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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'ello. So this happened. I'm finally doing 'late war' World War Two things, and Germans at that.

The thing is that so far I wasn't all that much into the idea of doing the usual fare of Western Front 1944/45 with all the uberweapons and such. However, a few things changed that. For one my regular gaming pal got really into the idea of doing British airborne troops. In addition to that Too Fat Lardies, the fine, fine company who came up with the brilliant Chain of Command rules, released another mini campaign rulebook with an interesting theme.

This of course is a great opportunity to get our WW2 campaign going, based on the struggle between elements of 21st Panzer Division / 125th Panzergrenadiers as part of Kampfgruppe von Luck and British/Canadian Paratroopers in the early hours of the D-Day Landings on June 6th 1944. The Paratroops had been dropped down to capture strategic points and keep German reinforcements away from the beaches while local German forces have to aim to throw them out and recapture important approach routes to Normandy. As my friend immediately went for the Paras I'll do the Germans.

The whole thing will be based on the recently released 'pint-sized campaign' supplement by Too Fat Lardies, Kampfgruppe von Luck:




This means basically I have to collect and paint the following:
.) A platoon of 1944 Panzergrenadiers consisting of: 1 Officer, 1 Panzerschreck team of 2, 3 squads of 10 Panzergrenadiers
.) A bunch of these mostly improvised rearmed originally French vehicles cobbled together by engineer Major Alfred Becker and his staff
.) A bunch of other support. Additional staff, egineers, heavy wepaons, vehicles.

Of course this force would be useful for any other (less specific) Panzergrenadier platoon of the time, with a slightly wider array or support options.





I ordered all the required stuff weeks ago, still not sign of the goods. So until further notice, I'll make do with a platoon of just two squads and I'll scrape together as much support as I can. Here's what I got in the making so far (those are all still WIP):



1 Officer
Panzerschreck team of 2
2 squads of Panzergrenadiers

Support Options:
MG42 MMG on tripod team of 5
Panzerschreck team of 2
Engineers Flamethrower team of 3 (one not pictured as he hid on my table ;) )


Here's a closer shot:



Hope you like them so far. :)

With further updates I'll give you additional background infos and whatnot.




Okay, this Friday will see the first incarnation of a series of little demo events we intend to run at a local club to advertise sets of wargaming rules we like a bit better than others and which we believe don't get quite enough attention compared to the rules sets we don't like quite as much. Of course we're going with the brilliant Chain of Command first, which drummed up a lot of attention at VIVAT2015.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
To get into the groove of things, and because the minis I ordered just wouldn't show up I got this:



It's Colonel Hand von Luck's memoirs. Weird title, as the guy mostly didn't have all that much to do with battle tanks, neither did he do a lot of tank commandeering during the war. Most of the time he was commander or armoured recon formations. More remarkably, he was in pretty much any theatre of the war. Having started his career as Unteroffizier before the war he was one of the young officers who gathered around Rommel and his unvonventional and often reckless ideas. Von Luck was there right from the attack on Poland, was with armoured recon in France, then in Russia, but to his big luck (which he often had over the course of the war) he got reassigned to Rommel's Afrikakorps in 1942 where he served until right before the end when he was sent off the Germany to present plans for an evacuation of the German and Italian Africa veterans before they'd gotten ground up between British and American forces. (these plans for a 'German Dunkirk' weren't accepted by the leadership btw, and only way, way too late chaotic evacuation was attempted)

In 1944, when an invasion of Western Europe was to be expected, Luck, an Oberstleutnant then, was assigned to the reborn 21st tank division in France where they basically sat tight, waiting for where the invasion force would strike. This pretty much is the point in time where I hop in.

Operation Tonga was the code name of 6th British Airborne Division's plans for D-Day. The division had been thoroughly trained for this specific mission for a year, but had no combat experience. This is why its goals were very straightforward: Protect the Eastern flank of the invasion force by taking and defending the two bridges crossing Caen canal (famous 'Pegasus' and 'Horsa' bridges) intact. The second goal was to destroy the Merville coastal artillery battery. Their third goal was to destroy several smaller bridges in the area, so German reinforcements couldn't intervene on the Eastern flank and would have to re-rout to the two remaining bridges defended by the Airborne troops.


