14 March 2014

Bolt Action: Battle of Breville

The approaches to Breville, as seen from British lines

With sniper teams and Forward observers deployed in what cover was available, the British preliminary bombardment commenced and the Battle for Breville began!

(See the setup and historical context here: http://tasmancave.blogspot.com/2014/03/bolt-action-2-v-2-intro.html)
My sniper team and FO observe the Jerry positions
HE screamed down from the sky, scattering a range of pins around the German units.  A direct hit on the Jerry Light Mortar removed one of its crew while an infantry squad also suffered a casualty.  As the impact crumps faded the Paras moved forward, praying that darkness would soon envelope the battlefield and mask their approach from German Fire.

The terrain was rough and the going slow.  My first wave chaps went up the right flank, bringing the Churchill on the extreme right to drop long range fire in the Huns around the forested objective.  Paul took his up the centre toward the manor (housing not one but two Jerry sniper teams).  Comrade James and I initiated our traditional sniper duel with no effect this turn.  With pins all around their force, the Germans failed a lot of their leadership rolls and the residual long range fore was ineffective.  Much to my surprise, my German opponent aggressively moved forward with a squad, threatening my sniper and FO.  Before night could fall, all three British FOs called in their fire missions.
The Lads of No 1 section use the scraps of open ground to move forward as quickly as possible
Turn 2 saw night refuse to fall as the British arty started to drop.  Somewhat inevitably, the first one was highly inaccurate and dropped right in the middle of my first wave of troops!  I was fortunate in that no men were lost, but several pins were distributed and the sounds of Germanic laughter echoed over the ploughed fields.  In fact, this was quite historical.  In 1944 a friendly fire mission caught the paras as they crossed the line of departure for the attack, killing and wounding several men including the CO.

Shrugging off the pins as Veteran infantry can, my men moved up into effective range where their accurate rifle and Bren gun fire removed a few enemy infantry.  The rest of my force (bar the Lieutenant ironically, clearly he was engaged in a heated phone call with the CO of that Artillery Battery!) all came on and continued to push.  Did I mention that the rough ground was slow going?  A German infantry squad tried to position itself to do some nasty work but FUBARed, and sprayed friendly fire at another German unit.  As my chaps grinned amusedly, Comrade James’s sniper dispatched my own sharpshooter, adding another to his impressive tally of confirmed kills (which are painted on the bottom of his base).  As the turn came to a close a German StuH43 SP Howitzer rumbled into view in the outskirts of Breville village itself.
Paul's Paras advance on the Manour house on my left flank

While my own Platoon pushes forward

Turn 3 saw daylight linger on the battlefield and I continued to inch my way forward, passing all my leadership tests and my fire was quite effective as I outranged the many German SMGs.  My Churchill was particularly effective as it targeted an enemy Squad, dispatching the sole panzerfaust toting Jerry with the bow MG while pulverised another with direct HE.  Over in the centre a protective smokescreen had dispersed and the Cromwell tank skirted off so it didn’t get blown away by the StuH.  Cue Comrade’s James Truck de Fromage: a halftrack with a veteran PanzerPioneer squad which flank moves onto the board, disembarks the squads and flames the Cromwell all in one action.  Amusingly, the FT didn’t have any real effect on the tank and left the pioneers swinging in the breeze, just as my fellow Para commander swung in his own flanking force and dispatched them all with some nasty close range firepower.  This counter-fromage manoeuvre was applauded by all non German players!
Sprechen ze fromage Mein Herr?
Turn 4 saw the veil of darkness stubbornly failing to appear as I suddenly realised I barely had enough time to get to my objective before the end of the game.  Time for some desperate action in crossing open ground in front of five MG42s, two on tripods in the MMG role.  This would be grim.  Some lucky order dice activation saw my first squad sprint across the gap from behind my Churchill and get stuck into a Jerry squad on the treeline.  The “Blood Curdling Charge” characteristic was fantastic as the lads went in with the bayonet and dispatched the Huns to a man before the leapt into the cover of the forest.  Bravo!  The next squads couldn’t make it and ended up caught in the open – so Comrade James pivoted his StuH and targeted one of them.  They wouldn’t make it to the objective before the end of the game if they sought cover so it was stiff upper lip time – do your worst Jerry!
Forward men!
And that’s exactly what he did – killing all but the Corporal who stoutly refused to be troubled by this outcome thanks to being Stubborn.  Damned mucky business!
Oy! Where'd you go lads?
Turn 5 finally saw the shadows lengthen and darkness finally arrive, but on my flank it was all too late as the units were getting into close proximity anyway.  My German opponent desperately threw his Assault rifle toting HQ units into a close assault on the paras next to them and were dispatched for their troubles. To capitalise on this, I rushed another squad up to the last German squad guarding the objective.  But the Germans were crafty chaps and were waiting for them so in the end the Paras squad was destroyed in return for a few more downed Germans.  My other squad which had just cleaned up the German HQ unit took a close burst from a tripod mounted MG42 then the survivors moved in and removed that threat with cold steel. 

Turn 6 – In the darkness the last German Squad faced my only Para unit near the objective, the others couldn’t make it across the broken ground in time - it was going to be down to the wire on this flank and to be honest the fighting was so intense I had lost focus on the other parts of the battle!  The Germans were down to only two order dice so it was no surprise that I got the first move and the Red devils went in, the Blood Curdling Charge again proving its worth.  The objective was cleared of Feldgrau and taken.
Well that's Jerry taken care of - lets make some tea!
The battle in the centre had been raging meanwhile, the StuH being taken out after it has pivoted (to wipe out my No2 Section) by a flank shot from the Cromwell.  Germans in the village poured fire onto the Paras advancing on the centre objective area and in the end a brave Lieutenant and his loyal batman rushed forward, somehow surviving the ambushing fire to capture that objective.  Stout chap – give that man a DSO!  

With no time remaining for a possible 7th turn, the game was called with the British winning with possession of 2 objectives to the German 1.  A close run thing indeed and quite historical in its casualty rates – of my four section platoon I had lost 2 and a half squads, the LT, a FO, a sniper team and a PIAT team.

Another cracker of a game - thanks to Colin for hosting us.


  1. A bloody win for the paras, despite le fromage. Nice figures, but I'm quite impressed by the fields, actually.

  2. Nice AAR Paul. Amazing to think that this battle was the result of a dispute over whether one should butter the outsides of the bread or oil the heating plates of a sandwich toaster

  3. Stunning looking game guys! Great report!

  4. Excellent, most enjoyable.

  5. Great Bat rep. Crikey those Paras certainly took a hammering. Lucky they were vets.
    BTW nice layout. Not too much uneccesary clutter to get in the way yet still good to look at.

  6. Very nice looking game and a greate AAR.

    Best regardes Michael

  7. Excellent board and battle report. Thanks for letting us join in remotely!