It’s been a while since we played this game, so the write up will be brief especially as I didn’t seem top take many pics for some reason which usually helps jog my memory.
Anyway it was supposed to be a sort of reverse game of the one fought out a few weeks before between Daren, Mike and myself but this time with me controlling the defending Germans against Mike and Daren attacking with the Brits. On the night though we were joined by Bart as he didn’t have a game and wanted to try out Chain of Command. The Brits had 2 infantry platoons and a tank platoon of 3 Sherman’s one of which was a Firefly. For support they brought a Carrier Section and a Churchill which just wasn’t cricket! To face this horde we had a standard Heer platoon (Commanded by me) with a HMG and Mortar FOO in support along with a mixed armour platoon of 2 PzIV’s and a Somua half track mounted PAK-40 that Bart was in charge of.
The patrol phase was an even affair but the Brits rolled really well for morale with 10’s and 11’s whereas we were at 8’s and 9’s, but we were sort of confident. Our plan was to engage the armour from as far back as possible and once we knew where the bulk of the infantry were get some mortar stonkiness on them to get them pinned or to at least deny as much of the ground as possible to the attackers so that we could try and take the larger number of enemy infantry on with less chance of being outflanked or over-run.
The Brits had decided on a very bold plan though getting all of their infantry sections on the table as soon as possible with the armour also getting involved quickly too. This did force us to deploy our tanks as quickly as possible and I also had to get some infantry on to prevent a JOP from being taken. We also managed to get the FOO going from our first phase and soon the mortar’s were in action catching 2 sections of advancing Tommies and a Senior Leader in the fire zone. However after one phase a triple 6 was rolled which put the kibosh on the barrage as we didn’t have a CoC dice yet. To add to our woes we failed to get in contact with the battery in the next activation and then when we tried again we rolled up the dreaded ‘not available again’ result. Things were now officially a bit sticky.
While this was happening Bart’s panzers had been engaging the British armour from long range and whilst one of the PzIV’s kept getting hits on the Churchill it just refused to be damaged due to its great armour. The other PzIV did cause some major damage to one of Daren’s sections when it caught them crossing open ground but it didn’t have any luck against the Sherman’s it was duelling with and succumbed to a long range shot from the Firefly. Pretty soon the surviving PzIV was also burning as it was ganged up on by the numerically superior Allied tanks, which had managed to survive the duel without much damage.
With the failure of the mortar barrage to help slow down the advancing infantry I was forced to get the remainder of the German infantry on table to try and deal with the British advance. This went as well as the rest of our attempts had done through the rest of the battle with me losing a section trying to win back a lost JOP. I holed one section up in a house after that but our morale was plummeting badly and the impetus was well and truly with the British. Both tanks were out of action and when the SP PAK was also knocked out it was obvious that we had no chance of winning as the Brits could just sit back and shell the crap out of us with their tanks whilst their superior number of infantry moved forward to secure JOP’s and the objective at the T-junction. We might have been able to shred a section or two but we decided discretion was the better part and withdrew.
So a sound drubbing for the Bosche but as usual a good fun game which lessened the blow somewhat. If we could have kept the mortars going for a bit longer it would have evened things up somewhat and also losing the armour fight so comprehensibly (no fault of Barts by the way he was very unlucky a couple of times not to brew up a Sherman) meant that we were on a hiding to nothing but c’est la guerre and all that!
I have been quite lax in posting this and as I have some more to get done here’s a quick AAR of a fun game of Big Chain of Command that was played just before we broke up for our annual August break.
