Tonight we tried The Too Fat Lardies newest game, WHAT A TANKER. What a Tanker is a fun, quick paced game of tank to tank combat in World War Two. It is designed for any models ranging from 10mm up to 1:48, which was the scale we chose. We had five players, and after far too […]
World War II
Due to the various demands of the Holiday season, and a housing emergency, Dave Wilson and I found ourselves as the only members of the Williamsburg Legati meeting a couple of weeks ago. We took the opportunity to play a game of Chain of Command.
I set up a table imagining that the battle was somewhere around the area of British Paratrooper activity at Normandy. Mostly because I am preparing to run the Von Luck Pint Sized Campaign by Too Fat Lardies. We rolled randomly for scenario and got Scenario Number Five: the Flank Attack.
Dave was attacking with the Paratroopers and I was holding the farm at the upper right corner. This scenario give the attacker the ability to bring his patrol markers from two different sides at the same time. Very disconcerting if you are the defender. I tried to do too much with mine, trying to defend both fronts and soon found that I could hardly maneuver them. I have often said that Chain of Command can be won or lost in the patrol pase. In this game I lost that very way. In fact Dave could have wrapped around me even, so badly had I played my patrols, but he elected that in light have having an enjoyable game he would not. Thanks Dave.
Dave’s Paras started advancing on the farmhouse just down the road from mine and was first to notice that the layout of the buildings left most of their windows facing away form the action. Only the house in the middle of the board really had a useful vantage point, and it was right alongside of one of Dave’s jump off markers. The Section shown above made little progress up the table.
The Germans had the same problem however so most of my deployments were into the cover of the hedges. My jump off markers were also all cramped together, all three being in the area of this one photo! Also visible in this shot just under the tree is my poorly chosen support option. The PAK 38 is aimed at the only useful house on the board, which was the center of much of the Para Activity. I chose the PAK 38 because I like the model and don’t usually even remember to bring it, but in this case I knew I wasn’t going to be opposed by any armor. If I knew the German equipment better I would have brought the ie IG 38 infantry gun. This model doesn’t get used much either, costs less support points and would have been far more useful in taking out troops concealed in stone houses.
Surprisingly, I took few pics of the British forces. Dave started to bring forces on to my right, trying to flank me so I ordered a section to secure the stone barn across the street from my position. This was a good idea, but I did it too late. Further more, when they started to receive fire from the enemy I pulled them back. This was a fatal error. I did have to go into the open to get around to the entrance of the barn, and do so under fire. I don’t doubt that I would have received some fire, but had I laid down covering fire with the MG42 and taken the risk I suspect I would have survived most of it. Instead I got shot down in the street. Punished for my indecision and lack of aggressiveness.
Meanwhile my first section and ATG were taking so0me serious cross fire, and doing very little damage in return. I eventually had to pull the ATG back while the crew recovered their bottle.
Part of why I had to withdraw the PAK 38 were the two snipers the Para had deployed. We haven’t used snipers much, due to some disappointment with them early on, but the PARA platoon fields two normally. In this occasion they were very useful.
In the end we had to call the game because it had got quite late. My force was still in pretty good shape but I had squandered so many opportunities early on and by not being more aggressive when I should have I allowed myself to get boxed into my corner. I hope I have learned my lesson.
Until next time, cheers,
After his success at the church, Lt Ryer was ordered to secure the crossroads to Le Mesnil. The first two sections slowly worked their way up to the position, finding their enemy holding the position.
Cleary visible, the Paras found a German halftrack holding the road, its crewing manning the machine gun.
Ryers quickly ordered the mortar team to deploy and start laying smoke! Soon some cover was provided from Gerry’s machine gun, but a new surprise makes itself known.
A PAK 40, just in front of their positions lets loose into the Paras! The HE round explodes amongst Sgt Fulton’s section wounding their commander. Fulton applied his bandage, and ordered the men forward, assaulting the Anti Tank gun.
Their assault took this position killing all of the German gun crew rather handily, but then another threat made itself known by way of a medium machine gun in the farmhouse window. More work for the mortar team.
At this point, the only section of German infantry present began to disembark from the halftrack. Lt Ryers ordered the piat team and the support section forward.
It is a hit! With this Ryers ordered his men forward!
Fulton’s section successfully charged the Germans in the house from the rear, securing the house.
Meanwhile, the advance on the left saw Platoon Sargeant Giles lightly wounded. Nonetheless, the attack was a success and the position was taken. Casualties on both assaults were very heavy, however. Some 50% of the sections involved were lost as casualties.
In aftermath, I again rolled very badly for the Germans. They could easily have outnumbered me as they had enough blinds for more than a platoon. Even the one section they had present was really me fudging the rules. I rolled the halftrack but decided to allow it to have a full section onboard.
Anyway, until next time,
I have decided to play a solo campaign of Chain of Command using Joseph Legan’s wonderful book Platoon Forward available at Too Fat Lardies.
