Friday, 3 July 2015

USMC Combat Engineers




A combat engineer (also called field engineer,pioneer or sapper in many armies) is a soldier specialist who performs a variety of contruction and demolition tasks under combat conditions.
 
In Bolt Action an engineer squad can consist of between 5 and 8 men including the NCO. They are much the same as a normal USMC rifle squad but you can have a smaller unit but have some minor differences in weapons they can have. Unlike a normal rifle squad they can not take 3 BAR’s but can only have 2 instead and no shotguns or pistols.. On the other hand you can take 1 flamethrower for 20 points.  Other then that  there’s not much difference in load out or rules. It seems a bit odd that the point cost of an engineer is slightly higher then a rifleman.
In my army I run a veteran engineer squad. I make them veteran because the unit is only 7 men and it makes them a bit tougher to kill. I have 2 BAR’s and also the pricey flamethrower in it. I have to constantly move aggressively towards my opponents units to get the flamethrower in range (6”) but because of the American special rule  “Fire and manouvre” this isn’t a problem. I think the threat of the flamethrower makes many of my opponents nervous and they start moving units away from the engineers. In this way they disrupt the opponents strategy and this is a great tactic. Granted that if a unit comes within range it’s great to use the flamethrower but most players are smart enough to avoid that.

So is the engineers squad worth taking? I think so but I only take 1 engineer squad and use it to bait or scare units away.
Historic Facts

A Combat Engineer Battalion is a combat engineer battalion of the United States Marine Corps.

Mission: Provide mobility, counter mobility, survivability, and limited general engineering support to the  Marine Divisions.

The battalion was formed to be a specialized unit to conduct shore party operations during Amphibious assaults, and to provide close combat engineer support to the Marine infantry. The average age of the enlisted men was about 18, and they referred to themselves as "draft dodgers" because all were volunteers.

 
 
The battalion participated in combat during the Battle of Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea, Battle of New Britain, Battle of Peleliu and the Battle of Okinawa.

 
 
Cheers,
Seb
 



Wednesday, 1 July 2015

USMC 81mm Mortar



Bolt Action USMC 81mm mortar and spotter
In Bolt Action the 81mm mortar is classed as a medium mortar and counts 3 men in the squad that can upgraded with a spotter adding the fourth member to the gun crew. (which is historically inaccurate as you can read below but hey, it’s just a game)


The rules for mortars are a bit strange, you need to roll a 6  on a D6 for a hit and then a 5 in the next turn if the targeted unit hasn’t moved. Lowering the needed result to hit by 1 each turn. Once a mortar has scored a hit it is ranged in and will only need to roll a 2 to hit in the subsequent turns unless the targeted unit moves. When a unit has moved the result needed to hit is reset to a 6 but there is no clear rule in how much a unit should move so if a unit only moves half an inch the to hit roll is still reset to a 6 which is a bit odd.

You can take three kinds of mortars like any other unit in the game i.e. inexperienced, regular or veteran. Since a mortar fires indirect rounds you do not get the -1 penalty to hit for inexperienced units. The only difference is that an inexperienced unit might suffer from the lower morale to come from reserves and thus delaying to come on the table for 1 or 2 turns if you’re unlucky. The other downside of taking an inexperienced unit instead of a regular or veteran is that they die more easily but since they are usually deployed near the backline they don’t get shot that often other then by forward deployed snipers and the opponent’s mortar. Putting your mortar behind hard cover or out of direct sight works great since you can use the Spotter to mark appropriate targets for the mortar crew they can’t see themselves.
 
I always opt for the inexperienced mortar crew since the point cost is lower and I always add a spotter. Some Bolt action gamers call this “gamey” or not in line with how the game was intended but the rules are very clear about this. With the inexperienced crew you save a few points in cost but take some risk when it comes to taking (easy) casualties and coming from reserves, the 15 points difference is about right for that I think.
Bolt Action USMC 81mm mortar and spotter

WWII USMC 81mm Mortar Historic Facts

The M1 81mm mortar was the largest weapon in the arsenal of the Marine infantry battalion. It provided the battalion commander with a powerful and flexible indirect fire capability. Four of these weapons were assigned to each battalion, in either the weapons or headquarters company, depending on the table of organization.
Sometimes called "infantry artillery," or "hip pocket artillery," mortars were capable of quickly laying down heavy barrages. These could stop enemy attacks under the worst conditions. Able to fire at high angles, mortars could fire at targets in defilade, either under direction of an forward observer, or firing off map coordinates. In the Pacific campaigns, these weapons became an important part of the battalion's firepower, especially since they could be man-packed into positions that were inaccessible to artillery.

