I’m getting lots of Bolt Action games lately! I was able to catch one at Misty Mountain Games this Tuesday night against Aaron. It is my second solo game against Japanese and also my second with this list with some new toys. There is also a big order dice discrepancy in this game. We are playing Demolition in what is a fairly bloody game.
This is my first rendition and second time fielding a list including my new M18 Hellcat and HMG Jeep models. The base of the list is fairly standard for me with veteran 2nd lieutenant, regular FAO, 2x Ranger squads, 2x regular squads, 1x veteran Engineer squad with flamethrower, regular sniper team, and regular medium howitzer. It comes out to 11 dice which makes it a little lower than my past platoons. To be expected including the little bit of armor I guess.
Aaron’s Japanese were a little unusual in that they were a 2 platoon list with a whopping 18 order dice! Aaron’s force was mostly regular with 2x 2nd lieutenants, a medic, 4x largish rifle squads, AT rifle, sniper, a MMG car, a tankette, a single man turret light AT tank, and a 8+ armored medium AT tank. I’m still fairly unfamiliar with Japanese forces so bare with me not knowing the tank names. He also brought some inexperienced troops in the form of 3x anti-tank bombers and 2x light mortars.
Aaron arrived earlier and got the table set up. He found some pretty cool terrain. It was a little jungle themed with 4 fairly large areas we were playing a forest using adepticon rules. There was a building with a temple like structure near center field, a large hill on both sides, a graveyard on one side and a couple bunker type buildings on the other.
Getting into the battle, as I said earlier it was demolition. I won the role so placed my based in the fairly defensible cemetery. Aaron opted to put his hidden in the forest to his right even though it was fairly close to the edge. For my initial deployment I put my Rangers in the cemetery, my FAO hidden on the edge of the forest to my left, and my howitzer covering the open center from the hill with my sniper near by in the forested top. Aaron kept his deployment fairly light putting one rifle squad on his base, with his 2 mortars, 2 suicide bombers, and an AT rifle nearby. To my right side he deployed his sniper in one of the bunkers with the tankette behind it and a suicide bomber in the woods nearby. Before turn 1 I advanced my Rangers up behind the temple structure.
Aaron pulled his own dice for the first one of the game. His sniper took a shot at mine. Dead! Ugh! First shot and I already lost my sniper. The next few dice were putting all of our reinforcements down off the board. With such a dice disparity I had to take my actions first without much to shoot at let alone see. My Rangers moved up between the building and the temple trying to rush the objective.
Since they had to go first, they took quite a bit of fire as the Japanese rifle squad, AT rifle and mortar all shot into the alley. I think I waited on firing my howitzer and before I activated it took 2 wounds past the gun shield from the tankette! What the heck kinda luck does Aaron have going here!
Turn 2 of course things get more interesting with reinforcements coming in. Some of the first dice saw my rangers take more fire as well as a sniper hit on my howitzer. My howitzer and my rangers were heavily pinned and mostly kept their heads down besides a few shots going into the rifle squad from one squad of rangers. After taking the Japanese fire I subsequently pulled most of my dice. I brought my regs and lieutenant to reinforce my object. I also had to bring my jeep on early which took ineffective shots at the tankette long range. The tankette returned fire taking out the jeep. Ugh! Not long after that a light mortar rolls a 6 to hit and manages to wipe out my FAO team! Not a good start losing 3 dice and a few rangers before turn 3.
My hellcat also came on and made the tankette recce and pot shotted at the sniper with its HMG. It then recce’d as the medium AT tank came on the board opposite. The Hellcat was able to get behind hard cover and forced the shot to miss. Some of Aaron’s unit failed to come on the board but saw the tanks all come to my right while other support units came near his base.
Turn 3 the medium tank promptly moved up and tried another shot on my Hellcat but missed. My Hellcat soon retaliated and easily took out the Japanese tank with double damage roll penetration. My howitzer actually got another shot but missed the single man turret tank. The howitzer took fire from multiple Japanese and was removed. Down another dice! My one Ranger squad wouldn’t move as they took more fire and a ranged in mortar. It took a close quarters fight to take them off and they took a couple japanese with them. Down another dice! Puts me at one third the dice my opponent started with and the game isn’t even half done.
My other rangers are able to retreat a bit and put a pin on the MMG car that subsequently retreated from a failed order test. Aaron loads up around his base with 2 of his infantry squads and his remaining units fearing my out-flankers with flamethrower. The last of his squads starts making its way up the center and I put some fire from my infantry into them as I try to shore up my defenses.
Turn 4 saw the end of my last few rangers with all the fire coming into that alley. Then the Japanese finally started to press the gap the Rangers left. My Hellcat got another kill taking out the other Japanese tank. It also put a pin using the HMG on the anti-tank bomber that was getting closer. My remaining infantry kept defending the base and started taking fire. They returned fire for some kills on the Japanese coming up the center. With so much Japanese lined up in defense, I chose to have my out-flankers run on in my zone and go full defense hoping to hold the draw. After that the defensive Japanese also started to run towards the other side of the board.
Turn 5 my infantry continued to take fire but were holding out okay. Returning fire dropped a few more Japanese infantry in the center and put pins on the MMG car which later failed moral again. The tankette moved way up to put fire on my infantry and left itself with no where to run and the Hellcat racked up another kill. The Hellcat did recce as the suicide bomber approached but was still out of range. Finally an attempt was made towards the objective by the Japanese infantry in the center. They banzai’d and the four men that were left in each of our squads squared of in close quarters. Only one of my infantry men fell and the remaining, still armed with 2 assault weapons, took out 3 Japanese to win the combat. The remainder of the Japanese tried to hurry up on my left side and threw some fire but were still awfully far away.
Turn 6 my Hellcat finally took care of the anti tank bomber as I it drove away. The Japanese found themselves too far away to go for victory as some last shots were exchanged. We did roll and there would be a turn 7 but we conceded the game as the Japanese would be unable to reach the objective.
This was a tough game as Aaron came out of the gate with many good rolls. The order dice discrepancy was big to start and got bigger really fast. My hopes of an offensive were quickly squashed. The initial press of the Rangers and the threat of my flankers kept a strong Japanese defense in place who later couldn’t make a strong enough offensive to capitalize. This was a really different game with the high order dice count of my opponent.
My favorite thing was the effectiveness of my Hellcat on the Japanese armor. It scored all but one of my kills and I had a blast with it. It is great when a new model puts on a good show and I’m looking forward to more games. I am questioning my medium howitzers effectiveness though. It has barely gotten any hits let alone any kills my last two games. It has offered control of the board from threat and in this game took a lot of fire too. Maybe that is actually pretty good.
Until next time, more Bolt Action please!