Wednesday, February 22, 2023

SMH, SMG - Chain of Command AAR

This past weekend was the Springfield group meetup, where I once again ran Strength & Honour. After swapping out the dice (which have been appropriately designated as "cursed" and thrown into the garbage), it seemed like everyone had a good time. I'm pretty confident in my ability to run the game now. 

I stayed for the afternoon game and got a chance to play in another of Jeff's Chain of Command games, this time set in 1943 during the Battle of Kursk. Two players (myself and John) were commanding two Soviet platoons, while our opponents (Walt and Dave) controlled two German platoons. 

This was a meeting engagement, with both sides at maximum morale (11) at the start and with full command dice. 

The Soviets had a SMG platoon, which I was playing with, and a Motorized Rifle platoon. The Germans had two Pioneer platoons. Both sides had tanks in support. 

My two Jump-Off Points were located in the woods dominating my side of the table. I brought in an SMG squad and the platoon's flamethrower team. Walt wasted no time in deploying both his pioneer squads, with a flamethrower team as backup. 

One of John's JOPs was on top of a hill, and he deployed two rifle squads into cover. 

Unfortunately, doing so made his squads a target for concentrated German fire from the two opposing platoons. 

With visibility between in the woods limited to 12", both sides slowly crept forward, hoping to get the first strike. 

The advantage, however, seemed to be in the German's favor. The pioneer squads were equipped with 2 LMGs each, which could pour out dice when shooting. Supporting them were multiple SMGs, which weren't terribly effective, but added more dice. It also didn't help that Walt got a double turn. 

My SMG squads could fire up to 4 dice at 6", but only 2 dice at 12", and only 1 die each if they were moving at that. 

Lined up along the bank of the stream, the Germans opened fire and wiped out most of my first SMG squad. 

I quickly deployed another squad to block the German advance. 

Things weren't going so well for John, either, resulting in an... ad hoc method of camouflaging his SU-76 from the guns of three German tanks.

Walt's squads kept advancing, laying down withering fire into my SMG squads and supported by a pair of panzers. 

A couple hours into the game, the German's had mostly halted at the river, but only because it was the best spot for their Soviet-themed shooting range. John's SU-76 was destroyed and none of the three T-34's could land a decent hit on the German armor. You can see Dave's Germans up on top of the hill in the top right. 

Meanwhile, my second SMG squad was being chewed up, and I lost my flamethrower team to an CoC dice interrupt. 

With the second squad breaking and running, and my T-34 forced back, I only had one more SMG squad left, along with the platoon's Senior Leader. 

We decided to call the game there. I didn't catch John's morale value at the end, but mine was all the way down to 3. Neither Dave not Walt had taken any hits to their Force Morale, making this a conclusive victory for the Germans. 

While a fun game, John and I came away thinking that the scenario was a bit stacked against the Soviets (although we had gotten our asses handed to us, so we were a little biased!). The German advantage in machine guns was such that approaching them, even in the woods, was a death trap. If the scenario was supposed to be somewhat equal engagement, then the Soviets needed something to close the gap, like an LMG or two in their squads or smoke from mortars. 

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