Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WWII Eastern Front Skirmish: URBAN NIGHTMARE! (lots of pics!)

Today I played a very large skirmish game using my individually based WWII troops and using the popular "Bolt Action" rules for skirmish actions.

I pulled out all the stops and grabbed every "destroyed building" I had including some really cool Epic 40k ruins I purchased on ebay a few years back.  They blend in well with the other scenery.  I even sprinkled some ballast rocks to give the impression of rubble.  This was a sweet game but the pictures tell the best story.

Mission was the "Domination" mission from the "boltaction.net" website.   3 Soviet squads plus 3 T-34/76 face off against a similar number of Germans, 2 x Panzer IIIs and 1 Panzer IVF.  This mission has it all - Reserves, plus lots of maneuver and decision making.

Urban nightmare terrain!  Even on the roads I made a "bogging check" on a roll of a 1 whenever a tracked vehicle moved over the rubble area.
 Both sides wanted to use their tanks to sweep around and grab as many objectives as they could before the infantry swarmed in.  Still, tanks could only use "advance" orders once they entered the city and I instituted a bog check once the tanks entered.

Panzer IV scans for targets.

The yellow dice are objectives.  The number showing on the die is the amount of points the objective is worth.  The center objective is worth 3 - the most.

T-34 hit by the Panzer IV!  The shell chips the paint and stuns the crew.  1 Pin marker for you!
 The Soviets have a new plan.  Shove everyone right up the middle and see how it turns out.  (actually as it turns out, it was quite an effective plan.)

Troops hop off a T-34 and race for cover.  They grab an objective but come under fire from some Germans in the department store!

T-34 creeping around the flanks.

A Soviet squad moves into the town.
 After turn 1, the turns start to move pretty fast.  The first of the reserves show up and sprint into the town on "Run" orders.  Some of the senior officers present have been slacking off on their PT and arrive winded....(this doesn't go unnoticed by the enlisted men).

Green die is a pin marker.  He's hit by a measly 50mm shell.  More paintwork chipped.

The twin pair of Panzer IIIs goes hunting.

Meanwhile the German main effort reaches the rubble in front of the "big" objective.

The German squad in the department store scans for targets.  They would attract the attention of almost every Soviet unit on the right flank!

Situation!  Soviets advancing from the left, Germans from the right.

"We have the objective in sight Herr Leutnant!"

Russians race around the flank to contest the objective and knock out that Panzer IV.  As you can see he has alot on his mind this particular turn.  Like "which T-34 do I take out now?"
 The Germans in the town remain mostly static waiting for their reserve units to show up and flank the enemy. Movement is slow, however (no running once in the rubble!) and they soak up hit after hit!

German reserve squad not in the town yet.  Slowly but surely.

WE ARE FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES HERE!  WE NEED HELP!!  The Feldwebel screams to a runner he spots.  The destroyed buildings all around are filling up with Ivan and they all are taking a keen interest in this squad in the rubble pile.

Some lucky German shooting and the MMG joining the affair kills a Soviet squad in the town center but is it enough?  Is it ever enough?!?!

No shortage of volunteers to liberate the motherland!  Soviet reserves pour across the bridge and into the town.

Scratch one Gerry tank!  A T-34 does more than chip paint, Comrade!

Guys follow me!  Guys??  Where is the rest of my squad?

German reserves trickling in.  Too little, too late!

Scratch another Panzer.  This T-34 has set himself up to grab another objective and fire on the reinforcements arriving.

From the vantage point of the department store, the German squad realizes they have one option left.  Charge!  Quick boys, pour out of here and charge that tank!  Oh wait - waht do you mean we have to pass a pre charge morale check against tanks?  Okay, EVERYBODY BACK INSIDE NOW!!  Do-Over!!
 I goofed and didn't know I had to pass a morale check until after my squad charges this Russian tank.  I roll the check prior to any combat starting.  The Germans fail it.  Today's not the day to go after a tank.  So back inside the department store they go!

Party headquarters is spotted intact!  Race to the top of it and pour fire down on the Russians.  I can't believe we didn't think of this sooner!  Hurry damn you!  It's the end of Turn 5!!!

