I was due to have a Chain of Command game with Des and Ian at the club last night but events conspired against that – Des being jetlagged as just come back from hols and Ian getting t’lurgy – so I was invited to join in a game of Bolt Action that Mac was putting on as someone had dropped out.
Daren and I were in command of a couple of German forces facing off against Bernie and Sam who were Brits with Mac umpiring. None of us have had much experience with the rules, me and Daren having one game each and the oppo none at all so Mac simplified the rules somewhat to speed things up – we were late starting waiting for the no-show person as well.
There wasn’t a set scenario as such but each player had to draw a mission card that Mac had devised which was quite a cool idea I thought. I had drawn the ‘Secure the Bridge’ card and Daren had a ‘Secure the Village’ card so nice and straightforward there.
To carry this out I had a Marder, a Stummel, two infantry sections with transports, a MG34 on tripod mount and a 75mm infantry gun. Darren had a Pz III, a couple of infantry sections with transports, a Sdkfz 251/10, another MG34 on tripod and a Panzerschreck team. The Brits had a couple of Shermans, a Stuart, a couple of Vickers, some infantry and a 25pdr! As I had put a shift in trying to get my lads finished for the game I was supposed to have Mac allowed me to sub my figures for his to get them a run out – I was worried of course that this meant absolute disaster for my lads as is the law of new figures, as it turned out this was the least of our worries.
My plan was quite simple I was going to move the Marder up to the bend in the road to cover the crossroads and also move the MG34 and 75mm into the same area for the same reason. One of my infantry sections was to make for the farm buildings whilst the Stummel and the other section in another half-track were to work through the wood to the left of the bridge to secure that end.
Darren had a much simpler plan – get in the village quickly and hold it. Out of the two of us his one went a lot better than mine although we both made bloody hard work of it.
I foolishly brought the Marder first and moved it up to the bend in the road which allowed the Brits to bring on their Shermans who proceeded to start shooting it up, although I survived the initial onslaught I received lots of pins which sort of took the Marder out of the first couple of moves. However it did occupy their armour which allowed me to get my MG and IG deployed into position. I did lose the race for the farm building though, although my Stummel got a hit in before they entered the building, and elected to keep my infantry section along a hedge to the bottom of the left hand ploughed field on ambush to overwatch that area. My left flanking infantry section was meanwhile slowly working their way on foot towards the bridge.
Over on the right Daren had motored into the village and had managed to secure the place quite quickly. The immediate threat to him came from the Stuart which moved into the road to his right which was supported by an infantry section, a PIAT and a Vickers. Daren moved his Pz. III over and started firing at it to no effect, he had a go with the 251/10 which also didn’t work, the Panzerschreck also wasn’t doing anything. This carried on all through the game, the Stuart survived about 10 shots only suffering a couple of pins – admittedly Daren did need 5’s most throws to hit but we both threw appalling dice all night.
Over on my side of the table the Shermans brewed up the Marder which only managed to get one badly aimed shot off before its demise, and they then brewed up the Horch that had towed my infantry gun. The 25pdr the rather unsportingly dispatched my MG team with a particularly well aimed shot to which my Infantry gun replied causing a casualty and a bit of pinning. I was making good progress into the wood over on the left and had started to move the Stummel round there as well to try and flank the Brits moving towards the bridge. Daren was quite happy sitting on his objective whilst trying to shoot anything and failing quite badly – although he did manage to tag one man in a brave PIAT team that was sneaking forwards into the centre of town trying to take out is half-track – whilst taking a bit of fire from the 25pdr.
Unfortunately as time was getting on we had to forgo the last move, which I reckon would have seen my left flanking force start trading shots with the Brits on the other side of the bridge, although I think the Stummel would’ve tipped the balance in my favour in that scenario, maybe allowing me to succeed in my objective.
However my failure was not too bad as our opposition also failed in their missions whilst Daren succeeded in his so victory went to the Germans! All in all it was a nice fun game although very strange – I think we managed to hit the Brits a few times all game causing only a few casualties and still won even though we lost two vehicles and a MMG team. Thanks to Mac for putting on the game, and I really liked his German models – I’ll be asking for some advice when my models start to arrive.
I’m still not completely sold on Bolt Action though if I’m honest, but I’ll give it another go – maybe with the full rules it might be ‘better’.