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.

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