Friday, January 12, 2024

Back to WWII gaming

 Happy New Year and welcome back to my humble blog. 

It has been a while since I played any Bolt Action… a long while, more than five years in fact but have finally dug out my 28mm forces and decided to have a few games. I am using forces I painted up for the Italian campaign and getting used to the rules again playing some solo games.

Kent and I had quite a few games of Bolt Action mainly with first edition which we house ruled a fair bit to mitigate some of the dodgier aspects of the ruleset but had only a smattering of 2nd edition games under our belts.

I’ve decided to have a few games focused on the Italian Campaign 1943-44 and it is in this area that I think that Bolt action shines- along with the War in the Pacific, both of which I don’t think Flames of War does a very good job of representing.

I have never rated Bolt Action as a tournament game, too many dodgy things that can be exploited in the rules (and the various lists) but played with like minded people in the right spirit with appropriately themed and matched armies (I detect a slight hint of unconscious bias there) it can be a lot of fun and lends itself to solo gaming quite nicely too- that way I am guaranteed to get an opponent playing with a similar expectations of what they want out of the game.

Anyway, I dragged out some of my old terrain the other day and have had a couple of solo games to get used the rules and discovered that I missed World War Two gaming more than I realised so am keen to get a few more games in.

28mm German forces for the Italian Front

My plan is to concentrate on the campaign in Italy 1943-45, which is where most of my Bolt action armies have been themed for. It’s a bit different to the games set in NW Europe  an LW Germany where many players seem to focus an oft neglected sideshow both in the actual war (Rome was liberated 5 June 1944 and D-Day became the world focus the following day) but is a very interesting campaign, with a range of nationalities including Chech, Free French, South African’s Pole, Kiwi’s, Indians an many others along with the usual protagonists. As I said above Bolt Action lens itself quite nicely to this theatre where the terrain was often mountainous and the poor boy infantry slogged their way up the Peninsula. Along with the most well known battles of Salerno, Anzio, Cassino there were many other bloody battles fought in 43-45 as the allies sought to fought their way up the Italian Peninsula. I recall as a young lad of maybe 14 or 15 reading a book on Monte Cassino and being enamoured then spending several weeks scratch-building ruined buildings, preparing then running a game based on the Māori battalion’s attack on Cassino and the railway station- featuring my old Airfix pontoon bridge as well several buckets of fine shingle from my father’s garden path… ah good times.

Free French- manily using Artisan Designs figures. 

I have a bit of a mission ahead, going though old terrain, making some new stuff including some new pillboxes and fortifications.

I’ve had a couple of solo game of Bolt Action to reacquaint myself with the rules and have purchased myself some more Rubicon Shermans to support my Free French (what can I say they are on special) an hope to sort out a small campaign in the near future. I will try ot post a a few updates on this much too neglected these days blog but have made a couple of videos of my first solo games so far.

Battle #1- Free French vs Panzer Grenadiers

Battle #2: Free French vs Panzer Grenadiers

My Free French needed some more armoured support in the shape of Sherman Vs so grabbed a few while on special the other day. I have  a wee job ahead of me...

Finally, Jeff Plowman's The Battles for Monte Cassino then and now is an absolute treasure trove for anyone wanting to game Monte Cassino. It is one of my favourite books in my collection and can't recommend it highly enough.


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