Bolt Action: Key Positions.

I met up with Paul to get a game in for the Bolt Action escalation league. Paul set up the table and then we chose to play the Key Positions scenario since it was one of the monthly missions. Since it was one of the special required missions there were a couple of changes to it for the league. There were extra objectives, Three of them had to be placed near the center line and an infantry unit could chose to blow an objective up if it ended the turn on it. These changes ensured that there would be fighting, since several of them HAD to be in the center, and you couldn’t leave them undefended in case your opponent rushed up and destroyed one you were counting on claiming at the end of the game.

The objectives were mostly clustered around the patch of forest and the ruined buildings on the left side of the board, with only three of the ten objectives following the road up the right side.

The first two turns were fairly uneventful as we deployed onto the table and traded a couple of shots across the battlefield. We both had two units flanking, Paul had a flame thrower team in a kubelwagon and I had an pioneer team in a truck.

The exception was my Puma coming out late turn one and getting a great hit on Paul’s Hanomag with a squad in it that was poised to take an objective at the end of the turn. I rolled a six to hit and a one to damage! Despite that being enough to damage the Hanomag, one’s don’t do damage! I put a single pin on the Hanomag and the squad inside. Paul’s howitzer armed Panzer III came out and missed a shot! That single pin would wind up being very important on his green volksturm squad. We both realized that they couldn’t exit the halftrack because it had run to get up there.

The turn starts with the the Panzer III moving into cover and nailing the Puma with a shell, failing to damage with its +2 pen vs my Puma’s 8 armor, but putting 2 pins on it. The Puma strikes back, rolling the 5 it needed to hit, a six on the damage resulting in massive damage and another 6 on one of the dice, brewing it up! Paul’s Hanomag had parked itself ontop of an objective, allowing him to blow it up at the end of the turn. His green troops inside had failed 3 activation rolls due to the single pin, but were still able to destroy the objective while inside the transport. Paul had also moved another squad up to sit on an objective near his deployment zone. My troops in the center of the table were ready to spread out and take these two objectives since I didn’t think I could take three of the objectives on Paul’s half of the table, so I needed to stop him from blowing these up. Late turn 3 I rushed my flanking truck onto the table, firing it’s machine gun point blank into the volsktrum squad sitting on the objective in the rear. I inflicted 5 casualties but he still left the man on the objective. Paul rolled a 1 for the result of his Green ability, adding FOUR pins to the squad. I immediately fired my sniper, adding another and killing the man on the objective and leaving the squad with a single man with a panzerfaust. Paul’s green squad in the Hanomag was finally able to make it out, just not the way he wanted. The truck had a pioneer squad in it that jumped out and lit the halftrack on fire, blowing it up and forcing the squad out and down, surrounded by enemy machine gun, they didn’t last long. The lone survivor of the squad in the rear got it’s revenge, fire off it’s panzerfaust through the pioneer squad and blowing the truck up.

Meanwhile in the center of the board.

By turn 4 I had advanced two squads and a truck up to a couple ruined houses, facing off against Paul’s one squad and a Puma. The Puma had missed a couple shots into my truck, which was sticking close to the infantry so it didn’t rout. Shots were traded back and forth, mortars and artillery missed. Turn 4 opened with an advance into partial cover and a point blank shot into the front of the Puma with two panzerfausts. Succes brewed it up. That was quickly followed up by a howitzer hitting with it’s indirect shot nailing five men in ruined building right behind the smoking Puma. The left flank had collapsed and the center was following.

(that building HAD a full squad in it a second ago…)

Paul’s latch ditch effort to kill my Puma was to rush the Hanomag up to point blank range and hop his flamethrower out to take care of it. Unfortunately after his Hanomag flanked up I drew a die before he could get his team out of it and destroyed the car with a shot from the Puma’s AT gun. The team was forced out, took FIVE hits and was destroyed. I was surprised that I could roll more hits than the team had but I couldn’t find anything that said it was limited. This only left a couple of Paul’s units on the board. His command team, a sniper, one squad that had taken a couple of hits and a MG42 team that had so far not fired a shot.

Turns 5 and 6 saw me mopping up what was left, one squad got back into the truck to rush forward and kill his command team, my LT gunned down the sniper with STG44 fire, the mortar team rushed forward to capture an objective as I moved guys around to try and take as many as I could.