Daren is still ambivalent when it comes to a bit of CoC and so to try and change his mind we decided that what might make him enjoy it more was to make the CoC bigger, after all, size matters right? So a nice straightforward scenario was devised whereby a German Kampfgruppe would be attacking a British position with the aim of securing a T-Junction. Daren and I would be in charge of the Germans and Mike would be looking after the plucky Brits. The forces were the following:
Churchill Mk.VII Platoon of 2 tanks
Scout Carrier Section
After a not very successful patrol phase by myself we hit upon a simple plan. Daren would take the PzGrens and the Flammpanzer and advance up the right flank making use of the cover there and would assault the objective whilst I with the Infantry and the StuG would attempt the trickier left flank. Not only was the left flank more open but it was also where the British armour platoon was due to enter the table, with this in mind I decided that I’d lead with the StuG and see if I could somehow take on the behemoths headed my way. We were expecting Mike to keep the Churchills back supporting his infantry so I was hoping for a couple of lucky shots to at least keep them occupied and to draw the attention onto the StuG and away from the PzIII. Luckily for us this is exactly what happened, and then some!
Daren was developing his attack along the right very nicely, moving a couple of sections forward and slowly advancing the PzIII whilst trading some fire from a section of Tommies and slowly getting the upper hand and pushing them back. Whilst this was going on I was engaged in an armour duel with the 2 Churchills. However, to our great surprise, instead of hanging back and encouraging us to come on Mike was very aggressive with his tanks pushing one well forward. I kept on having a go at the lead tank but neither of us could get a killing shot away – Mike’s armour was too much for me and his gun was just too weak to do me in – but eventually my brave StuG succumbed to the fire of both of the Churchill’s as I had been immobilised and one of the Churchills had worked its way round for a flank shot.
Whilst Mike was pushing ever closer to the StuG to get that better shot I had advanced a JoP and duly deployed a section close to the lead Churchill and had a go at short range in the flank with a Panzerfaust bagging the tank and causing it to brew up. This meant that we were without our long range anti-tank weapon and Mike still had a Churchill left which we presumed he would use to go after the Flammpanzer. Mike had different ideas though and moved the massive tank forwards parallel to the road to start to take on Daren’s PanzerGrenadiers in the Orchard which were giving Mike’s infantry section in the field across the road a right mullering with their 2 MG42’s. However, Daren played a blinder, he too had moved one of his JoP’s forwards and used a CoC dice to deploy his Panzerschreck which couldn’t miss and duly brewed up the second Churchill.
With his armour gone and one section close to breaking we now had a surge in confidence and started to advance again. My lads that had taken out the Churchill left the cover of the field they were in and were surprised by a Vickers which caused them to fall back behind the hedges again to lick their wounds and recover. I reinforced them with another section and with the help of some of Daren’s chaps quickly got revenge, virtually wiping out the crew and causing them to be pinned after a few rounds of firing. Whilst this was going on Daren advance one of his sections and caused Mike to deploy a section to counter this and protect the objective. This is exactly what Daren wanted as the Flammpanzer let fly and quickly destroyed the British lining the road with 2 bursts of it’s terrible weapon.
All in all things weren’t quite going Mike’s way: both tanks were burning, his Vickers was out of action, one squad was had taken a mullering, one was virtually destroyed and broken, senior and junior leaders were wounded and his force morale was shot to bits but he hadn’t totally given up. Much to our surprise he launched his Carrier Section down the road in a crazy attempt to capture a JoP but it was doomed from the start and both carriers succumbed to a good ‘fausting and ‘shrecking from mine and Daren’s lads by the road. With this it was game over and he finally admitted defeat.
It was a cracking game as usual with Chain of Command and Daren and I were actually quite surprised that we managed to pull off a victory, given what support armour we decided on as we had thought about taking a Tiger or Panther so that we could tackle the Churchills but both fancied trying out the flame tank. This was a gamble as if Mike had decided to take it out with one of his tanks or had managed to get a PIAT shot at it we might have been screwed. Similarly we were relieved that Mike decided to be so aggressive with his tanks which played into our hands somewhat as our short range anti-tank capability was so strong, if he had kept them back and used them as mobile pill boxes we didn’t think we would have been able to have done so well. Daren really enjoyed the game though which was good to see, so maybe we could entice him with some more CoC action in the future?
