28 August 2022

Battlegroup Stalingrad

Today we were hosted by Slowpainter John to a big 6 player game of BG Stalingrad to commemorate the Anniversary of the Battle.  We played in 28mm to suit the infantry focus, rather than our usual 15mm. Alan and Marty painted new armies for the occasion and club buddies Aled, Iz and Lachy completed the list of combatants.

The 6 x 4 table was awesome

There was a swag of new terrain on the fabulous looking table, including the ruined apartment block terrain that I did in AHPC12  seeing action for the first time. Gotta say I was rather happy with how it came out, which included Comrade Alan boiling up a bunch of Soviet Assault squads from the basement

Better than any game report was just how great everything looked. So here are some key pics which I have used filters to give an authentic combat photographer vibe.

A great game, a wonderful day and thanks again to Mr & Mrs Slowpainter for the fabulous hospitality!

01 August 2022

The 101st Airborne Drop into Wintercon 2022!

Right Stuff here! 

Long time coming I know, but I simply had to provide the follow up report the cheering fans were dying for concerning the outings of my freshly painted 101st Airborne!

Being quite new to Bolt Action(a total 2 games under my belt at the time when I agreed to go) I was quite hesitant to join up to a tourney when invited to go down with a good mate of mine, but I figured it'd be a good learning experience and a fun weekend even if I did spend it getting stomped and boy am I glad I accepted.

Wintercon 2022 was being held as a friendly small scale but still competitive tourney and seemed like the perfect spot to be to learn how to not get my butt kicked.... by getting my butt kicked. Regardless I was plenty excited to vs something new with my airborne and quickly whipped up a list. The 1011 pt limit was a weird one but I could squeeze in some nifty stuff with the small buffer, especially when the TO Peter West(thanks again) was kind enough to allow my fluffy list to use the US Airborne (D-Day) Theatre Selector. 

For those interested my list was:
 - Veteran First Lieutenant w/ 1 Attendant
 - Veteran Air Force Forward Observer w/ 1 Attendant
 - Veteran Medic
 - 3x 8 man Veteran Paratrooper Squads w/ 7 Rifles and a BAR each 
 - 6 man Veteran Pathfinder Squad w/ 3 Rifles and 3 Smgs
 - Veteran Heavy Machine Gun team
 - Veteran Light Mortar team
 - 2x Veteran Bazooka Teams
 - Veteran Light Howitzer
For a cool total of 1009 points, and 12 Order Dice.

Luckily my mate and I managed to get a practice game in with each mission that would be used, which was very helpful as a couple of the missions weren't from the Rulebook, but instead from the Bolt Action Alliance mission pack. Also just a good excuse to get more games in :)

Finally the weekend game and after a nerve wracking evening rushing to get the last model based (my Stoessi's Heroes Eugene 'Doc' Roe mini) there was no delay is whipping straight into the first game despite to biting cold of Canberra Winter.

The Table layout for game 1

GAME 1: Sectors

Opponent: Peter West and his Fallshirmjager

A mission that loved the sound of and loved in my practice game as it favoured my elite infantry splitting up around the board and winning man to man against regulars. Unfortunately, my scheduled game 1 opponent was a no show, so I vs'd TO Peter West and his Fallshirmjager fill in army, meaning that advantage I had over regular armies was now gone against the veteran Germans. 

The board was very open, and after he won the roll of for sector selection, naturally chose the quarter that allowed him to forward deploy his Sniper and artillery spotter and give them LOS to pretty much the entire board except my back corner. This was to be a game of hide and seek and then a final made dash for the most part. 

The boys stick to cover to keep
the enemy artillery quiet

Pushing hard northward to claim the North-West
sector for the Allies.

Turn after turn was creeping from cover to cover, taking pot shots at eachother and very precise movement and sightline manipulation from both sides made for a tense game. That was until his Hummel heavy howitzer tank decided to make a bold move forward and take a shot at my light howitzer before I got something too scary with it. The shell smacks into the team and all are mulched apart from the brave soul manning the gun. 

This opened up the chance for my Bazooka to finally get some combat experience against something that isnt a Hanomag. The team steps around the corner and fires a rocket directly into the flank of the Hummel and up in a big fireball it goes! The one lone brave soul left on the howitzer then decided to do his fallen crewmates proud and launches a shell directly into a fallshirmjager squad, wiping it. 

