Bolt Action! British Commandos vs. Soviets

Tony and I met for a cracker of a game this week.  The game was 1000 points.

I brought:
1.  Regular Junior Lieutenant with friend
2.  Inexperienced Commissar with friend
3.  Veteran rifle squad with 2 captured panzerfausts
4.  Veteran SMG tank rider squad
5.  Assault engineer squad with flamethrower
6.  Scout squad
7.  SU-76
8.  Medium morar
9.  M-42 45mm AT gun
10.  Free green squad
11.  Sniper
12.  Regular BA-64


Tony brought:
1.  Lieutenant with  friend
2.  Medic with friend
3.  Free artillery observer
4.  Heavy mortar with observer
5.  MMG
6.  Sniper
7.  Anti-tank rifle
8.  Commando squad
9.  Commando squad
10.  Commando squad
11.  Cromwell CS
12.  Commando squad




A nice list, and two units with 2d6 HE certainly had my Vets worried.  The Cromwell CS was a recent acquisition for Tony.  It's a Corgi pre-painted die-cast model.  The best part?  Check out those tracks!



We discovered that if you make a tank sound when you move this particular model you will always hit with the medium howitzer.

We rolled up Envelopment for the mission.  This mission requires the attacker to move on from his table edge with the objectives of exiting units off the opposite table edge, finishing the game with units in the defender's deployment zone, and killing enemy units.  The defender earns points by killing enemy units.  The table had a nice road network and a decent cluster of buildings in the center.


Deployment

I won the roll and decided to attack.  In this mission only the defender deploys.  On turn 1 the attacker moves forces onto the table.  Tony opted to deploy everything and he put a decent force on each flank.



Turn 1
Tony's Cromwell was on his left flank so I decided to push everything against the right flank.  I outflanked with the assault engineers, a veteran squad, my commissar and my commander.  The games starts with a preparatory bombardment by the attacker.  Unfortunately for me I rolled a '1' and the bombardment failed to materialize.  My scouts started in a building in the middle of the table.  A photo of the Soviet advance against the British right flank:


I used the buildings to hide the SU-76 and my mortar from Tony's Cromwell and heavy mortar.  The green squad was eager to prove their worth.  However, their headstrong advance put them in line-of-sight of trouble.  See the Cromwell CS in the distance?


From the Cromwell's point of view:


Lucky for Tony the Cromwell hit, lucky for me he rolled atrociously and only killed 3 in the unit.  He did, however, inflict three pins and the green squad would remain in that spot for the remainder of the game (note to self: suck it up and roll over the down order next time).  The defender benefits from Hidden Deployment so there was no shooting for me other than my sniper adjusting his scope.

Turn 2
Tony's heavy mortar had fired in T1 and missed, it missed again in T2.  My sniper caught a break and eliminated it.  My scouts broke cover and assaulted Tony's MMG on the ground floor of a ruin.  One of Tony's para sqauds then assaulted and wiped out the scouts.


Seeing the action on his right flank, Tony decided to move over one of his para squads from the left.  The outflankers prevented him from vacating his left flank entirely.


My SU-76 and medium mortar started firing on the ruin which had a British squad on each floor.  Both missed.  Tony's sniper killed the NCO of my tank rider squad, and one of his rifle squads inflicted two more casualties.  With his last order dice, Tony's artillery observer called in a strike.  Uh oh.



Turn 3
Like sunshine on the 4th of July, Tony's artillery strike covered my units with pins.


Thus did the Soviet advance come to a screeching halt.  The British paras inflicted a handful of other casualties with shooting.  The Cromwell broke cover to reinforce the right flank and I sprung my trap: the mighty 45mm anti-tank gun.


Alas the little anti-tank gun that thought it could failed to get the job done--for three turns in a row.

Turn 4
The Soviet advance was struggling at this point.  My only hope was to bring on my outflankers.  I had committed them all to the main advance against Tony's right flank.  I successfully rolled for all four units--nice!

An unlucky para squad took the heat from my assault engineers and three were roasted.



The paras passed their morale check and launched an assault against the engineers [gulp].  The resulting assault roll against my veteran engineers:

The engineers, surprised to still be alive, killed the paras to death!  More assaults were to follow.  Tony had advanced a para unit into a building.  My severely depleted tank rider squad attempted an assault--and rolled a 4 to pass their test.  In they went:


These paras, however, had evidently remember to sharpen their knives and my tank riders were wiped, although they did take four paras with them.

The Cromwell once again found itself with the opportunity to make a decisive contribution.  Tony drew down on the assault engineers, hit with the medium howitzer, and killed two engineers.


The BA-64 which had been shooting ineffectually for a few turns took a hit from the anti-tank rifle and then FUBARed back to within a few inches of my table edge.  The SU-76 missed, but the medium mortar hit the ruin...and killed one guy in the anti-tank rifle team.

Turn 5
Serious business now.  Tony and I conducted some assaults in the center of the table.  I lost my commander and a veteran squad for one of Tony's para squads.


I decided to move the assault engineers off the table rather than face another Cromwell shot.  The BA-64, now recovered, put a pin on the Cromwell.  The SU-76 and the mortar both inflicted casualties. 

Turn 6

The dice bag was considerably lighter than when the game started.  I possessed a slight lead in units killed, but the Tony as the defender earns more victory points for killing units than me.  I had to get units into his deployment zone.  The pinned down troops in my backfield were unsympathetic.  Tony's sniper killed my commissar and my mortar and SU-76 inflicted additional casualties.  The turn was over quickly however, and the game ended without a Turn 7.  Victory points were tallied and...a 10-10 draw!


Reflections
I was really close to victory--that preparatory bombardment would sure as hell have helped.  And yet Tony's Cromwell, although able to hit consistently, evidently had a bad batch of HE shells.  Both my green squad and my assault engineers should have been red-misted by that tank.

Tony and I were both happy with how our tanks performed.  My SU-76 was cheap as chips and had success firing both indirectly and directly (with HE).  Similarly, other than the below-average kill rolls, the Cromwell performed well.

[edit: oops!  Tony corrected me: he brought Commandos not Paras!]

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