I took part in my first ever Colonial game on Monday down at the Warlords. To be honest the ‘period’ always left me cold as I could never see the point in it really. Some seriously outnumbered Europeans boldly defending themselves against hordes of indigenous peoples (armed only with sharpened pieces of fruit and rightful indignation) but pulling through due to having far superior firepower and fantastic facial hair just didn’t do it for me. However I saw Martin’s game the other week and it looked fantastic and when he said he was putting on a bigger version I jumped at the chance as the figures were just too lovely not to!
So, here I was about to take on the Mahdi’s forces in the Sudan. The scenario was seemingly straightforward, our column had to advance across the table and secure the settlement at the far end. We could see some Mahdist types in the wadi to our front but were sure that there were more lurking in the various pieces of cover between us and our objective. The column was split into 4 commands with (from left to right) Ian taking the Dragoons, Andy the Royal Navy detachment and Royal Marines (well he is an old bootie), Mike the Highlanders and Yorks & Lancs and I had control of 3 battalions of Egyptian infantry, some skirmishers and the chainmail clad Gendarme squadron. The plan was brutally simple: the Dragoons would get free of the first wadi and then swan about looking for Mahdists, the British would boldly advance on the settlement whilst the Egyptians would have the trickier job of advancing on the guns to silence them.
Things got very sticky very quickly however as a bunch of Mahdists broke cover in the brush in front of the advancing Marines and opened fire which slowed their advance somewhat as it took a while to dispatch them, especially as the Navy’s gun jammed after 6 shots! Whilst this action was happening my brave Egyptians had advanced to the wadi and had readied themselves for the assault whilst my skirmishers tried to discomfort the lurking enemy. The Jocks to my left were attracting the attention of the Mahdi’s guns and the Cavalry on the far left seemed to be just prancing around (the first of the random event cards caused them to retire in the direction they had just come).
The Egyptians were soon across the first Wadi as the Mahdists broke as soon as the assault battalion charged whilst the British also moved forwards to take the other Wadi defenders under fire whilst the Highlanders outflanked them. The Marines seemed to be a trouble magnet though as they were attacked by bands of both Fuzzy-Wuzzies and Mahdists. These attacks were seen off with the assistance from the other battalions and soon the combined weight of shot from the Naval Detachment, Yorks & Lancs and Royal Marines soon saw the Wadi and its environs free of the enemy and they could cross over to join their allies and the Highlanders on the far side. It was about this time that the drums started up as the column once more pushed ahead.
At first everything was looking good, my Egyptians had advanced and after seeing off a charge by some camel mounted fuzzies we were steeling ourselves for the attack on the first enemy gun. I had pushed my skirmishers right in front of the guns and should have started to reduce the crew by their fire if they could have hit them, unfortunately though they were awful shots and this wasn’t happening. Meanwhile, across the rest of the advance Mike’s Highlanders were advancing on the second gun and both them and the Y&L had to deal with further ambushes from the Mahdists which had disjointed their advance somewhat with the English battalion now lagging somewhat behind. This was the story for Andy’s chaps too. The Marines were still shooting and melee-ing their way forwards, racking up an impressive number of slain and routed enemies on the way, but becoming slightly separated from the Naval Detachment as they had also veered off to the left somewhat to deal with more trouble. The Cavalry meanwhile had got into a jolly hairy scrape, riding between the palms and some brush to threaten one of the enemy guns they triggered 3 separate ambushes and another Balaclava looked on the cards. Thankfully though they managed to extricate themselves from the trap with no loss. Then the drums stopped.
As soon as this happened all hell broke loose with Mahdist bands led by Emir’s appearing from all points of the compass and headed straight for us (this was the result of a random event card). Things got extremely hairy from here on in. Over on the far left the Royal Marines were girding themselves to see off yet more, fresh attackers. The Yorks and Lancs had to about face to prepare to receive attacks from the direction we had come from by a large band of Mahdists. The Navy and Highlanders were dealing with one of the guns and the forces that failed to catch the Dragoons and my brave Egyptians were surprised by two huge bands of enemy troops lead by fantastically bedecked Emirs erupting onto their right flank.
