Thursday, 26 May 2022

Somewhere in Sicily

I’ve been mulling over some ideas for an introductory Chain of Command scenario and finally got some time to actually play it. Like most wargames CoC is better with a proper scenario and ideal when played as part of a narrative campaign. This scenario is based around the idea that the Germans have lost a truck containing special equipment, secret papers, etc (possibly even a bespectacled boffin in a white coat) all of which are vital to the war effort. Well, the truck has been spotted and both Axis and Allied forces are scrambling to reach it first… yep, you guessed it, they arrive more or less simultaneously! The aim is that this sort of scenario will encourage players to advance and attack rather than just stand back and shoot from afar.

Here’s the layout. The truck is blocking the dusty, dirt road between a small church, an olive farm and a vineyard and is approximately in the centre of the table. Allied forces will enter from the East (right) and Axis from the West (left). The Patrol Phase is complete: Axis JOPs are in the edge of the vineyard, behind the church rear wall and in the church yard. Allied JOPs are behind the stables, in the walled enclosure beside the road junction and in woods opposite the vineyard house. I’ve used the TFL counters to make things slightly easier to see.

With equal Force Morale of 11, the Allies win the roll off to go first. A section takes up overwatch behind the stone wall near the road junction whilst further back, behind the corner of the stable block, lurks a Vickers MG, also in overwatch as the Lt has deployed with them. The idea is to provide good cover for a subsequent rush on the truck.

Jerry counters by deploying an Ie.IG18 and blasting away at the section causing a couple of points of shock.

The return overwatch shooting saw a gunner fall dead.

Keen to get boots on the ground the Germans deploy a squad in the road outside the church and the gun fires again but cause only another point of shock.

With Jerry on the move the Allies need a good command roll this phase…

At least the Lt can order the Vickers to shoot through the sparse trees of the olive grove. The German JL is wounded, a man is killed and the MG team get 2 shock!

A German squad deploys in the graveyard but the high walls mean only the MG team can shoot through the gap… and fail to hit a thing.

The brave section by the road junction have been blasted by the field gun twice and raked by MG fire, yet have only 2 pips of shock. Clearly good fieldcraft!

Sensing that more of his fellows are advancing, the Corporal orders his rifle team to place covering fire on German MG and the Bren team to cover the field gun. That should keep them busy!

Here’s section 2 making the most of the covering fire.

Now Jerry is in need of a good command roll… 🙄

Two of the 1’s allow the squad in the road to almost reach the truck (dragging their wounded JL with them).

The Ie.IG 18 opens up on the newly deployed British section and, despite the covering fire, place a well aimed round amongst the Tommies. The Corporal is wounded and several shock are gained.

Jerry reaches the objective, but can it be held?

The hapless British section pick up another point of shock. Tricky given their corporal is injured.

The third squad deploys outside the churchyard along with the SL who puts them in overwatch covering the Olive Grove, because…

… the third section deploys behind the stable and looks to be planning a flank attack through the trees.

The 2 inch mortar deploys on the edge of the wood behind the farmhouse with the intention of blocking the LOS of the Ie.IG 18 but the round falls short.

This (slightly lopsided) pic shows the third section advancing through the olives, but despite the cover and “tactical” they are badly mauled by fire from the squad outside the church. Both teams suffer 2 kills but the JL must have been tying his laces as he’s unharmed.

The Vickers (by the stable) peppers the truck with shots but to absolutely no effect. At this point we’re treating the truck as scenery, i.e. light cover.

The Platoon Sergeant (on the 2p base) arrives to steady the lads, by rallying off 3 points on shock!

Despite using a CoC dice to interrupt and hop over the wall in to more solid cover, 3 section take yet more punishment from the Germans in the road outside the church. Another kill and two more shock. The Bren team is down to one man.

Jerry might hold the truck but can he search it (or maybe get it started?) given that their squad leader is out of action… I ruled that he had briefed the men so they decide to see if they can get it going again! Borrowing the task rules from Sharp Practice 2, they pop the bonnet but roll a measly 1.

The Vickers team take better aim and shred the chaps trying to get the truck going!

Then the section on the road open up on the same target. Amazingly, this inflicts a further 2 kills and 3 shock…

… causing the terrified survivors to break and flee to the safety of the churchyard. German morale has by now dropped to 6 points.

The poor fellows that ‘escaped’ from the olive grove are still in terrible peril. The crumbling stone wall gives less cover than hoped and the Bren team is wiped out. British morale drops to 8.

Bravo! The 2 inch mortar comes up trumps.

The German JL has ordered the MG team to provide cover whilst he leads his men towards the truck (although I believe German doctrine was for the squad leader to stay with the MG). However, the Vickers can draw a bead on them and the JL falls under a hail of bullets. German morale drops to just 4 points.

The rest of the British shooting this phase was a waste of bullets but at least the Bren carrier has arrived on the scene.

The British Lt has bravely moved up to try to bring the survivors of 3 section to safety but in doing so is hit and wounded. British morale now stands at 5 points.

