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Monday, July 14, 2014

Bolt Action - Partisans Part 2: My List and Why

In part one of this duo of articles concerning the Partisan army list, I talked generally about the Partisan army list, why I chose the theme of my particular brand of Partisan force, and listed a few of the specific challenges that the army generally encounters in game. Today I am going to talk about the list that I have built, used and tweaked over time to create a historically accurate, fun and effective group of resistance fighters.

As stated previously, my particular Partisan army is built around the Polish uprising in Warsaw towards the end of WW2. Units in this army are generally made up of members of underground resistance cells, students and fed up civilians. This means that I will be generally be avoiding veteran troops (most of these people are not experienced fighters) and I will be mixing inexperienced troops in with late war regular rifle squads to represent a span of experience levels. This plays into my theme as these two squad entries have very different weapon options forcing/helping me to build an irregular force with a variety of gear.

Here is my list: 
1000 Points
14 Order Dice
Lt with two Regular friends (70), all with SMG's
11 Inexperienced dudes, 5 with pistols (77)-(15)= 62
11 Inexperienced bros, 6 with pistols (77)-(18)= 59
9 Regular guys, 3 with SMG (99), 1 with Panzerfaust (5)
10 Regular dudes (100), 3 with SMG (9), 1 with Panzerfaust
Regular MMG (50)
Regular ATR (30)
Regular Medium Mortar (50)
Regular Sniper (50)
Regular Flame thrower (45)
Regular Truck (39)
Regular Light Howitzer (50)
8 Regular dudes (80), all with SMG's (24), 1 with a Panzerfaust (5)

Looted Inexperienced Hetzer (168)

As you can see, I have bought two large squads of inexperienced troops armed with a mix of rifles and pistols to be a large part of my assault punch. True they are inexperienced but they have a bucket of attacks and a low price tag. They hit like a brick in the teeth if you ignore them and they are cheap enough that if you do gun for them, well they were cheap and you were not shooting at more expensive units. I have also bought two fairly large squads of regular troopers with three SMG's each. These guys are the backbone of the army. They can dish out pins at a distance (with 5-6 shots you are likely to hit at least once even if you are needed 6's to hit) and with the SMG's you are just strong enough to take a lot of basic regular rifle squads in an assault. I have rounded out my troops with a large unit of regular dudes with SMG's. Their role is to ride in the regular truck and roll up on problem units. They have the shots to severely hurt most infantry units and have enough shots to really discourage counter assault. I plan to run these guys in the truck with the flame thrower team for the same purpose. Hopefully with 14 order dice I can get a few dice in a row and can get at least one unit out of the truck forcing my opponent to choose which of these problem units he has to deal with first. I have not tried the "A-Team" van approach to transportation yet (lots of threats in one transport) but I am giving it a go here.

Now, in the past I have run my partisans with two platoons. I did this to get a 6th infantry squad, a second anti-tank rifle and a Hortch heavy field car. I did this for several reasons. Since originally sniper rifles were missing from the army list (they were errata'ed in later) I added the second ATR to pile up pins to tanks to sniper heavy infantry as needed. With the new vehicle rules, they simply do not do this job as well anymore and I have always felt that this army needs a sniper both thematically and as a tool to deal with opponent threats. I ran the Hortch because I had one painted and for a while I could not get a truck for love or money. That is no longer the case. I used to run 6 vets with SMG's in the Field Car but found I needed a few more guys to get the job done. As discussed above I now run a much larger squad to get this done and with the upgrade to a truck... I now have the space to do it. Also, when I ran a 6th squad, I only ever had enough points to pay for 6 regular riflemen. These guys were not very good at anything. By ditching them and the obligatory 2nd HQ squads, I found I have the points to create some effective infantry squads and I was able to by one of every support team and gun that I could cram into what I was allowed. Basically, I got all the tools I needed to mess up my opponent's plan. Also, by taking a regular MMG, I get almost as many shots as the 6 man rifle squad for a cheaper price and with a better range.

I do like small effective "hit squads" in my German list's command squad and I have carried this over into other armies I have played (including this one). I run a basic 2nd Lt. with two SMG toting pals to run around the joint and cause trouble. Sure they do not provide the best leadership bonuses possible for for the price, I like em.

Now, as discussed in the last article, Partisan armies generally suffer from a severe lack of anti-tank abilities and HE weapons. To combat this I took the largest guns I could in the form of an anti-tank rifle, a medium mortar, and a light howitzer. Sure these assets don't have great penetrating power but they can dish out pins and put a hurt on most infantry units. I also added a sprinkling of panzerfausts to my list 1) because I thought it would add some teeth to my infantry units and 2) because I have never used them before. I also decided to make a fairly controversial choice for my looted vehicle. An inexperienced Hetzer.

Inexperienced means that you automatically suffer from a -1 to hit right off the bat. This is a hefty penalty to pay in a game where AT assets struggle to hit with a pentaly. It is doubly bad when the vehicle in question has the unreliable rule (meaning it takes double pins from hits... on an inexperienced vehicle). It also is vulnerable on the sides. Why would I take a vehicle with such profound negatives. Well, for a bunch of reasons. First of all, a Hetzer was captured in the Warsaw uprising and was photographed several times in the course of its new service. In fact, I own a Hetzer that matches it's larger brother that came with the base army that I built my Partisans around and in a few games of using it as a flame tank I learned a valuable lesson. Secondly, it has an incredibly low profile. That means it can hide behind walls and shrubs and still shoot. Third of all, it is packing a heavy anti-tank gun. I learned a few valuable lessons when playing in a tournament with a Tiger 1. One of the best of these is that big guns have long ranges. If you deploy correctly, with little to no effort you can fire at enemy vehicles and units without the -1 to hit for long range. That helps to offset the inexperienced -1 especially if you can deploy in a way that does not involve much moving about. Sure it does not have a turret BUT that helps to keep it safe from return fire. Is it ideal, no. Is it cheapish, cool looking and does it help to plug a huge gap in the list. Damn skippy!

Depending on the mission and opponent, I generally plan on being fairly aggressive with my infantry squads early in the game to get them into cover and buildings towards the centre of the board (and objectives). I then on using the large number of support teams to pick off, cripple or just harass opponent units as they get closer before using my infantry squads to hopefully finish them off. I can use the Partisan hidden bomb national rule to set up traps around objectives and in high traffic zones (road crossings for example). I can also set them up in middle of the board buildings to dissuade opponent assaults (the bombs cannot hurt my troops). The army is fast (with lots of first turn running) and because it lacks the expensive hvy gear has lots of points for large decently equipped infantry squads with lots of support options.

If you have seen something that you think I have missed or if you would like to comment about my thought process or army in general, please pop over to our forums and leave a response. I would love to hear what you have to say.

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