Posted on

Battle Report with MadDog – Germans vs. Finns

Wargamers! MadDog here with my first Battle Report! I’ve got tons of cool pictures of my favorite personal army (Blitzkrieg Germans) that I used at World at War and Duane’s Finnish army. Check it out!

Last night, we played a REALLY cool scenario that Lee Schmitz came up with and he will be coming up with new weekly scenarios for everyone to play. If you’re in the Chicago area and are looking for an awesome group of Bolt Action players, definitely check out the Chicago Bolt Action page. And if you’re already on the page, make sure you get up to Draxtar on Thursday nights for these scenarios!

Here are the armies!

Duane’s Finns, looking fabulous.

 

And here are my Blitzkrieg Germans. I’m very proud of this army.

 

This is my deployment area, and Duane’s was opposite mine which forced him to use the road to approach.

Deployment zones in this scenario were table quarters, which is always dynamic in any game of Bolt Action. Duane rolled high and elected to attack. So I picked the table quarter in which I could utilize roads to funnel in the attackers and had some cover and line of sight blockers. In this scenario, the building only counted as soft cover, but I still used it to my advantage as best as I could.

Very straight forward so far.

I positioned two full half tracks facing the road. All of my units deployed on ambush on turn one. Which was intimidating to approach.

I also positioned my Skdfz222, AKA Siegfried, facing the road on ambush. The Light Autocannon here and on my Panzer II were my only heavy hitters. Having our lists at 800 points left me without my Pak36 ‘door knocker’. So I left my Panzer II and an extra unit of infantry somewhat behind the action, to come in as an improvised reserve unit later in the game. (Which paid off late in the game).

Starting off with Turn One, all of my units were on ambush, so General Zoldak had free reign on his entire unit. Right away, his T-28 moved up to meet the Germans head on. This was my far my biggest obstacle as I had a difficult time answering the front armor on a Light Tank (8+) with only one autocannon. As he finished his move up the road, I did the best I could to slow his advance with an ambush order from ‘Siegfried’. The Autocannon hit, but was unable to penetrate the front armor.

With all of its MMGs and one Light Howitzer, the T-28 promptly passed an orders check and went to work. Laying out pins on the Germans, but thankfully missing the Machine Gun team in the building with an artillery shell. Behind the T-28, the infantry advances forward. I keep my half tracks on ambush and wait for the advancing infantry to come into range.

With a mostly quiet back and forth on Turn One, Turn Two begins with haste. Most of my units are still on ambush and biding their time. Plenty of targets are working their way closer to the teeth of German Machine Guns.

The T-28 gets the first order die and deals out more pins. The amount of machine guns on the T-28 were very difficult to contend with and having open topped half tracks gave him plenty of opportunity to bog my units down.

The Red Dice denote my pins and the T-28 was quite generous in doling them out.

More infantry continued to move forward across the bridge and a squad was finally in range. My first half track ambushed and put a pin on an advancing unit, but caused no wounds. My second half track ambushed Duane’s advancing Officer, causing a pin and killing the assistant. I got my hopes up for the Officer failing his required orders check, but he stood his ground.

More infantry advanced forward and a unit of Riflemen came up from the river bed and put a pin on Siegfried (Skdfz 222).

At this point, my defenders are getting heavily pinned, but standing their ground. Until I attempt to activate Siegfried. My plan was to advance forward and fire on the side armor of the T-28. With 3 pins and out of Command Range, Siegfried failed the check and had to fall back from cover. One of my half tracks follows suit, failing an activation check and falling back. Things are looking rough for the defenders. “Pinning enemies out” is proving to be quite a formidable tactic here. My Panzer II moves forward in the river bed, poised to strike, but still out of range.

The Finns answer by moving a tank hunting squad into the river bed, opposite the bridge. The tension is building and things are about to get bloody.

The Finn sniper and Anti-Tank Rifle team move forward to attempt to get better position and keep up with the rest of their unit and Turn Two comes to a close. Now, things are starting to heat up at this little crossroads.

