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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bolt Action - Patch Checks Out The Often Overlooked LVT

There is something amazingly iconic about the Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT). Used by the USMC during the Pacific campaign, It had many variants. Designed to ferry men and equipment from the USMC warships to the beach and beyond with a degree of protection from small arms and explosive fragmentation, as well as provide a level of fire support until the heavies arrived. According to my old friend Wikipedia, a total of 18,621 in various forms were delivered for use during WW2; so the LVT well-deserves a place on our tabletop.

In the game of Bolt Action, LVT's are represented in the transport, tank and self-propelled artillery section, showing the versatile nature of these beasts of burden. The variations can include a light howitzer, light AT gun, Flamethrowers, and as always with US vehicles, copious amounts of MMG’s to cover those Marines assaulting Japanese positions.
They are available from Warlord Games in the Buffalo variant which can give your troops a very large vehicle to transport them through water or rough ground or for the classic flanking manoeuvre. I have also seen variations from Company B of the transport and fire support models. However, due to the higher cost of both the model and postage, I have not actually seen these in person. The Warlord models are very nice; clean, crisp and very, very big. My only beef being that there is no crew, and that some troops manning the MMG’s would be an excellent addition.
I know open topped armoured transports have their limitations, but I have had great experiences running these amazing machines. I have two painted up for use with my USMC, and to see their hulking presence on a table really makes an opponent blink twice, and generate good chatter. I commonly mount my LT +1 inside to man the guns, and give his morale boost to the inexperienced LVT to save on cost. I then load up an Engineer squad with flamer and an 8-man squad of gunned-up Marines.

I usually flank the LVT with its full capacity of champing-at-the-bit Marines, and after entering the table edge, use the LT and his buddy to fire the two MMG’s to soften up any nearby enemy. The Engineer squad can then deploy with SMG’s and a flamer to light up any enemy squad within range, and finally the Marine squad with BAR’s and SMG’s to really punish anything that’s left. This is all provided the dice roll in your way, and your LVT is not left stranded while your opponent pulls out five dice in a row and pins out all your units inside! 

Keeping the LT inside the LVT provides you with a mobile MMG platform to provide fire support to your troops, meaning that the transport can still play a part in the game, other than looking pretty once troops have been deployed.

I am a massive fan of themed armies. My USMC force is all built around an all amphibious assault, so my tanks have snorkel kits to wade through the water, and I don’t include anything in the US arsenal not able to be thrown onto a beach through some breakers. This is where the LVT’s come into their own as not only transports but a proxy armoured car to provide that fire support until the heavier landing craft can bring on more substantial firepower.

(Have experienece with armored transports or LVTs? Tell us about it, because we're lookin' for war stories! - Judson)

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