Martlet Campaign: Attack on the Hauptkampflinie

After the battering Erste Zug suffered in the last action they had to do some serious re-organising, so much so in fact that they were dangerously close to being ‘Trigger’s Broom’*.

To defend against the victorious Jocks I had to do a fair bit of reorganising due to the severe losses I suffered in the last fight. This caused me to go for 2 5-man Rifle squads with J/L’s from the support lists to bolster my force. I added the 2 suvivors of 1. & 2. Gruppe and the 2 blokes returning from the hospital to them to give a 2 man LMG team in each, with an additional member added from the ersatz riflemen. Mike also said that as he used more than his allotted HE rounds from his deadeye mortar team in the first game I could have a couple of guys back from those casualties and they went into 3. Gruppe to give them a boost. At least the Adjutant was still alive!

  • Replacement Platoon Leader – Klopp, he would only have 2 activations.
  • 1. Ersatz Gruppe – J/L (Schweinsteiger), 4 rifle team and 3 man MG42 team
  • 2.Ersatz Gruppe – J/L (Huth), 4 rifle team and 3 man MG42 team
  • 3. Gruppe – Ballack still going strong with 2 x 3-man LMG teams
  • Adjutant

I was not in a positive frame of mind for this battle from the off – my force was badly depleted and Mike’s lads were turning up with a whopping 20 odd points of support, added to that I threw awfully for morale and was starting on 8 so would have to watch myself, Mike was on 10 due to a good roll and his men’s opinion. Even though I had a good defensive position with the village overlooking a nice bare approach my inability to have purchased some ‘punchier’ support was a worry. However I suppose the one thing going for me was that this was Erste Zug’s last battle before being replaced by Dritte Zug so they could go all Valhalla and try and cause as much damage as possible and Mike did have to secure the farm complex or the crossroads to win.

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Surely I could have no problem defending this.
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Mike’s view of the battlefield

The patrol phase went true to form with Mike pushing up on my left quite far to gain one forward JOP, I did manage to keep half of his JOP’s to behind the trees by his baseline though from which he discarded one. I put one of mine in the wood on my flank to prevent him sneaking through there and one to enable me to garrison the village, with one pulled back as a reserve point and my mandatory one in the farm complex – all in all I was quite happy with them.

I should have quit straight away actually as Mike went on a sequence of crazy activation rolls – 1st phase: 4×6’s – (random event = on the piss! so his morale went up). 2nd phase: 2×6’s, 3rd phase:3×6’s, 4th phase: 3×6’s, 5th phase: 2×6’s. Well at least when I got to try and deploy the barrage was over!

Mike used this string of good fortune push forwards his TROOP of Shermans and to deploy a sniper forwards of his furthest JOP, he brought on 2 sections behind the tanks. My only response was to put a section into the house opposite the tower and a section into the wood on the left. I was concerned that Mike would try and rush a section into the wood to take my JOP there, even though he hadn’t tried yet there was still one to bring on so wanted to defend it until I built up a CoC dice move it to the rear. The guys in the house were there to try and slow down the Brits advancing up the road, as the Shermans hadn’t seen me enter the house I knew I would be safe from them until I opened up.

Anyway, the MG42 in the house tried to go on overwatch to take on the sniper but got tagged without causing any return damage so went to ground. I then decided to move the section in the wood forwards to try and take the sniper out, this only drew fire from a Sherman causing casualties – they were promptly withdrawn.

Mike did some classic tactical work next bringing on his rifle sections by the ornamental garden and advancing them up the road behind a tank or along the hedges. It seemed as if my lads in the wood had actually prevented him from using the forward JOP so at least that was a bonus. However with the tanks now having been informed of my presence in the house and taking 75mm-HE type pot shots at me I decided to vacate it and to wait at the rear – the fact that Mike knew I had Panzerfausts kept him at a distance and his infantry seemed reluctant to get too close for fear of triggering a close combat, which might not have gone well for him.

He decided to swing one tank towards the wood and followed it up with two sections so once I had moved the JOP there back I decided to withdraw to behind the road as there was no way I could prevent him forcing the wood without losing that section and hence taking a hit on my already shaky morale.

Actually this phase of the battle was quite intense with Mike agonising over which way to proceed, through the village where I was waiting to spring an ambush or through the wood – in the end he did make the best choice. Meanwhile the other flank saw absolutely no action with Mike loath to get anywhere near the fortified farmhouse with either tanks or infantry.

With Mike deciding to go through the woods I had to try and extract my section to the rear of the house with a Sherman parked on overwatch on the road waiting for just a move, I also had to wait for another CoC dice to move the JOP. Eventually it did and so it was time for some smoke grenade action and the lads there successfully legged it across the crossroads and into the lee of the farm buildings. Once there they set up in overwatch along the lateral road hoping to interdict any advance from the wood. The escaping wood section had also made a skilful withdrawal and now had taken up position by the alleyway also covering the road. All in all I was quite happy with extracting my lads for no further loss and was quietly confident that I would be able to get some damage on Mike’s infantry at least if he poked his head out of the wood.

