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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bolt Action - AAR: Germans Attempt an Envelopment of the Canadians Outside BARbaristein

Immediately outside the completely shelled and entirely fictional city of BARbaristein, a hastily formed German counterattack attempts to envelope Canadian liberators, in this post-Normandy landings battle.

Like the dictator of some banana republic, The Mouth of Madness' likeness smiles down on the proceedings as the Bolt Action International Anthem plays.

An Envelopment (the first scenario in the main rule book) was rolled as the following lists squared-off against each other in this 1000-point game:

Armies of Great Britain, Generic Selector ("Up and at 'em" National Rule)
060 - Inexperienced 1LT
000 - Free Regular Artillery Observer
023 - Regular Medic
112 - Gurkha Section, 8 men (Canadians itchin' for a scrap, knuckle knives ready)
093 - Regular Infantry Section, 9 men, 1 SMG
093 - Regular Infantry Section, 9 men, 1 SMG 
080 - Regular Infantry Section, 6 men, 1 LMG
080 - Regular Infantry Section, 6 men, 1 LMG
050 - Regular Sniper Team
065 - Veteran Flamethrower Team
052 - Veteran PIAT Team
087 - Regular Priest Kangaroo
205 - Regular Cruiser Tank Mk VIII (Cromwell)
1000 points, 13 order dice

Armies of Germany, Operation Watch on the Rhine Selector
085 - Regular 1LT with Regular Attendant, Two free assault rifles
030 - Veteran Medic
117 - Veteran "Fallschirmjager" Squad (Eastern Front Vets) 6 men, 3 SMG, 3 ARs, 3 Panzerfaust
117 - Veteran "Fallschirmjager" Squad (Eastern Front Vets) 6 men, 3 SMG, 3 ARs, 3 Panzerfaust
106 - Heer Veteran Grenadier Squad, 7 men, 3 ARs
080 - Inexperienced Volksgrenadier Squad, 10 men, 5 ARs
080 - Inexperienced Volksgrenadier Squad, 10 men, 5 ARs
080 - Inexperienced Volksgrenadier Squad, 10 men, 5 ARs
046 - Inexperienced Heavy Mortar Team
050 - Regular Sniper Team
050 - Regular Flamethrower Team
065 - Regular 150mm Nebelwerfer 41 Team
047 - Veteran Opel Blitz Truck
047 - Veteran Opel Blitz Truck
1000 points, 14 order dice

Unsurprisingly, since the Armies of Great Britain book provides an advantage whenever a list from it is the attacker in a scenario with the Preparatory Bombardment special rule, the Canadians ended up defending. (The one time I've attacked with the Commonwealth in a Prep. Bomb. scenario, they rolled a one, thereby skipping the Prep. Bomb. they could re-roll. At least I was spared that indignity this game. - J)

The Germans would attempt to get as many units off the British table edge as possible this game. The British would attempt to stop them.

The wheat fields outside BARbaristein waved in the breeze as the Canadians dusted themselves off after the German preparatory bombardment. Somewhat pinned by the explosions, they readied themselves for the German attack.

Under the cover of the bombardment, the German sniper team infiltrated BARbaristein and occupied a position overlooking the British lines. The gunman took aim on the Canadian artillery observer.

One infantry section, completely unaffected by the bombardment, waved and shouted taunts from the relative safety of a BARbaristein ruined building.

The section of Canadians defending their far left, however, were not so fortunate. While suffering no casualties, the section leader struggled to keep the soldiers focused on their firing lanes.

The Canadian light machine gun teams, behind the protection of a stone wall, were also severely rattled by the incoming fire. A sergeant was heard to exclaim, "Man your weapons! We invented the preparatory bombardment, after all!"

The German sniper (shadowy figure in the top right, above the sign post) having gained his vantage point before the bombardment stopped, signaled the start of the battle with the crack of his rifle. His target, the Canadian artillery observer in the ruins (bottom left) bent to adjust his radio at just the right moment. The sniper's bullet lodged in the wall behind where the observer's head once was.

Taking advantage of the ruins of BARbaristein on their left, and the destroyed Wirblewind to their front, the two units of Eastern Front Veterans ran towards the Canadian lines. No Canadian soldiers could seem to make out a target as the German leaders barked orders to the sprinting, grizzled vets.

As the veterans moved forward rapidly on the German left, their artillery belched steady fire towards the Canadian positions, missing their targets.

As Canadian non-commissioned officers attempted to organize their charges into an effective defense, through rally and ambush orders, German trucks rolled forward and dumped unproven Volksgrenadier at the front. They took up positions along the wheat field fence lines, firing wildly as they advanced.

The Canadian officer, observing for the artillery, miles away, decided that his brush with a sniper's bullet was close enough. The time had come for him to call in a barrage. With great skill and patience, he does so on what he thought were the coordinates of the disembarking volksgrenadier and the nearby German close support artillery.

The Germans swarmed through the fields like ants, heading towards the Canadian lines. (The six-sided die between the truck and the mortar represents the center point of the Canadian artillery barrage. - J) Unbeknownst to their NCOs, a Canadian fire order has been called down on their positions.

With incoming artillery rounds distracting them, the unfortunate Canadian sniper team falls victim to the German sniper.

To make matters worse, the artillery strike fell short of the advancing Germans, and landed near the left of the Canadian line. While unharmed, the men on the left were severely shaken.

The German heavy mortar began to range in on the pinned-down Canadian Bren gun position while volksgrenadier advanced through the tall grass.

Having seen the rapidly advancing Germans, the NCO of the Canadian squad on the far left delivered a rousing speech, successfully rallying the entire unit back to high levels of morale.

At that time, advancing volksgrenadier, spraying rounds in every direction, managed to hit some of the Canadians manning the slit trenches and Bren guns in the middle of the line.

Sporadic firing took place between the advancing volksgrenadier and the recovered Canadian riflemen.

One NCO of a volksgrenadier squad, seeing an Opel Blitz without passengers, commandeered the vehicle for his squad. The inexperienced troops quickly piled in.

At that point in the battle, a Cromwell arrived, firing its two medium machine guns at the German Nebelwerfer. Unfortunately, the tankers missed their target completely.

Seeing the opening he had anticipated, the volksgrenadier non-com ordered the truck driver forward through the lines, hoping for a breakthrough.

The Blitz flew through no-man's land and found itself deep inside enemy lines. (It's the end of the turn and the German commander hoped for some early dice pulls from the bag. -J)

The chin-stubble-sporting veterans sprinted past the wrecked German vehicle, taking up a position behind a stone wall, near both BARbaristein and the Canadian lines. Threats were stacking up for the Canadians at this point. While their courage under heavy fire was unquestionable, did they have enough men and bullets to stave off the German onslaught?

Having seen the eastern front vets and a truck full of volksgrenadier attempt to exploit holes in the line, the German platoon commander ordered a nearby truck to pick him up.

It carried him, upon his orders, into no-man's land.

With the Germans pushing hard on the Canadian middle and left (ignoring the ruins of BARbaristein on the right) and no clear advantage yet to either side, this battle will be continued soon!

(What do you think of things like "Gurkha Canadians"? In other words, identifying a unit somehow, making it appear very special so there is no confusion that it is not like the rest of the troops, and calling it a unit like Gurkhas? What about using Veteran Grenadiers as Veteran Fallschirmjager? Let us know on the forum! - Judson)

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