Bolt Action: What to do with the last 100 points of your list

Here’s Warlorder JoshB, our enthusiastic and hyper-competitive gamer, here to give his notion on how to finish off your army lists!

Many a player has been in that moment after they spent hours or even days on their Bolt Action army lists. Meticulously planning their forces out, making them ready to handle any threat, from a massed Japanese Banzai! charge, to a platoon of monstrous Tiger tanks; but then left almost stunned, unable to finish off their lists. A remaining 50-100 points just rest there, too many points to disregard and finish the list and too little to ‘add one weapon’ here and there. With many players, including me, just deciding to place almost any unit in that mix to finish it.

“Every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought”. – Sun Tzu

This unit typically being a supportive weapons team, usually a machine gun team, mortar team, sniper team, flamethrower team or anti-tank team. I’m here to break down the advantages and disadvantages of each unit and note different scenarios where certain teams would excel over another through my experiences and judgements as a player.

Machine Gun Team


 
The machine gun team comes with two different profiles, the medium machine gun:

Cost: 35pts (inexperienced), 50pts (Regular), 65pts (Veteran).
Team: 3 crew.
Weapons: 1 Medium Machine Gun.
Special Rules: Team Weapon
Fixed
Available: All Nations

And the heavy machine gun:

Cost: 35pts (inexperienced), 50pts (Regular), 65pts (Veteran).
Team: 4 crew.
Weapons: 1 Heavy Machine Gun.
Special Rules: Team Weapon
Fixed
Available: Soviet Union (page:33)
United States(page:27)

Machine gun teams mainly serve as defensive squads with the intention of holding the ground in front of them, or more commonly as a deterrent, keeping units out of their cone of fire. Unique to the Soviets and Americans, they can also field Heavy Machine Gun teams as well. These exchange a lesser firing rate for increased penetration, making them more ideal for dealing with soft skins and being able to harm armoured carriers which have 7 armour rating.

As a side note, the Germans get more value out of their machine guns due to their nationality rules!

Advantages:

  • Found in every period of the war for literally all nations.
  • High rate of fire, able to pin effectively.
  • With 2-4 crewmen, meaning it is able to take 1-2 hits with 0 reduction in efficiency.
  • Works great in conjunction with other teams or infantry squads.

Disdvantages:

  • Fixed position, able to rotate past it’s initial firing cone but at a -1 to fire.
  • Mainly used for pinning, it would struggle to actually take out infantry squads independently.
  • If the gunner has been taken out, the entire team is removed.
  • Requires line of sight.

Mortar Team

Mortar’s come in 3 different varieties.

The first one is the light mortar:

Cost: 24pts (inexperienced), 35pts (Regular), 46pts (Veteran).
Team: 2 crew.
Weapons: 1 Light Mortar.
Special Rules: Team Weapon
Indirect fire
HE (D3)
Available: All Nations

Next, the medium mortar:

Cost: 35pts (inexperienced), 50pts (Regular), 46pts (Veteran).
Team: 3 crew.
Weapons: 1 Medium Mortar.
Options: May add a Spotter for +10pts.
Special Rules: Team Weapon
Fixed
Indirect fire
HE (D6)
Available: All Nations

And finally the heavy mortar:

Cost: 46pts (inexperienced), 65pts (Regular), 84pts (Veteran).
Team: 4 crew.
Weapons: 1 Heavy Mortar.
Options: May add a Spotter for +10pts.
Special Rules: Team Weapon
Fixed
Indirect fire
HE (2D6)
Available: All Nations

The infantry artillery, mortars provide essential covering fire, keeping units pinned and wary of an incoming shell. Varying from light to heavy, mortars are usually a staple on the battlefield simply due to their potential of taking out numerous enemies at once, especially those in buildings. They can also serve as ideal support units by shooting smoke, a common list is a large Japanese Banzai infantry mass with light mortars firing smoke on the move.

Advantages:

  • Able to fire indirectly.
  • Can vary from light to heavy.
  • Able to provide cover by firing smoke grenades.
  • Able to take a spotter.
  • With 3-4 crewmen, meaning it is able to take 1-2 hits with 0 reduction in efficiency.

Disdvantages:

  • Fixed position.
  • If the firer has been taken out, the entire team is removed.

Sniper Team

Cost: 50pts (Regular), 65pts (Veteran).
Team: 1 Sniper – 1 Assistant.
Weapons: 1 Rifle.
Special Rules: Team Weapon
Sniper
Available: All Nations

The sniper is one of the best independent units in the game, able to take out teams and pick off important targets, creating a massive circle of effective fire. Rather than risking it, many an opponent would rather dedicate artillery fire to take out the sniper or send their own top-tier marksman, but this allows more breathing room for your own army.

Advantages:

  • Able to take out weapon teams incredibly efficiently.
  • Have the ability to deploy ahead of the main force.
  • Able to take out any target within a squad, including a special weapon, NCO, Lieutenant, etc.
  • The sniper is able to act as a regular riflemen if needed.
  • Can attract a lot of attention.

Disdvantages:

  • Requires line of sight.
  • Only 2 man strong (unless Finnish).

Flamethrower Team

Cost: 50pts (Regular), 65pts (Veteran).
Team: 1 Flamethrower- 1 Assistant.
Weapons: 1 Flamethrower.
Special Rules: Team Weapon
Flamethrower
Available: All Nations

Known as one of the cheesiest units on the battlefield, the flamethrower is infamous for its ability to wipe out entire infantry squads including hardened veterans. Arguably one of the best anti-infantry weapons in the game, the flamethrower makes for an ideal bunker clearer, and it still fairs pretty well against vehicles!

Advantages:

  • One of the best infantry counters in the field.
  • Ignores most forms of cover.
  • Can be a decent anti-tank weapon.
  • Can put a lot of pins on enemy units.
  • Can en masse a lot of attention.

Disdvantages:

  • Has the potential to run out of fuel.
  • Needs to be extremely close to be used.
  • Only 2 man strong.

Anti-tank Team

These anti-tank teams vary from anti-tank dogs to anti-tank riflemen, to simple anti-tank combat squads and more often or not seen as a cheap addition of order dice as players prefer to rely their anti-tank on vehicles or artillery.

Advantages:

  • Cheapest in terms of points of all 5 selections.
  • Able to take our amoured carriers and even heavier vehicles if positioned correctly.
  • Can act as a decent infantry killer.
  • Can be taken as 3 squads within 1 option.
  • Vary massively between each nation, like dog teams, to suicide tank bombers to anti-tank riflemen.

Disdvantages:

  • Only 2 man strong.
  • Requires line of sight.
  • Quite a niche role, only meant to deal with armoured cars, half-tracks and light tanks.

Conclusion

Each support team has a place in an army, fulfilling a variety of roles, it’s hard to define which is the best ‘generic’ choice. Which is why I’ll break down the five options like this:

  • Machine Gun Team – Best for defensive missions, knowing you can place this unit safely, ideal for infantry heavy armies.
  • Mortar Team – Good for both attacking and defending missions as being able to deal with units inside of buildings, take if you know your battlefield is going to be littered with cover.
  • Sniper Team – Best option for facing an unknown enemy in my opinion, able to deal with any weapon teams or take out NCOs and lieutenants means a sniper will always have a target.
  • Flamethrower Team – Best option for handling infantry heavy armies, such as the Soviets and Japanese. Also ideal for attacking missions, especially with bunkers.
  • Anti-tank team – Great for pre-1942 armies, best option to deal with light vehicles at a safe distance, take for heavy mechanised armies.

Get your army ready!

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