Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Bader Rescue

The following scenario was played out using the Bolt Action rule set. We had used these previously for a Sci-Fi game a couple of years back but thought they would make an interesting option for the VBCW period.


If you are interested in the Sci Fi game head here:

The scenario itself is of course based on an entirely fictitious affair set in the leafy lanes of Surrey in 1938.

A leading pilot for the Kings Air Force has been shot down over surrey whilst on reconnaissance. This is not just any pilot but the famous Douglas Bader, the man who had lost his legs in a flying accident seven years earlier, His capture by Anglican partisans in the Surrey hill is a great coup for the cause and will no doubt have enormous propaganda benefits. However Bader was able to radio in his crash landing site and known Royalist sympathisers in the area have determined he is being held in a small farmhouse east of Leatherhead.


A combined Royalist and Fascist force must ‘rescue’ Bader from the farmhouse and take him to safety. The partisans must hold out to reinforcements and orders arrive.

The Farmhouse - sourced from Doug at EM4 Miniatures


BUF – Lieutenant Victor Peabody and his batman

Three rifle squads each of six men including an SMG armed NCO

One BUF Medium Machine Gun + three crew

Two Royalist Rifle squads each of 10 men including NCOs

One Royalist Medium Mortar + 3 crew

All units treated as regulars

A total of 44 men


Anglican Partisans

On table

Commander – Sir Robert Pommeroy

2 six men rifle squads (including LMGS) – regular

1 six man rifle squad – veterans wearing red jackets

These are started in the farm along with Douglas Bader

Off table

3 six man rifle squads (regulars) – they will turn up on the from the second turn (they actually turned up in round 4) – regulars

37 men in total

From the South West - the Partisans will come in on the road at the bottom of the picture

Bader can’t move his legs have been removed – he can only be carried away from the farm. Historically this happened when captured by the Germans – he kept trying to escape)

None of the vehicles on display will be used.

For those of you in the know about Bolt Action I apologise for the next few  paragraphs. As a game it is phenomenally simple. Each squad may perm one action per turn whether this be Run, Fire, Advance (move & fire), Duck Down, Rally or Ambush. These orders are all denoted on a different face of a die. There are as many dice as there are units on the table in two different colours – one for each side.

At the beginning of a turn a player draws a dice out of the cup. The player whose colour it is activates a unit, when this unit has completed its actions the next die is drawn. To show that a unit has had its turn the dice is left next to the unit face up on the order it carried out. Simples. When all units have performed their actions the dice are collected and put back in the pot for the next turn – the exception being the ambush order which effectively allows a unit to react to an opponents move.
Shooting is dead simple 3+ to hit on a d6 modified for range, cover etc. Automatic weapons get more dice. If a hit is scored the target automatically receives a pin counter and then dices for casualties. Depending upon the quality of troops they may or may not survive. A unit may receive several pins – each impacts on their ability to shoot plus forward going they must resolve their actions through a morale check. In other words pinning units can effectively force them to ground and they no longer take an action that turn. As a unit succumbs to more pins these impact on their chances to perform their duties. Of course pins can be removed through the rally order.

The Low level Shot - The BUF came in from the left

Our game with about eight units aside took around 3 hours to play, it was fast, brutal, simple and great fun.


The following photos hopefully tell the story of the game as it unfolds.

The BUF approached the farm cautiously - deploying the larger royalist infantry squads to the right flank. The mortar sited with views to the farm entrance.

As the defender I soon realised that a) there no outward facing windows and b) I was severely outnumbered. Oh well into the frying pan I had to hold out.

I deployed two of my units to cover the front and side of the farm.

All of a sudden a fire fight erupted as BUF troops could be seen crossing the wall by the lane. Some tasty shooting by my partisans dropped three of the devils!


The BUF cautiously approach the village
Mean whilst my guys at the front gate could see the khaki infantry approaching the front of the building. I was being encircled with no where to go...and outgunned


The defenders ready themselves
My fellows dropped one of the royalists but no sooner had we started cheering when the enemy mortar started dropping shells on our position, as the squad near the wall dove for cover a shell landed in the chaps midst and bits of Tom Dick & harry plastered the farm walls. No sooner has the mortar landed those damned fellows in black opened fire with a devastating volley wiping out what remained of the defensive perimeter.

Royalist troops open fire on the partisans
The kings men then stormed the barricades (no Spandau ballet jokes) - before being driven back in panic by the remnants of the defence. The Good Lord Robert was working up a sizeable sweat with his webley.

The BUF prepare to assault

Didn't have to wait too long for the second assault as more of Mosleys boys flooded in from the woods top the North. Once again their numbers dropped as the filed into the courtyard, but there shots were telling and the gallant defenders were all but finished

A second BUF squad flank round the woods

Breaking cover they head into the farm

Partisan veterans wait in ambush

Partisan reinforcements approaching the farm
A second squad heads up through the fields

More firing from the Royalist infantry

The BUF swarm into the farm

BUF forces at close range
All of a sudden the reinforcements long promised flooded into the farm. Was it all too late? The carnage of war lay all around as men loosed off rounds at point blank range...the photos were too gruesome to show. If truth be told the official photographer had been shot !

The remains of the blackshirts grabbed Bader and legged it out of the farm - I say everybody but I mean everybody bar Bader !-  hotly pursued by the last remaining partisan unit.

The distance was telling and the escape complete.

Both sides suffered something like 60% casualties -  a brutal affair

Until next time


  1. Excellent stuff Eric ... at this rate you'll need a second shed to put everything in ;-)

  2. Sounds like a rally fun game. I liked the tasteless 'legged it' joke at the end too!

  3. A hard looking fight on a beautiful terrain!

  4. Boo to the BUF bully boys! Looks like a great game - bravo!

  5. I ran a similar Bolt Action game to rescue Goering's nephew from his crashed 109. Bolt Action works well for the interwar years as well.