The game was a victory on my part, holding 7 of the 10 objectives on the board. Paul played well, but my dice were on fire and he failed to damage at a couple of key points. His Puma was never able to get into position to get a shot on mine without giving me point blank shots at his rear with panzerfausts. His Panzer III was taken out before it could get shots on any of my infantry and his panzerfaust armed troops were stuck in the Hanomag with a single pin keeping them from activating. My howizter only hit once, but I was able to follow it up with a successful attack that caused a failed morale check.

I’ve tried to keep this list mobile as the league goes on, wanting to play a panzer grenadier list. Most of the time I’m able to get a squad into position with a well timed transport activation and support it with the trucks guns for a turn or two before it gets nuked. This game I was able to use my trucks very effectively, deploying the pioneers just when I needed them and redeploying a squad to secure the backfield late in the game. This is probably the best use of the not normally long lived trucks I will ever have. For the 54 points they cost I’m usually very happy with the one round of mobility and usually two rounds of machine gun fire they give me.

I had expected the road to play more of a role, but after the objective placement and unit deployment early in turn 1 I had decided that my focus was on my left flank, using the hill to hide my Puma until it had secured that side. My plan was to use the blown up truck as cover and advance on Paul’s Puma, or hit it with panzerfausts if it moved on me first. Three squads with two panzerfausts each and the flamethrower in the pioneer squad were my backup plan.

29, Lets Go! Scenario 2. Delaying Action at Arthenay.

Dan and I continued the 29, Lets Go! campaign with scenario 2, a delaying action at Arthenay. Our first game was a 4 player version of the Probe into La Cambe. Both Dan and Matt wrote up nice AARs of it on their blogs.


I was an American player in the first scenario and my flank bogged down as two squads got caught out in the open after trying to exploit a double activation. I hopped over a hedge after rolling two sixes, counting on rushing forward and laying down some close range fire on the second activation. Unfortunately the next toss of the dice didn’t allow me to do anything with those squads. They got caught in the open and torn up over the course of a couple of German activations. The two Shermans that charged up the road to reinforce them got ambushed by a panzerschreck team and an off board 88 laying in ambush. It was getting late and we had to call the game. The Americans started with 11 force moral and I believe we were down to 6 at about 10:30 with my platoon pretty much combat in-effective and the two Shermans knocked out we all felt it was just a matter of mopping up the remaining units and we called it as a German victory. The Americans withdrew and called in artillery and leveled the farm (we didn’t feel like replaying the scenario).


Dan and I met to play the second scenario. Dan brought his Americans and I fielded the German side this time. Setting up the table as it is pictured in the campaign book leaves a lot of open field for the Americans to charge across. I was looking forward to the MG42 getting a work out. We played out the Patrol Phase and decided that the fields counted as light cover, so a jump off point could be deployed there. I put a jump off point in an orchard, a small walled section and I had to place one farther back next to a house becuase of the rules for the scenario. Dan had one in the field, one in an orchard at the edge of his table and one behind a long row of hedges. I was able to lock his patrol markers down and force him to put the jump off point almost at the edge of the table. This was my plan since I had two barbed wire sections to put down on the side of the hedge near the road, stopping him from hammering away at the MG42 in the walled in section at close range. It paid off since the machine gun team pretty much held that side of the table. Click on the photos to enlarge them.


Dan got a double activation right off the bat. This allowed him to deploy almost his entire platoon onto the table. Unfortunately they had nothing to shoot at! He held back his Sherman and forgot about a second .30 cal team for the rest of the game. Dan’s mortar team fired often but never caused a casualty. I guess it evens out my sniper being all but useless, causing a single casualty.


I had a good activation and deployed the machine gun team and one squad into the orchard. This squad would wind up holding off the Americans on that side of the board all game with fantastic rolls, 6-8 hits per phase stacking the shock and casualties. Lots of letters home to mom because of the MG42 there.

Dan had deployed a squad on the hedges which exchanged fire with my MG42 team behind the stone wall. The hard cover was working to my advantage and he decided he needed to rush the wall and kill my men. On a double activation he hopped the wall and moved forward, firing at close range. I had been luck all night with my casualty rolls but they were catching up with me. Four shock and a casualty racked up and the team was in danger of being pinned.

