I'm a big fan of Chain of Command and wanted to try out a big game. I'd originally planned for up to four players a side but in the end two a side proved a good quantity.
Our game was based on the battles in Latvia during the aftermath of Operation Bagration. Although Bagration is often known as the "destruction of Army Group Centre", the main result of the Lithuanian and Latvian phase of the fighting was the splitting of the remains of that formation from Army Group North as Soviet troops reached the Gulf of Riga. I'd created a fictional situation with Soviet troops aiming to take a strategic crossroads in typically wooded Latvian countryside.
Ron and Richard P played the Soviets and were given a base force of a rifle platoon each. Jamie and Andy defended, Andy with a regular Heer platoon and Jamie with elite Fallschirmjaegers. I wanted to try out elites and to use my old Raventhorpe jaegers for the first time in years, though I'm not sure they really should have been in the area at that time.
Cost-wise the two Soviet platoons were -3 each whilst the Germans were zero and +10. This gave a +16 modifier to the Soviets. I rolled nine on the two dice for reinforcements in the scenario. In total
then the Germans had five points to spend on reinforcing their platoon and the Soviets 25!
The Germans took a length of barbed wire, an entrenchment for a single team, a medical orderly and, I think, an extra Senior Leader for the Heer platoon.
The Soviets had rather more choice and took an SU-76, a 57mm anti-tank gun, two Maxim MMGs, a 50mm mortar and an anti-tank rifle team who got a Jeep to ride in.
The Patrol Phase went well for the Germans. The Russians got 1d6 extra moves with their patrol markers before the Germans could respond but they rolled a two and made little headway. We ended up with the Jump Off Points (JoPs) positioned as follows:
The Soviets had a lot of open ground to cover.
I recommended they deploy two-man scout teams from their squads and Richard did indeed try that on the extreme left. His two man team was quickly forced to withdraw when an entire Fallschirmjaeger squad emerged in the woods within close assault range of them. However, they had forced Jamie to deploy a squad onto the table.
|Razvedchiki probe the left flank woods|
|Jaegers in the woods|
|With two LMGs in the squad that's a lot of firepower!|
Andy placed one of his squads to cover the crossroads. The barbed wire blocked one of the roads leading to the German baseline.
The additional infantry squad that the Soviets had included in their order of battle was made up of Sailors fro the Baltic Fleet. Like the Fallschirmjaeger this was probably not historically justified but they are pretty figures so I went for it anyway. They dashed to the hedge line by the crossroads at the double and picked up a Shock token as a result. It was not to be the last!
|The obligatory long-shot. Left to right, Jamie, Andy, Ron and Richard P|
|Those Naval Infantry now have five points of Shock|
With the Germans deployed in platoon strength around the crossroads and occupying both of the adjacent woods it was going to be difficult for the Soviets to force their way through.
Richard made a manful attempt to force the issue by attacking on the left flank but a single squad wasn't going to be enough. A close assault by Jamie's Fallschirmjaeger drove them back to their start line.
Ron finally brought on the SU-76 in an effort to force the issue around the crossroads.
A squad of Fallschirmjaeger launched a swift and violent counterattack at the crossroads...
...and were soon joined by their platoon's Panzerschreck team...
... who took aim down the road at the SU-76...
... fired and hit first time...
The loss of their armoured support was the final straw for Ron's platoon and their morale broke. This in turn finished off Richard's platoon too and the battle was won by the Germans.
I enjoyed umpiring this game, though I made a couple of false steps in rule interpretations at the start. The players seemed to enjoy it too and I'm sure we'll give Big Chain of Command another go some time soon.
I'm not sure how the Soviet players could have done much better with the situation after the Patrol Phase. More use of scout teams might have forced the Germans to bring troops on earlier and I think I'd have gone for a bit more armoured support given the number of points they had available. I think I'd like to run some more CoC quite soon so we can see if with more experience the guys do things differently.
You can see Richard P's account of the action here.