Veterans of Bolt Action will tell you that there is only one real way of getting across a board quickly. A truck. Halftracks and other armoured vehicles are sadly often too expensive; points wise, for what they do. While new rules may change this dynamic in BA Version 2, we already have a hot, new mobile unit type in Konflikt ’47. Jump infantry.
I, Old Man Morin, am notorious for playing fast, “hitty” armies. I like deciding where and when to take the fight to my opponent. I like to exploit weak spots in their line. I like jumping on objectives early and holding them or moving up to claim them in the last turns of the game, after I have wiped my opponent’s forces away. In short: I feel the need, the need for speed. In a game where objectives are so important in so many missions, I think mobility is a big deal. That in mind, I was more than a little excited to find flying troopers as a new unit type in K’47.
The United States and Germany both have jump infantry units and while they share the “Flight” special rule, they serve very different purposes on the tabletop. Flight means that these units can advance 12” and can run 18”. When moving this way, units with this rule ignore movement restrictions imposed by intervening terrain as long as they do not attempt to land in impassable terrain. It is important to note that these units can elect to not use this rule and can move like normal infantry on the ground if they choose to do so.
The German army list has two units with this rule. The Nachtjager, who I covered in the last article entitled “Things That Go Bump In The Night” and the Fallschirmjager Falcon Squad. The Falcons come standard as Veterans and cost a whopping 26 points a model. Despite their high price, they are a bit of a bargain if you break their points down. They are veteran troops with assault rifles and the resilient rule, which means that they have a damage value of 6+ against shooting attacks… AND they fly. Pretty amazing.
Falcons are fantastic all-a-rounders. They have the movement to exploit weaknesses in opposing forces, grab objectives or plug holes in your own line. Simultaneously, they have the firepower to get the job done when they get there. Remember, assault rifles do not suffer movement penalties, have the range of a rifle, fire twice and are great in both phases of the Konflikt ’47 assault rules. All the while, Falcons have the durability of the resilient rule and infantry’s flexibility to react to incoming threats in a variety of ways. Plus they are man sized models. They can hide in and behind cover like regular infantry. I am a massive fan of these guys.
The American counterpart to the German Falcons are called the Firefly Jump Infantry squad. They are also veteran soldiers but they only cost 18 points a model. Why the drastic reduction of points? Well, they do not have the “resilient” rule and they do not carry assault rifles. Instead of AR’s, Fireflies carry submachine guns. You have the option of upgrading them to take anti-tank grenades, up to 2 BAR’s and an infantry packed flamethrower.
While these guys lack the long-range firepower and the staying power of the Falcons, the Fireflies are brutal within 12 inches. Their SMGs are just as deadly as assault rifles in the point blank firing and the hand-to-hand phases of assault and their ability to combine a flamethrower with the mobility of jump infantry can be legitimately frightening for opponents. Even though they pay twice what a normal squad does for a flamethrower, 40 points, it is still a good deal. The option to add BARs to the squad does give it additional reach in the shooting phase but I feel like this muddies the unit’s purpose on the battlefield. This squad needs to be in your opponent’s face, driving forward to get in their face or needs to be coiled behind cover, near objectives, ready to pounce on enemy troops who stray too near. Like the Falcons, these guys are also great for their points cost.
Though both of these units look remarkable on paper, in reality they need to be chosen with care. They are both expensive, points-wise and if you take multiple units of either, you will be limiting the points you have to spend on your remaining forces. Both units need support and neither weather the storm if an opponent is able to focus the fire of an army upon them in isolation, so you probably don’t want to just jump them out into the open by themselves. They need to be supported by pin causing units and AT assets depending on the scenario and your opponent’s force. They need to be played strategically, move up with cover and in conjunction with multiple threats that an opponent has to deal with simultaneously. It is important that an opponent is not able to prioritise these guys as a target with a unit that will decimate infantry like big HE or units with lots of shots (Kodiak anyone?).
I guess what I am saying, in a nutshell, is that as good as these units are, they need to be part of an army whose parts work well together in a manner that will not get them immediately shot off the board. They are not “auto-win button” units but they can definitely help you get across the line in the end.