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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bolt Action - Day 2 Wintercon 2015 - 1250 Point Australian Late War List

This is the second in my three part series where I discuss the forces I am taking to Wintercon in Canberra in July this year. The first force for day one can be found here and is a German Blitzkrieg themed army with a lot of mobility. For day two of Wintercon the field is a bit more open with no restriction based on time periods so I have decided to go with a late war Australian list. This is rather fitting that I am talking about my Australian force at this time as 25 April is ANZAC day here in Australia. A day that we pause to remember our fallen soldiers and those that have served in all our conflicts.

I will remind our loyal readers that this is a themed army, not an accurate Order of Battle for any particular unit and whilst I try to get as close as I can, some things may not fit exactly with the true history. You can read a bit about which manufacturers I have used to build this army here.

The Australians fought their own series of intense battles throughout the Pacific against the Japanese right to the end of the war and as the battles progressed the Australians became more experienced and better equipped.  No longer were the forces hastily trained and scratched together to form a defensive line as the Japanese knocked on Australia's door, they had become a well led and experienced fighting force who were now on the offensive.

To simulate a 1944 Australian force I have gone with the late war Veteran selection of infantry from the British book which allows me to field dual LMG's and up to three SMG's per squad. Hard earned lessons against the Japanese in close terrain like the jungles of New Guinea taught the Aussies the value of short range, high fire rate weapons and the life saving suppressive capability of the Bren gun. Whilst Australia had many Commando's among her fighting forces I have chosen a more conventional force so no special rule for the infantry units just standard vets.

On those lines I have chosen 'Up & at 'em' as the special rule. It seems appropriate for this force to be closing with the enemy and using grenades and SMG's, as well as any rule that allows you to disregard the moral check is crucial for units that are heavily pinned. There was also very little quarter given on both sides so much of the combat was all or nothing, assaults are the epitome of this in BA.

For support options, the venerable Matilda II  was a mainstay of the Australian Armoured Corps at this period of the war. Well armoured and slow moving, it was an asset in an environment where speed was nothing and tank to tank battles were almost unheard of. It was mechanically reliable and suited jungle warfare very well, conversions to equip flame and howitzers gave it some much needed punch against Japanese infantry and as far as a medium tank for these Aussies it basically is the only choice. I have also included a M3 Stuart light tank, technically this is not historically accurate for this period but some concession can be made as I needed some anti-tank capability. The Stuarts were used by the Australians but were basically found to be vulnerable and not that suitable to jungle warfare. They may have had some around so lets just stretch imagination a bit and say that one was with my force as it had nothing better to do.

Blitzkrieg Miniatures Matilda II with Warlord Games crew.

Although Japanese air power was not what it once was it was ever a threat and as such Australia made great use of the Bofors 40mm AA gun. The previous years of warfare had also seen this weapon get used time and again in a ground support roll and the Australians were no exception. Joining the Bofors is the 25 pounder 'short' howitzer, modified for jungle conditions the gun shield was removed and  the barrel shortened. BA does not have a choice for this so for ease it will just carry the same stats as per normal light howitzer.

The 25 pounder and crew are from Artizan.

The 25 pounder short being towed by a jeep.

Medium mortars were the infantryman's artillery and could go where the howitzers couldn't. So for that firepower I have included two medium mortar teams. They are also amazing in BA in targeting your opponents static and support teams so I rarely leave home without one in the list these days.  The Boys AT Rifle was also used by the Australians and whilst perhaps not that common during this stage of the war I have made a small concession to help me deal with enemy vehicles so I have included two.

Warlord Games Chindit Mortar Teams.
Wartime Miniatures ATR.

So this is what my actual list looks like (it has to be tweaked slightly yet), now remember this is a 1250 list using season 1 rule-set so LMGs cost 5 points only:

Platoon One
2nd LT - Regular - 50
8 man infantry squad - Veteran - 2 x LMG, 2 x SMG - 120
8 man infantry squad - Veteran - 2 x LMG, 2 x SMG - 120
8 man infantry squad - Veteran - 1 x LMG, 3 x SMG - 118
Forward Observed - Regular - 0
Medium Mortar Team - Regular - 50
ATR - Regular - 30
40mm Bofors - Regular - 60
Matilda MkII - CS - Regular - 155

Platoon Two
2nd LT - Regular - 50
8 man infantry squad - Veteran - 1 x LMG, 3 x SMG - 118
8 man infantry squad - Veteran - 1 x LMG, 3 x SMG - 118
Medium Mortar Team - Regular - 50
ATR - Regular - 30
Light Howitzer - Regular - 55
M3A1 Stuart III - Regular - 115

16 Order Dice - 1239 points

Warlord Games Bofors with Chindit heads.

So what will be my tactics with this army? Well I don't have any trucks or transport at all so mad flanking assaults are out. I guess a slow and steady advance up the table may be the orders of the day. Pivot off the Matilda as she slowly makes her way forward and keep the fire lanes for my Bofors and howitzer clear. The combination of twin ATR's, Bofors, Howitzers and the Stuart light tank should be enough to keep all but the heavy enemy tanks pinned down however I will have to be careful how I use my veteran squads as only having five may leave me short if I lose some early on.

Hope you guys like the Australian late war force and wish me luck on gameday!

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