My pathfinders then made a bold flanking manoeuvre to try to hold one of his squads in place with pins to try to stop it scoring but was unsuccessful, as were the 3 full salvos of shots from a full strength para squad at a flamethrower team who was making a mad dash across the centre courtyard to score. The game then ended when I misjudged the distance he had to make for his light mortar to run into my Sector. I didnt think it would make it so I didnt shoot at it, but it made it into my deployment sector by 1mm, giving him 3 points rather than 1, and thus the win.

Was a very tense and fun game. Learned quite a bit from Pete during the game and and thankful for him filling in so I didn't have a bye.

Result: Close Defeat 10-12

GAME 2: Push Through

Opponent: Scott and his Mechanised Panzergrenadiers

Moving to a new table I was welcomed with the awesome sight of a full Stalingrad table, greatly contrasting from the Normandy/Holland tables I'm used to, as well as the super cool list Scott had come up with. I had only really faced infantry heavy lists before, with the Hummel and 222 from game 1 being the first armour I'd faced bigger than a Hanomag. His list was an officer, Flakvierling towed by a Hanomag, 2 Hanomags filled with Panzergrenadiers, and a Panther. I loved it, was completely unfamiliar with it, and was very keen to see it in action as something brand new to me. 

Pack Howitzer starts 
zeroing in....
 This mission is from the Mission pack, but is quite simply. 4 objectives 12" from the      center, one in each cardinal direction. Hold more than your opponent at the end. Sounds     easy enough, especially with all the hard cover next to the objectives, I could quite     happily rush up, claim the midboard, and sit out of sight/in hard cover waiting for him to     try to rush the center whilst covered in pins.

    Turn one played out how you expect it to, lots of US infantry running on and into the     Hard Cover/out of sight to hide from the big guns. I called in the first of 2 airstrikes     figuring the Flakvierling would shoot it down, but id take the small chance of it coming in.     Start of turn two we found out it was a Rookie pilot looking to strafing run my own     boys, but fortunately the Flakvierling served me well and didn't fail at its main function.

Here's were it all gets very bloody, very quickly. He decided to keep all of his armour in the rear and make a dash right at the end of the game due to my strong position in the ruins away from anywhere he could get a good 
The Air force makes it triumphant 
return to battle!

shot on me. My howitzer begins the deadly artillery duel with the Flakvierling. The sighting round smacks right between the feet of the gunner and blasts the gun and its crew to smithereens!

Suddenly the skies were opened up for the airforce to make its return, and what a return it was! The Air to Ground Bomber let loose its payload straight ontop of 2 hanomags, one filled with panzergrenadiers and one empty(was towing the flakvierling), killing all but 2 grenadiers! It was Turn 3 and he'd already lost half his army. Pretty grim stuff.

Keeping a brave face on, his continue his back hold until the time was right, sticking to his board edge still with his Panther and last Hanomag of Panzergrenadiers. Unfortunately for him, my howitzer crew decided to put on their glasses that day and slammed the sighting round square into the lap of the Panzergrenadiers in the Hanomag turning that squad and transport to one big fireball.

Did the Screaming Eagles get too reckless?
    Last but not least, he finally drove forward his Panther to take a shot a squad that was frankly too aggressive for their own right, only to miss point blank. The Bazooka team, hot off their Hummel kill were keen for a new challenge, and swiftly made the Panther do its best boy scout campfire impression.

    We called the game after that, as all he had left was his     officers. Unfortunate for Scott, but an excellent sport in the face of some crazily lucky dice in my favour.

Result: Decisive Victory

The Panther took the bait! Light 'em up boys!

GAME 3: Point Defense

Opponent: Jai and his US Army

Easily the most intense game of the day, Jai was my one and only US mirror match of the tourney. Luckily he was running everything I wasn't so it certainly didn't feel like a mirror matchup and made for an interesting game. His list consisted of 4 10 man Regular squads, 2 1/4 ton trucks, medium mortar, medium machine gun, bazooka, and the machine gun boat that is the Stuart.

I won the toss to pick sides, and picked to attack. Mainly because my Pathfinders would prove a right pain in the ass for his defence, but also because it made my Air Observer's job much easier as he isnt advancing into me, as well as it stops him taking full advantage of the mobility of his trucks and Stuart to attack swiftly.

I went with a bold strong side push. With my Pathfinders coming in from an outflanking manoeuvre, I sent 2 squads hard down that flank with the plan of swiftly taking the easternmost objective and then pushing hard along his deployment edge to claim the middle objective. Luckily the Stuart and a good portion of his army were on the far side of the table, so I set up the light mortar, a bazooka team, and the light howitzer in positions so that they could pepper what my infantry wasnt assaulting with pins to delay their reinforcement of the right flank. 

