Des and I decided at Salute that it was high time we had a game of Chain of Command against each other. We were just going to throw down some terrain, roll up a scenario from the rulebook and see what came up and that is just what we did, and it was a mightily good game.
We got the terrain sorted and rolled for the scenario actually rolling up ‘Patrol’ we did fudge it a wee bit and went for the ‘Probe’ instead. Des was attacking with his British platoon and I’d be defending with a German Infantry platoon. He managed to roll up a mighty 1 support point leaving me with nothing and as none of the kit he brought with him was under 3 points it was going to be a pure platoon action. Morale rolled was 9 for both sides so this was going to be a really interesting study in the capabilities of the two different platoons.
Des rolled well for his free moves in the patrol phase getting 4 which I was slightly worried about as it might get him right across the table and make the game very short indeed. However I managed to block his thrust down the right of the table and got a patrol marker out on the left effectively outflanking his markers. This led to a weird outcome after the ‘dances with sticks’ phase that resulted in all of his JOP’s being located in a single wood (oh for a 81mm FOO!).
So, patrol phase complete we got to it. Des started by bringing on a section and his 2′ mortar which started to pop smoke in front of my flanking JOP. I decided to delay putting any of my lads on until I had an idea of what he was up to so the first couple of phases just saw Des getting his remaining two sections on along with his Rupert. I then brought on two sections at the two JOP’s behind the house – one heading for the house itself and one going towards the right along the hedge. Des was still laying smoke in front of the flank JOP and had started to shift 2 sections in that direction, one going towards the wood to flank it and one headed straight for it, his remaining section was on overwatch facing the house I was headed for.
The section that Des had moved along a hedge towards my exposed JOP had just gotten close to the edge of the field they were skirting nicely covered by the smoke from the mortars when I rolled up enough 5’s to get the CoC dice I needed to end the turn and clear the smoke. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a couple of 6’s to regain the phase and so the section I deployed in the field to defend my JOP only got to fire once after deploying, but I had a MG42 so it is bound to hurt the Brits right – not if you only cause 1 shock it doesn’t, bollocks! Des’ return fire was quite a bit better causing shock on both teams. He had also managed to get his other section through the wood and into a flanking position so the next turn of firing from him caused some more shock and a casualty. I did manage to get some payback on the section to my front causing a couple of casualties and lightly wounding their Corporal and forcing them to take cover in the wood. After deploying my platoon leader nearby to help rally off the shock accrued in this quick fight I decided to pull back into the field and out of line of sight but still defending the JOP as I was worried about Des’ flanking section – indeed Des did deliberate for quite a while whether to assault me with these two sections so I had to get ready in case he did.
Over on the other side of the field I had managed to get one section into the house and the other along the hedge by the road. I was hoping to go on the counter here – using the MG42 from the house to keep the Brits busy whilst the remaining team and other section did some fire and manoeuvre stuff to get amongst the British section and hopefully get into the wood containing all of their JOP’s. My confidence went up slightly when Des’ overwatch fire did no damage on my MG when it hit the window and my return fire caused a few shock hits and a casualty. The next phase though soon put the kibosh on my happiness when some well aimed return fire took out the MG42 and also lightly wounded the section leader – he was downstairs at the time too so must have been hit by some falling ceiling! Des then shuffled the section across to cover his exposed left flank where I had moved my section up across the road and a lively firefight broke out resulting in a bit of shock for both sections and another wounded section leader for the Brits.
The action on the left had died down now as Des had finally decided not to charge into the field and that it would probably be best to just try and swing the outflanking section all the way round my left flank and to run them off the table to complete his mission. I did hold my section in the field for a couple of phases until but decided to fall back trying to stay level with the outflanking section – he could have the JOP really as my morale was holding up quite well.
Over on the right I had decided on a rash plan. The moving of Des’ remaining section to engage my right flank section left a huge gap that was only inhabited by his Lieutenant so with their blood up after having their MG crew hit, the section in the house went for it and charged across the road and into the field. It didn’t end well. The Brits ran back to the hedge and poured in another accurate volley which piled in shock, took out a couple of lads and wounded the JL again putting him out of the game. The survivors then had to suffer another fusillade which caused them to break.
About the same time as this was happening the flanking section had managed to get across the road (good use of a double 6 by Des) and with that I decided to pull my chaps out. they had delayed the Tommies for long enough. I had managed to wound 2 of their corporals and caused a couple of other casualties whilst suffering 5 casualties myself, one of which was a section leader.
All in all it was a great game. One of the beauties of Chain of Command is that you can have a game where there are not many casualties and it seems as if not much has happened action wise but it can still be a tense gaming experience where you have to really think about what you do every turn. One wrong decision or some piece of luck can win or lose you the game and it is down to how well you handle such things with sometimes limited command that is the real test: Des agonised over whether to assault my lads in the field and wisely decided against it, I foolishly advanced out of the house after losing my MG42 to some particularly jammy shooting which was a huge mistake. Having said that I thought Des played a blinder in securing the win after a not so great patrol phase for him, cap doffed sir.
We both had a great time playing the game and it was actually really good not having anything else on the table apart from a core platoon each. Des got to get another game under his belt and after talking about the benefits of games being in a campaign setting we kicked a few ideas around and agreed we’d have a think about what to do, so watch this space for news on that.
There was some more CoC action going on behind us last night too (what?) with Dan and Mike’s Poles taking on Daren’s Germans in an early war game – it looked very bloody with the huge Polish sections taking ages for Daren to break even with a bunch of PzII’s and their TKS tankettes seemed to be causing a right nuisance too. All the kit being used was Mike’s and it was really nice – everyone loves a tankette don’t we?