Saturday, 22 February 2014

Chain of Command Campaign turn 2 - Bloody Maltot indeed!

Mission 2 represented the attempt by 12 Platoon to push through the German Forward Defence Line, and takes place early next the morning following the previous patrol action. Victory conditions are simple, to win the British have to get a squad to the German base line, which will make the position untenable and force the Germans to withdraw to their main defence positions in the village itself.

The terrain was pretty daunting, with a lot of cornfields to cover before reaching the road which formed the outpost line.

The British problem was mainly the total lack of cover between their starting positions and the hedgeline. Luckily Gilchrist had a plan.  He would push the main part of the platoon forward quickly to flank the left hedgeline under Sgt Taylor, while he lead the remaining squad to keep the Germans busy.  (Tip - Plans are actually really important in CoC, just running around trying to react to circumstances doesn't work very well as you can never be sure when your next activation will be, so make a plan and either stick to it or fall back and come back another day)

Gilchrist had in support a pre arranged barrage, a extra 2" mortar team, and the Bttn Adjutant helping the Platoon to the Start Line. On the other side Platzer and his understrength platoon are holding the hedge line near the road to Maltot, and have some prepared positions and wire, plus some sporadic long range support fire from Tigers on the crest of Hill 112 to the rear of Maltot.

It started very well, with Gilchrist pushing his patrol \ jump off markers forward so he had an entry point near the hedge - in fact he only had about 15 inches of ground to cover to claim the win.

Meanwhile the young Lt moved forward cautiously a little ahead of his troops to recce the line of advance (I rolled too many 4s and wasnt going to waste them!)

The lead squads pushed forward under cover of the barrage, and it looked like this could be another bloodless victory, then it went all wrong. The barrage ended (Bloody Germans threw three sixes on their five dice!), and the lead squad walked into a German defensive position.

Caught in the open at close range they were cut to ribbons by deadly MG42 fire, and more German positions opened up across 12 Platoon's front. Gilchrist called forward a squad and tried to help by giving some support fire, but all his squad managed was to wound the already injured Unteroffizer Bub - who was carried to the rear. This left Platzer with a problem as his left flank squad (British right) now had no-one to direct them, so he spent the rest of the battle sprinting between them and the central position trying to keep them in order. On the British left there was chaos, with the few survivors os one squad retreating and a second in disorder.
Gilchrist was seriously considering calling a voluntary withdrawal (which would have meant returning to the Patrol Action stage) when he was  struck by an MG42 bullet scything through the corn, and died instantly (lump in throat).

Sgt Taylor was forward and managed to stabilise the situation at the hedge row, rallying the shaken survivors and bringing the platoon 2" mortars into action to blind the nearest MG42. He them had the two corporals direct the remaining Bren guns to carefully target the nearest German Infantry. Out in the field the remaining squad tried to give support around where Gilchrist had fallen, but the weight of fire was too much and they were driven back with more casualties. Platzer was getting very concerned about his squad facing the British at the hedge. Although they had caused grievous casualties they were still outnumbered, and they were themselves now taking casualties from very accurate Bren fire (The Brits have a special rule that allows the Bren team to concentrate fire if directed by an NCO, and with both Corporals stood over the guns this was really starting to hurt) The German sections MG42 was still unable to fire as it was blinded by smoke. The accumulation of shock and casualties caused the remaining infantry on that flank to withdraw, leaving the way to the baseline open. Taylor rallied his troops and pushed them forward, snatching a hard won and expensive victory from the jaws of defeat.

As they stopped to reorganise 12 Platoon is looking very battered. Six KIA and three seriously wounded in addition to their dead leader. Sgt Taylor has taken command of the Platoon, but there is no-one to replace him  as senior NCO. The Battalion CO is pleased with Taylor's performance in rallying the platoon and pushing on to their objective, and Taylor has been recommended to be  Mention in Dispatches - in fact the Colonel is so impressed he has decided to push for an MM!, however it is too early to tell if anything will actually be granted.

Platzer has again been forced out of his position, and his standing with the CO is deteriorating a little more. The men are however very pleased, knowing that they gave the Tommies a good beating and only suffering a couple of dead themselves, plus Bub now sent back to the Regimental Aid Post. Platzer remains content with his performance.

So the next game is 12 Platoon fighting at the main defence line. They have some more support (7 points) while Platzer has only 3, and now the fight has moved into the village the Tigers can no longer pick out targets. On the plus side he will have more defensive positions OR a Chain Of Command dice at his disposal, and his troops are now confident enough in his ability to get a bonus on Force Morale. Both sides are short an NCO, and there will need to be some reorganisation before the next attack goes in. Platzer will have to do without Bub for one mission, and 12 Platoon now have lost the luxury of the platoon Sergeant, plus a third of their riflemen.

Both sides have reinforcements available, but as both are one time events neither side is willing to call on them yet. On the British side the campaign allows 12 Platoon to be taken out of the line (taking no further part) and 16 Platoon put in fresh in their place. On the German side there are some replacements available from 12th SS, but their numbers are few. With at least three more battles to fight both sides are trying to get along without calling on their reserves.  


  1. Gripping stuff

    Did Gilchrist manage to write a last letter?

  2. Great AAR! One of the reasons I like campaign play - it's not about winning just one game then packing up the figures. You really have to think ahead.

  3. Well done you for taking the plunge and starting a blog! It's a great way to spread the word on the way of the Lard so hats off to you sir. Interesting reports too so well done all round. Now if you can figure out how to have "followers" so people can bookmark you, and links to other blogs you follow, like Mr Sydney Roundwood, Mr Fat Wally and Mike Whitaker.....