The awesome Jungle table made for some
awesome camo

    First dice, first turn. Stuart runs up and shoots at the     Bazooka team on that side of the board. He needed 4     consecutive 6s to kill the team. 6/6 to hit, 6 for damage,     6 for exceptional damage. Goodbye Bazooka team.     Ow. there goes one of my only 2 ways to deal with the     Stuart. I begin making my big push up the right flank,     howitzer honing in on his MMG team and Light mortar     making a mess of far 1/4 ton truck, drastically slowing     their reinforcement speed.

I call in an airstrike on one of his rifle squads on the right flank so I am still relatively full strength by the time im pushing for the middle. The strike doesnt come in right away, but he sends the squad marked in blue flare forward onto me so that if I roll a 1 for the next turn, he can get maximum damage back onto me. In the meantime he sends some shots down range onto one of my main para squads. 10 Regular US army with a BAR shooting at 8 Veteran paras in heavy cover. He manages to kill 4 and I fail the morale check despite the officer negating the pin. Goodbye para squad. This was one of 2 failed morale checks the entire weekend, both crucial but we'll get to that. Suddenly this game got a LOT harder. Luckily the airstrike came in next turn and with some assistance from small arms, wiped the offending Reg squad.

Needing to get in there before he could reposition, it was time for my Pathfinders to move in and for the remaining 2 para squads to rush his back edge.and prepare for the push for the second objective. The pathfinders came in, easily wiping the medium mortar that was there, and claimed the far right objective for me. 1 half strength regular squad that was hurt from the 2nd airstrike was all that was left to contest them, but soon enough the Pathfinders made short work of them as well as the officers that accompanied them.

Strong push up the right flank! Move Move Move!

In the meantime the mad dash up the middle was made all the more difficult by the gunboat Stuart showering all that moved with shots making this really awkward self imposed choke point of pins and downed units. Luckily, for the Stuart to move up and do this, opened him up for my other Bazooka team, having been reduced to 1 man, to run up and point blank a rocket into the side armour, reducing it to scrap metal. Last turn due to time, I managed to clear the MMG as well as the squad holding the middle objective. It all came down to my officer full sprinting onto the center objective, and my medic backing them up. all he had left was an empty 1/4 ton truck and 10 man reg squad left. All I could do was pray that the cover and medic would be enough to keep them alive and give me the win. Even needing 6/6s to hit and 5s to kill and with the medic to maybe save someone as well, he managed to get both the Officer and his attendant ending the game in a Draw. Given one more turn, I would have been able to casually stroll on with a squad and a half and claim the game for myself, but ah well.

Jai was a great opponent to play and gave me a very fun and intense game that left me exhausted at the end of a big day.

Result: Close Draw Due to Time

Theres a sniper in the belltower? Let's rush him!

GAME 4: Supply Drop

Opponent: Adam Stone and his Belgians

Another mission from the BAA Mission pack to kick off Day 2. This mission is a fun one. At the beginning of Turn 4, an objective will be dropped into the center. One more will appear on each side of the objective a random distance and direction from the center, forming the line the Supply Run made for the drop.

Adam brought his Belgians which were very new to me and as always its cool to see new stuff. A Tankette, Armoured Car, some regular squads, Trucks, HMG, Sniper, Medium Mortar, and Medium Howitzer. 

In a move I'm sure no one saw coming, there was a Sniper in the belltower of the church in the center of the table. So I made the completely sensible decision to rush the tower with my squads after dropping a air strike on the tower. Goodbye Sniper. the rest of the game came down to sitting in hard cover with my Veteran squads, officers, medic and co. Weathering everything the Belgians could throw at me(surprisingly, not that much at all). 

My Pathfinders came in and executed a squad of Belgians firing squad style, my Howitzer and Light mortar continued to miraculously hit every 2nd or 3rd sighting round, and my Bazooka was having a contest with his HMG as to who could miss more.

It had to happen eventually...

It was inevitable. With how many air strikes i've been calling in, it was bound to happen eventually. I finally had an airstrike I called in backfire spectacularly. Most of the time im pretty good in sitting a good distance away from those I call a strike in on so that it wont come back onto me but I wasn't able to do that this time. It was the most effectively things the Belgians had in their arsenal, and it came out of an American bomber. It didn't inflict too much damage back onto me, just a lot of pins, which all disappeared one turn later.

The end of the game he mad dashed what was left of his army onto the center objective to make sure neither of us
could claim it. Unfortunately for him, he also moved his officer that I was zeroing in on with my howitzer. The officer that was holding the back objective. All the other units dashed forward to the center. Meaning the game went to me for holding 1 objective to none. Knowing he was kicking himself, we rolled the howitzer round that was zeroing in had he not moved the officer and found out the officer was going to die regardless.

