Bolt Action – The Rock of Anzio

My next major project has been involved in a brand new game for me – Bolt Action by Warlord Games.  I’ve never been much of a history buff so despite many of my gaming friends talking up this game, I wasn’t sure it would be for me.  To be honest, I found the equipment names, formation names, and general feeling of the game to be quite foreign.  However, as most of my friends were starting to migrate to this game and I haven’t been all that impressed with the direction Games Workshop games have been going, I was ready to dive into something new.

So, with the thoughts of Bolt Action and World War II on my mind, I needed to figure out what to do.  I figured the best plan was to embrace the history that I’d never really gotten into.  My Grandfather served in WWII in Italy and I knew he received a Purple Heart but beyond that I didn’t really know much about his military past.  Since I was interested in building a WWII army, why not dig and research his past?  Luckily for me, my aunt had been collecting remnants of his old war journals.  I’ve got over 50 pages of typed text that she’d be transcribing.  It was a fascinating to read and while most of the text was about life around the war there were certainly some passages around the events themselves.

My grandfather, Walter S. Dodson was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 157th Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division.  He started his tour of duty in North Africa and was part of the Italian / Sicily campaign.  He was wounded during the last battle of Anzio where some shrapnel caused him to lose an eye.  However, during his time in Italy his platoon saw a lot of combat througout the Italian coastline.  I’ve found some great books on this part of the war.  Its not as glamorized as the landings in Normandy but it was an important part of the Allied War efforts and the units he served in were an important part of liberating Rome.

Enough history… on to the photos!

First up, here’s an image of the infantry patch the 45th Infantry wore on their uniforms.  They were the “Thunderbirds”


I tried to do the best I could painting this on each of the infantry models.

Here’s 2nd Lt Walter Dodson and an extra man:

BA_2ndLt BA_2ndLt_2

Every Platoon for Bolt Action needs at least two Infantry Squads.  I’ve built four.  Each are lead by an NCO with a Submachine Gun and have a infantry soldier with a Browning Automatic Rifle.  I also have one Infantry squad armed with Anti-tank grendades:

BA_Squad1 BA_Squad2 BA_Squad3 BA_Squad4

I have a number of other specialty troops, including a Sniper Squad, Bazooka Squad, Heavy Machine Gun Crew, and Medium Mortar and (Spotter)

BA_Sniper BA_Bazooka BA_50cal BA_Mortar

Lastly, I’ve got some attachments to the army including an Air Force Forward Observer (and extra man) and a 57mm Anti-Tank Gun and crew:

BA_ForObs BA_57mmAT_1 BA_57mmAT_2

Last thing to show off is my “Pinning Markers”  These were made so that I could spin the dial and set the number of pins from 1 to 9.  I have enough for each unit.


Sorry for the long time between posts.  I’m looking forward to getting these models into action at the Gathering in the Desert: Operation Scorpion tournament next weekend!

6 Responses to “Bolt Action – The Rock of Anzio”

  1. Nice post sir. I am also fairly new to Bolt Action but I really like playing the game and figures are nice to paint as well. Its great you have also got some family history to work on as well. Great painting, hope you enjoy playing with them.

  2. Awesome stuff, love the pin markers.

  3. Tim kulinski Says:


    Nice work and I love the Pin markers, what did you use?


  4. Thanks guys… Maybe I will do a separate blog post in the Pin Markers. But the short answer is metal washers, cut out plasticard, magnets, basing materials, M1 rifles, faux bricks, and some woodland scenics rub on transfers.

    • Love the pin markers Brent… I just went quick/cheap so I can hurry up and get my army painted…. Love the fact you built the army around your Grandpa… mine also served, but he was a Major for the Royal Yugoslav Army and spent most of the war in an Officers camp once Yugoslavia surrendered in April 1941 to the Axis.

      It’ll be great seeing you again next weekend.

  5. Bill Nevins Says:

    My father was in the 45 th and also slogged his way through North Africa, landed at Anzio and was wounded at Monte Casino. He quit high school at 17 and joined the Army. He’s gone now, but his courage still inspires me.

    He told me about the Oklahoma Natvie Americans and used to laugh at how a kid from the streets of Brooklyn ended up with an outfit full of “wild Indians.”

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