Showing posts with label chain of command. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chain of command. Show all posts

Friday, 8 July 2016


Last night we played that Chain of Command scenario where one side has to take an objective on the other side's baseline. I had the title of it in my head when I got home, but it's totally gone now.

Anyway, here's the table. Caesar and I wee the Germans, attacking from the foreground across fields and hedgerows. The Russians had our objective stashed in those woods right at the far end. Beyond Fortress Village.

The Russians also had an artillery barrage going on the first turn. And in Chain of Command a tur can possibly last most of the game. The effect of the barrage was to make it harder to actually get our troops on  the table. Eventually we managed to deploy some stuff on our left ...

.. and then our right.

Meanwhile the Russians occupied the village with some infantry and a couple of Maxims. The Maxims fire at us. We kept our heads down and fired back. When the Maxim crews ran away, their officers shouted at them and they came back. The Maxims then continued to fire at as. Eventually we ran out of ways of dodging bullets and, having not moved from our start positions (aside from routing), gave up on the attack.

The last time we played this scenario the attackers had it easy because there were too many covered approach routes. This time we probably swung it too far the other way; there was lots of cover, but Russian fire could reach pretty much every point on the table, making any kind of advance extremely risky. The fact that we couldn't get key parts of our force past the Russian barrage didn't help either.

Still, the game was a surprisingly entertaining firefight.

Apologies to Ralph, Bryan, Peter and John T for neglecting to take any pictures of their games. Peter and John played 36AP HOTT using 28mm Middle earth armies, whilst Ralph and Bryan went back to those memorable days in the 1980s when  Russian tanks with too few turrets swept across Germany.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Chain of Command - Patrol

We played more Chain of Command last night; Caesar ran it, whilst John and I pushed troops around. Caesar also wrote this excellent description of the game for our club's Yahoo Group, and once again saved me from having to do anything more than upload pictures and add a few comments.

"We played a low-key game of Chain of Command last night, in the meeting engagement of Scenario 1 of the rulebook. Alan commanded a regular British platoon, supported by an additional light mortar and adjutant. John P commanded a regular German platoon, supported by a dreaded flame thrower team. Ralph kindly provided beautifully painted 1/72nd scale miniatures which, based several figures together, allowed us to trial marking casualties, rather than removing individual figures. Yes, we proved that Chain of Command will work with these figures, or indeed FOW 15mm figures.

John seized the initiative and with covering MG fire and the odd spurt of Flammenwerfer (nasty!), took the woods on his left flank, with a British section toasted and on the point of collapse. Alan’s NCOs must have been leading from the front, because they copped a few casualties, limiting their ability to direct troops. However, the Brits held firm in a ruined farmhouse in the centre (seems to be a running theme with Alan), repulsing Handgranaten assaults and reducing a Jerry section caught in the bocage labyrinth to a paltry MG. Meanwhile, some nifty German fire-and-movement on the other flank brought the remaining British section under deadly MG42 fire and the British morale dropped dangerously low. With reduced command dice, Alan called it a day.

Apart from feeling the absence of Gary and his rules knowledge, and my confused thumbing through the rules at all the curly questions coming my way, it was a very satisfying game – thanks to Alan and John for your enthusiasm and patience. I look forward to revisiting Scenario 4 on the Eastern Front in several weeks. When I can track down a decent quick reference sheet I’ll be truly happy!"

So here's the terrain, with the strange bocage 'maze' down the middle.

The British opening moves were on their left, covered by a hedge and a wood.

On the right I brought on a strong squad, but it fell foul of a lucky leader casualty and some attention from a flamethrower. I got in a few hits before their morale collapsed, but it was mostly a disaster for the boys in khaki.

I had more luck in the centre, where the Germans hopped a hedge and ran into an accurate hail of fire from a ruined building on the other side. They threw grenades, hoping to make an assault, but failed to make an impression, and got shot up some more whilst they milled around in confusion.

The main action, in one picture.

On the British left they got in some good shots courtesy of a Chain of Command dice, but steady fire from a German MG soon took its toll, and whilst the Germans suffered casualties here, the British suffered more.

With my morale collapsing I conceded at that point. The British were unlucky with leader casualties, losing two of the five they had on-table outright and another two wounded. I also got very lucky with Chain of Command dice, but this meant my opportunities for activating troops were reduced, giving the Germans plenty of chance to move where they needed with what they needed. That said, I wasn't very aggressive. I'm still finding my way with these rules, and am possibly not as daring with my moves as I could be; I very much allowed the Germans to take the initiative, then couldn't find a way to get them to react to me instead of me reacting to them. 

Meanwhile, on the other table, Dave and Peter played big-battle DBA.

Skythians fought Late Romans (yes, I know ...). The Skythians seemed to have a good night of it, breaking up the Roman army and beating it fairly effectively.

Friday, 13 May 2016

More Chain of Command

We had another go at Chain of Command last night. Gary put together a very busy table (despite an unfortunate lack of green cloth to act as a backdrop) and we played one of the scenarios from the book, with a force of Germans looking to break through a Russian defence and capture a jump-off point near their baseline.

Here's the setup, looking down the table from the Russian baseline.

John and Caesar took the Germans, whilst Gary and I ran the Russians.

