Thursday, April 24, 2014
A quick guide to my French Forces
I will start by saying I have no connection to the French, apart from eating some French fries for lunch, but have a real interest in playing early war French forces in Bolt Action. It may well of been that I was sick and tired of hearing “Cheese eating surrender monkeys” or “on a roll of 2, 3, 4 or 5 they surrender” etc etc. As a sucker of all things with the underdog status I decided to go hard and purchase a French army to play, basically to prove that they can be competitive and fun to field in Bolt Action.
When I looked at the French I had a theme in mind based around the Battle of France, clearly the campaign was a disaster for the French but what is overlooked is the many hard fought battles and the men who fought them. In my theme I wanted to base it around a core group of Veteran French Foreign Legion squads who had been rushed to France during the Phoney War and had been subsequently forced on fighting retreats since the opening phases of the Battle for France. This core unit would have met up with four squads of local inexperienced Militia and rallied them to defend the line to allow other French forces time to regroup.
Supporting the infantry would be a battery of artillery being a medium and light howitzer along with an MMG squad and a Char 2C that had broken down and rather than be destroyed by its crew they fixed it and are determined to fight the German invaders. My plans were realised and I created this army however I soon came to the conclusion that the French have so much more to offer so back to the keyboard to order more goodies. To make my forces more complete I grabbed a few squads of Senegalese, some Cavalry and even more armoured units.
In the lead up to a tournament here in Australia (CANCON), I had to come up with a force which would be competitive based on the restriction being a single reinforced platoon. Now being that the French National rule is a free artillery piece up to medium howitzer I was already ahead of the game in my mind as not many others would be able to field two units of artillery. During my play testing I decided that the inexperienced units were not enough bang for my buck, basically with only five infantry squads to choose from I would have to dedicate three slots to them and that would leave me with only two reliable squads for offensive actions.
I ended up with the following list at 1000 points:
Vet Lt + 1
2 x Vet 8 man squads of FFL with LMG (Stubborn)
2 x Reg 8 man squads of Senegalese (Tough Fighter)
1 x Vet 6 man Cavalry squad
Reg sniper team
Reg Light Howitzer
Reg Medium Howitzer
Reg Char 2C
The list synergised really well and surprised many people, having a core group of stubborn veterans meant that my centre really held up under fire and was hard to budge from objectives once they claimed them. The Senegalese tough fighters were a big threat, seeing them on the table (many for the first time) made people wary and throwing one squad in a truck for flanking caught more than one opponent off guard. The hammer to the FFL anvil was the cavalry, using them on a flank to smash infantry units or back line support troops worked well and often would tie up an entire side of the table. The dual artillery made a big impact, placed well they could cover most of the table and taking the light meant that most opponents ignored it in preference of the medium leaving it to wreak havoc unmolested.
Special mention must also go to the Char 2C, at 190 points it could fire five weapons systems per turn on a medium tank chassis and was the size of a house brick. It really did not do huge amounts in the tournament but never failed to make an impact, even if it was “holy crap, that thing is massive” (yes I know you have all heard that before).
Out of the tournament my French force came in at 6th out of 40, a very respectable position for an army that many had not even thought about fielding in preference of the major powers.
I have played many games since and with so much versatility I can change the force each time to create a different feel and style. If you’re thinking about a new force look at the French, they have so much to offer and consider such themes as Colonials, Vichy French, Veteran Phoney War style French forces and of course bumbling inexperienced militia.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
A couple months ago my buddy Dex moved up to Alaska for work. While he loved the State, his job only lasted a few months and now he's off to his next job. We only got to game a few times, but always had a blast. We got together for one last epic game of Bolt Action before he left.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I knew that I would be limited in the big toys I could take in sticking with this theme. Most Airborne units were lightly equipped by necessity. Each platoon had a 2 inch mortar and battalion HQ had some 3 inch mortars. So I decided I wanted one of each. This would mean two platoons. Members of the Canadian Para Battalion were exceptionally trained and determined, so everything in this list (short of my free observer) is Veteran.
So after both a medium and a light mortar, and two second lieutenants with an extra man each, I needed some infantry squads. I went with two 'assault' style squads of 7 Paratroopers, 3 of them with SMGs and two 'support' squads of 7 Paratroopers with an LMG. The LMG was another nod to history over effectiveness, but we won't get into that old chestnut. The support squads will be moving forward to support the assault squads, along with the light mortar.
Now was time for some more supporting teams. I grabbed a sniper - always useful for dishing out a pin or killing an enemy team weapon. Then: A PIAT team. While they aren't the greatest anti-tank choice, they are cheap, and if the enemy doesn't give them any respect, they might pull off an upset. They'll be running ahead with my infantry, and to be honest, my list needed something else to harass enemy armour other than two mortars. Lastly, I got an MMG team, as it was another of the few larger pieces of gear the Canadians dropped with into Normandy. This guy will probably sit back and help protect the medium mortar and sniper, providing long range fire.
Then I've got my free artillery observer through the British national rules. I see it more as high altitude bomber support during the opening hours of D-Day, coming in to soften up my enemy. Now I had a few points left over and a few spare para models, so I got another squad of 6 veteran paras with 5 SMGs. These guys will either outflank to try and create some chaos or rush ahead with my other two assault squads. For national rule, I was trying to choose between Up & At Them or Vengeance. Let me know on the forum which I should go with?
To see a video review of the army, http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Monday, April 21, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
On a recent episode of LRDG the boys were talking about converting partisan cavalry using Perry Miniatures American Civil War Cavalry and bits. This got me thinking that I could use the same technique to make Soviet cavalry for my Russian army. There are a hand full of manufactures out there that make Soviet Cavalry, but they are either ugly or pricey. The ranges out there also have limited poses, which I don't care for.
How did I get to this? How did I acquire so much 28mm World War II gaming paraphernalia, and will I ever get a chance to even use even half of it? You see, I ask myself these questions as I sit down most nights to paint yet another squad of infantry or another in a very long line of vehicles.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
After seeing a bit of positive chatter around the various forums about this magazine, I decided to take the plunge and order it online. The magazine is the first in a new series dedicated to painting miniatures and in this issue Ruben Torregrosa "Heresybrush" takes the reader through step by steps on how to recreate WW2 German infantry in both 28mm and 15mm.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Hey, Eenis, if it's OK with you, Dano and I are going to talk about Bolt Action, as hard as we can.
Episode 22 brings it all the way back to the basics - Dano's got a list he needs to tighten up before a big tournament, and the boys talk it out.
(For those that don't know, subscriptions provide access to all WWPD premium content, and Speakeasy represents just a fraction of the whole. - Judson)
Friday, April 11, 2014
I had an FTX weekend recently, and got in a pick up game of Bolt Action with my buddy Andy. We wanted to play with the big toys, so we each ran one armored and one infantry platoon, in a modified version of the second mission Jud had for tank battles at Cold Wars. It used three objectives, strung out down the diagonal center line. At Cold Wars, forces came on within 12" of opposing table corners, but we adjusted this to 24". It worked really well, and we will get the mission up soon so everyone can enjoy it.
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