One of the things I really love about this ruleset is the way that things can change vey quickly – one wrong decision or a bit of bad luck can completely spanner your day, causing morale to plummet and leaving you with decisions whether to fight on or to ‘Foxtrot Romeo Oscar’. The next passage of play was just such a situation.

I felt quietly confident in my position, one section (Breitner’s) had taken 3 casualties, Scweinsteiger’s had taken 2, so both could still put up a fight, and Mike was nowhere near taking the farm or crossroads. I had my JOP’s covered well and all I had to do was wait for him to come to me and then I could inflict casualties on him. Yes, I was worried about the tanks but I’d have to try and take them out with Panzerfausts – if that didn’t work there’s always swearing and running away.

So all looked good and then I ballsed it up. Mike finally screwed up the courage to run a section across the lateral road and into the alleyway – obviously going for my JOP located nearby. As he did so I opened up and caused some shock and a casualty. He was now in the alleyway and a tempting target. All I had to do was to move Breitner’s lads close and chuck some grenades over, if I didn’t cause casualties then I’d definitely pile the shock on as they were in a confined space so the grenades would cause more damage. Alternatively I could jus wait for him to try a close assault and position the 2 MG42’s to cover the exit – again bad news for him – although I’d probably suffer as well.

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Surely I could have no problem defending against this?

That’s all I had to do, one of those two things. So did I choose plan A or plan B? No, silly bollocks me decided that it would be best to close assault the numerically superior Brits hoping that the ‘Handgrenaten’ national characteristic would give me the edge, so plan C. Must have worked a treat right – no, course not, absolute disaster – I didn’t even cause a point of shock with the grenades and I was wiped out in the melee after equally abysmal dice.

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I cause 2 casualties, Mike does 5. Bum.

To make matters worse Mike then swans round and takes my JOP. With my morale rolls for having the section wiped out, losing a J/L and a JOP all bloody awful I was down to 4 on my morale. I was now facing the prospect of defending against 3 tanks, a near full strength pissed-up infantry platoon with amazing morale with 2 sections that were not even a part of my platoon whose morale was shot, so I decided to get out of town while I still could.

So, again an overwhelming defeat for 1.Zug – this time the last surviving section copped it although Breitner managed to escape with a wound. In this fight I suffered 9 casualties to the men with 4 KIA, 3 WIA and 2 ok to carry on.

Up until this point I have suffered the following casualties from the original 18 members plus 15 replacement riflemen:

  • 9 killed plus Senior Leader
  • 7 wounded plus 3 Junior Leaders
  • 1 Missing
  • 1 POW
That is far too much, even taking into account 8 of them fell on the replacements.

Again I learnt a valuable lesson, basically stick with the best option when in defence.

Now I need to decide whether to unleash the ‘Punch from Wunsche’ wildcard and counter-attack on this table or try and defeat Mike first….

*’Triggers Broom’ comes from the fantastic ‘Only Fools and Horses’ a BBC sitcom. In the episode “Heroes and Villains“, Trigger wins an award from the council for having owned the same broom for 20 years (he is a road sweeper). He then reveals that it has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, but insists it is still the same broom!

 

 

 

 

 

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Martlet Campaign: Pushing On

After a quick break to re-do the terrain and decide on our new support lists it was straight onto the next game in the campaign, one which I had recently played and had not done at all well at, surely this time I’d do better, especially as I knew where I’d gone wrong in the last game, surely I would…….

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View from the British lines.
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View from the German lines. ‘Box Wood’ to the right of the farm complex. ‘Junction Wood’ ‘above’ it.

Erste Zug was in quite bad shape at the beginning of this battle as 1st Gruppe had been reduced to 2 men, hardly enough to man a LMG, so I collected a rifle squad to bolster them back into a decent sized section. I added a sniper to my force and ensured that the Adjutant was on hand to forward troops to me when needed.

Mike did well again when rolling for his free moves during the patrol phase and managed to push forwards into ‘Junction Wood’ and into a great position covering the right flank. I was reasonably happy with my JOP’s, ideally I would have liked to have been a tad further forwards but I had a nice compact position I thought.

Mike suffered a bit trying to get his guy’s on during his first phase losing his Sherman and, oh the irony, a scout team in the fog. I then brought on a squad to secure the farm by deploying into the farmyard – the plan being to get the 2 LMG’s in the high windows early to cover the left of the table. Mike then managed to bring on a rifle section into ‘Junction Wood’ and I decided to bring on another section to secure ‘Box Wood’ to prevent any attempt on the JOP there in my phase and got lucky, rolling a triple 3 again and so ending the turn and the pesky bombardment – I also duly brought on Klinsmann’s section into the centre of the wood and then stupidly moved up towards the hedge facing towards the Brits.

Mike then tried bringing on his Sherman and scouts again and thankfully lost them in the fog for the duration of the game, my happiness at this event was short lived as he the deployed a Vickers gun at the hedgerow on the right and proceeded to fire on 2. Gruppe. This would not go well for Klinsmanns lads. Vickers guns hurt. A lot.

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2. Gruppe hit the hedge.
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That damned Vickers Gun!

