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Bolt Action: The Battle of Ville DeChelle

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I had a fun game of Bolt Action today, and thought I'd take some pics along the way to see if it turned into an interesting after-action report.  I think it did, so I figured I would post it up in case anyone was interested in it.  Pics were taken with my dinosaur phone so they're not great, but should suffice.


The table after initial deployment  from the American side:




And the German side:



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The Germans got some early initiative with two order dice draws from the bag.  On the left flank, Panther 213 used the opportunity to fire at the American M4A1 76mm Sherman, which was the first casualty of the game:




I suspect the Americans will miss that as things progress.  On the right german flank, Panther 214 had similar success eliminating one of the American 75mm Shermans.  Not a good start for our Yanks!




Emboldened by this early success, the Germans on the left flank push up a Puma recon vehicle to try and secure the left objective.  Once the Americans started to draw some dice, this aggressive move turned out to cost them:




Undeterred, the Germans on the right flank decided to take advantage of an opportunity and moved halftrack 212 up to pour some machinegun fire down on an advancing US Ranger squad, getting some pins and a few casualties.  This flank is looking pretty grim for the Americans at this moment.




The strongest part of the American force is in the center, so they begin to try and push forward.  The rightmost Sherman at this point has drawn some fire and is having morale issues, forcing it to fall back:




Back on the German right flank, a Grenadier squad moves to assault the US Ranger squad that halftrack 212 was pouring fire on earlier, expecting them to fold and the flank to fall:




Instead, after one round of close quarters that ended in a draw, the second round saw the American G.I.s muster their fighting will and drive the germans completely off!  The germans have now lost one full squad of their infantry.  This flank is still far from safe for the Americans, but it's looking a lot better.  



Trying desperately to shore up their flank, a US Bazooka team advances to a wall to take a shot at german halftrack 211.  The shot goes miles wide, not even close.




Meanwhile, the very aggressive German Leutnant has pushed forward with his two assistants and open fire on the Ranger squad advancing toward the center objective, scoring a pin marker and a casualty.




In a nearby building, a German sniper team lurks in waiting.  After the Leutnant's small band open fire, the sniper takes aim and shoots at the same Ranger squad moving toward the center objective:




But the dice say no way, and the shot misses.  Sarge's lucky day!




From a building across the way, an American sniper team spots the German sniper team and decides to do Sarge a solid by getting rid of them.  Their rolls are rather better, and the German sniper is no more.



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Unfortunately for Sarge and his gang trying to secure the center objective, the trouble is only just starting.  After taking fire from the German Leutnant, and then the sniper, a fresh German squad moves in for the attack.  Except this is not a German Grenadier squad, it is the assault squad - armed with the fearsome StG 44 assault rifle!  Unleashing intense fire against the Americans, Sarge's luck finally runs out and the entire squad is wiped out.  




On the German left flank, another Grenadier squad moves up to put some fire on an advancing Ranger squad:




The German PAK 40 anti-tank gun decides to get in on the action, firing an HE round into the fight:




Back in the center, Halftrack 211 tries to eliminate the american M3 halftrack, to no avail:




The American bazooka team loads another round, to see if the can finally get rid of this bit of nuisance:




And they succeed in spectacular fashion as 211 brews up:




Meanwhile, a US Sherman tries to help the stalled center advance move forward by dividing its fire, shooting its main gun at the German Puma (for no effect) and its machineguns at the German assault squad for much better effect:




Back on the German left flank, Panther 213 moves up and eliminates another US Sherman:




The German grenadier squad launch an assault against the Ranger squad:




And unlike the assault on the right flank that went so terribly awry, this assault goes pretty much to plan:



Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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In the center, the Puma and the Shermans are still trading shots, still to no effect:




On the German right flank, the Panther has taken some fire from the US 57mm anti-tank gun that guards the objective.  Not enough to seriously threaten its thick frontal armour, but enough to give it a couple of pin markers.  The German commander decides not to rally the tank, but instead to take the order test and try to move up to secure the objective since very little now stands in its way.  The order test is rolled... and comes up DOUBLE SIXES.  this is not just a failure, this is a FUBAR!




