Sunday, 14 April 2019

Chain of Command - 29 Let's Go, Game Five

The 352nd looked relaxed after their win at Cardonville and having pushed the Amis back to Arthenay

This week saw our fifth game in our '29 Lets Go' campaign as US forces following their hard fought battle at St Germain du Pert now found themselves north of the Osmanville road as they were forced to deal with another German force threatening the US advance from that direction.

Thus our battle was on table 4 in the situation map below at the Radar Station at Cardonville supported by some naval gunfire in the form of a pre-bombardment of German positions from HMS Glasgow.

Feeling confident that the Royal Navy would allow our troops to make rapid progress across the table snatching German Jump Off Points (JOPs) as we went, both Steve and I planned our JOPs up on the hedgerow line ready to jump forward as the situation presented itself following the patrol phase.

The US plan of attack and the German defences (black boxes) encountered after the patrol phase

Feeling confident in our plan, things took a decidedly different course as the original intention had been to grab the house in the bottom left of the map as a position to turn the German flank; only to find that Ian had placed a section of wire in front of the hedge bordering the orchard together with mining the road and the house opposite.

Our JOPs were so positioned to allow our plan to be flexible and thus the house would be taken by a single section, whilst two sections together with two flamethrower teams advance up the hill and nearby road to clear the other flank, bringing on a single Sherman to be kept back to provide covering fire.

Our table with the gentle slope above the lower house (top right)

Again things changed almost immediately as our first die roll turned up three sixes that immediately ended the bombardment from Glasgow and meant that Ian would find it a lot easier to deploy his troops in response.

View from the German lines

However US fortunes continued to prove interesting as the three next turns provided double sixes to allow a rapid advance into the German position threatening two JOPs before a single German soldier appeared on the table, not to mention five pips on the US Chain of Command dice hopefully on the acquisition of a sixth pip to allow us to take those JOPs and end the turn before any response with all the bad stuff happens to follow.

Everything in position - just give me a five!!!

That was then the wheels fell off the plan!

Three German sections in the same field and a sniper close by, Where was HMS Glasgow when we needed her!

The next four turns saw not one five rolled among the twenty die rolls made by our team coupled with German troops turning out to defend their one remaining corner of the field with three sections and their MG 42's pouring out their hurt on the two lead US squads, causing one to rout and one left decimated with multiple shock.

Where there was once a squad there is now just a pile of shock dice. The flamethrower teams are on the road lower left trying to close up on the German position.

In desperation the other US squad did its best to fire suppressing fire from the lower house, and the flamethrowers tried to close up under fire from a German sniper only to see their half effect fire miss with all six dice.

The squad by the lower house did their best to bring some relief

The final throw came as the sole Sherman tank rolled on to the table to try and equalise the fire-fight by putting its HE into a field full of Germans but the situation proved hopeless and without the first turn ending the US morale broke under the onslaught leaving a return battle back on the main road at Arthenay on Tuesday as the Germans opted to push the Americans back to the road and let them try to take the position yet again.

I know lets try using the tank!

I have not played another game that generates quite the same sense of feeling a plan fall apart on first contact with the enemy quite like the one Chain of Command creates.

In the end you can plan and plan and hopefully more often than not those sequences of play you had prepared for come out in favour of those plans but sometimes there are aspects of the game you simply cannot plan for like rolling twenty d6 and not getting a single five - a bit like a real battle, but thankfully all our metal men get to fight another day.

So as things stand we are on to game six with three US wins, one bloody draw and one German win.

More anon


  1. Hmmm, that was a bit one-sided! Out of interest, do all the scenarios have play along the board rather than across? In our games we got tired of little opportunity for the attacker to have any chance to make flank attacks, as they be came frontal assaults by and large.

    1. As these are campaigns based on real actions sometimes you just have to be the unlucky platoon that has the short straw and has to lead the attack. Also, remember that there might not be a chance for a flank attack. The flanks might be covered by more enemy forces, this isn't 'happening' in isolation.

  2. Hi Steve,
    Well I think it was just one of those games.
    If you played that scenario a number of times with the situation as outlined, how often would the naval gunfire end immediately with three sixes, followed by three rounds of double sixes and then four rounds without a single five, not many I think.

    The nice thing with Chain of Command it can happen and suddenly a great situation with the Americans looking to mop up two out of three German JOPs without any German troops on the table suddenly sees the situation reverse with the US force morale in tatters.

    With regards to your point about table length games and frontal attacks. I reported on one of the scenarios, game three and four I think which is a flank attack seeing US forces coming on from a long and short table edge that really stretched the German defences particularly in the refight due to us drawing the first action.

    The US at this period in Normandy are using the tactical manual as written, find, fix, flank and finish looking to suppress German squads, once identified by rapid fire and movement using their large squads and the power of the Garand.

    They like us, soon found out that that was not enough against the German MG42 and like the British turned to a smoke solution by the time of Cobra, except where the British used the two inch mortar the Americans turned to WP and machineguns from their tanks to brass up and smoke Germans in hedgerows and possibly burn them out of position as well.

    So yes there is a bit of frontal assaulting but the US do have options to put squads out to find the enemy or two man scout teams which reduce the casualty count whilst forcing the Germans to deploy.

    In this particular action we banked on HMS Glasgow limiting German deployment off their JOPs allowing us to flood their defences with US squads up close and personal and winning that fight through weight of numbers and captured German JOPs. It nearly worked but not quite!

  3. The more I see of Chain of Command the more I am tempted - so many games so little time...

  4. Nice batte report. Thanks To share the scenario