Christening the new Wargames table – Chain of Command AAR

It’s amazing just how quickly time goes by isn’t it?

As you are aware if you’ve been following this blog, my regular gaming opponent – Dave Luff – and I have spent our usual Thursday night gaming slots making scenery after Dave decided to turn one of his downstairs rooms into a gaming room. Dave had recently started making comments that he was ‘flagging’ and that we’d never play a game again, just keep making scenery. He had a point – after checking up it seems that we started this scenery project back in November last year! So, after finishing the dirt roads last week, we decided that the ‘scenery only’ phase of the project was over and it was time to play a game.

Also, Dave had recently been on holiday for two weeks and had finished painting his British Paras (see previous post) and he was itching to get them on the table.

Perhaps rather unsurprisingly, I haven’t started painting mine yet. However, my recent visit to Spartan Games had yielded a separate prize, as Mike Hobbs had very generously lent me some of his 15mm German army, “just until mine were finished”. A game was most definitely on!

Although both of us have played Chain of Command several times before, it’s been a while since we played (and Dave very quickly forgets rules!) so we decided to play a few re-learning games to get ourselves back ‘in the groove’; playing through the scenarios in the rulebook.

Game 1 was the patrol scenario – we started off by throwing scenery at the table, and this what we ended up with:
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I’ve been promising some photos of what we’ve been working on for a while, but hadn’t had chance up until now – hopefully this gives you some idea of what we’ve been doing…

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Two things became apparent as we built the table:

The first was that we didn’t have enough ‘rough’ hedges! Although we’d made over 20′ of hedge and bocage, creating hedge-lined roads and other fields soon uses it all up, so we need at least another 10′!

The second came from a comment from Dave – “This table really needs a farmhouse” – I have the farmhouse, but just haven’t built it yet. Buildings have immediately leapt to the top of the modelling agenda.

Onto the game.

As I said, we were playing the ‘Patrol’ scenario from the CoC rulebook, with Dave playing British Paras against my force of German Panzergrenadiers (I decided to take PGs rather than regular Heer as I felt I needed the extra firepower when facing Paras – and Mike had rather thoughtfully put six LMG teams in the troops he had leant me!) Support meant that Dave had Sticky Bombs, whilst I ended up with two 251 half-tracks and a 50mm mortar (I’d have preferred 250 h/ts, but mine aren’t painted yet)

The patrol phase was quite strange – Dave started deploying his Patrol markers from his right flank, whilst I deployed from the middle of the board. During this phase we managed to ‘turn’ the board somewhat, as I advanced rapidly on my right flank. However, this phase was brought to a rather abrupt halt when I made a schoolboy error and managed to get two patrol markers locked down by one of Dave’s. The position looked like this:

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End of the Patrol Phase

Which gave us the following Jump-Off points

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Dave surveys his deployment position

Dave was ‘stuck’ in the wheat field in one corner of the board, whilst I ended up with a jump-off point deep on his left flank, looking rather exposed.

Dave started the game, and immediately rolled consecutive phases – deploying two of his sections onto the road.

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First Para section deploys…

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…quickly followed by the second

I was immediately somewhat paranoid about my exposed jump-off point, and deployed a squad to defend it

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The Germans deploy and immediately commence intensive fire into the Paras

These troops had a great position to engage the Paras – and throwing 22 dice in combat is somewhat intimidating! (I later discovered that I should only have been throwing 20, btw)

An intense firefight ensued. Whilst the Panzer Grenadiers gave out some punishment, they were under a lot of fire – with the Para’s sniper proving very effective. At the point when Dave committed his Support section into the fray, I was in real trouble

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Sensing a turning point, the Paras support Section (right) advances and adds it weight of fire

The trouble was, I couldn’t roll a ‘3’ on the command dice to save my life, so I couldn’t rally shock, and I couldn’t deploy any other troops onto the table (with the exception of my 50cm mortar) to relieve the pressure on this squad. The end was inevitable

Having already seen one team break and run, the death of Obergefreiter Klaus seals the fate of the German Squad

Having already seen one team break and run, the death of Obergefreiter Klaus seals the fate of the German Squad

Then I FINALLY managed to roll some Junior Leader activations, and the two remaining squads entered the board, mounted in their 251 half-tracks.

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The 251s enter the battle

The Paras Support Squad had started to advance towards my vacated jump-off point. the 251’s came on too late to catch them in the open, but accelerated to engage with their forward MMGs as the Paras entered the copse in the corner of the field

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Rounding the corner, The 251s engage the Paras at close range

Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed the Brits deploy their PIAT team. Although it inflicted a couple of kills, the returning hail of fire from Bren guns, and a PIAT round bouncing off the bonnet convinced the lead 251 driver that he needed to be elsewhere – he promptly reversed into the bank behind him, as some of his passengers bailed out over the side.

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“Smithers! Quick! Get that Kraut with your PIAT!”

It's at times like these that you are thankful that the Brits didn't have a 3-inch mortar handy...

It’s at times like these that you are thankful that the Brits didn’t have a 3-inch mortar handy…

With the Germans in some confusion, the Support section took advantage and seized my exposed Jump-Off point

Paras seize the Jump-Off point

Paras seize the Jump-Off point

We called it a night there. My Force Morale was teetering on the edge (3) whilst the Paras had barely broken a sweat (10)

It was a great game. Yes, we made a fair few mistakes (both rules related, and tactical) but I learnt a lot about just how effective Paras can be – plans for future games will be changed accordingly!

But the evening achieved three things:

  1. We finally played a game!
  2. We remembered just how much we liked playing Chain of Command
  3. We had a huge amount of satisfaction seeing the fruits of our labours from the past few months finally put to good use.

Roll on next week – in the mean time, I need to construct and paint a farmhouse!

12 Comments on Christening the new Wargames table – Chain of Command AAR

  1. Great write up, looks like a fun game!

  2. table looks great and good to see you rolling dice at last

  3. Great looking table – top result for your efforts lads! What size is the table setup?

    Cheers

  4. Thanks for that. 🙂

  5. Its been a right old slog to get to this stage, but its been worth it.

    • It started well, but when you are only working on stuff for 3-4 hours at a time, and having to wait a week whilst paint and glue dries, things quickly start to drag out.

      The road sections, for example, took 5 weeks to make:
      Week 1: Cut them all out and basecoat
      Week 2: drybrush road surface and then create verges with sand.
      Week 3: basecoat verges
      Week 4: Drybush verges and glue on flock
      Week: 5; glue on static grass.

      Suffice it to say, whilst we have more than enough scenery to create a board, we haven’t finished yet – we need a couple of rivers and several buildings at the very least. However, we REALLY wanted to start playing games, so the remaining work is now going to be background tasks.

      As I said, first job is to assemble some buildings and make some more hedges. After that, we need several more fields, and then I’ll get the rivers sorted

  6. Looks awesome !

  7. Congrats on the all-new table layout. Looks very nice!
    And thanks for the ChoC report, good to see those dice rolling again.

  8. Just the right game to give this really cool looking table its baptism of fire. 😉

    Excellent write-up too. In 2014 Chain of Command was by far our most-played game and this report makes me want to play it again right away!

  9. I really need to try Chain of Command, it looks like great fun. I tried Bolt Acton but did not take to it. CoC seems more like what I am after. Now to convince Mrs. GG.

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