Monday, 22 June 2015

USMC vs Treacherous Brits

So, Sunday rolled around again, and this time it was just me and Mark. Bolt Action, which is always fun. I took my Sherman out for the first time (trading my Stuart, Air Observer, and one infantry squad for it), while Mark experimented with a veteran list.

Marks new mat (shaved, painted, and sometimes slightly scorched teddy bear fur) looks awesome. The hills under it, with loose trees scattered around, really makes it great, and look like a real battlefield. I can see it getting a lot of use in the future.

We started by rolling up maximum attrition for our mission. Simple: first man to die, loses.

 So, first shot of the game goes very well, with a wonderful string of 6's from my sniper (right hand buildings, green roof) at Mark's (left hand buildings, centre, green roof).

Revenge for what he did last time we fought (at the tourney).
 My infantry advance up the centre.
 Everything rolls up through the centre, with a bit of weight to the left. Mark's forces are spread relatively evenly, with two squads focused on the river and his ever (un)reliable Cromwell on the far left.
Mark pondering if the artillery barrage will once again blow up in his face…

…it didn't. Everything nearby got pinned, but it was my commanders that ate the heavy rounds, not really anything important (like the Sherman, or the infantry squad).
 Mark's Brits rush through the open field, knowing they need to close before the MG can open up.
 The Sherman rolls forwards, despite two pins (already better than Mark's Cromwell), but fails to harm—or even hit—anything. Boo.
 My medium mortar, on the other hand, pulls a Hail Mary and lands a shot perfectly on the veteran unit aiming for my MMG team.

When the dust settles half the squad has been wiped out by one round.
 The MMG then opens up, claiming another, just barely.
 Mark's infantry rush the houses in the centre, and my boys move up, but fail to cause any damage (because of the single pin on them, actually).
 Mark's Cromwell laying into my MMG and Engineer teams. This flank was going all his way.
 This time, free of pins, and staying still to be more accurate, the Sherman actually hits. But still no wounds. Seems it knows my army's theme well then.

 The next turn started with Mark's heavily damaged squad taking heavy casualties from the MMG, but the other squad made it to the leftmost building, where my sniper was hiding.
 Said sniper decides now would be a great time to deprive the upper level squad in the central buildings of their NCO. It's the moustaches that make them such easy targets, I tell you.
 The rest of the turn goes well as Mark's two main squads FUBAR. Two FUBARs. In a row. Absolutely hilarious, though no real damage is caused other than the squad's losing their chance to act this turn, which did actually prove crucial.

To start the next turn, the squad in the lower building tried to assault the Sherman, but failed to damage it.
 The Sherman ground around on its tracks, bringing its hull MG in line with the building, and elevating the barrel of its 75mm all the way.

The explosion echoed through the top floor as machine gun rounds tore through dazed and shell-shocked soldiers. As the dust began to settle, just under half the squad began to rise from the ashes.
The infantry in the centre move up, pouring fire into the top level squad, causing further pins and a single casualty.
 Then, opening the next turn, a mortar round aimed for the top floor crashes straight through and obliterates the squad below. Sterling work, if not entirely intentional.

The Sherman finishes off the top squad with another round from its 75mm cannon. I think a heavier tank is a worthwhile investment, especially if it doesn't have to fight another tank.
My MMG cuts down the last survivor of the right hand veteran squad. At this point Mark conceded, with the USMC having 8 points to the Brits 4.

It was a good game overall, but very little seemed to go Mark's way, making the victory quite a lot easier for me. He did nail my sniper and commander, though the latter was more by luck with the artillery strike. My Bazooka did nothing, but forced him to put the Cromwell as far away from it as possible—it's quite a powerful psychological tool sometimes.

Mark's overall plan to take the buildings, vs my drive down the central road, was a good one, and could have been very costly for me if I'd been forced to assault vs veteran troops armed with plentiful SMGs. I wasn't going to play ball though, and so simply emptied as much firepower as possible into those buildings. In the end, with a bit of luck, it worked.

To round out the day we played some Munchkin, in which I scraped another win by the very skin of my teeth. If he hadn't been trying so hard to steal my hammer, he would've won. Well that, and the friendship potion I threw on what would have been the winning kill for him.

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