The Belski Brothers

Tuvia Belski was a Polish Army veteran and a charismatic leader who led a group of men, women and children, which grew to over 1,200 people by the end of the war.

Belski and his brothers led their partisan band through the terrors of the nazi occupation, often hiding deep in the forests of Belarus. Check them out, the story is amazing.

The base Partisan list has access to first and second lieutenants, who can be either inexperienced or regular quality, but not veteran. This makes sense for the core list and reflects the lack of organisation and structure of most partisan organisations.

However, every partisan movement included extraordinary people, men and women, of outstanding courage, skills and charisma. It would be nice to be able to bring some of these elite personalities into Bolt Action, expanding selection choice and range of Partisan armies that can be deployed.

The Warsaw Uprising theatre list in the Road to Berlin campaign book includes officers of higher ranks and the option for taking veteran offices. This makes sense for the AK. This same entry could be used for a late war Yugoslav National Liberation force, or even a Soviet Partisan force.

Special characters are another way of rounding out some of the holes in the Partisan list. Assigning points for new or additional rules without distortion is a delicate thing. However, re-skinning existing rules, or tweaking so modestly it may as well be re-skinning, is a safer route.

The home brew special character mashes together four things: history, and the existing rules for captains, intelligence officers, and Hungarian officers.

Tuvia Belski, partisan hero, is a regular captain (110 points).
You may add up to two additional partisans from the following list:
Asael Belski (+10 points); Zus Belski (+30 points); Partisan fighter (+10 points).
Named characters may only be selected once per force.
Weapons: pistol, SMG, or rifle as depicted on the model.
Special rules:
Asael: as long as Asael is alive, Tuvia and his unit gain the fanatic special rule
Zus: has the intelligence officer special rule (see Italy: Soft Underbelly).
Once per game Zus may act on intelligence he has gathered; before the first die is drawn, on a 4+ he may choose a die from the bag for the first activation.

Clearly, these rules are not official and will need your opponents permission to try out. The fanatic rule for Asael has no additional cost. It is based on the national rule for Hungary. Just as in Hungarian list, it appears for some flavour that will have little effect on the game. Unless some crazy cinematic moment occurs. Very Bolt Action.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. On Tuvia, special characters in Bolt Action. or other ideas to extend the partisan list.

Garibaldi Brigade

As winter set in on the chaos of Northern Italy in the later part of 1944 Partisan morale collapsed. Many partisans returned home or took advantage of fascist amnesties to lay down arms.

However, a dedicated core held on and continued to fight to throw out the nazi occupiers and smash the fascist rump-state.

My list is inspired by one such group, the 28th Garibaldi brigade, who in December 1944 joined with the singular Popski’s Private Army to liberate Ravenna.

Most accounts focus on Popski’s British Special Forces troop, but the brave members of the Garibaldi brigade were essential as both a blocking force and as part of the assault.

The army has 13 order dice (units):

Like nearly all wargames, Bolt Action requires a force leader. While Partisans don’t have a structured officer corps (despite the many self-appointed titles and ranks!), I have selected the equivalent of a second lieutenant with regular morale to lead my Partisans. He is accompanied by additional one man, and both are armed with SMG.

Yes, the remaining photos are all ones I have posted already!

I also have a liaison officer. While some liaison officers wore civilian clothes, most wore uniforms, especially out of the towns. My OSS officer wears a US uniform. Once per game he can attempt to call in air support.

The core of the army are four squads of rifle armed Partisans (of either 9 or 10 fighters). Two of the squads have squad LMG to provide a little extra reach and fire power. One is also armed with Molotov cocktails, which will give some defense against tanks.

Partisans can take a squad of veteran Guerrilla Fighters. I’m taking a squad of 6, armed with SMG.

There are 3 teams with support weapons: an MMG, sniper, and PIAT. Of these the sniper is probably the most useful, but don’t underestimate the other two teams.

