CoC: Scottish Corridor Campaign. Game 2, Another Probe at Bas de Mouen. 11:00

After the failure of Erste Zug to breach the British lines an hour before it was now the turn of Unterfeldwebel Hohman’s lads to try. This time they would be assisted by a Tiger 1 that Oberleutnant Albrecht had managed to rustle up from somewhere, he had also secured the services of a sniper to help as well.

Unfortunately the road through the Tommy’s position was blocked by the knocked out PzIV from the previous attempt so that meant that the Tiger would have to go either through the orchards or across the hedges, both options that the big tank’s commander was unsure about, the first through worry about anti-tank ambushes and the second due to fear of getting stuck. Hohman therefore decided to use the Tiger as a mobile pillbox being able to use its large gun to help take out any pockets of resistance to aid his lads get forward – it might also scare the crap out of the British just by its presence!

Further patrolling between the two actions had resulted in a new covered approach becoming available quite far forwards on the right flank. It did end in the open but might just be useful for initiating a rush to the objective if possible, or to draw out the Tommy forces for the big cat to deal with. The morale of the platoon was not too great however, with the defeat of the first attempt obviously playing on the minds of the men and the lack of food being brought up due to the damned JaBo interdiction playing a part too. The British on the other hand would probably be raring to go as intelligence seems to indicate afresh force waiting for them. (I rolled 8, and Des got 11!)

The action started with the British pushing a section down the right flank around the house in the orchards which was countered by Obergefreiter Heidemann’s 2.Gruppe, unfortunately only one of the MG42 teams was in a position to engage them but they did so with some effect, causing a casualty and worrying the advancing men somewhat. The Brits then deployed their pesky mini mortar near the knocked out PzIV which looked quite silly after the Tiger lurched into view along the road. Heidemann pushed his second MG42 team towards the house hoping to get them in a position to take the advancing British section under a flanking fire. The firefight being carried out by the other team against the flanking section was going ok so there was nothing to worry about here for the moment.

The next phase in the fight was an important one as Hohman thought he could take advantage of a brief lull in the action (I rolled a double 6) to order Obergefreiter Noack’s 3. Gruppe forward through the advanced JOP on the right with orders to push aggressively ahead to the furthest hedgeline in an attempt to break a team through. This order didn’t go down too well as it was very risky and some argument happened before the young man from Hamburg reluctantly called his men forward and they ran for the hedge as fast as possible, reaching it but slightly disorganised by doing so (rolled 3 movement dice and suffered shock for doing so).

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The Brits reacted to this bold action by deploying their last two sections, one in the farm building at the back of their position and one along the road and around the knocked out PzIV. The combined fire of both of these sections wounded the unfortunate Noack, which luckily did not affect morale, and caused both casualties and shock to his men who became pinned. Now that the Britishers had shown their hand Hohman ordered up Unteroffizier Munzenberg and his 1.Gruppe’s fire combined with that from the Tiger soon caused the section around the knocked out tank to break but sadly not before they and the section in the farm got off more shots on poor Noack’s men causing them to break first which saw morale plummet quite badly (dropped 2 to 6). Revenge was also meted out by 1.Gruppe on the 2″ mortar that was plonking HE rounds down on the poor lads stuck in the open field as they tended to their wounded Obergefreiter, causing the Britishers to break after one of the team was hit. Things did not seem too bad at this moment even with the defeat of 3.Gruppe with Tommies fleeing and the Tiger getting ready to start pumping 88 shells into the farm.

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Events over on the left in the orchard would decide the battle though. The sniper had deployed in the building and after causing a bit of panic in the section on the road before they ran only managed to get off an inaccurate shot at the British Lieutenant who was desperately trying to rally his men at the far edge of the orchards so his contribution was minimal in what unfolded next. The outflanking British section was still boldly moving forwards, even though they had suffered casualties, and caught the advanced MG42 team of 2.Gruppe still inexplicably outside of the house. Although their comrades behind the hedge tried their best to help by laying down fire as they advanced (I played a CoC die to interrupt) it seemed as if their gun jammed as the fire wasn’t as effective as it should have been leaving the Tommies to lay down a withering fusilade which wiped out the men fannying about by the house. This caused morale to plummet even further (now down to 4) and things started to look really bad.

