Guadalcanal for Bolt Action:
words and pictures by Stuart.
We’ve been fans of Bolt Action for a while at the local club. It’s a nice simple set of rules which means it’s easy to play a pick up game. You need to be a little organised with your force and know what you have and how much points this is worth for a balanced game, but it doesn’t take much to chuck some scenery on the table and crack on.
Sometimes however you want a little more detail and depth. And so it was that we picked Guadalcanal as the setting for a series of linked game using our newly acquired Japanese and US Marines.
The Bolt Action source book “Empires in Flames” has an excellent level of introductory background detail for the whole of the war in Asia and some great scenarios. A few weeks back we played Alligator creek and the Japanese managed to sneak a squad across the river on the last turn to secure a marginal victory. Next time I will deploy my Marines on the river bank!!
Last nights game was a follow up action – The Raid on Tasimboko. After Alligator Creek the marines sent a force by destroyer to raid a Japanese encampment and supply base. Initial reports suggested that large number of troops were deployed there but the marine CO chose to ignore this. Despite landing and passing signs of large numbers of enemy in the area the village was only lightly defended by a rearguard force. These guys still managed to hold up the raiders until they were flanked and gave them a scare by opening up with a 75mm howitzer over open sights. However the marines carried the day and secured some vital intelligence info which served them well later in the campaign.
Our game featured a scaled down version of the attack. In stead of the company level action we took down to a squad level game with two waves of two Marine raider squads attacking two Japanese squads. The Japanese defender had a number of support weapons but a limited number of personnel – crew for the weapons had to be told off from his rifle squads and counted as inexperienced when using the guns and MMG. This gave the defence a disorganised feel but didn’t cripple the Japanese player. The whole board was open jungle except for a strip down the table edge representing the beach and coast area.
The marines moved up from the jungle in two waves, one to the front and the second arriving on turn 4 from the flank. Their rifle and BAR fire managed to keep the defenders back and pinned down while they advanced. The marines were also able to call in support fire which whilst it did not kill any defenders made them duck back with several pin markers. The Japanese 75 opened up as did the MMG and caused some light casualties which were swiftly attended to by the marine medic.
The critical part of the game came when the crew of the Japanese 75 were driven off by a poor morale test and the marines were able to concentrate on knocking out the MMG. With that threat gone the closed to short range on both the front and flank.
It didn’t go all their own way however – a last gasp banzai charge by the defenders took out a marine squad, but by this time the rest of the defenders were dead and three marine squads were at the edge of the village. The game was over.
A fairly close result to the historical battle, even with the scaled back size of the game!