The Mahdists caught the end of one of my battalions which sacrificed one and a half companies to try and hold them long enough for the rest of the battalion to fall back and wheel to face. This is what a second battalion just about managed to do letting loose a volley before being struck by the second attacking band. A frenzied melee then ensued with the smaller Egyptian force valiantly holding off a vastly superior force long enough for their parent battalion to ready themselves, the second battalion was also holding firm and I readied the Gendarmes to make a charge into the disorganised Mahdists. At the same time another band was spied moving towards the Wadi that we had crossed earlier so a square was formed by the two battalions that were not engaged in the melee. This was none too soon as the fighting on the flank ceased with the destruction of the brave Egyptian defenders, with the charge of the Gendarmes achieving naught but delaying the inevitable briefly.
Elsewhere other desperate fighting was being conducted as the Mahdist hordes attacked although the Dragoons did manage to execute a successful charge into the rear of one band. Although we were quietly confident of our chances there were a lot of new enemies approaching and their guns were still in operation, all of our units had been steadily losing men and I was down one whole battalion so it was a slight relief that we ran out of time!
The game was bags of fun and had moments of real tension, many thanks to Martin for putting the game on it was an absolute pleasure sir! Rules used were ‘Sands of the Sudan’ which had nice simple mechanics that were easy to pick up and the random event cards added a huge amount to the game not only in the random events but also period flavour. All the figures are from Martin’s beautiful collection and most of the terrain (bar the Wadi’s and the ruined buildings ) are his too, with most made by him too. He is thinking of taking it to a show which I think is a great idea as it would be a great participation game. I’ll definitely play another game so thank you Mr Gane for the introduction, the next one might even be reported in an appropriately Victorian style….
I got my first game of Chain of Command in ages at the club last Monday and it was good to have a change from all the FFT action I’ve been having. I was taking on Ian’s American infantry with some German Infantry so a nice even game was in the offing, which was needed for Ian as his last outing was against a JagdTiger and Elite PanzerGrenadiers and I don’t think he enjoyed it much! I also got to put a couple of my new buildings on the table too which was nice.
We decided on doing a scenario that isn’t in the rulebook but that Des and I concocted which works well as a club game. It is your classic ‘meeting engagement’ with both sides tasked to secure a road junction or cause the other side to fail morale. To generate Support Points we both rolled 2d6 and we discarded the lowest die out of the four, then added up the pips from the remaining 3 and that was what we had to play with. We ended up with 13 points and I went for a Pz IV, an Adjutant & a MMG; Ian went for another rifle squad, a HMG, a sniper and another bazooka team.
All in all the game was good fun, not much happened in the way of manoeuvre but it was an good old-fashioned toe-to-toe firefight which is a great way to spend an evening sometimes! The patrol phase ended well for both sides really with us both having JOP’s near to the buildings and with good potential to launch attacks. I had the greater morale with 10 versus Ian’s 9 so got to roll for activation first which was great as I got lucky rolling a double 6 for the first set of activations and brought on the tank and one squad, I then did it again so pushed the squad forward to the nearest house and deployed another (we then agreed that 3 times of double 6’s would be it!). The last of my activations just saw me push the infantry forwards to take up position along the hedges to cover the flank and start to clamber in the back windows of the house to cover the road whilst I deployed the Senior leader to back them up.
Ian’s response to these deployments was to get as many of his dudes on the table as he could as quickly as he could and he started to push forward past the house on my right with a squad to threaten my JOP that was deployed in the field by the two trees. He also lined the wall over the road from the house that I had occupied with a second squad and a third arrived over on the left to protect the JOP there from attack from my left hand section. I waited until the squad advancing by the house on the right got close enough and I brought the MMG on and let rip. 10 dice and what did I get, absolutely nothing, I rolled 6 ones!!! I should have taken this as a sign and bugged out then and there.
Luckily for me the Pz IV waded in with its MG too and their aim was better and the Junior Leader copped it whilst I added more shock and took out a couple more of the squad. Ian countered by bringing on his M2 and got to work chewing up my MMG team, taking one out and shocking the bejeezuz out of the rest. This was a fight which I lost and before I could activate them again the M2 broke the gun team. I had deployed my last rifle section in the same place and they finished off the advancing Ami squad, breaking the rifle team and caused the BAR team to duck behind the house for cover.
