This game saw the Soviets attack by throwing a quite fresh platoon against a rather battered German one. Both platoons started the game with -1 on the Morale roll, due to the soldiers sharing a low opinion of their commanders. This was an awesome game that was not decided until the last phase of around 50 played! We had the campaign's first "heavy" armor duel between a T-34 and a StuG III. The T-34 got the better of it with the use of a CoC die and a double phase.
The campaign ruleset for Chain of Command, At the Sharp End, tracks how appreciated (or reviled!) the platoon's officers are by the men. The men's opinion is affected by both securing victories and maintaining low casualty rates. Previous games had left both of these platoons with -1 on the roll to decide starting Morale.
Some cleverly placed mines made the Soviet advance perilous, and a Soviet rush for a Jump Off Point (JOP) was about to end in disaster when the Germans opened fire with double MGs. In the end, after much enjoyment, the battle ended in a draw. As an extra fun feature for the future of the campaign, the StuG III was left abandoned and immobilized on the field of battle. Since the game was a draw, we'll decide its destiny in the next game! Casualties were heavy on the Soviet side, and it is rumored that the men in Faadevich's platoon has started to call their leader "The Butcherer" when he is not around…
At each end of the road, a tense tank duel: Soviet T-34 vs. German StuG III. It was fun to see some armor manoeuvring and not just a shoot out from table edge to table edge. I think the Soviet player was anxious to ensure that his tank did not back out, like the BT-5 had done for him in the Turn 4 fight on the eastern column.
Sorry about the minefields, but ours were not finished yet during this game, so we went with paper. Anyhow, here you can see the Soviet attack, hampered by the minefields which have cut off the easy path for moving up a JOP within 12" from the German table edge. Soviets attack from the left of the picture and have managed to get a JOP quite far across the table (seen in the foreground in front of the T-34).
The closest Soviet squad can't get any further as there are no windows or doors on their side of the house in front of them, and they can't get around the far side of the house due to the minefield. The German StuG has deployed and the infantry decides to wait for their armored support.
The infantry battle is cautious on both sides. The T-34 rolls forward to take on the fight with the StuG that has complicated the Soviet advance.
With luck and daring the T-34 immobilise the StuG with one shot and makes their crew bail out with a second. The infantry squad tries to run for the German JOP in the house, but fails to get close enough to affect it. The Germans deploy a squad from the very JOP the Soviets tried to capture, and blast away with two MG 34s.
The Soviets try to save themselves by running forward and get out of the arc of fire from the front of the building. They are very close to get pinned here! The hunters are now the hunted.
The T-34 tries to save the remnants of the squad as more Germans have run to save the JOP at the corner of the house. Here you can se the difference between a 1:56 (T-34) and 1:48 (StuG III) vehicle. In my opinion the 1:48 is much better in scale with 28mm miniatures, I think it is due to the bulkiness of the miniatures.
The T-34 tried to smash the house (and the Germans in there), but got stuck in the process! The Germans evacuate towards the enemy, but at this point both sides has so low morale that neither is able to actually win.
This was a truly nerve-wrecking game which I appreciated despite only being a on-looker. It was also fun as the German player, who was beaten by the same Soviet player the game before, managed to both stop the Soviets and cause some heavy casualties in return. It is always great when a new player gets to grips with the rules and can give a more experienced one a bloody nose for the first time! Good for the campaign.
WW2 Campaign Blog
This blog follows the second Chain of Command club campaign, set in the intense fighting over Stalino in October 1941.