Although 2. Gruppe were suffering a bit I was glad that at least I had the advantage in armour now and called up Schumacher. I also brought ‘der Kaiser’ onto the table to try and help keep Klinsmann’s boys in order – also to help with activations as I was rolling a lot of 5’s and 6’s (which can be a double edged sword, yes yo build CoC dice but it does mean that you lose the chance to activate units).

My guys in the farmhouse weren’t doing much and as Mike had vacated ‘Junction Wood’ with his rifle section, moving them to the left, I decided on a cunning plan – I would push them into the wood and try for his JOP there, unfortunately there was no door directly into the wood so I had to get them along the wall to jump them over. I also decided that the best way to take out the Vickers was with the PzIV so started to move forwards to do that. 2. Gruppe were pinned by this time and it was imperative that this got done quickly.

Mike then brought on another rifle section along the road on the left where his initial rifle section now lurked. To counter this move I brought on my Sniper and deployed him on overwatch in the Smithy so that he had a good view out of the gate and hence anyone moving along the road.

Mike’s push down the road with his 2 sections was causing me slight concern, especially as my sniper wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped just adding shock to Mike’s section on the road. I duly deployed Breitner’s 1.Gruppe at the junction JOP to await events and tried to get the tank up to take on the Vickers – I kept rolling low for his movement and it took ages! – however it did seem that the Vickers might be jammed as it hadn’t fired for a while, but it had managed to reduce the squad in numbers and wound Klinsmann before this happened. The lads in the farmyard just couldn’t get activated to jump the wall.

Things then took a dramatic turn very quickly. Instead of using a section activation to get 3.Gruppe over the wall I stupidly thought it would be best to wheel Breitner’s lads into the road to chop down Mike’s section in the road, banking on the power of the MG42 to do it’s thing. However, this didn’t go as well as I’d hoped and Mike came out of it alright – just a bit shocked. In response he then pushed the section beyond the hedge into a flanking position and initiated close combat. This was the first time we had done this and the result was carnage. After the noise and smoke had all settled down no-one from either section was left!

Over on the other side of the farm the PzIV had finally got a shot away at the Vickers but it didn’t do too much damage and it was too late anyway as 2.Gruppe finally broke when the Vickers duly unjammed itself putting an acute burst in that resulted in wiping out the remainder of the section leaving only the wounded Klinsmann left who quickly decamped.

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Mike’s ‘suicide squad’ embark on their costly manoeuvre.
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Schumacher finally gets a shot away at the Vickers. (Again, it aint this ‘green’!)

So I had quickly gone down to one remaining section who were stuck in the farmyard! Time to consider what to do. What I should have done was declared I was bugging out straight away, but I didn’t. Idiot.

In a fit of pique I decided that I’d do for the Vickers and was determined to take him out with my tank, thinking I’d take the JOP as well. I was then going to jump the wall and take the  JOP in the wood too hoping to break Mike’s morale quickly and then cause him to retire. Again. Idiot.

I edged the tank forwards for some reason and again failed to cause any casualties on the Vickers, whilst my lads in the farmyard again couldn’t get over the wall. Mike’s go and he deployed his PIAT team right by the tank and let fly. BOING! it bounced off but caused a bit of shock. Over on the other road Mike also did a brilliant manoeuvre, he rushed the section there forwards and overrun my JOP at the junction. Arse!

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Mike’s PIAT team hit the table – gits!
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Brits match winning sneaky shennanigans.

I was hit with some sort of command paralysis next and decided to get my remaining section into the farmhouse, not having the dice to do anything else. Mike then got a double 6 and finally put the nail in my coffin. The PIAT team missed and I started to get some confidence back as he only had one shot left, then Mike decided to make a dash for the next nearest JOP charging forwards and coming close – ‘Der Kaiser’ was in the way though and after a quick brutal fight he died a hero’s death taking out 4 of the Brits and causing them to fall back. My morale was now down to 4 and Mike then tried with the PIAT again, KABOOM!! Jammy git!

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Shocked Schumacher gets brewed up….
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Another shot – just for Mike as he REALLY enjoyed doing this!

With my PzIV gone, morale at 2 and JOP’s all but overrun I ordered my remaining section to break out as best they can and head for home. Another defeat and this time quite catastrophic.

All in all I had suffered the following:

  • Platoon Leader – Dead
  • 1.Gruppe – 2 remaining members and Breitner wounded
  • 2. Gruppe – all casualties and Klinsmann wounded
  • 3.Gruppe – 1 missing and 1 captured whilst escaping the battlefield
  • PzIV – kaput!

Following the post battle routine this meant that Erste Zug had: 3 men dead, 3 men wounded and 2 men returning to battle. I had also lost my commander and 2 Section leaders wounded. A complete disaster. Somehow I needed to re0organise and hold the victorious Brits up during the next battle, the only crumb of comfort was that I had at least inflicted some casualties.

After playing 2 games in one day we both agreed that the rules really are quite fantastic – adding the campaign element to them really enhances things too. We agreed to carry on the next day. Hopefully I could put up a better showing…….

Lesson learnt: YOU CAN MOVE YOUR JOPS!

 

 

 

Martlet Campaign: Probe into Fontenay

On Saturday I went to Mike’s to start our Chain of Command campaign, Operation Martlet. This will be our first bash at doing one of these and we will be making some mistakes with the rules along the way but all part of the learning process, unfortunately it is the tactical mistakes that are the worst to take, and there’s going to be a few of those over the next post or two!

