Bolt Action – Operation Nachteule

Another trip to Leeds Night Owls where 16 players took part in an escalation Bolt Action tournament.  500, 750 then 1,000 points with the same pool of units being used for all the games.  I took the same list as at Operation Chillstorm and cut it down for the 750 and 500 point games.

The 500 point games were played in a 1-hour slot including set up so could have been a push to finish.  I played against Italian colonials featuring a lot of inferior tough fighters including a unit of cavalry.  I kept a mortar and the quad maxim truck but otherwise went all infantry


There were 3 objectives to hold in a line like a capital ‘I’ across the centre of the table running between the 2 long edges.  To hold an objective you had to be touching it at the game end or had to be close by to contest.  The inferior Italians did not do well against the quad maxim and my regular fire kept them back.  The cavalry did charge in but despite being tough fighters still lost the assault.  We played about 3 turns with my Soviets controlling 2 objectives to 0 Italians plus the Italians were running out of units.  If the game had continued the result would probably have been the same.

For the 750 point game I dropped the Zis gun, flamethrower and some infantry to face Germans.  The Germans had a wheeled thing with a big gun seen in the woods plus a quad AAA on a big half track.  His infantry was all regular with the odd panzerfaust and assault rifle but not maxed out with either.  The game was fought with 5 objectives set out like a capital ‘N” as seen on the image.  A unit had to be within 3″ of an objective to hold or contest.  Set up was across the diagonal of the board.


The wheeled thing (all I know is that it is not a Puma and had a big anti-tank gun) made short work of the infantry unit.  I had hoped to draw an early dice and assault it before it moved (it was open topped).  The German quad AAA hung around the woods at the top of the image.  It got one good shot off on my inferior squad but I caught it with a mortar round and 2 turns of bombardment saw it take an early bath.  This game ended as a draw with similar losses on both sides.

For the final game I fought British commandos, a veteran force except for a regular Churchill tank.  There were 7 objectives, 3 across the centre line and 2 staggered back 1′ in from each side’s base edge.  In this game objectives were controlled by the last player to get within 3″ of them.  It was not necessary to keep a unit by each objective and unlike the other games vehicles could take objectives.


The British player took 2 off board forward observers.  I destroyed one in melee before he did any harm the other got a bombardment off that hit my scouts  and flamethrower team (who survived with a pile of pins).  I lost my sniper to a 1st turn sniper duel having failed to snipe off a forward observer.


The British had 1 big squad that put out 20+ dice of firepower and a Churchill tank that caused took out my faithful BA10.  The rest of his army was of relatively small units which had difficulty covering enough ground to take many objectives.  Given time he might have been able to cut through my forces one unit at a time.  As time ending was called we worked out that the key shot would be the British sniper knocking a Soviet squad member off and leaving the others not within 3″ of an objective so it could be controlled by the British not contested.  The sniper had lost his mate, needed a 4+ and whiffed it.  A narrow win for my Soviets.


In conclusion a nice session with 3 pleasant games and no serious rules issues.  We did need to look up some rules conflicts but that is the only way to really get to know the rules and there were no tears.  My most valuable unit was the scouts again.  They took a lot of incoming that allowed the rest of the army to get on with its job.

The event was well organised with prizes for everyone.  We all picked some Warlord sprues and at the end the prizes were set on a table with players coming up in turn (1st, best painted, 2nd and so on) to choose a prize.  The winner took home a nice battle mat having brought a Japanese army with maxed out squads, 2 of whom were bamboo fighters together with a Stuart bristling with guns and a dinky little tank.  I think the last player picked up some VBCW/LDV/Civilian 28mms, I already have some of these models and can attend them as a nice prize.  I picked up another Hanomag for my rarely used Germans.

Bolt Action: On the Beaches of Kent

This is the second campaign scenario from the Sea Lion book, following on from the Brandenburger raid.  The game was played at 1,000 points with about 200 points out of each side’s allowance used for special features.  The British force has a pill box/bunker, 2 6″ square minefields and 3 sections of barbed wire,  No one dared go through the minefields to find out what they did.  The barbed wire acted as an obstacle to infantry.  Most of the British were infantry.  They did have 3 universal carriers as reserves.  1 was the recce choice the others transports with a 5 man squad riding along.  The game did give a choice of whacky home defence weapons such as the Smith gun.  I did not have models for these and looking at the stats buying solid regular infantry seemed a better choice.

The Germans had to buy boats to come on.  4 assault craft at 25 points each that held up to 6 figures and 1 barge at 100 points with a much larger capacity.  The German force had to be chosen to fit in the boats so there were 3 squads of 6 and a mortar, anti-tank rifle and the HQ fitting in the small boats.  In reality the boat with the mortar and its ammo would probably be seriously overloaded.  The barge included 2 large squads, 1 of pioneers with a flamethrower and a howitzer.  Only 1 unit can debark from the barge each turn restricting its use as an invasion node.  The Germans also had a ‘swimming tank’, a PzIII in the book but I used as Pz38.  This runs along the sea bed and might turn up or might sink.  Luckily for some it showed up on turn 2.  I umpired the game with a novice player taking the Germans, the British player did not cut him many breaks.


To win the Germans need to get off the beach (the brown strip) for 2 points per unit or off board for 3 points.  The British get points for destroying German units.  The Germans start to land. Only 2 British combat units and the HQ were deployed on the board.  The German pre-game bombardment only handed out a few pins.


The Germans land over a wide front but avoid the bunker and minefields.  They begin to take losses from the universal carriers which they can only pin.


On the other flank the tank shows up, which the British cannot destroy.  The crater model represents a landing barge.  It has disgorged a unit of pioneers and a howitzer.  The British on the nearby dune are in trouble.


Meanwhile the other Germans are under heavy fire.


More infantry land from the barge.  The pioneers have taken losses and FUBAR’d.  The howitzer and tank are poorly positioned.


Withering fire sees the German flank collapse and British victory points soar.


The British unit on the dunes is wiped out.  The HQ moves to a safer distance.


The German tries to overrun the British HQ with the tank but they pass their morale and dodge out of the way.


With the tank distracted a carrier moves out of hiding beyond the dunes and causes more German casualties.


The German could of run an infantry unit and the tank off board for another 2 points but the game had timed out and it was clear that a German breakthrough was not on the cards, casualties being too high on the beaches.  The German attack is heavily constrained by their boats in this scenario.  To get ashore quickly they need the tiny assault boats.  The British can afford to concentrate fire on the 6 man units coming out of the boats.  Even with veteran status these will soon shrink to a size where they throw out minimal firepower.  A better German plan might of been to cram landing units into as tight an area as possible to prevent the British taking them out piecemeal.  Even so the classic ratio for a successful attack is 3:1 not the 1:1 of a standard Bolt Action game.