Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Here Come the Yanks, The Final Showdown.

So the finale of our late war Chain of Command campaign had finally arrived.
This campaign has taken a fair old while to get to this point, thanks to various real life pressures, but we made it in the end.
We had decided to end the campaign with a "Big Chain of Command" game, with all 6 Platoons taking to the table, with the American making a final assault on the town of Arques, with the Germans trying to hold them off before making an orderly retreat.  The scenario was going to be a flank attack, played on an 8 foot by 6 foot table.

After 6 campaign turns the Platoons were looking like this:


1st Platoon (Kev):  1 casualty, +1 to force Morale
2nd Platoon (John): 1 casualty
3rd Platoon (Ken): 1 casualty


1st Platoon (Ian): 5 Casualties, -2 on Force morale (obviously a killing officer)
2nd Platoon (Dave): 9 Casualties
3rd Platoon (Alex): 7 casualties.

The Yanks rolled for support and got a whopping 28 points!, with the Germans having half that, with 14.

I am not sure of the exact support that the Americans took but they definitely had:

2 Sherman's
1 Chafe
Pre Game Barrage
Flame Thrower.

I don't know what else they had as it never saw the table.

the Germans opted for:

Adjutant to aid with deployment
Pre Game Barrage
81mm Mortar with Forward Observer
Tripod Mounted MG42
Flame Thrower team.

As always with Chain of Command we started with the Patrol Phase. The Yanks had two sets of three patrol markers, one set on their long table edge and one of the German Right flank. The Germans started with five, all positioned on our quarter of the table.
The patrol phase went quite well for the Germans, and we managed to push the Yank deployment into one side of the table, while opening it up for the Germans to Push onto the Flanks of the Yank positions.

The Table
the German 1st Platoon opted to take the right flank, close the Yank flanking deployment, with 2nd Platoon in the middle with the mortar spotter to provide fire support and 3rd Platoon on the far left, ready to sweep across the Yanks as they deployed with enfilading fire.  The Yanks opted fro the 1st Platoon to attack from the flank, with the 2nd and 3rd platoons assaulting from the front.
Early game saw everyone struggling to get deployed as the pre-game barrages cut off communication and deployment routes.  The Germans and Yanks on the right flank managed to get some troops on the board, as  did the Yank 3rd Platoon. The Yank 2nd Platoon didn't manage to deploy anything early on, as with the Germans 2nd Platoon.
Things were slow to begin with as the Germans lacked decent firing positions, and with all the tanks on the board the Yanks could sit back at range and pick us of so the 1st Platoon opted to hide, while the German 3rd Platoon found itself exposed and taking casualties from the main USA assault.  This was brought to an abrupt end when the German 2nd Platoon called in their mortar support, pinning down the entire USA centre, giving the German 3rd Platoon some breathing space.

Yank Deployment
On the right flank things were still bogged down, with the USA advancing cautiously, and the Germans trying to find advantageous firing positions. The German 2nd Platoon had deployed towards the back of the Germans on a hill, and started to take pot shots at anyone that stuck their head out of cover.  A hidden Panzerschrek popped up and tried to take a flank shot at the USA Chafe tanks, but were obviously a bit rushed and missed the tank altogether, at a range of about 30 feet. Off to the Russian Front for you two! 

The Yanks Advance
Mid game and the Yanks on the Right flank started to advance, taking advantage to narrow Germans fields of fire and the cover of the Chafe.  in the Centre the German 2nd Platoon managed to take out a Sherman with a Panzerschrek shot, and kept up their sniping at the USA assault forces.  On the German left things were going badly, with one squad broken and the rest of 3rd Platoon bogged down under USA fire.  Eventually the German 1st platoon Panzerschrek redeemed itself and in a bold move jumped out of a building, braving the USA fire and managed to destroy the Chafe, much to the relief of the rest of the Platoon.    Unfortunately we pretty much ran out of time at this point and had to call it a day. Setting up such a large table, organising three platoons a side and the time it took to play  meant that we just couldn't complete the game, so we had to stop without any sort of real conclusion.
It was almost impossible to say who would have won if we had continued.  Two of the three American tanks were gone, taking away their main advantage, but the German 3rd Platoon was under a lot of pressure. I think that the German deployment in depth and the threat of more mortar barrages might have swung, but certainly the German right flank was about to get very messy.
In hindsight I think the game was a bit ambitious for a Monday night, as there was just too much to do on the night.  Still an excellent campaign (as always) and many thanks to John fro running it and taking steps to keep it interesting.
As to the game itself?  I am not sure that a Big Chain of Command game is possible in 28mm, unless you use a ridiculously sized table.  Even on an 8 x 6 things were cramped, leaving little space for the fire and manoeuver tactics that Chain of Command simulates so well.  In future for normal 1 platoon games we will probably play on a 6 x 6, to give lots of room to move about and give a more interesting patrol phase.  The game probably would have worked well in 15mm, and Chain of Command would work well on a 6 x 4 if played in 15mm, rather than 28.  Having said that I am not about to run out and get a 15mm WW2 force because of that.  the other things is that no one had played the game for a while and we were a bit rusty


  1. I think you are right about playing a Big CoC game in the time we had. With hindsight it might have been simpler to play 3 parallel 1v1 games.

    1. Yes, perhaps using the map of the area to create three separate tables might have been better, still good fun regardless, though.

  2. I think we managed not too badly the last campaign but I think we were all just piling in, so it was probably moving quite fast in comparison.

  3. Yes, mortars really slow the game down to a crawl as well, plus no one had played in a few months, making tings a bit slower as well.