(Big thanks to Ron Bigham for another great battle report! - J)
AAR “Bocage Boogie”, 10 July 1944
Our Wednesday Bolt Action game in Mechanicsville was a “Bocage Boogie” fought in Normandy, July 1944. This was the first time we'd played a scenario from the book. It was a modified “Hold until Relieve” scenario. The modification included: Instead of a placed objective the attacker (USA) must choose of 1 of the 3 bocage fields in the center of the battlefield. It had to be cleared of the enemy (no Germans within 3” of the surrounding bocage). The Germans started the game with 1 squad of infantry and had to choose the sandbagged PaK 40 as their 2nd team.
9 July 1944, bocage country Normandy France; a Platoon of Sherman’s are ambushed! The lead tank is destroyed out and two others damaged before they retreat to safety. HQ 3rd Armor Division orders a reinforced platoon of armored infantry to attack and destroy the hidden AT gun.
On the morning of 10 July the Americans strike into the unknown bocage!
Bocage terrain rules: Treat as BLDG for shooting. All teams need to “run” to move through bocage and movement is ½. (6” for INF) AFVs must “run” to cross bocage and take a bog check. Roll 1D6, 4-6 = bogs, Dirt trial in bocage 5-6 bogs, Wooden gate 6 bogs. If AFV bogs it is “immobilized” for the remainder of game it can still fire! A bogged AFV will take all hits using “top armor” modifiers.
Order of Battle:
USA; Regulars, 9 Teams: HQ (1Lt w/ Asst 2ea SMG), Fwd Obv w/asst, Medic, 2 Inf squads (SMG, Rifle, BAR), Bazooka Tm, MMG tm (2 MMGs) , 81mm Mortar w/ ½ track and spotter, M8 Greyhound. (Americans decide to attach the 2 30cal MMG’s to an Inf Sqd and Cmd tm. They lose a die/chit and will regret this decision latter in the fight due to lack of move and fire with MMG’s)
German; Veterans, 10 Teams: Cmd (2Lt 2/ 2 Asst, 2ea SMG and AT grenade) Medic, 2 Inf Sqd ( SMG, rifle, AT grenades), HMG Tm, 120mm HVY Mortar w spotter, Sniper Tm, Panzershreck Tm, Recon AFV 250/9
The Americans (1LT Rob & 1SG Zach) selected to attack and capture the center bocage field and placed all their teams on the field in “hidden” positions. The PaK 40 started dug in behind sandbags overlooking the cemetery; where it fired the night before. The Germans put the 1stthe squad in the field next to the objective filed and 6” away from the bocage. The rest arrive on turn one or in reserve and arrive staring turn 2.
Turn 1: Germans (Hauptman Malcolm and Felbweld Bing) pull the first chit and move the 1st Sqd to the bocage overlooking the objective field (within 3” of OBJ) Hauptman Malcolm’s plan is to fight for draw and if luck is with them; push for a victory late in the game. The 2ndchit also goes to the Germans and they place the PaK 4 in ambush. The next chit went to the Americans who start the fight with the 81 MM mortar targeting the PaK 40…but the 1st shot misses. The American leave their hidden position and move w/ the 1st Sqd into the woods and CMD Tm into cemetery, leaving the 2nd Sqd to support the M8 The Germans counter by bringing on their HMG, 120MM Mtr and Sniper. Who all take up positions to defend the objective. The last chit drawn was for the M8 and he moves past the wooden gate into the OBJ field and fires HE and MMG into the 1st Sqd…rolling real well w/6s and killing two PzGrenadiers.
Turn 2: The PaK 40 remains in ambush and the 1stchit pulled is USA who roll and hit with the AT gun with 81mm Mtr. 1SG Zach again rolls real well and kills 3 of the 4 gunners and the 4th fails morale and runs away! The Americans are seen “high-fiving!” The Germans pull the next three chits and roll and rec’d the reserves of the 2nd Sqd, PzSchrek, and medic. The send the 2ndSqd and medic on off board movement to counter attack in the US flank and the PzSchrek moves to defend the cemetery and still be within 3” of the Obj field. The Americans continue to slowly push into the woods on the right flank, supported by the Bzk tm and cemetery on the left flank. The 1nd Sqd set up defensive position in the bocage behind the M8. They also call in an artillery barrage on the Germans defending the Obj. The sniper takes a shot and kills the SSG commanding the USA 1st Sqd. BIG Thanks to the Americans who reminded me that a sniper selects their targets!
