Today we played the second scenario of the Villers Bocage campaign for Chain of Command after a very long spell (first game played in August). All details of the campaign and background can be found in the previous pots.
If you wonder the reason for using the photo above to illustrate the post, just read through to the end...
I played the Germans and after taking into consideration the casualties of the previous engagement (7 casualties and the squad NCO), I ended up with two full squads and a small 4-men team with an LMG. My force moral was adjusted by -1 after rolling all the effects of losing the battle (all information available in At the Sharp End, the campaign supplement for Chain of Command).
As we were 4 players this morning, we agreed to do it Big and attached a full tank troop to the British and 2 Pz IVs and a Pak 40 to the Germans (they were in defensive rol here). The second game corresponds to the Scenario 2 The Probe of the main rule book, where the defending player need to prevent the attacking player to reach his tactical edge of the table (= being to at least 12" of the enemy’s table edge by the end of a turn).
Below is a photo of the gaming table, a typical Normandy landscape, with the farm indicating that we were fighting in the outskirts of Villers Bocage, the main campaign objective. I decided to organise my defensive line around the house, cover my right flank with a minefield and deploy the panzers on my left.
This photo also illustrates the position of the jumpoff points at the end of the patrol phase. The British had a total of three jumpoff points, one was placed across the table facing the farm, and the remaining two on the extreme left of their line. We (Germans) concentrated the jumpoff points around the farm, in line with our master plan.
In the initial game phases, the British decided to launch the tanks through the road leading to the farm and to deploy a first infantry squad in one of the jumpoff points at the extreme left. With all the enemy tanks (in principle at least) committed, our move was to deploy the Panzer IVs facing the British infantry, with the idea of steamrolling the infantry, capture the two jumpoff points, then turn right and move north to contest the Shermans and the Cromwell. A cunning plan indeed!
Initially everything was as planned: the MG and the HE fire of the tanks made several casualties, the junior leader was wounded and the unit started to accumulate some shock. Understandably, the British squad run to hide behind a high bocage wall, so the Panzers decided to move flat out to capture the jump off points ignoring the squad for the time being. I then deployed an infantry squad in the nearest jumpoff point to wipe out the survivors, but given the distance I estimated that will need around 2-3 phases to chase the British.
Everything under control in our left flank, I turned my attention now on my right as the Shermans approached the house, with the idea of deploying the AT gun as soon as I had good LOS. I also reserved one CoC dice to ambush the British with my Panzerschrecker tan-hunter team with the conditions were good for that.
But in the following British phase, a PIAT team emerged just on the flank of one of our Panzers before they could capture the jumpoff point. The hunter hunted??? ...NOOOO... they fell miserably to activate the bloody rocket. You have to see the laugh of the German players, who only had to made a left turn with the tank and crush the poor British under the tacks of the panzer.... ja,ja,ja (evil laugh) the victory was ours!!!
In the meantime and without much fuss, the mauled British squad had jumped over the bocage wall, and move inside an enclose field at top speed ... until suddenly the British players announced that they were using a Chain of Command dice to finish the turn and suddenly burst in laughter....
I could hardly believe it... we were so absorbed by the action and so eager to capture the jumpoff points and crush the enemy moral that we totally forgot the most important aspect when playing a scenario: the bloody VICTORY CONDITIONS!!!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the British infantry had subtly moved and reached the edge of our line, had finished the turn with the CoC dice and therefore had won the game... the laugh of the British still reverberates in my ears. Total game length: 45 minutes
|Game summary (click to enlarge)|
Second game and second victory to the British. Our only consolotation was that we made a few more casualties to the British vs none on us... Listen Tommy, lesson learned and next time it won't be so easy... and now, keep on laughing