Saturday, 29 February 2020

Chain of Command Abbeville 1940 "Mesnil Trois Fetis"

The second game of Gary and I's latest PSC saw the Germans attempting to delay the BEF at Mesnil Trois Fetis.

With 6 support I went for the infantry gun, a shabby nazi sniper and a fifth columnist on the basis that Gary would inevitably choose some armour again.

The table was even more open than the last one with little cover other than some wheat fields across most of the table:

Our old friend the British armoured car makes an early appearance and heads for a German JoP, I had not realised wheeled vehicles move double distance on a road so with three dice it instantly moved 20 odd inches down the road! I failed to bring on my gun due to Gary's barrage so lost a JoP almost immediately.

The armoured car races on passing over the JoP and heading for the next road:

The British set up firing lines in the buildings and send one section forward through the wheat field towards the woods where the Germans are lurking. No Germans have appeared at all so far:

The armoured car crew get nervous and approach the junction slowly, maybe there are no Germans here at all?:

The final British section deploys behind a pile of wood:

At last there is some action! The shabby Nazi 5th Column sniper pops up and targets the British section advancing through the wheat field inflicting some shock on them:

The armoured car turns onto the main road, in another couple of minutes it will shut down both of the remaining German JoP and win the game for the British. A German squad manages to deploy though and opens fire on it with their LMG inflicting a point of shock and forcing it to retreat:

With the barrage finally over another German squad deploys to take on the British advancing through the wheat field and the German gun appears to take on the armoured car:

With the armoured car looking a bit inadequate to brave the German gun the British move up a French H39 tank, a much tougher opponent:

The British now have a section approaching the woods covered by smoke. However, with visibility in the wood only being 4" they will have to close assault the Germans to drive them out (if you come within 4" of an enemy unit you automatically go into close assault and you can't fire at things you can't see):

The H39 prepares to move down the road:

The German gun, despite it's commander being wounded, hits the H39 putting some shock on it and killing the gunner. As the gunner is also the commander we weren't sure if this meant the tank commander was killed or not:

The German gun is very well handled today, another round forces the H39 crew to abandon their tank and the next shot results in the armoured car crew doing the same. Iron Crosses all round for the heroic gun officer and crew!:

With the loss of their armour the British advance their third section:

With the loss of their armour British morale has dropped and they have no option really but to close assault the woods. They bring up all of their men to make the attempt:

The Germans deploy their last squad and await the attack:

The first British assault goes in and is repulsed with heavy losses, the defenders having a large advantage:

The British send in a second section against the same German squad, again the assault is repulsed but the Germans are pinned and few in number:

The Germans launch a counter-attack and finish off the second British section but take heavy losses themselves:

With only one section left, morale low and the Germans firmly in control of the wood the British call it a day and retreat:

This game showed some of the limitations of both the campaign and the early war period in CoC.

As regards the scenario, given the vast amount of open terrain and the large amount of support available to the British the only sensible choice for the Germans was to hide on the baseline while Gary did exactly what I would have done in his place.

The patrol phase, normally an important part of CoC, was pretty redundant with it being obvious where both sides would start from.

The tanks also to some extent unbalance the game I think in this period. Firstly it forces the defender to use their support points on some form of anti-tank gun or a tank of their own. Secondly it tends to mean that whoever wins the tank/anti-tank gun duel then has an element that is almost indestructible (though we did realise that the armoured car with only 2 armour was very vulnerable to LMG fire).

In this game if Gary had destroyed my gun his H39 would have been able to wipe out my infantry at will, whereas when I knocked out his tank and armoured car he had no option but to launch hopeless charges into the wood.

The next game sees the British attacking again, after that the initiative passes to the Germans with both sides having limited forces which will hopefully make the games a little more varied.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Blucher Late Prussian v Late French

This week's Blucher game saw my Late Prussian army taking on Sean's Late French army at 200 points.

The Scharnhorst campaign resulted in the French attacking the Prussians on a fairly open table. The French had to break the Prussian's morale or capture a large town held by the Prussians by nightfall to win while the Prussians had one corps off table and had to hold on to the town or break the French morale.

