26 February 2014

Casualties Bonus round

These 15mm figs were my entry for last week's Casualty bonus round in the Painting Challenge.  They are for use with the Battlegroup Kursk rules, which include provision for all sorts of great support troops from line laying communications vehicles to field hospitals.  I made a medic/stretcher bearer unit for both my Russian and German forces, having which makes the Army more resilient as the lads know they'll be looked after if they get hit. 

The German medic cradling the casualty is by Peter Pig.  Its a fantastic sculpt and I just had to buy a pack of these from Mick's Metal Models when I saw them at CanCon in January.   The Russian stretcher party are from the Skytrex WW2 Command decision range.

So with three weeks to go I have a few more entries up my sleeve.  Accordingly, I've upped my points target to 800pts!  Not enough to catch the Dux of course, but a very respectable total I think.

20 February 2014

Mega Bolt Action Game: German End Game

With the main British thrust towards the ruined cathedral now clearly evident, the 21st Panzer Division was committed to the German right flank. The PzIV-H swept around in an outflanking manoeuvre to surprise the British , but poor navigation in the winding French roads meant they couldn't find the right turn off, and failed to enter for the last two turns of the game! The two remaining veteran infantry squads however didn't need roads (or directions), and moved in from the right flank to reinforce the cathedral. One squad became engaged whilst crossing the orchard with the Brit paras moving up, whilst the other made it into the ruins unopposed.

Spotting round! Fortunately no casualties, but an omen of what to come

Jabos!!! The Brit Fighter bomb strafes the Tiger with little effect, except 4 pins....

Meanwhile, on the German left flank, the Sturmpionieres set fire to the Manor house, driving out the Brit para squad inside and setting the whole house on fire. One way to secure an objective.....

Tiger had a crack at the Churchill, but although the shot hit, it failed to penetrate and merely stunned the British crew....

And that concludes our 6000 point Bolt Action after action reports - we hope you've enjoyed the differing perspectives of the battle from either side of the table!

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.

17 February 2014

Mega Bolt Action Game: German AAR Part 1

 The German Forward Observer sights the British command group, clearly planning their next move....

If you missed the first part of this Battle report have a look here

From Leuntant James:

The war started for the gallant Fallschirmjaeger and 21st Panzer Division stationed east of Caen with a preliminary bombardment from British artillery...the few Germans stationed in the forward outposts received some near misses, with one unfortunate squad of Fallschirmjaeger suffering a direct hit whilst sheltering in the ruins of the gardener's hut in the grounds of the Manor.

As the smoke cleared, the German defenders called forward their reinforcements, but not before the British snipers began to take their toll.

The FO and two Sniper team are themselves sniped before able to do a thing. The Light mortar team loses the loader to a third British sniper, again before firing a shot. The Regular infantry squad forward deployed in the ruined cathedral immediately took overwatch positions along the length of the ruined church wall, looking for advancing Tommies, their medic and bodyguards setting up behind them.

The German troops watch anxiously for any sign of advancing British soldiers

The Fallschirmjaeger suffered pins from the bombardment to all their deployed units, including the 105mm howitzer and 120mm heavy mortar deployed on the hill overlooking the manor grounds. Fortunately the centre troops were spared the worst of the bombardment, and these began to inch forward to the ruined house.

The Fallschirmjaeger arty and heavy mortar remained pinned for most of the game, thanks to the prelim bombardment

The Englanders began to bring their artillery up onto the hill across the stream from the Manor, and astute Germanic soldiers detected the tell tale glint off binoculars from potentially up to three British artillery observers deploying across the stream..only two squads of troops could be seen by the German defenders lurking in the treeline across the stream, and given reports of further British forces moving up the Germans spread their forces across the entire town, not yet convinced of where the main enemy thrust may strike.

Tommies lurking in the treeline....

 The first Brit paras begin advancing through the orchard on the German right flank....

Was is das ?? MORE Englanders!!