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Then 3.Gruppe decided that it was best to get out of the fight altogether as the wounded Noack couldn’t keep them together enough to stay, in his wounded state he couldn’t rally them at all. It was about this time that the British mortar team routed too, although the previously broken section had been rallied (Des played a CoC dice to end the turn) The rout of 3.Gruppe coupled with the defeat of 2.Gruppe on the left, the survivors were pinned and about to be assaulted,plus the now dire state of morale (now at 2) Hohman decided that it was time to withdraw and called the men back.

This was quite a costly fight for Zweite Zug. Both 2. and 3. Gruppes lost 6 men each meaning that they will both lose 3 permanently but will get 3 men back the next time they are in action. Unterfeldwebel Hohman didn’t cover himself in glory and his ‘Happy’ outlook might change once he learns what his men’s and Oberleutnant Albrecht’s new opinions of him are (we will be rolling for these next week as we didn’t have ATSE with us!).

Again, a couple of stupid mistakes on my part cost me the battle here. On the left I should have just moved the section there laterally along the hedge to get both MG42’s into action against Des’ section, the one team was doing ok but as witnessed by what happened to his section on the road, two of the buggers and a good die roll can really ruin your day. As it was I left one team hanging and maybe should have used my interrupt to move them out of the way, a bad roll whilst firing didn’t help at all.

As for the charge by 3.Gruppe, if I had just sent a couple of men forwards from the section and put the rest on overwatch at the JOP I could have forced Des to deploy at least a section, as he’d have to stop them sneaking across to the table edge, and then I could have taken them under fire from the rest of the section. If I could have added the fire from the last section and/or the Tiger they’d have stood no chance as happened with the section I took out on the road.

Lesson learnt from this battle: if rolling crap morale at the start of the game NO STUPID GUNG HO MOVES. Utilise the advantages in firepower you have with 2 MG42’s per section and try to force your opponent to deploy to take him under fire, whittle him down and then go for the run to the edge of the table.

 

 

 

CoC: Scottish Corridor Campaign. German Commanders.

I really should have done this before we started the campaign the other week but here is the list of ‘characters’ from the German side.

 

Kampfgruppe Frey (Eastern attack)

CO:  OberLeutnant Albrecht, 26 from The Rhineland

 

Erste Zug: Feldwebel Haringer, 25 from Bavaria

1 Gruppe: Unteroffizier Buchloh, 24 from the Rhineland

2 Gruppe: Unteroffizier Janes, 22 from the Rhineland

3 Gruppe: Obergefreiter Conen, 19 from the Moselle

 

Zweite Zug: Unterfeldwebel Hohman, 25 from the Rhineland

1 Gruppe: Unteroffizier Munzenberg, 25 from the Rhineland

2 Gruppe: Obergefreiter Heidemann, 22 from the Rhineland

3 Gruppe: Obergefreiter Noack, 21 from Hamburg

 

 

Kampfgruppe Weidinger (Western attack)

CO:  OberLeutnant Kress, 27 from Hessen-Nassau

 

Erste Zug: Unterfeldwebel Jakob, 25 from Bavaria

1 Gruppe: Stabsgefreiter Bender, 24 from the Rhineland

2 Gruppe: Stabsgefreiter Lehner, 21 from Swabia

3 Gruppe: Obergefreiter Dienert, 34 from Baden

 

Zweite Zug: Unterfeldwebel Gramlich, 25 from Hessen-Nassau

1 Gruppe: Unteroffizier Szepan, 26 from Westfalia

2 Gruppe: Stabsgefreiter Busch, 27 from the Rhineland

3 Gruppe: Obergefreiter Schwartz, 21 from Hamburg

 

 

 

Distractions…

Again I’ve not got much done over the past few weeks, partly due to being ill which has meant I’ve not been in the mood but also due to starting a the truly excellent ‘Road to Montebourg’ campaign on Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord (PC game). I’ve finally figured out how to do screen grabs so here’s a few for those unfamiliar with the game so that you can see why it is so easy to get distracted with it, truly marvellous it is!

