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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Meanwhile the other Germans are under heavy fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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