Light Machine Guns as part of an Infantry Section and Medium Machine Guns

Home Forums Historical Bolt Action Light Machine Guns as part of an Infantry Section and Medium Machine Guns

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    I know Bolt Action is a fun game and should not be taken too seriously but one thing has been bothering me for a while. Most armies involved in WW2 evolved their small unit infantry tactics around the squad LMG.  Due to the rules and cost of LMG’s very few people fighting competitive games select them, choosing to select another 2 riflemen which makes economical sense points wise.  The flaw in the rules has meant that we are changing what was one of the basics in WW2 infantry tactics!

    The other problem is the cost and effectiveness of the MMG team. This unit can be taken out with a single shot from a sniper. Why?? The “queen of the battle field ” has been relegated to a unit of insignificance. Why is it that when you mount it on a jeep or a motorcycle making it mobile it become cheaper!!!!

    At a recent competition I was at in Cardiff, of the 50 armies in the competition only the German armies had any LMG’s or MMGs in their army lists (due to the Hitlers Buzz saw rule).

    This must surly be a worry for the Bolt Action Rules writers??

    I understand that the rules are abstract but they are forcing us to use tactics that were not used in this period. There must be some simple mechanism available to the rules writers that can make the machine gun a feared opponent again.



    L.T. Russell

    Howdy Ian!

    On the one hand I agree with you.  Machineguns DO seem somewhat under-powered in the Bolt Action world.  I don’t feel it as much, since I play Germans almost exclusively.  I believe the suppression-fire rules are an attempt to alleviate that.  As a former machinegunner, I find it ludicrous that light, medium and heavy MGs all have/use the same ranges.  In the games I’ve played/watched I’ve seldom seen infantry in the open, which is where MGs would be most effective. It’ll be interesting to see if Warlord Games does anything with Version 3.0, whenever….

    On the other hand, I gotta disagree.  While the Germans had the world’s first GPMGs and their squad tactics revolved around them, pretty much no other country had an actual LMG.  Their magazine-fed guns are just automatic rifles, IMO, I know Stuart disagrees with me.  For pretty much every other military in WWII, their actual belt-fed MGs were tripod-mounted MMGs, that were platoon or company-level assets….




    Hi LT,

    I’m not arguing about the definition of an LMG, MMG, GPMG or automatic rifle or what ever they are classed as. The BA rules are clear as to what is an LMG (basically the squad automatic weapon), what is an MMG and what is classed as an Automatic Rifle.    That’s OK, I get that, the rules are fun and not extensive.

    The point I’m trying to get across is that, the way the rules are written at the moment experienced players very rarely pick an LMG in their infantry squad or chose an MMG unit in their army due to its cost and vulnerability.

    This is wrong.

    The rules should reflect the effectiveness of these automatic weapons in WWII and ensure that every player wants to chose them in their army lists, not avoid them!!!

    invisible officer

    The main problem is that the gamer has a composition option at all. So the math wizards are building unhistorical monster units.


    In German army the LMG was the last weapon to drop. Every soldier was trained to serve it and most units collected more in battle. Not just the German ones but also British or Soviet. Esp. in the defensive fights of 44/45 the extra firepower for a unit was valued. If a weapon was overheated no barrel change but just using another.


    The other problem is the low effect in game. The reason is, that a game gets boring when the gamers avoid the arcs of fire. Like in real war.

    Donald Linn

    The trick is to stay more than 24″ away from people that don’t use LMGs 🙂 . They soon learn why real armies used them…..

    L.T. Russell

    Howdy Donald Linn!  I’ve noticed some of the folks I game with are hyper-aggressive, which is easy to do since minis don’t bleed.  I’ll try to field “assault” squads that are mostly armed with SMGs and STGs.  Then I’ll have a “support” squad, armed with 2 LMGs and rifles, that’ll stand-off in good cover and provide long-range fire….

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