A roll on the FUBAR chart comes up Friendly Fire.  In the confusion, the Panther crew has mistaken one of their own for the enemy!  And there is only one friendly that can meet the criteria:




Halftrack 212 never had a chance.




On the US side, the M8 greyhound crew decides that since the halftrack they were going after is now gone, and the Panther has fired its shot, this is the only chance they have to try and save this flank.  Not a very good chance, to be sure, but it's all they've got!  May fortune favour the foolish!




And it does!  The shot hits!  The shot penetrates the side armour!  Two good rolls down, one remains - will it be enough to destroy Panther 214?  IT IS!




Back in the center, the M3 halftrack bursts through the trees and unleashes a hail of machinegun fire on the Leutnant's team, killing one of his subordinates and pinning the survivors down:




A quick look through the scope and a check with the LoS laser pointer reveals that the US sniper team also has a clear shot at the Leutnant's team. 




They take it, and that's the end of the German Leutnant.  His remaining subordinate must take a morale check, which he fails.  The team is eliminated.  The German forces will fight on, but they now have a permanent -1 to their morale for the duration.





Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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Back in the center, one of the US Shermans tries yet again to eliminate the enemy Puma:




After several rounds of plinking at one another, the matter is finally resolved:




Panther 213, recognizing that the center is now laid wide open, begins to advance down the center road to get in position if the Shermans move onto the objective.  But for the moment, there is only one thing it can shoot at, so it does:




And knocks out the American M3 halftrack:




Meanwhile, our plucky M8 Greyhound scoots boldly forward to gain the center objective.  If it can remain there until the end of the turn then it will flip the cap to allied control:




A 3/4-ton truck hauls the 57mm gun up to give some support in holding onto it:




And the weary, depleted US Ranger squad that fended off halftrack 212 and a german infantry assault moves to take the objective on their flank:








Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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The last remaining German Grenadier squad, rapidly running out of options, advances to fire two panzerfaust at an American Sherman:




One misses complete,y but the other is a good hit, and does effective damage that knocks the Sherman out of action:




Meanwhile, our plucky little M8 Greyhound, having secured its objective for the allies, advances to put machinegun fire onto the german Grenadier squad:




the Grenadier squad wisely opts to hit the dirt in an effort to avoid casualties, but to no avail.  The greyhnoud's lucky shot rolls continue to pay out and it causes four casualties.  Given the depleted strength of the squad, this is enough to force a morale check.  This the squad fails with an 11, enough to rout it even without the -1 to morale from the death of the Leutnant:




The last remaining Sherman moves up to support the Greyhound and tries to knock out Panther 213, but its shot just bounces off the thick hide of the big cat:




The US Bazooka team moves towards a better position, in hope of ambushing the Panther when it inevitably rolls onto the center objective:




The German PAK 40 realizes it has a shot through the gap between the wall and the wrecked Puma.  This gives the Sherman a hard cover bonus, so is -2 to hit, but the German gun does its work all the same and the last of the Shermans is destroyed:





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Panther 213 makes one last push to try and secure some objectives.  It moves up to shoot at the Greyhound with its big gun and to lay into the bazooka team with its machineguns:




The intrepid Greyhound's luck finally runs out and it is destroyed.  But the machineguns are only partially effective against the Bazooka team, killing the loader and causing a pin marker.  The bazooka trooper rolls morale and passes, he is still in the fight!