Mike and I had played this scenario a couple of times before, switching sides so that we both had an idea what to expect. After a bit of research – well posting questions on the Lardies forum – we had corrected the terrain mistake we had made before and Mike had the table laid out correctly when I arrived (we had mistaken the Calvary at the junction for a house before), indeed it was looking great.

In addition to my core platoon I had decided to go with: a HMG team, a team entrenchment and an additional Senior Leader. I rolled well for morale and got 10, Mike was on 9 so I already had a slight advantage. I had also been doing as much reading of other people’s blogs trying to pick up hints and tips on the best way to approach this campaign. Unfortunately I was suffering from somewhat of a hangover and this put the kibosh on all of my preparation as I proceeded to make a couple of big mistakes!

The patrol phase sort of went well, I managed to secure JOP’s where I wanted them more or less, although one was just a bit short of where I  really needed it (Mike liked the MDF Warbases markers so much he ordered some that day). Mike had done a lot better during the patrol phase however, getting a whopping 5 free goes with which he pushed up the left hand side of the board getting one JOP to the edge of the long wall along that flank.

 

I then declared that the barn opposite from that wall at the corner of the farm complex was my reinforced building and hoped that I would be able to get my HMG in there to deny Mike the chance to make a quick run for the end of the table. The rest of my plan was to wait for his deployment and to react accordingly and hopefully be lucky with the barrage and him to be unlucky with the fog.

I had the first throw and was extremely lucky, rolling 3 sixes in my first phase meaning that the barrage and the fog had finished before any troops were on the table – the one down side being that Mike didn’t have a chance of getting any units lost though. I waited for Mike to deploy first and he brought on a 2″ mortar, a Sherman and one squad that were ready to jump the wall on my left and make a dash for the baseline. I countered this by doing something foolish, deploying 1st section onto the hedgeline on my right (don’t know why, blame the hangover) and something smarter, 2nd section in an ‘ambush’ behind the farm building preventing Mike making his dash for glory. I also called up Schumacher and his Panzer which duly missed Mike’s tank.

Mike’s tank gunnery was a lot better than mine causing the PzIV to scoot back whilst being shocked. He then plonked down some really effective fire from his limited HE stocks from the 2″ on 1st Section’s position causing a couple of casualties. Over on the other side of the farm somewhat of a stand-off was occurring with Mike being loath to move his section forwards towards the certain doom of 2 MG42’s, I also couldn’t move my MMG into the bunker as they would have been immediately in close combat with Mike’s chaps.

Then disaster struck – Mike’s deadeye mortar team got going again, but this time they were joined by the Sherman and 1st section got really plastered losing 3 more casualties wiping out one team and leaving the other with one man and the section now consisting of only him and Breitner who were, not surprisingly, legging it. A judicious use of a CoC dice from Mike ending the turn saw them rout off the table and my morale plummeted to 6!

I then completely lost my bottle and decided it might be best to preserve what men I had left for the next battle and ordered a withdrawal, which I have been regretting since getting home on Saturday. I should really have tried to fight on for a few more phases at least, Mike was going nowhere on my left and if he did try was bound to suffer big losses, my tank had done nowt yet and I still had the MMG and another section to get into action.

Anyway the battle was done and in such quick time we decided to go straight into the second one but first we had to do the post-match gubbins. This was very easy for Mike as he had lost no casualties at all! I, on the other hand, had with 1st Section suffering 2 killed, 2 wounded and 1 man fit to return to battle. This meant that 1st Section was reduced to 2 men for the next round, the men’s opinion of ‘Der Kaiser’ held firm at 0 mind although the CO’s opinion dropped to -1 and Beckenbauer’s  outlook changed to ‘Thoughtful’ from ‘Content’.

Lesson learnt – DO NOT DEPLOY UNTIL YOU HAVE TO!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operation Martlet: Introduction

After ‘discovering’ the excellent Chain of Command rules from Too Fat Lardies and getting together a German force to play them with it was a no brainer to want to do one of their pint sized campaigns. So myself and Mike have settled on Operation Martlet, it is quite fitting that my first campaign is against him as it is all his fault I got into these rules in the first place.

There will be only one small change from the ‘vanilla’ version and that is I will be substituting a Heer PanzerGrenadier force in for the Hitler Jugend force – I’ll be using the same lists from the booklet, I just can’t have ‘my’ lads as SS. Some might feel this odd but with the family I have it just can’t be done. I’ll just have them as a part of a Kampfgruppe from Panzer Lehr I suppose (but without their uniforms!).

So first things first, I reckon I should introduce my plucky band of landsers who are trying to prevent the Allies from advancing further into Normandy…….

Erste Zug: (Each Gruppe has 6 men organised into 2 MG42 teams)

Zug Kommandant: Oberfeldwebel Beckenbauer (‘der Kaiser’). 38, Bavarian, an average sort who is an old soldier and a veteran of Spain.

Erste Gruppe: Unteroffizier Breitner, 24, Bavarian, tall and thin he is a former communist.