The first sign of trouble on the right flank- a Tetrarch light tank attached to the Brit Paras attempts to cross the stream...and is duly dealt with by the arriving Tiger 1

 The German reinforcements arrive to bolster the Cathedral ruins as the first squad begin to suffer casualties from British fire

 Achtung! Churchill! The first real sign that a dedicated British push towards the German right flank was underway

Stay tuned for Part 2!

16 February 2014

Mega Bolt Action Game: British AAR Part 1

Before I get deep into the action, I just wanted to say what a cool game this was even before it began and my excitement level was high. The week prior James had emailed out a spectacular scenario briefing pack with maps and piccies, followed later by a terrain guide.  Then the British Commander had sent us his battle concept and deception plan.  It was like going to a private tournament!

The other five players, gentlemen gamers all, were Bolt Action veterans and helped me through the myriad of rolls and modifiers and the action flew thick and fast.  To ensure you get the most eye candy for your bandwidth I will break this AAR into sections. (If you've just joined this thread of posts and have no idea what I'm talking about, have a look here, here, here and even here!)
The battlefield in all of its 9 x 4 glory!
And so to period music flowing out of Comrade's James's iPad, including Marlene Dietrich, Panzer marching songs and theme music from A Bridge Too far and Band of Brothers, the battle began!

The Germans (on the left of the above pic of the battlefield) deployed half their force (notably and sensibly not the Tiger I though), then the British Snipers and Forward Observers were positioned and a preparatory pre-game bombardment rolled in.  This generated a few pins on most German units and conveniently eliminated a pesky sniper team holed up in a ruined building in the middle of the board.
This well positioned Jerry sniper team had the dubious honour of being first to die!
The right flank around the Manor House
A British FO ranges in the guns, apparently to the German Commander's consternation!
First activation went to the Allies and a sniper duel ensued which saw another German sharpshooter team eliminated.  With 2 German order dice gone already, it was looking like a good start for Her Majesty's Forces.  Meanwhile, a range of British units deployed onto the board on the right flank to make a show of force against the Manor house and hopefully draw some German units to this side of the board.
Corporal "Tommy" Aikens leads his section onto the table: my first lads to be used!
My Medium Mortar deploys behind a forest and starts to range in on the German positions.  Further on the right the big guns deploy
Further on the right the big guns deploy
So the game was afoot, but would the Germans be drawn sufficiently and weaken their other flank?  We held off the arty and air support, waiting for some kind of indication.  Where would the Tiger be committed?
Long range incoming German fire was generally ineffective this turn.

Next turn we dabbled with a few units going in on the left, perhaps enough to not to be suspicious?
A regular Infantry section advances towards the ruins of the Chapel area
...supported by my Light Howitzer and Corporal "Spider" Webb's section
The battelfield mid Turn two (Brits deploying on from the left side as seen)
The Germans weren't yet taking the bait so we trundled a Tetrarch light tank down the road onto the bridge and started to range in some Arty to provoke a reaction...
"Its a bit odd the CO wants us to go this way don't you think lads?"
"Request Fire Mission - over!"
"Shot - out!"
It indeed got a reaction:
"Bloomin' Heck - its a Tiger!"
With predictable results!
"Back it up Fred! Back it up  bloody quick fer goodnes--"
So we had drawn the Tiger out of hiding but now there was a smoldering bloody wreck on the only bridge over the river.  Bugger!   Time to start pushing more lads cross- country up the left flank toward the Chapel.
"What do you mean you'd rather have a cup of tea than charge stark naked at Jerry?"
And add a bit of armour of our own!
Hello Mr Churchill!
"I say - that burning wagon ahead of us is a bit wiffy isnt it!"
With the bulk of forces deployed, British artillery inbound, a tank duel imminent and the deception plan only somewhat successful, the action was really heating up!  Tune shortly to see what happens in Part 2 of the Battle for Sannerville!