Bolt Action Battles

This week my gaming group ran a Bolt Action tournament, 1000 points.

We have a good number of players in our area, which is why we were somewhat disappointed that we didn’t get a great showing on the day (only 5 of 10 promised showed). We carried on anyway, with the organizer sitting out to keep it even. We had 2 German players (myself included) and 2 American players. My force was 3 Heer Infantry squads, a Pioneer squad in a Hanomag, a MMG, Medium Mortar, PaK 36 AT gun, 2nd Lieutenant, sniper, and a Panzer III.

First scenario was Maximum Attrition, with my Germans vs. Americans. This American force was plenty of small infantry squads (the meta around here is lots of small squads, though I don’t play it like that) backed by a Sherman, scout car, an Engineer squad, air observer, and a bazooka team. Under the cover of darkness, we both advanced, with my Panzer knocked out by 3 6’s from the bazooka on the first turn (ouch). After that the only real shooting was my sniper, who collected 4 kills over the course of the game. Then the sun came up and the real firing began. Short range shooting and close assaults cut squads to pieces.In the end, I had lost my Panzer, a Heer squad, and the Hanomag (in addition to several men from other squads), while the Americans lost their bazooka team, 3 Rifle squads, and men from other squads. Overall, a draw, though my opponent was ahead on VP’s.

Second scenario was Point Defense, vs. the other American army. His army favored several minimum-sized squads so he could have 2 platoons, allowing for 2 air observers and 2 snipers. The first turns saw 2 aerial bombardments on my lines, crippling 1 Heer squad and killing my MMG. Another strafe later crippled another Heer squad. I tried pushing to take an objective, cutting American infantry down and using cover while I could. My sniper took out one air observer before he could call in his second air strike and a Lieutenant who was rallying the American lines, while my PaK 36 nailed one of his snipers. I lost the Pioneers, MMG, Mortar, Lieutenant, and several riflemen, while the Americans lost 2 Rifle squads, air observer, lieutenant, a sniper, and lots of random rifles. In the end, my opponent held his objectives, so it was another draw on VP’s.

Third scenario was Hold Until Relieved, vs. the other German player. Our armies are very different. He had 3 Hanomags, a Stuka zu fuss, air observer, lieutenant, Pioneers, sniper, and 3 Brandenburg squads. The army was full of assault rifles, so his small squads could easily outshoot my larger rifle-armed squads. He was the defender, so I had to push up to an estate in the center alongside a road where the objective sat. The game was a slaughter, with few models left on either side by the end. The Stuka zu fuss nailed one of my Heer squads first turn, making sure it was unable to act the rest of the game (6 pin markers by the end), while his planes dive-bombed his own objective-holding squad, wiping them out. The center saw several assaults and plenty of crossfire until I had a single Infantry model holding the objective at the end of Turn 7. I lost 2 Heer squads, my Lieutenant, the MMG, and all but one of the Pioneers, while the other force lost the 3 Brandenburg squads, the Pioneers, all 3 Hanomags, the Stuka zu fuss, air observer, Lieutenant, and the sniper (taken out by my medium mortar team, the first time it’s hit in a game).

The overall result for me was 2 Draws and a Win, which made me winner on Tourney points and VP’s. Fun series of games, though I was reeling in all of them until the very end.

I added a couple new units to my army before the tournament.

The Pak 36 (Panzerabwehrkanone 36) anti-tank gun was the most recent addition. For early war games, like my army is built for, it seems to do very well. I painted it in the same German Grey as the vehicles. In the course of the tournament, it accounted for a sniper (blew him out of a clock tower ala Saving Private Ryan), a SdKfz 251 (and the Heer squad inside), and a SdKfz 250. It also glanced off a Sherman, forcing a motivation check that went fubar (lucky I know, but satisfying).

The Flammenwerfer team is another very useful unit. I’m of the opinion it might be too good in-game. It costs the same as a light machine gun in a squad, but I have yet to see a flame thrower attack that didn’t simply destroy the target every time. The flammenwerfer is usually part of my Pioneer squad, riding in the army’s Hanomag for rapid deployment. In the tournament, it eliminated a US bazooka team (running out of fuel after that) and Rifle squad. It got taken out by a sniper in the third game before it could get in range of potential targets.

What’s next for my force? Not sure. I might add some more weapon and support teams to let me change up on a whim. I might also upgrade units for Mid-War battles. We’ll see.

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6 Responses to “Bolt Action Battles”

  1. I really like what you did with the flame thrower flames. Looks really good. I must add, that given the modern German flag is red, black, gold, the flames get yet another layer of meaning ;). The sabot bases are also a good idea. I assume they can also skirmish?

    • Anopheles Says:

      Thanks, the flames were tricky but I got lots of references, even actual German flammenwerfers in action (wanted to get the fuel mix right, you know?).
      Yes, the flamethrower and his support crewman are separate from the team base. This is done for storage, but also so I can remove either man when needed (crewman removed, or the flamethrower man running out of fuel).

      • Anopheles Says:

        For my other weapon teams (like squad LMGs or the Pak 36). I keep all the crew on the same base, using wound markers to keep track of casualties. The crews are posed in ‘action’ at their weapon, crowded in, so it’d be harder to put them on their own bases.

  2. Sorry, that should read black, red, gold.

  3. AdvanceOp Says:

    Love the fire effects on the flame thrower! Haven’t yet added AT gun to my SS, or tried them in Bolt Action. Must have? Or will hand held devices like ‘faust’s and ‘schreks get you by?

    • Anopheles Says:

      I’ve only used the Pak 36 in these few games so far. It packs a nice punch, especially on thin-skinned transports and light tanks. Its range and higher survivability compared to say panzerfauats or bazookas is a plus, but I’m sure its lack of maneuverability and restricted fire arc could pose problems.
      I seem to be the only player in my group who uses an anti-tank gun, so that might tell me something. But for an early war force, it’s nearly my only option. More playing is called for!

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