The dice are unkind to the Lt and the surviving members of 3 section as they fail to reach the safety of the nice, solid stable buildings.

The Platoon Sergeant sends 1 section forward to grab the truck with orders to see if they can get it moving. Having seen Jerry under the bonnet he’s hoping they’ve done something useful!

The British section on the road junction attempt to support their mates on the truck by shooting at the German squad outside the church… needing 4’s to hit. Oh dear!

To make things worse, with just 3 command dice available, Jerry rolls two sixes for a double phase, lol!

The 2 allows the squad in the road to shoot at the chaps scrambling for the safety of the stable. Result is three kills. The Lt wasn’t hit again but the section were wiped out. British morale now drops to 4.

The double turn sees Jerry target the lone British Lt who is shredded by MG shots. British morale drops to 2 but as they hold the truck play continues. German morale is at 3 so both sides are in a perilous situation!

The British roll 45, so the Platoon Sergeant moves forward to encourage the section on the truck. They make a good task roll, the engine coughs, then splutters and conks out again.

The German Lt is able to activate and orders everything to fire at the British frantically trying to start the truck. Several kills and heap of shock sees them pinned.

Amazingly the British roll includes another 4 so the Platoon Sergeant rallies off the shock (playing unpinned immediately in this situation for ease of play, plus it made for more heroism here!). The section activates and has another good task roll despite the remaining shock (-1 task point per 2 pips of shock)… this time the engine catches and roars in to life!

The truck is now in play and will count as a soft skin transport vehicle rather than as scenery.

Incensed by the British attempt to steal the truck from right under their noses, the German commander orders the Ie.IG 18 to open fire. If the Reich cannot have the secret papers and equipment (and the hapless boffin) then neither will the Britishers! But… the roll is snake eyes!

The British roll a 3 so with a cheer, the cheeky lads of 1 section crunch through the gears and reverse back along the road, with the Platoon Sergeant hopping on the back too.

Slamming another shell in to the breech, the gun commander takes more careful aim and this time there’s no escape for the chaps in the truck. The shell tears through the engine, hits the fuel tank and the truck is ripped apart by a huge explosion!

The already wounded corporal in the section is blown to bits along with his men and the Platoon Sergeant is injured so British morale is reduced to zero. The Germans cheer as they force their enemy to retreat empty handed, although the Leutnant will have some explaining to do when he gets back to HQ. No Iron Cross for this action!

What a splendid game of Chain of Command. Maybe a little “Hollywood” in places but jolly good fun all round.

The buildings are all splendid Charlie Foxtrot Models Pantile kits, walls from Hovels and Javis, road from Coritani and trees by Last Valley. Models are mostly Perry with a scattering of Warlord.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Scenic Scatter

Painted for a very good friend’s birthday.

All Hovels resin except the dog which is from Redoubt. The recipe is the same as for the Thatched Hut elsewhere on the blog.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Zero Hour at Legionary

As promised here are some photos from the Zero Hour participation game. I’ve added a few notes to some to help make sense of the action, but really I think the pictures speak for themselves! The basic premise of the game is that the French are attacking a section of the line with the aim of capturing the second line of trenches (including a command post) and the nearby ruined village. The French have superior numbers and armour, but the Germans have a Storm Trooper company held off table ready to mount a counter attack if the forward trench line is breached.

The French mass in and around the blasted wood on a low hill.

And the Germans are waiting in their trenches!

On the French left the Senegalese are supported by tanks and big guns.

Scarab’s WW1 Rommel figure keeps an eye on things from a ruined building (a Charlie Foxtrot kit).

The whistles blow and the attack begins!

German artillery begins to hammer the advancing French as they scramble through mud filled craters and along rickety duck boarding.

The French guns respond in a similar fashion forcing the Germans in to their dug outs.

Artillery from both sides pound the lines causing terrible casualties but the morale of both sides holds steady… just!

The French, now slightly depleted, close on the trench line… are they going to be enough or will the Germans have the numbers to hold? A lucky artillery strike has cleared a section of wire and the French pour through the gap.

Vicious hand to hand fighting erupts as the French seek to take the trenches.

The Germans have been well pounded by French artillery and despite the advantage of the trench, the fighting is finely balanced.

Further along the line the French break through the wire and take out a machine gun nest with grenades. Must be a “gong” awarded there somewhere?

The advance of the tanks was initially slowed by direct German artillery fire. However, they rumble through the wire and, as the French  artillery ceases, begin hosing the Germans with machine guns.


Large numbers of troops now race to exploit the gap! Further back though, the Germans begin to feed their exalted Storm Troopers through the rear trenches. Also, with the trench line broken, they can open up with artillery again.

The Germans also have some armour of their own to support the Storm Troopers.

However… a lucky shot, over open sights, from a French 75mm field gun scores a direct (and critical!) hit on the A7V.

Boom! … and the behemoth grinds to a halt in a cloud of smoke and flame.

Here are a few pics from eye level where hopefully you’ll agree that the table looks superb! Well done to Tobruk Models and Terrain!

A great day all round! Many thanks to our players for an excellent game.