As many of you probably know, since today we have a new king in Spain (Felipe VI) following the resignation of his father Juan Carlos after 39 years. Being a holiday in Madrid and with little else to celebrate after the shameful performance on the Spanish football team last night against Chile, what best than playing a new game of Chain of Command!!
Opposing forces were Germans and American paras, facing each other somewhere in the countryside of Normandy, approximately on D Day+1. The setup of the game was a counterattack of a German platoon looking to test the American lines strength and eventually to retake a major farm complex.
For this game we chose to play Scenario 2 “The Probe”, with Americans defending and the Germans attacking. Being a second day of fighting, we decided that the paratroopers could not be at full strength; a d6 combat casualties were rolled for each US squad (the final numbers not revealed to the German player until displayed on the table… we later learnt that each squad took 50% casualties as a result of the dice roll).
After rolling for support, the Germans got 4 (choosing an FOO) and the Americans got 2 (half the attacker level as per scenario instructions, choosing an extra bazooka team). Initial force moral was 10 for the paratroopers and 9 for the Germans.
The photo below shows the table and the jump-off points location (white German, yellow American) after the patrol phase. The buildup area on the back is the farm complex and the main building is a two-storey construction; units on the second floor can overlook the bocage (and fire to any units) up to 18” distance.
Germans moved first and deployed a squad in overwatch with LOS on the main building´s second floor; a second squad was deployed in a hidden road next to the left jumpoff point. In the US phase a first squad was deployed in the building and the support mortar section in the yard, the former making fire on the Germans with the 0.30 cal MG; the German automatically responded (unit in overwatch) and saw a lucky strike of dice, killing two privates and putting some shock on the enemy despite being in hard cover.
On the following German phase the FOO came into play; another very lucky dice roll and the mortar barrage fell in the center of farm complex. The two American units were now pinned and deprived of LOS on any German unit, while two of the three jump-off points were out of action for the duration of the barrage; grabbing the opportunity, the German squad moved down the road to approach the farm by the front while the third German infantry squad emerged in the same road.
American casualties in the farm started to pile, with units broken due to the mortar fire or wiped out and leaders wounded; several moral die rolls later, the American force moral was down to 6.
|Mortar barrage falling on the farm|
In the following phase the second paratroop section, the two senior leaders and the two bazooka squads were put into play. One German unit that had just moved to the edge of the bocage line looking to capture the American jump-off point behind, was attacked with grenades, that proved exceptionally effective causing some kills, shocks and a wound top the NCO in command.
In the meantime the other German unit in the road moved to the entrance of the yard ready to assault the complex. With the farm now free of US forces, the German FOO moved the center of the mortar barrage to its left, catching a big fish in the net (one of the senior leaders) and a bazooka team under cover in an orchard. The latter was pinned and then broke after losing half of the team members. US Force moral was now in 4.
|German FOO team|
The US decided to conclude the turn (and put an end to the mortar barrage) using his first Chain of Command dice. Unfortunately that also rendered out of action the broken Bazooka team and new chip on the force moral level (now down to 3). And last but least it allowed the German infantry squad posted at the entrance of the farm complex to run into the yard and capture one of the enemy’s jump-off point as well. The German player now used his Chain of Command dice to end the turn and the captured jump-off point was now considered conquered: another force moral die roll put the American in just 1 level.
Overwhelmed by the German assault, the surviving paras decided to disengaged and left the table though their tactical edge. Decisive victory for the German players!
A very good and fast-paced game with three player, lasting just over 2½ hours (including a mid-morning coffee break in a nearby bar!!). Germans were truly favored by the initial exchange of fire with the Americans in the farm and specially by the early arrival of the mortar barrage; calling the mortars early enough in the game is advantageous as the only way to end the barrage is by using the CoC die to end the turm and it takes time to accumulate enough points to gain one of these dice.
This game marks my returning to some wargaming life normality (cross fingers!) after almost two months, coinciding with Coronation Day here. Now, please repeat with me:
¡VIVA EL REY!