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CoC: Scottish Corridor Campaign. Game 1, Probe at Bas de Mouen. 10:00

Two weeks ago saw Des and I kick off our long awaited Chain of Command campaign. We are doing the Scottish Corridor Pint-Size job from TFL and hope to play at least once a month at the club. I’ve been looking forward to this since the last one I took part in (about this time last year) against Mike was great fun even with me getting absolutely mullered in it!

As is evident from the title of the campaign it is centred around the fighting in the ‘Scottish Corridor’ during Operation Epsom during the fighting in Normandy after D-Day, in particular the attempt by the Germans to cut off the British forces at the tip of the salient by counter attacking the sides of the salient. This is a nice change as it is a chance for the Germans to be on the offensive for a change.

I have been assigned the following mission:

Your objective is to attack in a pincer to sever  the  narrow  corridor  which  the  British  have pushed southwards and across the Odon.  Our forces will be attacking from both the East  and West with the objective of meeting and trapping the enemy lead elements in a kessel  which can then be contained and destroyed.

To carry this out I have two Kampfgruppen with slightly different support options (which contain some nice big cat type tanks!) but both being built around a pair of PanzerGrenadier platoons so I have the option of swapping them in and out for each battle, which will help with casualty replacement as those slightly wounded come back after one battle. The campaign will start at 10:00, due to my complete failure in Operation Martlet, and so will last a maximum of 11 rounds ending at 20:00 if I do not secure all 6 tables before that time.

My first mission involved Kampfgruppe Frey which is attacking from the East of the salient and is tasked with probing the defences of the 15th Scottish Division at Bas de Mouen. All I had to do to secure the win I needed to advance was to move one of my teams off the Brits table edge, I had a nice advantage in support to help me do so as well – 16 points to 6 – so confidence was high to say the least. I didn’t do too well in the morale roll though with Des ending with 11 and myself 9 but I still thought my support advantage would easily outweigh that slight setback.

 

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Field of battle from my table edge

 

The patrol phase went ok for me even though I only managed to roll up 2 free moves, Des was very aggressive making sure that I didn’t get too far down the table, pushing forwards through the orchards on the left quite far but being pegged back himself on the more open right hand side of the table. This was ideal for me as my plan was to just try and blitz down that side with a tank if he didn’t decide on a 6pdr from the list whilst trying to keep my infantry in as good a shape as I could by trying to just use them to pin his infantry whilst keeping losses as low as possible.

In fact I decided to go with 2 PzIV’s to enable me to carry out this nice and simple plan, hoping that if one didn’t make it then the other surely would and my only other pick was a Senior leader to help with any shock that might occur. Things started nice and simple. Des going first and deploying a section in the orchards over on the left. In my first go I placed a section on overwatch covering the fields on the right, even though I wasn’t planning on moving any infantry across the fields I wanted to guard my JOP’s here. Des countered this by putting a sniper in the barn covering the open fields on the right, which was a bit of a relief for me as it meant he definitely wouldn’t have a 6pdr or Sherman in support so I might be able to go with my Panzer charge plan after all.

