Chain Of Command WW II Battle Report: Fury Of Wotan

Battle of the Farm.

France.

WW II .

German and British forces are skirmishing along the front lines, small patrols roam the countryside gathering on the ground intelligence. At the edge of a small forest is a farm at what could be a vital crossroad. A German infantry platoon is sent in to scout the area, knowing that British or American forces are probably also in the area.

German forces deploy from the forest and set up position behind a low stone wall, machine gun on the left to cover the open field, and the second section to the right ready to secure the farm house.

The British are out there, hidden and dug in for now.

Orders?

First squad into the house to set up a hard cover fire position, second squad to the left to set up a flanking position. Third squad and a mortar team remain hidden in the woods.

Move.

Contact!

British infantry start to advance, as hidden mortar teams start laying down smoke rounds before my advance.

Pausing for a moment, a little meta-gaming here…

In any wargame I try to put myself in the perspective of the commander on the table. Based on the narrative and the experience that they would have, how would they react? If *I* had experienced what they have, how would I react.

An avatar on the table.

Normally, following good German infantry doctrine, I set up my machine gun teams 1 or 3 MG 42s per squad and pour it on as the rest of squad with rifles advance. Add in a tank or two for support and we have a mix of defensive and offensive push.

As a scouting mission there is no armored support- beyond my squads I just have a mortar team (mission only has 2 support points, if I had 3 I would have done with a sniper team for sure).

The British have a special combat doctrine that allows them to fire smoke rounds obscuring line-of-sight, and for this patrol, as soon as they started firing away I could tell I was facing two mortar teams.

Dropping 2 smokes a turn, plus the dense terrain would mean my fire lanes with my machine gun teams would be cut down- if not impossible to set up.

So we are going to go mobile and hostile. Full advance with all three sections, two on the right and one up the center- full move through any smoke rounds, and get up point blank- right up against the fence at the road, with the British just across the road in the hedge-row.

Set up the machine gun teams and blaze away.

Two or three turns of crossing the field under fire.

Encourage the British to castle up.

A ton more mobile vs. how I normally play the Germans, but I HAVE to counter those smoke rounds.

Go!

Two British section and a mortar team just across the road, smoke rounds intensify as all three of my sections come under rifle and machine gun fire.

Keep moving!

Junior officers in each section and a senior officer taking as much shock off as they can.

We are at the fence at the road and the hedge row just across from the British. First two squads have taken a good amount of shock crossing the field under fire and moving quickly, but have only lost one rifleman.

Order issued to set up the machine guns and the rifleman lay down covering fire.

Literally point blank.

Another round of shooting from the British, some more shock, luckily no kills due to the cover, and I’m in position and set up, ready to give the order to fire, but then this song comes on as I’m literally getting ready to give the order in my head.

(For all our wargames, in this case Dave who is playing the British, we always have appropriate theme music playing to get pumped. WW II era music, movie music in the case of Chain of Command, 80′ future music for Battletech, etc.)

I can hear the influence of The Planets from Holst in this piece, specifically MARS at the start. It builds something in me, being sympathetic to classical music.

A brief thought flashes through my mind.

Must resist.

Don’t give up your tactical position.

I’ve made it this far sticking to a tactical plan, to set up my advantage as best that I can to sidestep the smoke rounds. I’ve got three full sections against two British sections.

Play it *smart*.

Senior commander on the table would give that order, but now I’ve got my experience and player personality to add into the mix.

A very foolish gambit, but given the battle music, is it a sign from the gods?

I can’t resist, one can FEEL it.

I am leading from the front, and will be leading from the front with my senior officer as an avatar on the table.

My turn on the command dice.

Stielhandgranate!

A few dozen grenades tossed over to the British…

…followed by a mass charge.

Damned music.

As soon as we cross into the road the British use a command die to interrupt and open fire literally catching me in the open, no matter, so many men surging forward can’t be stopped.

Up and over the hedges, three full sections charge into the British, who have the definitive advantage of cover and a better position.

Both British sections are wiped out, but my own losses are staggering at recklessly charging such a fortified position. Five infantry men survive, junior leaders killed, one injured, and my senior leader is injured.

German force moral is down to a “1” on the command chart and the third British section emerges from the woods pushing me all the way back, what is left of my platoon anyway, eventually breaking my morale and forcing the Germans off the table.

It was only supposed to be a scouting mission/patrol.

But given the opportunity, how could I face Wotan in Valhalla if I didn’t charge…

BIGGEST close combat in Chain of Command to date.