He fires the bazooka at Panther 213.  The odds still aren't great, especially against that thick frontal armour.  But it hits!  And then the damage is rolled, for a result of 10.  This precisely matches the frontal armor of the Panther, which means a result of superficial damage.  This is a -3 on the damage chart.  It looks like it's all over now, there's little chance of stopping Panther 213 and its next move will surely finish off the bazooka.  But it's rolled anyway... a 6.  -3 makes it a 3... a check on the chart gives a result of Vehicle on Fire.  It must roll a morale check.  If it fails, the crew bail out and run for it.  If it passes, the fire goes out and it continues on.  The Panther is a regular unit, which gives it a base morale of 9.  A 9 is rolled on the 2d6.  Under any other circumstance, this is a success - except for the -1 from the death of the Leutnant.  The crew has had enough, and surrender.




With Panther 213's reign of terror finally at an end, all the remains of the German force is the PAK 40.  This cannot move without transport to tow it, and both halftracks that could do it are destroyed.  Therefore, the game goes to the Americans.  A tough fight!  But the liberation of Ville DeChelle is secured!





I have to say I figured the game was probably up when the 76mm Sherman went as the first thing destroyed.  But I guess it shows never to give up.  Gotta hand it to that little M8, too.  I never thought I'd see a game where a Greyhound of all things would be such a clutch player.  An interesting bit of gaming, we'll have to see how adding some artillery into the mix will change things up.  


Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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12 hours ago, WhiteWulfe said:

Ooooh, nice battle report, and I especially love that you removed the turrets on the tanks as they died, and added in lovely smoke effects to indicate their fate!


The plastic turrets come in two types - the peg and hole type (the Chi-Has are like that) and ones that have tabs on the turret bottom like 1/35 kits often do.  I modify both kinds by either boring the hole a touch larger or trimming off the tabs so they will stay in but can be easily lifted out.  That's handy for marking damage, but mostly i only did it so that when the turrets have to be turned you can lift them out slightly before turning and that way won't rub all the paint off the hull.  The wooly damage marker tokens actually come inside every Warlord plastic vehicle kit.  There's three cardboard discs and then three kinds of wool: black, white, and fire coloured.  When I first started this I didn't think I'd wind up with enough of them to go around, but by now I have so many that I think I have some 8-9 baggies of them I haven't even glued together yet.  It's a nice touch including them, one less thing to have to run down separately.  

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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38 minutes ago, lowlylowlycook said:

Really nice report.


I'm not sure if this was a mistake or if there was a new turn in between but the Grenadier squad that shot it's panzerfausts and blew up the Sherman shouldn't have been able to go down.


For better flow of the narrative, and the editing I had to do so it wasn't 200 pics, I didn't distinguish between turns.  But, yes, that was a following turn that the M8 had rolled up on them so they had no order die when they chose to go down.  

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One thing I've noticed with these force builds, which is not really a surprise, is that there aren't enough infantry on the table.  That's not a surprise because I went crazy with the tanks, but it is an issue because it's difficult for infantry to get into positions to be effective.  They're pieced out too much.  I can solve this quickly in the interim by adding two squads per side, which is ahistorical but within the force build template.  I don't think I have enough unbuilt troops to add a full second platoon of infantry, but IMO that would be ideal.  These are still the forces I cobbled together from random bits I bought (many before I even got the rulebook) so I expected some tweaking would be necessary.  That table's getting pretty full at this point, though, so soon it will either be swappable force options or I'll have to start using reserves.  But set-up to tear-down for this game was only 6 hours, so it's not yet completely unwieldy.  But in any case, more infantry would provide useful concentrations of force.  Given the significant fighting power of the German StG squad and the rarity of the weapon at this timeframe, the additional German squads will just be Grenadiers.  The US might also do with a couple of MMG teams because being stuck with the BAR as squad suppressive fire doesn't give them a lot of shots.  In this build their primary strength is versatility because they are all "tank hunters" so can assault armoured vehicles at will.  The germans are reliant on their panzerfaust, and once those are used up they can do nothing.  This was reasonable in the beginning, but it hasn't translated out to being used much so some experimenting is in order to suss out a more efficient build for the Rangers.    

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