I got a chance to play a game of Bolt Action the other day against CJ. We used "Assault on the Mannerheim Line" scenario from the Ostfront supplement as inspiration. My force was divided into three 5-unit groups. CJ had to move on to the board and try to break through.
We did not use the bunkers as instructed in the book, but allowed the Finns and Germans to "dig- in," which allowed the troops to get cover in the open. After a preparatory bombardment, which is pretty useless in Bolt Action, the Russians began to move on.
|The battlefield from behind the third Finno- German line|
|My Reserves - Two squads in trucks and Simo Hayha in the background|
|Second line - Sniper, Sturmi, a MG and two Squads|
The front line was a half squad of Finns, a Squad of Gebirgsjäger, a MG34, a full squad of Finns and a Flamethrower. I figured if the flamer was up front, he would get a chance to torch something before he died. Little did I know, he would become eligible for a Mannerheim Cross.
CJ moved a squad, a ZIS-30, a MG and a Lieutenant on my left, and began to pour troops, like a good Soviet, in the center right. A T-26 was also brought forward, which I was nervous about.
|Move forward, Sovietly!|
The gunner surreptitiously removed his Zippo, which he received for Christmas from his American Cousin, lit his flamethrower and unleashed Hell's Breath upon the oncoming Russians. These are one of the nastiest things in Bolt Action. As hoped, CJ lost 3-4 guys, and failed his morale test after and removed the remainder.
I began to get a bit overzealous and charged a squad of Finns as the T-26, hoping that their Molotov Cocktails would disable it. But they failed and fell back to the nearest house.
CJ moved another squad up to take care of the flamethrower team, but since they are a small team he only killed the assistant.
The machine gunners noticed that yet more Russians were storming to their right, this time in trucks. This could have been devastating if they had pushed through the first line and in to the second. But luckily these machine gunners had a lot of practice and destroyed the first truck.
My poor flamethrower hero was out- numbered something like 25:1. But his tank would not run out of fuel and he kept spraying.
Meanwhile, on the left, a squad of Russians engaged in melee with my Gebirgsjäger, and they, too, were destroyed.
However, CJ brought on a second truck with a squad and a flamethrower of his own and a BA-64 in support. Things were not looking good for the 4 Finns holing my right flank. But, again, I had good luck and destroyed the second truck with rifle fire.
CJ blocked my MG-34 with his tank. I opened up on his tank with mine, but was not able to destroy it.
On turn three, I was able to get the first turn and my flamethrower destroyed a third squad, before being killed himself. 30-some-odd men were torched to the loss of two. A fair trade any day! My sniper was able to kill his flamethrower before he could fire.
The remainder of the squad on the left moved into the woods to engage a squad that was being moved on. However, they met their match and were destroyed themselved.
At this point my front line was down to a sole machine gunner, some isolated Finns in a house and one very pinned Finn. I began to bring up the forces of my third line to the second.
The battle was over though at this point. The Russian advance had stalled and we called the game. This was a tough mission for CJ, but we joked that he represented some Soviet commanders well. In retrospect he should have ignored my flamethrower and he would have had 20-30 extra men to pound my second line.
My figures are a mix of Warlord, Rubicon (StuG) and the excellent Brigade Games. Terrain is a mix of homemade, Knoch and Battleground. The table was covered by a Cigar Box Battlemat.