Sunday 25 August 2013

Chain of Command First Game

Chain of Command, the latest set of rules from the TFL stable are designed for WW2 skirmish actions.
Each side has a platoon plus a support element or two.
Some players dislike other TFL rules due to the use of cards which are used to decide the run of play ( a system I actually like ). This can frustrate gamers who are used to complete control over their forces. Fear not NO CARDS instead a very neat use of dice to activate your squads, teams or tanks.
I have just completed my first game after one reading of the rules and they work quite elegantly. Production values are high although the price in my opinion are not. Options include Hard copy, PDF and even a Tablet edition. Forces included within the rules British, USA, Russian and of course German all 1943 onwards. Other nations and war years will be produced in the future. If you know the Yahoo Group you will know the rules will be well supported. I believe next week German early war platoon will be posted in the files section for FREE.
The game is scenario one from the rule book, a meeting engagement. I pitched a British platoon against a German Panzer Grenadier platoon. The picture above is taken from the German side. After dicing for morale and the level of support the Germans got level two support and the British got an extra level to balance the platoons.
Each platoon is rated and the difference in rating gives the level of additional support the lower platoon can chose. So level three for the British, this can be one support from level three or one from level one and one from level two etc.
So your opponent will know the level of your support but no idea what you are going to choose.

The British choice: A universal carrier commanded by a junior nco with a bren gunner and driver.
The German choice: A 50mm mortar team.

There is a pre game scouting phase which decides where your jump off points may be positioned. These jump off points are where you will deploy your forces from during the game.
German jump off points in blue and the British in Green. This is a mini game in itself with pleny of options for tactical manoeuvre. Do you scout on a broad front or do you go for penetration or maybe try to turn a flank?

The stream has a steep bank and is rocky, lined with trees and thick undergrowth. impassable to all vehicles and heavy going for infantry. Hedges are all high and block line of site unless troops are adjacent to them.

The British plan was to use the Bren carrier to rush the bridge and neutralise or even capture one of the German jump off points. As they were closer to the stream they would seize the stream bank controlling the bridge in the process.

Well how did it play out?

The British got their Bren Carrier on early and crossed the bridge.
The Germans moved into the orchard moved up to the hedge facing the bridge.
A British section was already at the stream bank, with a devastating volley of fire broke the German section. Things were looking pretty bad for the Germans this early on.
The Carrier moved further forward but the Germans already had a Chain of Command dice ( this was on phase 3 ) and used it to ambush the carrier with their panzerschreck team. They must have been surprised by the rapid advance and completely missed the carrier.
The Germans now had to get their sections on pretty quick or risk the British advancing on their jump off points.
With a good run of dice they got their sections on.
The carrier was now hit by the panzershreck but amazingly survived the hit and pulled off the track, the crew seeking cover but they had lost the brengun.
The Germans were racking up chain of command points and this would give them an advantage later on. The platoon leader joined the broken squad in a gamble to rally them before the British could end the turn when they would be lost.
The British carrier team decided to occupy one of the German jump off points and play their CoC dice, ending the turn and thereby capturing it. The Germans would now have to check morale but they had a CoC dice in hand playing it to avoid taking the test.
The Panzer Grenadier firepower was now starting to tell on the British, who had split some of their sections into teams.
With the carrier team including the nco, killed morale dropped and when one of the German sections stormed a British Bren team commanded by the platoon sergeant killing them to a man British morale was now severely damaged. 
The British conceded defeat.

Why did the British lose after such a good start?

1: After the first exchange between squads they underestimated the firepower of the Grenadiers.
2: Their 2" mortar was deployed late in the game, this could have been used to smoke the German squads and reduce the firepower brought to bear.
3: They split a section on their left flank which the Germans concentrated their efforts on.
4: The Germans did have a good bit of luck racking up three CoC dice to use, against only one for the British.
The short sighted panzershreck team.
Platoon Sgt. and bren gun team pinned and about to be close assaulted.
Overview of the positions shortly before the end.

The rules are GREAT ! easy to pick up, realistic orders of battle and proper tactics are rewarded. This is one to one scale without micro management.
Check out the TFL Blog for some step by step AARs and the U Tube video tutorials .

Richard Clarke has a hit on his hands!