 

Turn Three begins with the T-28 activating first again, ridding itself of its own pins and distributing more to my Germans and being very generous about it. This time, the howitzer is fired into the building and kills the Machine Gun Team that was still lying in wait, on ambush orders.

My Panzer II moves out of the river bed and is in range of the T-28. It hits and pins, but does no damage. This T-28 is resilient.

Hoping to pincer the T-28, Siegfried activates and moves on the opposite side and fires! But misses its shot and is left in the open.

I’m on a roll with my order die and grab a third in a row. Issuing a “snap to”, I issue orders to my half track to rally (which is successful) and to my infantry to move forward into the building and take the place of the Machine Gun Team.

The Finn anti-tank squad move forward and out of the river bed completely, lining up against the back of a building, telegraphing their next move.

The Finn Anti-tank Rifle team and sniper are still out of range and their shots are blocked by crowded streets. They advance closer to the fight.

Look who stopped by!

Every game has a FUBAR right? If you play me, there’s usually a couple. I tried to rally the infantry unit inside of the half track and…

These pins are truly wearing my defenders down. At this point, I start to think that I may need to fall back further and hopefully be able to get shots onto the infantry to slow their advance. The dice are simply not with me today!

The Finn infantry move forward and place more pins on Siegfried, as he’s now very exposed and doesn’t have cover. I am able to remove a pin from my half track and return fire on an advancing unit, causing a pin and one wound. Not enough to stop the unit, but hopefully the pin will help slow them down.

As Turn Three comes to its end, I issue a rally to the infantry unit inside the half track, which is successful and all pins are removed.

Turn Four begins and the crossroads are heating up! My Panzer II moves forward again to get an optimal shot on the T-28 and destroys it.

 

 

The Panzer’s move forward wasn’t enough to get it out of range of the Anti-Tank unit, which was a calculated risk. The unit rushes forward and assaults the Panzer II in the street!

Their attack proves fruitless, and they’re left in the open. My Germans took this opportunity to answer and assaulted the Finns in the street. Street Fight!

The Germans had ‘tough fighter’ for this scenario and swiftly destroyed the Finn unit. They then consolidated back into the cover of the building.

The Finn infantry is out of the small wooded area and moves to assault Siegfried! I was left with a choice; open fire with a Medium Machine Gun and take as many infantry down as I could to slow their inevitable advance further into my table quarter, or recce further backwards into my own deployment area. I chose to open fire, which proved fruitless while only eliminating a single infantry unit.

The assault was successful and Siegfried was quickly dispatched to a burning hulk of twisted steel. Poor Siegfried!

 

The battle is very close quarters now as another assault is ordered on one of my half tracks. The infantry unit inside dismounts and meets the Finns for more hand-to-hand fighting.

 

The Finns were outnumbered and pitted against Tough Fighters. The Germans consolidated further up the street to continue the fight.

The remaining German unit in the half track dismounts and opens fire on the exposed Finns that took away our beloved Siegfried!

Coming up on the end of the Turn Four, the Finnish sniper and ATR team are still lagging behind and out of range. They move forward to get into the fight late in the game.

The beginning of Turn Five had the potential to completely turn the game. “Titan of Industry” was a special rule written into this scenario, which allowed the attacker (Duane) to bring any destroyed units from the previous turn onto the table as reserves. This had me concerned.

To start Turn Five, I got the first order and promptly opened fire on the exposed Siegfried killers, eliminating the unit and finally bringing swift justice to the awful invader.

The Germans inside the building fire at the unit across the street and end up wounding two Finns.

The Finns’ numbers are dwindling after the close fighting in the streets. The Panzer II opens fire on the same unit and wounds three more and the unit is forced to take the aptly named “check your pants check” when losing 50% of the unit (thanks for that, Chris). But this particular Finn is quite brave and stands his ground against the mighty Panzer.

