Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Battle of Hel-Me Boab

Well it's been a long time in the waiting but finally the kingsleypark Desert Rats arrived at the sleepy wadi known as Hel-Me Boab, somewhere in the Western Desert. 

Their long R & R was about to come to an abrupt end, however, when the Dastardly Afrika Korps decided to break their duck and challenge the gallant Brits for the right to be top dog in the Cabin.

Except we weren't in the Cabin. 

Neil, Gary and I had decided to sally forth and set up battle in the home of the Angus Wargames Club, Forfar. Stevo should have been there as well but he was ill (apparently) so whilst Gary was left to fight a surreal German Civil War with his late War Germans against Lindsay's Early War Germans, Neil and I set the scene for a more historical match up. Except Neil's D.A.K aren't painted yet (well not his infantry) so I had to bring my D.A.K along to bolster Neil's vehicular contribution of his Panzer IV G, 2 trucks and a turretless Puma which he had to masquerade as a truck as his truck pusher (Kev) had failed to supply him with a third truck in time.

The once tranquil wadi of Hel-Me Boab, soon to become a Hell on Earth as British and German warriors clash for supremacy.

No, Stevo, it's not the German version of a Ram Kangaroo.

The brave British soldiers, ready to defend their cups of tea from the Hun.

We decided to randomly decide the scenario to fight so a quick roll of the dice revealed that the scenario was to be "Demolition" - each side to protect their base and try and get into contact with the enemy base. The important key word there is "contact".....

A sensible base guardian.

Hang on? Is that a medic with a gun??? Filthy Boche - no doubt more Hun tricks to come.

The Boche sniper trying to blend in with the scenery.
Game on!!

As usual, the first die out of the bag wasn't mine. Neil, with a decisive, tactical decision decided to shoot my Lee tank, with his Panzer IV G with predictable results -

Actually - it could have been worse - at least it hadn't blown up but for the rest of the game the two tanks traded shots with each other. At one point the Panzer having 8 pins on it until a jammy  fortuitous rally roll saved it's bacon.

The red marker of doom as the British Artillery Observer calls in the Arty strike.

Gunner Tommy Atkins turns away in disgust as another AT shot at the Panzer goes wide.....

In fairness to Neil, he did at least come forward, but of course, that was all part of my battle plan - to draw the Boche in, contain them, and then make a dash for his base for the win.

Wait a minute - there are supposed to be 5 guys in there? And where Moe is, is anyone's guess.....

The Brits start to take casualties but maintain their stiff upper lip.

Hurrah!! One dead truck!

The other German truck - which was the turretless Puma - but we swapped it when the first German truck got destroyed - so the turretless Puma became the wreck and the truck became the turretless Puma - makes a dash towards the British base. The brave British commander, Reginald Fforbes-Smithers and his trusty batman, Bert, lead an assault on the truck and stop it in it's tracks, I mean wheels. The German commander Von Plop bails out with his henchman Gustav and falls in a hail of British bullets. However, before Reginald could receive his DSO and bar for his bravery, he was cut down by the dastardly Hun appearing out of the rough ground.

Across on the right flank, the other German truck disposes of it's load in the middle of nowhere. The German mortar, however, continued to whittle away at the Tommies. However, the Tommies kept up their withering fire on the advancing Jerry squad.

And on the hill the British Machine gun and sniper team keep the Jerry head's down

Wait a minute.. Who is that running up from the rear? It's the gun toting medic. A whole series of failed activation rolls due to pins and the damned "Tiger fear" and the Brits were unable to stop the bounder running up and on the very last turn reaching the British base. Game over and a very dubious way for the Germans to win - but did we expect anything less??? (In fact it was such an underhand way to win that we forgot to take a picture of the medic's moment of glory).

And before you all start saying that under Bolt Action rules medic's can't control objectives the scenario win condition simply said get a unit in contact with the enemy base, so I couldn't even call foul for that either.

But well played Neil. We both found that we are still very, very rusty on the rules (first turn forgot all about tiger fear) and other gaffes along the way so we need to get more practice in to get back up to speed with the game. And i think it's important to emphasise the word game here. I don't think anyone would hold out Bolt Action as an accurate representation of infantry and armour tactics in WW2 and provided you approach the rules with that in mind it does provide a good enjoyable game. 

At least I could enjoy the moment when one German squad, when checking morale for activation, rolled FUBAR (that is, double 1) and then had to open fire on the nearest friendly unit which just happened to be the aforementioned Boche Sniper and destroyed it in the most effective German shooting of the night........ 
The Desert Rats will return.