19 February 2014

Mega Bolt Action Game: British End Game

Reporting in to complete the After Action report from the British lines.  If you missed the first part look here, or even here if you like Lord Haw Haw's propaganda clap trap of what the Jerries thought of the opening stages of the battle.

Anyway, as Turn 3 commenced artillery fire missions were inbound and my Churchill Mk VI had just rolled onto the board.  I was hoping like heck to get an early activation die to get a shot at the Tiger before its 88 could be brought to bear.
Call for Fire!  Put some shells on that Tiger pronto!
The shells rained down, 2 missions on the right flank and another near the Tiger.  My FO's rounds were pretty accurate, wiping out the remnants of a Fallschirmjager squad in a ruin and heavily suppressing a MMG team in the upper story of the Manor house.  The mission scheduled to come down near the Tiger was delayed though, which was a pity as a few pins would have been handy.
Well done lads!  British artillery neutralises two German squads on the right flank
Sod's Law: the first dice out of the bag was a German one and the Tiger sprang into action. Its gunner swung the big barrel from the burning Tetrarch onto the Churchill, hoping to earn another kill ring.  In the Churchill the noise was deafening as the large projectile hit squarely on the front glacis, but failed to penetrate!  Bravo - and return fire, but the thick smoke from the burning wreck obscured the shot and the round went wide.  Bugger!
The Churchill's thick armour stands up to a direct hit from the Tiger!
On the right and screened by a smoke screen laid by my Mdm Mortar, my para squad rushed forward and crossed the river to take advantage of the shattering artillery barrage to threaten the Manor House
"At the rush lads! Up the guts with heaps of smoke!"
Meanwhile, the wave of British infantry pushed hard up the left flank to converge on the ruined chapel.  They would have to weather some defensive fire to get their but the veteran Paras could probably take it fine and then dish out some punishment to Harry Hun at the end of a bayonet if he didn't scarper quick smart.!
Paras advance on the dismounted Panzergrenadiers in the Chapel

Lieutenant Tipplewink enters the fray in his Bren Gun carrier!
"Forward Men!" 2 infantry platoons run forward under covering fire from a MMG team and a Light Howitzer
And to finish off the turn the Germans snuck some more infantry on from the deployment area and British Forward Air Controller successfully targeted the Tiger for air attack next turn...  Would he roll the dreaded '1' and induce a friendly fire incident from the sky? Or would some hot shot pilot take out the Tiger?

A fighter bomber duly appeared, peppering the area with ordnance and putting four pins on the Tiger.  Not a kill, but rendering it ineffective for the turn.
Good show Biggles!
With the Tiger out of the way, Mr Churchill targeted the new German infantry before they could get to the chapel and dig in.  The HE flew and the bow MG chattered, dispatching all but 3 Germans, whose nerve impressively held.  Meanwhile the Howitzer and MMG had been pounding the squad in the chapel reducing them to four men when Corporal Webb's section stormed the ruins and dispatched them in close combat, taking three casualties of their own. Red Devils indeed!
"Jerry doesn't like it up 'im you know Corporal!"
The Paras close in on the chapel
Corporal Aitkens also had some success on the right flank, his fire and movement breaking the Germans squad in front of the Manor House.

So all was looking good, maybe even time for a cup of tea.  Which is of course when everything goes wrong.
Flanking Germans classically counterattacked on both sides, breaking into the orchard on the left with two infantry squads and trying to get to the chapel.  The distinctive sounds of a Panzer IV breaking down just off the table did bring a wry grin to the Paras (as James rolled box cars to fail to bring it onto the table).
"Who are those foreign looking chaps up ahead?"
While on the right a Panzerpioneer Squad with a flame thrower stormed in on a truck, dismounted and flamed the Manor House which has just had a squad of Infantry enter to clear out the last of the Germans. In addition to wiping out the Tommies to a man, this had the effect of setting the Manor House ablaze.  I guess they had to cover up the evidence of all that stolen artwork.
Flammenwerfer in action!
And to round out the German good fortune, the Tiger rallied and removed all of its pins.  It would be a deadly threat again next turn.  And speaking of the next turn, the German good fortune continued as the delayed British third artillery barrage dropped short into the advancing infantry (Yep, that cursed '1' roll came up!).  Fortunately the losses were minor though some of the squads were a little pinned down.
"Those don't sound like Germans shells landing on us Sir!"
While that cursed Flammenwerfer activated again and wiped out Corporal Aitken's squad outside the burning Manor House.  Time to show some morale fortitude and press on regardless!
Time to knuckle in with some stout morale fibre lads!
With both sides securely holding one objective each, the main effort was now the Chapel and time was running out.  We were to have played 7 turns with an option for an eighth, but the 5th turn would be the last due to time.  Time to rush the ruins, and Jerry had the same idea!  All else was irrelevant to the outcome of the game

Corporal Webb's team leapt into the ruins and dispatched a light mortar squad sheltering in there.  If they could survive they would contest the objective.
Well done - Now keep yer heads down lads!
Furious action at the chapel as squads converge

Meanwhile the Tiger's last shot of the game went wide, missing the Churchill and the British tank missed too.  The yells of a furious Pz IV commander were clearly audible from beyond the orchard as the German armour again failed to appear (much to the amusement of all British commanders, it must be said).  As the game concluded it dawned on me that in its first game my Churchill had stood up to a Tiger, taken a direct hit and lived! Bravo!

And the game itself?  With one objective each and the chapel contested, a gentleman's draw was called.  If we'd had those extra turns the additional Para squads would have gotten into the action decisively I think and cleared the Germans out of the Chapel.  Then again, the Pz IV would likely have shown up too.  No doubt the matter will be debated ad nauseum for tears to come as we recall this most memorable battle!

In summing up, our brave commander Lieutenant Tipplewink said: 
Chaps we gave the Jerry a good biff though I dare say mother will be quite upset to hear that Jerry burnt down the family manor. Just not cricket that the Hun brought along a Tiger tank and the fact they decided to burn down a family prize possession. Have no fear lads this is only a minor set back and I have notified the war office for suitable compensation.


  1. Great part 2. Amazing how things turn around so quickly from what looked like a defeat for the Axis forces into a draw.

  2. Great report and pics!
    Sounded like a very disputed game.

  3. Classic Bolt Action. All going so well and then suddenly the situation is tricky again. Thanks for the multi-part review with great photos. I reckon you can now consider the man cave's beginnings properly started.

  4. nice report. Loved these para in action. Too bad the Tetrach died, it is a great tank, game wise.