Alessio: Following the release of Battleground Europe and Ostfront, the “Theatre books” supplements for Bolt Action continue with Germany Strikes! – Early war in Europe. In this article I’m going to explain in a little more detail what you’re going to find in each of the seven sections of this new book.
Prelude To War
This introduction sets the scene for the countdown to World War II, the first great mechanised war, with a discussion of the development of tank technology and the various theories about how they should be used. In particular the section compares and contrasts the development of armoured warfare in France, Britain and Germany and how the theories fared in the Spanish Civil War and Khalkyn Gol. It finishes with arguments to show that the German military were woefully deficient in strategic thinking despite perfecting the tactical and operational skills necessary for mechanised warfare.
The supplement adds new armies, theatre selectors and vehicle rules to cover the novel situations encountered in the early war.
Fall Weiss, Poland
Fall Weiss covers the German invasion of Poland. It includes four new scenarios ranging from the very first shots of WWII when the SS & Armed German Police stormed the fortified Polish Post Office in Danzig to the fighting retreat of the famous Black Brigade – the Polish armoured unit that never lost a battle and formed the core of the Polish Armour that closed the gap at Falaise in 1944. New rules allow you to deploy armoured trains and to fight inside buildings. New Theatre Selectors include early German Militia, 4th panzer Division, Polish Armour and Cavalry.
Operation Weserübung, Denmark & Norway
Where Hitler ‘caught the bus’ to Norway. This section adds two scenarios, one set in Denmark and one in Norway, and rules for the Neubaufahrzeug PzKpw V model A multi turreted tank. It adds a new Danish Army list with rules for Danish vehicles such as Landsverk light and heavy armoured cars, and theatre selectors for The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Kampfgruppe Pellengahr and a generic Allied Norway Defence Force.
Fall Gelb, The Low Countries
Fall Gelb was the German feint through the Low Countries to draw the allied armoured divisions north into a pocket created by the mechanised attack through the Ardennes. The section adds five new scenarios ranging from the German air landings on Fort Eben Emael to the British armoured counter-attack at Arras by the Matilda tanks of Frankforce. The armoured actions around Orp between French mechanised cavalry and the panzers were the world’s first great tank battle and this section shows how to replay them.
New theatre selectors are given for the Fallschirmjäger, the Belgian Defenders of Fort Eben Emael, French DLM, DLC and DCR mechanised divisions, British 1st Armoured Division (cruiser tanks) and a 1st Army Tank Brigade (infantry tanks), and German Mobile Infantry Divisions and the various Panzer Divisions that took part in the campaign.
Fall Rot, France
The section examines the German offensive south into France, including the attack on the Maginot line, and the Italian invasion of the Riviera. The latter adds an hypothetical scenario of a French counterattack on Milan which allows an Italian player to fight an armoured battle. New theatre selectors include a British Dunkirk Perimeter Force, a scratch-built French DLC Division and the Ariete. New scenario rules explain how to game the fortifications of the Maginot Line.
So This Is Victory
A final section wraps up the game with a short discussion of the stunning but ultimately flawed victory that doomed Germany in the west and asks if Germany had better options that might have won the war.
New Scenario Rules
This appendix closes the book with a collection of all of the special rules used throughout the various scenarios. Here you will find rules for:
- Armoured Trains
- Polish and German Gun Wagons
- Command and Assault Wagons
- Flat Cars
- Self-Propelled Armoured Rail Wagons
- Clearing Minefields
Some of these rules have been published before, and are collected here for your convenience, and some are entirely new. The largest and most important additions are the rules for Armoured Trains and attacking fortifications.
And to conclude, here’s a message from the book’s author, John Lambshead;
The Blitzkrieg era has always fascinated me because it is the period where new technology dramatically changed the art of war as nations struggled to develop weapons and doctrines in an era of rapid technological advance. Mechanised warfare was an unknown so a wide variety of machines, formations and tactics were tried. This makes for a rich and colourful wargaming environment. Later things settled down and armies began to more resemble each other.
I hope everyone gets as much fun out of using this book as I got from writing it. Many thanks to all at Warlord Games and River Horse for giving me the opportunity.