Autumn 1944, the Soviet steam roller enters Hungary itself. Romania and Bulgaria switch sides and turn on their former Axis ally. Desperate Hungarian forces gather for a local counter attack, reconnaissance tanks tell them that there is a section of the Soviet line being held by the lightly armed Bulgarian troops. It's point defense, can the Bulgarians hold off the Hungarian assault?
A mate of mine (Benjamin) invited me over for a game on one of his absolutely spectacular tables last weekend. He had also been working on a very unique army, the Bulgarians. This is the first time I have ever seen anyone model up an army or play these guys, so it was really cool. The Bulgarians mostly fought their war against Greek and Yugoslav Partisan bands...expect for the final few months after they switched sides and invaded Hungary (my latest and favourite force) alongside the Soviets. So today's fight will be between two of the least seen nations on Bolt Action table tops.
This is the table layout, beautiful huh? Benjamin really loves making terrain, all his landscapes are fully researched and 'built in' to the table in 2x3 foot sections. Certainly was a visual feast, to go with a fun game. The forces were 1250 points and we played Point Defence.
The game opened up with a very effective preliminary bombardment by the Hungarians. All the Bulgarian defending units received at least one pin, with many taking 2 and a direct hit.
We used the new unofficial Hungarian PDF army list that I worked on with Anfernee in this game. The national special rule I chose, 'Pride of the Magyar', gave my Toldi light tanks a pre-game advance move.
Two Toldi MK1 on the left and one Toldi MK2 on the right, used roads to get up close to the enemy, looking to begin the game aggressively and add to the pins from the artillery bombardment.
The Bulgarian heavy howitzer adds a third pin from the Toldi 2 firing it's MMG. The howitzer has a commanding view of the Hungarian advance and must be dealt with.
The pair of Toldi 1's lay down fire with their MMG's adding a pin to one of the Bulgarian infantry squads.
The Hungarian infantry begin to arrive and make for the hard cover of a ruined village.
A squad of Bulgarian regulars guards one of the three objectives.
While another fails to rally after the bombardment and goes down instead.
The Hungarians MMG team moves into an intact building and takes up a position covering the advance.
Order dice are being pulled fast and the Hungarian main advance is revealed, concentrating on the center and left objectives.
A Nimrod SPAA vehicle advances on to support the MMG which is in that building.
Turn 2 and the Toldi tanks keep up the pressure on the pinned Bulgarian infantry, using the roads for extra movement.
The Bulgarian commander is unsuccessful in his attempts to rally his men.
The Toldi MK2 survives under the Bulgarians guns due to the pins dished out earlier.
A Bulgarian sniper in the window of the tall building takes his toll on the Hungarian NCO's leading the squads.
Still a lot of ground to cover for the Hungarians to reach their objectives...
The Hungarian main advance forms up with a Zrinyii assault howitzer in support.
The Bulgarians armoured support arrives in the form of a Panzer IV. The road allows it to advance 18" onto the table and open up with it's light howitzer and MMG.
The Hungarians own sniper begins a dual with his Bulgarian counterpart...
Another NCO goes down...the advance is stalling...
Toldi's screen the advance and pour MMG fire into the pinned defenders. They concentrate fire onto the Bulgarians light AT gun.
The Nimrod heads toward the Bulgarian Panzer, but lays down some suppressing fire on the heavy howitzer as it does. It's 36" short range and 2 shots coming in handy.
The Panzer IV is outflanking the main Hungarian advance...
...as a squad of Bulgarians advances and launches a panzerfaust into one of the Toldi's...which narrowly escapes with it's Recce move...
After losing his 2IC to the Panzers MMG's, the Hungarian 1st Lt dives off the road.
Bulgarians pass an order check and move up to bring a panzerfaust to bear on the marauding Toldi MK2.
A Bulgarian Panzershreck team moves on from reserve and takes a long shot at the Toldi...
...the rocket misses, but convinces the tank crew it's time to re-deploy!
The two armies are about to get up close and personal...
....as the Hungarians veteran squad assaults the Bulgarian regulars. A bloody melee leaves the Hungarians victorious, but losing most of their squad in the process.
The only two survivors of the assault make a dash for the objective...but are finished off by Bulgarian rifle fire from the ruins.
The Nimrod advances again and it's heavy autocannon nails the Panzer IV with two hits and two glancing blows. Setting it on fire and stunning it...
...the Panzer is shut down with 3 pins but passes it's morale check.
The Panzershreck advances and hits the Toldi, stunning it for two pins.
The combined fire of a 3 squads of Hungarians takes out the Snipers spotter but he holds on in the ruins...
A Toldi aggressively advances and gets behind the Bulgarian gunshield, finishing off the crew with it's MMG.
The Bulgarian sniper is assaulted and the ruins occupied by the Hungarians, but they still have many more defenders to deal with.
The Zrinyii's medium howitzer finally gets a target but misses
The previously stunned Toldi manages to pass an order check and the Hungarians all make run orders toward the objectives, only a few turns remain to secure them.
A 2nd LT leads the attack.
Veteran Bulgarian Cavalry arrive from reserve....
...and take a medium howitzer hit. Luckily only 3 hits are rolled and they survive, though pinned.
The Hungarian LT assaults the Bulgarian commander and takes him out.
Toldi tank reaches the back line of the Bulgarian defence and adds a pin. But, vehicles cannot take the objective so all it can do is support.
It's up to the infantry to take the objectives, and they do here, taking the first of the 3!
The Bulgarian Panzershreck team hits but fails to penetrate the Zrinyii's armour.
The cavalry moves out of site of the Zrinyii's howitzer...
Finally the Bulgarians heavy howitzer makes an impact as it hits the Zrinyii from it's elevated position on the hill, it fails to penetrate but causes 6 pins!
The Nimrod turns it's attention to the enemy cavalry and takes one down.
Hungarian infantry assault the Panzershreck and take them out.
Bulgarians on the opposite flank race to redeploy to the thick of the fighting...
...as the Zrinyii rallies with the help of the 2nd LT nearby!
But it's too late..time runs out on the 6th turn with both armies holding one objective each and contesting the other. The Hungarians desperate counter attack has failed to reach it's objectives as the game ends in a draw.
This game was really fun and it was great to see the Bulgarians on the table. Their special rule (Anti-Partisan experts) which stops the enemy outflanking or forward deploying really hampered the Hungarian advance and forced them into a frontal assault. Very cool.
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