Last Wednesday we played the third game in our escalation campaign. Each player kept the surviving troops from the first 500 point game and was allotted 250 points to spend on additional units. Ian, who lost a squad in close combat in his first game, replaced it with a squad one quality level lower than the original. The instructions were as follows.
Matt (US). "After getting the better of the enemy in your chance encounter, you are on the attack. The build up of resources since D Day has been immense, which means you may choose any asset in the army list for your additional 250 points. The practice of parcelling armour down to small infantry units has begun, to help deal with the enemy in the bocage country. If you buy a tank, pay only 90% of the purchase cost for it. Allied air superiority is also established, though there has been a worrying amount of blue on blue attacks since 6 June as pilots have still to learn their trade."
Ian (Fallschirmjaegers). "The defence line has thickened since 6 June and your command has been reinforced. To make up for the loss of 1st squad, a scratch squad has been allocated to you, made up of support troops from regiment HQ. Its quality is only regular.
With the extra 250 points, you may purchase units from the Normandy list. However, bear in mind that Allied air superiority and fuel shortages have greatly hampered the movement of armour up to the front. Panzers are still in short supply and if you choose a tank or assault gun, it must start in reserve. You may not purchase an air observer: the Luftwaffe is totally absent over Normandy at present.
You may set up your troops hidden and you may deploy as many on table troops as you like in fox holes (hard cover)."
As Matt was joining us a bit later, Ian and I played the first game between his Fallschirmjaegers and my Brits. Ian dug in on the wooded hill in the centre of his table edge, with a squad in a half track in reserve behind the hill and an MMG watching a possible covered approach towards his left flank.
I deployed a regular infantry section in my centre with a light mortar. My plan was to hold the enemy's attention with this force while working around his right with two other sections, an MMG in a Bren carrier and my command section. I was ready for losses in the centre, so placed a medic there. An optimistic PIAT team set off to hunt the Hanomag but was swiftly mowed down by Ian's MMG. I also repeated an earlier trick of losing my own MMG to snipers before it fired a shot. But this was about the limit of my misfortune as the plan to work round Ian's right worked and I won the game with a good margin of VPs. I also realised that a good use for my sniper was to hunt enemy snipers.
Sadly we didn't have time for a second full game so at Matt 's suggestion we played our first game of Tank War, with a Panther and Panzer IV taking on three Shermans (with a US half track and a Cromwell standing in for two Shermans). It was fast, fun and nail biting. My Panther took an early beating from concentrated Allied fire, leaving the Panzer IV to try and take revenge. It nearly did so too, but the game went to the Allies. We agreed this could be a lot of fun, provided we got more tanks. Uh-oh!
On 15 February we started an escalation campaign for Bolt Action, set in 1944 Normandy. We began with 500 point armies, with just platoon assets.
Game 1: Ian's Fallschirmjaeger versus Matt's US. Matt fielded two regular and one veteran squads, a 1st Lieutenant and a medic. Ian had two sections of Fallschirmjaegers, one of them in a half track, and a 1st lieutenant.
The scenario: meeting engagement. Back story: With the line stabilising, both sides are feeling for the enemy. They meet around the Maison Jaune, a local notary' house.
Changes to BA scenarios: Losses from this scenario may be carried forward to the next game, with the chances of recovery better for a unit that was not completely wiped out; hence, either side may withdraw units from the table at any time.
Matt arrived first, deploying his three squads together on his right flank. His left was protected from view by bocage (cannot be seen over except by troops lining the bocage). Ian brought his first section with its half-track in on his left, but brought his HQ and second section in on his far right, aiming to outflank Matt. Matt took advantage of the local superiority on his right with concentrated fire against Ian's left, with effective results. With several pin markers, Ian failed a crucial order test and was unable to withdraw before Matt's third squad assaulted his section. This spelt the end of the clash, with Ian's surviving troops linking up with the half track and departing the field. First blood to Matt's US.
Same scenario, my British against Ian's second force of Fallschirmjaegers. I deployed three regular sections, a 1st lieutenant and a light mortar. Ian had an identical force to game 1. Same terrain. I came on closely grouped on the right flank, with the light mortar in a ruined pig sty a little to the left. Ian came on opposite me but, having seen my deployment, shifted quickly to his right. My platoon swung 90 degrees to face Ian's new position. Firing was limited to lmgs and Ian's half track mmg. The British had slightly more success until Ian's MMG scored a lucky hit that removed a Bren team. Having spent most of the game manoeuvring, we ended with an inconclusive draw.
After the games we rolled to see which of our losses would return in time for the next game. Only Ian's fallschirmjaeger section that was destroyed in close combat ceased totally to exist.
In the next game, players will pay for their surviving reduced sections at normal cost, then buy more assets to the new points limit. Ian will have to replace his lost section with a regular section, so one below the quality of his original troops.
Two games in, the points table is:
Matt: played 1. Won 1. 2 points
Ian: played 2. Lost 1, drew 1. 1 point
Tim: played 1. Drew 1. 1 point
We play again on 8 March.
I have spent my spare time this month assembling mdf buildings for Bolt Action. For Christmas, I received kits for a Bakery and Bank, both made by Charlie Foxtrot Models. I finished off the Bakery using Colin Farrant's trusty Chinchilla dust render, which gives a great texture to the outside walls. I kept the bank walls smooth but applied two layers of emulsion paint which still creates a slightly rough plaster effect. I kept the Bakery finish quite bright and weathered the walks of the bank. I wanted some variety between finishes as in the average high street, buildings are repainted at different times, not all together. I decided not to use the Banque de France sign but instead to make a German Feldgendarmerie sign. I figured that this might make for a more interesting back story.
Still on a terrain jag, I then built a ruined enclosure using wall sections by Tamiya. I wanted this to be more like a neglected pen than recent battle damage. It should provide a bit of interest on the outskirts of my village.
I now have three intact buildings and a privy, not yet a metropolis but we're on the way. My next aim is to assemble two or three damaged buildings and some sheds, back yards and general debris.