Chris Brown reveals his final instalment of his ‘Companies in Bolt Action’, a series where he breaks down the real world organisations and applies them to Bolt Action.
So what about the actual games?
A lot of our games are set in Normandy or Arnhem or Burma because that’s the sort of collections we have. Although there is a great deal of information to be had for each of these locations it does not generally reach down to platoon actions and even where it does, it’s almost always the recollection of one soldier’s experience – the things that he saw, heard and felt rather than a precise analysis and account of the action as a whole. We get more information when we look at the company-level battle, but not all that much more.
Even unit war diaries do not generally delve any further than something along the lines of ‘at 0730 Hrs B Company were engaged by enemy infantry and armoured cars at map reference 872397. Enemy were driven off with little loss.’
Panzer IV Ausf. F1/G/H medium tank
That’s all well and good, but what did the diary actually tell us? We know where and when, but what proportion of B Company was engaged? What does ‘little loss’ mean? Two guys wounded or ten guys killed? Did the enemy consists of a full-blown advance on the entire B Company position or was it a more a case of an enemy platoon (or even just a squad) approached with a pair of armoured cars in the distance adding some covering fire and then made a sharp exit when a section of No 3 platoon of B Company loosed off a couple of bursts from the Bren? Really the unit diary entry has told us very little indeed.
It looks like a successful engagement, but in fact, the enemy may have been just carrying out a bit or reconnaissance and have now located B Company. If the next entry in the diary is ‘at 0800 B Company came under heavy mortar for 20 minutes and sustained heavy casualties’ we can reasonably assume that the enemy movement was indeed a reconnaissance patrol and that it was successful.
M4 Sherman medium tank
The background to most of our games is generally drawn from unit diaries in the sense of identifying the unit, place, date and more often than not the objective. As a general rule that will be a question of either defending a position or advancing to contact, but will seldom tell us very much about the opposition. Mostly the best one can hope for is to learn that the enemy was ‘in company strength’ or ‘in platoon strength.’
Company actions do not necessarily require new scenarios. With a little thought, most of the scenarios that appear in the Bolt Action rule book or in the various campaign books can be adapted quite easily – in fact a lot of them do not need any adaptation at all, but you might like to try this as starting point for ‘company in attack’ games.
T34/76 medium tank
Mentally divide the board into three sections lengthwise. Put a two or three terrain items in the middle segment to ensure that the defenders do not have a clear line of sight across the entire board but ensure that the defending force has enough cover for all their units.
If you have enough terrain items cover the entire length of the attacker’s side of the table with cover to a depth of six inches – if not just stretch the length of thread across the table and define that as the edge of the attacker’s cover – and start drawing dice!
Do you fancy a trip to see the real sites of the battles? then find out more HERE as Chris & Co. are off in a new series of tours early 2018…
Do you have an article within you? Are you itching to show your collection to the world of Bolt Action? Then drop us a line with a couple of pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or share with all over at the Warlord Forum
Field a new army!