Bolt Action Historical: Battle of the Bulge.

A Couple of weeks a go, we at SADWC ran a large scale world war two, we took inspiration from an article from Wargames Illustrated where they used Bolt Action as the rule set of choice. So we had to make a few choices now, we had the rule set but we need to sort sides and period. Normandy seemed like the most obvious choice but we done really work like that at the club. So instead, still keeping it late war, we went for the battle of the bulge and focused on the German fall back from the main push. So we started by looking through all the rule books that are out there looking for a good scenario we could do.

Lucky we found a nice scenario based around the last stand of the German in the village of La Gleize. This was found in one of the many books for the rule set Rapid Fire and out lines nicely the forces of both side and a nice map of the battle ground. So with out having to worry about points costs from each side we just have to fill out the army list and convert them to fit in with the rules for bolt action


Map Of La Gleize


We are very lucky at the club and have some fantastic members with great collections of figures and kind hearts to allow us to borrow what they had. So we were able to slim down the lists slightly to make them fit so it was game on.

The next problem was how to do the order dice for both sides with loads of units on both side the dice bag would be massive if we had one for each unit. So we copied the WI guys and had ten dice from each side in the bag, either side we had a bowl with twenty more dice in each. When a dice was pulled out from the bag, another two was taken out of the bowls, so each side would activate three units for each dice that came out of the bag.  We had more units on each side than dice, so each general would have to decide where the dice will most be need from activation to activation. When a unit was lost we took a dice out of the bowl for that side, but not the bag, these dice always stayed at ten each side. This system worked well on the day and the commanders at times did have to use their dice wisely.

The scenario that was picked had the Germans camped out in the village of La Gleize, they had three panthers and a king tiger as their main armour and these had run out of diesel, so was unable to be moved after they had been placed in the village. This presented a big problem, so their deployment had to be right so that each would have multiple targets. The tiger was placed at the cross roads facing down N33 to A1, from here it could pick out targets from either road on both sides. The first Panther was placed to the left of the church facing west. Panther number two was to the east of the village watching the bridges and Panther three was north watching the road through the woods. Most of the infantry took up positions around village and the small hamlet of Hassoumont.

German set up


Looking South at La Gleize


We had to change the army list for the US to include a lot of Brits because within our group we had more Brits than yanks. So the Allies came onto the board from the entry points A1 to A5. The Allies had  11 medium tanks, this was mostly Sherman’s and the main thrust of their attack came down the road N33 from A1, into the face of the King Tiger. All of the Allies troops had transports for all of their foot troops, so they would cover the ground quite quick but needed to stay out of the line of fire from the big cats.

Allies Advance from the west


The King Tiger and the Panthers would having a good day pinning and destroying the advance Allies armour. Smoke was used very well to try and mask the advance, but when the Germans had a shot this would stall the advance.

Allies using the forest for cover.


The Allies use the wooded area in the North West sector to advance Infantry up for the storm on the village and things were going well. As the game went on the Allies started to lose more and more takes the closer they got to the village. The Panther to the South was blown to much cheers from Allied command. This almost acted as a single for the troops that had been holed up in the village started to ready for the coming infantry attack. The allies had also lost most of their infantry in the advance as the Germans had posted units in key locations along the advance. To the East, a blown Sherman had stopped the advance over the bridges as the cautious commanders choose to hold on the east side of the bridges and engage the Germans in a fire fight.


As daylight was fading the Allies had fight their way to the out skirts of the village, this brought all the Germans readying their selves for the on coming attack. The allied command knew from their loses so far that an assault on the village might be too much for today and decided to retreat and recover there numbers for an attack in the morning. The Germans had held the village.

The game followed the historical outcome on the actual day of conflict. The US advanced was limited to the outskirts of the village when darkness fell, falling back until daylight returned, they started again in the morning only to find the Germans had left the village leaving behind only the wounded and of course the big cats.

Bolt Action worked quite well for this game and we didn’t really have any problems with the order dice or size of the game. with four players on the allied and three on the German we had enough people to move the figures around. Next for us will be more big battles and of course i’ll write it up for you to read it here




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