five kills, but this reduced them to half and rolling a eleven for morale is not going to get the job done.  German infantry support was now reduced 50% with the loss of two squads.
Casualties adding up at start of turn three

Turn three saw the start of the tank duel.  Americans drew first die, but the Sherman 76mm was unable to penetrate that potent front armor of the Panther.  It must have done something though as the Panther gunner was not even able to hit.
Panther and Sherman 76mm square off
The Sherman took advantage of the gyro-stabilizer to move and get behind partial cover the next turn for the second shot, but was unable to hit this time.  The Panther rushed forward to close to point blank range and blasted the Sherman sending the turret and crew flying this time.

Scratch one Sherman
Turn five started the dance for the objective.  The second German  regular grenadier squad was being pinned out in the damaged building.  Another critical tactical error was commited when I moved the German officer team forward forgetting about the American MMG in the building across the street.  As a result one less officer and one less die in the bag leaving the now hopelessly pinned squad to eventually perish.  The Panther wisely backed away from the objective to avoid the American bazooka team advancing up which already hit once, but failed to penetrate.

Taking up a safe over watch position away from the Bazooka team
Bazooka wisely covering the objective behind the corner to protect from a tank assault

In the meantime the remaining Vet Grenadiers armed with SMGs were earning their pay.  They successfully mowed down the American officer team on turn four and then assaulted a Paratrooper squad on turn Five and were the only infantry I had in position to contest the objective for turn six
German infantry preparing to rush the objective
The American Bazooka team was now set in Ambush to prevent the Tank from rushing forward.  I had a plan though.  My infantry would run forward first and position itself in front of the bazooka so the Panther could move up. 

Bazooka team waiting in ambush

As with most battle plans they rarely survive first contact.  The American paratrooper squad in the building decided to rush out and assault the vet grenadiers before they could move.  The Germans were able to react as the Americans came out and managed one kill (his NCO).  It was going to come down to a desperate struggle five on five, but the Germans had SMGs and the Americans only had rifles left. 

Desperate assault in the yard
The paratroopers scored two kills leaving the Grendiers with six shots coming back.....alas only one kill.  The Vet Grenadiers laid down their arms along with any hope of a German victory as they were the last of the infantry.

Daring move by the Americans paid off as the Vet grenadiers laid down their arms
Technically this ended any hope of a German victory or draw.  As I have since learned that only infantry can hold the objective in this scenario.  Fortunately we had failed to remember that while playing so the fun continued.

On the outskirts of the battle for three turns the SdKfz 222 and one of the American paratrooper squads did a little dance.  Had the Vets grenadiers survived the air strike on turn three they would have finished off this little American band.  As it was the SdKfz 222 inflicted a kill and a few pins, but then the Americans were able to get their nerve up and assaulted the SdKfz 222 the last two turns which it successfully escaped, but was taken completely out of the main action.

SdKfz 222 occupied with a small band of persistent paratroopers

At the time neither of  us knew a vehicle could not contest the objective so a terrific battle ensued at the crossroads.  The Panther had no choice on turn six but to rush up to the ambush and contest the objective.  The Bazooka fired, but only equaled the Panthers armor and produced a stunned result.

Panther goes down as the result to the bazooka in ambush
This ended turn six in what we thought was a draw, but we rolled the die and the game went to turn seven.  The bazooka fired again at point blank range, and again produced a stunned crew result so the Panther was force to sit and endure while the Americans brought what they had left.  The first of two squads armed with Anti-tank grenades assaulted.

First assault goes in
They came close, producing 5 hits, but were not able to penetrate the tough armor of the Panther.  The second squad then went in as a desperate last attempt to break the stalemate before the game ended.  They were only able to produce one success, so the contest would end in a draw as the Panther was already down and did not need to take a morale test.

Final disposition
As mentioned earlier we did not properly read the scenario.  If we had my son would already be boasting about his victory when he took out the final remaining German infantry squad with his desperate assault in turn six.

Either way it was a good time.  We played this game faster than any other in just over two hours which included some rule checks.  The reduced order dice helped that though.

I am not sure that the Panther was a game changer, but it certainly held his attention.  It is nice for a fun game, but would be a tough choice in a highly competitive point build especially vs. U.S with the possibility of multiple FAOs.


  1. Excellent review. I could sense the Bolt Action tension as the battle was waged. I also like the simple but effective tape based roads.Neat.

    1. Thanks, my son set up this table, so it was all his doing. We ran out of wide tape, so have since switched to colored duct tape until I come up with a more permanent solution. Tape is easy to store and allows for easily changing the set up.