Monday, July 7, 2014

Bolt Action Day - Two AARs In One Post!

Hello all,

This past Saturday, July 5th, Roy Scaife, John Lantz, Matt Hilzendrager and I got together to play two side-by-side games of Bolt Action.  Roy and I played a bocage scenario while John and Matt played an eastern front scenario.

Bocage Breakout

US versus Germans.  In bocage country hills provided key strategic positions.  In this scenario, the allies are attempting to capture a hill that is occupied by Germans.  The allies must cross the bocage and successfully take the hill in order to win the scenario.

Bocage Special Rules (Bolt Action)

Roy and I put some special rules together to govern the considerations of combat and movement in bocage country.

Visibility: Vehicles cannot see through bocage at all (even if beside it).  Infantry that is in contact with bocage can see through to the other side, but cannot be seen unless they shoot.

Shooting: Troops being shot at that are "in bocage" (having shot so they can be seen) count as being in heavy cover (-2).

Movement: Vehicles may not cross bocage unless they can headgerow cutters (in which case they can move at advance rate and will create a gap that can be passed by other vehicles/infantry).  Vehicles may not "run" through gaps created by headgerow cutters).  Infantry must use a run action to move through bocage.  When moving through bocage using a run action, the unit ends up directly on the other side of the bocage and can make no further movement.

Assaults: Infantry can only assault another unit if it is directly on the other side of the bocage (and must use a run action).  The models do not have move and combat is resolved simultaneously.

Order Of Battle - US

1 x Regular Officer, 1 x Extra Rifleman
1 x Veteran Medic, 1 x Extra Rifleman
1 x Regular Artillery FOO Team
2 x Regular Bazooka Teams
1 x Regular HMG Team
2 x Regular Light Mortar Teams
3 x Regular Infantry Sections (1 x SMG, 1 x BAR, 10 x Riflemen) (1 of these sections was not in the pictured forces, added post game to the OOB)
1 x Veteran Airborne Section (1 x SMG, 1 x BAR, 10 x Riflemen)
3 x Regular Sherman 75mm Tanks w hedgerow cutters
1 x Regular Sherman 76mm Tank w hedgerow cutter (not in the picture forces, added post game to the OOB)
1 x Regular M10 Tank Destroyer
1 x Regular Stuart Light Tank

Order Of Battle - Germany

1 x Veteran Officer
1 x Veteran Medic
1 x Veteran MMG Team
1 x Veteran Medium Mortar Team + Spotter
1 x Veteran Heavy Mortar Team + Spotter
2 x Veteran Infantry Sections (1 x SMG, 2 x AR, 1 x LMG, 1 x Panzerfaust, 5 x Riflemen)
1 x Veteran Panzerschreck Team
1 x Veteran Sniper Team
1 x Veteran Light Anti-Tank Gun Team
1 x Veteran StuG III G
1 x Veteran Hetzer

The table setup we used is below - we played on a 4 foot by 6 foot table ... with the allies advancing across the length of the table.  The German MMG Team, Sniper Team, Panzerschreck Team, and Light Anti-Tank Team could all setup to the mid-point of the table.  The remaining German forces had to setup around the hill.  The two spotters for the German mortar teams deployed on the top of the hill in the woods and count as hidden.

The allies could setup their units up to the road beside the first line of bocage.

Table setup and initial positions.

The game was a slog fest ... as it should have been.  The game was a lot of fun (I had concerns it would just be waiting for the allies to get through the bocage).  Early on I had great success with my mortars and knocked out a Sherman (just after it had breached the first line of bocage).  The allies would manage to breach the final bocage line ... with both sides being shot up badly.  The last remaining tank on the table was the StuG III G ... but there were still two allied bazooka teams running around.  The Panzerschreck and Bazooka teams were highly effective in this type of terrain.

Roy, with his luck, managed to call down the artillery barrage on the hill ... but rolled a 1 and as a result I got to place the barrage within 24" of his intended target.  I dropped it down ... and hit both German and US units ... but many pins got put out on US units.  This was late in the game (turn 7) and was a big swing for the Germans.  The Hetzer was hit by a Bazooka, immobilized, and with the artillery barrage effectively knocked out (6 pins, immobilized, with a fixed hull gun and pointing in the wrong direction).