In an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the unit, the half track moves up and puts more fire onto the brave Finn.

In true Batman Begins style, the half track surrendered sure footing for a killing blow. The Finn ATR team was on the bridge, just waiting for the opportunity to fire on the half track. The shot hit, but did not cause any damage. The lone sniper advanced again and attempted a shot at an exposed infantry unit, but failed.

This brought an end to Turn Five and a wonderful beginning to a truly humble and respectable concession speech by the attackers’ General. In the typical Chicago Bolt Action fashion, both players shook hands, smiled and congratulated each other on a hard fought and VERY fun game.

This was a very fun game with a very dynamic rules set that set it apart from any of the main rule book missions; which is always a welcomed change of pace. Thanks, Duane!

Many thanks to Dan at Draxtar games!

This was my first battle report so please feel free to let me know how you liked it!

Until next time, Wargamers! MadDog, out!

 

 

Posted on

Polar Vortex 2017 – Operation Wendigo After Action Report with MadDog

Greetings wargamers! MadDog here with an after action report!

 

Let’s start off with a BIG Windy City thank you to Dan Zedan of Draxtar games and Seamus Hamrin (AKA Weekend General) for running another awesome event. Once again, under the General’s leadership, the tournament went smoothly and without a hitch. Fun was most definitely had by all players!

I have something I’d like to cover before I get into how the day went. It appears that Version 2 of Bolt Action is finally starting to be understood by the community and gamers are getting the hang of all of the changes to the system. This was definitely a change of pace for me as my last tournament was Dragonfall, which was the first tournament with Version 2 rules.

So, moving on to Operation Wendigo. Thanks again to Seamus for running ANOTHER fantastic tournament. Just like World at War last year, Operation Wendigo was a great success. This was my second tournament using the Armies of Germany book, and I selected a somewhat mid-war list.

 

One First Lieutenant with an assistant.

One Artillery Observer.

Two full Rifle squads.

One Medium Machine Gun Team.

Two Half Tracks

And one (dun dun dun) Tiger I.

My entire list was Veteran, which is a very big change for me, as I’m used to running regular and inexperienced Soviets. The only Veterans I’m used to using are my T-34s and my Soviet Assault Engineers.

It definitely made a big difference in my units’ toughness, which is to be expected with 5+ to wound. It also made a big difference, naturally, in leadership tests. Utilizing my 1st LT, I was able to keep most of my order checks at 10, however, I did have a grand total of three FUBAR order checks throughout the day. Twice in just the second game.

And if you’ve ever played against me, you know, that’s just how I roll.

Another thing I’m not used to running is up-armored transports. I will typically use soft skinned trucks for my Soviets, which are very fragile. So, having my units transported in 7+ was yet another change of pace for me. I will say, I am of the opinion that half tracks are still getting somewhat of a bad rap. Even though its tracked and it’s movement isn’t that of a truck, the points value and up-armor makes them worth bringing to the table. As always, just be mindful to utilize cover as best as you can and be careful not to park it in front of an AT gun, and you should do well.

In Version 1, I became fond of using the Soviet IS-2, for its high damage HE capability on infantry and it’s armor value. Now, I will admit I was skeptical about the transition to templates for HE weapons in Version 2, but I have certainly come around. The Tiger I definitely ranked as my MVP for the weekend, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The extra shot with the hull mounted MMG proved more useful than I initially expected, but the Super Heavy AT gun was truly devastating when it hit. Which, of course, is to be expected.

 

Game 1: Sectors – Rules set from the Main Rule Book

This game was very fun. For anyone unaware, the table is divided into quarters and opponents deploy on opposite quarters. This is much more dynamic and fun for me than just setting up on long table edges and marching forward. The objective is to hold as many quarters at the end of the game with extra points for holding the enemy’s deployment quarter. This is a really cool concept and adds a lot to the game.

I played on the aptly named “Burma Board” against a beautifully painted Chindit Army and its General, Andrew Verticchio. My Germans seemed somewhat confused while fighting Brits in a jungle with funny hats.