Operation Tonga

On the German side troops were scattered all over the place due to lack of transport and not knowing where the invasion would happen. Even during D-Day the Normandy landing was taken for a diversion by high command. Basically the two opposing schools of thought on the situation were that Allied troops had to be met with full force right at the beach and thrown back into the sea immediately to have any chance of avoiding the opening of a second front (or third front rather, taking Italy in account) in Europe. This was Rommel's position. Others were convinced that an organized large scale counter-attack as soon as Allied troops were outside the range of their naval support guns was the way to go.

Starting at 00:15 the first British gliders of 5th Parachute Brigade with the job of taking the canal bridges and the bridges over river Orne (crash-) landed. 15 minutes later the major bridges were under British control. In the meantime pathfinder groups had landed and marked further landing zones for reinforcements. Many Paratroops and especially equipment didn't land on spot and either were lost or only met up with their units later on. Of many formations only 40% of men were at the spot on schedule, often without heavier equipment such as anti-tank weapons, Jeeps, radios and so on. Despite this Merville Battery was taken by 5 am.

Based on prior experiences with Allied invasions German HQ expected them to wait for good weather and enough daylight, so the 6th of June was considered not to be a probable date for the landings. For this reasons many officers were either with their HQs (many of them wargaming, actually) or on leave. The most immediate danger to the British and Canadian airborne troops who landed in the early hours of the 6th were 12 SS Panzer Division in the area, but they required Hitler's direct order to move out and he was asleep at the time. In addition to that there was much confusion among local German leadership. In part due to British diversion tactics of bombing various targets, dropping puppets on parachutes and SAS operatives carrying out fake attacks (in addition to this bombardments and Résistance attacks had mostly taken down the German radio net in the area), but also unintentionally so by Airborne troops who were dropped off at wrong locations who had to engage German forces on their way to their units. No other formations counter-attacked during the night either because despite requesting so no clearance for offensive action was given by army HQ. Von Luck writes:

So the night and the first hours of 6 June went by. Too late, much too late! was how it seemed to us. We were dismayed and angry that we had not been believed by the highest authority.

Finally General Marcks, whether authorized to do so or not, ordered our division to attack at once, with the whole division, east of the Orne and smash the units of the 6th Airborne Division that had landed there and cut their communications with the west.
Operation Tonga was hanging by a thread for a few hours, but as German forces weren't able to react effectively it was a success. British and Canadian Airborne formations were able to set up a bridgehead and due to constant supply and reinforcements were able to hold.


British Horsa gliders at Landing Zone 'N', 7 June 1944

German counter-attacks following during daylight were constantly harassed by British airforce and naval bombardment, especially in and around Caen through which German units had to 'squeeze' after the smaller bridges in the area had been demolished. The Allies pretty much had air superiority at this point as Göring's promise of "1000 fighter planes at the ready" had not been followed up on.



A few more words on Hans von Luck's memoirs: As far as first hand accounts of German field officers go this one is said to be one of the best. I'm only halfway through at this point (347 pages), and it's a pretty interesting read so far. It's doesn't hold any mind-boggling discoveries, but it's reasonably interesting. Especially the bits in the desert between his recon unit and the British 11th Hussars, both patrolling at the northern border of the Sahara to keep each other from outflanking the main force. Of course it would be much more fruitful a read if I knew more about the general going-ons historically, but I would say that for the desert stuff and France stuff (I expect) mainly this is a very good read. It's not very 'meaty' in terms of tactics or actual descriptions of combat, but a good read. And it's really cheap. I mean it's a cheap edition. Soft-back, cheap paper, but I don't mind. I ordered it along with the little book of calm actually. Not (only) to mess with Amazon's profiling algorithm thing. :p
 

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Heresy Online's Pet Furby
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Nice work!
What figures are they, Sig? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Oldman78: :D Cheers.
@Tawa: Thanks. Those are mostly 15mm Battlefront (the Flames of War dudes) minis, actually mid to late war Pioniers (combat engineers), so I'm still waiting for the rest of the core platoon. the plastic minis and vehicles are by Plastic Soldier Company. The latter are clearly a bit more realistically proportioned, but once painted they fit in okay.


