21 June 2015

Chain of Command: Eastern front village assault

In our last game of Chain of Command, Johan and I decided to try out the advanced vehicle rules. That is, fielding multiple vehicles and designating one of them a senior commander who can control several vehicles with his command initiatives.

As such we ignored the regular "support option" restrictions, and fielded the following forces:


Germans:

Panzergrenadier platoon (regular) Force Morale 10
1x Panger G (Senior officer, troop commander)
1x StuG G with schürzen
1x Stug G
1x PzIII Lwith schürzen

1x SdKfz 234/2 Puma

Soviets:

Tank rider platoon (regular) Force Morale 10
1x KV1 (Senior officer, troop commander)
1x T-34 Obr1942/43
1x T-34/85
2x SU76
1x 57mm ZiS2 AT gun
1x 45mm L66 AT gun
The table was heavy with terrain,  the center made up of a eastern front type village, and the right flank the outskirts of a town. The scenario played was "Attack on an objective", which was the city outskirt held by the Soviet side.

German forces entered the table west of the village, while the Soviets were deploying inside the village and the city outskirt. 

German infantry deployed west and south of the village, but waited for tank support before proceeding towards the enemy, By that time the Soviet side had deployed two squads flanked by the ZiS2 AT gun in the village, making it quite difficult to approach it. The Germans split up in smaller teams and attempted their attack, supported by tanks. Ambushing Soviet infantry fired from the buildings and stalled the German infantry while the AT gun hit the advancing StuG square in the frontal armor which caused it to go stop dead in its tracks, the Junior commander being wounded and the driver panic!


The Panther drove past the StuG and engaged the AT gun, managing to kill some of its crew but leaving it still operational - leaving the two in a deadly duel. At the same time more Soviet reinforcements entered the area, SPG's and tanks began taking up position in the city outskirt and opened fire at the approaching panzers who were themselves trying to drive past the village where infantry on both sides were slaughtering each other.

German infantry threw grenades at the Soviets, killing some, but then took heavy casualties in return fire. The second German squad deployed to the south, accompanied by the platoon Panzerschreck were out of initiative and merely looked on while the big players of the battle had their slugfest. The Soviet command tank, the KV1, rolled up and opened fire on the StuG in the village, but the projectile bounced, return fire from the StuG destroyed both machineguns on the KV-1 and panicked the crew. Nearby Soviet infantry deployed smoke to disrupt the StuG attacks, at the same time the Panther G deployed a smoke screen in front of its position to conceal itself and the damaged and yet disorganized StuG with its wounded commander.

Wanting to seize the initiative the German panzergrenadiers on the southern flank advanced north, hoping to flank the AT gun but were caught in overwatch fire from Soviet infantry in an overlooking building, half the squad was cut down and the Soviet ZiS2 was safe for the moment.

Attempting to outflank the main fighting the PzIII drove around the northern edge of the village but was stopped by an enemy T-34 obr.42/43 supported by the 45mm AT gun which had been waiting in ambush. Both vehicles squared off and had a duel where both tanks landed multiple hits on their opponent but where the effects were either minor or simply bounced. Fortunately for the PzIII the 45mm AT gun failed to hit it despite at least 6 shots being fired in its direction. And when a shot finally hit the PzIII it just bounced off! Devils luck that was !

Determined to breach and open the center the Panther G finally mustered up the courage and drove past the smoke screen, but was hit badly by the AT gun and unable to operate for a single phase, fortunately it came about quickly enough to advance and end the 57mm AT gun menace.

At this time infantry on both sides in the village had been badly
bled, and when the German senior commander attempted to run towards, and join, the southern squad of panzergrenadiers he was fired at by the Soviet sniper. The shot had him panic and flee off the table! Fortunately a saved Command Dice was used to prevent force morale check for that fatal mistake.

In the end the Panther G drove past the village, and opened flanking
fire, ending the duel between the T-34 .obr42/43 and the PzIII tank. The flank armor of the Soviet tank stood no chance against the Panther main gun. Soviet force morale dropped to dangerous levels, and when the T-34/85 moved up to prevent the damaged StuG on the southern edge of the battlefield to advance it was attacked by German infantry. The Panzerschreck managed to move up towards the corner of a hedgerow and fired at medium range. The projectile was a lucky shot, not only did it hit the enemy vehicle but it also had a catastrophic explosion!

At this point the Soviet morale broke, and the Germans prevailed, their morale down to 5 when the Soviet side broke.
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Post game thoughts,

The battle had lasted quite long, I think we clocked in at 4 hours. What more, we didn't roll for a single turnover during the entire battle! The only turnovers were caused by me or Johan playing command dice. This prevented force morale to drop as quickly and prolonged the battle quite some.

We discussed the firepower difference between the Panzergrenadiers and the Tank Riders and agreed the Panzergrenadiers. were at an advantage with their dual MG42's. This is pretty much why I invested in another box of German late war infantry, so that I can build the regular Infantry Platoon. Johan was also very interested in picking up Early War / Polish Campaign. I said that my experience with that was that both sides had a lower rate of fire and that it was somehow more even a fight between the Germans and Poles - and also that the vehicles were more fun because their fragile nature.

The Panther G proved to be a beast. Great fun and frontal armor made it difficult for the Soviet side to knock it out of action. Perhaps if it had been flanked, though the Soviet tanks deployed in a defensive formation and mainly held their ground. The fighting for the village also proved difficult for the infantry. Germans had a hard time advancing, and killing the enemy with their own small arms, it took the help from friendly tanks to soften up the opposition.

Overall I think we came out happy with the vehicle rules (using a vehicle Senior commander as a troop leader). That added another dimension to the game, one that I really look forward to explore further in an Early War setting where you can have lots of PzI/II's vs 7TP tanks and TKS tankettes!


4 comments:

  1. Great aar and beautiful pictures! /Mattias

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  2. Great BatRep and table setup. I think the early war forces better combined arms integration because a AT rifle can make a good dent in those tankers. I';m looking forward to moving my gaming to North Africa for that reason

    I really like those CD based terrain features and how they link up - very neat!

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  3. Really neat AAR. 15mm CoC seems to be a great way of doing it, also nice to reuse all those Fow miniatures for another game.

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