Last night another game of Chain of Command took place. This time it was Frank Shandy who borrowed my Brits (BLUE) pitted against virago and his German DAK platoon (RED). My job as umpiring the whole affair and taking pictures.
The scenario is Scenario Six from the rulebook - Attack on an Objective. The British platoon's job is to hold an objective, in our case here an important hill going along with control of the railway and telegraph, the Germans' job is to kick them off the objective and occupy it themselves. The attack would go on until one side is retreating (voluntarily or by means of lowering their force morale to a point at which the force is uncommandable any more).
In this scenario the attacker rolls 2d6 for their support level, the defender gets half that support.
Force Morale was rolled for and the Germans ended up with a force morale of 9, the British got 8.
Being the attackers, the Germans got four patrol markers (check out the snazzy patrol markers virago made) and a random number of free patrol marker moves (in this case three), starting at their table edge. The British got three markers, starting at the objective.
The German patrols advanced aggressively and got quite far into the enemy flank on the right side.
I also put the opposing forces in the picture. The British mid-1941 rifle platoon versus the German DAK Panzergrenadiers. The Germans ended up with 7 points of support while the British got 6 (half the points the Germans get = 3, plus the difference in platoon rating = 3). Given the relatively high level of support it would have been perfectly possible for the Germans to bring a battle tank. With this in mind the British brought a 40mm bofors anti-air gun (often used in all sorts of roles at the time, even though it was deemed 'unenglish' to use AA guns against ground targets by some officers). For the rest of their support they got entrenchments for two teams. Those would be deployed along with the teams sitting in them on pre-determined jump-off points.
German Platoon Sergeant
German support went in a whole different direction though, with a second senior leader, an adjutant, both an excellent way to make sure the troops move swiftly and where you want them to move, and a forward observer team with a battery of 81mm mortars on stand-by.
The Early Game
Jump-off points were placed and the attackers started their first phase. The Germans deployed a squad of Panzergrenadiers right away at the central Jump Off Point as well as Oberleutnant Lechner, the platoon commander. He immediately started reorganizing the squad, massing the two MG34s into one group and the riflemen into another.
Lechner, blurry dude in the bottom left, bellowing orders in his thick Styrian accent while his Panzergrenadiers scrurry around. The half-track and staffers is one of virago's scenic Jump-Off Point markers.
Then two riflemen were detached as a combat patrol and were sent off around the dune at tactical stance (slower, but cover is increased by one level) to scout the British positions. The other two Panzergrenadier sections were deployed at the other two Jump-Off Points each, going on overwatch.
A British squad was deployed to the left on the slight hill, met the German scouts with fire and send them back around the dune. The other team within that section went on overwatch because the German Panzergrenadiers on the right side had started advancing, capturing one of the British Jump-Off Points and thus making it unusable for now (greyed out).
The British Bofors gun was deployed pretty early on due to the Germans' pressure. It was deployed bang on the objective and entrenched.
They opened fire at the advancing Germans, didn't do a whole lot of damage, but one might say the damage was done where it counts: The unlucky second senior leader got hit by a 40mm round and the German force morale took a hefty hit.
Seeing as how the British had revealed the position of their big guns (right next to the Bofors gun a rifle section and the mortar team had been deployed as well) it was time to bring in support to silence this strongpoint. The forward observer team revealed their position with the Panzergrenadiers squad in the back and started calling the 81mm mortar barrage.
In the next phase a ranging shot was fired...
...the position confirmed and the barrage came in.
The Bofors gun team, who had taken a slight beating already, were wiped out to the man. The rifle section and mortar team didn't suffer any casualties, but were pinned until the barrage would end. In addition to that the area of the barrage blocked line of sight completely. The operation was in danger to go pear shaped, so 2nd Lt. Fitzpatrick called his men back behind the hill to rally and reconsider.
This is the sitation as it presented itself mid-game:
In the top left you can see the British squads pulling back behind the hill. Before that the bofors gun and rifle section had forced the Germans in the top left to retreat a little as well. Lechner and his reogranized squad got into firing positions along the dune.
At this point the whole affair ground down into a bloody stalemate. The barrage ended prematurely and after a few failed connections the forward observers were informed that the mortar battery had been reassined to another mission. The force morale on both sides had been reduced to 5. Less so due to men lost but due to wounded or, in the German case, killed leaders. The British infantry behind the hill had regrouped and set up again in firing lines to fend off the Germans once more. For how much longer they would be able to effectively fight them was a different matter, seeing as how they were outgunned and ever so slightly outnumbered as well.
On the German side however the willingness for swift and decisive attack had veined as well due to the low force morale. A back and forth of largely ineffective and mostly suppressive fire erupted.
The British 2" mortar team also finally got to fire their smoke rounds, disrupting firing lines, negating parts of the German firepower advantage.
We stopped at this point and packed up as it was getting late.
Very hard to telling which way this situation would have ended, with both sides effectively being locked in exchanges of fire. This of course always can go either way and usually should be avoided because it usually leads to both sides suffering without achieving much at all. In Chain of Command casualty numbers usually are not very high compared to other games and games are decided on my other factors rather than who killed most guys.
Fun was had by both sides, Frank is getting a better grip on the rules now (especially now that he's got his rulebook) and a very interesting idea for a force of his own - French Foreign Legion which he'll pick up at Crisis (and yes, I'm very jealous that he's going and I'm not ;) ).
So stay tuned for more Chain of Command. I hope that you enjoyed this little After-Action Report.