Turn 3: Artillery Barrage arrives first and the American roll and drop a direct hit! OUCH! The barrage hits three German teams; the HMG tm, 1st Sqd and CMD tm. The HMG and CMD get off easy! HMG takes only 1 pin and the CMD tm takes 2 pins. The Inf Sqd was not so lucky and takes a BIG hit killing 2 soldiers and rec’d 3 pins! The Germans answer with the 1st chit and bring on the SdKfz 250/9 to support the troops defending the OBJ. Malcolm then places the HMG on ambush. The Next chit is USA and the Americans move to the edge of the woods in front of the HMG and take a blast rec’d 3 kills. They answer with an 81m Mortar strike on the sniper but misses. The M8 and 30cal in the cemetery both fire at the Germans in the bocage and miss. The last shot of the turn; the 120mm Mortar laid smoke on the Americans 1st Sqd supporting the M8. The sniper fires and misses.
Turn 4: The Germans move first and enter the woods on the American right flank and fire unto the 2nd squad but only kill one GI. The Americans answer and with the 6 surviving squad members assault the Germans 10man squad! They give the Bosche 4 KIA’s to their 1! Sending the Germans in retreat and out of the fight! (The all of nothing assaults really make you think about BA tactics when you only have 2-3 squads?) With the 2nd Sqd gone the German Medic enters the board and runs to safety near the 1st Squad. The Germans decide to hunker down and defend the OBJ and go for a draw. The Americans now excited again and realizing time is running short go on the offensive and advance all their troops. A few more troops are lost on each side…the biggest hit was form the 81mm mortar when it killed 2 of the HMG gunners. (Damm Mortar was ruling the battlefield!) The sniper fires and misses.
Turn 5; The M8 goes first and moves and fires killing the German Recon AFV. The Germans answer with the PzShreck hitting the M8 with a devastating shot! I rolled twice on the damage table and rolled bad! The first damage only immobilized the AFV (flat tire) the 2nd damage “stunned” the crew forcing it to go “down!” and along with the sniper that turn the Germans did give 4 PIN markers to the M8 Greyhound!
The CMD team fires their SMG and 30cal at 120mm spotter killing him! While the 1stSquad moves through the drifting smoke and fires at the sniper giving him a pin marker. The German HMG fires and kills one GI in the 1st Sqd near the M8 and giving the team Pin marker. The last action of the turn was 1SG Zach feeling inspired form the earlier victory orders and an assault on Malcolm’s Inf Sqd. This did not go well as the Americans scored NO hits and the Germans kill 2 GIs sending the 2nd Sqd in a route!
Turn 6: This may be the last turn? So Americans go all out. If they can force the whittled down Germans off the bocage (3” away) then Victory is theirs! The Sniper pulls the first chit and rolls a CMD check to fire (he had 1 pin marker) he rolls a 12 and “FUBARS!” The coward runs 12’ away. The Germans now only have 2 teams defending the bocage. The next chit goes to the Germans and the PzSchrek fires to finish off the M8. It hits and again rolls bad on the damage table and only starts a fire! The good news was with the fire the crew had to roll a morale check in which they fail! The US then orders and assault by the 1stSqd but do to the lost of their NCO and 1 pin marker fail their CMD roll and go down instead. Now cursing was heard on the American side…! The Germans give most of their remaining troops down markers. Turn 6 ended with the Germans beaten up 1st Sqd and PzSchrek holding the Bocage and within 3” of the OBJ field.
BUT the fight doesn’t end and a turn 7 is rolled for!
Turn 7: The Americans pull first and with the CMD team assault the PzSchrek. That assault fails and the PzSchrek asst gunner dies along with both the American 1LT and 1SG. Knowing victory is slipping away 1LT Ron orders the rest of his troops to fire in hopes of shooting the defenders way…his remaining squad the Bazooka and even the Medic with a pistol open fire. They only kill one more PzGrenadiers. The Germans feeling they did well despite the casualties settle for a draw! If at the end of the fight if neither side “controls” the objective this it is a draw!
What a great battle and our best and I think most fun yet…we used a number of new rules such as hidden placement, smoke, off board movement.