Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2nd Game of Chain of Command

    After my first game, I had so much fun that I'm itching to get back in the fight.  I just found out that my wife and kids have birthday party after school/work, so I'm going to try to steal a game in while they're out.  So tonight I went upstairs, cleared off the remnants of the last game, re-jiggered the table a bit, and got ready to start anew.
    Once again I gave both forces a starting FM of 9, then I rolled to see who would go first in the Patrol Phase, and the Brits won.  I moved back and forth, alternating sides, keeping everyone within 12" of their friends, a continuous, unbroken line (unlike last time).  The Brits went first, but still got outmaneuvered somehow, ending up with two markers almost on top of each other.  So, deciding I needed some more experience with the Patrol Phase, I rolled again (Brits won again), then went at it again.  Once again, things went places I didn't intend or expect them to, and I still felt like the Germans somehow got the better deal, but I'm satisfied and thus ready to go.
 Aerial view of the table.  Germans will again be at the top, Brits at the bottom.
 Lower angle photo of table from Brit baseline.
 From German baseline.
 End of Patrol Phase on Brit side.  Sorry the markers are so light, my printer's almost out of ink...
 End of Patrol Phase from German side.  The marker 2nd from left looks too far from the one to its right, but it's not, it's just that the one to the left is only about 8 inches away.
 Brit Jump-Off Points (JOPs) on the left (tan boxes on left and brown pallet at bottom right).  That line of hedges at far left is the table edge.
 Brit JOPs on right side (green tarp at bottom center and red drums at center).
 German JOPs on left (red drums on left and brown pallet on right).
German JOPs on right (tan boxes on left and green tarp on right).

Well, everything is set for the re-match.  Both sides have a Platoon Commander (PC) and three sections with a Junior Leader (JL), LMG team, and seven rifles each.  The Brits have a Platoon Sgt (Plt Sgt) and a 2" mortar team, while the Germans have a PanzerSchreck (PzSchk) team.  I am still trying to decide whether to 1) play 'as-is,' 2) give them an Adjutant, or go all out and 3) give them a Plt Sgt.  We'll see...

Not I'm going to save this and come back to it after the game...

It's Tuesday night, and I'm back, having finished my game!  I'm going to try writing this a bit differently, putting the pics first and using them to describe what happened.
 The Brits got the first phase, and acted on the far right.  1st Section went in (top left) with the PC (center), while 2nd Section's Bren Group deployed into the ground floor of the building at right.  The Brits had rolled double sixes and rolled again.  Between the two rolls the Brits got three CoC points.
 The PC led 1st Section up the hill at the double (1RG and 1BG taking 1 pt of shock each), while the rest of 2nd Section deployed into the building.
 The the Germans popped onto the table in force!  Some good command dice rolling got all three squads on the table.  2nd Squad deployed on the far left, 1st Squad in the center, and 3rd Squad on the far right.  All three squads took their shot at the Brit 1st Section (on top of the hill at top center, just below the building holding 2nd Section).  1st Section suffered three dead and six shock, but, as I'd kept the section together, this was all split between the two teams.  Also, the 1st Section Leader was hit, putting him out for the rest of the turn, costing him 1 CI for the remainder of the game, and costing the Brits 2 points of Force Morale (dropping them to 7).
 The Brits roll up three 6s, so the turn will end and 1st Section's leader will be back on his feet soon.  The PC uses all three CI to remove shock from 1st Section, while the RG pulls back from the front of the hill.
 The Brits get next phase, and the PC uses all CI to remove shock from 1RG, so 1st Section is actually back in pretty good shape very quickly.  1RG falls back a bit more, while 1BG fires to its right on the German 2nd Squad, getting 1 shock.
 The Germans get a couple CoC dice points, and bring their PC on to support 2nd Squad.  He removes the 1 shock they just received, and orders both teams to move forward (1st Squad is off camera to the right).
 And this is where I made the tactical error that cost the Germans the game (sorry for the spoiler).  Getting cocky, I moved the German 3rd Squad across the road in a wide, sweeping maneuver.  Too wide, it would turn out.  First, they are no longer in a position to support the other two squads, and more importantly, they cannot be support by the other two squads.  Second, and possibly even more importantly, the Brits have kept a Section in reserve, and there is a JOP not far off camera to the right.
 The Brits deploy Third Section and the Plt Sgt into the just mentioned JOP, and tear into the German 3rd Squad (6 hits, 3 kills, 2 shock).

Back on the right, the PC continues to pull shock off 1st Section, getting it back in fighting trim, as well as having 1BG fire up the German 2nd Section, getting 3 shock and 2 kills (really good shooting on 7 dice).  The German squad leader is hit, only a light wound, but -1 CI for the rest of the game and -1 point of FM.
 Caught in a field with nowhere to hide, the German 2nd Squad pushes ahead with the PC in tow.  It wasn't supposed to go down like this...  The Germans were supposed to have overwhelmed 1st Section, and they did hurt it, but they allowed it to retreat to the bottom of the hill and get back in fighting shape.  First Squad, on the right, tries to move up but ends up with a measly 2" of movement.
 The German 3rd Squad, who just got beat up, find themselves in a tough spot.  they probably won't roll well enough to get everyone back out of the kill zone, so they decide to move forward to try to get into the light cover offered by the hedges, as well as to return fire.  The AG moves up and fires, to no effect, while the FG, who was further back, uses all dice for movement in order to make sure they reached cover (it wouldn't matter).