CHARACTERISTICS
The M1 81mm Mortar was a smoothbore, high-angle fire, muzzle loading weapon.
Weight: 136 pounds
Length of tube: 49.5 inches
Elevation: 40 to 80 degrees
Rate of fire (normal): 18 rpm
Rate of fire(maximum): 30 to 35 rpm
Range: 100 to 3,290 yards



Several types of ammunition were issued for use with the 81mm mortar. All were fin-stabilized and came as complete units with fuzes already attached. The most common was the M43A1 high explosive round, with a weight of 7.05 lbs and containing 1.22 lbs. of TNT. Equipped with a superquick fuze, this round had a bursting radius of about 30 yards was commonly employed against enemy troops in the open. For dug-in or fortified enemy positions, the M56 high explosive round was available. Weighing 10.77 lbs, and with 4.30 lbs. of TNT, this round could be set for impact detonation, or for a short delay to enable it to penetrate before exploding. When used against troops in the open, it had a bursting radius of about 35-40 yards. Also available was the M57 chemical round. Filled with white phosphorous, this round was used for screening and obscuration and weighed 11.59 lbs.

As an infantry weapon, the M1 mortar could be broken down into three separate loads. These were the barrel, weighing 44.5 lbs, the base plate, weighing 45 lbs, and the bipod, weighing 46.5 lbs. The M4 collimator sight fitted into a bracket on the bipod yoke, providing accurate laying for elevation and deflection. Aiming stakes were supplied in the basic issue items for each mortar, enabling the crew to lay their weapon on target for indirect fire.      
USMC 81mm mortar squad
Throughout the war and beyond, the four gun configuration remained standard for the platoon, which was split into two section of two tubes each. Two lieutenants were assigned to the platoon. One was the platoon leader and the other the assistant platoon leader. A gunnery sergeant served as the platoon sergeant and the sections were each led by a platoon sergeant. The mortar squad was the basic sub-unit within the 81mm mortar platoon, with a corporal as the squad leader. The following additional Marines were assigned to the squad: one gunner, one assistant gunner, and four or five ammunition bearers.

(Source: www.ww2gyrene.org)

Cheers,
Seb

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Scenario: Jungle Road Ambush!


If you are looking to recreate the Battles of the pacific Warlord Games have created some additional scenarios for you to use. More of these will be released later this year in the "Empire in flames" supplement book. Below is a copy of warlord Games' Jungle Road Ambush scenario. Whilst this scenario is tailored for British vs Japanese you can easily replace the Brits with a USMC force from the theatre selector section.Because these scenarios can be hard to find I have posted them here for you.
 
Picture by Warlord Games
 

Terrain

This scenario, like most Bolt Action scenarios, is designed to be played along the length of a six by four feet gaming surface.

A 6”-wide road stretches from the south table edge to the north table edge, roughly bisecting the table into two equal halves. This road, being not much more than a dirt trail, simply counts as open ground and not as a road.

Place a road block, like a large tree trunk, in the middle of the table – this counts as an obstacle that is impassable to vehicles.

The rest of the table should be covered by a very high density of thick wooded and broken terrain, representing the jungle and rough going surrounding the road. All of the area outside the road counts as rough ground.
Picture by warlord games

Opposing Forces

This scenario is designed to be played between a British (and Commonwealth!) force and a Japanese force.

The Bristish platoons should be taken from the 1942 – The Fall of Singapore selector in the Armies of Great Britain book. In addition to the choices in the selector, the force may also include one M3 or M3A1 Stuart light tank per platoon.

The Japanese platoons should be taken from the 1942 – The Fall of Singapore selector in the Armies of Imperial Japan book. They may not include vehicles, nor any artillery units except for light anti-tank guns and light howitzers (as the only artillery these small parties could carry had to be broken down and carried by mules along the small jungle paths).

You may of course play this scenario with forces of different nations to represent an ambush on an enemy column anywhere else in WWII. In this case agree or roll a die to randomly determine which force is in ambush and which is being ambushed. If you use vehicles with damage 9+ or higher, these can smash trough the obstacle moving through it at a Run, in which case the obstacle is removed.

Set-up

The Japanese player must deploy half of his force (rounding down) in his set-up area more than 12” from the road south of the roadblock. North of the roadblock, he can set up anywhere, except that his units must remain off the road and more than 6” from the road block. All Japanese units can use the hidden set-up rules (see Hidden Set-up page 117), and of course can start the game in Ambush.
The British player must deploy half of his force (rounding down, representing a vanguard) on the road south of the road block, more than 6” from the road block and more than 12” from the south edge of the table.

Japanese and British units that are not set-up to start with are left in reserve (see Reserves page 119).
Picture by Warlord Games

Objective

The British player must try to move as many of his units off the north table edge. The Japanese must try to stop him, and inflict maximum damage. Note that in this scenario, British units are allowed to deliberately move off the table from the north table edge.

Game Duration

Keep a count of how many turns have elapsed as the game is played. At the end of turn 12, roll a die. On a result of 1, 2 or 3 the game ends, on a roll of 4, 5 or 6 play one further turn.

Victory!

At the end of the game calculate which side has won by adding up victory points as follows. If one side scores at least 2 more victory points that the other then that side has won a clear victory. Otherwise the result is deemed too close to call and honours are shared – a draw!

The British player scores 1 victory point for every enemy unit destroyed. He also scores 2 victory points for each of his own vehicles and 4 victory points for every infantry and artillery unit that has moved off the north table edge before the end of the game.

