Sunday, January 13, 2019

Airborne vs Fallschirmjäger (Normandy) CoC

The battlefield
Nick and I played another excellent game of Chain of Command set in my favorite backdrop Normandy. In this battle an elite force of Airborne comes to grip with some tenacious Fallscjirmjäger in a real clash of arms. Since this was set in Normandy Nick decided to field a regular instead of elite Fallschirmjäger force to take in account the attrition of the veterans replaced with less experienced recruits. Nonetheless the Fallschrimjäger proved to be still formidable and stubborn.

We played the "Swift to Support" scenario from the 1940 handbook, but used it in an 1944 setting with the Airborne as the attacker and Fallschirmjäger as the defender. I played the Airborne and Nick the Fallschirmjäger. Both have equal support points. The defenders mission was to hold out as long as possible until reinforcements arrive with the result that his support options arrive at the end of a turn which in CoC can take a bit as the defender needs to either build up a chain of command dice or either player roll 3 sixes in a phase to end a turn for this to happen. Victory conditions are the attacker must break the morale of the defender or capture all his Jump off points and/or the defender can likewise break the attackers morale and hold on to at least one of his jump off points.

The forces we took were:

1 Lt. armed with smg
1 Plt. Sgt. armed with smg
2 man Bazooka Team
3 Squads each consisting of of one Sargeant, light machine gun team with 3 crew and an 8 paratrooper team armed with M1 Garands
1 60mm Mortar team with 5 man crew
2 Medical Orderlies
M8 Armoured Car with Junior Leader
M4 Sherman 76mm with Junior Leader

1 Leutnant with machine pistol
1 unteroffizier with machine pistol
 Panzerschreck Team and 2 crew
3 Squads each consisting of Obergefreiter with machine pistol and 2 Panzerfausts distributed in the squad, light machine gun team with 2 crew and 2 riflemen and another light machine gun team with 2 crew and 2 riflemen plus a machine pistol
Panzershreck and 2 crew
Tripod mounted MG42 and 5 crew
Beute M8(captured M8)
Regular Heer Squad consisting of Obergefreiter with machine pistol and Panzerfaust for the squad, light machine gun team with 2 crew and a rifleman plus a rifle team with 6 riflemen.
1 Medic
1 5cm Mortar with 2 crew

Key points of reference

Point of references with top being North and bottom the South.

1.Ruined Church
2.West Woods
3.Ruined Farmhouse
4. East Woods
5.Cafe de Normandy
7.North Woods
8. South Woods

Opening phases I bring on a squad of Airborne south the East Woods and begin moving towards the Cafe de Normandy which at this point a squad of Fallschirmjägers take up position in the West Woods and begin exchanging fire with the Airborne moving south.

Airborne advance up the road attempting to outflank the FJ's
I now decided to bring on another squad of Airborne and a Sherman to begin the push to roll up the Fallschirmjägers before they could get their support on the table. Nick deployed his unteroffizier to further stiffen the resolve of what now was looking to be a tight situation for the FJ's in the woods.

Sherman on the way!

After a refreshing drink in the Cafe de Normandy the Airborne come outside to continue the attack.
FJ's deplying into the West Woods

And engage with the Airborne advancing along the road

The heat begins to pile on

I now deployed my 3rd Airborne squad forward of the ruined church and engaged the beleaguered FJ's .The combination of 3 Airborne squads and a Sherman all concentrating their fire on the FJ's in the West Woods was too much and broke the squad sending it reeling back towards it's lines. Good times!

Too much and the shredded FJ squad breaks and runs for the rear
After taking more hits adding which added additional shock to the fleeing FJ's from 8 up to 11 making rallying even more difficult with just 3 men. It was at this point Nick rolled 3 sixes ending the turn at the end of the phase which was bad luck for the fleeing FJ squad who would be removed if they  couldn't rally at the end of the phase. Seeing the writing on the wall the unteroffizier went into the ruins thus removing himself from the fleeing squad who had no hope of rallying saving himself from being swept off the field. Both of us started the game at 11 morale but with FJ's west wood squads Obergefreiter wounded plus both him and his squad broken and routed dropped the force morale of the Germans to a 7! Fist pump time for the Americans!  However, the silver lining for Nick was he could now bring on his full force as the turn ended. Oh Oh....

