For the final part of this series, we reach our logical conclusion – we’ve had early, and middle, so naturally it’s time to look at the late war! For our purposes, the late-war period comprises 1944-45, and is a truly fascinating period in military (and world) history. Technologically, the pace of development had reached a fever pitch, and armies were fielding some truly weird and wonderful kit. From a wargaming perspective, this is a fantastic opportunity for cool camouflage, high-tech weaponry, and (of course) really, really big tanks! Let’s have a look at the kind of things late-war armies can do in games of Bolt Action!

With the war fully spread across the world (although the Western Desert campaign had concluded), there’s no shortage of forces to choose from. The Pacific Campaign is in full swing, while the Eastern Front is pressing ever closer to the German heartland, and of course there’s the little matter of a certain arrival in Normandy in June ’44! Developments in armoured warfare mean that all manner of big cats now stalk the battlefields, while jets soar through the skies and infantry wield the newest and deadliest small arms. Men who only a couple of years previously had been considered raw recruits were now grizzled veterans, and the organisation of many armies is completely unrecognisable from those at the start of the war.

Elements of 21st Panzer Division engage the Ox & Bucks

Late-war armies in Bolt Action come in a few different flavours. Inexperienced ‘horde’ armies are still present (chiefly in the form of the Soviet Union and Japan), but things like early-war light anti-tank guns and light tanks are more or less consigned to the pages of history. Virtually every army has access to effective transportation and armoured fighting vehicles, and a wide variety of new infantry support and anti-tank weapons teams are on the scene. More than ever, late-war armies are equipped to deal with anything that’s thrown at them, and this support can make smaller, Veteran-heavy armies more viable in competitive games. Despite the advantages of new technologies, the commensurate increase in points costs requires some careful balancing of your force, so as not to end up with too few Order Dice in the bag!

For this sample army, I’ve gone with an all-time favourite of mine – super-late-war Germans! I’ve taken several variations of this concept to various tournaments, and always had a good time. As always, I should point out that this is not a competitively optimised list, but it can (and does) surprise people at times! Thematically, this force is based on the final days of the Battle for Berlin, which opens up all sorts of weird and wonderful options and combinations. The real challenge here is to avoid going overboard on all the fancy toys and make sure the force is still functional on the tabletop!

Unit TypeUnit NameOptionsCost
Infantry (Headquarters)Regular LeutnantExtra Man; Assault Rifles;60
Infantry (Squad)Volkssturm Squad5 extra men; SMG; 4x Panzerfausts;93
Infantry (Squad)Volkssturm Squad5 extra men; 4x Panzerfausts;90
Infantry (Squad)Sturmpioniere Squad2 extra men; Flamethrower; 6x SMG;129
Infantry (Squad)Waffen-SS Squad (Late War)5 extra men; 10x Assault Rifle;180
Infantry (Team)Inexperienced Nebelwerfer (Howling Cow)42
Infantry (Team)Regular Sniper Team50
Infantry (Team)Regular Flamethrower Team50
Infantry (Team)Regular Medium Mortar TeamSpotter;60
Vehicle (Tank)Regular Panzer IV Ausf.JSchurzen245

999 Points, 10 Order Dice

You’ll find ten Volkssturm in the Last Levy: the Defence of Berlin boxed set.

As tempted as I was to take a truly monstrous Tiger II or Jagdpanther (the beloved cornerstones of my late-war German collection), this time I decided to play it a little bit safe with a good old reliable late-model Panzer IV. This still brings an excellent heavy anti-tank gun, and is a genuine threat that enemy armour and infantry alike must respect. The Volkssturm, while Green, bring plenty of warm bodies to get onto objectives, as well as eight Panzerfaust shots that should prove rather concerning for the opposition! This essentially allows them to project a 6” ‘danger zone’ around themselves where tanks should fear to tread. The Sturmpioniere squad (you could make these by combining the German Grenadiers with gear from the German Pioniers boxed sets) and secondary flamethrower team means this list can do some serious damage up-close, perfect for cramped urban tables! The big, nasty Waffen SS squad bristling with assault rifles can lay down a withering amount of firepower and is also likely to attract a large amount of incoming fire – thankfully, as Veterans they’ve got a decent chance of weathering it! This is something you often see a lot of with late-war lists – plenty of anti-tank weapons inherent to squads, on top of an awful lot of firepower they can already bring to bear.

Japanese troops assault US positions by starlight

The one concession to competitive nastiness is the Inexperienced Howling Cow – one of the most points-efficient ways to rain death down from above, and ideal for the sort of terrain-dense tables this army loves to fight on. If I can roll a six or two and get lucky, it can potentially swing a game all by itself, but definitely isn’t something to rely on. The usual Sniper and Medium Mortar round out the list (and are practically mandatory for many people). While certainly not a list I’d consider massively ‘competitive’, it’s a nice illustration of the kinds of things you often see in late-war lists, as well as the weird and wonderful bits I like to pull out from time to time!

With this, we’ll conclude the series – for now! Keep an eye out in future for more theatre breakdowns and Bolt Action guides!

For the previous articles in this series, use the below links:

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