The Japanese player scores 2 victory points for every enemy unit destroyed.

Special rules

British Reserves can begin rolling to come on the table from turn 1, and do not require an order test to come on to the table. However, they can only come onto the table along the road from the south edge of the table, and only two units per turn can enter the game, all remaining Reserves must be ordered Down.

When Japanese Reserves become available, they come in from anywhere along the west or east edge of the table.
 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Review: 1/56 Plastic M4 Sherman (Warlord Games)


Warlord Games M4 Sherman Box Art

I have recently built and painted the Warlord Games / Italeri M4 Sherman Medium Tank and here’s my review.
First impressions
First impressions are good, when you pick up the box you’ll notice the slick Box art with the added gun flare, smoke and dust which are all digitally added. Set in a great piece of scenery it looks gorgeous but that might just be my opinion. The next thing you’ll notice is that the box is very light, well at least if you’re like me and used to put together resin tanks. The plastic tanks are really light and that’s something to get used to. You can also see that although Warlord Games sells these boxes they are produced by Italeri who have been making plastic model kits for years. Making this 1/56 kit specially for gamers is a nice step forward for both companies. But hey that’s just the box, it’s about time we have a look inside..


Contents and tools

What’s in the box?
In the box you’ll find just 2 sprues to put the tank together with. This is not a scale model this is a wargamers model so you don’t have to fiddle around with tiny bits and pieces that break off easily anyway. It’s nice that this kit also comes with a sheet of decals and you don’t have to buy them separately like with the resin tanks. The decal sheet has enough nice signs, letters, numbers and insignia to personalise your model the way you like. There’s also a comprehensive instruction manual something else the resin kits don’t include and you have to download from warlord’s website.


M4 Sherman Built
Putting it together
The kit fits together very nicely and hardly any mold lines have to be removed. The detail is crisp and clear and there’s enough to make for an interesting model to look at. I had my model ready within 20 minutes. If you want extra stowage or a driver/commander you will have to buy them separately. The only minor issue is that when you fit the top half of the hull on the undercarriage you see a nasty line on the front of the model but this can be removed with greenstuff and some sanding, this is the same on the front and back of the tracks but this is much harder to get rid of. I have solved this problem with adding Vallejo pigments so it looks like there’s mud on the tracks and you do see the lines.


The M4 Sherman Medium Tank Finished
Painting and decals
Because it’s a plastic model you don’t have to scrub and wash the model like you do with resin models. There’s no release agents left on the model and you can prime them straight after you’ve put it together which is very nice. With resin models you always have to hope that the paint will stick to all parts of the model after you have given it a good soak.
The transfers or decals are really nice to work with. You just pick the decals you want to use and cut them from the sheet. Then put a few drop of water on it and the slide right off without breaking. They stick to the model nicely but I will always advise to use a decal agent or solvent to get the best result.
After you’ve painted the whole model you can really see and appreciate all the small detail that are on this model and you can start to play games with it.  
Pros:
  • It’s a good kit for this price (20 pounds).
  • Nice and crisp detail.
  • Fits together easily and can be assembled in 20 minutes.
  • Comes with decals and instruction manual.
  • No need to wash, scrub and bathe the model before painting.
  • Plastic is easy to convert.
  • Looks great on the table next to your Warlord Games infantry models.

Cons:
  •   You can see the hull is hollow if you flip the model upside down.
  •  The antenna and HMG can snap off.
  •  There’s a little work needed in hiding the lines where the two track sections and front hull come together.
  • There's only one type of gun barrel included unlike other plastic tank manufacturers’ Shermans.
  • No tank commander or driver included.
The Final Verdict

I had a blast putting this model together and painting it and I think it looks smashing on the battlefield. I wouldn’t mind building another one or two for a tank platoon. I like working with plastic models so I’m definitely looking forward to making more Warlord / Italeri models like the M3A1 halftrack I have on the shelf.
Score
4 out of 5 Service stars


Cheers,
Seb

Scenario: Alligator Creek, Guadalcanal


If you are looking to recreate the Battles of the pacific Warlord Games have created some additional scenarios for you to use. More of these will be released later this year in the "Empire in flames" supplement book. Below is a copy of warlord Games' Alligator Creek scenario. Because these scenarios can be hard to find I have posted them here for you.

Picture by Warlord Games
On the 7 August 1942 the United States Marine Corps landed on the strategic south pacific island of Guadalcanal and stopped the construction of a vital Japanese airfield. If operational this airfield would isolate Australia and New Zealand from their allies. US Forces complete the airfield and name it Henderson Field. Imperial Japanese Forces have left their base at Rabaul and are on the way to rectify this insult. Imperial soldiers begin their landings on the 18 August and immediately march towards Henderson. In their way stands a crocodile infested creek and a battalion of United States Marines. At 2000hrs on the 20 August, the battle began.