Meanwhile in the centre my section in the house had started a firefight with the Yanks across the road which they started to slowly win – the HE fire from the PZ IV helping somewhat – but Ian was managing to successfully rally off shock to keep his guys in the fight albeit with mounting losses. I briefly moved my left hand section forward to threaten Ian’s right hand JOP but quickly retired them as I didn’t fancy taking on the Browning that was stationed there too.
This beast of a gun then decided the game as it started to fire on my section that had taken the SF MG42’s place and had been engaging Ian’s lads near the building on the right. For some stupid reason I didn’t lob a smoke grenade to prevent the incoming HMG fire by masking my position there and pretty soon both my Gun and rifle teams were broken and on their toes. Before I could get my Senior leader across to them though Ian had built up a CoC dice and used it to end the turn. With me losing the HMG team and a squad routing off the table on top of the breaks I had suffered my morale had dropped to 5 and I conceded.
So, like I said no finesse really but cracking fun all the same, thanks to Ian for the game and it was good to see his lovely figures on the table and it was a pleasure to cross swords with him and to have a game of these excellent rules again.
I have been visiting the website of the Battlefront WW2 rules for a while now, mainly to use the fantastic Cold War TO&E’s posted there and have been intrigued by the rules too, I was wanting to try them out to see if it was worth having a go at the Cold War version. I finally got to have a go a couple of weeks ago against Philip using his lovely 10mm 1940 French and German kit. Unfortunately I wasn’t really feeling at my best and was quite half-arsed all evening which is probably why it has taken me ages to get this posted.
Details are going to be sketchy I’m afraid but here goes. As the exercise was simply to get used to the rules – Philip had only had the one or two games of them himself as they were new – the scenario was nice and straightforward. My French force was counter attacking the invading Boche and needed to secure a village, they were trying to stop me. To do this I had a Battalion of Char B’s, a few R-35’s and a Dragon Portee Battalion in Lorraine carriers. The German’s had a Panzer Battalion with a mix of Mk. 1, 2, 3 and 4’s and an Infantry Battalion.
I duly advanced on the village whist pushing my nippier R-35’s towards the round wood on the right which Philip started to move round with nearly all of his tanks. I started to trundle some Char B’s across to assist the lighter tanks in fending this threat off as well as placing my mighty 25mm ATG to help out as well. My infantry did manage to assault the Germans in the edge of the village and in the adjacent wood but due to me not supressing them sufficiently before launching my attacks they all failed whilst suffering quite bad casualties. I did manage to thwart the Panzer attack though although neither side lost too many vehicles, the toughness of the mighty Char B’s was a deciding factor.
The rules were quite enjoyable to play, nice and straightforward mechanics with some nice touches, you only needed a few turns to get your head round the basics and we started to get into the swing of things very quickly. I quite liked the cards that had vehicle and infantry stats on but reckoned a data sheet would be easy to knock up – just not as pretty! Although we didn’t reach a definite conclusion to the game with a couple more under our belts I reckon we would have done, this was probably not helped by me feeling crap too.
Many thanks to Philip in putting the game on, he is a worse rules tinkerer than me and said that he hadn’t find anything yet that he wanted to change which is high praise for the rules indeed. I’d definitely be happy to give them another whirl soon and if I really like them might invest to be able to try out the Cold War version. I’m really trying hard to resist all of the lovely 15mm Cold War kit available these days, however these seem like a good set to use for that scale so it might just give me the final push into taking the plunge.
First of all, very sorry for not posting this any sooner but I’ve had a bit of a rough week or so, been feeling down and shite so haven’t had the urge to post owt. Hopefully this has passed now, London is basking in glorious sunshine and it is hard to feel down when that happens aint it!