Zweite Gruppe: Obergefreiter Klinsmann, 25, Wurttemberger, an average sort from Stuttgart where his family have a bakery.

Dritte Gruppe: Obergefreiter Ballack, 21, Saxon, an average sort from the country.

Panzer 212 (Pz IVH): Unterfeldwebel Schumacher, 25, Westphalian, an average lad from the countryside. He has been attached to Erste Zug.

 

Dritte Zug:

Zug Kommandant: Leutenant Hitzlsperger (der Hammer), 23, Bavarian, former civil servant, Party member, he is tall and thin. (-1 to men’s opinion)

Erste Gruppe: Unterfeldwebel Völler, 24, Hessian, another Party member, model citizen and a barrel of a man.

Zweite Gruppe: Obergefreiter Rumminigge, 21, Westfalian, country lad and a true bantam.

Dritte Gruppe: Obergefreiter Krankl, 25, Austrian, a thin and pale city boy from Vienna.

Panzer 213 (PzIVH): Unteroffizier Vettel, 21, Hessian, an average sort of country lad.

 

Supports and Replacements:

Adjutant: Leutenant Müller, 24, Bavarian, thin and pale he is the middle class son of a decorated veteran of the First World War. Was Erste Zug’s commander before being posted to the Battalion staff.

Ersatz Zug Kommandant: Feldwebel Klopp. 26, Wurttemberger, a bantam and former gamekeeper. (he will be the support Senior Leader, currently with Company staff)

Ersatz Gruppe 1: Obergefreiter Schweinsteiger, 24, Bavarian, an average sort of city lad. He leads a team of 5 men, willing remnants from another division that has attached themselves to the company.

Ersatz Gruppe 2: Obergefreiter Huth, 26, Berliner, an average looking former Cabaret musician. Again leads a team of 5 riflemen.

 

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Club Night 11/01/16: Micro Armour, Germany 1984

A new member at the Warlords, Daren, put on his first game on Monday and it was a belter. The game in itself was really to try out a new set of rules for us – we usually play FFT3 for our Cold War games but Daren uses GHQ’s ‘Micro Armour’ for 1:1 games and so we gave it a bash. Apart from the lovely GHQ models that he provided for us what really made the game for me was his truly magnificent terrain, absolutely stunning!

The scenario that we played was this: the sneaky Sovs were attacking out of a tree line to try and secure crossing places over a river which was defended by  a small kampfgruppe of West Germans who would be reinforced by a combat team of Brits at some point. There was a pontoon bridge already in place and a road bridge too as well as a good crossing point where the Russians could use their AVLB’s if needed. But before I get into the batrep I need to show you some pics of the terrain as it had lots of attention all evening with people coming over to take a butchers.

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The village of Billstadt with the crossing site clearly visible to the left of the pontoon bridge. And yes, that river is below the level of the table – cool eh!
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Close up of the village. Container trucks hand made, but no working lights on the Shell garage mind – rubbish!
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Sheds in the gardens and cars on the drives as well. Makes you sick don’t it!
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The woods, roads and hedges weren’t too shoddy either.
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Bridge anyone? This shows better how the river sits below table level.

The river is very ingenious, it is made with a raised lip so that it can be placed in the gap between two tables so that it sits below the level of table top, how cool is that! Daren had also made the tarmac roads and had even scratch built the container lorries that were placed in the village. Indeed, the village was so well done that Bill said that it reminded him of where he lived in Germany so you can’t get better praise than that can you!

Any way, back to the game. I was defending the crossing with:

  • platoon of 4 x Leopard 1
  • platoon of 4 x Marder 1 with infantry and 2 x Milan teams
  • platoon of 3 x Jaguar (TOW version)
  • 2 x Panzer Morser sp 120mm Mortars
  • 1 x Gepard
  • 1 x FOO
  • 3 x M109 batteries off table
  • 1 x RE amphib bridge emplaced already
  • troop of 4 x Chieftans (off table)
  • platoon of infantry in FV432 (off table)
  • 1 x Lynx AT Heli (off table)

Bernie had the following I believe:

  • company of T-72’s
  • company of T-62’s
  • company of Infantry in BMP-1’s
  • company of infantry in BTR-70’s
  • company of PT-76’s
  • 2 x AVLB’s (MTU’s?)
  • 1 x Zsu-23-4
  • 1 x sp SAM (not sure which one)
  • 3 x SP batteries (off table)

So a nice fair fight then. Bernie played it just like a Soviet should, he debouched from the cover of the woods and trundled straight for the crossings. The T-72’s hit the road and went straight for the bridge followed by the BMP’s, the T-62’s were next to them going for the crossing point where I believe the AVLB’s were headed for and the PT-76’s and BTR’s went for the Royal Engineer’s bridge.

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Comrade Bernov starts the ball by dropping smoke on my bank of the river, covering the crossings.
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T-72’s subtlely sneak straight down the road towards the bridge.

My plan was very simple, interdict the crossing sites and approaches with HE and then letting loose with TOWS, Milan and 105mm APFSDS as soon as the Ruskies got into range. This is exactly what happened. My Jaguar started the mayhem hitting and damaging a T-72, unfortunately I then lost a different Jaguar to a barrage which was fired in response but landed in the wrong place. I did move up a couple of Leopards that I was keeping back behind the village in case Bernie hit the forward edge with a bombardment and started to hit the T-72’s with the Leopard and surviving Jaguar that I had posted to cover the bridge causing damage and suppression to the leading T-72’s as they hit the bridge.

