Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Red Eagles on a Rampage - Chain of Command AAR

My second game at Historicon was Chain of Command, which I haven't had the opportunity to play in a couple years.  

This scenario was set in 1941, after Operation Crusader. A platoon of the 6th Rajputana Rifles, Fourth Indian Division was ordered to seize the town of Shahm Alkhinzir to prevent it from being used by fleeing Axis forces. However, a detachment of 15. Panzer-Division was ready to keep the Allied forces out of the town. 

The Allied players had to either break the defending Germans or exit two units through the short edge that the Germans were defending. The Axis players (which I was one off) had to hold out and either break the attacking Indians or spend two full Chain of Command dice to end the game. The Allied players could spend a full CoC die to reduce the Axis CoC dice total by three pips. 

Since we were playing lengthwise (a personal pet-peeve in infantry-focused games), the Patrol Phase didn't see much maneuvering. The Indian players had their Patrol Markers locked out a good distance from the town, which didn't give them many options with their Jump Off Points. 

In contrast, the Germans were able to get their JOPs in the town where they would be defended by the light cover provided by the buildings. 

The Indians commenced their attack with a couple squads deploying from their JOPs. The only real cover on the approach was the wadi that ran parallel to the road, which the Indians used to push a Bren team up as the platoon's riflemen slowly advanced.

In response, the Germans deployed a squad in one of the town's outer buildings. Since this was a Schutzen platoon, that meant each squad had two light machine guns, which could spit out a never-ending stream of lead. 

A second squad deployed behind an impassible ridge, out of sight of the advancing Indians.

One of the assets the Indians had was an armored car, armed with a machine gun. To counter this, the Germans had a single anti-tank rifle team.

However, instead of keeping the armored car on the table to potentially pin down the Germans, the Indian players instead elected to gun its engines and blast it through the town, before any of the German units could respond. This gave the Indians one of their two necessary units off the short table edge for their victory condition. 

The Allied players were making excellent use of their smoke markers from their 2cm mortar team. The smoke didn't block line of sight, but it did make it harder for anyone shooting through the 3" puffs to hit anything. 

However, the Germans got lucky and managed to fill up a Chain of Command die. Rather than keep it and hope to roll more 6s to end the game, we instead used it to end the first turn (finally!). This cleared the smoke from the table and removed all of the "tactical" movement markers from the Indian squads. 

While they were reduced from the long first turn, this gave the German Schutzen squads a chance to bring their machine guns to bear!

With most of their smoke gone, the Indians outside the wadi were caught in the Germans' crossfire, sending a cascade of morale hits. 

What had started to look like a tenuous hold on the town by the Germans became a decent defensive position again as the Indians were forced to retreat. 

By that point we had reached the time limit and the game ended in a draw, edging towards a German victory. While the armored car had gotten through the German line, the rest of the Indian platoon wasn't in a position to press the attack to any sort of conclusive result.  

I'm glad that I enjoyed this game of Chain of Command more than my previous one (especially since I didn't have a head-splitting migraine to ruin the experience. I'll have to see if I can get more people to play CoC in my area. 

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