Friday, 16 March 2018

Bolt Action with Mike

I cannot quite express just how much fun this game of BA with Mike was. Absolutely thrilling from start to finish. Mike and I met up at Bristol Independent Gaming where James gave us a very warm welcome, plus he kindly provided most of the scenery. It's been a while since I went along to BIG but I shall certainly be back as soon as I can - highly recommended! Anyway, we played the Top Secret mission, so again my trusty wrecked 251 model was the objective. Mike was using his lovely US Paras and I had my Panzergrenadiers.

Turn 1 saw a steady advance of troops with emphasis on the centre, funnily enough. Here I've deployed a squad on the road plus squads in the fields to either side. Mike has deployed his Paras in a broadly similar manner.

The superb light blue building is the Charlie Foxtrot Models Boulangerie. Lovely! ;o)

Turn 2 and the first German squad reaches the 251. Predictably the US MMG in the ruins showered them with lead, killing several and inflicting a pin.

Since this was pretty much the only weapon with a direct LOS I wasn't too worried. I knew his spotter (for the 60mm mortar) could draw LOS but Mike assured me that his dice rolling had been terrible recently... Out came an Allied dice and bang went the mortar... which dropped the shell plum on top of the squad at the 251! So, 2 more pins and another couple of men killed. With 3 pins I knew the battered squad would need all the support it could get next turn, so the German HQ moved up (and shouted encouragement!)

The spotter is in the upper floor of the ruined house (top of pic)

Turn 3 and the tankers are keen to add some weight, but I'm mindful of both the bazooka in the ruins beyond the Boulangerie de Normandie to the right and the 57mm AT in the fields beyond the Church to the left.

On the right here you can see my Grenadier squad sheltering in the cover of the garden wall behind the Boulangerie. There's US squad in the road (just out of shot) and I think they're aiming to draw my troops away from the objective. I had planned for this squad to enter the back of the Boulangerie and then (if needed) dash out to the objective from the cover of the building.

This turn continued with a series of Allied dice coming out of the bag so the US Mortar fires again (remember it hit previously so only needs a 2+) but amazingly Mike rolls a 1... and I heave a sigh of relief. The Germans on the 251 have only 5 men left out of starting 9 and are already on three pins so another mortar round would have seen them off. But the US MMG keeps up the hail of bullets and another pin is accrued. Thankfully the US sniper team took their lead from the mortar and missed too!

Even with their CO shouting orders, the battered Grenadier squad searching the 251 fail to activate (they are on 4 pins!) so go Down instead. Can't really blame them having been hit by both a mortar round and a hail of machine gun bullets.

A US squad enters the central farmhouse with a view to using it as a jump off point for assaulting the objective, but as they do so the carefully sited German MG42 opens up and inflicts casualties.

The tank commander advances to bring his MMGs to bear on the US squad advancing behind the Church. I had considered the 57mm AT as a target but they're well-sited being behind a wall with a gun shield too, plus the infantry were far more of a threat to the objective. It was a risk for the Panzer as it would clearly expose itself to the dreaded 57mm gun but the tankers had to earn their schnapps.

The next dice out of the bag was an Allied dice. Mike rubbed his hands as he picked up the dice and prepared to fire the 57mm... Bang! But it was yet another 1 from the US C-in-C.

In the pic above you can see that the US Paras behind the Church have been whittled away by shooting from the tank and the central Grenadier squad (near the walled field) plus out of shot to the left is another smaller squad with an LMG and the sniper too.

On the right my Grenadiers have crossed the wall whilst under fire from the US Paras in the road but again Mike's chaps couldn't quite find their targets. I want to get the squad in to the Boulangerie ASAP.

Turn 4 and the tank rumbles forward to give the Grenadiers remaining at the objective some cover. This time it puts an HE round in to the ground floor of the farmhouse, battering the US Paras sheltering inside.

The Para's Bazooka team make a mad dash around the wrecked 251 to fire at the Panzer's flank. The shell hits but Mike rolls a 2 to penetrate the armour (he needed a 3). But it is another pin, bringing the total to two.

The pic above shows only the NCO left of the squad at the 251. That's because the Mortar team got their act together and dropped an accurate shot! However, the squad leader (to my surprise) rolls 3 for his morale and passes!

The 57mm fires again and hits, then penetrates but rolls a 1 for damage, the crew are stunned but the turret is fine. However the tank now has 3 pins.

Turn 5 and again Mike gets the early dice out of the bag but his rolling of D6’s is still not so good. The brave bazooka team tries again but Mike (somehow) rolls another 1. Then the 57mm has another go at the tank... and misses again!

The US mortar tries for the squad searching the 251 (or more accurately the NCO 'hiding' in it)… Yet another 1 to hit when there was only the NCO left to kill.

At last a black dice comes out of the bag. Passing his morale test, the NCO wastes no time running as fast as he can for the German lines, yelling to his CO that he has the precious briefcase.

But… the US HQ group are upstairs in the farmhouse, two men fire and miss but the US CO carefully takes aim and brings the German NCO down. What a shot!

So the papers (denoted by the silver token in the road) are still not quite safely back in German hands.

Having been shot to pieces by the Germans in the ground floor of the Boulangerie, the remants of the US Para squad hop over the garden wall in to the fields, but Jerry is waiting behind the nearby hedge where they blaze away with assault rifles and MP40s.

Turn 6 sees more Allied dice come out of the bag first so the crew of the 57mm finally get their eye in. The shell rips in to the Panzer IV setting the beast on fire. The crew (with 5 pins) fail their morale check and bail out. Meanwhile behind the smoking wreck of the tank, the German CO unit and squad head for the briefcase of vital papers that are still clutched in the bloodied hands of the brave Grenadier NCO.

The scenario dice roll decreed that it was now the end of the game, so technically a draw, but Mike and I decided to ignore that and play on. On both flanks the remnants of the US and German squads traded shots but it was the action in the centre that counted.

The battered remains of a German Grenadier squad had the papers at this point but it was possible that some more crazy shooting from Mike might just save the day! And (astonishingly) this began to happen as the US MMG (now brought up alongside the Boulangerie) killed several, then his HQ unit killed a couple more. Finally the US mortar makes another incredible shot to drop a shell plum on the target, wiping out the Grenadier squad. Again the vital (and somewhat battered) briefcase fell to the floor

Now only the German CO and his trusty sidekick have the chance to retrieve the papers and make it off table. At last, on turn 8 a black dice comes out of the bag and the German CO, with the briefcase tucked under his arm, heads for the board edge!

Wow, what a game that was! A proper roller-coaster of a battle. Mike was, as ever, an absolute gentleman to wargame with, my thanks sir! I'm very much looking forward to our next encounter.


Phil Robinson said...

Stirring stuff indeed, great pics and narrative. It was just like reading a copy of Commando, brilliant.

The Wargames Table said...

Why thank you sir!

George Anderson said...

An exciting game.

Matt Crump said...

Nice game 🙂

Mike Waller said...

Great account of a thoroughly enjoyable battle. Many thanks, Matt, for another terrific game.
I have consigned my dice to the waste plastic pile! (I promise not to throw them in the ocean).

The Wargames Table said...

😂😂😂 I'm sure you'll roll better next time!

Admiral Drax said...

Brilliant stuff - thanks!

I look forward to reading more reports...