Sunday, 20 November 2016
Back to Chain of Command: Red Counterattack
Following many months of playing Napoleonics, today I returned to my cherished IIWW Chain of Command. I was offered to play the second scenario of a small mini campaign set at Kursk. This was a Red Army counterattack to the advanced elements of the Gross Deutschland division.
Our forces comprised a SMG platoon (reinforced with an additional SMG squad and a lend-lease Churchill) and 2 platoons of T-34. The victory conditions for the Soviets were to exit the northern edge of the table (see the map) with at least two AFV. The stream was hard going for the tanks, subject to a double bogged-down roll if attempting to cross; thus the only safe place to ford the stream was through the bridge.
This game was played with the "Big CoC" system that allows multiplayer games with Chain of Command.
I was the leader of a tank platoon and after rolling for the entry I was assigned the road to the east escorting the SMG infantry platoon that was to enter the table motorised.
The game started to go bad from the very beginning. My first activation saw the leading tank moving flat out a total of... 4 inches!!... thus creating a traffic jam at the entry point.
The SMG unit just passed by and disembark form the lorries taking advantage of a double turn. The Germans lost no time and started to deploy LMG teams around to fire on the Russians in the open and a Pz IV looming just at the edge of the forest overlooking my entry point.
While the poor infantry was trying to reach the stream and find a shelter in the forest across, my tank platoon attempted to enter in the second activation phase but alas only one additional T-34 came in and was quickly knocked out by the Pz IV with a flank shot.
The other tank platoon emerged from the southern road and together with my leading tank, we seems to have hit hard the Pz IV that puled out with apparently the main gun broken. However, three additional tanks (Pz III and Pz IV) emerged in different places in the forest, that were quite effective in breaking our momentum, destroying another AFV of the second Russian armoured column.
At that time we were no near to the bridge than a the beginning of the game and the whole attack was sadly bogging down. The infantry was being massacred and one section together with a support MMG were already broken; it was clear that it did not have any punch to deal with the infantry in the forests.
The tank duel took a break when the Germans decided to moved in reverse and all the tanks came out of our LOS. However another surprise was in store when reaching the 5th activation of the game: an armoured column emerged from the northern table edge comprising 2 additional Pz IV and 2 Tigers.
On seen that I reckon that it was like heaven falling on our heads for the Red Army commanders. After a brief conference we considered impossible to reach the victory conditions even attempting a mad dash ahead with all tanks and we communicate our decision to stop the game in that moment.
Bad start of the new CoC season indeed and the German players were neither happy that we left so early the game as I could see in some of the faces. Hopefully the following battle will be played on 2 weeks time, but after the performance today I'm seriously considering taking a longer break.