POST WAR CHAIN OF COMMAND BATTLE REPORT – DOHRENHAUSEN 13 FEB 15

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On the 13th of February 6 of us met at the Kirriemuir Wargames Club to playtest the Post War version of Chain of Command, which is being developed with TooFatLardies.

The table was laid out as below:

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The left hand photo shows the layout from the British side and the right hand photo from the Soviet side. The line of trees across the Soviet baseline actually lines the edge of a road, so we allowed the Soviets to deploy vehicles anywhere along their table edge. The ground was all good going except the woods and cleared woodland in the middle, which were all Broken Ground. The hedges were all Medium Obstacles. This was taken just before I placed the brewed up T64 – the destruction of which set the battle in motion. The mat is by me, all the trees etc are by The Last Valley and are simply delightful, the roads (watch this space) are from Early War Miniatures and I have finally found the solution, at least for me, in terms of flexible roads – I’m really happy with them.

And we had a full, regular Soviet Motor Rifle Platoon in BMPs against 2 sections of elite British mechanised infantry, although the latter had wisely left their FV 432s back in a safe location!

We didn’t play the Patrol Phase at all – I simply positioned JOPs for both sides – this was because at this stage the Patrol Phase needs no testing as it has not altered from the core rules and because I wanted to press ahead and focus on the game play.

The Soviets went first and deployed a BMP on their left flank, one in the centre and a dismounted team on their right, pushed forward of the tree line and so a little exposed.

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The British countered by deploying a full section and opening fire on the dismounts. The latter were hard hit over a couple of phases, losing 50% of their manpower and the Platoon Sergeant with them went down stunned. Shock was mounting and, with their leader down, they could do little but hunker down and try to weather the storm. They took no further substantive part in the game. The Section’s Carl Gustav (Charlie G) had a pop at the BMP, but missed. It was actually quite a hard target – some distance away, not in clear view and a low profile vehicle. Here are the deployed Brits (figures from Elhiem – absolutely stunning! I’ll be writing more here on the figures shortly, but they really are amongst the best I have ever worked on).

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So, round one to the British and all going swimmingly well! Enter the BMP in the centre. It began to put down HE on the plucky Brits and wiped out the MG team before starting to pile the shock on the rifle group. This forced the British to withdraw deeper into the woods to escape the fire and bring on the Platoon Sergeant to do a bit of ‘encouraging!’. He also brought the light mortar with him (smoke only at this time) but a first round hit put smoke right  in front of the centre BMP and blocked all its useful vision!

Action remained in the centre. The centre BMP dismounted its team with the Platoon Commander and began to push forward. The right hand squad’s BMP also came on behind their dismounts to provide support. Worried about the open ground to their right, the second British section came on and deployed in an L shape – gun group covering forward and the rifle group, with the Charlie G, covering across the road to the right flank. The gun group began piling the shock on the Soviet Platoon Commander’s team, killing a couple and effectively halting their progress. But not without loss, with the Soviet right flank BMP using its HE to good effect, and the British Section Commander had to move a couple of chaps across to keep the gun group in action.

Action now switched to the Soviet left – a sound move. They had forced the British to deploy and then pushed them back. The Soviet left flank BMP now headed flat out for the hedgeline to their front and the British rifle group went on to ‘overwatch’. The BMP halted at the hedge to disgorge its dismounts, who took a position along the hedge, the BMP surviving a close miss from the Charlie G in the process.

But time was marching on and the Soviet commander knew it was now all or nothing. He ordered both the centre and left flank BMPs to advance as fast as possible and try to exit the table before the clock ran down to 0!

The central BMP accelerated down the road, slowing to pass the burning T64 and relying on speed to get past the Charlie G on overwatch and it sooooo nearly worked. First round missed, but the second flew true and the BMP lurched to a halt. Meanwhile, the Soviet left flank BMP also crossed the hedge and began to accelerate towards the table edge. The British Section Commander steadied his gunner’s nerves and BOOM!, the BMP exploded with another direct hit.

These 2 kills and especially the loss of the 2 section commanders in charge of the vehicles left Soviet Force Morale, despite the use of a Chain of Command Dice to avoid one test, crashing and with little time left, the Soviets conceded! Here’s the table at the end, on the left looking from the Soviet right flank (you can see the 2 dismounted teams and the BMP in the foreground). The second shows it from the Soviet left flank and you can clearly see the foremost burning BMP on the road and its colleague just across the hedge.

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So, the verdict on what was a playtest first and foremost – a great game! All the players enjoyed themselves, the game went to the wire having swung back and forth and the overall consensus was that the result was credible, that the rules had played out well and that they had been easy to grasp! There were a few issues that need tweaking and clarifying, but it was, overall, an extremely successful outing for the rules and real testimony to the robustness of Richard Clarke’s original work.

Monty the Desert Rat

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “POST WAR CHAIN OF COMMAND BATTLE REPORT – DOHRENHAUSEN 13 FEB 15

  1. Chris Burr

    How are you handling minimum ranges for wire guided missles. Especially for first generations ones like the Sagger, e.g. 500m according to wikipedia, it seems like the minimum range ends up being longer than a normal CoC table size with the normal CoC ground scale. I suspect that you need to look at using a significantly larger ground scale for post war CoC or else find some other way to handle this issue. Otherwise allowing AFV on table while preventing infantry from using their most effective AT weapons for the post war period is going to distort the role of AFV in combat.

