I was able to catch a game of Bolt Action against Robert at Misty last week. We played a 1000 point game with my US Army vs. his Imperial Japanese Army. We rolled for a scenario from the book and came up with Point Defense. Robert won the initial roll off and chose to attack in my first solo game against Japanese.
Robert arrived slightly before I did and got the table set up. He went for a slightly watery jungle theme fitting his Japanese. As you see in the pictures we had forest all around, some pools of water across the middle, a couple hills and a building with a small wall. We used adepticon forest rules treating them like smoke essentially with a only 2″ sight into or through them. The water was rolled for as too deep to pass through and the hills as actual height and not infinitely tall. Then I set up first as the defender.
I played a similar list as I usually have. The slight difference was that I have my M3 scout car in to practice recce which I have only used once or twice. I also opted to not bring a flame thrower for a change. My list was as follows:
Veteran 2nd Lieutenant w/SMG and extra rifleman
Regular FAO and extra rifleman
2x Regular 8 man Late War Infantry w/1xBAR and NCO w/SMG
2x 6 man Ranger Squads w/1xSMG 1xBAR and NCO w/SMG
6 man Veteran Infantry w/2xSMG 1xBAR and NCO w/SMG
Regular Sniper w/1xSMG
Regular MMG Team
Regular Bazooka Team
Medium Howitzer w/Gun Shield
M3 White Scout Car w/2x MMG and recce
Dodge 3/4 ton Truck
I deployed my objective markers with the ones on the flanks near some forest cover but the center had to be in the open. A squad of my regulars each covered an objective on my left and in the center. A ranger squad covered the one to my right and my howitzer, FAO and MMG team deployed in cover slightly right of center. My sniper was hidden slightly left near the middle of the board.
Robert’s force was mostly veteran and something like this:
3x 12 man infantry squads w/3xSMGs and 1 squad had anti-tank grenades
2x suicide bombers
light anti-tank gun
anti-tank rifle team
He nominated all his force for first wave besides the car which one suicide bomber and flame thrower rode in to out flank. After my rangers made a small move into cover, we started the game with a Japanese preparatory bombardment coming in. Robert rolled 5s for almost everyone distributing 2 pins to all my units besides the regs in the center only received 1. Ouch! A hard start but at least I didn’t suffer any casualties.
Turn 1: I got most of the early pulls and put all of my reserves down since they couldn’t come on yet anyway. I still have more dice pulls and I tried to put a few things in ambush. Key word being tried. I had a lot of failed order checks; including my howitzer, sniper and regs on the flank. My regs in the middle passed their check and moved a bit and my FAO made a rally to clear both pins. Eventually Robert brought on his force. One of each of his infantry units came in across from each objective marker. His truck towed on the light AT gun in the center and his AT rifle, lieutenant, mortar and medic all supported the center as well. A suicide bomber came in slightly to my right side and his sniper more to my left side. I think my rangers to the right were the only ones to get any shots off after they moved a bit.
Turn 2: Saw some more interesting action. Robert got some of the first dice. My howitzer then took a hit from his AT gun and rifle adding to their pins and killing 2 crew already. His sniper missed a shot at mine and the mortar started ranging in on my MMG. My scout car did come on and put a couple MG shots into the infantry on my left. The rest of Robert’s units pressed forward and I was feeling the pressure already on turn 2! I continued to fail some moral checks including my howitzer. My sniper did try a shot on his lieutenant and missed by 1 because of the remaining pin. My MMG was similarly lacking effectiveness holding 1 pin while firing. I was able to move and get a few open shots with my rangers into the infantry on the right. My FAO called for a strike on the AT gun. Possibly not the best choice with so much infantry running at me but it was really pounding my howitzer near by.