I started with my fastest units on the board to try and take what real estate I could, then hopefully sit and wait things out. This was a somewhat difficult task for me, as I’m not used to holding tight with Veterans. My play style with my Soviets is very “FORWARD!”. This was my first game using a majority Veteran list, which was nice as I had troops survive past the second round!

Once my Tiger came out to play, I placed him near the left side of the board, so I could use it as cover for another fast unit in a half track to rush into the enemy table quarter and secure more points. Which, in the end, worked very well and the units on this side of the board were unable to deal with the Tiger.

Here is the fast attack unit I moved up the left side of the board. The units on this side of the board were unable to deal with any armor at all, even just the 7+ half track, which was another situation in which I was very glad to have the armored transport, even if it was somewhat slow moving at 9″-18″.

Moving up was a grind, but I had units in the enemy zone and the neutral zone. The game resulted in a German loss as General Verticchio had units in my deployment zone as well; just more than I had in his.

 

Game 2: Surrounded – Rules set from the Main Rule Book

This was another very fun game with a very dynamic concept. I, of course, rolled low and the enemy General, David Leonard, won initiative. So my Germans were surrounded. We played on my Hydra Airfield board which continues to evolve and has things added to it each time it’s brought out.

I risked preparatory bombardment damage to have the Tiger out as part of my initially deployed force. Along with a half track and an MMG Team, I positioned myself nearly dead center of the board, hoping to use a wrecked T-34 as cover and setting up fields of fire. Which mostly worked for the first part of the game.

This rules set allows for reinforcements to be brought in from any table edge, with one minor exception. General Leonard set up his main force mostly on his table edge, while having his artillery piece lie in wait for the proper opportunity.

I should have realized what opportunity he was waiting for and continued to deploy my force from my table edge, as the exception to the deployment rule was simple; only one table edge could be used per activation. So, along comes the artillery piece, and it had my Tiger’s tail pipes in sight.

Tiger fear meant nothing to this brave artillery crew, but something got into the main gunners eye! The shot was a miss!

The Tiger’s retribution was swift and decisive. Enough said.

 

Game 3: Scalps – Custom scenario and Rules set

Now THIS was a cool game concept. Thanks to Seamus for throwing this together. Your objective is to get your lieutenant some scalps because apparently you owe him 50 scalps. The cool twist to this is each individual unit gets a “scalp” when it destroys another unit, BUT, if that unit itself is killed, you don’t get credit for the scalps. 

This was my fastest game of the weekend. We powered straight through and it was a bloody match. My artillery observer got a kill at the beginning of turn 2, and in order to keep that scalp, he moved behind cover to keep the point.

Much of the game was a stalemate as the board was somewhat constrictive. Lots of ambush orders and waiting. Using outflank, the enemy was able to get around behind my Tiger and was the first to kill it. It took a lot of fire and ended up being mostly stuck for a good portion of the game.

 

After all was said and done, I came away with 3rd place over the weekend. And, following the theme of things we all expected to happen, Mr. Duane Zoldak won the illustrious and highly sought after Zoldak Sportsmanship Award. Which at this point, I’m curious about what might happen if there ever comes a day that he doesn’t win his own award. As we all know, he wrote the book on winning the Sportsmanship Award.

And here are the rest of the winners with yours truly taking home third.

All in all, another amazing tournament with a couple new faces and some familiar ones as well. The community we’ve built here in the Chicagoland area has become very close knit and I can’t wait to see everyone again at the next big tournament. If you’re in the Chicago area, check out the Facebook page Chicago Bolt Action.

Posted on

World At War Round Up

Hello Gamers!

So the next podcast will be coming out next week and figured you all needed something to tide you over til then so, here it is!