Here's my platoon as it is now:



Still lacking one squad of Panzergrenadiers. So far I have two squads of ten each, along with a Panzerschreck team and a Leutnant to lead them.

Here's my support:


An MG42 MMG team of five, another Panzerschreck team and a team of Pioniers with a flamethrower.

...and my sniper, Obergefreiter Wilhem Busch:



Hope you like them so far. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Chain of Command demo day at WoW/Keepers Vienna

On January 8th 2016 we had the first 'VIVAT Presents...' event happening at World of Warhammer (they came up with the name shortly before that video game that sounds kinda similar. Unfortunate, I guess.) / Keepers of Dice club in Vienna. VIVAT of course being the annual event for historical wargaming 'round here. The organizers came up with the great idea of having smaller get-togethers throughout the year and demo historical rules sets which maybe get more attention than we believe they deserve. Presenting alternatives to the more 'mainstream' rules sets, showing something different, stuff like that.



At 4pm we met, tables were already set up using the excellent terrain provided by the club.



Virago, who pretty much organized the whole thing, and I handed out some quick reference sheets and jumped right in.

The scenario we played was Attack & Defend from the Chain of Command rulebook, virago's British elite Paratroopers versus my Panzergrenadiers. My platoon was one third (one Panzergrenadiers squad) short as my minis hadn't arrived in time. The British had three squads of paratroopers (one of them with two light MGs instead of the usual one), two snipers, a light mortar team, two senior leaders, forward artillery observers and a 3" mortar battery off-table. I had two squads of Panzergrenadiers, one senior leader, a MG42 MMG team, a sniper and a small engineers team with flamethrower. I was to defend, the British were on the attack.

Here you can see the table along with the patrol markers:


This was the first game in a Western Front 1944 setting. Usually we play in the early desert theatre of war. It was also our first game featuring Elite troops on one side who proved to be very strong indeed. In terms of fighting power, but mostly in terms of organizational effectiveness and thus initiative (simply put: They activate more and more flexibly). On the other side Panzergrenadiers of course pack an unholy amount of firepower.



This being a demo game, of course the dice gods decided to have a little fun and it turned out to be - out of the many games of CoC we had - probably the most extreme. The British Paras got to go five or six times in one go at one point, which of course got the Germans in serious trouble.




The British set up a firebase on top of a hill, covered by trees.



Early on I had made it my foremost objective to take possession of the buildings, which I achieved too, but then my guys got shot up so badly that they pretty much were lost right away. The rest were kicked out in bloody hand to hand combat by Paras with sub-machine guns. The buildings in use are Battlefront ones and I have to say that they are pretty neat. Removable roofs are rather handy.


British Para teams advancing along the roads towards the buildings Germans occupy ...




....houses cleared, Paras sitting in the lower levels.

With this they also made my central Jump-Off point (from which you deploy troops in Chain of Command) unusable. The good thing is that I rolled really well for morale rolls throughout the game. Both sides started with excellent Force Morale, when ever Bad Things(tm) happen (leaders wounded/killed, teams/squads wiped out or routed, Jump-Off Points lost, etc.) you have to roll for how this impacts Force Morale. The lower the Force Morale the less well your force works, have it drop too low you lose. I happened to roll really well on these, so no matter what happened, my brave little armymen refused to give up even though they took a nasty beating.

I brought on my sniper (Obergefreiter Wilhelm Busch) and the flamethrower team.


While the sniper didn't hit anything (just like the sniper on the other side though, until the end when they brought the second one in) the flamethrower team's range was just enough to smoke out the Paras in the larger building, killing everyone but their leader who retired towards the British Jump-Off point.


