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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bolt Action - AAR: USMC vs Japanese in a game of Point Defence

Recently I played a 1000 game where my USMC faced off against Japanese ran by a friend of the site (Mal). We were eagerly anticipating this game as both of us built our forces for the express reason to fight the opposing nation so it was a historical grudge off!

Having played the USMC  a bunch of times I was used to how much firepower these guys could punch out, so I ran three regular squads with 3 BAR's each and a bunch of SMG's and two Engineer squads with one containing a flamer. On top of this I had a medium mortar, MMG, Sniper and a Sherman 105 with pintle HMG. The Japanese Army contained 3 lunge mine soldiers, 3 x 10 man veteran squads, 2 x Regular mixed weapon squads (including light mortars), a light mortar, ATR and a sniper.

We randomly rolled a scenario and came up with Point Defence, winning the dice roll I opted to defend as my thought was to whittle down the big vet squads as they charged across the table. The preparatory bombardment managed to put two pins on 5 out of 6 squads present and 3 of them would not be able to activate for the first 3 turns because of those pins #$@@!!

First turn and the Japaneses swept onto the table in a concerted push toward the USMC left flank, which at the time was lightly defended by a pinned squad and an MMG team. The Japanese used this turn to initiate a series of light mortar smoke bombardments which really opened my eyes (Ironic - J) as they cut off some LOS and I could see where it was going to go, block LOS to allow the assault squads close enough to strike. I did have one lucky mortar strike on a Japanese mixed weapon squad though, so a nice way for me to end the turn after failing to activate 4 units due to pins.

 First dice next turn and my mortar finished off the mixed weapon squad and the Japanese continued with the smoke barrage with another 2 adding to the 3 from turn one (smoke stayed as was at start of turn). I had a serious issue then as now a significant portion the entire left flank was starting to get covered in smoke. Bringing on some reserves the USMC was able to reinforce the left flank and allocate some heavy firepower with a 105 Sherman. An accurate shot from the 105 ripped apart one veteran Japanese squad whilst my LT, MMG and a Regular squad still failed to activate.

Turn 3 and more smoke comes in, it was so effective that many of my units could not draw LOS and
Were left sitting back having a Smoke and hoping for a breeze. By this time the Japanese units were within Rifle range, so my squads were able to pick a few off here and there, but against large squads of vets their fire was rather ineffective and pins against Japanese really do little. By the end of the second turn soldiers with lunge mines were getting close and would be able to strike against my M4 next turn.

Turn 4 and the USMC drew first dice, looking at the options the M4 crew figured it was all or nothing and advanced to close the range between them and the threats firing all guns as they went. The hull MMG ripped apart one lunge mine soldier whilst the HMG disintegrated the other, meanwhile the 105 howitzer locked onto another big vet squad and with pinpoint accuracy killed half of them. This was followed up by accurate fire from the USMC squads and the threat from the advancing Japanese was diminished to the strength of a gentle breeze rather then the tsunami a turn ago. In what was an extremely courageous move, one soldier with a lunge mine charged the M4 under the hail of bullets and disappeared in an instant as his mine detonated against the front armour. As the smoke cleared the crew checked all their bits and discovered that one of the tracks had dislodged and they were now a static pillbox (rolled a 1 for pen and a result of immobilised on the damage chart).

Turn 5 was just a matter of going through the motions with a final Banzai charge. With the remaining troops failing to dislodge the Marines the game was called. The USMC held all 3 points however they had been given a major scare and to see a massed banzai charge of Japanese coming up on a flank was really something to behold. Now, had I been able to utilise the 105 M4, things would have been different, however I still had one unit of veteran engineers with a flamer as a defence in depth should my flank objective have been threatened.

The use of smoke was amazing and when you have 3 mortars firing each turn it builds up so quickly and can really allow those Japanese squads to get close without taking any fire. It was only the second time my opponent had used the Japanese and it was a learning experience for both of us. A few more games under his belt and refining of the smoke and they will be a serious threat to any force.

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