Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New opponents for my 1940 Germans

Vidal and I met for a pleasant evening of gaming this past weekend in his basement gaming emporium. We pulled out our WWII ruleset of choice, Chain of Command by TFL, and waded into the Attack-Defend scenario in the main rule book. This game saw my trusty 1940 Wermacht platoon pitted against Vidal's new British platoon (admittedly for late war but not so different that we couldn't see past the differences...minor as they are). For support, I chose an extra section of infantry and a Stug III. In retrospect, I could have been more effective with the Pv IVd. They both mount the same gun but the Pz IVd gets six HE dice versus the Stug's three. I find this odd and will bring it up on the TFL forum soon. Vidal chose the the Matilda II (it was the only British vehicle in our collections, aside from two Bren carriers).

Note: Apologies for the lack of photos of Vidal's Brits. My phone died early on and the iPad camera is horrible. Thus most photos of the game were useless.

Overview of the table with small village at the crossroads. These are a mix of MBA buildings and some kit bashing (the three nearest the camera). I'd had these on my painting desk for months, assembly and scratch-building complete, base-coated, and dusty. I finally gave them to Vidal for his collection and he's started slapping paint on them. Win-Win situation! You can also see my new Jump-Off Points, 50mm round bases with various bits of gear etc. Big enough to see but not so obvious as to distract.

My Germans were the attackers and got the hop on the Brits early by gaining three consecutive initiatives (with double 6s). This allowed three sections to deploy into the three buildings immediately around the crossroad. I wouldn't normally think to deploy all three sections of the platoon so early (often best to try and wait for the other side to reveal first). But two things prompted me to go head and make a rush for the buildings with the consecutive initiatives. 1) The buildings were all designated heavy cover and if I could get into them early they could prove to be quite effective stopping blocks to the Brits; 2) I had chosen an extra infantry section as support which I could hold in reserve off-table.

German infantry moving to occupy the central buildings.

Once in the buildings, the Brits were forced to try and outflank the German platoon. Vidal made attempts from both flanks, even capturing one of my Jump-Off Points on the German right flank. The more vigorous attack, however, came from the German left flank. Using smoke from the 2" mortar and fire & movement tactics (as per doctrine), the Brits tried valiantly to turn the flank but were ultimately forced back by a combination of MG34 fire, 50mm mortar attacks, and the Stug III. While it didn't do much damage, it did prove to provide cover for some of the German infantry...and the platoon leader for a while.

German platoon commander and LMG team using the Stug as cover (hiding?).

German infantry waiting for the Brits to emerge from their smokescreen on the left flank.
The British flank attacks were eventually fruitless and after suffering heavy losses, including a couple of section leaders, they withdrew at Force Morale 3. The Germans had been reduced to 5 Force Morale, so not so easy a fight.
And what of the Matilda? Vidal and I spent several consecutive initiatives trading fires between the Matilda and the Stug to no discernible effect. Then our attention was held by more important things on the table. Passing note: does it seem odd that the Matilda's 2pdr (an anti-tank weapon for which no HE ammunition was ever issued) has better HE capability than the 75mm gun in the Stug (admittedly a less-than powerful weapon but intended, as was the vehicle that housed it, especially for infantry support).
A good game overall and we're already planning a 1940 Chain of Command campaign!

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