Bolt Action Italy in warren

Back on July 2nd WR opened his warren for two concurrent tabletop scenario games, a 28mm Bolt Action Italian scenario and WR’s 28mm Battle of Voltri 1796 game. On the covered patio, two different concurrent games were run during the warm California day, along with a complete Italian themed meal served, including Chianti, cool lemonade, and the normal side munchies. Total of eight gamers RSVP’d from the invitations for the event and all had a blast gaming on the Italian countryside tables.

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One of the tabletop scenarios was a 28mm Bolt Action (BA) scenario developed and GM’d by WR’s local San Fernando Valley (northern Los Angeles) friend Dan with assistant from southern Andy. Dan, Andy, and Paul brought their excellent 28mm BA WWII miniature collections to field the American, German and Polish forces. WR pulled out his 25mm Italeri Italian village buildings, and other terrain from his collection, for the arriving gamers. Should note we could have three “Pauls” at the tables that day, with the confusion of “that Paul, you Paul, me Paul?” etc…but only two RSVP’d and they played in different scenarios that day. We didn’t have to resort to the Welsh method of Paul identification. The other concurrent scenario was WR’s Battle of Voltri 1796, which details and AAR will be covered in a separate blog post. Since WR’s game was back in 1796 nearby, his viewpoint and comments about the Bolt Action scenario can only be gleamed from the war correspondents taking their photos of the scenario in progress. Late in the scenario play…. about turn six, WR joined as a draftee German to push the lead, after the conclusion of the Voltri 1796 scenario..

The tabletop scene has the early morning Italian sunlight revealing a “peaceful” Italian village, their mayoral building sporting a recent large hole in its roof. The old medieval church dominated the surrounding terrain and would be a target for both sides. Sensing trouble…. the rumble of tracks maybe, the village inhabitants, with their farm animals and Chianti carts, scattered into the fields around the village.

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The Italian village, with church and shelled mayoral building, the shallow stream, with rock scrubby ground alongside the stream bank , low wooded hills, a vineyard, and harvested haystack fields complete the tabletop.

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The other side of the village showing the stream bank overgrown with scrubby. Tabletop was 8′ x 6′ in size for the BA scenario..

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The road which the Polish infantry would advance into the village. Church on the left with mayoral building center at end of the road.

With players arriving between 9am and 10am, the BA Italian scenario successfully was underway by 10:30am, a tradition with WR to have the gaming start on time. Dan is the local expert on the modified BA rules used by Dan, Andy , and Steve P (missing for the day) which feature a modified range and weapon charts from the basic BA game. Both sides were advancing to control a key small bridge crossing nestled in a small Italian village. A review of the Bolt Action contestant platoons involved (copy and paste work):

The GI’s, played by Andy and Daniel:
Small Company with 2 platoons. Each platoon had three squads. Each squad had 8 men including a Sgt. and Cpl. Each platoon had a HQ of 1x Lt., 1x SSgt., 1x Runner.
CO HQ had 1x Cpt., 1x SSgt., 2x Runners, 1x Medic

Also with the U.S. company:
1x FO team (2 guys), 1x Bazooka team (2 guys), 1x MMG team (3 guys), 2x 60mm mortar teams (3 guys each) “The Smoking Joes” crew. Supporting the company was an armored recon team of 1x Stuart, 1x Sherman and 1x Jeep.

Polish forces played by Paul S: The Poles had a short-handed rifle company on the table: a company HQ and two platoons (each with 3 squads of 7 men), backed up by a Vickers MMG team and a lonely, peregrinating Cromwell. WR remembers a mortar team dropping shells too.

The Germans used a 1944 TO&E as a basis, played by Dan M. and Luis, later joined by WR after the Voltri 1796 scenario completion:

1) Panzer grenadier company, consisting of a headquarters, 3x
rifle platoons (3 squads each) and one weapons platoon (2x
MG-42 MMG teams, 2x teams with GrW 38 80mm mortars). Only 3rd
Platoon had SdKfz 251 halftracks, the two other platoons, plus a SS platoon, arrived via (off-board) truck transport then walked on.

2) Armor support in the form of the remnant of a mixed medium tank platoon ( 1x Pz III-J, 1x Pz IV-H).

3) From battalion HQ, 1x Panzerschreck team and 1x sniper team joined the Axis advance.

Scenario starts with both sides advancing towards the central village and bridge from three different entrance points. Objective for both sides: 1) seize control of village and bridge, 2) defeat the opponents encountered, and 3) advance over the shallow waterway showing ability to continue the sustained advance tomorrow.

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The German panzer grenadier vehicles rumble towards the village. The Panzer III and IV tanks scan the village for enemy combatants. Dan… your dirt roads need more “dirt” on them.

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The Polish infantry platoons with their support, a Cromwell tank, walk towards the Italian village on the side road.

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The GI’s arrive and walk down the main road (a dirt roadway till the cobbled road in town). Their Sherman and Stuart led the advance while the jeep team parks behind the first building.

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First turn is complete. All three sides have their initial platoons marching towards the village. Disembarking from their truck off-board, the German reinforcement platoons off table at right.

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American GI platoon leap forward tense with pre combat jitters. Wooded low hill in foreground.

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The Panzer IV draws a bead on the American Sherman. but the shot sails over the turret. SdK 251 halftracks find cover behind the buildings.

