wtorek, 15 października 2013

Tiger farm Chain of Command

Ok, so with my Big Demo game of Chain of Command (Last Saturday of hauptmann Telamonius) coming I decided I need to actually use vehicle rules on the field  So I decided to play my third game with a number of them. Outcome was decided this time with bad deployment and tactic on the soviet part but vehicle rules were thoroughly tested. And i have to say – I like them. Think I like least in Chain of Command is resolution by rolling a lot of dice. I rationalize it that it gives much closer to truth statistical outcome and I can live with it. Similarly with vehicle rules. If you are not put out by the dice pool it gives very good historical outcome. I have to say I was surprised how well. I was thinking that CoC is a game of Infantry where vehicle are add on that play a minor role only, but now I think that its very good tank game too...

So to the battle.
I played Attack on an objective – Scenario 6. Classic action of the war. Lacking any sensible terrain feature to poses strategic value except the barn/train depot i fought for in my last two games I remembered a photo of abandoned tank repair park somewhere in the eastern front and decided to arrange  me one of these :>
My demo game will took place on the northern front so repair park of 502 Schwerepanzerabtailung was an obvious choice with my PSC Tigers lying around !

So there is an objective worth of capture!
As this was to be vehicle game I upped support points slightly for my scenario. From the Die roll it should be 4 for Elite German to whooping 19 for my soviets. On that i added ten for each side to buy some actual vehicle for the Germans :>
And Ended with Stug III F and Pak 40 versus 3 T 34/76, BA 64, Scout squad and opening barrage for the Russians.
4 vehicles for 1 platoon found out to be too many. Its just impossible to use them efficiently and BA 64 (proxied by my BA 10) was uncommitted for most of the game and unused in last phases.. It would be wiser to upgrade tanks to IS for his cost in this situation as I just lacked ability to command such number of vehicles. Not surprisingly in such circumstances Germans fared better :
View from soviet side
Force morale was 9 for the Germans and 10 for Russians.
Games went on for 3 turns (both Turn ends were provoked by CoC die – I  am starting to believe its their most powerful ability – when I was starting to read the rules i decided that ambush and shooting out of sequence will be best use of them.. but in practice Turn Ending is a winner strategy here. CoC is a game where you want the turn to end precisely when you want it to end  :> ) with a total of 46 phases with equal number for each side.

Start of patrol phase
Final Russian partol markers and jump points
Final German patrol markers and jump points

Turn 1
Soviet attack started conservatively with a Pre game barrage that made German life difficult ( Its hard to deploy units on the table in the first turn after the barrage, extra difficult if barrage was coming from Russian guns).[66532] Scout team deployed and sized the initiative and captured the barn unopposed (which happened to be a mistake, if it deployed from different jump off point it would be possible to contest one and possibly two German jump off points in the first turn and capture the objective early – a mistake which cost soviets dearly – war is a harsh mistress).[64331] Regular squad followed near the road supported by dre

German countered and managed to put Grenadier squad and Stug on the table with [31222]. First shot from the infernal contraption penetrated turret killing Mishka the gunner.. That put cannon out of the fray for whole 2 full activations. But Russian spirit is not easy to broke and more infantry and T 34 rolled on to the table and engaged in heavy exchange with the Stug disheartening the commander at first and then destroying the canon rendering it almost useless. Shotout between tanks and the Stug showed that T 34 is heavier armed than his stats would suggest, especially for older canons it could be hard to penetrate decisively. 

There are Three simple rules of using T 34 tanks in combat..