On my activation I deployed my senior leader to support the machine gun and a squad into the house to reinforce the flank. The senior leader removed some shock and ordered them to return fire. Despite the Americans being in the open I didn’t inflict enough casualties.

I decided to use a CoC die to end the turn, giving me the next activation. The senior leader removed the last of the shock and ordered the team to open up again on the American squad in the open. My reinforcing squad was in place and opened up on them too. The angles meant that only the MG42 team could get line of sight on them but 10 dice isn’t all that bad and then added to the GI’s bad day. Dan took the next opportunity to jump the squad back over the hedge just after they lost their junior leader.

The Americans in the wheat field were not having any better luck. They had stalled once they entered the fields and were trying to trade fire with the German squad in the orchard. Odds were on the Americans side since they had a squad backed up by a .30 cal team but the dice gods were not on Dan’s side. The German Orchard squad were crack shots. 10-15 dice per turn were resulting in 5-8 hits regularly. Dan was having some luck on the casualty results but it just kept adding up.

His return fire wasn’t as effective, either not enough hits or good results on the casualty rolls. I lost a couple men but the shock wasn’t coming quick enough. Repeated activation with the junior leader were keeping them in check. By the time the Sherman was deployed in support Dan had both his Senior leaders supporting that flank. The American infantry squad was whittled down to just one BAR and a couple rifles and the .30 cal was taking hits (although not many pins). It was all he could to do keep the shock down. He did manage to rally them back from a break though, losing the broken team that had failed to assault the stone wall on the other flank in the process. The Sherman and some covering fire from the squad held back in reserve quickly forced the orchard squad into pinned and to broken status, forcing my senior leader to dash across the road and halt their retreat. It didn’t matter, the hedge side of the board had collapsed and the Germans were pushing the counter attack.

After the Americans had jumped back over the hedge to take cover they quickly were pinned and then broken.

As they fled the Germans hopped up and charged the jump off point. Dan had been fairly lucky on his morale rolls, bringing him down a lot slower than I would have liked so I wanted to get the JOP from him. Plus, I have never taken a jump off point before so I wanted to have the glory! I had been holding a squad in reserve, not needing it yet and hadn’t decided where to deploy it. I quickly deployed it and charged it forward. The squad in the house had to run forward, adding shock as they went. Just as the reached the hedge the Sherman came on board and as it crept up it peppered the bushes with machine gun fire, threatening to halt me before I reached the JOP.

As the Sherman crept up again for a better shot my Marder’s that were laying in ambush opened up, brewing the tank up and ending the game. I had captured the JOP and destroyed the tank on in the same turn, dropping the force morale to 0 and forcing the retreat.

This had been the first game I’ve actually played to completion. Dan had been rolling ok with the morale loss and only lost 2 points once so it was a real challenge to knock him down I think. One more shock on my MG42 and the charge up to the wall would have succeeded I think. I had three full chain of command dice at that point (having started with two from the scenario) and I was forced to use one to get my senior leader to remove the shock and return fire with the machine gun. He was in a really exposed position and I was afraid that Dan would deploy his senior leader on that flank, rally the section and close in. The machine gun was already down to a 4 man team with two shock and without another activation he could have broken the team. I had a full squad right there and would have immediately engaged him, but that machine gun was essential in holding both flanks.

Hindsight is 20/20, I think if Dan had deployed his third squad to the hedges instead of behind the wheat field it would have made a huge difference. I certainly wouldn’t have taken the jump off point. Dan also forgot about one of his .30 cal teams and his mortar was pretty useless. if he had taken two .50 cal teams (they reduce cover) he would have taken the orchard. All of the hedges were only light cover, hammering at the squad there with a .50 cal would have resulted in far more shock and, more importantly casualties and he would have advanced through the fields, forcing me to defend from the house. I need to find my .50 cal teams and paint them up!

The Germans have pretty limited support options in this campaign unfortunately. They have no vehicles and no mortars, they can take an infantry gun once, and a Pak38 once. They can take a Pak40 for seven points, a MG42 or a forward observer for four, a sniper team for three points and after this second scenario they can take a squad of green conscript troops but will suffer a penalty to their morale rolls at the beginning of the scenario if they do. The rest of the options are roadblocks, barbed wire, entrenchments, mine fields, medical orderly and an adjutant. Pretty limited combat options. I had meant to bring my Pak40, but forgot. I’m glad I did since the MG42 was essential!