In typical tip-top preparedness, virago had also whipped up some great looking scenic jump-off points for his fellas.

With my second squad of Panzergrenadiers I made an attempt at flanking the British, but was met with (in my opinion) a disproportionally large amount of bullets and a 3" mortar barrage. :p At this point the morale of even the stoutest Panzergrenadier started to slip and the game ended in a British victory.

And it was a very, very interesting game indeed. Lots of new stuff to learn even for us (mostly exotic stuff like snipers, flamethrowers and such). The massive impetus of the British attack with several phases in a row of course was an extreme situation, but it happens. An attack of a full Paras platoon is supposed to hit like a bag of bricks (with a red hat on top). As mentioned before - Chain of Command isn't a tournament game, it's probably not for people who believe that in battle there are certainties. In fact there is very little predictability. It's one little crisis to manage after another.

I have to admit that we probably got a little caught up in the game and all the new bits we had to get used to ourselves, so at the beginning explanations about how the game works fell a bit short at first, but that was remedied quickly.

The second table featured I believe Polish forces fighting Germans in Italy:







In the meantime a few of the guys who had watched the first game had a go themselves at the same scenario


Pat-rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin' .... ( yes, I indeed am down with the music of the hip cats)

The game went even worse for the Germans, but the whole scenario wasn't balanced to begin with. No biggie. It worked well to get the general mechanics over I believe. The whole event went on until midnight. All of the guys present remarked on really liking the game mechanics. The usual disputes about what scale to use emerged immediately (all the tables were played with 15mm figures, but many people also got 28mm collections and will go with that) and many of the guys present looked up how to order the rulebook, markers, campaign supplements and so on.

I enjoy Chain of Command immensely and it's great to see it catching on like that. I would like to thank the organizers as well as everyone who attended and the club for letting us use the premises on the day. Good times, looking forward to the next VIVAT Presents...-event!




There are already two more such days planned for January, one showcasing an American Civil War version of Black Powder, the other one doing Ancient Roman(?) stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey, guess what the postman brought me today!



A platoon of Panzergrenadiers, 2 sFH mounted on Lorraine Schleppers, 2 Pak40 mounted on S307(f)s and 2 Unix 304(f) armoured troop carriers. :) Got all my stuff together now, at least as far as the short and eclectic list of supports go for the Kampfgruppe von Luck campaign. :)
 

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Can't wait to see some paint on them :good:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@Tawa: Me too! :D


In the mean time, here's something related I made: It's in-depth review of Plastic Soldier Company's 15mm Panther platoon box.

In this article I'm covering the historical background of the Panther tank and then get on to the nitty-gritty including unboxing, large high-res pictures of sprues and details, assembly and painting.



http://www.battlebrushstudios.com/2016/01/review-15mm-panthers-by-plastic-soldier.html







I hope that you find the article interesting and informative!
 

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Oh my! What lovely..... tanks you have.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
@Tawa: ...and so many too! :D


Hey guys, this isn't quite an update on my 15mm D-Day project, but we had another Chain of Command demo day at the local games club. This time we went 28mm!


...and this time we went big. Well, 28mm big at least.

After the first event was all about 15mm figures, this time we got out the 28mm figures to show what Chain of Command looks like at this scale.

Funny thing about the preparation of the whole thing. At first the situation was as such: Everybody's got Americans, we need Germans! So I got out the Germans and very gladly realized that I've got exactly one platoon worth of Panzergrenadiere. Nice. So I quickly painted a bunch of vehicles (as 'quickly' as that's possible).

The evening before the day I got the info "one of the Americans won't bring his minis, you better bring your Soviets as well". Cool thing, because I really, really like those minis. In the end the Germans spent the event in their case and only my Russians got out to play after someone with a LOT of Germans turned up. :D

Oh well, at least we got an overview of who got what for 28mm Chain of Command in the area.

On to the actual events.

I showed up at 4:30pm, thankfully virago had once again set up a great looking table already. After some waiting about enough people had shown up to start a first game.