Gunner Mishka just got gunned

  In Parallel firefight Scout squad was broken but with a price of shocking second Grenadier squad that deployed in the woods protecting the Repair depot. With Scouts routing and regular squad pinned Germans ended the turn just after they amassed enough of 5s to get CoC die. Scouts rout from the table and effect of pre game barrage faded.
Panzer battle

Turn 2
Russian start of Turn 2 draw gunfight to a conclusion as now canonless Stug was hit again near the mantlet damaging his sights and convincing the crew its time to say good bye and bail out. But as T 34 started to slowly pour forward Pak 40 deployed [66221] in the tank trap and shot into leading T 34 that eliminated the Stug last phase shaking it fiercely but not making much harm apart from some internal armor flaking probably. In return T 34 cannon targeted gun but killed only one crewman. To add insult to that Panzer Shreck deployed in a position close to the cross road and shot at the leading tank but luckily missed. Taking initiative Pak shot T 34 again but failed to penetrate but second round from Shreck forced crew to bail out!! 1:1
With a small lul in armored combat third soviet squad and Commander deployed on the field. Lieutenant started to rally some shock from exhausted squad near the field that got pinned by long range machinegun fire from the hill. Meanwhile squad from the Russian hill engaged in long range shotout with Grenadier squad in the trees breaking it with some help from tank machineguns. Germans run behind tanks in the repair yard.

Scouts duel with Grenadiersquad
Bailing Stug and broken squad :Brightest moment for the Russians

But tank battle was far from over Pak put a big hole in maneuvering first T 34 killing another gunner (replacement one !!). The Shreck hit with the last round to the engine deck damaging the motor. Crew was heavily shocked by then. 3rd Russian squad rushed through the field and pinned panzershreck and then moved again on CoC die and in the kept initiative phase killed 2 of the Pak gunners (2 + leader left). In return Pak rallied and put a hole in the T 34 smoking from the engine killing the driver and forcing bail out! 2:1.
Unpainted Pak 40 sadly falsify hypothesis that painted stuff always fight better..

Rule 1: Riding wall to wall is bad for business...

Because sooner than later you will have to dance..

It was time to took initiative for the Germans. German lieutenant rallied both panzershreck and first squad and managed to break second Soviet squad from the hill !! So they ended the turn again rallying two own units and routing Russian squad (Who now dropped to 3 Force morale).

Rule 2: Fear Pak on overwatch.. Well just always fear them..

Sneaky Shreck: The evill ogre !

Rule 3 : T 34 are not made for ballet !!
Outflanking Germans

Turn 3
Panzer shreck retreated to the supply point for new ammunition (each team carry only 3 rounds). And First grenadier squad from the hill now without any good targets (fresh soviet squad was invisible, and first one in the field pinned and hidden behind T 34) split and started to outflank!  
ult to that second team from the hill managed to kill leader from the squad in the field downing Russian morale to 1.
With One fresh squad, BA 64, lieutenant and fresh tank soviets managed to do one last surge (with only 2 command die its really hard to activate units). First it went well with squad retaking the barn and tank rushing forward and placing machinegun fire on the repair depot. But then bar rolls went, and Germans managed to roll Pak from the road to the depot. 

Two abandoned and one shot through T 34: Sad but very historically accurate sight..
 First shot put remaining T 34 to the death breaking Russians..

Sad day for Lieutenant Woroblov !
German Victory
Final morale 5 to 0..
Tanks killed 3 to 1 !!
Dead :
22 Russians – including 3 tankers.
11 Germans (including 3 AT gun crewman)

Despite the numbers it was close match.. Soviets were really close from breaking or/and killing Pzshreck team and eliminating the Pak, which would make a mirror scenario with Germans unable to command  freely.
So this easily could go other way and become Tiger cementary..

Tanks play very nice in Chain of Command. Few lessons learned :
Tanks are providing  great narratives.  Even better than infantry squads (In my situation.  Straight kills: one hit on kill scenarios are quite possible, especially with weaker tanks, but here anti tank guys had to ear their Iron crosses..)
 T 34s get damaged, crew killed, accumulate shock and then bail out – nice historical effect !
So tanks are telling good stories :)
Paks are deadly. I though that not easily moved unarmored AT gun will be toast.. But well protected and placed in good position it is hard to eliminate and quite deadly.

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