The Brit phase sees them fail to bring on their 2" mortar (the PC and Plt Sgt are on the board), and 3rd Section laid into the German 3rd Squad again, getting another kill and two shock.
 2nd Section finally get into position in the building, with 2BG up top and 2RG on the ground floor.  1st Section's BG (in background just above the building) lays into the German 2nd Squad again (top right of photo), getting another kill and another shock.
 The Germans roll 1 through 5!  They bring the PzSch team on (two guys in the hedge at far left center) to support the beleaguered 3rd Squad, which fires (weakly) at 3rd Section, getting only 1 shock.

Back on the left, the German PC pulls shock from 2nd Squad, while 1st and 2nd Squads engage the British 2nd Section in the building, getting one kill and three shock.
 A good command roll has the Brits brimming with confidence.  The Plt Sgt activates, pulls the one point of shock off 3RG, and nods at the Bren Group, who unleashes a torrent of fire on the German 3rd Squad, getting a kill and two shock.  The time is right (both German teams now have more shock than men, and so are pinned), so he draws a deep breath, lets out a yell, and goes over the top (of the hedge).  The Brits roll 17 dice to the Germans' 7...
 And wipe out the Jerry's at the cost of only one man.  The Germans test for the loss of the squad and the loss of their Jr Ldr, losing 4 points total, dropping their FM to 4.
 Meanwhile, 2nd Section in the building gets 5 shock on the hapless German 2nd Squad, who, due to my initial overconfidence, find themselves in a position in which they can neither move forward nor move back.  1st Section, on the hill, adds another kill and another shock.  Both German teams in 2nd Squad are now pinned.

The Germans are now down to 4 command dice, and two of them are 5s, so the Germans now have a CoC dice (the Brits have had one for a few phases now).  2nd Squad fires at the building, but due to casualties and being pinned, it has no effect.  1st Squad can't decide what to do; head up the hill and possibly into close combat with a fresh British 1st Section?  Move forward to get closer to the building (leaving their flank open to 1st Section)?  3rd Squad got eliminated so quickly that pulling 1st Squad back to assist didn't really even cross my mind.  So 1st Squad sat tight and fired up the building as well, getting a kill and a shock.  This is rather indecisive and the Germans would be best served by withdrawing from the field at this point.

The Brits roll up and are well on their way to getting another CoC dice, and they got the next phase, too.  The 2" mortar comes on and drops smoke, intending on blocking out the German 1st Squad, but the mortar misses to its right.

On the left, 3BG moves up to consolidate with 3RG, who just won their close combat (see, I do learn from my at least some of my mistakes).  I was thinking about having the Brits drop the CoC dice to end the turn and keep the German 2nd Squad pinned all through the next turn, but I really didn't feel like I needed to.  My only real thought with the German CoC dice was to either use it to dodge a FM test, or use it to move a JOP 18" away from the Brit 3rd Section, who had only the PzSch team in front of it.  In the end, I didn't use the CoC dice for either side as the Brits didn't need it and it wouldn't have helped the Germans anyway...
The Brits had next phase, and so the 2" dropped smoke again, this time on target.  2nd Section, in the building, cut loose on the German 2nd Squad, killing the NCO (-2 more FM pts, dropping them to 2), and causing the LMG team to run for the hills (bottom right), costing them another FM point.  1st Section, on the hill, opened up and got enough hits that I threw in the towel...

That was a fun, quick game (maybe an hour and a half), and if I was playing a campaign it would have been even quicker as I would have had the Germans fall back after 3rd Squad was eliminated as they didn't really stand a chance after that.  I feel a lot more confident with the rules.  I didn't look anything up; I either knew the answer or I knew I was close enough to stick with the spirit of the rules (what I mean is, there was no situation or concept I looked up, but I still used the fire effect, leader hit, and FM test charts.  I am definitely ready for MGs, guns, and tanks.

Tactically, I kept the sections together and reaped the rewards of doing so.  I even employed fire and maneuver properly, laying down fire with the Bren Group, charging with the Rifle Group, then moving the Bren Group up following the close combat.  But I lost my Schwerpunk with the Germans!!!  With the initial Brit deployment I again got a little too aggressive, and the 1st Section got beat up, but because I lost focus of effort with the Germans 1st Section was able to regroup, adding its firepower to 2nd Section's in the house to turn the tables on the now very exposed German 2nd Squad.  The deployment of 3rd Section onto the table caught the German 3rd Squad not only isolated, but also in the open (on the wrong side of the wall), where they were raked and then eliminated.

Another error I made was with the PzSchreck team.  I panicked and thought I could get them on the table (which I did) to reinforce 3rd Squad, but it was too late, and I would have been much better served by bringing the 3rd Squad up on the left to put a rocket or two into the British building, which might have had a real impact on that side, allowing the German 1st and 2nd Squads to overwhelm the Brits there despite losing the 3rd Squad.  Besides, maneuver warfare dictates you do not reinforce failure!!!

Well, I had a great time and can't wait to get it on the table again, hopefully, this weekend.


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