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Friday, September 18, 2015

Bolt Action - 1000 Point French List

By: Patch 

Early War French are by far my favorite force to run in Bolt Action, there is a quality about them which makes them my ‘go to’ force above all others (and I have a few to choose from!). For our regular readers and listeners to the Ghost Army Podcast this is nothing new, they have heard me talk and write about them in no small detail over the last few years and may have even played against them at some point. In this latest chapter of my French, I will go over a list I have put together for an upcoming event and speak briefly about how I have rejuvenated and made them feel almost new again.

Senegalese by Warlord Games with a couple from Gripping Beast

The event I speak of is called MOAB and is in Sydney, Australia being held in the first week of October. It is a 1000 point 5 game weekend using the unofficial season two rules, which is something new for this event. It will be my third year in row involved in Bolt Action at MOAB and to say I am looking forward to it is an understatement. 

Originally I was to take a Russian force based around the Battle of Moscow; unfortunately, I was woefully short of time to basically complete an entire new force so it was not a hard decision to default to my French. I have so many options with the French I can run just about any combination; however, I have decided to run a force based on an inexperienced horde. I have never run an inexperienced horde at an event so this is my chance. 

French Infantry by Warlord Games
 Delving into my horde of French I have come up with the following dual platoon list:
2 x Lt - Inexperienced
4 x 10 man squads, rifles only – Inexperienced
2 x 6 man Senegalese squads, 1 x SMG each squad – Regular
1 x 8 man FFL squad, 1 x LMG – Veteran
1 x 6 man Cavalry squad – Veteran
2 x medium mortars – inexperienced
2 x Light howitzers – inexperienced
1 x Medium AT gun – Regular
1 x FT 17 – Regular
1 x Char 2C - Regular 

75mm Light Howitzer and crew from Warlord Gmes, FT-17 by Trenchworx
The theme behind this list is basically a regional militia style unit has been called up and hastily equipped, with supporting artillery, mortar and an old worn out FT-17 all under the command of a School Headmaster and the local Mayor. They have received some hasty and garbled orders to defend their town and have set up some defensive units ready to meet the invaders. Coming across this defended town after orders for a general withdrawal are some stragglers including a Veteran Foreign Legion squad, a Senegalese detachment, some cavalry and the pride of France ‘Normandie’, a Char 2C. The fatigue of constant battle and withdrawal is high for these units and it is here they will withdraw no longer; here they will make their stand. 

Which war is this again?
The list itself is very busy and really takes advantage of the French special rule, so rarely actually used, being the free inexperienced squad. I especially like this rule as it makes you commit a certain amount of resources before triggering it, in this case you pay for three inexperienced squads and you get the forth free. At 7 points a man with a rifle this means I am getting 40 troops for 210 points, these points are the equivalent of getting 16 stock standard Veteran troops with rifles. To break that down even further that is 40 rifle shots versus 16, even at a negative one modifier for the inexperienced it is still a lot of shots going down range when the name of the game is often putting pins on. The other thing to consider is that it is four large infantry squads that can take objectives and which the opponent must deal with, I hate to use the term cannon fodder but it is a role that they will play. 

The brave Headmaster leading the town militia
Whilst those squads are relatively weak (intimidating though to see so many), the real strength in the force comes from my assault units. Two 6 man Senegalese squads are a real threat as they are regular tough fighters and can punch above their weight, when combined with a 6 man veteran cavalry squad this small group is all about getting in the opponents face and exploiting weaknesses. Expect these guys to be a flanking force so the other player will have to play with some units held back to deal with them therefore being unable to project the full combat force forward to deal with my inexperienced horde. The last infantry squad is the Foreign Legion veterans with the stubborn special rule; they are the fire brigade to stiffen up the defensive forces. 

FFL are from Artizan Miniatures
In total there are 8 infantry units in the force, an unusually large number for 1000 points and will hopefully give an opponent a problem with what I like to call ‘target priority hesitation’. Infantry units are hard to kill and it is normal to concentrate firepower on single units, if the opponent has 8 infantry units which one do you target? Leave the inexperienced infantry alone and they will surprise you, ignore the assault troops and you will lose you backline, basically make the opponent hesitate and you will start to control the table. 

Cavalry are from Crusader Miniatures
Another big part of this force is the indirect fire support, four inexperienced units being two light howitzers and two medium mortars will make for a very powerful, though fragile, backline. Four HE shots per turn by this backline will hopefully cause the opponent to keep mobile or run the risk of being targeted and zeroed in on. Add to this a regular (free) medium AT gun and the threat to enemy armour as well as infantry becomes very apparent. 

Mortar teams are Warlord Games and the AT gun is from Crusader Miniatures, excuse the unfinished mortar!
 Finally, we have the armour, let’s start with the FT-17 as it is one of my favourite weapon platforms. It is a damage 7, fully enclosed tracked vehicle with an MMG for 35 points, 15 points less than a static MMG team. It will not win games but it will be another target for an opponent and an annoying little mosquito putting an extra pin on units out to 36”. The main beast is the Char 2C with 5 separate weapons stations, four MMG and one light howitzer it is a brutal anti-infantry tank. It is not so much that it will delete units but it will lay down a lot of pins and protect the inexperienced infantry. It is also so large that it will draw the attention of everything on the table, disproportionate to the actual threat it poses. 

Char 2C from Warlord Games
 So that is my 1000 point force and I hope you agree that it is something different to what may normally be seen at events. It will take a lot of effort for it to work but the sheer size and versatility will be intimidating for opponent’s who are running small veteran style forces of 12 order dice or less as there is a lot of redundancy. My Achilles heel will be Air and Artillery observers, as well as area effect weapons such as rocket batteries as my force will rely on mutual support and they can’t afford to be too spread out. 
Now onto the painting, I originally painted these troops over two years ago and they were basic at best. I have improved since then and really wanted my force to reflect that so I made a decision to refresh them with some improvements. Primarily, I added extra highlights, blacklining and completely redone the flesh. This was a big effort for me as with any army relegated to the ‘complete’ pile picking them back up and repainting is a difficult mental challenge. Hopefully you will agree the results are worth the effort and I look forward to rolling out in October to throw down some dice with them! 

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