Over by the other crossing I was glad when Daren informed me that I could take the bridge down and sail it off down the river to deny its use to the enemy, this I duly did and had to wait for the slowly moving mass of armour to waddle into range. Once it did I used the Jaguar over on this side to target the AVLB’s, causing damage on one.

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Russians take out a Jaguar with an artillery barrage.
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Over on the left, an AVLB is damaged by long range TOW fire.
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T-62’s just dodge a M109 strike. Whilst Soviet mortars in the trees suffer from German ones.

The only real full on action happened at the bridge and then we had to call it a night. I managed to damage or destroy the lead tanks as soon as they crossed the bridge with a crossfire from the Leopards in the village, Milan in the wood and the surviving Jaguar whilst the return fire damaged one Leo and destroyed another (being ganged up on by a bunch of T-62’s will do that for you). Bernie did mange to get a few across without any damage but 2 were headed straight into line of fire of another Leo. Milan and Jag! The BMP’s had just hit the bridge too but I reckon the fire from 3 batteries of M109’s I had called in would’ve spoilt their day, as for the other troops I’m not sure. I’d have taken out the AVLB’s so would just have to tackle the amphibious stuff as it crossed the river and as the Brits had arrived by then I’m sure I’d have enough available to do that – the Lynx would have had fun!

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Soviets hit the western bank – yellow marker is ‘damaged’.
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BMP’s on follow up – a lot of 155mm HE was en route to these boys.
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Chieftains turn up
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Gunner target front! Bernie’s tankers go for it at the end!

Like I said earlier this was just a ‘get to know the rules’ type game and they were enjoyable to play with, nice and straightforward with some nice touches (I particularly liked the artillery plotting stuff!) and Daren helped us through them very well. He did say that it would be more suited for an all day game and I’ll be more than happy to take part when it happens – I even won’t mind being the Soviets, I’ve been thinking on how I’d have done it! – hopefully it will be soon.

Lastly, a small slideshow of a General de Brigade game going on next to us with Des, Martin and Warren fighting an action from Italy in 1813 that saw Eugene trying to hold off the Austrian avalanche in the mountains.

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CoC AAR: Pushing On

On Friday I went round to fellow South London Warlord Mac’s house to have a game of Chain of Command. This was only my 4th game of this great ruleset and I think Mac’s second, although he has played a few solo games. The scenario we picked to use is the second battle from the ‘Operation Martlet’ Pint Sized Campaign booklet but was just being played as a one off.

I had the following troops available to me (I don’t like being SS units so have swapped in 21st Panzer!):

Core Platoon:

  • Senior Leader
  • 3 x Sections of Junior Leader & 2 x 3-man LMG teams (each section has 1 Panzerfaust)
  • 1 x Pz IVH with Junior Leader

I spent my 7 points of support thus:

  • 5 man Rifle section and Junior Leader (4 rifles, 2 smg)
  • Panzerfaust for the above section
  • Adjutant
  • Entrenchment for the Pz IV
I was facing:
  • British Motor platoon
  • Sherman
  • Mortar observer
  • Extra PIAT team
  • Vickers MG

We decided that the Brits wouldn’t have to suffer the effects of fog. I didn’t come out of the force morale very well as I ended up with ‘8’, Mac did better and ended up with ’10’. His pre-match good luck didn’t end there unfortunately as he rolled a 6 for the free moves that he would get in the patrol phase which automatically put me on the back foot. Bugger.

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Battlefield viewed from the British table edge.

Mac managed to push his patrol markers up quite far with the free goes he had and so I decided to just try and pin him as quickly as I could whilst ensuring that I secured the terraced houses by the road in the walled complex and the wood opposite, unfortunately the smaller house in the walled complex was unreachable which was a shame as I had planned to try and secure that.

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British Jump-off points, the third one was in the house to the bottom of the picture.
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My Jump Off Points. My third was at the table edge, I really think I cocked up putting the one by the junction.

Mac rolled well for his initial phase and deployed a couple of sections onto the table straight away, one along the hedge covering the open field. The second was placed in the wood right next to the house so would manage to get in straight away. I managed to get a couple of 5’s in my first roll and failed to anyone on the table due to the British bombardment. Mac then brought his tank on, as well as his last section straight into the house nearest his baseline and the 2″ mortars whilst he moved a section into the house from the wood. I then lucked out with a triple 6 and ended the first turn whilst managing to bring on a section and my emplaced PzIV. The infantry section moved towards the hedge facing the Brits whilst the tank was brought on to cover the open field on the left, it fired on the Sherman but didn’t manage to cause any damage. I used the next phase to get the infantry onto the hedgeline and deployed the ‘spare’ rifle team in the wood ready to leg it across the road to move into the terraced houses thereby hopefully stopping the Brits from moving across the courtyard.

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Mac’s lads move up to the house by the wood.
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My first section get weaving.
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My Panzer IV hits the table. Hedges standing in for entrenchment!