Turn 3: A plane is spotted in the sky! I didn’t roll nearly as well as Robert did with his bombardment but I did get one pin on the AT gun target and the infantry unit. The plane was a fighter-bomber and the AT crew went down for cover. One crewmen survived and was heavily pinned with 3 markers but fanatically refused to leave the weapon. Luckily Robert’s AT gun stayed down from pins but the AT rifle cracked another shot getting another pin on my howitzer and they refused to man the gun continuing to take cover. My scout car moved up and put fire into the infantry in the center scoring a little damage but the other two guns missed the AT rifle and squad to my right. Then, unfortunately, being a novice against Japanese, my rangers on the right had moved just within 12″ of Robert’s infantry the turn before. The rangers took shots as the banzai charge came in but were only able to take down a few before losing in the combat. Luckily my scout car recce’d away from Robert’s center unit as they attempted the same. Robert’s infantry in the center took a lot of shots from my regs in the middle, my MMG, lieutenant, and as my 2nd ranger unit moved on. Robert’s mortar retaliated landing a hit and wiping out my MMG team. My sniper was luckily just out of range of the infantry on the left after he failed to kill the veteran lieutenant. Meanwhile my regs on the left failed an order check. My FAO called in another strike; this time against the infantry coming across on my left. With my last few dice my truck came on and my veterans jumped out and put rather ineffective fire into the infantry on the right. Then Robert’s last few dice saw him retaliate by bringing his truck on. His flame thrower killed a few rangers and they failed their moral check. The flame thrower didn’t run out of fuel as the suicide bomber, unable to assault, left the car as well. Finally my bazooka came on and hit Robert’s now empty car but some how failed to destroy it.
Turn 4: Another plane incoming for the Americans! Funnily my sniper and scout car took pins from it while the Japanese didn’t mind. This time a ground attack plane destroyed more than half of the infantry as they refused to take cover. The Japanese infantry carried on charging my sniper right in front of them and easily dispatched him. Robert’s flame thrower promptly moved up and sprayed my lieutenant. It only killed his second man and only a couple pins meant he stayed around. My rangers, FAO and lieutenant all fired in retaliation but couldn’t wound the flame thrower team who still had fuel. My bazooka missed a second shot at the car and it was able to pull away behind the building to safety. Robert’s infantry on my right continued their fast advance and covered the objective marker. His infantry in the center banzai’d my regs on the objective marker and killed them but after two rounds of combat only a couple Japanese remained. My scout car, using two of it’s guns, was able to dispatch the remaining men on the objective and also put a few shots into the infantry approaching on the left. My regs on the left finally shook off their pin and backed away as they put fire into the quickly approaching enemy infantry. The Japanese lieutenant moved and fired at my scout car but wasn’t able to do damage. Robert’s mortar, medic and remaining suicide bomber all moved for position. His AT gun remained pinned and his AT rifle missed a shot as my howitzer, finally able to execute an order, began ranging in on him.
Turn 5: Now Robert had claimed one objective turning the game to a draw but was unable to capture the center and lost some of his intimidating momentum. Robert’s infantry to my right continued their banzai’s and easily took down my bazooka team. His infantry on my left also charge my regulars who fired as they came in and only lost 1 man before taking out the remaining Japanese in close combat. Robert’s lieutenant then moved to claim the objective on my left. My scout car backed up to fire all it’s guns at the remaining Japanese infantry squad coming from the right flank. My FAO team ran behind the Japanese infantry and flamethrower to get to the objective on the right. My lieutenant crossed the tree line to fire into the incoming Japanese infantry with his SMG. Robert’s flamethrower fired on my rangers in the middle to little effect and finally ran out of fuel. Robert’s last suicide bomber moved towards the center objective but my rangers were able to dispatch him. Robert’s AT gun remained pinned and his AT rifle moved to get a shot on the FAO team on the objective but missed. Lastly his mortar fired on my scout car but it recce’d away and moved towards the right flank.
Turn 6: Although Robert did claim another object on the left my FAO team took the one on the right back. From here the game wrapped pretty quick. My regs on the left dispatched the Japanese lieutenant and got to the objective. My scout car opened up all it’s gun’s point blank at the incoming infantry and took them down. This spelled the end for the Japanese assault as they had nothing in a position to retake an objective and I still had a fair amount of men on the US side.
This was a really good battle and we were both in the fight until late in the game. I felt like my US really started on the back foot as my men struggled to shake off the preparatory bombardment. The speed and relentlessness of the Japanese advance was crazy and intimidating. It seemed like I wasn’t doing anything those early turns as they ignored the few pins and casualties that I put on them. They were a little more reckless though and when they got in close I was able to actually kill them with concentrated fire. This was a very different experience compared to the other nations of bolt actions who actually care about pins. I was glad to have come out on top in this game and now I know what to expect when I see the Japanese on the other side of the table in the future.