Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bolt Action, Campoleone, Italy. 17 February, 1944

Met with the gang to play Bolt Action with our special guest of honor; Francois Piche traveling all the way from Rochester New York to play. I can't believe I forgot the team photo!
Anyway, the Game was Bolt Action and the scene was the 2nd day of the German counterattack at Anzio; this action taking place just south of Campoleone. The GI's dubbed this crossing of the road south the 'Dead End Road'. This section of road was the German objective for the day, and the Americans dug in and were historically dislodged after a tremendous day of fighting.

A view of the battlefield. The Germans would enter from the north, or left of this photo, while the Americans were set -up hidden on the right, allowed to be up to 12" from their board edge. We played easy, home brewed rules for being/staying hidden as the rules per se are written for tournament play. Our main objective was to ensure that the Germans wouldn't have 100% intelligence on where the Americans were set up and enter the board accordingly. There was a 3" AT gun out there somewhere in the rubble!

A view from the other side showing the RR cut.

The first of a few shots of the GI's once revealed. They had 4 squads, each with a BAR. They also had 3 MMG's and a medic in addition to the AT gun and the M4 seen here. All together they had about 200 less points that the attacking Germans but had tons of -2 Hard Cover. (That's a good thing.)

Another shot of GI's waiting in Ambush!

The first of the German FJ enter the board. The German strategy was to use superior firepower to blast their way through the center. In game terms, as the German objective was to get through the US set-up area, Victory Points would be awarded thus: For each American unit destroyed, 1 point. For each German unit that ends the game in the American set-up area: 2 points. For each German exited off the American board edge: 3 points. For the Americans, each German unit destroyed: 2 points.

The MkIV comes down the main road while a FJ 81mm mortar gets into the action. The mortar had a spotter but he was whacked on the first shot of the game. Not a good start for Jerry. What that meant was the crew could only shoot at what they could see. Meanwhile, the American AT gun revealed itself in it's position on the hill overlooking the battlefield but luckily missed the MkIV, which quickly skedaddled behind a building.

The Americans advance from their starting point into the rubble in No Man's Land. It would prove to be a potentially dangerous position to hold. (Remember that 81mm mortar?)

The American AT gun gets into the action, firing every turn. They managed to take the head off a guy at about 56 inches or so when, by rolling consecutive 6's, got to choose which guy in the unit got whacked. In fact, 3 out of the 4 German LMGunners were whacked in just this fashion, the fact that we did it wrong by the rules notwithstanding. Behind them, covering the RR cut is a MMG. It did it's job as the one flanking FJ squad was cut down almost to a man without ever firing a shot in return.

The FJ fire base in the center. They have a MMG and the sniper and spotter on the second floor. The MkIV hunkers down, safe behind the building and looks for targets of opportunity. Almost as in real life, the sniper was more of a psychological weapon than a useful one. He garnered a fair deal of American love and attention, while he himself only whacked one member of a MMG team the whole game. The FJ HQ is in the back room of the house. The captain conferred a +3 to Morale and was tried to be kept in the center where he would be needed most.

What was that about being safe behind a building? The M4 has a direct bead on the MkIV and it turns into a gun duel. The American medic in the foreground personified Davout's 1st Corp on June 16, 1815. He kept running between actions and ended up helping no one as he was always in the right place, albeit at the wrong time.

Jerry's advance stalls in the middle. Two MMG's and two full squads with BAR's pin down anything that moves.

The Germans decide to swing to their right with a Wehrmacht squad with 2 LMG's leading the way. Pictured here though, is the FJ assault squad. Armed with their M44's, they prepare to assault anyone on the Dead End Road.

Out in the rubble proved to be too much for these guys and they retreated back to the safety of the Dead End Road. Wrong! An 81mm shell hit in their midst, killing half of them. The rest were dispatched by the FJ assault team, though they took a few with them.

The FJ regroup after close assaulting the remaining GI's. Unfortunately they couldn't get behind any cover and were lucky to survive all shots against them, including 4 from an MMG. Score a total of 3 VP for them! Oh yeah, look who won the gun duel. 

A few shots of final positions. On the last turn, after the AT fired and the M4 destroyed, the MkIV got brave and despite moving at double speed, ended up 1/2" short of the set up area and 2 VP. He did score one when he knocked out the M4 though.

Looking down the Dead End Road. For a lotta guys, it was aptly named.

So, this game kind of proved the adage 'It's better to be lucky than good'. The score was a lopsided 7-0 for the Germans. On paper at least. In reality, it was a near run thing. For instance, the Wehrmacht managed to survive Close Assault with only the NCO remaining. At that point the score was 3-0. Then the Germans get the first card and he exits off the map making it 6-0. If the first card is American, he is almost certain to bite it and the score is instead 3-2. Same with the tanks. It was simply a matter of who went first and rolled higher. If it goes to the Americans, it's  3 point swing in their favor. And it must be mentioned that about three German units had 3 or less guys when the game ended!

But once again, I had a great time and thanks everyone for coming over and supplying me with a few pictures as well. So long.