Actually, the PIAT team is inexperienced. They will supply an order die for the bag and otherwise likely spend most games hiding.

The last two units, a light howitzer and a captured tank, are both somewhat of a stretch historically. In games terms both will be useful. Both will play the important role of being able to throw out pins on enemy units. Both will also most likely die horribly. This is sad for the crews involved but will at least mean my core units are not being shot at.

To represent the lack of support and training, both the tank and artillery are rated as inexperienced. In addition, the Renault R35 has the captured rule, which means it is also unreliable.

Easter Front is a 1005 point Bolt Action tournament being run over two days as part of Conquest 2022 in Melbourne.

codex ahoy!

Writing about writing is weird. But when there hasn’t been much painting and the only hobby has been words. Well. Here we are!

Turkey is mentioned in the narrative of the alternative history of the weird war Konflikt 47, but has no specific or separate official rules. So I wrote my own. Inspired but not bound by history, it has been a fun project to create a list that is both a little quirky and still balanced. Or at least as balanced as the existing armies.

Two main ideas underpin the list. The first is the mad array of armoured vehicles that Turkey accumulated (in the real world) is an opportunity to field Soviet, German and Allied tanks all in the same force. And because in the world background Turkey only enter the war in 1945, this leaves the space to field and deploy older tanks already superseded in other armies. Renault R-35? Why not, Turkey had these terrible little tanks so common in the 1930s, and if you’re defending an invasion from the Soviet Union, why not use everything available, including an armoured kitchen sink!

The other framing idea is that Germany do not yet fully trust Turkey as a ally and only selectively provide the wacky rift tech. Moreover, Turkey itself is suspicious of some of the stranger technology, especially subjecting their soldiers to the procedures necessary to create the more extreme, horror-type units.

Together, this makes an Axis army that is different to Germany, (Fascist) Italy, or Finland. All this before the modelling opportunities.

So, here it is: a text only draft of the Turkish list.

So now I have some layout and proof reading in addition to painting. Good fun.

Hezters gonna Hetz

I spoke too soon that my Budapest Defenders were ready to go. And also that I hadn’t bought anything for the army, that all the models I used had come from my lead and plastic backlog. Well, there were just too many sales on recently, and I ordered a set of three Hetzers from Warlord Games.

The Budapest campaign book has an armoured list with a core of three assault guns, which comes with some fun special rules, or one will fit nicely into to my existing pocket defenders list. The Wirblewind will remain an option, so it is good to have choices.

Hetzers are great support choice in BA. The weak sides rule does make them more vulnerable but also cheaper, and it pretty easy to negate with some decent deployment.

The Hungarian late war paint scheme is pretty easy. Dunkelgelb and some weathering and they’re ready for the front. The Warlord models are OK, although the wheel sections do feel unnecessarily fiddly. The kit is very flexible, coming with the options to make anti-tank, flame or flak versions all in the same kit, and decals for either German or Hungarian forces. Nice.

That means my little Hungarian project is out to around 1,800 points, which is actually quite a large force. It may not be complete yet …

Here be Tigers

Well, just one.

I plan on attending another tournament shortly, this time Bolt Action.

Because they are the only painted WWII I own I will be taking my Germans. But, because I have a recently assembled and painted Tiger (well, almost painted: decals and weathering to go), I plan on including it in my force.

tiger

The tournament is 1,250 points, so at 395, the Tiger is a big bite out of the budget. Collective wisdom seems to be that it will be hard to make it pay. But Tiger.

The rest of the army will be squads of Heer grenadiers (four of them, I think), plus one of SMG armed Fallschirmjager. Support will include teams of snipers, MMG, mortars and I think a panzerschreck. All led by a second lieutenant.

A pretty standard German list, except for the Tiger and, probably lack of a forward observer. Perhaps more troops some, but I find plenty of units that can take and hold objectives are often very important in tournament type missions.

Plus, a Tiger.

Vroom. Vroom.

