On the left flank, orders were handed down from Kapitan Koltjugin to his subordinate, the popular Leytenant Gapanovich. The platoon waited attentively in an cherry orchard, as everyone knew that the Germans were approaching from the south. "Carry out reconnaissance down the roads east of the railway. Overcome any enemy resistance and then report instantly back to me, and the rest of the company and armor will follow. Ponomarenko in his Broneavtomobil will follow you and take on any armor you encounter until the tanks move up".
Gapanovich had a quick chat with the smiling, black-leather clad figure of Ponomarenko. He knew Ponomarenko was a reckless driver with a crew that was well-oiled, both as a fighting machine and in their personal appearances. The harshness of war had yet not done anything to Ponomarenko's high spirits.
Men and machine went off down the yards between the southbound roads. The Broneavtomobil was taking the left-hand road and the men were climbing hedges and fences between the yards. The squads of Nemtsevitch and Melesjko covered each other as they moved forward, with Sezhant Tjikurin and his men with their home-made anti-tank device in reserve. Gapanovich swore over the fact that he had not gotten any more of the factory-new sub-maching guns that had arrived to the brigade a couple of days ago. As a factory worker supervisor he new good steel when he saw it.
All of a sudden Melesjenko's machinegunner opened fire to the right. If he did not mistake himself he saw two Fritzes, one with the chevrons of an NCO dissapering behind a corner when hit by the short burst of fire. This was a good start!
To get two kills, including an Junoíor Leader when firering six dice at veterans in hard cover at long (effective) range, is certainly good luck!
To the left Nemtsevitch's squad rushed to take up position in a house. Gapanovich went over to the road, yelling to Ponomarenko, who's head was looking up behind the turret hatches - "Grisha (Ponomarenkos first name was Grigory), into the yard, the Germans are in front of us. Kill them all!". The massive armored car worked up its speed and crushed the high fence separating the road from the yard. Gapanovich hoped his men was out of the way.
By now the Germans had showed up at the left flank as well, Ponomarenko's machine and the squads in the yards started to spray the German positions with fire. Then something hit the armored car with a bang: apparently an anti tank rifle had taken up position in a house at the far right, and was now engaging the Broneavtomobil. All guns blazing, the deployed squads and the armored car opened up on the anti-tank team, which disappeared under the hail of fire. The Leytenat took position in the house Nemtsevich's men just left, and then called up the remaining squad to make a flanking move to the right, now that the Fritzes were engaged frontally.
In the Broneavtomobil, the gunner Nosov reported to his commander - "Grisha, something hit the gun-sight, it´s damaged". Ponomarenko responded - "fire without it, set the gun on overwatch covering the yards. Sasha (who's birthname was Alexander Korol, and who was the bow machine-gunner), continue fire on the Fritzes".
A moment later something big and dark slowly emerged from behind the house were the anti-tank rifle had been. A German armored car, the size of a house! Nosov took aim and fired, but the shell hit the house corner in front of the car, a very close call. Nosov and his commander cursed simultaneously. The German car returned fire, missing its target as well. Nosov let off another round, but this also missed the taget. Nosov and his commander cursed yet again. Another set of shells hit their vehicle, in the front of the turret. Nosov was hit in his head and chest by rivets and splinters and collapsed in his position with a moan. There he blocked the gun, and his heavy body would not be easy to get out of the away.
As the battle would be a little one-sided without his main gun operational, Ponomarenko ordered Utkin, the driver, to reverse into the cover of the house so that they could get Nosov's limp limbs out of the way and continue the fight.
One of the things I like with CoC is that I think it has an entertaining level of detail without being too complex. Here the German antitank rifle hit the main gun sight. This gave further shots -1 to hit, and the free round I let off due to being on overwatch missed when I rolled 7 instead of 8 (on 2D6)! So even if I took out the anti-tank rifle, that engagement maybe made me loose the battle with the German armored car later on.
In the same moment an extremely unlucky burst of bullets hit Melesenko's squad, leaving five killed and wounded. They crept into cover behind the well on their yard to take care of the wounded and put themselves into order until the Broneavtomobil had sorted out the problem in front of them. Private Petrov took the orders to literally and took refuge inside the well.
Now Melesjenko's squad opted for a safer place, knowing that the cannon of the German armored car would be a tough match for their wooden shelter. They tried to follow Tjikurin's squad in their flank move, but were caught in the open by cannon and machine-gun fire and firmly pinned to the ground, losing even more men in the process.
The German armored car then turned its attention to the house where Gapanovich was positioned and showered it with cannon fire. Behind the unfortunate Leytenant a shell exploded close to a samovar and sent the tea-brewing device into his buttocks. Gapanovich did not feel the pain but fell paralyzed to the floor. He then screamed for assistance, and Nemtsevich showed up. Gapanovish had to give an direct order to have the devout communist initiate the retreat. He could have continued to give orders laying on the stomach at the floor, but with so many men killed, wounded or pinned down, and the Broneavtomobil withdrawing, he saw no other reasonable action than to break off.
The men carried their wounded comrades and commander away but were forced to leave the dead behind. Private Petrov, who was still hiding in the well, was later found by the Fritzes and captured, probably having an cruel fate bestowed upon him. Kapitan Koltjugin would not be pleased by the report.
This was a fun and action-packed game. We should really have more terrain in our yards - now everyone had hard cover (three light covers inbetween units counts as hard cover), and then the shooting began like an "stonewall vs. stonewall" type of game. The roads should maybe have some lower fences to more easily allow for flanking maneuvers as well.
WW2 Campaign Blog
This blog follows the second Chain of Command club campaign, set in the intense fighting over Stalino in October 1941.