Friday, November 19, 2021

The First Shots – Early-WW2 Bolt Action Battle Report

A year ago I finally finished painting my early war Polish army and was looking for a suitable scenario to deploy them on the table top. I hit upon Scenario 1 from the Bolt Action campaign book ‘Germany Strikes!’ which is about the defence of the Polish Post Office in Danzig. There were a few special units required, such as Steyr ADGZ armoured cars and several German light and medium artillery pieces. Doing some research into the actual battle, I was inspired to not only paint up the additional units, but to build the center piece of the battle, the massive Polish Post Office itself. (Use the tag ‘Polish Post Office Danzig’ to find the related posts on our blog.)

Last night Conscript Dallas hosted the game in the ‘Churchill Bunker’ with five other conscripts to command the Polish and German Forces. The Poles are superior in quality to the majority of German units, but they are significantly outnumbered and outgunned.  With the hard cover of the post office building, and the inexperience of the attackers, it would still be a difficult task for the Germans to capture the building.

The Polish Forces consisted of 2nd Lieutenant Konrad Guderski, six rifle sections of four men, two light machine gun teams, and two grenade launcher teams. Guderski is a veteran with a +2 morale modifier, and the rest of his men are regulars. The Poles have a ‘No Where To Run’ special rule which allows them to re-roll failed morale tests. In addition, Guderski also has a ‘They Shall Not Pass’ special rule where he can set off a massive grenade charge which causes every model  within  a radius of 3” of him (including himself)  to take a hit with a +1 Penetration value.

The German Forces consisted of a mix of SS-Heimwehr Danzig, SA, and Ordnungspolizei, supported by two armoured cars, a medium machine gun team, two light howitzers, a medium howitzer and a small section of assault pioneers with a flamethrower and satchel charges. They would come on in three waves as follows:

1st Wave: 1 x 2nd Lieutenant, 2 x Ordnungspolizei Sections, 1 x MMG Team, 1 x Light Howitzer, 1 x Steyr armoured car, Deploy on the table anywhere outside 12” from the Post Office.

2nd Wave: 1 x 2nd Lieutenant, 3 x SS-Heimwehr Danzig Sections, 1 x Assault Pioneer (Sapper) Team, 1 x Medium Howitzer. Enter on Turn 3 from any board edge

3rd Wave: 1 x Sturmabteilung Section, 1 x Light Howitzer, 1 x Steyr armoured car.  Enter on Turn 4 from any board edge.

While the officers, support weapons, armoured cars, and sappers are regulars, the rest are all inexperienced with the SS-Heimwehr also rated as Green (on first casualty roll D6 - 1: extra D6 pins & go Down, 2-4: no effect, 5-6: upgrade to Regular), and the SA rated as Shirkers (always take order test, count pins as double).

The Polish defenders were trying to hold more rooms in the post office building than the Germans at the end of the game, which would last a minimum of 5 turns. At the end of that turn, there is a chance of a sixth turn, with a chance of a seventh.

Rather than have the Poles inside the building model, they were deployed on a grid off board designating the six rooms on each floor. Not knowing where the Germans were coming from, the Polish players deployed in ‘all round defence’

The Germans players deployed their first wave near the eastern end of the post office building, and began bringing artillery and machine gun fire on that part of the building. Initially the German artillery had little success, and the Polish defenders were able to take out the Germans’ MMG team. However, with the arrival of the second wave, things started to swing over to the Germans’ side. They were able to score a devastating hit with the medium howitzer that took out a rifle section, a grenade launcher team, and a LMG team.  Meanwhile two sections of SS-Heimwehr tried charging the front entrance of the post office, and the Assault Pioneers planted a satchel charge against the west end of the building. 


Although Polish casualties were mounting, the defenders successfully repelled some of the Germans rushing the front entrance. One Heimwehr section got upgraded to Regulars on receiving their first casualty, but later rolled a ‘FUBAR’ on their command check two turns in a row and ran off the game board. However, a section of Ordnungspolizei and an officer were able to get inside.  At that point the Polish commander set off a bag of grenades in the midst of the Germans that wiped out the squad, but due to the vagaries of the game rules, the Polish and German officers both managed to survive the blast.

Despite this brief success, the Germans gradually managed to gain the upper hand. Polish squads were forced to retreat to the south side of the building to avoid the German artillery fire, while the Steyr armoured cars started to drive around to that side to bring them under machine gun fire. Meanwhile the satchel charge blew a hole in the west wall allowing more German squads to enter the building. 


The game ran to the maximum seven turns with the Germans finally controlling more rooms than the Poles at the very end. This played out much as the historical battle. At the end of the game, I gave a brief summary of the fate of the Polish defenders. The players enjoyed the game, which hung in the balance until the final turn.  It was good to finally see all the newly painted units on the table top, as well as the model of the post office building. A few of the conscripts have suggested that the scenario would do well as a participation game at a wargames convention.  Until next time!



Phil said...

Nice report, superb buildings and figures!

Greg B said...

Great looking game guys! Congrats Frederick - must have been awesome to have all the work come together on the table!

DaveV said...

Great batrep! The post office model is very striking.
It would be cool to see this as a convention participation game.

Dallas said...

Great game and terrain, Frederick. Thanks again for bringing it out and running the show!