Taking cover in the ruins of the town chapel,
the airborne await their supply drop

    Fun game with lots of amusing banter right up to the     end. I would've hated if I only won because he walked     off the back objective, so I feel better knowing the     howitzer would have won it for me 1 dice later had he     not moved off of it. Apart from that, I still had most of     my army at Full strength compared to the many dead     Belgians so it was firmly my game.

Result: Strong Win

GAME 5: Meeting Engagement

Opponent: Julian H of Western Front Gamers with his British Paras

A terrifying list of British Paras that made me doubt my chances. It was a mission to kill as many units as we could, and it was table of Veteran infantry. It was going to be tough for both sides. His list consisted of a Light Howitzer, Medium Mortar, Sniper, Piat team in a Jeep, 2 Para squads of rifles, 2 Para squads of half smgs, and 2 twin machine gun Jeeps.

He started off by putting both MG Jeeps and both SMG para squads into outflank. 1 of each on each side. This made it tricky for me to stick to my comfort zone of sending 1 squad up each side and then 1 up the center, with the Pathfinders coming in one side, and the center squad reinforcing whichever side needs it more. Can't really split up and go wide when I'll be overwhelmed the second I go anywhere near the sides of the table. So I didnt. I went hard up the middle. all 3 squads, officers, medic. All straight down the center. Charging his Officer, Piat Team + Jeep, Artillery Observer, and Mortar Spotter, as well as most of a Rifle squad.

My Air observer called in an airstrike onto his howitzer which only managed to get half the crew, but got 5 pins onto it, removing it from the game for the foreseeable future. Now understanding the threat the observer could pose, he managed to get the first dice and snipe the observer off of the table. Then, after some careful positioning, his sniper team had to relocate out of the shack he was hiding in. This brought him across the firing line of my HMG which promptly shot them to shreds. One downside of my list is that Snipers can instantly kill about half my army, so they are a huge headache for me so this was a huge relief.

These boys deserve a medal of bravery for holding up this many paras all by themselves.

My pathfinders came in and sprayed down one of the rifle squads down to half strength. They then were counter flanked and sprayed at. Miraculously, I lived through a salvo of 12 point blank shots only taking 2 casualties. For 3 turns after this point, this Pathfinder lived in between 2 squads firing point blank at them and living far longer than they should have. I think between games they must have been doping some super soldier serum to live that long. 

The entire game there was only 1 point between us. I'd kill a unit and score, he'd kill a unit and score. I'd kill a unit, he'd kill a unit. Rinse repeat. I claim the lead, he ties it up. Rinse repeat. This was happening right up until  the very last dice. We had just drawn a dice for him when the call for "Dice Down! Resolve the dice in your hand if you just drew one" came. So we went to resolve this last dice. A dice for him. I had just reclaimed the lead by rushing forward with a para squad and gunning down his Light Mortar. This put me square in the sights of the Howitzer. Still having 2 pins on it after some unlucky Rally tests, he passes the order test. He manages to hit, despite the pin and team weapon penalty for only having 1 man left in the crew. Manages to inflict 3 pins and kill 4 of the 8 man squad forcing a Morale test. The Nearby officer lets me ignore 2 of the 3 pins. Roll the morale test...... fail by 1. Squad runs, 1 point for him, game end. Draw.

Whilst most times i'd be pretty bummed for being robbed out of a win on the last rolls of the last dice, it was a super intense and fun game with a really good opponent that I was confident would wipe the floor with me so I was very happy that I only just didn't eek out the win rather than being tabled. Julian was a fantastic opponent who made for a tough game and easily the most fun and intense of the weekend, hence the lack of photos from this game.

Result: SUPER Close Draw

Happy with my results, and my mate coming away with the
 infamous Hanoswag Award

So there you have it folks, Right Stuff's Bolt Action Tournament debut with the 101st Airborne came home with 2 Wins, 2 Draws, and a Loss resulting in a placing of 5th place out of 23 players.. With every single draw and loss being SUPER close, i'm very happy with my performance considering I was playing against some talented Bolt Action veterans and my this tournament literally doubled my games played. 

All in all I had a fantastic time at my first event since the Blood Bowl tourneys I went to as a wee lad. I did truly underestimate how mentally taxing these things can be but was well worth the trip for the experience. A huge thanks to Peter West for running the event and I look forward to taking part in more in the future.

Happy Gaming all,
Right Stuff out