Hey there Bolt Action fans! For those of you following at home I have been actively exploring the new Partisans list from the Armies of France and their Allies. I began to unpack this and strategize in the most recent LRDG podcast with Dave of War and Warlord Tobu (Episode 5 for those at home… which you can now find in the ITunes store). My Partisans are based in the late war period and are modeled on Polish forces in the Warsaw Uprising. Now BA theory hammer is one thing but getting boots on the table is quite another animal and when playing games really clarifies unit roles, practical implications of rules and allows us to try out those hair brained ideas that always bounce around our heads. This in mind, I took on the formidable might of DaveOWar’s brand new German troops in a 1000 point battle with the my Partisan forces and learned a hell of a lot.
We played a modified mission from the MOAB player pack that was basically a battle for the objective at the centre of the board. The table had a long road that ran diagonally across the board that intersected the ruins of a small town. The rest of the board was stepped hills and small clumps of trees. I will spare you the play by play but in the end the Party boys were victorious. That said the game went back and forth as good battles are prone to do… You can see the table below:
Let’s take a closer look at the Partisan forces shall we? Starting with the Army special rules…
Fieldcraft (or the ability to ambush) did not have a huge impact on the games (but I think that is more my army and the mission) EXCEPT that it also allows Partisans to treat all Rough Ground and Obstacles as open ground for movement in the first turn. This ability is HUGE! Even though most of my troops were coming in from the board edge, I ran large numbers of troops into cover allowing me to have a large presence (three units) within 6 inches of the objective. Dave was able to get a squad of regular Germans with assault rifles on the objective in a way that I could not shoot him without him getting cover. These guys would have sucked to shift if I did not have a command squad with three dudes with SMG’s handy to maneuver and set up an assault that all but wiped these dudes out. If they had failed in their task I also had 5 vets with SMGs lined up to do the same thing the next turn. I was able to get into a comfortable position early and dictate where and when I wanted to fight early in the game! Fieldcraft is a GREAT national rule.
Infiltration (or the ability to ignore the -1 when outflanking) was also pivotal in my victory. I took a cheap, looted flame tank in my list. According to the Partisan list all looted vehicles have to be unreliable (take double pins) and have to be inexperienced. This means that whatever tanks you take are going to have crappy leadership, are going to suck at hitting things AND are going to be pinned into inactivity relatively easily! By taking a flame tank I did not need to roll to hit but I was still vulnerable to pins if I chose to cruise up the centre of the board. So I chose not to. By outflanking I could hold my tank in reserve and pop him from the side when I later needed. Sure I needed to roll an 8 because it was inexperienced, but I did not get the minus 1 because of infiltration. By outflanking the tank Dave funneled his forces into the centre of the board where I wanted him. Why there? Well…
Hidden Bomb (or the ability to lay down three potentially brutal booby traps) is AMAZING! I LOVE this rule. It really goes towards mitigating the lack of heavy hitting HE units in this list. I was able to set all three bombs in a circle around the objective (seen as golden dice below). This forced Dave to commit a chaff unit to try and set off the bomb. I rolled badly (ones) for the first two bombs but number three did exactly as advertised and nuked his HQ unit into next week. I have been thinking about how Dave went about doing this and it is a valid plan to get rid of the bombs BUT if I had rolled a 4 or a 5 on the chart. The HQ would not have set off the blast BUT they also would not gotten rid of the counter. Not a lot of armies have multiple chaff units to throw away. Meaning… the bombs might just get something juicy anyway! Sure there is a good chance they will do nothing… but then again. When they hit, they are brutal!
I am still fairly annoyed by the lack of sniper rifles in this list! In my mind it would have been the perfect Partisan weapon. I compensated for this absence by taking an anti-tank rifle. The poor man’s sniper it is really my only real anti-tank asset (outside of my air observer). Which is the list’s only real weakness. But that said it is fairly easy to compensate for this with lots of dudes of variable experience levels and piles of mixed weapons (pistols, shotguns, rifles, smg, etc…). I might even try out a few Panzerfausts mixed in. True, they are not great for they cost but I do have tons of dudes and hey, I might get lucky if I need to be.
Are Partisans a "real" list? YUP! Can they win games? YUP! Do they have weaknesses to match their strengths? Yup! And most importantly... Are they fun to play? Definitely! Hmmm… I wonder if I could fit a truck somewhere in the list. Time to ponder points again. Til next time!