The latest supplement for Bolt Action focuses on the Axis offensives through Eastern Ukraine and into the North Caucasus. With plenty of linked scenarios, as well as new rules, troop types and theatre selectors, there are plenty of new options for players both veteran and novice alike. German, Soviet, Italian, Hungarian and Romanian armies all get new options, and there’s even a brand new Slovakian army list! Let’s dig in and find out what to expect from the new book.

Case Blue (or Fall Blau, in German) was the code name used to refer to the 1942 summer offensive into the southern Soviet Union which aimed to seize vital oil fields, both to allow Germany to resupply and to starve the Soviets of fuel and force a capitulation. Campaign: Case Blue covers this massive operation from December 1941 to July 1943, and tells the story of a period of the war oft overshadowed by the carnage at Stalingrad. As well as the expected German and Soviet forces, Case Blue also includes many new units and rules for Germany’s (often uneasy) allies, particularly Romania, Hungary, and Italy, while for the first time, Slovakia joins the fray with its own army list – something that has me very excited for the kitbashing possibilities!

The Wehrmacht sweeps through a Russian village.

Packed full of scenarios allowing you to re-fight pivotal moments throughout the campaign, from the Crimea and the fall of Sevastopol, through the Second Battle of Kharkov, to the battles for the oil fields and beyond, with engagements large and small, Case Blue is an essential resource for anyone wanting to wargame the Ostfront, and can be seen as something of a companion tome to Campaign: Stalingrad. From small skirmishes to four-platoon mega-games and port assaults (complete with light cruisers actually on the table slinging high explosive death around!), Case Blue has you covered, and thus is an essential addition to every Bolt Action bookshelf. Players looking to recreate the campaign will of course enjoy the aforementioned scenarios, while those of a more… competitive mindset will find plenty of interesting and dangerous new units to add to their tournament forces. With the new theatre selectors and national special rules found within, it’s also a great way to play a familiar army in a completely new way – it’s always nice to refresh your gaming experience!

Red Army and naval troops storm ashore.

Rather than an exhaustive discussion of what’s in the book, I want to highlight a couple of elements of Case Blue that for me really show off what the book is all about. First is the Avanti Tridentini! scenario, which sees a desperate and battered column of Italians, Germans, and Hungarians attempting to capture and break through the town of Nikolayevka and reach friendly lines, with the Soviets hot on their heels. Historically the day was carried by a desperate human wave attack by the Tridentini division of Alpini mountain troops, albeit with horrendous casualties. On the tabletop, the larger Italian force must get into the town, and capture and hold as many of the crucial locations as possible, while the Soviets must keep them from doing so. I can’t wait to break out my Soviets and see if I can hold off the desperate Axis forces!

Next is the Savoia Cavalleria squad, a new cavalry unit for the Italians. While in many respects a fairly ‘normal’ cavalry unit (that is, a bunch of Veterans on horseback equipped with carbines), they also come with the Carica! special rule, which allows them, once per turn, to issue an Assault order after regrouping from a successful close combat – whether as the attacker or defender! This is a pretty unique and powerful ability, and well-represents the impact these horsemen could have as a hard-hitting mobile reserve. I’d be surprised if we don’t see a few units making their way into some of the top competitive events (you may laugh at the idea of competitive Italians, but an Italian list finished a very respectable 11th at the recent 2023 Grand Tournament!).

Black Feathers, White Death’

As with all our Bolt Action campaign books, you’ll receive a special figure for free when you order directly from the Warlord Games Webstore. ‘Black Feathers, White Hell’ depicts an embattled Italian Alpini soldier in cold weather gear as he combats both the bitter Russian winter and the vast Red Army.

The Alpini Corps are well represented in Case Blue, with an updated unit profile, the aforementioned scenario and a dedicated theatre selector, as befits the astonishing feats of endurance and discipline the corps demonstrated on the Eastern front.

  1. Changing the basic game mechanics, eg Alpini having extra movement and the Carica special rule, is unwieldy and is similar to GW trying to boost sales for a new army list. The current rules add points per figure for additional benefits, why not reduce the points cost per figure to reflect the adverse effects of the Italian special rules? This should lead to the Italian armies being “infantry heavy” which would be more accurate historically and WG should still sell more figures.

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