Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Chain of Command: Maltot Church (2) - Troops Deploy

Lt Pringle now had the face of a Veteran. Unshaven and grimy. Taking stock of his charge 16 Platoon, they too had a grimy realism that betrayed a loss of innocence. They had lost friends and were keen to end the grind for Maltot. The sooner the Germans were forced out, the better their chances of living. To this end Sgt McCoy and Pringle were of one mind. Despite the delay in getting powerful supports forward with them (they had only managed to 'keep hold' of the Company Adjutant and 'find' another two inch mortar - very bad support dice rolls on my part) they would nevertheless press on and try and catch the Germans off their guard.

Sgt McCoy was to grab the "big red house" with two squads, while Lt Pringle would lay down a smoke screen with the two inch mortar teams from the left flanking house (keeping the mortars pumping out smoke with his command dice when he was activated) and holding the third squad as a reserve for a possible coup-de-grace flank march, or to reinforce the center push.

As it so happened the roll of the Command Dice only allowed both senior commanders to activate along with one of the two inch mortar teams (see below, bottom left and top right). 

In hindsight a certain sense of cockiness was apparent, both men were happy in 'hard cover' BUT they were also in the front line and this meant they would be perilously near a host of dreaded MG42's. Battlefield tourism is a dangerous hobby for the unprepared!

Lt Pringle positioned his platoon mortar team in a forward shell-hole. The direct line of fire would give the team a better chance of bringing in the "smoke" on target but also he seemed to forget that it would also leave them exposed to rifle and MG42 return fire (see below).

Note: The platoon had already lost one of the original mortar team to a German bullet.

McCoy meanwhile went 'tactical' and on 'overwatch' as he waited for the Adjutant to send his boys forward. He was eyeing up a dirty big obstacle of barbed wire and wondering how his boys could navigate it safely. Trouble was, he was beginning to think he was bullet proof and maybe, just maybe the Germans had all gone home. This was careless thinking (see below):

Not freebie this time, as two German MG42 teams deployed. One in the woods to the right of the British, the other dead center. The British mortar team under the direction of Pringle partially obscured the central Germans but McCoy was in dire danger of being outflanked and losing the "red house" bastion (see below):

The Adjutant sent in the Bren Section of First Squad  to beef up "red house". The Brens promptly blazed away at the Germans in the wood (still only classed as "soft cover" as they had not yet had time to go tactical) and caught one landser square on for a KIA. The Bren team did not get too carried away with this success as they knew the score. You had to nearly take out the whole of a German MG42 team before the firepower noticeably diminished. The British set themselves up for a long drawn out slogging match (see below):

However as they had to deploy to the side of "red house" to get a clear LOS to the wood, this meant they and McCoy alone were rather exposed to the MG42 team holding the center of the German line. Deadly fire took a Bren team feeder out and wounded the seemingly indestructible McCoy (see below):

Suddenly the British were facing an early and unexpected crisis. They were in serious jeopedy of losing a senior leader and the center was in desperate need for urgent reinforcements. All depended on the roll of the next set of Command Dice. Who knew what would happen next?

The non-deterministic nature of the "Chain of Command" game is its best element IMHO. It is not random, there is a certain chaotic structure about the sequence of allowable events but more importantly there is also a sense of tactical awareness lacking in many turn based games. Good tactics seem to pay off, but luck is also such an important factor.

Next: The Heart of the Battle


Paul Foster said...

MM for McCoy?

Pat G said...

Great aar and good looking game - thanks

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Thanks Pat G it was a tense game, the club's scenery really helped

Spoiler alert:
Paul, sadly it will only be available posthumously, see next post