SET-UP

Alligator Creek runs through the centre of a 4ft x 6ft gaming table. The creek will be 4ft in length and 6” wide. The creek terminates at the ocean sandbar which is 2ft wide and consists of soft beach sand. All units may move on the sand but require an advance order to do so. No units may run on the beach. The creek is waist deep which allows soldiers to cross at an advance move only. Tracked and wheeled vehicles cannot cross the creek. Soft cover may be placed anywhere on the board except on the beach. The jungle grew up to the edges of the river but players may place soft cover represent jungle at their discretion.

The USMC player may spend 700pts and select a force from the “1942-43 Guadalcanel Theatre Selector” on page 78 of the “Bolt Action Armies of the United States” army book. The USMC player may set up anywhere on their half of the table. The USMC player may start the game dug in (see dug in rule below). The USMC player sets up all his units on the table first.

The Japanese player may spend 1000pts and select a force from “The Battle for Guadalcanal 1942 Theatre Selector” on page 45 of the Bolt Action Armies of Imperial Japan” army book. The Japanese player may set up anywhere 14” from their table edge.

Pre-deployment, reserves, and Outflanking are not permitted in this mission.

Picture by Warlord Games

OBJECTIVE

The Japanese player must cross the river. The USMC player must stop the Japanese.

PREPARATORY BOMBARDMENT

The battle for Alligator Creek began with a Japanese Mortar barrage. The attacker rolls a die, a preparatory mortar bombardment strikes the USMC positions. On a roll of 1, the barrage fails. Refer to the preparatory bombardment chart on page 118 on the Bolt Action rulebook.

GAME DURATION

6 turns. At the end of turn 6 roll a die. On a result of 1,2, or 3 the game ends. On a roll of 4, 5 or 6 play one further turn.

VICTORY

If two Japanese units cross the river or the centre point of the beach and survive the game duration, the game ends in a draw. If three or more Japanese units cross the river or the centre point of the beach and survive the game duration, the game ends in a Japanese victory.
If one or no Japanese units cross the river, the game ends in a USMC victory. (Note – Japanese units crossing to the USMC side of the river do not have to be fully intack to claim victory).

DUG IN

A player may start the game with any of his units dug in. Place a marker next to the unit to display its dug in status. More adventurous gamers may model soldiers in gun pits. If a unit executes a run, advance or charge order, the unit looses the dug in status for the remainder of the game. Dug in offers -1 cover, and protection from HE. The number of HE hits caused by artillery is halved rounding down. Both sides fight simultaneously in Close Quarters if the target unit is dug in.

Monday, 15 June 2015

USMC Bazooka team




 
Bolt Action USMC Bazooka team


The bazooka was a marvel of science and engineering—the world's first shoulder fired antitank rocket. Using a shaped charge rocket, it was a powerful weapon that enabled Marines and Soldiers to defeat enemy armor and field fortifications. Of vital importance was the bazooka's simplicity of operation and maintenance in the most rugged combat conditions.
 


The bazooka was well suited to the sort of war Marines fought in the Pacific. Versatile and easy to operate, it gave the infantry a powerful tool to destroy enemy fortifications and tanks. Considering how quickly it was developed and tested, the bazooka performed amazingly well in combat. It was an important weapon in the arsenal of the US Marines. 
 
During World War II, almost 500,000 bazookas were produced to meet the demands of American and Allied forces. Although the 2.36 inch bazooka was a capable tank killer against Japanese armor, the same was not true in Europe. German tanks proved much harder to kill with bazookas.

However, in a game of Bolt Action Anything can happen. In order to be effective you should probably best move your bazooka within 9" of the target. It's range and the Shaped Charge penalty to hit will make your bazooka miss on longer ranges. Here you can see my Bazooka take out a German Panzer IV with Shurzen,...Bolt Action will happen!
 
The Bazooka was invented by Robert Goddard, the father of American rocketry and genius inventor. Dr. Goddard developed the basic idea for the infantry rocket launcher during the First World War. With the armistice in 1918, work on this weapon project was shelved, but not before Goddard demonstrated it at Aberdeen Proving Grounds two days before the end of the war.
 
In the interwar years, tank-killing capability for the infantryman came from large caliber antitank rifles. As tanks became more heavily armored, these rifles were less and less effective. With the coming of war in 1939, the US Army Ordnance Department began a top secret development program to give the infantryman a self-contained tank-killing weapon. The bazooka took advantage of the revolutionary principle, the shaped charge warhead focused the explosive energy to shoot a plasma jet through the armor plate of an enemy tank.
 
In June 1942, the US Army officially adopted the Launcher, Rocket, Antitank, M1. General Electric built the first 5,000 weapons in a crash program to equip Army troops for the North African campaign. When Soldiers first got their first look at the rocket launcher, they dubbed it "the bazooka" after a musical instrument developed by entertainer Bob Burns.
 
In the South Pacific, Marines encountered many problems with the new bazookas. The battery-operated firing circuit was delicate and the rocket motors often failed because of high temperatures and humidity. But the weapon showed promise as a bunker buster for the infantry Marine. Lessons learned both in the Pacific and in North Africa were used to develop and field an improved version—the M1A1 bazooka. New rockets were also fielded. These had improved motors that were less prone to failure due to environmental factors.
 
