Bolt Action – Part Two (First Blood)

It is August 1941, and only a few weeks after Finland declares war on the Soviet Union. with the assistance of its ally Germany, Finnish and German troops have invaded the Soviet Union in what would become known as the Continuation War.

At the edge of a farm in northern Russia, two enemy patrols meet while scouting enemy defences.

The Finns (Dave)
– NCO* with SMG** – Mika Hakkinen
– LMG*** team (2 men)
– 1 SMG armed infantryman
– 5 rifle armed infantrymen

The Soviets (Peter)
– NCO with SMG – Marias Sharipova
– LMG team (2 men)
– 3 SMG armed infantrymen
– 4 rifle armed infantrymen

*NCO – Non-commissioned Officer
**SMG – Submachine Gun
***LMG – Light Machine Gun

Game 1

We had a simple setup, starting the units 24″ apart with some scenery for cover.

Sergeant Sharipova ordered their men to advance and fire upon the Finns, hoping to Finn their numbers out before they returned fire. As it was, the LMG hefted by private Rasputin had its line of sight blocked by an inconvenient hedgerow, while only three of the Soviets with rifles could see the Finns clearly enough to fire upon them. “Fire!” Yelled Sharipova. The gunfire rattled out across the wheat field, but with the distance and the Soviets having to fire on the move, all the gunfire did was scare a flock of birds from the hedgerow. The score was tied at love-all.

Sergeant Hakkinen cursed as his men briefly ducked in reaction to the Soviet gunfire. “Return fire!” he shouted, the rifles and the LMG of Mika Salo unleashed in response. A cheer went up from the Finns as they saw one of the distant Soviets fall to the ground.

Sharipova and their squad rushed to the hedgerow and opened up once more on the Finnish troops. Two of the Finns fell to the ground, and Hakkinen urged his troops into the trees on their right flank, trying to find cover where they could. The Soviets sensed an advantage pushed forward over the hedgerow hoping to flush the Finns from the trees with gunfire. However, no sooner had Sharipova and their unit crossed the hedgerow than the Finns rushed from the trees and met them in combat. Hakkinen and his Finns were Finn-ished however, and despite having the charge failed to inflict any casualties on the Soviet unit, and it wasn’t long before Sharipova, Rasputin and others were lying injured on the ground with the others in full retreat

Victory to the Soviets.

The Finns charge into the Russian Airborne.

Game 2

Changing the table setup slightly, we decided the objective would be to hold a farmhouse in the centre of the table.

Dave managed to get first and ran his riflemen up to the walls of the farmhouse. Dave really wanted to try out the Molotov cocktails, and so I decided to mirror his manoeuvre.

Dave got to go next in turn 2 and so flanked around my men so that more than 50% of his unit could see the airborne squad. As a result, his 9 molotov cocktails from his men only suffered a -1 to hit. With each man placing a 1″ template over the Russians, Dave’s Finns were able to automatically hit 25 times! His damage roll resulted in a lot of fried troops!

Victory to the Finns!

What Next?

Dave and I decided that we’d play Bolt Action via escalation. So we’ll both start with two infantry units and a command. Then, after each time we meet, we’ll roll on a table to see what we collect next.

To get that 2nd unit of troops and command, I decided to buy a £28 box of Siberian veterans. This comes with 34 miniatures, enough to make 3 squads and some HQ units.

Till next time.

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