Chain of Command: USA vs Germany

A club game of the Chain of Command probe scenario following on from the lessons learnt in the recent Paras vs Heer clash.  The Heer are back taking an additional ‘Green’ squad for support.  They are defending against USA attackers with a scout car for support.

The Americans begin by dropping their scout car at the road entry to the top of the board.  The next phase the Germans roll a ‘1’ amongst their command dice; deploy their panzershrek by the hedge at the opposite edge and needing a ’10’ to hit make the roll and knock out the scout car.  Lesson learnt, don’t deploy vehicles without infantry support unless you have a double phase to, hopefully, shift them out of the way.  If you do hope the opposition does not have the dice or chain of command points to react.

All the remaining American forces spawn from their central jump off point.  The only German jump off point to the West of the table is way back at the edge causing a log jam of German units trying to block the USA advance.  The Germans are well set up to flank the Eastern approaches but the other side of the table is wide open and all the Americans need to do is get a squad to the Southern board edge to win.

Here the German tries to get the panzershrek team out of the way and sets up a squad tactically opposite the lead Americans who already have a squad lining the closest hedge and another 1 field behind.  The Germans are in tactical stance and as a major rules error were allowed to remain tactical and shoot.  This meant that the tactical German section and American section opposite were both treated as in light cover and traded shots relatively equally.  If the rules were correctly adhered to the Germans would either not be returning fire as they kept tactical or would be shot up in the open.

The panzershrek lads did not last long.  The Germans deploy another section from the same jump off point while the Americans jump the final hedge and eye up the way South.  Off to the East (off picture) the German ‘Green’ squad is pumping flanking shots into the 3rd American section by the buildings to the rear.

What happens next is a luck fest.  The American squad to the West run and move 12″, they are now perilously close to the German board edge and victory.  The next phase is German and they declare an assault on the advancing Americans.  The American spend a chain of command point and interrupt.  First the Americans roll 3D6 wanting to get to the board edge but still keeping away from the assault threat they head in a diagonal to the far corner (the board edge being the end of the game world).  For their part the Germans also roll 3D6.  They can go in a straight line and need to get within 4″ of the Americans.  They make it, the usual dice fest of assault follows and the Germans wipe out their opponents.  Together with previous bad things the USA morale is now 3.

Did the Americans win at this point?  They did get teams to the exit board edge but did the interrupted assault have to continue?  Given average dice rolls the American should have won the combat and then the game on the next phase.  Alternatively they could have used the interrupt to shoot but even at crazy short range kills or shock are not guaranteed and the Americans would certainly have less assault dice because the Germans would not have run so far into contact.

It is not over yet.  Despite being down to rolling 3 activation dice they have 2 more squads temptingly close to the exit edge and the Germans facing them are thinly spread.  Blue or red rings indicate leader effects.  Here an American junior leader is wounded.

Shooting at the squad in the road probably will not stop them so the Germans risk an assault.  The odds are against them but the Germans win and inflict enough shock to break their enemy.  The last remaining American squad charges forward and destroys the German section (what is left of it) to their front.  Unfortunately they take losses themselves including a killed senior leader which breaks USA morale and gives an improbably German victory.

To conclude the Germans should have lost due to bad jump off point deployment and getting the tactical rules wrong.  They won by rolling a disproportionate number of 5s and 6s.

The move and fire abilities were a major benefit to the Americans.  Certainly of more use in attack than defense.  They did not deploy any scout squads.  One out to the Western break out might have given them another chance to reach the victory board edge.  The 2 American senior leaders were also a major influence, constantly stripping shock from the firefights.  The BARs were of limited use, they do not contribute much above the M1 rifles of the infantry.  The American bazooka squad was never deployed, there being no German armour.  Any benefit from possibly crossing the exit line to the moral loss of it being destroyed would probably weigh itself out.

Chain of Command: Probe (British Paras vs German Heer)

A no frills game of the probe scenario.  To win the attacking player has to get a team onto the opposition’s board edge.  Here we see the starting board with jump offs and patrol markers (1 blue British patrol marker is behind a house out of view).  The British are attacking from the top but their jump off points are trapped well back.  The German jump off points are represented by seedy secret police types, the British jump offs are parachute cargo.  A building without a roof is occupied.  In this case there is a German jump off point in one building.

We assume the action as part of Operation Slapstick in 1943 revolving around an Italian village of close-by small fields and larger open fields towards the edges of the board.

The British have 4 force points, spent on an observer for an off-board mortar battery.  The Germans have 10 and buy a Stug Howitzer and 2″ mortar team.  The Stug is a lot of points for a mobile howitzer.  With the game hanging on getting teams off the board the combatants would have been better buying infantry teams for support where possible.

Both sides make a cautious start, keeping the bulk of their forces off table in the early turns.  A lucky clutch of 5s on the dice allows the German to buy a chain of command point and briefly deploy a LMG team to flank the British.  The LMG inflicts a single casualty then the firer disappears back into the force pool.

The Stug shows up early, swivels a bit then stands still and starts to pound the British opposite.  The paras deploy the PIAT and later a senior leader (making it easier to shift the PIAT about).  The Stug will now be looking for 3s to act and the PIAT 1s and 4s (with the senior leader).  The German supporting infantry have taken some losses on the way in.  Yellow dice are shock.  The paras are agressive and ignore the first point of shock from shooting but not from running.


With the Stug committed to the German left flank the paras push 2 squads up on their right.  A Britsh jump off point had been moved up to behind the top right field with a chain of command point to facilitate this.  The German mortar should only  have 2 crew.  It is already under 2 pins and won’t be around for long.

An overview of the game end.  The PIAT took out the Stug, rolling double 6 to hit helped with the fire effect roll.  One para section shoots up the German section on their right while another runs off and takes the victory.  The 3rd German squad is running up the table centre under the illusion that either side can win by getting troops to the opposing table edge.  Another case of not reading the victory conditions properly.

A final curtain call for the victorious paras as they run to the table edge.

If the Germans had studied the victory conditions;  lining up a 2nd section’s firepower close to this exit area would probably have stopped the British breakthrough.  The Britsh had 2 snipers neither of whom did any good as their own troops were always in the way of a clear shot.  The off table mortar observer was also wasted as the few 1s to go round were rightly allocated to the PIAT team.