The first widespread use of the bazooka in combat was during the Marianas campaigns in the summer of 1944. They proved extremely effective against Japanese field fortifications and tanks. For example, early in the morning of 17 June 1944, the enemy launched a tank attack with infantry support against the 2nd Marine Division on Saipan. About thirty tanks crashed into the Sixth Marine Regiment's defensive positions.
Bazooka teams hunted Japanese tanks in this intense, close quarter fight. Pfc Lauren Kahn and his loader, Pfc Lewis Nalder, were infantry Marines in K 3/6. During the battle, Kahn knocked out two tanks at point blank range with his bazooka. When his rockets were expended, Kahn knocked out a moving tank by climbing onto it and throwing two hand grenades into the turret hatch. For his heroism, Pfc Kahn later received the Navy Cross. Pfc Nalder was decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry in action.
 
In October 1943, the Army Ordnance Department adopted a new model of the bazooka—the M9/M9A1. This weapon incorporated many improvements over earlier models. A trigger operated magneto replaced the battery ignition system and a safety switch made the new model much safer. The tube could be broken down for easier carrying, an important consideration for the infantry Marine. New, more reliable rockets were also introduced.
 
In a global war with competing demands and priorities, it was many months before the M9 bazookas reached the Fleet Marine Force. These weapons were used in combat in the final campaigns of the Pacific war on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Once again, bazookas were frequently employed to knock out reinforced defensive positions.
 
The bazooka's main ammunition was a high explosive antitank round. The M6A3 HEAT rocket was standardized as the primary round in 1944. An earlier version—the M6A2 HEAT rocket—remained in service throughout the war. Late in the war, the M10 white phosphorous smoke rocket was fielded, but this round did not see widespread combat use.
 
 
Characteristics of the M9 bazooka
Length: 61 inches
Internal diameter: 2.36 inches (60mm)
Range (point target): 25–300 yards
Range (area target): 300–650 yards
Armor penetration: 3 inches (80mm)

 
 
 
 
 


(Source: www.ww2gyrene.org)
 
Cheers,
Seb

Thursday, 11 June 2015

USMC Forward Air Observer





Bolt Action USMC Forward Air Observer
Here’s a picture of my USMC Forward Air Observer team. Below the picture you will find some tactics but also some historic information about the FAO as deployed in the pacific theatre.

The American Army special rules allow you to perform two airstrikes per FAO to emphasize the role of American air superiority in WW2. Therefor taking a FAO in an American army is a good tactic but also a big risk because instead of the risk of rolling a 1 is now doubled per game… The chances of friendly fire casualties are a risk I’m willing to take.
 


Historic information
 
First of all the Bolt Action name FAO (Forward Air Observer) is not correct for the Pacific theatre. The correct name should be FAC (Forward Air Controller) or ALO (Air Liaison Officers). With that out of the way let’s have a look at their role and how they performed.
 
At the beginning of the pacific conflict the FAC’s would not direct airstrikes to their targets from the ground but from a training twoseater plane that was followed by the CAS (close Air Support) Pilots. The FAC would locate enemy positions and relay them to the CAS pilots.
 

At the battle of Guadalcanal the pilots were given destination targets before take-off and troops on the ground were unable to redirect the planes once they were in the air. For the battle for Henderson airfield this wasn’t much of a problem because the planes took of from Henderson airfield and reached their destination within seconds from take-off. But at the battle for Tarawa the pilots had been in the air for some time unaware of changes in the battles on the ground.
 
Also the airplanes that were available were fitted for air to air combat instead of Close air support and the pilots were not trained for this role. Their planes could not carry bombs or rockets but had machine guns instead so they could only strafe the enemy positions. However they were very successful in strafing the Japanese on Guadalcanal when they tried to outflank the Marines from the sea. The pilots strafed the landing crafts and killed dozens of Japanese troops and the Marines defending the airfield could finish off the survivors.
 
The fighting on Guadalcanal saw the use of the P-400, F4F, and SBD. Although pressed into service at a critical stage in the war and forced into a mission for which they were not well suited, these aircraft performed admirably and had limited success. Close air support on Tarawa was provided by F6F Hellcats and TBF Avengers. These aircraft were limited in their CAS capability and were still not able to directly impact the battle below as desired by the ground commanders.
 
In later missions of the island hopping campaigns ALO’s (Air Liaison Officers) were attached to battalions or regiments once the marines had established a safe beachhead. The ALOs were naval pilots who, although well versed in naval air superiority doctrine, were not thoroughly trained in coordinating CAS for an assaulting infantry force. The ALOs would pass requests by radio to the Air Support Command Unit (ASCU) aboard the attack force flagship. The ASCU would then pass the CAS request to the aircraft in the air or to the aircraft carrier. The CAS pilots would be directed to a spot on the ground as referenced by a grid system that subdivided the island into number and letter coded boxes. The ground forces were issued brightly colored panel markers to identify friendly troop locations in an attempt to avoid fratricide by the CAS aircraft.
 
