Sunday, April 2, 2017

AAR: A Soviet Urrah in Autumn 1944

A Chain of Command Battlereport in 28mm


Time for another AAR of Chain of Command gaming, using the rules from Too Fat Lardies. This time we used a setting of late war Eastern Front. With a force of Fallschirmjager falling back from the Soviet advance but yet again putting up a fight, trying to stem the tide. 

We used the Delay Action scenario from the Chain of Command rulebook with a somewhat disorganised defender trying to halt the attacker. To win the Soviet attacker had to try and take and hold (until the end of a Turn) an objective deep in the Germans end of the table.  

It was the first time we used Soviets so we were keen on trying out an iconic (if not maybe not all  historical) all out assault with both tanks and infantry.

Opposing forces

The defending veteran Fallschirmsjager platoon were of elite status.
They were supported by a Sniper team.

The Soviet tankrider platoon were regulars. As attackers, and as the Fallschirmsjager were of higher rating, the Soviets had plenty of support: a pre-game barrage and not only one but two T34/85 tanks.

Table and deployment

We played down the length of a 6x4' table. After the patrol phase the Soviets had three Jump off points (marked in red) spread across the table, one of which was a bit forward on the left flank.

The German’s two Jump off points (marked in blue) were in good defensive positions on each side of the central road while the objective (marked in white) was in a deep central position. 

A 6x4' table.

The Game

True to form the Soviet heavy artillery opened up before the attack. With the pre-game barrage rolling and disrupting the Germans their ability to deploy efficiently was hampered. 

In cover of the heavy barrage the Soviet commander was eager to rush the enemy positions and sent a squad forward from their forward left Jump off point to try and take an enemy Jump off point before the Fallschirmsjager had time to get their heads up.

The Soviets underestimated the elite Fallschirmsjager's ability however, and despite the barrage the Germans apperared in their positions and opened fire on the Soviets in the open. In a hail of bullets the Soviets were cut down almost to a man and the remaining men were shocked.

Having endured the barrage the Fallschirmsjager are more
than ready as the Soviets try to rush across the open.
Their assault blunted the Soviet had to try a better way to attack and deployed a squad in cover behind a log house by the road and later first one and then the other T34/85 tank rolled on to the scene.

With Germans on the table the tanks kept their distance and shelled the German positions in the forrest and by the hamlet. Before casualties mounted the Germans withdrew out of sight from the tanks. 

The Soviet tanks enter the field.
Things started to look better for the Soviets as their tanks slowly advanced to find angles on the hidden Germans forcing the latter even further back. The Soviet infantry still hesitated to rush the open ground though as a German sniper team had taken position on the battlefield. As the sniper’s position on the roof of one of the loghouses in the hamlet was yet to be discovered by the Soviets the sniper was safe from the tanks’ weapons.

The FJ Sniper team in place to harras the Soviets
as the latter try to advance.
With the men in position and their Platoon leader close by to direct the attack the Soviets siezed the initiative (getting a double phase) and launched their attack on the hamlet. One of the T34s broke through the hedge and two SMG armed tankrider groups followed.

The Soviet lauch yet another attack acoss the fields.

Almost there now! One last push.

The Soviet commander in cover as the lead elements
of the attack are at the farm. Almost...
As the Soviet infantry ran across the open ground they took shock from the sniper firing at them. Also, a panzerschreck fired from the hamlet but its missile bounced off the front of the Soviet tank. The attack lost some momentum but was still on. With the lead group closing in on the hamlet the third fallschirmsjager squad appeared and opened fire at close range on the Soviets. The lead tankrider group took casualties aswell as shock, fell back and as the turn ended (due to the use of a German Chain of commande die) they fled the battlefield. 

The Germans were ready and appeared just in front of the lead Soviet group
guns blazing. The Soviets broke and fell back across the field.  
With their force morale now running low the Soviet commander tried one last gamble and ordered the two T34s forward at full speed towards the objective. At the same time the remaining Soviet infantry squad pushed on up the hill to the log buildings. With two fallschirmsjager units in the hamlet the remaining Soviet infantry stayed out of sight - with handgrenades being threwn over the roof tops from both sides instead.

The two Soviet tanks closed on the objective. As one of them had to pass by the forrest the Germans got their panzerfausts ready. The first shot from close range againt the side armour of the T34 stopped the tank and the next ’faust caused it to explode.

"Wait. Wait. Now, fire!" The FJ are ready with panzersfausts as the Soviet tank thunder past...
...with devastating results.
The second T34 tank ran the gauntlet as the German infantry tried get good panzerfaust shots off. With the Soviet tank almost at the objective (lacking 1” of movement and with a Chain of command die waiting to end the turn…) another panzerfaust hit home blewing up the last of the tanks and thereby ending any hopes for the Soviets to achieve their objective. The Germans had won.

The two Soviet tanks in flames, one of them oh so close to
the objective, with the Germans in contol of the field.


Another great game of Chain of Command!

We are still developing our Chain of Command skills and this time we also tried out the Soviets for the first time. Not only that but this was also the first time we fielded an elite platoon (rolling an extra command die per phase). We discussed before the game that it would be fun to have the Soviet try to do the stereotyphical all out attack. As the Soviets learned the hard way elite troops like the Fallschirmsjager are quite potent and can’t be expected to cover in their positions from a barrage, not even the Soviet ”Wrath of the Gods” barrage could keep them down. So, in retrospect the initial attack under cover of the barrage was too much of a gamble and the Soviets struggled during the rest of game because of it. Sending a pair of scouts to try and catch the Jump off point would have been wiser. One thing that we really enjoy is that Chain of Command really gives a great feel of platoon combat of World War 2 and punishes bad tactics.

It proved quite a challenge for the Soviets to reach the objective. After the Germans withdrew behind the hamlet and the forrest the Soviet tanks would have to come up close to target them, thereby exposing them to the many panzerfausts that the fallschirmsjager possess. The Soviets - being quite resilient - tried a second desperate infantry assault instead but got beaten back by all those machine guns.

The elite status – and their six command dice – makes the fallschirmsjager a tough nut to crack. The Soviet’s lack of a second senior officer (like an adjutant) also made many Soviet rolls useless making the difference in actions even more accentuated. Granted, the Soviet had ALOT of support but failed to use it to its full advantage.

Despite this it was very close in the end with the Soviets throwing their mid game caution to the wind and driving full speed with the two tanks for the objective. Had the Soviets rolled 1” longer for movement the last tank would have reached the objective. With a full Chain of command dice ready and waiting they could have ended the turn, therby winning the game. But it was not to be. A great game none the less!


  1. Nice report with beautiful pictures, love the one with the FJ Sniper team...

  2. Indeed a very nice aar !!!

    Like that the "Swedish" house come to use in russia to, just with some more Russians fences.

    1. Yes it's always nice to find alternative uses for terrain.

  3. That's it! Putting in an order for COC.
    Lovely table and game by the way. :D

    1. :-) Thanks! And you should. It's an excellent ruleset. /Mattias

  4. Thank you for your kind comments!

  5. A challenging scenario for both sides with the choice of forces and an excellent report.
    The elite Fallschirmjager with their extra dice, panzerfaust and panzerschrek would have got my money but a close run thing indeed.
    All played on great looking terrain and figures.

  6. Superb battle report I very much enjoyed reading it.

    Cheers ,