Righty-o, to the game. It was supposed to be a one to one game between me and Alex so his Soviets were going to be coming up against my Austrians (who need to get on the table again really) but Dan and Daren were without a game so I said to them to join in with us. Unfortunately this meant using different forces as I didn’t think my Soviet kit was right for the second player on their side (OCD kicking in here I think). So, it was back to the Poles against the Lithuanians.
Edit: As requested here are links to TO&E’s, the Polish one doesn’t reflect 100% what was on table but was nearly there.
I set up the terrain loosely based on a quick look on Google Earth of a piece of Lithuanian countryside and as Dan arrived first he got the plucky Lithuanian defenders. I ran him through his forces and he got to marking his positions on a map. Daren and Alex were given their armour heavy force consisting of an Armoured Regiment and an Armoured Cavalry Regiment, so lots of tanks which I thought would enable them to punch through the defence. The scenario was simple, the Poles had to exit off the opposite table edge, the Lithuanians had to stop them. This time though the attack was coming in along the wider axis of the table which meant that the Lithuanians would be spread out and also unable to have any depth to their defence.
The Poles came on with the Armoured Regt under Daren on the left-centre and the Armd Cav under Alex on the right from the stream to the wood on the table edge. They began speculatively shelling the big wood in the centre between the roads and the hills between their start line and the Lithuanians table edge but all to no effect. The first Lithuanian barrage in reply saw some of Daren’s tanks become supressed and this resulted in each of his companies spreading out to their maximum cohesion distances – the first artillery strike managed to cover all 3 platoons of a company so it was good to see someone taking measures to prevent this happening again. Daren shrugged off this slight setback quickly though and he soon had a company of PT-78’s on overwatch on the small hill in the centre. Alex was continuing to advance cautiously along the right flank, expecting an ambush from the trees there he had dismounted his infantry and was combing the wood for any nasty surprises whilst slowly advancing his Scorpion-90’s as well.
Dan was contenting himself with shelling the advancing Poles, again supressing some of Daren’s tanks on the hill but not doing much else to hinder the Polish advance, to be fair he was having problems calling up enough batteries to do any more damage. Then Alex and Daren did something that I’ve never seen before and I was quietly pleased that they did – they had 5 Command Pips to spend and decided to use 4 of them on a counter battery strike, this thus stripped Dan of a third of his available artillery in one stroke. They then gained another 4 Pips in the next initiative roll and did the same again so Dan was down to one Artillery battalion and was beginning to look a bit glum!
While this was going on the Poles were still grinding forwards and soon the whoosh of ATGM was heard as Dan started to engage at long range with his Cavalry Squadron’s VAB/MILAN. Obviously trying to keep the Poles at arms length he also opened up with a Chieftain company in the central woods too, making good use of the mighty range on their 120mm guns. Daren started to take casualties in his tank platoons from KO’s and failed quality checks and started to move to the left across the stream to get out of the LOS of the Chieftains, whilst bringing in a big MRLS strike to try to neutralise the threat that they posed – which did result in suppressing some of them. Unfortunately for Daren his potential left hook come to naught as he ran into Dan’s TOW platoon and one of the infantry VAB/MILAN platoons stationed in the wood on that side of the stream which started to score more hits on his units.
Over on the Polish right though things were going quite a bit better. Suffering from a combination of some effective artillery strikes and the attention of Polish tank fire Dan’s Cavalry Squadron was beginning to suffer with the MILAN vehicle being lost as well as one of his VBC-90 platoons. Indeed it looked as if the Poles were about to break through over there and Dan was worried enough that he started to move his reserve Chieftain company out from behind the big wood to counter this threat (which did however suffer casualties from another MRLS strike) although if the Poles won the initiative in the next turn he might be too late to prevent this from happening. It was then that his luck changed and for only the second time in the game he won initiative and did so with a mighty 5 pip advantage. It was time for drastic action so he decided to call in an airstrike.
