Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Patrol to nowhere - Bolt Action AAR

Next-to-last friday we gathered for a quick game of Bolt Action. After a year which was dominated by AWI and Black Powder we needed a trip to more modern times and our knowledge of the Bolt Action rules needed a reboot. So one of the boys prepared a table in his annexe and created a scene in Russia in summer or early autumn 1942.
The small village from the German deployment zone's view.
There we met the outskirts of a small Russian village lying in the line of approach of the German forces. The village was occupied by Russian forces of unknown strength and therefor we had the order to reconnoitre it with a small advance guard of light troops. So we fielded some cavalry, a squadron of bikes, a SdKfz 222 with 20mm cannon, an infantry squad mounted on a SdKfz 251 and our platoon leader with his SdKfz 250 against the Red Army which was represented by a couple of green tokens for hidden deployment. Not all of these tokens stood for "real" troops so we didn't know the actual strength of our opposing players. Our mission was to explore as much of those tokens as possible to get a view of the enemy forces here.
To keep the rules simple for this test game neither side fielded artillery, mortars or any other weapons with special rules.
The SdKfz 251 discovering an enemy tank...
The start of the game went rather well. We rushed forward with the bikes and the 251 and both proved better than we feared. The bikes are awesomely fast and the 251 benefited from the recce special rule when it discovered a T34 blocking the road. When the tank took aim the SdKfz made a sudden escape move and disappeared around a hill to evade the T34's deadly cannon.
..but it escaped and the infantry squad it carried dismounted.
Unfortunately sooner or later things exacerbated. It seems we were a bit too brisk and went into a trap set by our Russian opponents.
Our bikers rushing over the fields of Russia.
 When the bikes reached the outer walls of the village three Russian units appeared and laid devastating gunfire on our squad. With some lucky dice they annihilated the bikers in one turn.
After three Russian units appeared the remains of our bike squad turn tail and run.
On the other flank it wasn't better. Altough the tracks of the T34 had a malfunction and left it immobilized (random event controled by our umpire) we didn't managed to destroy the T34. Even a courageous infantry attack with anti-tank grenades didn't put it over the edge.
Unlucky tank hunters...
Into the bargain there were further infantry forces appearing and aiming at the squad dismounted from the SdKfz 251. Those boys got a lot of lead to guzzle.
Kind of Russian counterattack.
 Until then our cavalry was acting as kind of reserve and we sent them into battle then to relieve the heavily cannonaded troops. But anyway there wasn't any chance to dislodge the entrenched Russians.
Cavalry trying to reliev the pinned bikers.
Of course dismounted since cavalry charges were a bit out of fashion in WW II... Unfortunately.
At this point of the game our forces were decreased heavily. Most of the units were either pinnend or badly hurt or even both. But there were still some points of interest to explore:
Still unknown spots on the map...
 We suffered severely when trying to explore the last tokens and finally reached all but three of them before retreat was indispensable.
SdKfz 222 securing the flank and sneaking forward.
 Although we didn't manage to complete our mission it was an interesting game and we had a lot of fun. It was great to play such an agile and quick force but it was lacking strength and firepower to handle contact with a serious enemy. Anyway  this gaming experience confirmed me in creating a light airborne force for Operations Deadstick and Market Garden. Assuming that the opponent doesn't field too many heavy tanks there are a lot of interesting matches to come. Last friday we were able to get a first idea of my Red Devils when we played the Pegasus Bridge scenario in a modified way to test the scenario rules and the army lists. But that's a story for another post...
A perplex squad leader in his scout car.


  1. Very nice looking game and enjoyable AAR! I like Bolt Action rules as I find them quick and easy to understand.


  2. Beautiful pictures and minis, love the bikers and the battlefield!

  3. amazing table! Really great! Is the background image painted or a photograph?

  4. Very nicely painted figures and a great great table. It must have been a treat to game with all this stuff.

  5. Excellent report, looking forward to the next.

  6. WOW! Stunning looking game - great terrain and figs - well done Monty!

  7. Beautiful tabletop! That had to be even better in person.

  8. Great report and wonderful photos Monty!!!

  9. You never disappoint Stefan. Beautiful table and I enjoyed reading about the action.

  10. Hi folks,

    thanks a lot for the nice comments.
    Indeed we enjoyed the evening a lot. Most of the miniatures as well as the table are from the collection of one of our club members. The background is a printed photograph of some kind of hill landscape. Normally he uses it as backdrop for miniature photography.


  11. Really impressive table and figures; still not sold by the rules though; hey,ho - everyone to their own :)

  12. Good to see wargamers using original scenarios - more effort but rewarding. Players spend so much time arguing about rules, but very little is said about scenarios - a good scenario will be a good game in any half decent set of rules.