Thursday, 16 November 2017

Games Day November 2017 - WWI Big Chain Of Command

For the November all-day game Henry, Ian, Graham, Mark, Martin and Colin (me) played a WWI game using rules adapted from Big Chain Of Command.

Belgians are defending a town against an onslaught by the Germans.

Forces

Belgians - Henry & Colin
One Regular Infantry Platoon
Half an Elite Infantry Platoon
Supports - MMGs and Field Guns
Reserves - 2 Mounted Infantry units - arrival Point to be randomised when brought on.

Germans - Ian, Martin, Graham & Mark
3 Regular Infantry Platoons
Supports
Reserves - Cavalry

Layout
The town area, designated by the grey felt cloth, offered Soft Cover though-out. The town buildings have all been scratch built by Henry. The green cloth is open ground with various terrain features.

Deployment
The Belgians could deploy anywhere in the town.
The Germans had normal Jump-Off Points pre-positioned for the scenario by the umpire. Basically they were near the base line - one on the left, one in the centre and one on the right, and offering cover to troops deploying there.

The Game

Graham deployed one German Platoon on their left, Martin in their centre, and Mark on their right.
Ian had control of the German Reserve.
Martin starts his deployment deep in cover in the German centre.

 The Germans were rather slow to start, being very cautious of the open ground in front of them and not knowing what Belgians were going to appear where. They slowly moved forward as far as possible while still benefiting from any cover offered by the terrain.
From their start positions the Germans move slowly forward
to take advantage of any cover that is going.

In response, Henry deployed the Belgian Regular Platoon opposite Mark and Martin, and Colin deployed the Elite half platoon opposite Graham.
Henry's Regular Belgian Platoon in hard cover faces
two platoons of Germans.

Graham built up a good fire base against the Elite squads but hitting them in hard cover was proving to be difficult ...
Part of Graham's fire base in the early stages.
Two MMGs in support of  infantry.

... so he made good use of Covering Fire to reduce the effect of incoming fire from the Elites which were using the large building at the edge of the town and a trench on the flank. This gave the Germans time to take up advance positions while still gaining cover.
The Covering Fire on the Elite Belgians in the house and trench
severely reduced the effect of their fire.

On the Germans right, Mark had drawn a lot of fire from Henry's Regular Platoon and forced most of the Belgian Support units into the fight. Unfortunately for the Belgians the Supports became isolated and picked off, greatly reducing the Regular Platoons Morale.
Not a good photo, but shows the isolated positions
of the Belgian gun pits against the wire at the edge of the town.

Mark brought on a Field Gun against the Belgian Regulars.

For a while the Germans could not co-ordinate their attack, perhaps due to poor communication or lack of the good activation dice. Some piecemeal attacks were made.
Graham attempted to advance a couple of squads against the Elite Belgians
while they were under Covering Fire but could not reach the wire.

Eventually the Germans managed to co-ordinate their attack and most of them used the slow Tactical Move to gain extra cover as they moved across the open ground towards the wire lining the town.


There was certainly a lack of communication by the Belgians, which meant Colin hadn't
known about the poor state of Henry's Regular Platoon, and before he realised it they were on the point of breaking.
Ian was champing at the bit to get his German Cavalry Reserve onto the field and had quickly made ground between the slow moving German infantry up to the town.
Ian's Cavalry Reserve break into the town and look intent
on breaking the Morale of the remaining Belgian Regulars.

The Belgian Reserves were called for too late. By now there was only a 50/50 chance they would arrive each phase, and the arrival position of the Reserves was randomised. It took 4 turns to bring on the Reserves and they came on behind Graham. Initially they had great local success because they came on straight into Combat and defeated three German units. Then a fist-full of fives meant no activation for one phase.
Belgian Reserves (top right) arrive behind the Germans
and had great success initially.
Then a fist-full of fives meant no activation for one turn.

This enabled the Germans to respond to the threat in their rear and finish off the Belgian Reserves.
The luck of the Belgian Reserves has run out.

Meanwhile Henry's Belgian Regular Platoon had broken under the onslaught leaving the Elites stranded on the flank.
Repeated Close assaults on the building finished off the resistance there ...
Repeated assaults on the Elites defending the building
finally met with success.

...and the rampaging German Cavalry Reserve had swung round to the rear of the Elites in the trench.
German infantry to the front and a cavalry attack from the rear
 spells the end for the Belgians.

With Martin and Mark sweeping their German infantry through the town the end came quickly.

It is possible that the Belgian Elites could have offered more support to the Regular Platoon early on, but not much really. They had their hands full dealing with what was in front of them while Martin's German infantry in the centre was making good use of cover (they were scared to come out) so there weren't many target opportunities there.

We all had a good time with everyone involved in the battle.

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