What follows is one such engagement...
Having not put brush to miniature for over two weeks, the blog still needs feeding, and so it’s time for a battle report. This time it’s Bolt Action, with Pete’s Panzers seeking to take a bridge from my Soviet grasp.
The scenario is taken from Warlord Games’ Ostfront campaign book, which, like pretty much everything else you see in this report, is available from The Outpost at a 20% discount from RRP.
We fought the game at 1250 points and both chose our armies using the Barbarossa army selectors, which put limitations on what was available to us - for example, the Soviets could not use any veteran troops.
In addition, the scenario itself placed further restrictions (which is a feature I like, as it prevents too much repetition). The Soviets has to include a Commissar and an NKVD squad as the bridge security detail, and the Germans could not use artillery and were required to provide transport for their infantry, as this would be the vanguard of a fast moving attack.
The Heroic Defenders of Mother Russia
Senior Officer + 1 Man (Inex)
Forward Artillery Observer (Reg)
2 x LMG Squad (Inex)
Rifle Squad (Inex)
NKVD Squad with SMGs and Flag (Reg)
2 x Anti-Tank Rifle Team (Reg)
Tank Hunter Squad (Reg)
MMG Team (Reg)
Light Anti-Tank Gun (Reg)
Medium Mortar Team with Spotter (Reg)
T-34/76 Tank (Reg)
BA-6 Armoured Car (Reg)
The Wicked Invaders of the Wehrmacht
Platoon 1 (all Reg)
Junior Officer + 1 Man
Heer Infantry Squad in Truck
Heer Infantry Squad in Truck
MMG Team in Kubelwagen
Panzer 38(t) Tank
SdKfz 231 Heavy Armoured Car (8 Rad)
Platoon 2 (all Reg)
Junior Officer + 1 Man
Heer Infantry Squad in SdKfz 7 Half-Track
Heer Infantry Squad in SdKfz 251/1 Half-Track
Panzerjager 1 Tank Destroyer
The scenario was due to last 10 turns, and so I’ll spare you a blow by blow account and go for edited highlights. Suffice to say, the winner would be the side that could occupy the bridge and ensure that no enemy units were within 6”. The Germans would attack in two waves and the Soviets deployed half their force dug in and awaited reinforcements to arrive from any of three table edges from turn three onwards.
The initial assault saw the German armour arrive and begin to spray the dug in Soviets with fire. A Heer unit gunned down half of a Rifle squad, the remainder of whom were ‘inspired’ by the Commissar (hiding in the building) into a suicidal assault. The remains of the Heer unit were wiped out by SMG fire from the NKVD in the bridge.
A well timed artillery barrage put pins on the German armour, and a series of failed order rolls saw Pete effectively lose his second turn and a transport FUBAR in front of its own guns.
The second bridge assault was more determined. The NKVD has retired to their fox holes where they subjected to what can only be described as a blitzkrieg attack. Defensive positions and the patriotic sight of the red flag kept them fighting.
The state of play shortly before the German MMG is wiped out by a Soviet mortar strike.
The German armour is outflanked by Soviet reinforcements. In a startling display of accuracy, the T-34 took out the Panzer 38(t), the BA-6 immobilised the 8-Rad and both of them sprayed the Kubelwagen with MG fire (we later worked out that this should have destroyed it, so it appears in a couple more pictures).
The battle in the bridge wore on. The Germans went to ground, protected from incoming fire on all sides by the stone sided bridge and the NKVD in their foxholes.
More Soviet reinforcements begin to pour in from the rear.
The Commissar, regretting his decision to take the comfortable lodgings on the wrong side of the bridge, cowers in the attic.
He was eventually found and murdered by a German officer.
Even though the Panzerjager managed to keep the T-34 out of the fight, engaged in a long range duel, it’s own effectiveness was severely hampered by continuous mortar fire raining down. Ultimately, the T-34 won the duel, but too late to have any more impact on the fight round the bridge.
Things get increasingly sticky for the Germans on the bridge, and the NKVD continue to old their ground.
The deadlock is finally broken when the last of the Germans are killed. Tank Hunters are ordered to the crest of the bridge and spray fire into yet another group of Heer troops heading towards their objective.
The final squad of German soldiers take shelter behind their own vehicles, readying he selves for another push towards the bridge.
However, they cannot shelter from the BA-6, which, free from fear of enemy anti-tank guns, advances rapidly into their rear, spraying the Germans mercilessly with LMG fire.
Only a handful of Germans remain, and, knowing that victory is beyond their grasp, vow to sell their lives dearly to prevent a Soviet victory.
What follows is a vicious display of tit-for-tat murder as assaults, counter assaults and a veritable storm of rifle fire. My inexperienced soldiers broke too easily, and Pete was subjected to a frankly awesome display of shooting as my big guns repeatedly missed the side of a building attempting to kill the officer lurking in there.
I mistakenly assaulted with the remnants of the NKVD when I should have fired a point blank range, and lost the squad in the process, leaving one German standing. Although he was finished off by the last Tank Hunter, the NCO of the last Heer unit was left stood at the foot of the bridge, preventing the Soviets claiming victory.
Despite decimating the German attack, the game ended in a draw.
It was a really enjoyable game. I really like restricted lists and specific objectives as it gives a more meaningful game than a regular ‘kill em all’ set up.
The artillery barrage was critical to the outcome as it prevented Pete from pressing his advantage at the beginning of the game, and then the surprisingly effective flank attack by my T-34 and BA-6 probably put an end to any realistic chance of Pete winning as pushing my entrenched troops out of their positions with armoured vehicles advancing into their rear was a tough ask.
Our next scenario from Ostfront will see the Germans licking horns with both the Russian army and the Russian winter. Not sure when it will happen, but based on the fun we had with this game, it won’t be long.