Officers and MMG gunners scan for targets.  There are plenty of them.
 By now it's looking grim for Gerry.  2 of 3 tanks KO'd and even the objectives he started with are melting away.  not to mention the squad in the city center has 8 pins against it!  More than there are even soldiers.  He'll need to roll "snake eyes" to even rally.

By now all the Russian reserves are in and about to open up on the Germans in the center.

8 pin markers!  I want to go home!

End of turn 6 they won't be able to shoot unless we roll to continue another turn!
 The Germans really need another turn to win the game as their reinforcements are finally all set up.  The Soviets have 2 fresh squads ready to rush the "big objective" worth 3 points as well as all their support weapons have been brought to bear.

the Germans have snuck a Panzerschrek team around the woods!  Unbelievably they contest the objective as they're within 3 inches of it.  The Soviets don't get credit for this one.  Especially with a Panzerschrek team pointed at the soft flank armor!

Situation in the city center.  This looks like a Soviet victory to me!

The view from the department store.  The Germans hunker down and prepare to vacate the city!
Thanks for sticking around and reading my AAR.  Bolt Action always delivers a fast-moving game.  This time around I didn't institute my "50%" rule where only 50% of the miniatures in your unit may shoot simply because the hard cover and the building to building fighting make it hard enough to hit.  Gone were the turns where one entire squad is wiped out at a time.

Looks like you need lots of terrain to keep Bolt Action interesting.  Duly noted!  I will play this same scenario with FUBAR (the free skirmish rules available in my links section) to see how it goes.

I learned a few lessons here - namely that if you want to keep your troops on the board, you have to keep them in cover.  Shooting is merciless on targets in the open.
Also I finally figured out where officers benefit your units in Bolt Action - because prior to playing this game I could never figure that out, and my officers usually just sat around the battlefield or were used as an additional fire team.

With officers accompanying a squad possibly designated as "the main effort" you increase your chances that they'll pass pre movement morale checks if they're pinned.  Hell, every little bit helps.  9 or less seems like an easy number to roll, but if you have 3 or 4 pin markers on your squad, that turns into a 6 or a 5.  with an officer providing his morale benefit, you can make that roll a little easier perhaps.  My officers all arrived as reserves with the command group, and I found myself wishing they were closer to the action.

Reserve placement.  Reserve placement is very generous and you can almost place them anywhere on your table edge you want.  I enforced a strict entry-area for both sides and all this did was ensure they they almost wouldnt be used for both sides, with most reserves getting their first opportunity to fire around turn 5!

Tank riders.  Do this.  If you have tanks do this.  That's all I can say.  Unparalleled mobility if you don't have tracks or trucks.  The Russians all of a sudden had 2 squads and 2 tanks in the department store sector while the Germans had what equated to a fire team...

Still have lots of painting to do getting ready for my GWOT FUBAR game coming up at the end of the month.  So FUBAR on the way everyone.

Oh and last summer was the "Summer of Horse & Musket" so what's this summer going to be???
Napoleonics?  SYW??  Finally finishing a single project and getting all my minis from that era painted?  "Howe" about the "Summer of the AWI?"


  1. Nice looking game and beautiful ruined houses!

  2. Lovel AAR and I can only agree with all you learning points.
    Also great to see that 6mm Epic 40k terrain pressed into service as 15mm Russian ruins! Nice :-)

    1. Thanks Paul! I remembered I had them last night when I concocted this scheme for Bolt Action. They worked for the purpose which they were intended. Now if I could only get a game of Epic Armageddon going! That would be sweet! Who has the time.

  3. Nice tabletop, well narrated game too

    1. Thank you Al. I had alot of fun putting it all together earlier that day.

  4. Yet another superior looking game!

  5. Quality AAR Steven. Right up the middle...Excellent!

    1. Thanks, Paul! i thought you would appreciate the subtle Soviet strategy I used!

  6. This looks like it was terrific fun, Steve. I agree with Paul: "Shove everyone right up the middle and see how it turns out" - excellent Soviet role-playing! Is that 20mm kit? I thought I detected the venerable Matchbox T34 tank model.
    Definitely don't want to skimp the PT when the troops are watching - and when the bullets are flying!
    Cheers and happy gaming,

    1. Thanks Michael! Happy Gaming to you! My philosophy is if I'm playing the Soviets, I should at least play like the Soviets right?
      Happy Gaming to you sir!