Monday, August 20, 2012

Dieppe Game Report - Bolt Action Rules

Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the raid on Dieppe by a combined force of about six thousand Canadian, British and (fifty) American troops. Much has been written about Operation Jubilee and I think it's fair to say that any student of the Second World War (and especially Canadians) have at least a passing familiarity with the history of the operation. So to commemorate the anniversary, I decided to host a Dieppe game last Thursday using our "new favorite" Bolt Action rules.
 
The tabletop was laid out as an approximation of White Beach - the landing zone of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the 14th CTR (Calgary Tanks) in front of the town of Dieppe itself. On a 6x4 table I laid out the sea cloth, a Hotz "Old West" mat for the beach, then three 2x2 MDF tiles to represent the outskirts of Dieppe. The sea wall was made of baseboard scraps painted grey, and the beach obstacles are made from sprue - specifically, the sprues that carry Games Workshop plastic bases :-)

Anti-tank gun in a typical Normandy concrete emplacement.

Overhead view of the beach. The landing craft are inexpensive plastic toys that I got at the Michigan Toy Soldier Company on a visit there with Conscript Curt, many moons ago...



The gang has gathered for the game. L-R, Conscripts Mike F., Bill, Tim, Mike A., Brian, Dave V., me, and Frederick. Picture taken by Curt :-)

We played the "Envelopment" scenario again from the Bolt Action rulebook. Attackers gain VPs for having units exit the table from the defender's edge and by having units in the defender's deployment zone at the end of the game. Defenders gain VPs by killing stuff. The game also features a "preparatory bombardment" which of course didn't happen at Dieppe, but which we included anyway, to represent the confusion of the surprise Canadian attack. The accumulation of Pin markers on some of the German units was to cause problems for them throughout the game!

Our founding Conscript, Curt, with Mike A. and Brian.

 
The first wave rolls onto the beach - Churchills of the Calgary Tanks. The tanks had a 1-in-6 chance of bogging down each time they moved on the beach - and the far tank promptly did!



German MG nest sighting in on the beach...

As their compatriots move up through the town.

Second wave - Rileys and Royal Canadian Engineers about to disembark from their landing craft.

The landing is well underway. Tanks of the 14th CTR on the beach with Rileys crowing up to the sea wall. Royal Canadian Engineers are in the Universal Carrier behind them.

 
Infantry rush the sea wall. The platoon commander and his two assistants are still in the landing craft at centre left, and got lit up by the MG nest at centre right. They were able to get onto the beach but were caught in the open by MG fire and were wiped out :-(

Infantry huddle behind the sea wall. The Daimler scout car at upper right was able to scoot off the table, picking up 3 VPs for the Canadians.
 
Churchill crushes the wire, followed by Rileys and Engineers.

German forces mobilize to defend the town.
 

The German bunker tries to activate and engage the Rileys in the open on the beach, but cannot shake the Pin markers...

Rileys move off the beach to close assault the German MG bunker...


 And achieve an outstanding success, evidenced by the smoke of victory!

A Churchill has rolled onto the Promenade followed by a section of infantry.


StuG III in the centre of the table is continually suppressed by Churchill fire...


Successful close assault on the Pzkpfw 38(t) by the Engineers!

Commandoes appear from the flank and engage the anti-tank gun.

Churchill tank moves into the German deployment zone to score 2 VPs on the last turn.

The game ended on the seventh turn, in a hard fought bloody draw - 10 VPs each. While the Canadians managed to exit their scout car from the table, and got one Churchill and a section of late-appearing Commandoes into the deployment zone, it was a hard slog for them (as it should be!). One Churchill was immobilized on the beach and another by fire on the Promenade. The Engineers were stars, blowing up a 38(t), and a section of Rileys did well to neutralize an MG bunker and run up to the edge of the town, only to get lit up by the Germans' mobile Flak 38 (quad light autocannons against men in open = 8 shots at 3+ to hit and 2+ to wound, ouch). The Germans had some trouble issuing orders as the Pin markers accumulated, but as they brought more assets to bear the few Canadians who managed to get off the beach were surrounded and eliminated. If the Commandoes hadn't fortuitously appeared on the last turn it would've been a German win.

Another win for the Bolt Action rules. Although this was only our second game it really rattles along well. It's a great blend of familiar concepts with some clever innovations, kudos to the Warlord crew. Great to have Conscript Curt over and a good crowd out for the game too - it was after 2am by the time the house cleared out!

10 comments:

Peter Douglas said...

Great looking table and game!

Cheers

PD

Curt Campbell said...

The game was great and the models and terrain were fantastic. I agree with Dallas in saying that Warlord Games may have a solid win with 'Bolt Action'. I quite like how pins are handled and the simple activation mechanic worked quite well (though I am not so much enamored with the scattering of dice that clutter the table by the end of a turn).

Muskie said...

Did you watch the Dieppe documentary last night on the History Channel? Ian Flemming makes an appearance....

dhcwargamesblog said...

Lovely! Is it not funny that the 70th anniversary of Operation Jubelee would fall into the same year as the Queens Diamond Jubilee! :-P

Beccas said...

Fantastic game report.

Greg B said...

Amazing game Dallas. Well done!

tim said...

What a fabulous looking game! Thanks for sharing Dallas!

jmezz382 said...

Score one for the gaming club and one for Warlord/Osprey !

Kevin H said...

FYI - I've been in contact with Paul S. of Warlord, about getting some old BAM figures. He says he saw the Dieppe post and gave it the thumbs up!

Great game! --looking forward to the next one! Maybe something Eastern Front next?

Andrew Verticchio said...

Great report! I'll be adding your site to my blogroll!