We’ve already visited the Italian campaign with Soft Underbelly, and now the action is set to continue with the upcoming release of Tough Gut. Written by the same author, Robert Vella, Tough Gut advances the timeline into 1944, and is the second book covering the Italian front. Let’s take a look at some of the new scenarios, units, and rules that can be found within!

The Campaign

Tough Gut focuses on the fighting of the first five months of the invasion of mainland Italy in 1943/44. Dealing with the landings and breakout from Anzio beachhead, the bitter fighting on the Gustav Line, and the legendary battles for Monte Cassino, this book is a must-have for anyone looking to re-fight these oft-underappreciated but strategically crucial battles on the Bolt Action tabletop.


  • Scenario 1: The Barracks
  • Scenario 2: Battle for the Thumb
  • Scenario 3: The Gates of Hell
  • Scenario 4: Cassino II: The Railway Station
  • Scenario 5: Counter-Attack At Castle Hill
  • Scenario 6: Battle for the Ruins, the Struggle for the Continental Hotel
  • Scenario 7: Operation Revenge
  • Scenario 8: For the Freedom of Our Nation!
  • Scenario 9: It’s A Trap!
  • Scenario 10: Playing With the Big Cats
British Commonwealth troops traverse Italian hillscapes.

New Units & Theatre Selectors

The Allies

While the British and Americans were the best-known of the Allied forces involved in the Italian campaign, it was a truly multinational affair, with the British equipping and supporting forces from across the Commonwealth and beyond. For a long time, this diverse group of brave men have been represented using the National Characteristics from Armies of Great Britain, but Tough Gut gives them their own unique rules and units! Now New Zealanders (and Māori!), Indians, Canadians, and Poles (as well as several flavours of Brits!) can be more properly represented in Bolt Action, giving you even more ways to use the British plastic infantry boxed set! Similarly, the US provided equipment and training to a wide variety of nations, most notably the resurgent French forces in exile. These are now represented, along with a number of famous US units such as the 45th Division and 100th Nisei Battalion. Following the Italian surrender in late 1943, General Umberto Utili would go on to serve the new Allied-aligned Kingdom of the South. Commanding the Corpo Italiano di Liberazione (CIL, or ‘Italian Liberation Corps’), his men would serve alongside the Allied effort, using Italian equipment and uniforms. With rules for these men, including Paracadutisti, Bersaglieri, and Alpini elites, there’s a brand-new way to field your Italians!

The Axis

German forces in Italy were a fascinating mixture of hardened veterans and raw recruits, and the Fallschirmjäger paratroopers played a particularly active part, especially in the bitter defence of Monte Cassino. These defiant and stubborn soldiers receive new units, including an officer team and pioneer section, while the rest of the Wehrmacht also receives plenty of love, with updated profiles for many infantry units to better represent them as they were during the Italian campaign. Not to be left out, the Italian defenders of Anzio also get new units for the Decima MAS and Paracadutisti, along with the attendant theatre selectors. There’s never been a better time to revisit a German or Italian force with these new units and rules!

An Sd.Kfz 184 Elefant Heavy Tank Destroyer rumbles into postion.

Extra Rules

There are plenty of new and revised special rules and pieces of equipment to be found in Tough Gut, allowing you to tailor your forces specifically to the Italian campaign. From the early-model Panzerfaust 30 anti-tank weapons to flash suppressors for your machine guns, and many more besides, there’s a whole bunch of ways to subtly (or not-so-subtly) tweak your existing troops, or inspire a new force. Long-time players will be delighted to learn that Gebirgsjäger now receive the Mountain Warriors special rule (as well they might!), while the Forza d’Animo national special rule sees Italian forces become much more aggressive on the tabletop. Generic units such as Chaplains and the frankly terrifying Forward Observer (Super-Heavy) become available to all nations, alongside a selection of equipment and fortifications.

He’s a Bear!

When ordered through the Warlord Games webstore, Tough Gut comes with a very special exclusive book figure – Wojtek the Bear! This legendary ursine was adopted by Polish soldiers and, as legend has it, served alongside them throughout the Italian campaign. Subsisting on a diet of cigarettes and beer (much like the average soldier!), Wojtek served as an ammunition carrier with an artillery unit, as well as providing a much-needed morale boost for his human comrades. This latter trait is exemplified by Wojtek’s special rules in Bolt Action, exuding a morale-boosting aura to friendly troops in his vicinity. His full rules can be found in the pages of Tough Gut.

  1. No shout-out to the overall commander of the ECI, Field Marshal Giovanni Messe? Much sadness, he was probably the best general the Italians had in the war.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
Read More

Amphibious Assaults in Bolt Action

Bolt Action writer Alessio Cavatore brings us the rules for staging beach landings in your games – perfect for Pacific themed battles as well as, of course, the D-Day landings, and the last major instance of amphibious assault: the landings at Inchon during the Korean War…