Home Forums Historical Bolt Action Panzernest

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    Are there any rules for the Panzernests? I didn’ found any. Or are they only nice terrain?


    Greetings from Germany!

    Nigel Heather

    Here are my thoughts.

    To be honest, I had never heard of these before your post so thank you very much for bringing them to my attention.

    So what I have read, this is how they worked.

    It was carried upside down on a carriage pulled either by horses or a motorised vehicle.

    The soldiers would dig a hole/trench for it, back the trailer up to it, and tip the panzernest into the whole/trench so that it fell in the correct way up.

    Once installed the lower part was below ground from the front so the two occupants could be in that safe from enemy fire – only the too part was visible.  When the soldiers wanted to fire their weapon, usually an MG34 or  MG42, they would rise up, open the port and fire away.

    So it comes to Bolt Action games.  Deployed I would just use pill box rules.  The interesting bit is whether you allow it to start on a transport so that it can be moved to a location and deployed during the game.

    Although it sounds relatively quick to deploy, it is not trivial.  It still requires digging a significant hole/trench in the ground, moving it into position, ripping it over and finishing off the earthworks.  I would argue that this takes longer than a Bolt Action game.  Plus Bolt Action ranges are short, close combat, I doubt the Germans would have deployed these in the middle of a firefight – that would be just asking to die.

    I guess you could agree a number of turns to deploy but I imagine the soldiers/engineers would be very vulnerable during that time do wouldn’t be worthwhile.

    So I’d argue that it needs to be in place before the start of the game and operate just like a small pill box.



    This is how I would play them (my embryonic made up rules)

    1) The defender may or may not have them.

    2) If the defender does have them then they mark the locations on a secret map but does not put the models out.

    3) The positions are marked before any other figures/units are placed on the table

    4) The attacker is made aware that the defender might have them as they have encountered them before.

    5) Even if they do exist, the attacker does not know where they are.  The attacker has done reconnaissance so knows the layout of the battlefield and any fixed positions, but IF the panzernests have been deployed it was done recently after the reconnaissance was done.

    6) The panzernests are small and well camouflaged so each model is only when the attacker spots it or the defender fires from it.

    It terms of stats, I would

    a) Start with a small pill box

    b) I might lower the defence because it is not as sturdy and would not have been very nice for the closely confined  occupants even when small rounds were hitting the casting

    c) I would reduce the arc of fire – it is pretty cramped inside so not much room to swing the MG around – I’d say 45 degrees (22.5 degrees left and right) but certainly no more than 90 degrees (45 left and right)

    d) I might make it more expensive to cover the surprise ambush feature

    e) A fixed (but hidden) structure at the start, and can’t be moved once the game has started





    Thanks for the detailed answer.

    I have to say, i find it a bit unfortunate, that Warlord games sells a unit (specially in the deluxe box from “The longest day”) without having any rules, any army lists or any scenarios where i can use them.


    But again, thanks for the answer,


    Master Chief

    I think they are similar to pillboxes, except they are made of metal and can be moved manually using horsedrawn carriages, so I guess the “closest official” rules are Bolt Action rules 2nd Edition page 127:

    The following rules cover bunkers, pillboxes and all other reinforced buildings specifically designed to protect soldiers from enemy fire.

    One issue is that in real Life the panzernest can hold only 2 soldiers, so it can only hold the 2-man Tobruk MG Team in the Overlord book, although “officially” the team can only be deployed in Tobruk positions.

    Two-man machine gun teams used to man Tobruk positions.

    Nigel Heather

    I still light my idea of them being hidden until revealed.

    The position of a traditional pill-box would have known with decent intelligence or reconnaissance but Panzernests could be deployed quickly.  Not fast enough to be positioned and deployed in a Bolt Action game but something that could have been deployed night before the attack so would have been unknown to the attackers until they encountered it.

    I agree with it’s limited size and strength so I would reduce its strength compared with a pill box and I would also reduce the arc of fire because there is only so much two men squeezed into a metal box can move about.



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