Saturday, 10 October 2015

Somewhere in Normandy ... Chain of Command AAR

Last Sunday I met up with Steve for a long overdue game of Chain of Command. Steve gave his regular German platoon a run out against my British regulars. We rolled for the scenario and the result was Attack and Defend. We agreed that the game could represent an action shortly after D-Day with the Allies trying to take an important German held crossroads.

Here’s the situation after the patrol phase. Germans in red, British in blue.

Steve had placed his initial markers well forward within his deployment zone. This was a good plan which left little space for the British to manoeuvre before the markers were locked down. I was pleased with the Jump Off Point on the edge of the wood near the house, but the other two were not ideal.

I rolled 9 so Steve got 4 points, as our force ratings were equal. I chose a Sherman M4 and a Universal Carrier with a Bren Team. I thought that as this was a push to capture a defended position it would be appropriate to take a little armour along. Steve chose a second Senior Leader (always wise!), a medic and entrenchments for one team. All of these proved to be very worthwhile investments as you will see!

With all the preliminaries complete, the British opened the action. This is after a couple of phases.

A 2" mortar team (out of pic on the left) tries to obscure the lines of sight for the Germans whilst a tank (a Centaur doubling as a Sherman ;o)), a section of infantry and the platoon sergeant begin to advance.

More creeping forward under the cover of smoke. The tank's movement became very cautious as I kept rolling double 1's for its move!

Some desultory shooting inflicts a few shock here and there but otherwise both forces are intact.

A squad of Germans occupy the farmhouse - look closely at the enlarged pic. They begin to pour fire on to the now slightly exposed 2" mortar team in the wood.

In reply the British bring a section on in the wood with a view to hedge-hopping towards the house.

But with the advance going well and the smoke providing great cover I managed to roll 3 sixes! Poof goes the smoke and Jerry lets rip! The 2" mortar team are shot up badly, plus the infantry supporting the tank take cover.

Steve's choice of an extra Senior Leader and a Medic were good. The extra SL meant that he could get his chaps moving when required plus rally off the shock that they accumulated. The medic proved his worth by patching up one of the German SLs - one of the few occasions that my chaps wounded a German officer.

The tank tries to even up the score by firing a couple of shots at the Germans behind the hedges near the farmhouse ... but BOTH shots are utterly ineffective - not even a point of shock is inflicted!?!

The third British section deploy near the wood and start shooting up the troops in the house.

Surprise! An entrenched Panzershreck deploys and a shot roars away towards the tank. A direct hit but the tank isn't quite knocked out. However, before it can recover a second round follows the first and the tank is destroyed - taking some nearby infantry with it. This also effectively blocked the road for the UC Bren team.

With the Germans in the house being pummeled from the wood, the other section begins the advance towards the house.

The rifle team ready their grenades and make a dash for the house, with cover from their Bren and the section in the wood. However, the Germans have had enough and retreat through the front door.

That's the last pic (sorry) but the German squad moving around the side of the house shredded the Bren team by the hedge then turned their attention on the section in the wood. German morale was still a reasonable 6, but British morale was a perilous 3. In a campaign I would have pulled out by now.

An amazing round of shooting later (I think Steve might have got a double six for two consecutive goes?) and my Lieutenant in the wood is slain by a burst from an MG42 resulting in morale falling to zero.

In the end the British, whilst causing quite a few casualties, just couldn’t seem to either wound German leaders or break teams/squads. Plus the tank proved to be 6 points of support wasted. So a clear win for Jerry. A good, fun game with a very capable opponent!

Lessons Learned
  • Be careful when placing teams like a 2” mortar or a PIAT, they’re very vulnerable to casualties/shock.
  • Take a moment before the patrol phase to properly consider the terrain, lines of sight/advance, etc. I was busy nattering to a variety of people then keen to get playing. Even the British platoon leaders manual clearly states that time should be taken to appreciate the field of battle!
  • Watch out for placing infantry too close to tanks.
  • Allied tanks are very vulnerable to the proliferation of German AT weapons, advance with care.


Rodger said...

Awesome game Matt. Love the photos, it looks very cool. Better luck next time!

Phil said...

Nice report with a great looking bocage terrain!

Matt said...

Thanks chaps. It was a good game indeed. I tried to use realistic tactics but Jerry had a good position.
The woodland scenics clump foliage works really well for country hedging. Need to make a lot more.

Bartek Zynda said...

Excellent game. Love your table and your minis.