The Second World War, Chain of Command, 28mm
We hadn’t played a Second World War game in ages, and so with everyone else fresh out of ideas, Peter suggested a “Big CoC” Actually, it wasn’t that big a game, despite being played on an 8×4 foot table. It was a fictitious one, set somewhere near Antwerp in the autumn of 1944, with two platoons a side, plus supporting armour. Alasdair and Bart played the Allies, with a platoon each of British and Poles respectively, while Peter and I divided up the Germans between us. I had Wehrmacht panzergrenadiers, while Peter had regular infantry. This was an attack-defend scenario, with the Germans on the offensive, and the Allies in the centre of a table, which was divided by a stream – neatly dividing the two Allied commands. The Germans attacked it from either short table side, pushing towards the middle, with me facing Alasdair, and Peter attacking Bart. While the Allies blew all their support points on an impressive-looking Sherman Firefly, I opted for a Panzer IV, and Peter took a Hetzer. The “Patrol Phase sorted out where our jump-off points would be, with Alasdair ending it hemmed in near a ruined building, or in the woods behind it, and Bart concentrating around a wooded hill in the centre of his side of the table. I brought my panzergrenadiers on quite early – I needed to start rolling forward, while Alasdair held off most of his, waiting for me to make my move. On the other side of the table both players were hesitant about deploying, but Peter led with his Hetzer, supported by a squad of infantry, as the Poles lacked any armour of their own. They had PIATs though, and a few were fired, without causing anything more than a little bit of shock. Then it was my turn. I brought my own tank on, but I used mmine as a support weapon, firing at the ruined building to suppress the British infantry inside it. Alasdair reacted by bringing on his Firefly on the one side road leading to the ruined building. I’d sort of expected that though – I had an infantry squad in the woods beside the road, and better still, my Panzerschrek team. I let loose, and scored an impressive number of attack dice hits. Alasdair’s poor tankers didn’t have a change, and with a net result of five hits the tank was well and truly brewed. After that it was all downhill for the poor Brits. I had all the tank support, and kept a screen of infantry between it and those pesky PIATs. Alasdair managed one round, but the firers were soon silenced. So, with a firefight developing between the British in the ruined building and two of my squads, Alasdair decided to launch his own pincer attack. He deployed his last two infantry sections behind two low hills – one on each side of the ruin – and sent his men forward. He hadn’t reckoned with the stopping power of German firepower. While I only had one MG-34 per squad, I had a couple of assault rifles, and the combined effect was to stop the British in their tracks. It was almost a shame, but I kept rolling dice until both attacking sections were reduced to broken remnants, hiding in the woods behind the hills. With that out of the way, it was timee to launch my own attack. Meanwhile, on the other side of the table Peter wasn’t having such a good time. All his attempts to advance got thwarted by fire, and only his Hetzer managed to cause casualties. He was helped though, by Bart throwing poor dice for his anti-tank weapons, and the Hetzer pretty much reigned supreme for the whole game. This finally allowed Peter to move his infantry up under cover of some hedges, but it was all too little, too late. Back on my side of the stream the German advance began rolling forward, with the defenders in the building outnumbered and outshot. Eventually they pulled back out of it, and the Germans kept on heading across the table reaching the woods behind the hills by the end of the game. What was left of Alasdair’s command was too kicked about to offer much in the way of resistance. In the end what remained of Alasdair’s “Force Morale” dropped to just above breaking point, and one more turn would have seen him break. By then though, it was clear that Peter and Bart’s game had pretty much ended in a draw. So, we ended the game there. Strangely, despite the collapse of the British sector the game ended in a draw, thanks to Bart’s strong defence. It was a pretty tense game right up to the end though, and Alasdair’s first CoC game. Despite his drubbing he seemed to enjoy it. In fact we all did.