Guns of August Bolt Action AAR
At the Guns of August gaming convention at Williamsburg, VA, I ran a Bolt Action game called “Bustin’ the Bocage: On the Road to St.Lo.” The scenario involved an American platoon with some armor support having to take a crucial crossroads from dug-in
Germans, who were determined to prevent the American objective.
The American forces involved were regular American infantry and armor led by a captain and second lieutenant. These forces included three squads of GIs of ten men each. Each squad included two SMGs, one BAR, and seven rifles. Each squad had a three man MMG attached. The American force also included two mortar sections with one spotter. The force also had an artillery spotter and radioman for a barrage attempt. Attached to this platoon were a Sherman 75 and a Sherman 76 tank.
The German force consisted of veteran Fallschirmjagers led by a captain. The main part of this force consisted of a 12 man squad broken down into two sections. These two sections had mixed weaponry of rifles, SMGs, an assault rifle, an LMG team, and two men with two panzerfausts. The force also included three MMG teams and two medium mortar teams with a spotter. Also included in the force were an entrenched PAK 40 and a hidden Marder III.
Map: Looking from the German side of the board. Notice the entrenched PAK 40 at the crossroads.
Special Rules: The Germans, except the PAK 40, were in ambush under hidden deployment and could show up anywhere within or hidden by a terrain feature. One field was mined. These were house rules, because as of right now there are no rules for mines in Bolt Action. The house rules for the mines are they are hidden and if the field was moved into by a unit, the unit takes a d2 HE hit.
After Action Report
The game began with the Germans allowing the Americans to advance upon the board in the first turn, without revealing an ambush. The Americans separated their three squads into the left, center, and right of the table. The tanks and mortars came in through the center of the board.
On turn two, as the Americans were advancing upon the woods in the center the Germans revealed an ambush of one of their infantry squads and a MMG crew. The Germans rolled poorly but pinned down the center group of American infantry and the Sherman 76, which was hit by a panzerfausts but only pinned.
After about three turns of fighting in front of the woods, the Americans finally overwhelmed the Germans in the woods with the assistance of the Americans on the left. In the meantime, the American squad on the right kept advancing slowly but surely through the bocage and the fields to advance without being seen by the PAK 40.
Once the American squad on the right crossed into the field just above the bocaged orchard, it struck the minefield and became pinned down. To make matters worse for them, the Germans revealed a MMG in the bocage ahead of this squad and with accurate mortar fire and MMG firepower tore the American squad up.
After eliminating the threat in the woods, the American left and center continued on. The left ran into opposition at the orchard and the blown up farmhouse. This battle generally ran tit-for-tat with the Sherman 75 eventually being immobilized by a panzerfausts and the Germans being wiped out to a man by small arms, cannon, and MMG fire.
The turning point of the battle was when the PAK 40 was spotted at the crossroads and was wiped out by a well die-rolled (rolled a 6 on the barrage table) barrage. Once this happened, the only thing that stood in the way of the Americans taking the crossroads was the German command contingent, which was eventually assaulted by the Americans coming down the center. It was at this point the Germans decided to give up the ghost, even though they never revealed the Marder III.
The game lasted about three hours; it’s easy to run, as the players picked up the rules real quick. The one mistake I made is I forgot if that if a pinned unit makes a command roll, it loses one pin marker.
I do believe the players had a good time and they seemed to have enjoyed the game. I’m planning on running this again for my club, as it is a scenario that can be run again and again.