This weekend we played turns 4 and 5 (conclusion) of the Old Hickory campaign for Chain of Command. If you remember when we stopped in early December, the Germans had already won two games through the "orange route" and were now arriving to the final US defensive line at Le Neufbourg.
The US players called all reinforcements scattered in the different approaching routes to concentrate now into the village and to put a strong opposition despite overwhelming odds. The US side also played their last air support card in the 4th turn, resulting in the dispersion of the German attacking columns, winning the game and gaining some breathing space.
After this, the German deployed a new platoon form the general reserve (the one used in game 3) and then we moved to game number five, which as you will see resulted in a new straight German victory and also de conclusion of the campaign.
Below is the campaign map. The iron crosses and the white stars mark the German and US jump-off points respectively after the patrol phase. This game was a scenario 6 type of the main rules book (Attack on an Objective) and the green star represents the objective for the Germans (capturing the US tactical edge entry).
The Germans arrived to the table through the orange bar to the right of the map. This already gave them a tactical advantage as they could deploy under the cover of the main urban area, while the US units had to defend in a relatively open space under quite good fields of fire for the Germans. The black triangles represent the position of the US trenches.
If you remember from previous postings, we scaled up the game to two platoons per side using the "Big CoC" supplement. The game developed into two different battles, north and south of the main road crossing the table.
The Germans held the initiative and went for a quick deployment of their forces in the first two activations. The supports chosen (several flamethrower teams) made clear their aim of quickly closing in to assault the American positions and to give no quarter to the enemy.
In the north, the Germans deployed under cover of the fence next to a road crossing and the main house up in the map. The first unit made a quick dash towards to the US while the second provide some covering fire.
The US player brought its last infantry assets in reserve and took positions in the yard of the farm in the north, ready to fight the attack to the last man.
Meanwhile in the southern sector the Germans and US forces engaged in a fire exchange at short distance, including a generous use of smoke grenades in the fighting to conceal the movements of the firing teams.
After a short period of stalemate, the superior fire power of the German Grenadier squads (with 2 LMGs team each) was asserted and the US units in the trench routed after accumulating casualties and shocks.
The loss of the central position open a dangerous hole in the US position, as the Germans now could move units and outflank the US forces or straight capture the objective; in addition, the Force Moral of the US player had dangerously fall below 4. But I don't think the Germans even saw the opportunity in the rage of the battle (as usual), as instead they decided to continue the fight at close quarters.
And heaven open for the Germans: the player in the southern area enchained 5 (!!) consecutive activations in a row, which were put to good use. Supported by the fire of 4 LMG teams, a combat engineer team with a flamethrower run literally unopposed to the flank of the US main position and put two turns of fire on them.
This was literally "the game and the match ball": the accumulation of casualties from the LMG and the flamethrower were enough to reduce the US Force Moral to zero, surrendering the position to the Germans and winning not only the game but also the campaign.
I must congratulate the German players who showed a high level of aggressiveness from the very first game in which a motorised platoon in Hanomags raced (literally) to reach the objective cutting though the bewildered US defending lines... although luck was on their side (just see the events today with the 5 activation in a row...)
Some final notes and thoughts:
This is a truly difficult and some times exasperating campaign for the American player. Out-gunned on all fronts (tanks and LMGs), facing up to three different German Grenadier platoons that can be rotated each game and having to defend three different routes through which the German can approach the main position (Le Neufbourg).
The main defensive asset is the air support card: if wisely put in action, it can disperse the German forces in their concentration areas, enabling the US to gain some necessary breathing space. Nonetheless, the US player need to resist up a number of games to win the campaign (I do not disclose here to avoid spoilers) and even with these extra turns provided by the USAF, this not an easy task at all.
Finally, this is a campaign that is highly recommended to be played with an umpire. There are several issues that none of the players should avoid knowing (special events, number of campaign turns, reinforcements...) that make the campaign special.
It is a campaign worth undertaking in any case, and with the added attraction of having the Germans on the offensive in Normandy.