Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ambush in the Jungle, Part 1 - Bolt Action AAR

This past weekend, John hosted a game of Bolt Action to play out a Palau Campaign based scenario he's been working on for a while now. 

The game saw a platoon of US Marines escorting a platoon of Shermans through a dense jungle. The American forces had to get across the table and exit the opposite edge in 15 turns or less. The more units that made it across in that time, the more points they scored. 

Arrayed against the Marines was a couple platoons of dug-in and camouflaged Japanese. The Japanese were so well disguised, in fact, that they could ambush any moving American unit from just 6" away! 

This meant that the Marines could potentially be ambushed anywhere on the board. 

The areas not delineated by the road also counted as dense jungle, so the infantry could only move 6" each turn and the tanks had to roll a d6 to determine how far they could move. 

Sam and Dick were controlling the Americans, and moved out with the infantry in front of the tanks.

Until they were fired up, the American infantry units were represented by a single model because they were huge; 15 men strong, with an accompanying flamethrower and bazooka team!

They could also "reconstitute" when they reached 6 men or less, allowing the Marine units to return back to full strength. Doing so, however, cost the Americans a turn per unit. 

John and I controlled the Japanese. We started our defense with a machine-gun nest opening fire down a road. The team was quickly knocked out with some return fire from the lead Sherman tank.

In previous versions of this scenario, the Japanese appeared without any covering, which meant that they were usually blown away in the next turn. By fiving them fortifications, the Japanese infantry could better hold up the Marines. 

Of course, two 15-strong Marine squads with their own flamethrowers and bazookas still made short work of the ambushing Japanese!

I was also doing my best to position my ambushes so they wouldn't come under fire from the Shermans, while still delaying the American advance. 

I got lucky and managed to get a side-shot from an anti-tank gun into one of the Shermans, destroying it. 

Unlike the Marine squads, once destroyed the Shermans were done for.

Another machine-gun bunker made trouble for the Americans advancing through the center of the battlefield. 

For the moment, Sam's Marines were unopposed, apart from having to deal with the Japanese mortars that harassed the Americans throughout the game. 

Dick's units were having a lot more trouble. While the anti-tank gun was quickly destroyed, more Japanese infantry units appeared to hold back the remaining Sherman's escorting Marines. 

And to threaten the other Sherman (that had taken a right at the fork instead of a left), I ambushed with my Ha-Go light tank. The Ha-Go's low-velocity gun had little chance to damage the Sherman, but it had enough punch to pin the American tank when it hit. 

Another MMG bunker popped up in front of one of Sam's advancing unit that had mad it the furthest, but it was quickly silenced by the Marines' firepower. 

Speaking off, the Japanese defense on their far right side fell apart, especially with the last Sherman in support. 

Rather than sitting back and trying to damage the dug-in Ha-Go from range, Dick sent the Sherman charging in to get a shot from as close as possible, confident that the light tank's gun couldn't harm the Detroit-forged armor. 

With the last bunker gone, Sam's infantry suddenly found themselves in a sea of calm, and close to discovering one of the Japanese's two mortars. 

Dick wasn't going to find any similar respite, however. As his other Sherman advanced, it found itself being fired upon by another dug-in light Japanese tank; a Ka-Mi!

This tank's crew must have been a little better, as they managed to hit the Sherman and stun its crew. 

The Ha-Go didn't have a chance to respond, as it was destroyed by a close range 75mm round. 

After about 4 hours, we had played through 8 total turns. As the Americans had reconstituted two Marine squads, that put them at 10 turns, leaving them only 5 more turns to push through the Japanese defenders.

While the Americans had learned to be cautious - the Japanese could only ambush them while moving! - their oversized and well-equipped squads had enough firepower to wipe out any Japanese unit in a single turn with a little luck. But will they have enough time to complete their objective before the clock runs out?

We'll pick the game up again soon to see it to its conclusion.

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