Tally Ho!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Chain of Command Eastern Front - final battle

As this is our last game before Christmas we decide this was a good point to complete the campaign by moving into the urban assault phase. So this week would see the Axis forces attacking into the ruins of the town held by the Russians. The terrain was a devastated town with a large factory at one end. So very close terrain indeed.

View from the eastern end, with the factory in the far distance

Another view from the same end

The front of the factory
Given the closeness of the terrain both sides loaded-up on infantry units and flamethrowers. For the first time in the campaign the Russians fielded an SMG platoon. Both sides focused on the eastern-end of the table and so the factory was largely ignored during the patrol phase. This ended with the Russians concentrated in the eastern end with the Axis in a shallow arc around them, controlling most of the table.

The action was concentrated around two parts of the table. The first was the western-most of the Russian jump-off points which was vulnerable to the Axis units deploying first and the second was an oil storage facility which the Russians chose as a strong point. Both sides deployed in reasonable force and began to fire away. 

Finns deploy to threaten the oil storge

The Russian defenders of the oil store

Russians occupy the roofs

Germans threatening the Russian jump-off point

At the oil storage depot the Russians fielded an SMG section supported by a flamethrower and senior leader. The Finns established base-of-fire and advanced with a second section supported by their own flamethrower. With the Russians out numbered 2-1, and under sniper fire, they eventually succumbed to the superior Finns and so lost control of the oil store. 

Finnish flamethrower torches the Russians 
Finns outflank the Russians

The Russian flamethrower opens-up

Finns capture the oil depot

At the western-most Russian jump-off point both sides built-up their forces seeing the tactical importance of the position. Initially the Russians again suffered from being out numbered and outshot, so they deployed a rifle squad to launch an assault.  Following some debate though this squad did not attack the well-emplaced Germans and instead took shelter in an near-by building. This left the Russians near the jump-off point exposed and so with grim inevitability they eventually routed away from the building. 

Russians on the defensive
Germans advancing
There then followed something of a cascade failure for the Russians - over the series of a couple of phases they lost a couple of squads, two jump-off points, and a senior leader. This was enough to cause them to rout, thus leaving the Axis forces in firm control of the factory area.

Finnish commanders moving forward 

Panzerscrekt covers the road

Russians lurking in the rubble

Reflections on the Campaign

This has been one of the longer campaigns we've fought recently, having played over about 4 months and 11 games.

I think we certainly took the hard road with the CoC game by pitting Russians against Elite Germans and Finns. The Germans especially are a tough-nut for the Russians having about twice the fire-power and half the chance of being hit. The reinforcements compensate to some extent but the simple measure of increasing the size of the Russian forces would have limited effect as they would be hard to motivate.

Lessons learnt:
1. Make the terrain much denser than you think it should be.
2. Make the Germans Regular to make them a bit less awesome.
3. Add an additional senior officer for the Russians so they can use their large force.
4. Go for lots of infantry if you are Russian - they have the same firepower as most support options (e.g. maxims) but are a lot tougher to kill.
5.  Remove the Finns "I win button" patrol-phase special rule.
6. Learn the patrol-phase tactics - its the killer bit
7. Do nt deploy too early - troops off table are safe and can threaten several areas at once.
8. Do ambush, especially with flamethrowers!         

The final count was I think 8-3 to the Axis, with the Russians doing best when the Germans had limited time to capture an objective.

Our next campaign is Dacian Wars but we will return to 28mm WWII next year, possibly with different rules. It does look really nice after all!

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