Copyright © 2020, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2020, 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.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Chain of Command: Espana at Rockcon 2017

Saturday I travelled down to northern Illinois to 'Spread the Lard' at the Rockcon event. Originally a few of us had booked a table for the day so that we could play a large WWII Ostfront game, but our numbers dwindled so much that by Friday there was only myself left in the team!

So, as I only have a small amount of WWII Eastern Front stuff, I let the organisers know that I'd still be running Chain of Command, but would be coming on my own with the Spanish Civil War collection instead.

Arriving just after eight I soon had the table set up and the forces laid out ready, I had four sign-ups, but in the end only two players Mike and Scott showed up, but then another chap Doug asked if he could join in too so I was soon up to four players with myself. Doug and Scott played the Nationalists while Mike and I the Republicans.

I kept the forces pretty simple, each player had a Regular rated platoon comprising a Tenente (Snr Ldr), Sergento Pimero (Snr Ldr), then two sections each of Sergento (Jnr Ldr) one LMG team of 5 men and two rifle teams of six men. Everybody started on Force Morale 9.

The mission was a simple patrol action and we played out the Patrol Phase to give the players an idea of what happens. We were soon in action and on our right Mike with International Brigade was taking on Scott with La Legion while myself with another platoon of International Brigade was taking on Doug with the Regulares.

The main action between Scott and Mike came down to a brisk firefight with La Legion deployed along a wood edge, supported by a 70mm mountain gun pitted against the Internationales in the walled garden of the taberna. Despite the hard cover and a T-26 being rushed up into support the fire of the Foreign Legion was telling and soon both the Internationales Tenente and Sergento were down and the shock was piling up.

On my flank the Nationalists supported their attack with a Bilbao armoured car and several rounds from my own 75mm gun ricocheted off it with little effect, either our ammunition was sabotaged, or that Bilbao was more armoured than they could have imagined!

Eventually, after some desultory shooting, the Regulares and Internationales came to blows in a brisk bayonet fight in the orchard on our left flank, both sides were sorely beaten up, but the Nationalists carried the day.

I sorted out the table for the next game and grabbed a quick beer and a burger ready for the afternoons game.

This time I had seven sign-ups - for only six spaces - with drop-outs and replacements I'd got six players, this was good as it meant that I did not have to play and could concentrate on running the game.

Following the mornings game I reorganised the forces a little, now each force would comprise a Tenente (Snr Ldr) and three sections each of a Sergento (Jnr Ldr) and two teams of five or six riflemen, one rifle team in the platoon would be armed with an LMG.

My nationalist players would be Terry with the Regulares, Rick with the Falange and Ron with La Legion while Tim, Mike and Joe were my Republicans each fielding a platoon of International Brigade. Although this time I had preset  two jump-off points per player I did have my players roll for Force Morale and we had a spread of between eight and ten. For for support each side was allocated one armoured car, one heavy machine-gun and one eight inch section of heavy cover barricades allocated on a roll of a die.

None of my players had played Chain of Command before, but after a few initial turns of coaching were soon picking up some of the nuances of the game and we were able to get a good three hours of play out of the game. As seems to be usual the casualties among the Republican leaders seemed to be key to the game and their Force Morale was taking quite a hit!.

In one memorable event, a section of International Brigade who were moving to outflank the Nationalist machine-gun were caught in the open by some crushing fire from the Regulares, with a load of shock on them and leaderless they were struggling to extricate themselves. This was compounded when a section of Regulares launched a bayonet charge against them. The result was devastating, with about twenty dice the Regulares had not thrown a single five or six and were repulsed with heavy casualties by the stunned Brigadiers - that was certainly against all the odds!

This was a small victory for the Republicans though and eventually their Force Morale collapsed and the field was left to the Nationalists for the second time that day.

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