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.
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.|
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.
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.|
|The FJ Sniper team in place to harras the Soviets |
as the latter try to advance.
|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...
|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.
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 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!