These Americans hadn't had many outings before, and Ben is still exploring how best they work, but between us we brought some well-matched forces for the most part, so I was really looking forward to the game.
|Some of the US forces, pre-deployment|
We rolled 'Demolition' (in other words, Capture the Flag) which seemed fine. I had the advantage of a transport and a lot more anti-tank, but Ben had the very useful advantage of numbers, with four squads (including some very hardy Rangers) and the triple MMG option. Ouch!
With some slightly GrimDark chapels pressed into use as objectives [Note to self: make some German objective markers!], we set to work.
I was very unlucky with the dice draws for deployment, but turns one and two went okay for me, with a first-round mortar strike on one of the MMG teams and the first US airstrike rolling a '1' and targeting the Rangers instead... my Nebelwerfer did quite well too, dishing out a few pins and a few deaths despite its limited lines of sight.
|Pins caused by my Nebbie|
|Pz.IV edges forward. Apparently|
this cover was not effective enough!
After this, though - and in that way which makes Bolt Action such a brilliantly fun game - the tide Swindon far more towards Ben's favour. My sniper killed his air observer... only for me to realise that he'd not taken an order test for his pins. Cue FUBAR - although luckily he went 'down' rather than being able to shoot any friendlies.
On my left flank in this stage of the game, his bloomin' Sherman bumbled on from reserve and put pins on my Panzer IV with a lucky shot. Meanwhile, both my left- and right-hand squads were getting whittled down by mortars and musketry and we're too pinned to get out of the way effectively. Gah!
Still, in turn 3 my outflanking Hanomag arrived -thank goodness - and with it I was able to start to threaten Ben's base...by turn four, the Panzer had put some hurt back into the Sherman and my outflanking squad - not even realising that it had vulnerable flanks - finished it off with a super-short-range Panzerfaust. Kaboom!
|Outflanking 1) Hanomag arrives|
and hoses troops with MG42 fire.
|Outflanking 2) Next turn, troops|
de-bus and wipe out both the
Sherman and the mortar crew
behind the (Gothic) objective. Then
Hanomag advances and handbrake-
turns into position to lay down more fire.
At the same time, the same squad dealt out a deadly hail of short-range lead to annihilate the medium mortar team that Ben had so brilliantly positioned, thereby - at one fell swoop - wiping out two high-priority targets AND claiming the objective. Or ''demolishing' it, I suppose. I had the entire left flank, now, and there was nothing Ben could do to stop them.
|The Pz.IV closes in...|
|...and shreds the remaining GIs...|
|Leaving the entire flank and the|
objective in German hands (Hans?)
...Except I'd forgotten about the new threat to MY base: sure, I had units next to Ben's objective, but I'd completely forgotten to protect it more readily, as in this mission, the proximity of friendly troops doesn't count as ''contesting'. Bugger.
|THIS is how inexcusably close|
Ben's troops came to drawing.
Note my officer looking the wrong way!
We measured the last-ditch sprint of Ben's brave reserve troops - who'd run across the board, I now realised, virtually unopposed - and they were mercifully short by about an inch (they had to end the turn ''touching" the objective). Whew! If I'd simply just moved my officer around to the other side of the objective, his very presence would've kept them further away, and they wouldn't have been able to see him to charge him...but no. I left it wide open, and only sheer, vicious luck let me off with the win.
So...was it a win? Well, technically, yes it was, and I hadn't even lost a single unit...but morally? - having left my own flank so horribly vulnerable, there's no way I could claim that as a victory, so we agreed to call it a moral draw!
|The butcher's bill. |
No German dice, at least...
This was Bolt Action at its best: cinematic, touch-and-go and full of pivotal dice rolls. We had a great time and I was very pleased with how it all went. Big shout out to Ben for being a fun and generous opponent!