Monday, February 24, 2014

German vs. U.S. Armor Battle - AAR (Bolt Action)

Last night my son and I final played our long awaited armor battle pitting Americans(him) vs. Germans(me).  We set up the table adding a bit more length and played the long way.  I proposed we each place a couple of objectives, but he just wanted to play  the maximum attrition scenario.  Forces were approx 1500pts each.  The Americans had a slight advantage in order dice with ten opposed to the German nine dice to start.

Starting U.S. Forces
Starting German forces-one squad was reduced after this pic so they all would fit in the transports
We rolled off and he chose to start from the end without the buildings fearing the hedges would slow him down.  My tanks moved on to my left so they could see the length of the road and we started trading shots at long range.  He rolled very well achieving many pins on the German armor, but the -1 pen at long range was a determining factor on limiting damage.  In our previous games we had forgot this modifier, and it really makes a difference especially for the lighter American guns.

Initial ranging shots with little effect
The more powerful M10 came up and added an additional Pin to the Panther
The 251/10 with the light AT gun proved ineffective at range
The Panther shook off a pin and hit the lead Sherman resulting in the first kill of the game
The M10 soon suffered the same fate at the hands of the STUG III
As armor targets on the left we dwindling the Germans chose to deploy the Vet Grenadiers from the 251/10 to meet the impending VET U.S. infantry threat.
On the right a Bazooka team came up to threaten the PZ IV, but a German Squad removed the threat with a bold assault
The German infantry would suffer at the hands of the immobilized Chaffe though as it was able to make the order role and decimated them at point blank range
The PZ IV quickly answered though.  The M24 proved tough as it took a hit from the Panzerscheck and two from the PZ IV to finally kill it
The Americans still had some fight in them as they Assaulted and eliminated the Vet Grenadiers
The game went into Turn 7 and it was cleanup time for the German Armor
A lone Sherman remained immobilized at the end of the turn
American Casualties
German casualties-tough day to be a German infantryman

Despite what ended up in a landslide victory for Germany it was a great game as we both had fun.  At least I think he had fun as he was still talking to me afterward and had some ideas for future games.  We both agreed German armor is going to be a tough nut to crack for the Americans.  Tactics will have to change as the Americans need to draw the Germans in closer before engaging to negate the range advantage.  At one point the Panther and the STUG III each had 3 pins and the PZ IV had 2 pins due to a stun hit.  His dice to hit were doing well, but the U.S. Armor just lacked the penetration to knock out the the German tanks.

I do think objectives would have helped balance out game a bit more.  As it was I barely moved my armor once I moved onto the table and had LoS of the majority of the table and he advanced toward me aggressively and was still at long range when the Germans could reach out and touch him without the long range penalty for an extra 1+ turns.  Additionally, I think we will play the width like a standard game with more LoS blocking terrain in the center to encourage maneuver.

In hindsight the Americans would have been better served to take the end of the table with the buildings and keep their armor hidden forcing the Germans to advance and give up the long range advantage.

The game did move along very quickly until the infantry deployed which slowed play up a bit.  We were still done in less than 2 hours which is something we rarely accomplish with a 1000pt game.

More armor in the way of a PZ III, 3rd Sherman, a M3 half track and 251/1 half track are on the bench so I am sure we will revisit another armor battle soon enough.


  1. Great AAR.... What size table would you recommend for Bolt Action?

    1. Thanks, 72" x 48" is the standard BA game size for 1000pt battle, but you can go bigger or smaller. I own three folding tables that I use for my gaming surface. Each is approx 30" x 72" so I can configure them different ways by using 2 or 3 of them. For this battle I wanted a bit more room so all three were used side by side.