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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bolt Action - AAR: Red Lighting Soviets vs Germans

My buddy Andy and I got in a game recently.  This was Andy's second game of Bolt Action where he built an army as opposed to me bringing an army for him.  Andy tried out some new things, while I gave my Soviet cavalry a second go.  In my first outing with the Soviet cavalry, they got  slaughtered. I ran one large unit of nine cavalry.  I did this because I expected them to take casualties and wanted the unit to be able to bleed.  Andy hit the cavalry while they rode across a field with his StuH 42 and killed every single one of them.  It was a sad day. (Time to give them another go - that's Bolt Action, baby. - J)

Soviet Army
Senior Lieutenant
6 Tank Riders with Body Armor
6 Cavalry
6 Cavalry
6 Scouts
6 Scouts
1 Anti Tank Rifle
M4 Lend Lease Sherman
M3 Lend Lease White Scout Car with extra MMGs (Recce Upgrade to AC)
Free Squad (11 men)
Inexperience Heavy Mortar

German Army
1st Lieutenant + 2 Men
10 SS - 1 SMG and 4 ARs
8 Grenadiers - 1 SMG and 1 LMG
8 Grenadiers - 1 SMG and 1 LMG
Medium Mortar

We play tested a new scenario I am working on.  We rolled to see who attacked and who defended.  The attacker picked a table corner to deploy from, the defender had the opposite corner.  We then alternated placing seven objectives on the board, face down.  We did not know the value of the objectives.  One objective was worth three points, two were worth two points, and four were worth one point.  These objectives could not be placed within 8" of each other and could not be placed within 32" of the deployment corners.  Half of our troops came in as a first wave within 24" of our deployment corners and the rest of the troops came on from reserve.  Scouts and spotters could be deployed on our table half but had to stay 12" away from an objective.

A Soviet truck brings in the inexperienced squad and commissar.  I took 11 men instead of 12 in the free squad so that I could transport the commissar in the truck with the troops that needed his motivation.

Scouts move toward an objective.

German Puma rolls on.

German officer advances toward the cottage.

German spotter surveys the battlefield.

The Soviet cavalry squads form line with the M3 and scouts.

German infantry fire at the scouts.

My mortar drops smoke to cover the advance of my cavalry.

Soviet troops take an objective.

My lend lease M4 try to shuffle the flank.

German MG-42 takes aim at my cavalry

The poor lend lease takes one from the Puma.

The Sherman burns.

After taking one casualty the cavalry make an escape move to avoid taking massive casualties.

German mortar fire hits the inexperienced troops.

Soviets and Germans gun it out.

The MG-42 takes out a member of the cavalry.

The German officer takes shots at the cavalry.

German troops advance on the enemy.

The Puma covers the flank.

Tank riders move to support the attack.

Scouts also advance.

Soviet Cavalry ride toward and gun down the MMG.

The M3 Scout Car is kaput.

The German mortar fires at the cavalry as the breakthrough.

They score a hit, killing the patrol.

ATR takes pot shots at German tanks.

The second cavalry squad advance.

The four remaining scouts advance and kill 7 Germans on the hill.

Mortar fire just missed the German officer.

Tank rider surge forward.

The Marder begins to slowly back up.

German troops in the field exchange fire with the Soviets on the road.

The scout take care of the German officer and his staff.

As the Soviets advance the Marder falls back.

The battle looks precarious for the Germans.

The German vehicles try to hold off the inevitable.


Finally the SS arrive from reserve.

Cavalry ride down the spotter.

They push on toward the mortar.

The noose tightens.

The Scout survey the dead in the woods.

The SS take out three of the remaining cavalry.

The Soviets swarm the Germans.

The last two cavalry ride down the mortar.

The German truck finale arrives in time to pick up the SS.

The Soviet secure another objective.

The Puma guns down more Soviets, but it's too late.

Running cavalry in smaller patrols is definitely better.  Cavalry moves so quickly and if you can give your enemy lots of options to shoot at, they wont take as much fire.  They still have a ton of attacks in the assault.  I also intentionally targeted small squads and weapons teams with my cavalry, so if I did assault from over 6" they didn't take a lot of fire.  It worked well.  The rest of the list worked well together - very aggressive and in your face.  I also really enjoyed running the Lend Lease vehicles, even though the Sherman got popped early.

One thought I had was upgrading the cavalry to have all or some SMGs.  There were times in the game were the cavalry were just out of charge range due to rough ground.  Instead of charging, I rode up 9" then shot at point blank.  The cavalry's movement gives them an effective shooting range of 15" not 6", being able to shoot twice per figure can make a big difference at point blank.

The other thing I tried was smoke from my mortar.  Because the cavalry has a hard time finding cover I needed to cover their advance. I dropped smoke in the middle of the battlefield, which worked okay.  I stopped a squad and the Puma from shooting the cavalry, but it wasn't as affective as I wanted because I kept rolling ones and dissipating the smoke.  Overall the strategy felt right if only the smoke would have stayed on the table.

We both liked the scenario as well.  It was fun not knowing what objectives were worth.  There was also a lot of variability based one how we deployed the objectives.  I will do up a mission later on once I work out some of the kinks.

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