His good luck with the dice held and he rolled up a Jaguar flight with a great load of Heavy Cluster Bombs and Heavy Rockets (basically the best he could have gotten) and his brave pilots managed to dodge the superior Polish air cover and AD defences to unleash their ordinance on the tightly packed units of Alex’s Armoured Cavalry. After the dust had settled from the devastating strike the Polish commanders decided that enough was enough and they conceded the game. Daren’s force had suffered about 40% losses and couldn’t get to grips with the Lithuanians facing them whilst Alex’s command was still reeling from the Jag attack and didn’t feel confident in making it off the table before the Chieftains intervened.
So all in all a quite satisfactory game, it really could have gone either way. Although Daren’s unit had taken a beating Alex’s lads were within a whisker of winning the game, if they had made it to the Lithuanian table edge I was going to say that they would have to pull out. Dan was quick to admit that he was lucky in calling in the airstrike when he did, also that he rolled up the Jaguars and not the L-39 Albatross’. The chaps seemed to enjoy it so that was good too and thanks to them for making it a pleasant experience as usual.
We had access to the hall that the club meets in for the whole day on Monday so there was a chance to have a proper big game of FFT3. Alan was keen to dust his forces off for a game and Bill wanted to try the rules out so the game was on – unfortunately Des who was slated for a command too couldn’t make it on the day so it would be the 3 of us (once Bill had finished with his Dystopian Wars game!).
Alan would be bringing the 14me DLB so a decent sized force for an all day game with French Divisions being in between a ‘standard’ division and a brigade in size. To counter this force I would be bringing the majority of an alt-history Polish Mechanised Division. This gave about the same number of tank bases each although the French outgunned the Poles by dint of their 105mm armed AMX-10P’s and plethora of Milan atgm.
Both forces had Jaguar aircraft in support, with the French having Gazelle helos armed with HOT and the Poles Mangusta armed with ZT.3 atgm and 20mm Cannon available too.
The scenario was a classic wargamer friendly meeting engagement: The French had intervened in the Polish invasion of Lithuania (see last game) and the 14 DBL was tasked with finding and stopping the advance of the Polish 5th Mechanised Division as it moved north around the west of Kaunas. We diced to see what table edge we came in on and ended up thus:
We would be starting the battle with some forces arriving on the table on the first move (1 Regt for the Poles and 2 for the French) and all subsequent units had to be paid for from Command Pips won during initiative rolls. Alan chose to start by bringing his Armoured and Light Armoured Regiments on first, I went with the Cavalry Regiment. Luckily for me I won the initiative for the kick off and belted my column of vehicles down the road, the plan being to get the infantry component into the town along with a company of Cougars whilst another Cougar company and an ERC-90 company fanned out to the left of the town, taking the hill there (‘the Pimple’) to enable observation of the French deployment. The remaining VBC and Cougar companies would be held at the edge of Raudonas Wood on ‘my’ side of the stream as a reserve. The idea was to hold the French up as long as possible and bring on the Mech infantry next to shore up the defence where needed, then counter with the Armoured Regiment once the French had hopefully been softened up.
Polish Cavalry enter the table..
..and winds forward to the stream
Alan started off by advancing half of his AMX-30 regiment along the road towards Miestą Sankryžos with 2 companies advancing towards the small ridge to the left of Pilkas (as you look at the above photo) with the AMX-10RC’s advancing to take position along the large L-shaped hill on the right. I feel Alan made a bit of a mistake here as the wheeled Armoured Cars might have made use of their greater road movement and managed to get to Miestą Sankryžos before me which would have really put me on the back foot. However, as I had secured the town I was feeling quite happy as it would, hopefully, take Alan some effort to winkle me out of it.
First blood went to the French when they took out a Cougar platoon that was on ‘the Pimple’ trying to get eyes on the advancing enemy and Alan decided to spend the Command Pips that he had just won on bringing on his AMX-10P Regiment too so I was now quite outnumbered but not too disheartened. I could have countered this straight away by bringing on another unit myself but I decided to spend my saved Pips on an airstrike as the sight of the French armour arrayed along the road from Pilkas was just too much of a temptation. So the call went in and a Jaguar flight duly arrived belting along the road and dropping its load of iron and cluster bombs on the foremost AMX-30 company. The effect of this strike was amazing, I managed to eliminate the whole company by a mixture of KO’s and failed quality tests but it did come at the price of the brave airmen as I rolled a SNAFU that resulted in my flight being shot down after their run. I had also managed to take out a MILAN armed Jeep company with Rarden fire from the village at this time too so things were looking rosy!
