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The Mosque at Al Jazirya – Chain of Command Game Five

I’ve been working on the Chain of Command campaign supplement today, only vaguely diverted by the arrival of some new toys from Perry Miniatures (lovely stuff) and the usual end of year accounts nonsense. One of the great bits of finalising a project is that there is always an excuse to have a quick game, ostensibly t test some bit of the rules or other, but really just to have a jolly time with one’s toys.

In my mind the fifth game in the current campaign was already won. The Jerries’ morale was at rock bottom, mine was sky high. My Colonel was looking after me with plenty of support being mad available, whereas the Hun were languishing under a dark cloud. What could go wrong? Especially as this was to be the flank attack scenario which was one I had played with some aplomb during the playtest of the main rules. I LOVE the patrol phase of the game and this is one of the most interesting configurations.

I set the table up with my new mosque in the German quarter of the table, as per the scenario instructions, along with the small spring which provides water for thirsty travellers and, for the moment, the damnable Boche! The I rolled for force morale. As predicted, mine was sky-high on 12. The Germans was the pits on 8. What was more, I could have support from list 11, Jerry only from list 4. Time, I felt, for an evil laugh.

I selected three carriers and my Daimler scout car (my Mark VIb tank arrived today, but I need to paint it first). The Hun selected a sniper and some entrenchments for one team. The we were off into the patrol phase. In keeping with the way things were going, I rolled for the maximum four “free moves” and set about cooking my German goose with some nimble footed out-manoeuvring. “What a smart arse” I hear you cry. And you’d be right.

2014-01-08 14.19.252014-01-08 14.22.322014-01-08 14.22.44
Being Mr Clever-clogs I rushed one of my groups of patrol markers round to outflank the Germans. They reacted by blocking my passage and locking down all of their patrol markers, leaving me in a less than ideal position on my right, and barely in town on my left! The Germans, however, had rather neatly seized the central defensive position and pushed out some jump-off points to screen my left.

This wasn’t a great start, but unperturbed I was determined to bounce these Germans out of their position.

In the first phase I deployed the entire carrier platoon, dropped some smoke down and then deployed a section of infantry.
2014-01-08 14.29.40
2014-01-08 14.29.36The Germans responded with some alacrity. Firstly they deployed a crowd of chaps on top of the mosque, one of whom promptly blew up a carrier with an AT rifle (a fluke shot) and then rifle squad put fire down on my section before they put a second section off towards my left, threatening my jump-off points in that area, and then a third squad on the roof of the small guesthouse which served for pilgrims.
2014-01-08 14.39.472014-01-08 14.40.012014-01-08 14.39.55Remarkably the Germans had pretty much deployed their whole team on turn one.

I responded with a double 6. I deployed a second rifle section and pushed forward my first section with Lieutenant Viljoen at their head.
2014-01-08 14.44.59In my next phase I fired both Bren teams and they charged forward with the two rifle teams.
2014-01-08 14.46.432014-01-08 14.46.50It was, of course, madness. You don’t charge an MG34 frontally and I lost four men dead with both Viljoen and Corporal Sewell being lightly wounded. Obergefreiter Mueller was knocked out, but his men kept fighting, whereas mine broke and ran back in disorder.
2014-01-08 14.56.012014-01-08 14.56.04My force morale was plummeting at this point whereas the Germans were taking heart from their success. In the next phase they shocked one of my carriers and pushed their third squad out to shut down one of my jump-off points. Fortunately they had almost no Chain of Command points at this stage.
2014-01-08 15.00.092014-01-08 15.03.38On my right I concentrated my firepower and, with Mueller down and out, I broke the morale of the Germans in the guesthouse and they routed back.
2014-01-08 15.07.35I also deployed the Daimler off on the left and they began engaging the Germans there.
2014-01-08 15.07.40Now I needed to get some order back into my attack. The Germans were using their sniper to rattle the crew of the Daimler. I deployed Harris and his section and they began moving round towards the rear of the mosque.
2014-01-08 15.11.24By now my force morale was such that I was reduced to three command dice as against the German four, so getting my men to make progress was hard work, but the reliable Harris pushed on.
2014-01-08 15.13.552014-01-08 15.20.21Despite my reduced command ability it was still going to be possible, I hoped, to break the German morale. However, at that point the German sniper broke the morale of the Daimler crew who reversed off the table and the Germans ended the turn with a Chain of Command dice, thereby removing one of my jump-off points and bringing my morale down to zero.
2014-01-08 15.22.03It was a humiliating disaster. But not exactly unpredictable. All the odds were in my favour, I had simply rushed my fences and come a cropper.
2014-01-08 15.22.542014-01-08 15.22.06What is worth mentioning is that before this game began both the Germans and British had elected to take their one lot of reinforcements for the campaign. What I wasn’t aware of was that the Germans had rolled rather well and were much restored from where they were. Having fought them out of their positions thus far I was convinced that with a rush and a good application of force I could bounce them out of this one. How wrong was!

The Germans did particularly well in this game only losing one man dead, whereas I lost four dead and three to significant injuries. This has rather changed the face of the campaign. More later on how we all stand with the CO, the men and our heroes’ self-perception.

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12 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:

    This is a good AAR. Did the game turn on you rushing the MG34 and losing the four men?

  2. Benito says:

    Very good action there!

    It’s funny what happened to your British patrol markers in this scenario because I’ve played three flank attack games so far, and it never worked the way I was expecting: the defender’s readtion ALWAYS is to rush forward to block his markers ASAP and there’s very little you can really do… not sure if there’s some sort of flaw design in this type of scenario, Richard

  3. Big Rich says:

    We’ve not had that problem. The issue in this game was that I pushed one group of patrol markers too aggressively and that left the second ground high and dry. Had I reversed that we’d have had a very different set up. The error was entirely mine. The important thing here is that the battlefield is chaotic as it is reflecting the breakthrough stage of the battle.

  4. Big Rich says:

    That didn’t help. That cost me three force morale points, but then I started with 12 so shouldn’t have been a problem. However, that left one of the Bren teams on its own in the open and that got shot to bits. What really did it for me was the persistency of the German AT rifle under the command of the Leutnant which killed one carrier and drove off the other and the German sniper who upset the Daimler crew so they left the table too. That said, there were plenty of things I could have done differently, but didn’t.

  5. Benito says:

    Why all my comments are deleted???

  6. James Manto says:

    Found this campaign to be a thrilling read with my breakfast cereal. Viljoen might have been better served taking a FOO and some extra rifle sections if he was going to storm some defended buildings.

    Really looking forward to the CoC Campaign supp. Saving my paypal pennies for it.

  7. Dutchy says:

    Enjoyed the reports. I thought the Germans were a bit too cautious in the opening games and then the British seemed to have a rush of blood to the head and whop, got chopped for it.

    Keep them coming please.

  8. John Kantor says:

    Overconfidence in troop quality at the expense of maneuver was the hallmark of both Waterloo and Gettysburg.

  9. Gary says:

    This is what i love so much about CoC. Take things easy and do it by the book and reap rewards. Rush things and pay for it bigtime. Just Brilliant!

  10. Tom says:

    Did you make the mosque too?

  11. Steve says:

    Love the table, I always assumed a sand table would be too heavy & how do you separate the rocks from the sand for the next setup & how are the contours maintained etc appreciate any links or short article on keeping a sand table

  12. Bill Burnside says:

    a rush of blood to the head then Rich ? charging a MG34 lol, someone’s looking for a V C, or that one way ticket home

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