Saturday, 10 August 2019

Achtung! Tommy Atkins!

Or: One Day On the Road to Caen...

Today I played my second game of Chain of Command. I frist played CoC in a demo game last year. It was okay but I didn't really get a very good impression of the game. Today's game gave me a much better appreciation of it.

My opponent was Chee. This was also his second game and I'm very glad that he had a much better grasp of the rules than I did. I've watched plenty of videos on Lard TV and other sites but actually playing the game was a whole different experience and proved that I only had a tenuous grasp of the game mechanics.

We played the Patrol Scenario from the basic rule book. I took on the British and Chee, the Germans. We both had a standard infantry platoon and rolled only one support from List 1.
I set up a 6'x4' table with a small town at one end with fields and some woods for the approach.
We rolled to see where our scouts would come on and mine came on in the bottom left (of the picture) and the German's came in from the center of the opposite table edge.

I made a several sets of different markers using Photoshop.
My patrolling wasn't great and I pretty much ended up holding the road and the fields on either side. The Hun controlled the town, the center of the board and the small wood at the top of the pic.
Never mind. On with the fight!

I took the first phase: After rolling for Force Morale I rolled a 6 so my morale went to 11 and Chee's remained on 9. So far, so good!

As the early morning mist cleared a section of the 3rd Recon Regiment ~ Royal Northumberland Fusiliers emerged from the hedgerows and advanced on the town of Émiéville, defended by elements of  21st Panzer Division...

My first units deployed were two sections. 1st Section on the main road and 2nd Section on the reverse slope of a small hillock to the left of the main road. The platoon sergeant: Sidney "Lucky" Lucas crouched close by directing them.

The first shots rang out from an MG 42, breaking the peaceful, eerie quiet. The section on the road were the target and the section leader took a minor wound. Nothing that troubled him much.

The shots came from the upper story window of one of the buildings straight ahead. So, the Bren team laid down covering fire whilst the rifle group advanced cautiously (Tactical Move) behind some hastily laid smoke directed by the platoon sergeant.
However, as second Spandau opened up from the ruined building opposite the first.
This MG targeted the section on the road killing Private Ron Duggan. The first casualty of the day and the first casualty for my WWII troops in Chain of Command! Alackaday...

 Vale, Ron.

In the center 2 section had advanced slowly to the top of the hillock (tactical movement) and set down to observe the terrain in front of them (I put them on Overwatch).  As it happens, a section of Gerry's made their presence felt in the wood and opened up on the Bren team but did little damage other than inflict a bit of shock.
Back on the main road the mortar laid more smoke and the 3rd section appeared to the right of 1st section and moved tactically to the top of the high ground before rushing to a defensible fence-line at the bottom of the slope. The 1st section remained in place, spooked by the defence of the twin MG42's and waited for the smoke screen to thicken before continuing their advance...

The German commander von Chee, had been accumulating 5's on his dice rolls and, now that he had a Chain of Command Dice available, decided to end the turn. All of that beautiful smoke just vanished. It drifted away like... Smoke

Von Chee had also rolled a double 6 giving him the next Phase. The twin Spandau's opened up and 1st Section ceased to be. There were two men left in the rifle team and they ran for the rear. The Bren team became pinned and crouched in a ditch by the side of the road. Only the platoon sergeant, who had moved up to remove some shock from the Bren in the previous phase had prevented them from running too.
On the other side of the road the German's in the wood kept up their fire on 2 section's Bren team, killing one man and piling on the shock. The Platoon Leader had appeared and reduced the shock to keep them in the fight. The Bren team kept on shooting at the wood and inflicted a casualty or two whilst the rifle team made for the fence line and took up a strong tactical stance.

But the Bren v's MG42 duel was unequal. Miraculously they stayed in place for a while with the Platoon Leader able to reduce their shock but when the team was reduced to 1 man and had 6 shock placed on him all at once it was all too much.
The Platoon Leader went with him. Apparently he was just escorting the stricken soldier to a safer location. (Well that's how it appeared in his After Action Report).
The, now isolated rifle team of 2 Section noticed the Squareheads in the wood were attempting a flanking move and quickly made haste to the reverse slope of the hillock. The moved fast and got there unscathed. But the enemy kept up their maneuvering and got around they flank all the same.

Things were looking grim for the Royal Northumberian's. So Sgt "Lucky" Lucas took command. He ordered the mortar to pound the buildings and moved up the slope to get the 3rd section to target the Germans in the houses. This had some effect by killing a few of the enemy and wounding a junior leader. There was a second smoke screen in place which hid him from the view of the MG's and...

Von Chee rolled triple 6. 
Once again the turn ended. The smoke lifted. The sergeant's Tactical marker was removed and there he was. Standing in the open, on the top of the hill like a chump. Not so lucky on this day.
 And the MG42 opened up...
And he took 6 hits (3 of them fatal).

Thus ended the Royal Northumberland's recce patrol. Force Morale down to 1 and nowhere to go but back to the lines.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed this game. Things started well for me but then started going down hill once those MG's started putting rounds down range but that really didn't matter. Despite all the set back my troops faced it was a really good game. Much of this can be placed in the lap of my opponent, Chee. He had a much better grasp of the rules that I, and I really appreciated it. 

It was also great that I got to use a lot of the terrain I've been accumulating of late. The table looked nice with plenty of different textures and colours. But I need a bit more scatter terrain to really bring out the best.

Also, in my loss I, graciously, reminded my opponent that his was a "Patrol" scenario and now that we know where his troops are we'll be calling in the divisional artillery to deal with him and his MG42's. 

So laugh now my friend because you won't be laughing for long!


  1. Excellent report! And welcome to the great world of Chain of Command. :-) Its a rule set that gets better and better as you play more. Although excellent set of rules I used to struggle abit with finding some of the rules in the book. Using a QRS helped us a lot. If you haven't used it already this is pure gold:

    1. Printed and laminated. Thanks very much for that.

  2. Thank you for a great game and very honourable opponent. The terrain looked amazing and added to the atmosphere of the game. I have to confess that the miniatures are all Ian's and so obviously he trained them well as well. You could say it was in a manner of speaking a "win-win" for him too.

    As a learning game for both of us, we still made some minor mistakes. Still a thoroughly fun game.

    1. I'm looking forward to a re-match sometime soon. Can't let you take all the glory. Revenge (served cold) is very much on the menu!