The next stage in the battle saw the fight to take control of Miestą Sankryžos which seemed at one point seemed to be drawing in every French unit on the table. Alan was determined to take the town and started to pound it with artillery whilst moving his Mech infantry forwards to take it from one direction whilst he also advanced from another with his AMX-10 armoured cars. His tank Regiment was used to clear ‘the Pimple’ which was achieved quickly and resulted in the loss of one of the Polish Cougar companies as I left them in place too long. I withdrew the 2 surviving platoons of the ERC-90 company back to the safety of Raudonas Wood and redeployed them to cover the left flank as I was worried about a French advance there. The remaining Cougar and ERC-90 companies were deployed to the stream from their reserve position in the wood to engage the French Armour from its cover for as long as possible.
The actual fight for the town was over quicker than I had hoped but it had wasted a bit of time which helped me as Alan continued to keep the initiative preventing me from gaining the pips needed to bring on my other units, indeed I was starting to wish that I had had done so earlier when I had the chance instead of making the air attack. Luckily for me my brave lads in the companies along the stream, helped by a savage MRLS barrage, were holding their own against the French armour (I was continually lucky with my saving throws and Alan was having awful luck passing quality tests). Alan was also having a terrible time sorting out his units involved in the fight for Miestą Sankryžos, being unable to clear his suppressions, and this helped me no end as I knew my luck in holding the stream couldn’t last forever. Indeed just as it looked as if the French were finally ready to launch an assault on the stream I finally wrested back the initiative and by a 4 pip margin too which meant I could release both my other units which could hopefully save the day.
Bill was now ready to join in at this stage so he took command of the Armoured Regiment and I took the Mechanised Infantry and a mass of Polish units now moved into view behind Raudonas, armour on the left and infantry to the right and both advancing quickly. This new threat seemed to upset the French as they now seemed to decide to go on the defensive even though they had started to whittle down my defending Cavalry units. The Poles now kept the initiative and brought on a Mangusta attack helicopter flight to further add to the pressure as it sat to the rear of our position looking for targets. Bill had wasted no time in advancing his tanks towards the confluence of the two streams in front and to the left of Raudonas Wood. He started to engage the French tanks whilst pushing forward one of his Mech Infantry companies forwards to outflank the French position on the hill covering the extreme left flank, again aided by a massive MRLS barrage that virtually wiped out the AMX-30 company there.
I had moved my Mech infantry to the hill to the right of Raudonas Wood and placed my ATGM and VBC-90’s there hoping to engage the French across the stream. I pushed my tank company towards the bridge between Miestą Sankryžos and Dvaras looking to engage the French armoured cars stationed there. The infantry was split with 2 companies heading into Radonas wood to relieve the Cavalry holding out there and the remaining two companies heading for wood near Dvaras to go on a long right hook around the French flank. Alan did manage to inflict some damage on me, taking out the tanks and armoured cars but elsewhere things weren’t going so well.
Even with his newly arrived VAB mounted infantry regiment taking up a defensive position along the low ridge by Pilkas it looked as if his right flank was about to be turned and Bill’s tanks would soon be free to exploit in the French rear. With his losses to the other Regiments and with the Poles starting to move around his left too Alan decided that enough was enough and before his position turned into a ‘sac de mort’ we called the game as a, albeit narrow, Polish victory.
Things could have gone much differently though, the heroic (and seriously jammy at times!) sacrificial stand of the Polish Cavalry along the stream really knackered the French plan as did their problems getting the units sorted out after winning the town. In the end I gained enough time to finally win back initiative to enable me to bring my other units into the fray which tipped the balance at last to the Polish favour. It was a tough fight all round and many thanks to Alan and Bill for taking part, I hope that they enjoyed it too.