Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Shocking Results - FiveCore Company Command AAR

Ever since I've stopped playing Flames of War, I've worried about what I was to do with my 15mm WWII collection. I've been running circles in my head - I could rebase everything to single bases and use them for games that work better with that scheme, like Battlegroup or Ain't Been Shot, Mum. Or I could try to adapt the bases to something that uses stands, like Blitzkrieg Commander or Combat HQ.

I've had FiveCore Company Command on my shelf for a while, but it's only been recently that I've actually made any effort to try the rules out for myself. I put together a little solo game to try and familiarize myself with the rules, and they seemed to run pretty well.

So when this month's SJGA meeting was suddenly moved to a different location and they needed some games to play, I threw a bunch of terrain, models, and dice into the back of the car and hoped I'd gotten enough of a handle on the game to run two to four club members through it before I had to head out.

The setup was fairly simple. Two identical forces made up of three platoons of three squads, accompanied by two support sections of machine guns and a medium mortar section. I didn't want to throw too many rules in, so I skipped tanks and anti-tank guns. Both sides were looking to break the enemy morale by removing half the units and panicking or disabling the rest. The British are painted, the Germans aren't (I never got around to it!).

The table was also fairly simple. A river with three crossings (the river itself could be crossed but it's rough ground, and in FiveCore units can't enter and exit rough ground in the same move. So any units moving outside the fords or rivers would be caught out in the open). There's some buildings to block line of sight, and I count two hedges as blocking line of sight if a unit isn't up against them taking cover. I also play that units can't be seen if they're deeper than a half move (3") into area terrain.

The standard activation method for FiveCore has two "stances" - deployment or combat. If a company is in deployment stance, all stands can move, but must stop if they come into line of sight of an enemy unit, and cannot fire. In combat stance, half the units can activate, but they can fire at and assault enemy units. It's easier to get your forces into place with deployment, but units quickly get stuck in place as they draw closer to the enemy.

The firefight began the hedgerows, with John's British putting out enough led to cause Chris' Germans to panic and fall back.

With the river splitting the board, neither side was going to rush out of cover only to be shot at by the either side, so the fight here was a see-saw.

Both sides tried moving out to cross the other ford, but couldn't make progress. John instead decided to have one squad fall back to the second floor of a nearby building to provide cover fire, while the two other squads in the platoon moved through the nearby cover to approach the river.

Unfortunately, that plan fell apart when the Germans launched a risky assault across the river. Supporting fire from a machine gun section took out the squad in the building, and another squad was removed from the Germans in the water.

A quick follow up assault scattered the remaining British squad on that flank, leaving Chris with plenty of space to maneuver his Heer troopers across the river.

The British moved to try and stop the German breakthrough, but were pushed back by a squad in the blue building.

Chris' dice (which had earlier betrayed him and kept his mortar section panicked instead of recovered and firing) continued their revolt. Even with four squads firing at the British in the open, Chris was only able to get a single Man Down result, instead of an Out of Action that would have removed the squad.

However, it wasn't looking good for the Brits. They were outnumbered and slowly being whittled down, with most of their squads either panicking or hiding behind the hedges.

More German fire saw another British squad taken out of action. The Englishmen manning the mortar were the only defense against the oncoming Jerries.

At the end it wasn't enough, however, and the noose around the British was closing ever tighter. 

With most of his company either scattered, wounded, or dead, John decided to retreat rather than fight it out to the bitter end. 

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