The Americans can take (and sometimes HAVE to take) Shermans, both .50 and .30 machine guns, mortars (I’ve never had much luck but they also drop cover by one level when they hit), flame throwers, engineer teams, extra bazookas (to hit what?) and have the option of doubling up on BARs. Obviously the Americans are on the offense and brought everything possible over for the invasion, but it certainly looks pretty lopsided. This is the third game of CoC I’ve played this year and I’m starting to get the hang of it!

Another week’s worth of work.

I finished up another group of minis and vehicles this past week. Click on the images for larger pictures.

First up is a pair of SDKFZ 251’s and a Stug III for my friend. The Hanomag’s are Warlord’s new 251/10’s that came with the Band of Brothers boxed set. I magnetized the Pak36, I still need to magnetize and paint the MG42’s, so I guess it’s not completely finished. The Stug III is a Rubicon model, with the barrel magnetized so it can be used as a Stug or a Stuh. Again I have to finish the other barrel. Three more Rubicon Stug’s are being built so both me and Murph can have two each. Murph wanted a simple Dunkelgelb paint job and some decals, so a simple wash and highlight was all it needed after that. We’re not trying to model any specific unit, and after an hour or so of internet research it seemed that by the late war they were putting markings where ever they wanted, when they even bothered. So I just kinda put things where they looked logical. I had assembled them before thinking about decals,  so I think next time I will move the stowage a little bit so I can put numbers on the sides. I have plenty more 251’s and 250’s on the way!

I finished two West Wind Kubelwagons. They were painted and waiting on decals so I could wash and highlight them. Once the above vehicles were done I slapped decals on them and finished them up! They’re nice little models, but they’re all metal so you could hurt someone by dropping them! I’m using these in Bolt Action so one has an MG42 and the other has an officer as a passenger. I’m planning on finishing two more for me and another two for Murph later.

Next up were some more 251’s and a Puma that I had finished painting and never put decals on. I went a little heavy with the wash, they were the first vehicles I had painted, but I think it just make them look a little dingy and road-weary. I have some German Pioneers for the engineer half track waiting to be painted up!

Group Shot!

The figures I got done were mostly artillery and mortar crew. Murph got a pair of medium mortars from Black Tree Designs on a recent sale and I managed to paint up a bunch of the crew, but somehow forgot to paint up the second mortar itself. They’re nice little sculpts and fit in well with Warlord’s for significantly cheaper.

I picked up a pack of West Wind’s Pak40 crew to supplement my Warlord weapons when I’m playing Chain of Command. CoC has most weapons with their historic crew complement, while Bolt Action uses a standard number across the nations for the class they fit the weapon into. Most of the crew in the pack are specifically Pak40 crew, but enough of them are generic that they could be crew for anything.

After that was a mix of weapon crew for several warlord weapons. Some Nebelwerfer, some mortar and some generic enough to be anything.

I also started some motorcycle and side car figures. I can’t paint the ‘inside’ of them when they’re assembled so I did the motorcycles first, leaving room for the side cars. These are more West Wind figures I got from Old Glory here in the US. Cheep enough after the discount card and they’ll give some variety to the force. I have several more coming in from Bolt Action and Black Tree Design. Murph wants to run multiple machinegun side cars in a mobile force so he put in an order and I’ve been thinking about doing some motorcycle troops as well. Between me and Murph I have seven machine gun side car combos, four motor cycle side car combos, six motorcycles with pylon passengers and six motorcycles with just the driver. So, you know, a platoon’s worth of troops on motorcycles. We’ve joked about just running a motorcycle gang for a game.


I also painted two Bolt Action troops with STG44’s that didn’t get photographed separately. They were sitting around on my painting desk with just a base coat of Field Grau, so they got tossed in with the rest of this batch.

Another group photo!


Next up on the painting desk are 15 US Army casualties and 6 German grenadiers. I’m looking to spice up my game photos and taking pictures of tipped over figures isn’t cutting it anymore!