Saturday, 14 November 2015

Normandy Mini-Campaign (Operation Martlet Part 3): Chain of Command

To my horror (as the British Commanding Officer: First Lt Spencer) "Panzer Pete" stirred into action. I was also not chuffed to know I was facing the 12th SS Panzer Division. Things were looking "slightly sticky" as the long barrelled 75mm gun barked out some HE at the occupants of "Grey House" (see below):

Kaboom. The Bren team was a team member down. With no PIAT in play I was in no possition to retaliate, I would have to just sit there and take it like KGL at Waterloo (but hang on that was a different strong point). Meanwhile "Panzer Pete" was grinning like a madman and ramming another of HE into the breach for his next go (see below):

Then, down the end of the road came a most pleasant sight to the beleaguered Tommies, Royal Engineer XXX Churchill Spigot armed tank. One of Hobart's funnies still finding gainful employment off the landing beaches. Despite its unassuming appearance and aging paint job [circa the last century ... at a guess 1995 or thereabouts] it still packed a "Chain of Command" punch throwing a dustbin sized charge of HE about (See below)

Even better "Panzer Pete" completely unaware of its existence as he had lined me up with a perfect profile shot (see below):

The small black dot got larger and larger and larger. The Panzer crew stood transfixed in horror as the equivalent of a Barnes Wallis "bouncing bomb" piled into their venerable Panzer IV framework, which despite various upgrades, was no match to something that was the equivalent of naval gunfire in its devastation. The result was inevitable as it was spectacular (see below):

With a sight of relief the British Commander (me) sat back relieved, the German aghast (Mr. K). However the cunning German had another ace up his sleeve.

Next: Hard German 81mm Rain Falls

[Addendum: "Chain of Command" rules review and clarification. After the battle so to speak, when the clamour of the dice and the sweat and perspiration subsides (something that fills every game of Chain of Command and is associated with the indecision of decision) comes the realisation that we must have done something wrong. The Churchill AVRE seems something of a superweapon - only two less AT (10d6 v 12d6) dice than a 17pdr armed Firefly and an incredible 16 (1d6) HE factor. It can hit anything on the table and reload as per a normal tank. Or can it? I had asked in my pre-game support assignment because I knew I had to kill a Panzer IV. So it was a choice of a Sherman and Sherman Firefly combination or a Churchill AVRE and some mortar supports (2" and 3" battery). The latter gave me more AI punch too so that is why I opted for it. But no, the Spigot is externally mounted so reloading is a pain in the bum, it can only be done once per TURN as opposed to activation and its range is limited to 30" tabletop, one of the few range limitations in the charts. So in short an "impossible kill" for the Churchill. Musing afterwards we reinstated the kill (the overall effect did not change the outcome of the game for the Brits, deciding had I know the rules the Sherman/Firefly combination would have been used. Instead of being brewed by a lumbering Royal Engineer's "Funny" the Royal Armoured XXX had chalked up their first Panzer IV kill)]


Service Ration Distribution (Hobby) said...

Nice AAR. Brit sighs of relief all round.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Don't speak too soon SRD the phrase@out of the frying pan and into the fire@ may well seem appropriate in post four