Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bolt Action Massacre Report...

Yeah.. this is not a normal battle report.. this is more of a recounting of when some Japanese forces headed to the mainline to wipe up some Russians. But I need to back up a bit first to give some context to the game...

So there is a Bolt Action tournament coming up in our county soon. I was to attend, but due to conflicting times with Hussar, I had to step down from it. Though there are a couple guys from the club here that are still going. One such person is trying to understand how well his new force of Russians would do in it. So with them all painted up, and ready, he wanted to take them out and field test them.

This is where I come in. After his pleas for some others to play against him, I finally spoke up saying that I could do one. He did ask for a tournament experience to play against his force. I therefore felt a bit more obliged to take a bit harder than normal list. We did have some restrictions to go along with it of course, and they were:

  • 1000 pts
  • no more than 15 order dice
  • generic reinforced platoon only
  • no flame tanks
And to try something different, we ran the Tank War scenario which is basically a capture and hold scenario. 

For his Russians, his list looked like this:
  • Senior Lieutenant w/trooper ( inexp )
  • 12 man LMG Squad ( inexp )
  • 12 man LMG Squad ( inexp )
  • Commissar w Trooper ( inexp )
  • 12 man LMG Squad ( inexp )
  • 8 man NKVD Squad ( reg )
  • 8 man NKVD Squad ( reg )
  • 12 man Free Rifle Unit ( inexp )
  • T-35 Tank ( reg )
  • 3x Truck ( reg )
Already I see problems as he was setting up and explaining to me the list. It has no range in it aside from the major tank there. Which we were not playing the scenario based, so it would not start with 1 pin marker.. so it would be a bit scary there. 

I think he assumed I would bring the Japanese horde with me, however due to the restrictions though I cannot do that. So my list looked more like this.. 

  • 2nd Lieutenant ( reg )
  • Kempetai Officer ( inexp )
  • 3x 13 man Militia Units ( inexp )
  • 2x 15 man Bamboo Units ( inexp )
  • Type 4 Heavy Howitzer ( reg )
  • Type 98 Primer Mover ( inexp )
  • 3x General Truck w/ MMG ( inexp )
  • Type 92 Tankette ( reg )
  • Type 97 Chi-ha ( reg )
As you can see.. a bit more armor and mobility here than I might normally have. With the Militia units inside the trucks, even though in the tournament rules empty transports can still fire mounted guns. 

So this was the table set up, and pre game set up. Everything was to come in as the first wave for us as well. And the objectives were the big white template there in the fields, and the other is in the 2 story house shown in the distance. Table sides were just picked with who unloaded their stuff on what side and thankfully the rolls corresponded with those sides :) 

Not many casualties on the first turn, but my longer reach with my guns were able to out-shoot him ( having so many MMGs and HMGs did help here ). His T-35 also stayed off the table, with everything else coming on. Most sitting up behind the house. 

My trucks were doing some nice damage to his trucks in at least pinning them down a bit, and the troops within. His unit to the far right was his only green unit, but instead of getting upgraded, took an additional 6 pins, and killed themselves via too many pins vs morale ( they took several shots from various MMGs :) ). T-35 still did not show up her, but I think it was probably needed much sooner than it was looking to be arriving. The tanks up on the hill did a good job at pounding out some serious hurt to everyone within sight as well. 

Although I was quite static, I could do because of the longer reach there. 

At this point there were not a lot of dead yet, but they were just the start. 

Turn three sees many of the Russian trucks getting popped. Troops being left stranded, and alone. And the Japanese noose slowly closing in. Still no T-35 though. 

Problem for the Russians here was not that I had only taken 1 casualty so far, or that they had lost 3 dice so far. It was more that everything was within 6 inch charge range thanks to trucks going boom, and troops being off-loaded into the open. 

Turn 4 sees the T-35 come in as an outflank manuveour. I honestly cannot say that I saw that coming, but I was really not too concerned. But then again, he should have seen the triple combo of charges to his units. In which I took no casualties, and were wiping out the full units on the charge! Supported by all the MMGs on the table this was just obscene. 

His T-35 did take out 3 of the bamboo warriors who were guarding the objective, but they then charged the tank. Did no damage, but they were still at 12 man strength. Next turn there would be potential. 

And my Heavy Howitzer was also now aimed at his tank as well :) 

No Photos after this turn though as I then got to pull the first 3 dice. Just barely failed to do anything with the bamboo boys in close combat, but the Heavy Howitzer made short work of the tank. At this point it was pretty useless to continue on as I had complete control of the board, and basically nothing was going to be happening from the Russians. 

This has to be the most unbalance result I have ever seen in a game in a long time. And it was one where I had brought a kind of normal list that one might see in a tournament ( though am happy to be corrected on that if I am wrong! ). 

We talked about the game afterwards, and discussed where he could have improved his chances here. One big one was to bring the tank on sooner. Considering that it was 270 pts, and only came on in turn 4, that is a complete waste of points. Two, was to combine and support his units better. Especially since they are inexperienced troops, and are not mad killing machines that he would like them to be. Three, be more aggressive with his inexperienced troops as well. With 3 trucks full of them, he should have been looking to get them closer to me and in a single blob. Supporting each other as they jump out of the trucks. He could have taken the objective closer to me with them, and the tank supporting, while the foot sloggers went after the building. 

Many lessons learned for him, and I fear that he will not do well at the tournament. On the other hand, I think I have figured out a better way of using my Japanese within smaller point values, and just became that more deadly :) Looking forward to seeing how my campaign game goes on the 27th now. Got a nice idea on how to tackle the envelope scenario, but from a defender and attacker point of view!

Ah well.. now to try to put words to my experience of Spiel and SMC now!


  1. Thank you for the report. I also play Russians, and often against Japanese. My greatest problem is the banzai-charge. Yes, that tank must come at the beginning, although I already was quiet succesful with a T34 coming from the flank carrying tank riders.
    Could you ask your opponent, where he got the T35 ? Until now I only found one for 60$ !

    1. He picked it up from Army Command North, via Wargames Command Post. Though it seems they do not cover it any more. Company B does, also through WCP, currently out of stock, and costs £40. Not a better rate though I suspect for you.

      Let me know if you have any questions for facing up against Japanese with the Russians. Have played against them enough to know how they can take the IJA forces easily enough ;) T-35 tank aside though ;)


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