Over this past weekend (7/30/16) Our humble Bolt Action group (Northwest Chicago Suburbs Bolt Action, and yes, we’re working on the name) Held our first official themed event, going with Blitzkrieg, Europe pre-1943. This was a new challenge for a few of us, as we never really put any thought into early war anything (and for myself, didn’t even have a suitable army for as I play mostly mid-late war veteran Americans).
So quickly we all gathered our paints, brushes and snagged a few new mini’s (or a whole amrys worth in my case, thanks to our friend down south at NWS Online, you’re a lifesaver bud) and we all hunkered down to see what we could all come up with. So for the months leading up to the event, our facebook groups timeline was ablaze with everyone’s hobby progress, and I gotta tell you, it was really cool to have everyone working on new stuff at the same time! One of the main reasons I love Bolt Action so much is the community that surrounds it. Very few times have i found myself in the middle of a game of BA thinking to myself ‘I am not having fun right now’ no matter the game circumstances, and I largely attribute that to the players that I’ve come into contact with, many of whom I now call Friends.

Ok, enough of the mushy stuff, lets get back to the topic at hand (for those of you who listen to the podcast, you already know side tangents are par for the course, and apparently even in Blog posts).
So for my Early War Army, I chose to go with the Polish Army, Defense of Poland 1939 Theater Selector. In other words, I bought the 1000 point Polish Army Box and made a few tweaks to it and ran that, because I’m kinda lazy. Painting them up was a fun new challenge though, which took far less time than I originally thought. All in all, I painted 37 infantry, 3 team weapons, 8 Cavalry, a Tankett, and a Light Tank in about a month and a half (all in between commission work and other normal life things). Good job me (pats self on back).

20160730_134427[1]
My completed Polish Army w/ Display board.

So flashing forward to the event, one day tournament with pre-set matches to keep the games thematic. Players signed up for alignment (Axis-Allies) upon registration. Axis side was mostly German to no real surprise, and a Hungarian player. On the Allies, there was two Polish, French, two BEF, and a Soviet player. Here are a few snaps from the event. (Black & White pics photo credit to Aaron Schmidt, Color photos are mine)

13667917_10157241869855287_5590001655113808302_o
Polish Lancers on patrol.

13680215_10157241870375287_9175808411594747673_o
German Improvised MG nest.

13926033_10157241870365287_5640739607911863486_o
German infantry mustering for a push on the Allied Lines.

20160730_101436[1]
Polish Lancers investigating shots ringing out in the streets.

13909293_10157241869845287_3714599544637860118_o
German 88 on over-watch looking for targets of opportunity. Strongest gun at the event, by a lot!

13735555_10157241870110287_2794584639028288093_o
German Armor pushing on French Defenders.

13920329_10157241870255287_2472273427116683983_o
Forward observer’s view as he radios back the positions of advancing Hungarian light armor.

All in all, it was a pretty incredible event, thanks to tournament organizer: Seamus Hamrin for putting it all on for us. The end totals were: Axsis – 89 battle points to Allies – 237 battle points… Changing history one dice roll at a time!

Cant wait to see what theater General Hamrin picks for next year.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for thew next podcast episode and keep them paintbrushes working and those dice rolling!

– Chris –

Posted on

Blitzkrieg Miniatures M4A3E8 “Easy 8” Model Unboxing

So about a month ago, I was turned on to a company across the pond called Blitzkrieg Miniatures. I was especially thrilled to see that they offered models in the ever elusive 1/56th scale, as to conform with the rest of my bolt action army. So, after paroozing their web store, and freshly seen Fury, I decided to add an Easy 8 to my American motor pool.

20141229_145544[1]

Above is how the model arrived at my door. Nothing fancy in terms of packaging, but the model was well protected, so i really couldn’t ask for much more. The main hull of the tank was well wrapped in a medium bubble wrap very snugly, as was the main turret body. The accessories were, on the other hand just placed in a small zip lock bag. This mildly worried me off the bat as the whole model was resin cast.