    Chris

  2. morr2212@yahoo.co.uk

    Very good question. Changing the ground scale would just change the whole focus of the game and make it ‘I Ain’t Been Nuked Mum’ or something larger than that (another iron I have in the fire). So, we need to keep the ground scale if this is to be Post War CoC and focus on the infantry battle. So what’s the plan? Allow fire from off table. So you can pick your Sagger as a support option, deploy it off table covering specified arcs, and it can have a pop at any tank in those arcs. Is it immune? No, it best hit or the tank and all his mates will be able to fire back and neutralise him. Can he deploy to a flank – yes, that too. This is one area needing a good play test, but I think we have the basics.

    • Chris Burr

      You may need to add an option to fire at AFV before they appear on the table as well. In the game you played, if the British player had AFV reinforcements, The Soviet player shouldn’t be denied an option to stop them with the Saggers on the BMPs just becuase he chose to use the BMPs on table to engage on table British.

      This may be workable without changing the ground scale but sounds like it could get awfully complicated all too quickly. Maybe this period and locale doesn’t lend itself to the CoC scale and really does need to be played at the IABNM scale?

      Chris

      • morr2212@yahoo.co.uk

        Hi Chris,

        Not necessarily. Typical engagement ranges are less than 500m in West Germany so having your Sagger off table and engaging on table vehicles is looking at ranges in the 500-1000m bracket, which is about right for the area. If there is enemy armour off table and engaging on table, then the Sagger can shoot at it, but if it is on table, only when it appears. I do think this is fine given the scope for covered approaches. We tend to think of wide open spaces and engagement ranges in km but that just isn’t the case. Gulf War 1, however, is different in that respect.

        • Chris Burr

          Does the 500m engagement range hold for the North German plain? I know that’s where NATO expected to be the main axis of a major Soviet armoured thrust and was under the impression that engagement ranges were expected to be in excess of a 1000m where the NATO tanks and TOWs would have an advantage in accuracy and effect to offset superior Soviet numbers of AFVs. It’s been a while since I’ve really looked into NATO versus Warsaw Pact engagements but that’s what I recall.

          Chris

          • morr2212@yahoo.co.uk

            Hi Chris,

            Yes – Soviet analysis was 40% of engagements at less than 500m, 20% at 500-1000, 25% at 1000-2000 and 15% at 2000+. One of the reasons the Soviets never invested in making tank guns effective beyond about 1500m. This doesn’t take weather into account – fog occurs 1 morning of 3 in autumn/winter and the Soviets placed great emphasis on smoke. So I think we are right in the zone on a CoC sized table.

  3. Richard Naylor

    That looked like it all worked pretty well Richard and I agree with the off table deployment idea for the Saggers etc. I already do something similar with IABSM by allowing off table support from IS-2’s etc so I can still use the normal ground scale but not loose the historical long range engagement tactics. I’d be interested to know more about your “something larger than IABNM”.

    Cheers
    Richard N

    • morr2212@yahoo.co.uk

      “Something larger than IABNM” – all this research has really opened up questions on the ‘bigger picture’ so I’ve started looking at a brigade/divisional level set. I’m doing all the equipment research as is and quite a lot of the ORBAT stuff, seems a shame not to put it to another good use!

      • Richard Naylor

        If it helps I’d be interested in helping out on brigade/divisional level set. I presume you are thinking along the lines of a platoon being the smallest unit (like Modern Spearhead)?

        Cheers
        Richard N

        • morr2212@yahoo.co.uk

          Well volunteered! And thank you. As for smallest unit, as a commander you are taught to look 2 down (and 2 up!). Now that becomes complicated because we are probably looking at different levels for attackers (at least division) and defenders (at least brigade), so they would be looking at different things. Even if we take a brigade commander, he should be looking down to company level – fighting his battalions, but looking at companies. But then these companies are flexible beasts with attachments and detachments and then there are the specialist platoons. As you can probably tell, this is something I am still grappling with but, as the whole project matures, I will announce it here!

          • Richard Naylor

            No it’s not going to be an easy thing to do and it will need quite a bit of thought. Admittedly it’s given me a lot of headaches writing brigade and divisional organisations for various rules sets, you seem to loose important parts of units simply by scaling them and that really bugs me as they’re often quite important to how that unit operates.

          • morr2212@yahoo.co.uk

            No, easy it won’t be, but that’s the challenge. A British Mech Inf Bn with no Anti Tank platoon – nonsense. So it must be there, but how, when it could be deployed in sections, including out on its own. I have some thoughts but, at the moment, a WW2 Pint Sized Campaign is my priority with PW CoC a very close second. I need to be nailing those first!! I am, however, logging all this for when I do get a chance to focus on the ‘bigger picture’.

  4. This is very promising. I really need to get my US infantry painted in a hurry and give these a try.

    Will you post a painting guide for how you painted your British troops? That would be most helpful.

    • morr2212@yahoo.co.uk

      Will do – I’m planning on a couple of posts on the figures over the next week or two and I’ll make sure I include how I painted them as well.

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