The time once again comes, it’s 3 months out from the Student wargaming nationals and I have to get my shit together. Pick a nation, build a list to start testing, and actually remember how to play Bolt Action.
I’ve decided to go for a minor nation again, one who’s WWII reputation has been very maligned much like Italy. The minor allied nations like France and Poland sadly don’t have beefy enough tanks or anti tank guns for me to risk taking them to a tournament so the top two comes down to Bulgaria and Romania. The Bulgarian army special rule to prevent outflankers and sniper setup has real potential for annoyance, especially in the Demolition game mode, but having free units seems just too useful to pass up.
Its the contest literally no one has been waiting for.
Ultimately both of these armies have very similar attributes and play styles so the lists will be similar too, just differing in whether they get a free howitzer or not. For example, locally produced armoured vehicles are utterly useless so you’ll be taking German tanks or other vehicles. This is the best use for the Axis Support special rule, as you can’t take veterans so you wont have an SS squad toting assault rifles, and I wouldn’t say any of the German regular infantry or artillery pieces (except perhaps a Flak88 and kradschutzen squads) make up for the opportunity cost of a Wirbelwind or a PzIV. Another advantage to using Axis Support for tanks is that they are outside the platoon selector, allowing you to go up to 2 tanks in a single platoon if you can afford it. An important point to note here is the theatre specific platoon selectors which allow both the Romanians and Bulgarians to take a small selection of German tanks in the tank slot of that selector rather than their own mediocre offerings.
Outside of borrowed German units, the Romanian and Bulgarian armies are very vanilla, rifle squads of the inexperienced, regular and veteran flavours, with all the usual weapon teams and artillery pieces (although they can also have panzershrecks). Although Romania does have a stand out infantry unit in its motorised infantry who are allowed to take 2 LMGs in a squad even when only regular quality, and both nations’ infantry squads can have a small number of panzerfausts which is nice. Both nations do have cavalry forces but they are not able to charge while mounted, this isn’t such a big deal given the way the assault order has been gutted and I’d consider one squad as fast moving objective grabbers.
My initial impression on what a Bulgarian or Romanian army will look like is several rifle squads, supported by howitzers and mortars and 2 cost efficient German tanks, rounded out with maybe a sniper team and cavalry for flavour. I’ll be back after some testing to see if my opinion stays the same.