Thursday, 17 September 2020

A Bridge Too Far...no, not that one

After six months of not, I managed to get a game of Bolt Action in against Pete, and we started to work our way through the Campaign: Stalingrad book with the 'Last Bridge Over The River Don' scenario, set in August 1942.


The scenario recreates part of the frantic retreat of the Soviet 62nd Army in the face of the German blitzkrieg.

My forces would have to race down the board, cross the bridge and then blow it, whilst the Germans swarmed in from both sides seeking to cut my forces off and capture the bridge intact.


My retreating force featured two LMG squads, one of which was fortunate enough to be mounted in a truck. I had a cunning plan that the footslogging squad would be urged on by the combined efforts of a Senior Officer, a Commissar and a Medic...we'll see how well that plan works out.

The infantry would be protected on their way by a BA-6 Armoured Car and a frankly monstrous (at this point of the war) KV-1.


Meanwhile, the bridge to safety would be defended by a (poorly positioned) ZIS-3 anti-tank gun and an inexperienced Rifle Squad.


The battle opened with the truck racing off down the road and reaching the bridge immediately. 

Unfortunately, the infantry on foot were not so lucky, as a Panzer IV trundled into view and wiped them out.


So much for the plan.


Shoddy accuracy from the Soviet armour asaw the BA-6 meet its doom at the hands of the Panzer IV, it perhaps shouldn't have veered off to kill a German anti-tank rifle team.


However, the commander of the KV-1 found his range and destroyed the Panzer IV, albeit a little too late.

On the plus side, this removed the only serious threat to the KV-1, which would be able to throw machine-gun fire in all directions for the remainder of the battle.

 
Near the bridge, despite the reinforcements from the truck, the Soviet defenders were finding themselves hard pressed by Germans swarming in from all sides.

The ZIS-3 managed to get only a single shot off before a squad of Pioneers gor past its gun shield by taking advantage of the fact that I'd not used the buildings to guard its flanks.

The Germans looked poised to to seize the bridge.


But the German hammer never fell as two things happened. Firstly, the KV-1 made it to the bridge and began putting pins on units all over the place.

This then compounded what was one of the worst run of orders tests from Pete I've ever seen. The Germans had been halted.


Unfortunately, the Germans didn't need to take the bridge to win, they could simply destroy units, and my HQ were looking vulnerable.

Despite a FUBAR from the German Officer, my Commissar and Officer were cut down in short order.


The KV-1 made it over the bridge and Soviet fire thinned the enemy some more as the fuse to blow the bridge was lit.

The way the scoring was arranged, I just needed no more units to die.


Unfortunately, not only did the inexperienced Rifle Squad finally succumb to incoming fire, but the dastardly Germans broke the Geneva convention and brutally murdered Olga, my unarmed medic.


With the KV-1 guarding it, the crossing would be held until the bridge blew up, but a heavy toll had been taken on the Soviet forces.

The final score was 7-6 to Pete.

In hindsight, I made a number of errors early on that caused me to take too many casualties to effectively fight back, and only Pete's appallingly bad orders tests kept me in the game. I'm afraid it's the gulag for me.

In other news, I've bought a Hunter-Killer VTOL toy from Ebay to use in games of Terminator: Genysis and various other bits and pieces for ongoing projects, but things are still in the black.

Acquired: 207
Painted: 239

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