The Germans managed to win ... good dice rolls, unlucky allied barrage, and the US just not having enough left over by turn 7 to take the hill all landed the result with the Germans.  Even with that, it was a close fought game up until turn 7.

We ended up adjusting the allied forces after the game to add a 76mm Sherman (with hedgerow cutter) and a 3rd regular US army section to balance out the forces some more.  We plan on running this scenario at Celesticon in September (along with Pegasus Bridge and an eastern front scenario).

Pictures below should tell the rest of the story ...

This is where the artillery barrage landed - lots of pins!

Matt (left) and Roy (right) talking post-game.

Somewhere On The Eastern Front ...

Russians versus Germans.  This scenario was more of a meeting engagement ... however the Russian forces are lacking terrain and are in a more offensive roll than the Germans.  Both sides moved onto the board in the first turn.  A 4 foot by 4 foot board was used and is pictured below.

The game board.

Order Of Battle - Russia

I'm a bit fuzzy here ... but this is fairly close:

1 x Regular Officer
1 x Veteran Medic
1 x Regular Commissar
1 x Regular Sniper Team
1 x Regular Medium Mortar Team
1 x Regular MMG Team
2 x Regular Light AT Gun Teams
1 x Regular AT Rifle Team
2 x Regular Infantry Sections
1 x Regular SMG Section
3 x Regular T-34 Medium Tanks
1 x Regular T-70 Light Tank

Order Of Battle - Germany

1 x Regular Heer Officer
1 x Veteran Heer Medic
1 x Regular Heer Medium Mortar Team + Spotter
1 x Regular Heer MMG Team
2 x Regular Heer Infantry Sections (2 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 1 x Panzerfaust, 6 x Riflemen)
1 x Veteran SS Infantry Section
1 x Sd.Kfz. 251/22 "Pak Wagon"
1 x Panzer V (Panther) Tank

The Russians advanced hard.  The Germans struggled with the terrain (LOS, firing lanes).  The Sd. Kfz. 251/22 was assaulted and destroyed by infantry.  A T-34 immobilized the Pather which was eventually assaulted by more Russian infantry and eventually knocked out.  The T-70 light tank and a T-34 was destroyed.  Bloody close range shooting and some assaults took there toll on both sides, but more so on the Germans.  The Russians won.

Lots of pictures below of the game.

All in all a great day of Bolt Action was had!


  1. Looks like two great games!

  2. Excellent report Jay! I don't know where you find the time! Two quick questions (sorry for all the questions all the time, I really feel like "that guy" on your blog!), the building on your Normandy board - is it a Crescent Root building? And the telephone poles, are those the new 4ground ones? What are your thoughts on them?

    1. lol ... not at all ... you ask good questions :-) I was off last week ... that helped my time situation ...

      The building is indeed one of the Crescent Root buildings. Also, yes, those are the 4Ground telegraph poles ... which I think are excellent ... I need to paint the edges of mine and use washers to base them ... if you use them "stock" the base is MDF and too light to really keep it upright ... but an easy fix with a washer base.

  3. Cheers Jay! You aren't by chance going to Historicon are you? Would love to sign up to play in one of your games!

    1. I'd love to ... but it wasn't in the cards this year ... I'm planning to go next year ... not sure if I could run a game ... that would be a heck of a lot to ship/bring with me. I'll be at Celesticon on the labour day weekend (in Fremont, CA) ;-) lol ... will be running several Bolt Action games ... and will be bringing along my Dead Man's Hand stuff. We'll also be playing in that French Foreign Legion game you may have seen pictures of from my Kublacon report.

  4. Sounds like a great time!
    And looks absolutely stunning.


  5. It looks great Jay, I can't wait to get my US guys finished so I can get started on Bolto Action. Fantastic looking board too.

    1. Thank you sir. I took a look at your blog ... looks like you are making steady progress on you US force ... keep it up :-)

  6. Jay,

    Those grain fields are amazing. Did you make those with faux-fur? Can you give me some details on how you did them?

    1. Those are indeed faux fur. Trimmed with scissors/clippers and spray painted.