Monte Cassino 1000 points of Germans

I’m almost ready to go for the Bolt Action Melbourne August (BAMA).

As the only painted 28mm models for the second world war that I have, I will be taking my Heer.  We’re using 1,000 point lists so I will be able to include the reinforcements I posted recently of a sniper team, Arty FO and a kubelwagon.

My list has a lot of boys, which I suspect is a little under-optimised compared to some tournament players.  Rather than other toys all of my infantry squads have LMG. I know some folk think LMG are a bit of a waste. But theme. And, since we are going to use Format Season 2 rules (check them out over at boltaction.net), at 5 points per squad LMG I found I had enough change for a medic. Medics are great.

My list is themed around the determined defenders on the Gustav line, who absorbed enormous damage from the equally determined Allies pushing up the Italian peninsula but dealt a lot of damage in return.

A forward observer will represent the artillery that was such a big part of the fighting at Monte Cassio and in the hills behind Anzio. And 100 points for something that gets one shot that might come down on your own head, well that is hard to pass up.

Snipers also appear in the accounts that I have been reading and with close to one shot one kill, these guys will generally pay for themselves each game.

By early August I will have a squad of the iconic Monte Cassino defenders, the Fallschirmjager, ready to go. These boys should be able to go and do the hard jobs, supported by the grendadiers of the regular army as needed.

Anyway, here is my prettied up list: HeerBAMA15

No photos this week, because I’ve already posted the painted ones in earlier posts and the paratroopers are still just base coated. Time to head to the painting desk.

D.

Walking in Slaneesh’s Shadow

The Apostate found the Sorcerer’s commitment to a single Chaos deity somewhat distasteful, but the Word Bearer needed him. The Slaneeshi adept had promised to teach the Word Bearer some of his warp knowledge and in return the Dark Apostle has for the moment bound his war band to walk in the shadow of Slaneesh.

Arc15_01

Thank-you for the comments on my earlier post. I’ve had a look at the codex, the Arc players pack and my miniatures. A few tweaks and I think I’ll go to Arc 2015 with:

The Apostate, dark apostle with the black mace & a gift of mutation
The Cult of Pain, 14 cultists, flamer
The Cult of Light, 15 marines, icon vengeance, plasma pistol; asp champ with power sword
The Elect, 5 chosen, asp champ with lightening claws, 4 flamers, veterans of the long war; rhino with a dirge castor
Justified Vengeance Vindicator with siege shield

Nimrod the Untamed, sorcerer (level 1 psyker, discipline of slaneesh); mark of slaneesh
Cult of Noise, 9 Noise Marines, 5 sonic blasters, close combat weapons, icon of excess
Exquisite Fury, Land Raider with twin-linked lascannons

I don't need armour. I have sun-glasses

I don’t need armour. I have sun-glasses

The marines are to take or defend an objective. The cultists absorb damage while the dark apostle swings the black mace. The noise marines throw out shots with no cover saves and the sorcerer gives them buffs depending the power drawn. The land raider and vindicator deal with big or scary stuff.  The chosen will keep things simple with a 3 word slogan: “Kill, Maim, Burn!”

Arc15_03

I think this list will go OK, provided I don’t face too much air, too much armour or too many monstrous creatures. I mean, what can go wrong?  Some extra bodies in the noise marines will make them more survivable. The loss of the second cultist squad will ultimately just save kill points as the squad not with the apostle would have been rubbish anyway. The other change is the sorcerer leaving his terminator armour at home. This way I get more noise marines in the land raider and otherwise fits the rest of the theme a little better. The sorcerer is still the only model yet to be completed.

I think the paragraph of fiction frames the army nicely. A Word Bearers coven allied with some Noise Marines for nefarious deeds. Lots of cultists and not too many toys offsets the vindicator and larger squads. I’ve taken a really tough weapon in the black mace but put in the hands of a dark apostle rather than a lord. The list may be on the light side, but apart from no helldrake I think is OK (it’s 1348 points, just under the 1350 arc limit).

