Over the last couple of weeks I have been able to get in some games of the new Bolt Action rule set, Konflikt ’47. While the game is heavily based on the standard BA rules, it introduces several game-changing innovations like reactions and an improved assault system. I have been pondering the implications of these changes to how the game plays and do they subtly but significantly change how infantry units operate and interact in the game. The game also introduces several new types of units to the tabletop. One of these new unit categories uses these new infantry rules to maximum effect. Today I would like to talk about Heavy Infantry.
All four of the “Big Four” nations represented in the K’47 rulebook have access to heavy infantry, though every nation’s armoured infantry are noticeably different. Each has their own personality, cost and weapon options. Before we get into the differences, we should probably talk about what they have in common. Heavy infantry are assumed to be wearing protective body armour that shields them from most small arms fire. This is represented by the Resilient rule that states that troops with this ability have a damage value of 6+ when being fired upon. This changes in hand-to-hand combat where they use their normal experience level but it should be noted that heavy infantry in all four lists must be bought as veterans. Though there are other heavy infantry flavoured units that have the “tough” rule, I will not be focusing on these units today.
The German and American Heavy infantry selections are very similar. Both are roughly 20 points a model, both have the Resilient rule and both have assault rifles. This makes both quite a good deal, points wise. The Resilient rule is very similar to the rules for the Soviet Body Armour rule in the “Armies of the Soviet Union Book”. On veteran troops with rifles, this early type of armour costs 18 points a model. Assault rifles are usually 5 points a model. The combination of this gear should usually cost 23 points a model, yet in both the US and German lists you get this formidable combination of gear for a 2 to 3 point discount, depending which nation you are looking at (The Germans get theirs for one point less but their heavy infantry is Slow).
These guys are both fantastic choices for their respective army lists. They kick out an impressive two shots a man up to 24 inches range and do not suffer a movement penalty to fire on the move. This is important, especially on the German version as they need to keep moving to get and stay in the fight because of their reduced speed. Assault rifles are especially great in Konflikt ’47 because they are equally good in both parts of the assault phase. You get two shots if you fire them point-blank into your foe and two attacks if you are fighting in close combat. Being equally effective in both phases allows you to better take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses.
The improved durability of these guys also makes them significantly tougher than their lightly armoured veteran buddies, a huge bonus especially if you are trying to take and hold those pesky objectives.
That same armour also protects the more expensive Soviet Version of the armour, which comes in at a pricey 28 points. What makes these guys cost more is their formidable weapon package. They carry a shot range, three shot submachine gun (that still only does two attacks in HTH because of the wording of the “assault weapon” rule) and a short-range anti-tank rifle. Like their German counterparts, they are Slow.
If you, like me, are thinking about circumnavigating the Slow rule by mounting these guys in a transport, it is important to note that all four heavy infantry units have the Large Infantry rule. That means that each member of a unit takes up twice as much transport capacity as normal infantry. You can transport these guys but you will not have a large unit of them.
The British heavy infantry unit is more expensive than all of its kin by a wide margin and clocks in at a whopping 35 points a model. Why so expensive? Well they come with LMGs and those have always been pricey, points-wise, in the Bolt Action universe. That said, do not write these guys off. Not only do they have the range and shots, and a pile of LMGs will also give these guys a heavy duty bite in the point-blank shooting part of the assault rules, but they have the Tough special rule. This means that not only do they have a 6+ damage value, if you get through their armour they get additional saving throw that negates damage one third of the time. These guys are brutal.
Now you might be thinking, “Jeez, heavy infantry sound great!” And you would be right, but as (almost) always in Bolt Action, greatness comes at a price. Even if you stocked up on the cheapest type of heavy infantry, the German variant, you will probably be phenomenally outnumbered by non-armoured troops and… in the K47 you are more likely to experience big scary late-war tanks, walkers and cannons that can make short work of your wee beasties. Big HE is still a big consideration here.
I think that the introduction of heavy infantry to the game gives us an interesting, effective and versatile tool that helps to add variety to our list building experience. Like everything else in the game, our forces need to synergise and include solutions for a myriad of problems and situations in order to get the job done in the end.
Til next time,
Old Man Morin