Mac and I traded shots between the tanks to no avail whilst the British squad along the hedge at the end of the field started to relocate towards the small wood by the building complex to dodge any attention from the tank. The 2″ mortar tried to lay down some smoke in the road to cover the Sherman but their aim was right out and it hit the building occupied by the Brits in the farm complex. The round rolled down the roof and started a smokescreen in the courtyard much to the amusement of myself, Mac weren’t too happy mind.

In the phase immediately after this I rolled 4 6’s! This I hoped would result in a building catching fire as two of the buildings were packed with Mac’s troops and after the smoke round hitting one of them it would be quite a good bit of narrative, but I rolled pants – got the collaborator/patriot option and Mac put his 3″ Mortar observer on. Cheers dice gods, you definitely giveth and taketh away.

I then made a decision that I think lost the game for me. Whilst I was happy that I had bottled up Mac’s section in the house by putting my rifle section in the house opposite and the Pz IV had succeeded in closing down that large field on the other side of the board I recklessly pushed forward my section that was lining the hedge to cover the junction further up. The stupid reasoning behind this was to take the Brits moving along the lateral dirt track under fire from a longer range hopefully pinning them and thus preventing them from advancing further.

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1st Section get ready to leave their good position thanks to my stupidity!

 

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1st Section arrive at their new position – things won’t go well here.

However, Mac had moved his Sherman onto the lateral road out of line of sight of my Pz IV and the section that he had on overwatch in the building there opened up on 1st Section as they hit the hedgeline, causing one KIA, a bit of shock but also wounding Obergefreiter Klinsmann who now only had 1 activation for the rest of the game. Mac then moved the Sherman along enough so that it could add its HE and HMG fire to the small arms coming from the house and soon I was one team down with the other team pinned.

I deployed my Platoon Leader onto the table and moved him through the wood towards the beleaguered team, ordering them to fall back over the hedge so that they could be rallied. This would allow Mac to start moving the Sherman and the section from the house over to the junction knowing the coast was now clear. At the same time he had brought in a spotting round for his medium mortars which landed in the wood by the compound, way off where he wanted it and far too close to his lads in that building and the section he had in reserve skulking in the wood.

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Round short! A bit too close for comfort for Mac’s boys there!
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Klinsmann goes over, really wounded for once!

 

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Klinsmann and his surviving lads pull back towards ‘der Kaiser’.

I then brought on the rest of my force, deploying one squad across the road along the hedge and started moving them tactically forwards, I also started backing my tank out of the entrenchment to get him into the fight and to take on the Sherman. My last section I brought on in the wood to move up and cover the remnants of 1st Section. Mac had also started to move up to the junction where Klinsmann’s section met their fate with 2 sections and his Sherman.

The next significant thing to happen was when Mac realised that his planned mortar strike would not only hit my lads but would also potentially take out half of his force as well! So he used an opportune double phase to shift his reserve section out of the wood and onto the lateral road whilst moving the spotting round up further. This still meant that the chaps in the house would still be caught in the blast area so he had a decision to make, stay in the building or leg it out the back into the wood and hope that he could move the 4″ to safety – choosing the latter he duly rolled 3. I thought it was funny anyway!

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2nd Section start sneaking along the hedge to outflank the Britishers .
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Macs lads head for the junction.
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Friendly fire, resulting in 1 measly shock! Pants!!

The mortar stonk did well though, hardly warranting the term ‘friendly fire’. However it put shock on my newly arrived section in the wood, wounded Lt Beckenbauer and caused the remains of 1st Section to break. Even playing a CoC dice to end it didn’t work as Mac just played one of his to keep the barrage going. The Sherman had now reached the junction and opened up on the newly arrived section, this combined with the mortars piled the shock on and they were soon pinned.

Over on the other side of the battlefield Schumacher in his tank seemed to be not quite up for the fight as he had just managed to crawl forwards a wee bit and then Mac deployed a Vickers along the hedge at the end of the field and let rip on my sneaking 2nd Section. Obviously he rolled really well over the next 2 phases and even with me going tactical he caused casualties and a bunch of shock.

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Newly arrived 3rd Section is pinned due to shock from the mortars and Sherman HE fire.
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That bloody Sherman adds its fire to the mortars. Where the hell is Schumacher?

 

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Vickers arrives to cause trouble….
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… and Breitner’s 2nd Section feels the pain – 2 dead and 7 shock in 2 phases!

So, with two remaining sections loaded with shock and with one pinned and under fire from a HMG and the other about to be fubared by a tank I decided to call it a day and retreat. Having thought about it afterwards I could have fought on but my Force Moral had now fallen to 4 and I think Mac was still on 10, so things weren’t looking good.

It was a good game and I think if I played it again I would have definitely waited for Mac to have come to me and hopefully chopped him up with my MG42’s at close range. I would have definitely got the panzer out of the entrenchment sooner as well. I think Mac enjoyed it too even though I know he doesn’t like the variable movement – especially when he doesn’t escape his own barrage – and hopefully he will be up for playing another some day. Many thanks to him for putting the game on (and telling me how he made his lovely hedges!), it was an absolute pleasure playing him, a true gentleman wargamer.