A second FJ squad deploys into the Farmhouse ruins throwing lead into the Airborne near the cafe
FJ mortars lobbing rounds
Nick with a smile popped up a second squad of FJ's who began to engage the Airborne squad outside the Cafe de Normandy plus a 5cm mortar lobbing shells to make things even more uncomfortable. If anyone gets a chance to feel a FJ squad unloading with 2 LMG's will make one seek cover ASAP!

Realizing his forward jump off marker was in danger of being over run Nick decided to first deploy his Heer Infantry squad in the deep part of the West Woods so as not to be targeted and used a chain of command dice to move his jump off marker to the rear of his Heer squad a full 18 inches. Darn!

I now thought it would be a good idea to advance my Airborne squad coming from the ruined church to engage the Heer squad before they could react until......

Alright gentlemen lets doubletime across this field while it's open....oh wait what's that!
Nick thought it was an even better idea to deploy his fixed MG42 catching me in the open!! Fortunately his gunner forgot to wear his glasses  and missed almost every shot.:-) I replied in kind killing off a crew member and adding a shock! However, Nick wasn't done and on his next phase decided to assault my Airborne with his Heer squad which I didn't mind as Airborne are excellent in close assault. Using the Handgranaten rule he hit me 3 times resulting in 6 hits killing 2 and adding 2 shock! What the heck! and then proceeded to beat me in close combat where I still stubbornly stayed for a round but in a second round of combat caused me to rout with just my wounded sergeant and Lmg gunner left! Que morale dropping from an 11 to 8 for me! However it wasn't painless for Nick and he lost a Heer team halving his squad and dropping his morale to a 6.

Heer infantry arrive to check the Airborne 3rd squad advance
Seeing things going downhill on my right flank I began moving my 2nd Airborne squad located on the road into the field close to the west woods and used my other squad by the Cafe, plus the Plt. Sergeant, Bazooka,  Sherman and a newly deployed Mortar team to keep the pressure on the FJ's in the ruined farmhouse.

Airborne crossing the field
Nick now decided to deploy his Leutnant to rally off the shock on his fixed MG42 and finish off the 3rd Airborne squad with it. It was at this time I decided to play one of the Chain of Command dice I had been hoarding and used it to run the remnants of the squad behind the church depriving him of the easy kill. Nick's expression was priceless! :-)

Fire on the Americans!

What Americans sir!
On my turn I continued to advance my second squad across the field just behind the west woods firing on to Nicks depleted Heer squad. Just as Nick was getting ready to run with his Heer squad I played my second Chain of Command dice and mowed down what was left of the Heer squad drooping the FJ's morale down to a 4!

I felt it was also a good time to bring on my M8 before he missed out and add pressure to the FJ's in the ruined farmhouse. Feeling happy about myself I decided I would be bold and run my Sherman down the road and attempt an outflanking maneuver of the farmhouse whereby Nick gleefully popped up one of his Panzershreck teams in the flank of the Sherman. I couldn't even finish "Oh sh....." before my poor Sherman was up in smoke belching flames high into the air! Time for the Airborne morale to drop from a healthy 8 to a 6.... I'm ahead, but I know how fast that can drop so all that over confidence is gone. Well mostly anyways.

Nasty surprise for my Sherman!
Things were getting tight now and while I had the advantage in morale all my forces were committed and while Nick was down to 4 morale which would cause him to lose a command dice he still had very dangerous reinforcements he could spring on me at the right moment and end my day in a hurry.

Rolling my command dice I rolled a double 6! Yes! I used my second Airborne second now by the west woods to engage the MG42 with attached Leutnant and piled the lead on causing it to break taking the Lt for a ride. Since it was a support no morale loss. The rest of my troops concentrated fire on the Panzerschrek destroying it and dropping the FJ's morale to a 3. On my second phase of the double phase the airborne again engaged the fleeing MG 42 and Leutnant  and destroyed it and killed the Leutnant as well thus dropping the FJ's morale to zero! Victory!

Fleeing MG42 and Leutnant
Leutnant is removed followed soon by the MG42
As always it was great playing a game with Nick as we both like good humor and fun banter while we play. I think this was probably our best game of CoC which is saying something as they all have been great because we are both more familiar with the rules and tactics of both the game and the forces we play. Even though the score would suggest a comfortable win for me it was anything but that and if Nick had a chance to deploy some of his reserves it could have been very different result. Well I'm really looking forward to our next game of CoC!