Saturday, 17 August 2013

Nouvion 1940: Bolt Action Playthrough

 Nouvion, 1940: Guderian's panzers are approaching the Channel Coast.

A scratch force of all available British armour is assembled and rushed to capture Nouvion before the Germans reach it. The only tanks available are a Matilda II infantry tank and a Vickers Light Tank with an armour piercing light automatic cannon ( a desperate attempt in the late 30s to make light tanks maginally useful after their disastrous showing in the Spanish Civil War). Astonishingly the British include some infantry which they pile onto carriers eqipped with Boyes anti-tank rifles. Someone has been reading Achtung Panzer.

The British force splits into a fast light group and a heavy group consisting of the single Matilda.

The German unit is a reconnaissance in force battlegroup of armoured cars, Hanomags, a staff car, a single Pz II and two Pz IV support tanks.

They also have an '88 cannon. The German aim is to set the '88 up on the western edge of Nouvion (view in the photos is from the north) to secure the approaches to the town.

Both sides enter Nouvion and battle is joined. The British infantry debusses (detrains) from their carriers at the railway station beside an engine whose crew have sensibly fled at the approach of the armour.

The Mk IVs race down the road to set up blocking positions. They split in an effort to outflank the fearsomely armoured Matilda and get a shot into its vulnerable rear.

The British light armour races around the south of the town to outflank the German force. The German player realises that he has no immediate hope of setting up the '88 in the town so he chooses to debus in the shelter of some woods on the eastern edge.

We decided that the '88 takes a full stationary turn to set up. his was a big, heavy, clumsy weapon.

The British armour launches a hail of LMG fire on the '88. They don't kill any of the crew (the shield confers a 6+ to kill defence) but they do keep it suppressed, stopping the crew from getting it into action.

German automatic cannon fire immobilises two of the British light armour but others work their way through the woods to get behind the '88. From there they can massacre the crew and shoot up the tractor.

First blood to the British: the staff car erupts in flames after a rifle shot ignites its fuel tank. One of the Mk IVs loses a track due to a 2pdr hit from the Matilda and is left in an impotent position out of the battle.

At this point the German commander called it a day as it was getting late and he had an early work start. Work, the curse of the gaming classes.

A fascinating battle from which I noticed the following.

1. Bolt Action gives realistic results.

2. The Matilda is the Tiger tank of 1940. It has a better gun than anything else and thicker armour.

3. The tracks on vehicles are as important as the gun or the armour. This was a battle of manoeuvre.

4. Large powerful towed anti-tank guns may be great in defence but they are a bloody liability when attacking on the move.

A very enjoyable game.


  1. The Matilda is the Tiger tank of 1940. It has a better gun than anything else and thicker armour.

    I recall from the older Panzer General computer games that, playing as the Germans, the early French and British tanks were noticeably better than your own early ones.

    1. The French tanks had some 'orrible characteristics that wouldn't show up in computer games.

  2. Great Report there chap and I love the Queen of the battlefield

    1. It is a super model. Easy to put together and looks nice when painted.

  3. Very enjoyable, and instructive.

    1. It gave realistic results. It is well worth spraying fire to supress even if you can't kill.