Copyright © 2022, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2022, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Cocking Up Mud & Blood

It's been a good few days since we played this game but a week past Sunday (Remembrance Sunday for my chums in the UK) Drew and Bruce joined me for a game of Chain of Command. We would be using my WWI collection of French & Germans from my earlier games with chum James. These have crossed the Atlantic with me and have languished in the boxes for six months.

I had bought all my terrain but not a cloth so I purchased a 'Partridge Brown' fleece from JoAnns in the Memorial Day sale and gave it a light dusting with some spray paints, it's not such a good match as my old cloth but looks rather better in the flesh than it does in these photos.

Drew arrived first and we had settled down to a beer when Bruce joined us, we rolled for a scenario and would be playing #4 'Attack & Defend' and after a little more randomisation decided Drew would be attacking with the French while Bruce would defend with the Bosche. I would try to ensure the game ran smoothly while keeping up a steady supply of beer and pretzels along with an interlude of tea and biscuits! 

The French would be using the standard 'Full Strength Platoon' but a lack of suitable models with VB launchers gave them another section with 8 riflemen. Drew spent his 15 points of support on a Bombardment with Feurwaltz and Gas, a FT-17 with MG (first time it's been out of the box since being painted), a Hotchkiss M1914 MMG, an Adjutant, two Snipers and two Trench Brooms. 

Monsieur Sniper

Bruce was using a standard Infantry Zug and spent his six points on a Maxim 08 MMG, an Adjutant, an extra Lewis Gun and an Anti-tank Rifle.

Force Morale went very asymmetrical, the French attackers would start on an 8 while the German defenders an 11, Drew would have his work cut out.

I ran the players through the Patrol Phase and both ended up with some good jump-off points, Drew well advanced on the German lines and Bruce ready to deploy his troops to stop them. The Patrol Phase can be difficult for new players but persevering at it and with a little guidance can give a great appetiser before the main course.

Under the cover of the bombardment the French began their advance, the FT-17 pushed up the centre while the main infantry attack comprising the Grenadier-Voltigeur from each Demi-Section advanced cautiously on the left.

The effect of the barrage was telling on the French and for the initial phases of the battle they were only able to counter with the MG-08 which although putting some suppression fire on the Grenadier-Voltigeurs was soon under the cosh itself from the telling shots of the two French snipers.

To preserve the now pinned MMG Bruce had to chance a Rifle Gruppe into that position to avoid losing his supports while Drew pushed on his attack on the left redeploying a jump-off point right behind his troops and within striking distance of the empty German trenches.

Bruce had been slowly collecting his Chain of Command points and now had enough for a Chain of Command dice with it's ability to end the turn, cancel the effects of the barrage and also remove the Tactical markers from the Grenadier-Voltigeurs closing on his position, well, it would be silly not to!

With the barrage lifted it was an easy matter of deploying the Light Machine-gun Gruppe into the position and open up on the advancing French, it was all so damned close and much damage ensued, The French Lieutenant rallied his troops summoned up the extra rifle-men at his disposal and under a flurry of grenades launched one of the Grenadier-Voltigeurs at the enemy position.

An almighty scrap ensued, with heavy casualties on both sides the initial round was a draw so the protagonists set to again, this time it was so bloody both sections were completely wiped out! The French and the Germans both lost four points each of Force Morale, but having only started on eight it was more telling for the Poilu.

Drew was now up against it with only four command dice but he still gamely pressed his attack but was unable to offer much support from the FT-17, Hotchkiss and snipers as all the points were used pressing the attack in the teeth of a stiffened German resistance.

Again the French managed to occupy a trench section before the Germans had scrambled into it and this final combat was to doom the French their Force Morale collapsed to zero and the Germans held on to the field, both sides had suffered enormous casualties!

Bruce, Drew and myself

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