For anyone not aware, this useful supplement generates random scenarios, provides support for them and makes it all a bit more interesting by adding a narrative campaign element.
Platoon Forward us designed for World War two but is easily altered for other periods. I originally used it for a Very British Civil War campaign! It is meant to easily be used with any tactical level World War Two game. Some things are not perfectly fitted to Chain of Command, but a little flexibility and creativity will solve these little issues.
Since I have the figures and support for it, I have decided to set my campaign in the Vacaville area of Normandy in June of 1944. My Platoon is a part of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.
My platoon 5th Platoon of C Company is commanded by Lt Jimmy Ryers. He is a cautious and yet cocky 23 year old hoping for recognition and promotion. His platoon Sargeant, Archie Giles is a very sensible and even-tempered former clerk. Greg Fulton a jovial 30 year old, more comfortable with art than warfare has the first section. The second is led by 28 year old Trent Carpenter. Patriotic and naively reckless. Before the war, he was a mechanic. The support section is commanded by the Hedonistic and cultured Quebecois, Harris LeBlanc.
5th Platoon’s first assignment after landing in France was to take a German observation post in a country church. The position was believed to be lightly defended so apt. Keefe ordered Lt Ryeres forward with his 5th Platoon.
The German position was in an old stone church surrounded by a churchyard and its low wall. Ryers ordered his first two sections to advance forward along the hedgerows. The Headquarters sniper took a position within the hedge and waited for a shot.
He didn’t have to wait long. The distinctive sound of a German MG42 soon destroyed the solitude of the quiet June night.
Lt Ryers quickly deployed his 2″ mortar team who ably provided smoke to aid the advance.
Under the cover of the smoke, Sgt Fulton’s section started to receive fire from a German squad holding the church. They dived for the cover of the hedge by the Sargeant was wounded.
Ryers ordered Fulton’s Bren team to quiet the fire from the church, Soon with the help of the sniper they had reduced the German fire. Ryers order the two sections to move forward and the assaulted the church rather handily.
All in all a successful first mission. Rolled pretty badly for the German blinds, which did make for a easy fight than it might have been. Some challenges I am facing as I do this, the table I am using is smaller than the usual 6×4 which makes for a less effective patrol phase, I might just use the entrances Legan suggests on the scenario cards and there are no spotting rules in Chain of Command which is how the blind system in Platoon Forward usually works. I simply rolled for my blinds as I was hoping to activate them. The blinds are rated as probably infantry, probably support, and probably vehicle. I would roll the command dice for the Germans and this if I would roll for the blind I hoped to activate, if it came up empty I just rolled the next one of that type. Not sure that was the best answer.
Until next time,
Recently I participated in the Mad Mob Miniatures Kickstarter for French or former French vehicles. This was really a no-brainer for me since I really needed one of the elusive German 7.5cm PAK auf Somua conversions for Too Fat Lardies campaign supplement KAMPFGRUPPE VON LUCK. I do regularly run Fall of France games for Chain of Command so some pre-converted half-tracks would prove useful as well. (Besides those French half-tracks are just the thing for a desert based Pulp Game!)
I have done business with Mad Bob before, when I bought my German converted Lorraine Schlepper and had been pleased so no risk there.
The Kickstarter levels were arranged by the number of vehicles you wanted to buy with no need for a decision on what those would be until sometime after the conclusion. The Kickstarter was very successful and many stretch goal vehicles were added. That was very important to me as one of the vehicles I most wanted was itself a stretch goal.
Furthermore, when the Kickstarter finished, Mad Bob allowed us to add any of the other vehicles to or order at the Kickstarter rate which while I did not, in the end, do so, I certainly considered it. I think that was a great offer and pleased that it was available.
So my order did arrive this week. Three half-tracks. two were the French models, a standard P19 and a Staff model. The other was the aforementioned and longed for Somua conversion. All three models have very little flash and very crisp details (much better than it appears in some of these photos).
The P19 VDP is the basic French troop transport half track. The model consists of three pieces, the body, the windscreen and the canvas roof. Mine arrived broken, with the some of the pieces meant to support the roof gone. In the picture, the remaining ones have been removed by myself. I will either build it without the roof or scratch build replacements. Not difficult but a shame that might have been prevented by better packaging.
The next model is the Staff car version, P19 VLTT. This model consists of four pieces, the body, roof, windscreen, and a spare tire.
And lastly, the point of the exercise, the 7.5 cm PAK auf Somua. This model is very nice. Mine arrived with the barrel a little bent, but a simple soak in warm water allowed that to be repaired. This model is composed of six parts, but none of them are very fiddly and it looks like it will all go together well. It is going to be beautiful when all painted, decaled and weathered. So now I am off to do that!
If you do early war, or might need some of the odd French conversions, I certainly suggest you take a look at Mad Bob Miniatures. He does good work and a number of his offerings are unusual and hard to find models.