Des started to develop an attack down the left with another section joining the first and his pesky 2inch mortar getting on the table to start peppering my lads guarding the right. In fact the 3 rounds of HE fired by the mortar did more damage than all the shots at them from the sniper who missed with all bar one shots and didn’t notch up a single kill all game, earning the nickname ‘blind Pugh’ and causing much hilarity for me. I managed to get both my PzIV’s on, one at each road, with one moving up to support the lads on the right and one moving along to help the section I had deployed to stop Des’ advance on the left. I was having a one of those weird nights with the dice as I kept rolling a lot of 4,5, and 6’s which didn’t leave me with much in the way of activations but meant I was building up CoC dice points like billy-o (a campaign rule is that as my chaps are classed as superior troops they add any single 6’s to the CoC die score) and getting a few extra throws. Unfortunately for me my use of the many CoC dice I was building wasn’t the greatest, indeed it was downright awful and would have grave consequences later.

Anyway, I managed to shred one of Des’ sections that was working its way towards the road junction, taking out one team and then the other after it had relocated to the house with the aid of the PzIV’s  HE fire finishing off the work of the 2 MG42’s from Unteroffizier Buchloch’s defending 1.Gruppe. Des was worrying me with his other flanking section so I moved the nearest JOP away from danger using a CoC dice and he then withdrew the section back into the orchard. At this point I was feeling confident, I had seen off his threat to my exposed JOP, caused him to lose a section (even though he hadn’t lost too much morale from it) and had not caused much damage on my chaps, although an ambush on my left hand section with a Vickers gun at the edge of the orchard had resulted in wounds to my Junior Leader, which I rolled badly for on the Bad Things Happen chart – being my first mistake in the game, I should have burned a CoC dice to prevent taking the roll.

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Not to worry though as I thought all I had to do was either: try and take out his PIAT which was now on the table, or go for it by driving both tanks up the table gambling on him not knocking them both out with his 3 shots before I managed to scoot past, then off the edge and victory would be mine. To help in this I deployed my last team to try and get them into the house to the right of the junction to try and get some fire on the PIAT team whilst also advancing the right hand PzIV to draw the PIAT’s fire.

Then I had one of those ideas that completely ruins your day. I know, thinks I, what if I advance the victorious section on the left to take his now exposed JOP in the orchard and he might lose heart and bug out? Possibly the worst idea I’ve had since buying those tartan trousers from Next in 1985 – but at least I was young and it was the 80’s then, I’ve no real excuse for this one. So my lads dutifully leapt the wall and in true CoC style they did so with a paltry 3 on the movement dice so were in a great position for Des to flank them by advancing with his section that had just fallen back over on the left. To make matters worse he deployed the Vickers again which I had somehow completely forgotten about result – utter carnage, both teams were chopped to bits and broke as they also suffered awful amounts of shock. To compound this terrible tactical error, I then forgot to utilise my plethora of CoC dice to either interrupt Des’ moves by firing at the Vickers or moving out of LOS of the section, then to add insult to injury again forgot to use one to not roll for morale which when I did was awful and saw my morale plummet to 5. What an utter tit.

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This forced me into a desperate move, my right hand tank had survived the PIAT banging away at it but had suffered a bit of damage and shock and the infantry couldn’t get into the house to fire at the PIAT due to the stupid dice I was rolling and I couldn’t get them activated. But the PIAT was out of ammo now, all I had to do was charge the tank on the road off the table or the one in the field could also make it as well and the battle would be over. However Des managed to re-supply his PIAT team but I thought I had to risk it, he had used a CoC dice to end the turn and my broken section had routed off, again I forgot to spend a dice to prevent rolling for morale and I was down to 4 so shit or bust time now. I went with the panzer on the road first rolling 3 dice and nearly managing to get past the PIAT team, almost but not quite, I was so close the Tommy on the PIAT could have chucked the bomb! Again I could have interrupted and shot the git with my bow MG but didn’t and the result was inevitable, the Panzer brewed up but at least the PIAT team suffered from the explosion. My morale was now down to 1 so all now depended on the last tank making off the board, I rolled 3 dice needing to get high to make it over a hedge and past the barn to ensure I’d not be a sitting duck for the PIAT team. I did throw big: 15, but that was gained by rolling a triple 5 which meant I was immobilised on the hedge!