20141230_020302[1]

But, my worries were soon put to rest and exchanged with excitement as the model was, pardon my french, fucking BEAUTIFUL! After my initial look over, the details were stunning and there was very little clean up work to be done. This was surprising to me as I have dealt with solid cast resin models in the past that were absolute nightmares to clean and assemble *cough cough, Warlord, cough cough*.

20150101_135600[1]

In no time at all the model was cleaned, assembled (all whopping 8 parts of it) and ready to start laying paint on (as it is, I have a fair amount of custom work I will be doing to it so it can accurately mirror the easy 8 in Fury, stay tuned as I will be showing this bad boy off as it gets finished).

20150101_135614[1]

So all in all, I am absolutely blown away by the quality in workmanship from Blitzkrieg and will definitely be ordering more models from them in the future. For those interested, the 1/56th Sherman Easy 8 retails from Blitzkrieg Miniatures for 22 GBP (which is roughly 35 American) and, to entice you all a bit more, free worldwide shipping on everything.

For their full catalog, tap the link below and enjoy the myriad of amazing models they offer.

http://www.blitzkriegminiatures.com/

20150101_135630[1]

As I said above, Ill be posting more updates on my E8 as it gets more Furry like.

Thanks for reading and thanks to Paul from Blitzkrieg for the awesome customer support! Keep gaming everyone and have a happy 2015!

Posted on

Mad Dog’s Operation Sting AAR (After Action Report)

Let me begin my report with a windy city wargaming salute to the coordinators of Operation Sting. They did a fantastic job with every facet of the tournament. From the rules to the game boards, Operation Sting was definitely not the tournament to miss. And word ’round the campfire is, they’re prepping for Adepticon.

So, as with any tournament, the storyline/campaign aspect is huge. The mission packets provided for the weekend had primary objectives based on the missions in the Bolt Action rulebook. They also provided special “secret missions” which provided each player the chance to gain up to five extra points. The part I applaud the coordinators for here is the fact that I did NOT have to reveal which secret mission I was pursuing. This aspect of the game is important because, just like any other miniature wargame, mastering sleight of hand and trickery will always ensure a swift and glorious victory. I will have to do another blog post on this later so please, stay tuned for that.

It’s Saturday morning, mission packets are issued, players are deploying their armies from their display boards and the dice are rolling for first deployment. Hands are offered to shake and a “good luck” is wished by both opponents. Now the fun begins.

The terrain was a gorgeous mix of scenic woodlands to very spacious urban towns. Each board had its own personality and mastering each one was a near impossible task. But for those who did, the roads, creeks, forests and buildings became the lifelines to securing victory.

The match ups were, much like the game itself, mostly historically accurate. I only heard of one occurrence of Allies fighting Allies. Otherwise, the entire night consisted of Allies vs. The Axis and this also added even more to the game. Unless I’m playing a Hydra themed German army, it doesn’t make much sense to be fighting another German army. As a Soviet player, I enjoyed that over the course of the weekend, I only played against the armies of Italy and Germany. Another salute to the coordinators for doing everything they could to make sure history was “preserved”.

The sportsmanship witnessed at Operation Sting was unlike anything I’ve seen. I had nothing but fantastic matches with great people who, like me, simply love the game and its history. There were a few stories of questionable conduct, but that comes with the territory of competition. Here’s another aspect that the coordinators added to the game that, in my eyes, encouraged sportsmanship and much more interesting play: Bolt Action Bingo! Mark off a square for each situation, get a full row and you’ve got yourself a prize! Some of the boxes were situations such as “eliminating a squad in hand to hand combat” and “damaging a vehicle without destroying it”. This encouraged players to truly test their mettle with their opponents and was just another addition to the tournament that made it the best I’ve ever been to.

I love to see the game growing as it is and I truly hope to see even more people at Operation Sting 2015!

Let’s all snap a sharp salute to the coordinators of Operation Sting! They’ve done a truly wonderful job and I can’t wait to see what they do at Adepticon!

Until next time, Wargamers!
Mad Dog, out!