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Friday, September 27, 2013

Bolt Action - AAR: 29th On The Move

29th On the Move
June 1944
Normandy Front

The breakout from the Normandy beach landings has begun.  Elements of the 29thInfantry Division find themselves in the thick of the fight.  As they push their way through the bocage they find themselves held up by tenacious German defenders.   

Both sides began the game holding part of the town and the surrounding countryside, with the Americans holding the woods opposite the Germans in the hedges.

The German players set up no more than half their force on the table.  The rest of their units were held in reserve and arrived on the board using the reserve rules.  They were able to enter along any board edge behind the German front lines.  German troops could set up using hidden deployment.

The American players selected at least half their force to begin the game on the board and set those troops up anywhere in their deployment area.  Any troops not used in the first wave were held in reserve or could outflank.  American reserves could arrive along any board edge behind their front line.  Americans in outflank could come on along the board edge, and measured from their front line.

First Turn
First turn was played with no special rules.

Preparatory Smoke
Before the game began, the Americans were allowed to call in preparatory smoke to cover their advance.  They selected an aiming point as if a forward artillery observe had called in the smoke bombardment, but resolved the smoke before the game began.

Experienced Panzergrenadiers
The German forces where experienced panzergrenadiers from the Eastern Front who knew the tactical importance of being supported by armored transport support.   To represent this we gave the German Sdkfz 251/1D a dedicated crew that was capable of firing one of the vehicle's MMGs even when empty.  This crew took up two spaces in the transport, but did not generate their own activation die.  They were considered an upgrade to the halftrack.  The vehicle was allowed to fire both MMGs if it was transporting another unit.

Game Duration
The game lasts six turns.  At the end of turn six roll a die, on a 4+ play another turn.  The game will end after turn that turn.

The Americans were tasked with taking the town, while the Germans were tasked with holding it at all cost.

Sides were awarded 3 victory points for each building captured or held at the end of the game.  To capture a building an infantry or gun team consisting of three or more men had to enter the building.  All buildings starting the game in either side’s deployment area was considered held by that side until it was taken.  If, at the end of the game, units from opposing sides occupied the same building with three or more men, the building was considered contested.  

Stone Wall – Obstacle, Hard Cover
Hedges – Obstacle, Soft Cover
Road – Road
Crops – Soft Cover Infantry and Artillery, Open Ground
Buildings – Hard Cover, Building
Woods- Soft Cover, Rough Ground
Craters- Rough ground, hard cover

US Force (Regulars)
Captain + 2 Men
Forward Air Controller + 2 Men
1st Lieutenant + 2 Men

US Rifle Squad
            10 Men (SMG, BAR, 8 Rifles)

US Rifle Squad
            10 Men (SMG, BAR, 8 Rifles)

US Rifle Squad
            10 Men (SMG, BAR, 8 Rifles)

US Rifle Squad
            10 Men (SMG, BAR, 8 Rifles)

2 x .30 Cal MMG teams
2 x Bazooka Teams
1 x 81mm Mortar Team
2 x M4 Sherman
1 x M8 Greyhound

Order Dice: 16

German Force

Grenadier Platoon (Veterans)
1st Lt + 2 Staff
Grenadier Squad
            NCO + 7 Men (1 x SMG, 2 x LMG)
Grenadier Squad
            NCO + 7 Men (1 x SMG, 2 x LMG)

Grenadier Platoon (Veterans)
1st Lt + 2 Staff
Grenadier Squad
            NCO + 7 Men (1 x SMG, 2 x LMG)

Support (Veterans)
3 x MG-42 MMG
1 x 75mm leIG 18 75mm Light Howitzer
Sdkfz 251/1D with Crew
Panzer IV
Panzerschreck Team

Order Dice: 13

The village

German defenders

The attackers

The game begins with both sides shooting at each other across the town square

Americans advance up the side of the town

Germans in the village begin receiving fire from all directions

US FAO set up shop near the front

US mortar fire hits the Germans.

German reinforcements arrive

An MG-42 sets up and begins firing at American .30 cals

Delayed US smoke misfires and lands in the center of the village

US air support takes out a German squad

Pinned in the building the Germans take even more mortar fire

The M8 advances through the smoke

All thats left of the Germans is skulls and blood

Another German squad takes up position

US troops out flank the Germans

An M4 Sherman pours fire into the Germans

Another M4 takes out the German Puma

German light howitzers range in on the US infantry

More US troops out flank a German MG-42

US troops assault into the building killing all the Germans

An M4 rolls down the road

A second German squad assaults the Americans taking them out.

The US are hit by German artillery

The US mortar hits the Germans scoring 6 hits and taking out the last German squad

This game went okay.  The Americans had more troops and the weight of numbers was too much for the Germans.  We called the game at the end of turn five, and the Germans made several tactical errors.  First, they deployed their reinforcements too early and should have waited until the Americans came on.  Second, when the Americans rolled a one on smoke they should have dropped it on the Germans in the house.  The US had seven units shooting at two and had ranged with mortars on their first attempt.  By placing the smoke in the squad and not on the house the mortar spotter still had LoS.  Third, the Germans failed to bring on the Panzer IV three turns in a row. (Hardly a fault of the players rolling the reserve dice! Unless of course, their dice rolling form was off, in which case, they need to be sent back down to the minors to work on it. - J)  Last, I don't think I balanced the game right, and the Germans needed one more infantry squad.  Even though it was a US blow out, it was still a great game.

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