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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bolt Action - Playing an event with the Official Australian Supplement

The Australians in the South West Pacific 1942-45 official supplement was launched almost a year ago now as a free download on the Warlord Games website. As a co-author of this document, assisting the amazing Master Bryan Cook, I was really hopeful we would see more Australian forces on the table but they have been a bit sparse. With a New Guinea campaign book due to be released later this year (hopefully soon!). I thought it was time to roll my Jungle warriors out and promote the supplement once more and hopefully prompt some interest in playing these venerable forces.

I am playing four organised games over two months, at 1250 points, in preparation for Canberra' big mid-year event, Wintercon, in July. I have chosen an army list consisting of the Australians from the official supplement and I am super keen to show what they are capable of. Before I go into the list though, I will go through the national rule that I have chosen because although they are a Commonwealth force the standard national rules are replaced by unique ones.

First up, are the compulsory ones: “Limited Artillery Support” where the free forward artillery officer has been removed, then “Aggressive patrolling” where an Australian player can place ALL there forward observers first and finally “Never give up” which gives all infantry and artillery units the special fanatic rule if assaulted. It is really important to educate your opponent about these rules prior to the game and to have a copy of the pdf handy as they can be a bit confronting, being so different from what they may be used to.

I have chosen the “Australia is next” special rule which gives all infantry units stubborn. I have some flexibility in the build up so in each new game I will select a different special rule to see what fits best. The others are “Fighting withdrawal” where you can advance towards your own deployment zone and then go into ambush and “Jungle warfare master” which gives you no negatives when a NCO is killed and allows you to go into down if ambushed.

I set some parameters around my list and decided that everything will be regular and effectively separated into three distinct groups: forward deployed, infantry platoon and support elements. I want to make the most out of the Aggressive Patrolling rule and really try and dominate the middle ground where the mission allows. Remember, I can place all my teams forward deploying first and no enemy unit forward deployed unit can deploy within 18” of mine.

Forward Deployed Teams
2 x 8 man Papuan Infantry Battalion Sections with 1 SMG and 7 Rifles (can be placed into ambush on deployment).
2 x Platoon scout teams of 3 men carrying SMG’s.
2 x Sniper teams
Thoughts: With six forward deployed teams I can take the pick of the good terrain and push the opponent’s forward deployers back towards their table edge. This will be important to protect my support elements from snipers and to make the opponents forces go further in objective gathering missions. With two 8 man squads they will also be a threat that will have to be dealt with which will draw attention away from my infantry platoon. 

Infantry Platoon
1 x 1ST Lieutenant
3 x 8 man Jungle Division Infantry Squads consisting of 3 x SMG, 1 x LMG and 4 rifles.
Thoughts: This is the core of my force, three solid squads of regular trained troops who can adapt to all ranges of combat and can be committed as a solid unit to exploit a weakness or solidify a defensive line. With my forward deployed units keeping the enemy busy this platoon has a certain amount of freedom of movement to adapt to tactical conditions.

Support Elements
2nd Lieutenant
2 x Medium Mortar teams
1 x Australian Jungle 25 Pounder (no gun shield, no AT rounds)
1 x M3A1 Stuart light tank
1 x LVT Buffalo with hull MMG and two pintle HMG’s

Thoughts: With a screening force of forward deployed teams these support elements should be able to deploy in advantageous positions and in relative safety. The mortars and jungle gun will harass enemy armour as a priority target to get some pins on (d3 pins per hit) and infantry teams as a secondary. The Stuart can either be used as an escort for the LVT or by itself to harass enemy units or provide a battering ram to break through the line. The LVT has the capacity to hold 24 troops which just happens to be my three infantry squads and has the ability to get them up into the middle line in the first turn and then provide fire support or alternatively flank turn three. 

So how will it play out? Well, if all goes according to plan the forward deployed units will hug the middle line forcing his forward deployers back. This will give me the tactical advantage of owning the middle ground and provide a springboard to attack or allow me to set up a defence in depth whereas the opponent will be grouped together and cluttered. Having stubborn will mean my infantry units will be more survivable and if I can get my officers in good supporting positions even more so. If the situation allows I may even drive my LVT right into the heart of the enemy zone and then deploy all three squads and just see what happens!

I will write again soon to let you know how they played out but in the meantime check out some other articles we have written about the Australians here, here, here, here and here!

P.S. I played my first game of the event last night being Double Envelopment and picked up a win with four units leaving the table and another three in my opponents deployment zone, details later!



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