Two first-timers at the helm, the mission was scenario#1 from the CoC rulebook. We kept things simple.

It was a US rifle platoon (plus a FOO, backed up by a mortar battery, Force Morale 8) vs. a platoon of German Panzergrenadiers (plus an Adjutant, which are really handy for Germans, Force Morale 9)

The patrol phase had the German patrols advance towards the houses as quickly as possible while the Americans tried to find a way around their left flank.



(don't mind the British patrol markers. We didn't have any American ones at hand and it was a case of 'close enough'.)

The lines were drawn and the games began.


Due to higher force morale (albeit barely), the Germans went first and cleverly set up a squad of Panzergrenadiers in the foremost house. One team, along with the Junior Leader, on the top floor on overwatch, with a good field of fire over the US jump off points, the second team in the lower floor for moral support (and some windows to look out of and at a tall, LOS-blocking hedge).




The US player set up a rifle squad as firebase who soon were joined by a senior leader and the FOO. The first team started unloaded covering fire at the house in which the Germans had deployed while the second team fired for effect. The Germans returned fire (Overwatch), but due to covering fire it wasn't too effective (same as the US fire).

On their left flank the other US player (who had jumped in on the Allies' side and got to command the other two squads and a senior leader) deployed the rest of the platoon to advance through the wheat fields and take the central building.








Here are two overview pictures of the situation in mid-game:


(the two German teams in the right actually are sitting in the lower right building)



When the US attack on the flank became apparent the Germans deployed two more squads on that flank. One for fire, the other one had one team set up as fire support, the other one was kept behind the walls as support. Later they were joined by the Unteroffizier and the Panzerschreck team for good measure.







Then the US medium mortars hit right on the spot and the whole German platoon (bar for one team who swiftly got shot up) was pretty much paralyzed. At that point none of the players had rolled even one five, so there were no CoC Dice for the German player to rely on to end the barrage and no triple 6 in sight either. So the mortars kept on firing for a few phases. Certainly frustrating for the Germans.

At one point we agreed to end the mortar barrage to get some more gaming in and for the players to try out some more of the rules.


---

In the mean time a second table saw Germans and a Soviet rifle platoon fighting over a bit of tundra and the remains of a surprisingly gothic looking cathedral (surely destroyed during the revolution and the ensuing civil war):




I was very happy to see my favourite T-34 on the table (have I mentioned that I really like my Soviet 28mm figures? :p ).





I was immediately informed that it just had been destroyed and they were just looking for some cotton to label it as such. In a last-minute gambit the German player had deployed his Panzerschreck team right in front of the tank in the open and got in a very lucky shot.




My 'Lana' went up in flames and I returned to the other table where I had a game to run. :p

---

While the German leaders were mostly busy removing shock after the mortar fire the MGs opened up at the US attack on the flank, badly hammering one of the squads. Worst of all, the Platoon Sergeant got killed in the hail of bullets, leading to a substantial loss of force morale.

The other squad sprinted across the fields, kicked in the door on the wall the Germans were sitting behind and quick and bloody close combat ensued. Due to some unlucky rolls the US squad fled through the door they had just kicked in.




As you can see the US squads had accumulated a lot of shock at that point:


While the Germans had taken a lot of casualties, the US platoon had taken more damage and had gotten reduced to Force Morale 3. German Force Morale had also been reduced, but sat at a somewhat comfortable 6, maybe 5.

Good game. The activation rolls were pretty even (only one double-6 which was followed up almost immediately by a double 6 on the other side). The game seemed like it had been enjoyed by everyone involved, except for the mortar barrage of course.

It's really nice to see how well Chain of Command goes over with people. Of course the period is very much a thing most people can get into and for which in fact most people have figures for. Of course the crowd is divided in terms of which size (15mm or 28mm) looks and plays better, but if that's the worst problem we have with Chain of Command I'm rather content with the situation. By 11pm all the games had ended, minis and terrain were packed away and general chatting ensued.

Thanks to everybody who participated and thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed my little write-up of the events!
 
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