The ALOs with the ground units would communicate with the ASCU aboard the flagship using the Navy's portable TBY radios as they moved ashore. These radios were complex to operate and not waterproofed. This vulnerability would be crucial to the ALO's ability to call for CAS and fire support. However, the fragile TBY radios used by the ALOs had gotten wet during the assault and had to be disassembled and left to dry in the hot sun. There would be no calls for fire until they could be dried and reassembled.
 
F4U Corsair

The introduction of the F4U Corsair (particularly the F4U-4 version in early 1945) by the Marines was a large step in the right direction because of its ability to carry a larger payload over a longer distance at much higher airspeeds. With the F4U-4, the first 20-millimeter (mm) cannons were installed on a Marine fighter aircraft.
 
Calling in air support

The most conclusive developments at the end of the war in the Pacific, however, were the Air Liaison Party (ALP) and the Landing Force Air Support Control Unit (LAFASCU). These air-ground liaison organizations gave the infantry commanders the direct link they needed to integrate air support with their tactical plan. Their ability to call in airstrikes from the ground at the right time at the right place played a pivotal role in combat granting the troops on the ground vital air support.
 
 Source: MARINE CLOSE AIR SUPPORT IN WORLD WAR II by Major Brian S. McFadden
 
Cheers,
Seb
 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Scenario: Iwo Jima Bunker assault

 If you are looking to recreate the Battles of the pacific Warlord Games have created some additional scenarios for you to use. More of these will be released later this year in the "Empire in flames" supplement book. Below is a copy of warlord Games' Iwo Jima Bunker assault scenario. Because these scenarios can be hard to find I have posted them here for you.

Picture by Warlord Games
For fighting during the Battle for Iwo Jima, we suggest the US forces, taken from the 1944-1945 Iwo Jima selector of the Armies of the US book, as the attacker, and the Japanese as the defending force, taken from the Iwo Jima 1945 selector of the Armies of Imperial Japan.

In addition, the following two Special Rules apply.

Total Air and Sea supremacy

The US player receives one free regular Air Observer and one free regular Artillery Observer (both representing naval attaches) on top of their normal allowance.

Tunnel Network

From turn 3 onwards, the Japanese player rolls a die at the beginning of every turn and looks up the result on the chart below, which potentially allows him to get some extra units. These units can Advance or Run onto the table from any point alongside either long edge of the table (‘on the flanks’ so to speak), like Reserves. Alternatively, these units can be deployed into one of the bunkers, as long as the bunker is not occupied by US troops – being deployed into one of the bunkers is the same as entering a building, except that it counts as receiving an Advance action. Note that no Order test is necessary for these new units to enter the battle, either on the flanks or into a bunker.
If the player does not have suitable models to represent the models rolled, he can pick any of the lower results that he has models for.


Roll Outcome
1No new units arrive this turn
2One suicide anti-tank team (Veteran!)
3One half-strength IJA island warfare rifle squad (1 NCO and 3 men, all armed with rifles)
4One sniper (Regular)
5One MMG team (Regular)
6One full-strength IJA island warfare rifle squad (1 NCO and 7 men, all options are available for free)

Bunker Assault

Your forces must smash through the enemy defence lines and capture all three enemy strongpoints.

Forces

This scenario pitches a superior attacking force against a defender that, though outnumbered, is dug in into a well-prepared defence line consisting of pillboxes/bunkers and other obstacles and fortifications. First agree with your opponent who is going to be the attacker and the defender. The attacker picks a force to an agreed points total (e.g. 1,200pts) and the defender picks a force that is half that total (e.g. 600pts).

In addition to his force, however, the defender receives three bunkers and nine ‘hard cover’ linear obstacles.

Each linear obstacle must be up to 6″ long and 1″ tall, and should provide hard cover (so use low walls, earth embankments, sandbags and the like). You can replace any number of ‘hard cover’ linear obstacles with ‘soft cover’ ones (barbed wire, hedges, picket fences, etc.) and if you do so, you get two ‘soft cover’ obstacles for each ‘hard cover’ one you surrender. However, if you replace too many obstacles in this way, you can alter the game balance pretty badly, so try to stick to nine pieces of hard cover as much as you can.
Bunkers should be large enough to accommodate a single unit of infantry or artillery. The rules for bunkers are on page 104 of the Bolt Action rulebook.

Set-up

The game is played along the length of the table.

Terrain: The defender sets up one of his bunkers and three linear obstacles in each of the areas highlighted in grey on the map – the first, second and third defence lines. The rest of the table should have very little terrain, maybe only the occasional tree or area of scrub, but as it represents a prepared defence – anything likely to provide cover to an attacker would have been removed to leave a good field of fire to the troops in the bunkers and behind the fortifications. The last strip of table between the third defense line and the Defender’s edge of the table can include more terrain, like a small wood, or even some buildings, but once again, do not overdo it.