The French moved quickly to attack the Prussians, having a powerful Guard corps supported by a large infantry based corps:

On the Prussian left two French brigades await the arrival of the Prussian 1st Corps, already it looks like it will take the 1st Corps a long time to get into action when they arrive:

The French continue their approach:

French Guard cavalry advance towards Prussian artillery:

Prussian Hussars are charged by the French Guard Light Cavalry, if they lose they will be pushed back off table and the odds are against them:

The Prussians are resolute though and throw back the French:

Prussian infantry deploy to face the French attack while the vulnerable artillery retires to safety:

The second French Guard Cavalry (actually Saxon Cuirassiers!) charges the Prussian Hussars. This time the Hussars are forced to fall back:

In the centre the Prussians have gained a slight advantage over the attacking French but the French Guard Heavy Cavalry are now behind the Prussian lines with little to hold them up:

The Prussian 1st Corps arrives! Are they too late though?

The French begin a series of assaults on the Prussian held town using a mixture of Guard and Line infantry. The Prussian defenders are determined to defend the Fatherland though and throw back the French attacks:

The two French brigades holding up the 1st Corps are quickly dealt with. However, with the distance they have to travel and the need for the Prussian C-in-C to concentrate on the units fighting the French it seems unlikely they will have much more of an effect on the battle:

The town continues to hold out while the Prussian centre has broken a couple of French brigades. Together with the units destroyed by the 1st Corps it is starting to look as if the Prussians might be able to break the French morale:

The French Guard Heavy Cavalry are thrown back by heroic Prussian gunners manning their guns to the last! The town remains solidly in Prussian hands and the units attacking it are weakening. The French Guard Artillery has had to be deployed to meet the threat of the 1st Corps:

Several French infantry brigades are close to breaking and the Prussians have indeed broken the French line on their right. The brave artillery battery that held off the French Guard Cavalry has been destroyed but the French Guard themselves have been greatly weakened by repeated charges:

The Prussian infantry launch another attack on the French infantry breaking them, shattering French morale and winning the battle:

This was a close game that could have gone either way, I had lost five out of a possible six brigades by the end. The Prussian infantry stood up well to the French defending the town with great determination and driving off the French line infantry.

I did make some mistakes, getting confused with my column numbers during Scharnhorst which resulted in my most powerful Corps (1st Corps) being the one that was left off table and leaving them with too far to move to affect the battle once they did arrive. Having said that they did destroy two of the French brigades I needed to break the French morale and also tied up the French Guard artillery so they did make a contribution.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Blucher French v British

Having become interested in Blucher Dave had recruited some new figures and re-based some old ones to make up a British army which I took on with my French.

As it was Dave's first game we went for the pick-up game with the French attacking the British. The French open their attack on the right with the British responding by moving their reserve (including two Guard's brigades!) to counter the French attack:

On the French left both sides await further developments:

The French press on engaging the British. A gap is developing in the centre of the British line:

Polish infantry charge home on a British brigade which had unwisely exposed it's flank:

The British have closed their line up in the centre but the French have more troops available including some Dragoons who charge a weakened Portuguese brigade on the hill:

The Dragoons do considerable damage to the Portuguese then fall back:

British cavalry advance on the French left, the French attempt to delay them:

Italian infantry charge and break a Portuguese brigade, the Portuguese are proving to be a weak link in the British line:

Not everything is going for the French though, the British rout a French brigade near the woods:

In the centre the British are heavily out-numbered and starting to collapse. The British cavalry has been neutralised by some French infantry and artillery and can't intervene:

The previously victorious Italian infantry repulse two charges from the British Guards, they refuse to be defeated!:

The British line collapses and falls back:

Victory goes to the French after a hard-fought battle:

Dave made some interesting choices in his army, all his artillery was attached to his British infantry which I've not seen before. It made the infantry much better at shooting but I think you need a couple of detached artillery batteries really,especially as he concentrated his cavalry in a single corps which really needs artillery support.

The game was actually fairly close, although the French had only lost two units they had a fair few badly damaged ones. The Italians were the hero's of the French army, destroying a Portuguese brigade then seeing off the British Guards very much against the odds!