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After disembarking from the off-board trucks, the German platoon walks on the tabletop. the green square markers, like the brown besides the Allies, denote unit has completed it’s actions.

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Sherman vs. Panzer IV… AP shells back and forth. GI’s hustle to the outskirts of the village or line the low stone wall in foreground. Polish infantry reach the church wall.

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Like the Panzer IV gunner, the Sherman gunner cannot hit the enemy tank beyond the bridge. Supportive GI’s rush towards the protective building walls.

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Germans finish turn two, their platoons advance towards the vineyard and along the dirt roadway. German SdK 251 halftracks prep their occupants to disembark in the village. Panzers advance to engage the Allied armor.

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A smoke mortar shell lands on the church… fired by whom? The Panzer III in a duel with the Sherman over the humped bridge…. hull down? SdK 251 halftracks disgorge their occupants.

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Close up of the Panzer III and panzer grenadiers occupying the building this side of the stream.

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Poles rush the church. They will fight, using all their platoons, in the bitter firefight around and in the medieval church. Cromwell tank trades shots with Panzer IV or concealed SdK 251 halftracks.

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Turn two ends with the GI’s ducking behind the stone walls. The Jeep advanced into the village…. and was plastered into a bullet riddled wreck besides the church.

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A German panzer grenadier squad enters the mayoral building, its SdK 251 half track recrossed the stream. Panzer III is hit and brews up besides the bridge. Arriving platoons cross the vineyard.

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Charge!… GI’s run across the open ground towards the mayoral building. Others squads cross the harvested haystack field. Sherman got the Panzer III in its duel. Polish squads near the church.

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Rushing the mayoral building, Bitter close range firefight , bayonets, and crumpled bodies litter the mayoral building 1st floor. Several German prisoners taken. Another German squad crosses the stream to rush the victorious GI’s.

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The Panzer IV brews up the Cromwell in short reply. Several panzer grenadier squads move to occupy the red tile building.

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A battle focal point early on. American rush their reinforcements as another German panzer grenadier squad enters the building on the opposite side. Burning SdK 251 half track.

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Burning Cromwell tank sits on the dirt roadway. Polish command squads sit in the open field while their combat squads enter the medieval church. No services today note…. seen later on a blood stained door.

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Burning Panzer III. Burning SdK 251 half track, Brawl in the mayoral building. Soon the medieval church will see heavy exchanges of bullets and shell across the bush banked stream.

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Daniel’s Americans line the stone wall in the haystack field. Their nearby 60mm mortar teams drop smoke rounds along the rocky stream bed, before the advancing panzer grenadiers. The German squad which counterattacked /assaulted the mayoral building soon lies dead in the stream bed.

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With Panzer IV shells flying overhead into the exposed Polish command teams, three German squads, one a SS squad (tan-colored uniform) advance into the bushy concealing stream bed.

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Poles have entered the medieval church. For several turns vast exchanges of rifle fire and machine guns exchanged between the Poles and Germans across the stream, especially from up stairs..

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Foot panzer grenadiers enter the rocky stream bed zone, the American GI’s open a brisk fire upon them, exchanged likewise back. 60mm smoke rounds and occasion 37mm from the Stuart tank.

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The tall gamers (Dan and Andy) and short miniatures… Germans engage the Poles in the church, upstairs and ground floor. Smoke rounds land from the Polish mortar team.

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Slowly the American were winning the sustained firefight at the stream bed. As the scenario wrapped up neither side could claim any victory, except for the rising dead body totals.

Another turn or two wouldn’t change much after playing eight turns. The Poles lost heavily in the blood stained church windows. They would poke a head or two out and be targeted by every German carrying a weapon or slingshot. Dead Polish soldiers dropped from the upstairs on to the pews below. German losses mounted along the right side stream bed when the polish survived the firestorm. One German squad was wiped out along the blood stained stream, and the SS squad was public target #1 for every Polish rifle or mortar team it seemed. The Panzer IV blasted the Polish command teams to bits…. caught out in the open fields near the church. Slowly the Germans were winning this side of the table. But on the German left the concentrated American firepower dropped German panzer grenadiers with every volley of rifle fire. Having the two American tanks (Stuart and Sherman) prevented any thought of German advance on the left side, and soon, those steel monsters would advance to clear the rocky stream bed, supported by three nearly fresh GI squads.

So…. basically a tie or hung scenario at this point. Both sides will need to summons their reserves to attempt tomorrow their resumed advances. Scenario flowed well, considering there was thirty-six (36) Bolt Action maneuvering elements on the tabletop. WR suggests to Dan, for next BA scenario, to pair up a squad with a smaller element… commander team, sniper, mortar team etc.. for each pick from the cup of chance. This would reduce the number of choices down from 36, to maybe 20 in total. Set a total number of picks and pair up squads or teams for joint turn action till number reached, preferably on different parts of the tabletop or in different Platoons as a starting point.

WR thanks Dan, Andy, Paul S., Luis, and Daniel for the great BA game at the warren. As always, Dan’s, Andy’s and Paul’s 28mm miniature played their tabletop parts well. Terrain was mostly WR’s with the exception of the “clean dirt roadway”, rocky ground, and crumpled foam green steam bed scenic from the Dan collection. Extra special thank you for Raquel’s Italian cooking for the mid day meal.

Time to schedule the next warren game day….. till then eat carrots for good eyesight.

WR

 

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