Picture by Warlord Games

It is important that the defender sets up the terrain cleverly, making sure that as much as possible the bunkers’ line of fire is as clear as possible and that the fortifications make life as difficult as possible for the advancing enemies. Keep in mind that the enemy is likely to take cover behind your defences as he captures them, and that firing over obstacles, unless your troops are leaning against them, will offer cover to the enemy infantry as well… so place your defences cunningly.

Deployment: The defender then divides the number of units in his army by 3. The result is the number of units he must deploy within each defence line. Of course, unless the total number of units in your army is a multiple of three, you’ll end up with one or two spare units – these can be placed in any defence line or left in Reserve (they can even outflank!). For example, if you have seven units, you must place two in each defence line and you end up with a spare one, which you can add to any defence line or leave in reserve.

Defending units can (and should!) use the hidden set-up rules (see Hidden Set-up on page 117 of the Bolt Action rulebook).

The attacker’s units are not set-up on the table at the start of the game. The attacker must nominate half of his force (rounding up) to form his first wave. Any units not included in the first wave are left in reserve. Units in reserve cannot outflank in this scenario, and similarly units with special deployment rules, like snipers, observers and spotters, cannot use their special rules.

Picture by Warlord Games

Objective

The attacker must try to capture the three bunkers – the defender must try to stop him. To capture a bunker, the attacker needs to clear it of all enemies and enter it at some point during the game with one of his infantry units. If the defender moves an infantry unit back in, then the attacker must capture it again.

Preparatory Bombardment

The attacker rolls a die: on a 2+, a preparatory bombardment strikes the enemy positions (see Preparatory Bombardment page 118). On a result of 1, the barrage fails to appear, but you have your orders and the attack must go ahead as planned.

First Turn

The battle begins. During turn 1, the attacker must move his first wave onto the table. These units can enter the table from any point on the attacker’s table edge, and must be given either a run or advance order. Note that no order test is required to move units onto the table as part of the first wave, and remember that they cannot assault on the turn they enter the table.

Game Duration

Keep a count of how many turns have elapsed as the game is played. At the end of turn 10, roll a die. On a result of 1, 2 or 3 the game ends, on a roll of 4, 5 or 6 play one further turn.

Victory!

At the end of the game, if the attacker has captured all three bunkers, he wins. If the attacker has captured two bunkers the game is a draw. If the attacker has captured one bunker (or none!) then the defender wins.
All bunkers are held by the defender at the start of the game regardless of where his troops are positioned. If a bunker changes hands during the game then it remains under the control of that side until it is taken back.
To capture a bunker there must be no enemy in it and you must move one of your infantry units into it.

Larger or Smaller Games

You might of course play this type of game on smaller or larger tables, in which case you should reduce/increase the number of terrain pieces in proportion with the size of the table. On much larger tables, you may even want to increase the number of bunkers and/or defence lines, but remember to adjust the number of turns played as well, otherwise you risk running out of time before you can even reach your objectives!

(Source: Warlord Games)

Cheers,
Seb

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

USMC Infantry squad A

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine...

USMC Infantry squad A

The rifle squads are the backbone of any (Bolt Action) army. Here's a picture of my Rifle Sqd. A. Below you will find my tactics and the real WW2 squad formation.

In my Bolt Action USMC force I use at least three rifle squads and try to use them as a highly mobile unit. Because of the American special rule "Move and shoot" the rifles and BAR's do not suffer a -1 penalty on your "to hit"roll. This is very powerful. Always being able to move forward or to an objective and still shoot straight is great.
I make my rifle squads Veterans and use an NCO with SMG, 3 BAR's and four rifles. On top of that I give my BAR's a pistol each so they get 2 attacks in close combat. These 8 men squads are big enough to be a threat to most enemy units. The BAR's outrange most other army's rifles, with 6 shots at 30"they can deal out pins to units further away. Within 24"you get 10 shots and within 12"you get 12 shots. I give the NCO's an SMG because that's what the models have and I think that they should have that weapon,look good on the table and you're able to tell who's the NCO more easily.. In close combat you will get 12 attacks as well.
You could also use rifle squads of 7 and drop one rifle from the unit to get a simular output and you still only have to test for morale if you lose 4 or more men just like 8 men squads. (50% of 8=4 / 50% of 7 is still 4 rounded up).
It's just my personal preference to use 8 men but if I'm tight for points I might drop 1 men from each of my rifle squads to free up more points.

Now Bolt Action is a game and nothing like the real deal in WWII. Below you will find the formation of the USMC rifle squads as they were used after the initial battles in the Pacific. At first they used smaller rifle squads and fire teams but soon found out they needed more firepower against the Japanese that would just try to storm their positions.

1x Platoon Commander (1Lt/2Lt)
1x Platoon Sergeant (Platoon Sergeant)
1x Guide (Sergeant)
1x Demolition Corporal (Corporal)
3x Messengers (Pfc/Pvt)

Three Rifle Squads each with:
1x Squad Leader (Sergeant)
1x Assistant Squad Leader (Corporal)
2x Automatic Riflemen (Pfc/Pvt)
2x Assistant Automatic Riflemen (Pfc/Pvt)
1x Grenadier (Pfc/Pvt)
5x Riflemen (Pfc/Pvt)


Cheers,
Seb

Monday, 8 June 2015

USMC 2nd Lieutenant and Medic


This is my 2nd Lieutenant and his runner. Also in this picture a medic carrying a stretcher.