Arc15_04For sale: one helldrake; still in shrink-wrap.

D.

Arcanacon Ahoy!

Army lists for Arcanacon are due in a couple of weeks so it’s time to start thinking about ultra01what to take. Before Christmas I was all set to take Ultramarines. The list doesn’t need any work, I know the kit and it is a balanced combined-arms force.

So, in a near re-run of last year, I’m going to take Chaos.

I’ve drawn up a new list with three design constraints in mind. I want to:
– use an Arc bound list
– paint a minimum of models
– minimise upgrades

By using Arc bound I get an extra 10 points and I need all the help I can get.

Minimum upgrades is because I inevitably get to the end of a game and find I’ve been playing with a self-imposed handicap by ignoring up to 100 points of goodies. This is not a good look. So WYSIWYG and not too many extras to remember will help make things cruisy. This can be particularly important on day 2, especially if the weather is hot.

Draft list for The Coven Malleus

The Apostate found the Sorcerer’s commitment to a single Chaos deity somewhat distasteful, but the Word Bearer needed him for the moment. The Slaneeshi sorcerer had promised to teach the Word Bearer some of his warp knowledge and in return the Dark Apostle has for the moment bound his war band to walk the path of excess.

Sorcerer level 1 psyker with mark of Slaneesh (terminator armour)
I’ve been enjoying the psychic phase and a psyker will be a bit of fun

Dark Apostle with the black mace
basically a delivery mechanism for the black mace

Two squads of 10 cultists, each with a flamer
for objectives but mostly to soak up damage around the DA

7 Noise Marines; three sonic blasters; icon of excess
flavour, because I haven’t used them for a while

15 Chaos Space Marines; icon of vengeance; champ with power sword
these guys will be hard to get off an objective

5 Chosen; aspiring champ with lightening claws; 4 flamers; veterans of the long war;
rhino with dirge caster
this squad is very effective with its toasty goodness and a bit of choppy-chop

Landraider with twin-linked las
for the NM and Sorcerer to ride about in

Vindicator with siege shield
S10 AP2 pie plate; don’t leave home without one

The sorcerer is the only model I need to paint. This is a plus.  No daemonettes, but given the slap allies recieve in comp I’ve tried to keep the Slaneesh vibe by using the noise marines.  There are two things I don’t like about this list. I’ve made the Sorcerer the warlord so the noise marines become a troops choice; this feels cheesy. The other is no fast attack. The chosen in a rhino will fill this role but it detracts from a more balanced org structure.

havoc-6

Discuss.

Opening Skirmish – Bolt Action Foray

December 6 will see a one day Bolt Action tournament and given I’ve been painting some Germans, I’m going to give it a go. My first three games, so should be interesting.  Here is the list I’m going to take. I’ve themed it around one of the infantry divisions that fought in Italy around Monte Cassino.

94th Infantry Division: Heer Grenadier Platoon

Following its destruction in Stalingrad along with the rest of the trapped 6th Army, the 94th Infantry Division was recreated in 1943 and moved to Italy, initially in reserve.

In December 1943, the 94th was assigned to the 10th Army under Field Marshal Kesselring and fed into the line as part of the defence of Monte Cassino. The grenadiers of the 94th had a lot to live up to, fighting alongside highly trained and motivated fallschirmjager, and with a strong desire to live up to their comrades who had died in Der Kessel only twelve months prior.
heer02
The list:
Second Lieutenant with two men, all armed with submachine guns
Three Heer Grenadier Squads each with 1 NCO and 7 men, rifles; light machine gun
Heer Grenadier Squad 1 NCO and 4 men, rifles
Medium machine gun team
Medium motar team
STUG III Ausf F
All regular for a total of 750 points with 8 order dice.

I’ve submitted the list, so while suggestions are welcome, there is no going back.

D.