Road to Operation Sting – Part 1: The Armies

First in a series of articles covering Andrew, Ben and Dexter’s journey to Operation Sting 2018.

Operation Sting is one of the premiere Bolt Action events in the U.S. Over the years Sting has gained a reputation in the Bolt Action community for taking all aspects of the hobby (paint, sportsmanship, and gaming) to the highest levels.

Let’s dive right in and discover what the Chicago Dice team will bring to the table for Operation Sting 2018.

Andrew – Late-war winter Germans


I take a “hobby first” approach when selecting a project. What I mean is, I do not want to play an army that I do not enjoy building and painting. I want to be inspired by my hobby and running an army that is competitive on the table is a secondary concern. And that is why I am running an army built around the imposing Jagdpanther.

Clocking in at a cool 390 points (Reg.), this single model is almost 25% of my entire force. Optimized? Not remotely. Cool AF? You are goddamn right. The Big Cats are something that you almost never see on the table and I love the idea of building the rest of the army around this single unit. Plus, this gorgeous Trenchworx Jagdpanther has been sitting unpainted for too long! Using a combination of Warlord Winter Germans, Winter Grenadiers and Winter SS I built three infantry squads and a handful of support teams.

I also lucked out on theme. Sting this year is focused on 1944 and the Battle of Elsenborn Ridge took place in early December of ’44 and a handful of Jagdpanthers saw action. With the units selected, historical theme nailed down, and the Rule of Cool on my side, what could possibly go wrong?

Ben – US anti-tank platoon


When I get around to picking my armies for Bolt Action, it often comes down to the Rule of Cool. Sometimes it’s a battle I found interesting, sometimes it’s a unit or a vehicle (such as the LVTs I ran in my USMC). Sometimes it just comes down to a goofy idea for a display board, such as the “Partibus” or our U-boat Germans. This year for Operation Sting, I was trying to come up with ideas and was looking through Campaign: Battle of the Bulge. The Bulge is one of the best known offensives of the war, and Warlord Games has been doing an excellent job in their recent Campaign books adding units and selectors that provide an interesting change from the standard reinforced platoon. And with Sting focused on 1944 this year, it provided a perfect opportunity to make use of one of these new selectors.

Reading through pages and pages of stories and write-ups on Bulge, I found the Battle of Elsenborn Ridge, where the US Army employed units of 3-inch AT guns to defend against the advancing Germans, and the lines often became a confused mess of close quarters combat. But it was also the only place where the Germans were decidedly unable to advance. I decided to build my army out of the Anti-Tank Reinforced Platoon, a very different force from what you’ll usually see on a Bolt Action table. This platoon is unique as it barely has any infantry units available, I am running only one squad of infantry! However I do have multiple anti-tank guns, several machine guns and a veritable convoy of armed trucks and halftracks to roll around. In some scenarios it has a lot of potential, in others, its lack of mobility is a kick in the shins from the start. But using a mixture of Warlord and Artizan winter US models, as well as a few Rubicon trucks, the army looks awesome on the table and is fun to play. Plus, the large bases for all those MMG and AT teams gives me ample opportunity to do some serious hobbying.

Dexter – Tiger kampfgruppe


How do I chose an army? Necessity, rule of cool, and I’m cheap/lazy. Lets break that down a bit, necessity is the mother of invention right?! In this case I am thinking about what my goals are and what the limitations will be at the event. Goal: Show up with an army and a display board. Because of a wedding and work I was on the wait list for Sting so, you gotta figure that big crazy armies are out the window right? Wrong sirs and madams Big and Crazy we can do!

Let’s start with the tournament limitations. For Sting it’s single platoon, 1250 pts, 16 dice max, and limited to 1944. Once I have the limits I start poking around for something interesting in my pile of spare models, this time it was a Tiger! I’ve always wanted to run a Tiger in a tournament, its a huge pretty model and a massive point sink. With that I started looking for a theater of the war that would be appropriate, Caen has been on my mind for a long time, as it is critical piece during the breakout from Normandy in which most of my favorite units took part. With a big theater I can tie multiple armies together allowing for a little more freedom of choice.

So now I’ve got my limits and my theater, I know that I will be running a Tiger. The last step is to tie it all together and start assigning units. So, I dump out my box o’ sprues and blisters and cobbled together up a 21st Panzer Grenadiers Platoon supporting a Tiger in the opening engagements of Operation Perch. With a big Tiger I’ll run as many small capable squads as possible around it, starting with 6-man Vet. squads with 2 LMGs or 5-man Regs. with an LMG and a faust, the details of the list will shake out in a future article.

With just over six weeks until the event, the boys have a lot of work to do! Check back in two weeks for the Road to Operation Sting – Part 2: The Tactics. 

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