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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bolt Action - AAR: Hold the Gully Until Relieved

As mentioned in an earlier article, I decided to give some recent restrictive proposals a test on the tabletop. What follows is part one of two battle reports that make up the Hold Until Relieve mission between a one thousand point Soviet and German force.

The center of the battlefield features a wooded area of moderate density. Vehicles can, in theory, traverse it; but it would not be easy.

Surrounding the woods stand four elevated areas, making the forest in the center a dangerous place to be caught under the enemy's gun sight.

To one side of the gully, a pine forest stands, slightly denser than the wood in the center. On the other side of the table, an abandoned checkpoint and several destroyed, still burning vehicles litter the landscape.

This roadway does not represent anything close to easy going!

Overseeing it all sits the majestic visage of Sir Lachlan. Hail to the chief, everybody.

A "Hold Until Relieved" is rolled, and the Germans wind up as defenders of a forgotten supply cache, probably left behind by the previous inhabitants of the now abandoned checkpoint.

The Germans deploy a Stummel in the wooded gully, facing away from the sandbags, and stretch an infantry squad as far towards those entrenchments as possible, with the hopes of restricting Soviet deployment in that defensive terrain.

The Soviets, on the other side, deploy in a semi-circle around the German squad and vehicle, hoping to close the trap. Let it begin!

With the first order die draw, the Soviet commander advances his anti-tank rifle. It quickly moves into position to snap fire at the Stummel, missing wildly.

Seeing the oncoming platoon of Soviet troops, the lone German squad runs for the cover offered by the sandbags. Immediately after, the half track follows, and fires both its cannon and MMG at a twelve-man squad of Soviet conscripts. The firing is ineffectual.

The nearby reserves (first wave) arrive for the Germans and attempt to stem the tide of rushing Soviet infantrymen.

Advancing Soviets fire volley after volley at the Stummel, pinning its crew beyond recovery.

A Soviet artillery observer calls in a barrage (skull marker) amidst the Germans rushing to meet the Communist onslaught, at the end of the turn.

The top of the turn found the artillery coming in, without any casualties. Each of the three units within range, however, gained an extra two pins. This left the Stummel with six markers, and the Germans around the checkpoint in a bad way.

"Ivan's in the wire!" More pins are applied to the half track, and it's crew are at the breaking point.

Under the menacing glare of a commissar, the conscript squad skirts around the edge of a sandbag wall to fire at German defenders.

The Stummel, even with the help of a Leutnant hiding behind it, fails its Rally order test. Unfortunately for the platoon leader, the half track crew jams it into reverse and attempts to back away from the Soviets. This leaves the officer and his attendants completely exposed.

A Soviet squad overlooking the gully sits in Ambush, and opens fire when a German Hanomag arrives from reserve. It's hit, and both German squads inside are pinned as well.

Turning the tide, one of the German squads inside the half track emerges and kills four of nine Soviet sub-machine gunners approaching the objective, with the help of their superior light machine gun and some amazing accuracy.

The Soviet assault troops are forced to pull back behind a nearby hill, their losses too severe to allow them to stand in the middle of the gully.

The Soviet ZIS-3 finally arrives on the field to support their comrades' efforts.

In a rare show of commissar bravery, the political officer advances with his charges, killing a German with his pistol, and inspiring the troops around him.

Just as things look too grim to come back from for the Germans, the Puma arrives and kills one of the two members of the Soviet anti-tank rifle team.

Predictably, in a cinematic way only Bolt Action can deliver with such regularity, the lone anti-tank rifle crewman fails his order test, and sits maddeningly in front of the ZIS-3. The gun's commander screams at the rifle to get out of the way, to no avail.

After seeing the bravery of their commissar, the regular infantry troops charge in to assault the grenadiers behind the sandbag wall. They're able to skirt around the other side, thereby avoiding the normal penalty for assaulting a unit behind a linear obstacle.

In their righteous patriotism, the squad defeats the German defenders. They only suffer two casualties in the assault, but a poor reorganization leaves most of the squad on the wrong side of the defenses.

One of the Soviet squads in the wire fires at the German command unit, freshly exposed after the Stummel's cowardly retreat. The fire kills all of the attendants, but leaves the Leutnant still standing.

One of the first wave German squads responds to the assault by opening fire on the victorious Soviets. Two of the five surviving strelkovy fall to the German light machine gun firing.

The Hanomag, still carrying one unit of grenadiers (having refused to exit taking fire previously) advances and unloads the remaining squad very near the objective. They kill, (somewhat accidentally) the anti-tank rifle.

The ZIS-3's commander, seeing this, orders his crew to fire a round at the disembarked grenadiers, and misses horribly.

With a wave of Soviets approaching from the once-abandoned checkpoint, the Stummel once again backs off, having failed another order test.

Another German squad puts a hurting on the Soviet sub-machine gun unit. Only three of them survive the long range accuracy of the German machine gun and rifle fire.

The German commander, seeing the tide of battle shift, decides to focus his efforts on the gully; where the most effective German marksmanship has taken place.

The view from the German table edge at the halfway point...

... and the view from the Soviet side, bearing in mind that the SU-76 failed to come on from outflank.

Severe restrictions or not, this game has been a blast up to this point. Check back soon for the second half of the report, and my final thoughts on the tournament restrictions Alessio canonized.

In the meantime, come chat about this on the forum. Have a prediction for how it will end? Let us all know!

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