Just one week remains in our global WWII campaign, Operation Critical Hit. Players worldwide have been playing games of Bolt Action, Blood Red Skies, and Victory at Sea, and each result has made an indelible mark on each of our four campaign maps. The Allies have secured victory week-on-week thus far, with the fourth week being no exception. However, their margin of victory was diminished over the previous week so the glimmer of hope remains for the Axis if they put in a strong showing in the final week. You have until 18th September to submit your results!

This is the penultimate edition of War Stories, in which we recap the goings-on of the previous week and showcase just a few of the games that took place over land, sea and air. If you’d like your battle highlights to be featured in the final instalment of War Stories next week, make sure to include a short write-up of your Week Five battles during the results submission process on the Operation Critical Hit website, and be sure to include some photos of the tabletop action! You can also share your experiences directly if you prefer on the dedicated Operation Critical Hit Facebook Group.

Operation Critical Hit Special Figure – Redcap, Corps of Military Police

Although it’s the last week, it’s not too late to get involved if you have yet to do so. Sign up via the below link, play a game of Bolt Action, Blood Red Skies, or Victory at Sea, and have your games contribute to the final result! Play at participating stores, and you’ll also have a chance to get a hold of the campaign’s special miniature, Redcap, Corps of Military Police. Alternatively, you can get this figure for free when purchasing any of our WWII-based starter sets from the Warlord Games Webstore, but only until the end of the campaign!

Northwest Europe

Now here’s an interesting one… The Axis actually performed better in Bolt Action this week in this theatre than their Allied foes (and in fact, total Bolt Action Axis victories across the entire campaign now exceed Allied victories!), in a reversal of the situation of the first three weeks. However, they were completely unable to capitalise on this vital statistic, with the Allies securing victory in the air and at sea. This is a real demonstration that it is only by the utilisation of Combined Arms warfare that a side can best claim victory in any given theatre.

A lone German officer was able to snatch vital battle plans out from under his Soviet foes, and successfully extract them with the existence of a Panzer IV Ausf. J. Result submitted by Germatt.
Sergeant Schultzy submitted this report, in which A German officer wasn’t so lucky. Luckily his comrades were able to secure the dropped objective and get it safely away from the battlefield, whilst this Panzer V ran amok through the Allied vehicles.
British airborne claimed victory in this post-D-Day-themed battle. Despite a withering hail of fire from the German defenders, and the immobilisation of their supporting Cromwell tank, the Brits were able to oust the Axis from two vital river crossing points, thus securing a foothold for more battles to come. Report submitted by James P.
Neither side was able to secure the objective in this stalemate. Although the US forces were able to penetrate the German lines and take hold of the objective, they were pinned in by the German’s STuG III, and unable to extract it. This draw was reported by Kiralyfc.
US Airborne played to their strengths and used their mobility to quickly stretch the enemy defence and retrieve vital intel. The Panzer IV took a lot of punishment, eventually succumbing to a lucky shot from an M5 Stuart, effectively sealing the Allied victory. Submitted by Bube.
A Panzer II was the hero of this game, laying waster to the enemy sniper team, bazooka team and an LMG section, leaving the Germans free to secure two of three objectives. A brave US Lieutenant stalwartly contested the third, but not enough to deny an Axis victory. Reported by James P.
The Red Devils were dispatched in a race against Axis forces to secure vital intel from a downed Allied liaison aircraft near a French village. A very fierce firefight ensued around the wreck. The airborne lost three squads to the German forces, but were unable to secure the plans, electing to destroy them instead and deny the Germans their victory. This draw was submitted by DiceClubFIN.
A bit of an unfortunate round of luck saw five units failing to do anything in a row, despite each only having one pin! Despite this mishap, Larabic was able to secure a win.
The Kriegsmarine successfully penetrated the lines of the Royal Navy, with HMS Exeter exploding to Graf Spee’s first salvo. Not A single British vessel remained afloat whilst not a single Ferman vessel was sunk. Axis win reported by VJeske.

The Pacific

The Axis were somewhat able to recoup last week’s losses in the Pacific in Week Four, but not at all to the level they had enjoyed in the first two weeks of the campaign. The Pacific theatre had effectively been acting as a counterweight to complete Allied dominance in North-West Europe, but with a strong Allied showing last week, and having knocked the Imperial Japanese Navy off their pedestal in Victory at Sea, the Pacific wasn’t quite the anchor for the Axis in the overall balance of power it had been in previous weeks. Once again, a number of hexes went uncontested, it takes just one victory on any such hex to tip the balance of power in the region, and overall…

Thsi battle’s highlights included a duel between a howitzer and sniper, with the latter coming off second best, a deadly Japanese mortar team, and a surprise infantry assault against a scout car. Axis win reported by Eugene Burger.
A local rice farmer had dragged the objective to his nearby home, in which a brutal close combat fight erupted between two infantry units. Only four Japanese were left alive to carry off the objective into their nearby truck. This was then immobilized by heavy fire from a Gurkha unit. While a flamethrower and suicide unit distracted the British units the Japanese were able to slip away with the objective for a win. Reported by tOMGcornwell.

The Eastern Front

The overall distribution of results changed little from last week on the Eastern Front. The ocean again went uncontested, whilst the Allies controlled much of the skies. All three Bolt Action hexes were claimed by Axis forces, again showcasing their flurry of spectacular results – but is it too late for this statistic to make a difference to the final results next week?

My Soviet Guards, supported by the Red horde of infantry squads, rushed the town square and by sheer force of numbers, snatched the top secret documents and carried them back to the Soviet high command. Allied win reported by Eugene Burger.
Joy704 continues to be one of the most prolific contributors to Operation Critical Hit, having reported seven Blood Red Skies results in the Eastern Front this week alone. In this game, a complete Soviet victory saw three downed Ju-88s, two down Bf-109s and no damage to the Soviets’ Island HQ.

The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean echoes the results in North-West Europe, with the Axis securing all three Bolt Action hexes and the Allies all Blood Red Skies and Victory at Sea hexes. Though the cumulative score difference across all three systems was a measly three victory points, it is once again the way these results have been arrayed on the map that has made the difference here, and once again secured an Allied victory in the region.

The Afrika Korps struck first, and drove a truck up to the objective. The truck was destroyed, but the Fallschirmjäger inside bailed out and bagged the marker. They were then subjected to a hail of fire from the 8th Army, and in the end, were pinned out. The Gurkhas arrived late, but the star of the show was the Bofors SP, which destroyed the Sd.Kfz 233 and the Marder. An Allied victory, reported by Dandare58.
The Italians repelled a US Airborne force in an extremely close game – with just 2 points in it. Axis victory reported by USMCSSGT.
256th US Army Air Squadron, based on the island of Pianosa, takes off against targets in Italy, with P-51 Mustangs escorting bombers. An Allied victory, despite the loss of a bomber to FlaK and the opposing 109s downing a Mustang… Reported by Csherrange.
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