We did discuss the differences between CoC and Bolt Action (which Mac usually plays) and I reckon it is like the difference between draughts and backgammon – both use the same pieces but one is a lot more involved and subtle than the other.

 

 

Club Night 04/01/16: Bolt Action, Western Front ’44.

I was due to have a Chain of Command game with Des and Ian at the club last night but events conspired against that – Des being jetlagged as just come back from hols and Ian getting t’lurgy – so I was invited to join in a game of Bolt Action that Mac was putting on as someone had dropped out.

Daren and I were in command of a couple of German forces facing off against Bernie and Sam who were Brits with Mac umpiring. None of us have had much experience with the rules, me and Daren having one game each and the oppo none at all so Mac simplified the rules somewhat to speed things up – we were late starting waiting for the no-show person as well.

There wasn’t a set scenario as such but each player had to draw a mission card that Mac had devised which was quite a cool idea I thought. I had drawn the ‘Secure the Bridge’ card and Daren had a ‘Secure the Village’ card so nice and straightforward there.

To carry this out I had a Marder, a Stummel, two infantry sections with transports, a MG34 on tripod mount and a 75mm infantry gun. Darren had a Pz III, a couple of infantry sections with transports, a Sdkfz 251/10, another MG34 on tripod and a Panzerschreck team. The Brits had a couple of Shermans, a Stuart, a couple of Vickers, some infantry and a 25pdr! As I had put a shift in trying to get my lads finished for the game I was supposed to have Mac allowed me to sub my figures for his to get them a run out – I was worried of course that this meant absolute disaster for my lads as is the law of new figures, as it turned out this was the least of our worries.

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My objective. The all-time classic Airfix Pontoon Bridge.

My plan was quite simple I was going to move the Marder up to the bend in the road to cover the crossroads and also move the MG34 and 75mm into the same area for the same reason. One of my infantry sections was to make for the farm buildings whilst the Stummel and the other section in another half-track were to work through the wood to the left of the bridge to secure that end.

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Darren’s objective – Mac’s scratch built village.

Darren had a much simpler plan – get in the village quickly and hold it. Out of the two of us his one went a lot better than mine although we both made bloody hard work of it.

I foolishly brought  the Marder first and moved it up to the bend in the road which allowed the Brits to bring on their Shermans who proceeded to start shooting it up, although I survived the initial onslaught I received lots of pins which sort of took the Marder out of the first couple of moves. However it did occupy their armour which allowed me to get my MG and IG deployed into position. I did lose the race for the farm building though, although my Stummel got a hit in before they entered the building, and elected to keep my infantry section along a hedge to the bottom of the left hand ploughed field on ambush to overwatch that area. My left flanking infantry section was meanwhile slowly working their way on foot towards the bridge.

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My Marder just before it becomes an ex-Marder! Heavy weapons to the rear.
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One of my sections goes into overwatch/ambush.
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Dastardly Shermans ganging up on my Marder – bleeding rotters!

Over on the right Daren had motored into the village and had managed to secure the place quite quickly. The immediate threat to him came from the Stuart which moved into the road to his right which was supported by an infantry section, a PIAT and a Vickers. Daren moved his Pz. III over and started firing at it to no effect, he had a go with the 251/10 which also didn’t work, the Panzerschreck also wasn’t doing anything. This carried on all through the game, the Stuart survived about 10 shots only suffering a couple of pins – admittedly Daren did need 5’s most throws to hit but we both threw appalling dice all night.

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Daren secures the village.
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The luckiest Stuart to ever enter service. Note the taunting T/C. Git.

Over on my side of the table the Shermans brewed up the Marder which only managed to get one badly aimed shot off before its demise, and they then brewed up the Horch that had towed my infantry gun. The 25pdr the rather unsportingly dispatched my MG team with a particularly well aimed shot to which my Infantry gun replied causing a casualty and a bit of pinning. I was making good progress into the wood over on the left and had started to move the Stummel round there as well to try and flank the Brits moving towards the bridge. Daren was quite happy sitting on his objective whilst trying to shoot anything and failing quite badly – although he did manage to tag one man in a brave PIAT team that was sneaking forwards into the centre of town trying to take out is half-track – whilst taking a bit of fire from the 25pdr.

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Got a light mate?
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My chaps make it into the wood by the bridge.
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Lovely Stummel, it was the only thing of mine that hit anything all game.
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Bernie’s Vickers set up near the bridge.

Unfortunately as time was getting on we had to forgo the last move, which I reckon would have seen my left flanking force start trading shots with the Brits on the other side of the bridge, although I think the Stummel would’ve tipped the balance in my favour in that scenario, maybe allowing me to succeed in my objective.

However my failure was not too bad as our opposition also failed in their missions whilst Daren succeeded in his so victory went to the Germans! All in all it was a nice fun game although very strange – I think we managed to hit the Brits a few times all game causing only a few casualties and still won even though we lost two vehicles and a MMG team. Thanks to Mac for putting on the game, and I really liked his German models – I’ll be asking for some advice when my models start to arrive.

I’m still not completely sold on Bolt Action though if I’m honest, but I’ll give it another go – maybe with the full rules it might be ‘better’.