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That was it for me, I decided to call the game and we got to sorting out the post battle admin. I had only suffered 6 casualties, all from the same section, which meant that 3 were KIA, 2 would be back after the next battle and 1 was returned immediately, so all in all not too bad, a total loss from Erste Zug of only 3 men. Unfortunately my CO’s and Men’s opinions had both fallen to -1, but Feldwebel Haringer’s (Erste Zug’s commander) outlook had changed from ‘Cheerful’ to ‘Relaxed’ so things could have been worse.

I have learnt a couple of valuable lessons though – use my CoC dice properly. I really don’t know what happened, I must have had some sort of mental block as I had reminded Des about interrupting and morale rolls earlier on in the evening. Utter arse. Also, never, ever leave a nice defensive position when you know they have horrible big machine guns that can hurt you, not to mention an untouched infantry section, that was just me being stupid. Never mind, still a cracking game and Des has decided not to counter attack and so I have to try again tonight, this time it is the turn of Zweite Zug and maybe some heavier support….

 

 

WiP: PSC Pz IV’s

Just working on these two for my Chain of Command Germans. Basic paintjob nearly finished then need to paint the tools, do a wash and dry-brush then some detailing. Not exactly exciting but it is the first things I’ve done after a horrible hiatus so just glad to be doing something again. Looking forward to getting them finished in the next few days.

IABSM, Eastern Front, Winter ’41

This game was a great laugh to play in and had everything. Monster tanks, heroic last stands, futile human wave attacks and a cavalry charge! And snow, lots of snow.

The scenario was quite simple: Andy, Ian and I had to liberate some of mother Russia from the evil clutches of Des and Daren’s Germans. To do so we had the always fun T-35 and T-28 tanks, a T-26 company, an infantry company and a Cossack company. The filthy fascist, imperialist invaders had a well dug in force liberally equipped with HMG’s, AT guns and a few tanks in reserve.

Our plan was nice and straightforward in a Stavka approved way. Andy’s Cossacks and the T-26’s would advance quickly on the left and engage the Germans to cause them to reveal their positions whilst our heavy tanks rolled forward down the middle to take them out. My infantry company was to work along the right flank, move one platoon through a wood to take out an advanced German position in the flank and use this as a jumping off point to roll up the rest of the position whilst the other two kept them busy – this flanking had to be done by the infantry as the deep snow present there made it impossible for the cavalry or tanks to do it. Obviously if Andy’s T-26’s could do the same over on the other flank so much the better.

Things didn’t go well from the off for either myself or Ian. Ian started to receive fire early on and his tanks suffered straight away without managing to do much harm themselves, I recall turrets being taken out and a terribly glacial rate of advance which wasn’t helping the cause much. I did start to advance well but once I come off my blinds after being fired at I seemed to just sit there for ages without my cards coming up. It took a few rounds before I asked our glorious leader if they had actually added my cards to the deck, no was the answer and thus I could get moving once more. Andy was not having any such trouble and had leapt forwards and was soon trading shots with the Germans but was beginning to suffer from doing so whilst our remaining tanks got more involved in the fight but not in a really effective manner, indeed some dead eye shooting from the German PAK gunners and intervention from a Panzer 38 soon put paid to Andy’s tank force.

I eventually managed to get my chaps moving but came a cropper when executing my flank attack when an Iron Cross winning display from the battered German defenders put paid to my glorious charge and held on! It was about this time when Andy decided that some drastic action was needed if we were to carry out our mission and went all Dr Zhivago, mounting up his remaining lads and led them in an all or nothing charge on the German line. Surprisingly this didn’t end well either, the few remaining survivors limping back to cover and the battle was over for us as we decided we couldn’t break through.

Bags of fun to take part in and great to see something different played, hopefully we will do some more sometime this year.