I remembered yesterday why I really embraced 6mm wargaming when I discovered it back in the 80’s – you didn’t have to make the bleeding models, they come ready to go.
I thought I’d spend the afternoon putting together a couple of kits for my Chain of Command Germans as I need a choice of PAK guns for a game I’ve got against Philip and his Soviet hordes on Monday (and thought I might have a bash at the lovely PSC Panther I have as well just in case!). Even with the easy build models of today I still managed to get most of the glue on my fingers and could I get the bloody gunshield of the PAK38 to sit right , could I buggery. That’s when I remembered why I stopped making them all those years ago, my dad was right, I am the most cack-handed sod in the world. To make matters worse I then completely cocked up the paintjob on the PAK 40 so will have to make another one today! Complete and utter incompetent arse!!
At least I stopped before tackling the Panther but I’ll have a go a that today, it must just be the small fiddly ones I have problems with as the PSC Panzer IV and Sdkfz 250 I made came out ok. Thank god you don’t need much for CoC.
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
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.
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.
My JOP’s, third one just visible by building in top left of the photo.
Mike does his usual sneak up the flank manoeuvre to place his JOP’s.
Better picture of my frontline JOP’s.
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.
I garrison the village.
The wood is secured.
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.
The Brits advance textbook style – suffering shock only through exertion!
More huffing and puffing as the Woodbines take their toll.
A knackered section hits the village and stops to get their breath back.
Mike begins his swing round the village to the woods.
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.
After successfully holding up the Tommies 1,gruppe gets ready to legenzee it.
Ballack leads the remainder of 3.gruppe safely out of the wood.
More Tommies move to the flank.
Smoke grenades, don’t leave home without one!
1.Gruppe legging it.
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.
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.
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
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!
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…….
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.
Last Brit JOP. Hedges by the road.
2 Brit JOP’s: Lower one is in ‘Junction Wood’.
German JOP’s. Nice and compact – I was quite happy with them.
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.
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.
Section about to dash past the gate.
Sniper in the Smithy – although he does look quite cool perched on the chimney!
Schumacher rocks up. Just visible in the farmyard is Ballack’s gruppe getting ready to jump the wall.
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.
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!
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!
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…….
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.
Mike’s right flank JOP’s.
Mike’s 3rd JOP
My JOP’s, they could have been further forwards but plan was to let the Brits come on……….
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 section going tactical.
Why I brought 1st Section onto the table, I’ll never know!
My counter to Mike’s planned ‘home run’.
PzIV looking a lot more yellow than it really is.
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!
Shame this is quite dark – Mike’s ‘home run’ section in a quandary as they are wary of the 2 MG42’s waiting for them.
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!!!!
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.
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.