The Russians got off to a good starat, bringing on a reasonable number of troops early on, and we moved to occupy a forward position in the buildings.

This was a bad plan. The low mounds along the road pretty much blocked out line of fire to any of the rapidly advancing groups of Germans. They swiftly set up LMGs covering our lead infantry squad, and then subjected them to a withering fire, which we could neither avoid, nor reply to.

To the bottom right of the picture can be seen the objective, with a strong force of Russians covering it. This force did have a reasonably clear view of the battlefield, and the Germans sensibly avoided hurling themselves straight at the objective. Mid-left can be seen another line of Russians covering against an advance on that flank.

Here's our defensive line, showing Gary's lovely Russians, and one of the very nice jump-off point markers he's made.

Here's the other flank - infantry along the hedge-line and an MMG in the building. The Germans are skulking behind the wood, unwilling to expose themselves to the MMG.

In the end the German players realised that they could just whittle down the Russian morale and win by making the entire force run away. And, essentially, that's what they did, routing our exposed force and then threatening the others. We had defended the objective reasonable well - the forward position was a mistake, but most of our other troops were well sited - but the Germans effectively changed the nature of the objective. We actually found the text of the scenario confusing, and felt that with the attackers under no time pressure they could afford to go for a slow, methodical, wearing down of the defenders, rather than actually having to go for the objective in any meaningful way. That aside we enjoyed the game, though, with the mechanisms providing much entertainment.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Chain of Command

On Thursday evening Gary put together a game of Chain of Command for us. This was always going to be an interesting experience, with only he and Caesar having read the rules beforehand, and none of us having played.

This was the table. We played a Russian vs German encounter, with both sides just trying to take the other side out. Nice and simple. Each side had a platoon of three squads, plus appropriate supports.

The beginning of the game involes moving patrol markers -essentially blinds - around the board. As opposing markers interact they lock into position, and this determines the jumping-off points for each sides' troops. The gane then uses activation dice to deploy to move things or perform actions, but your troops can appear at any available jumping off point when first activated, allowing them to appear halfway across the table if you've managed to get your positioning right.

The Germans took the initiative, setting up a squad in a strong position in the village in the centre, then a second one in a wood covering its flank. We (for I was Russian this evening), responded by deploying two squads, one after the other, on a point which had a line of fire to the wood. Since we could fire upon deployment, this gave us a positively 19th century double-rank volley fire effect on the defenders. It wasn't pretty.

The Germans spent the next part of the game on the back-foot. They had to deploy their senior commander and some supporting teams just to bolster the morale of their troops in the wood, and spent a lot of thei activations repairing the damage our firing was causing. We kept one unit firing, whilst our other squad worked its way through some woods ready to set up a second firing position, or assault the already wobbly Germans and take their jumping-off point.

Eventually the Germans got it together, and moved the troops in the village across to support the ones in the wood (not pictured), whilst deploying their third squad wide on the other flank in a bold move to take a couple of our jumping-off points. Since these points represent a side's route onto the table, they kind of act like supply lines and their loss causes a negative morale effect.

We had one squad left to deploy. We deployed it close to our baseline, with an initial view of defending our jumping-off points. But it really wasn't a very good defensive position;we decided something bolder was required, and rushed up the middle of the table, behind the main German position, aiming for their jumping-off points.

In the meantime our flanking squad was moving into position against the Germans in the wood. In the background to the left you can see our firing squad, pinning the Germans in place, in the centre you can see the Germans from the village basically hiding in a wood and doing nothing and to the right you can see our third squad moving into what is essentially the German rear.

Chain of Command uses random movement, so when I say that our troops 'moved into position' what I mean was that they advanced so quickly that they hurled themselves into a close assault against the Germans in the wood, without preparing for it first, as we had planned.

There was a bloody fight. The Germans were outnumbered, but were defending a wood, had an LMG in position and had more automatic weapons. The Russians got slaughtered, but kept pressing home the attack and forced a draw which pressed home more attacks. Essentially we traded casualties on a one for one basis, until the Germans simply ran out of men. It was a massacre all round; the Russians retreated as the last German died, even. But the Germans then did badly on the mass of morale checks they had to take in the wake of the combat. Their force's morale collapsed, and their rest of their troops fled, giving the Russians the victory.

The Russians did what you rarely see in a wargame; came up with a simple plan, and basically stuck to it. That said it was because we got very, very lucky. Our initial firing was devastating, plus the Germans made the mistake of not deploying in tactical mode (which would have given them a better cover advantage) but in overwatch (which, it appears, doesn't allow them to react to our troops merely deploying). The Germans had the better of the command and control, with a senior commander directing their troops and a couple of points where they got two activations in a row. The Russian command was plodding and unimaginative and simply allowed us to move a couple of units each turn. We had a sniper and a mortar, but they saw little of no action because basically massed shooting, marching and close-assault were the best we could come up with. And it worked.

We spent a lot of time checking things in the rules, and we're sure that we made a lot of mistakes, especially with regard to how shock and casualties are applied to, and affect, groups made up of more than one squad/team. But the game moved along quickly, and was certainly not boring, with plenty of decisions to be made each turn. We are all keen to give it another go.
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