Click on picture to enlarge
USMC 2nd Lt and Medic

I usually run the leader of my army as a 2nd LT in games up to 1000 points. The 2nd Lt is a mandatory unit in a single reinforced platoon and gives a +1 bonus to all units within 6” on their morale tests. In larger games when you have more points to spare it can be useful to make him a 1st Lt. so that he gives a +2 bonus instead.

The Medic is a cheap unit that can heal wounded soldiers within 6”. To do this you have to roll a result of a 6 on a D6 so there’s only a 1 in 6 chance of your medic actually saving a soldier. Not great odds but since the medic is so cheap to take I do this because you get a cheap Order Dice that can help swing the odds in your favor. After all you want as many Order Dice in the bag as you can get.

Because the Lieutenant and the Medic both only work if they are within 6” of a unit they usually run side by side behind my forward moving Rifle Squads boosting their morale and trying to save lives.
 
USMC 2nd Lieutenant Role
Second Lieutenant is the entry-level commissioned officer rank in the United States Marine Corps. A Second Lieutenant generally commands a platoon consisting of 16 to 44 Marines, including two or more squads lead by a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO’s).
USMC Corpsmen (Medic) Role
The Marines have a saying, Every Marine is a Rifleman, and that extends to Navy Corpsmen serving in Marine units , corpsmen have to learn to carry a rifle and how to use it as well. Marines need qualified medical personnel on the battlefield and that’s why the Field Medical Service School exists. For a Corpsman to be effective he has to earn the right to be regarded as a fellow Marine, and that can be an eye opening experience to many Navy Corpsmen unfamiliar with Marine Corps ways. For a Corpsman to be effective in a Marine Corps unit he has to be someone that the other Marines know and trust. He has to be able to lay down cover fire, dig a hole, or do whatever other Marines in his unit are doing toward accomplishing the mission.
The top priority for a FMSS corpsman is to learn to save Marine Corps lives, but they have to be accepted by the unit in which they work. They learn to look like Marines, act like and function just as other Marine Corps personnel function, despite in reality being Navy Corpsmen assigned to a Marine Corps Unit. Much of this need to be a Marine is not understood by those who have not experienced it, but it is vital to the success and cohesiveness of the unit.
(Source: www.USMilitary.com)
Cheers,
Seb


Saturday, 6 June 2015

USMC First Tournament


Tabletop Kingdom in The Hague (The Netherlands) organised a tournament today to Commemorate D-Day. The turn out was a bit on the low side with only 10 players but still it was a great day of gaming and meeting other Bolt Action Hobbyist.

The tournament organiser had made three missions for us to play and I was very excited to see how my brand new army performed on the battlefield.





The list I had made for this event looked like this:
 Vet. 2nd Lt. + 1 Vet. Infantry
 Reg. Medic
 Reg. Forward Air Observer + 1 reg. Infantry
 Vet USMC Squad
1 NCO with SMG
4 Infantry with rifles
3 infantry with BAR + Pistols
 Vet USMC Squad
1 NCO with SMG
4 Infantry with rifles
3 infantry with BAR + Pistols
 Vet USMC Engineer Squad
1 NCO with rifle
4 Infantry with rifles
2 Infantry with BAR
1 Infantry with flamethrower
 Inexp. Medium Mortar team
1 Spotter
 Vet. Sniper team
 Vet. Bazooka team
 Vet. M4 Sherman 105mm howitzer
Turret-mounted medium howitzer (2d6 HE)
Pintle mounted HMG
 Reg. Jeep

Total 999 Points and 11 Order Dice

USMC Bazooka takes out a Panzer IV
The first round I faced a German Army in a maximum attrition game. In short my FAO managed to pin my opponents Pnzr4 useless, my mortar kept hitting and taking out squads and my rifle en engineer squads managed to succesfully assault the opponents units granting me the victory (13-7).

The second round we had to take and hold three objectives in the middle of the board and I faced a Russian veteran army with an IS2 tank. My sherman was knocked out very early and I managed to call in two airstrikes on my own units. My opponent had no trouble taking all three objectives in the end so I lost (0-20)

The third and final game versus another german Army, I had to move my 2nd LT who was carrying the flag into my opponents deployment zone and kill his or prevent it from getting to my deployment zone. I killed his early and this time my airstrikes were succesfull and my units killed of his units in one big sweeping move (fire and manouvre is great). Even my Bazooka managed to destroy a PnzrIV. It ended up a massive victory for me (20-0) but I felt kind of sorry for my opponent who kept on failing nearly all his rolls.


 I ended up with a third place result and Best Painted Army Award. With the giftvoucher I received I bought a USMC M3A1 37mm anti-tank gun and some other small stuff.


 Tired but satisfied I went home after a great day of gaming. The painting award is something I really appreciate. Shows that all the hard work was well worth it.

Cheers,
Seb