Right then, I said I have not gone quietly in to the good night, so here I am back again and alive and kicking with another battle report. As usual, I like to delve in to the game system I am playing and give it a good testing, while showing you all the ins and outs of it so you can make up your mind if it is for you or not.
Here I am trying out Chain of Command by Too Fat Lardies. This is a a platoon level World War Two Wargame and – as I still haven’t moved – I’ll be playing the game on Roll20. This is a great tabletop system online and if anyone wants to try the scenario out as a 2 player game, send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll play it on Roll20 over skype (you’ll need to create an account there first).
Right then, before we get in to the system, lets have a look at the game we are going to play.
The Assault on Cemetery Hill – 20 May 1941, 07:55 hrs
This scenario is taken from The Skirmish Elite book: Crete: Stalemate in the East. It deals with the landing of III Battalion , 3rd Fallschimjäger regiment east and notheast of the village of Galatas to capture a tented camp that was supposed to contain Italian POWs. The landing was badly executed and the troops were scattered. Worse, the “tented camp” turned out to be the New Zealand 7th General Hospital.
The 9th Company, who we are playing elements of in this scenario, landed on top of the 6th Greek Regiment’s HQ and on elements of the New Zealand 19th Infantry Battalion. While those landing in the 19th Battalion’s area were generally wiped out immediately, those Fallschirmjäger elements that landed near the poorly equipped Greeks had more of a chance.
In this mission, my German paras land in the thick of things and must battle to capture Cemetery Hill from the Greeks. I have 10 turns to complete this.
The graveyard is surrounded by head-height walls that have numerous firing holes dug in them, while the stone chapel with it is just a single storey building. The olive groves are light woods and as such are classed as Broken Ground. The scrub areas provide light cover, while the rocky outcrops provide hard cover. The gully is chest deep, essentially functioning as a giant trench.
There are hills, with the Germans landing in a valley. I have marked the elevation levels on the map in red. They don’t affect movement, but will be important for line of sight.
Order of Battle
Now that we have the terrain laid out, let’s look at the order of battle for both sides. The scenario as published has core forces for both sides, with a variable attachment to offer re-playability. The variable attachment is determined with a roll of a d20. I have listed the forces below, along with a note on who the variable attachment is (just so you can follow the force generation).
- Platoon HQ: 1 Senior Leader (Leutnant with MP38), 1 Senior Leader (Unteroffizier with MP38), 2 Jagers with Kar 98k
- Rifle Squad 1: 1 Junior Leader (Obergefreiter with MP38), 1 MG 34 team (MG34, 2 assistants with MP 38, 2 Jagers with Kar98k), 1 Rifle team (5 Jagers with Kar98k, 1 Jager with MP38)
- Rifle Squad 2: 1 Junior Leader (Obergefreiter with MP38), 1 MG 34 team (MG34, 2 assistants with MP 38, 2 Jagers with Kar98k), 1 Rifle team (5 Jagers with Kar98k, 1 Jager with MP38)
- Sniper: Lone sniper with Kar98k and scope
- Company Mortar Team: 5cm Mortar crewed by two men (Minimum range 12″. No smoke rounds.)
- MMG Team: Tripod mounted MG-34 with 5 crew (VARIABLE ATTACHMENT)
The German Fallschirmjäger are classed as elite, aggressive troops, and have 6 command dice.
Force Morale: 11 (roll of 6 on d6, plus 2 for being elite = 8. Result => 6 = 11 morale)
Greek and New Zealand Forces
- Greek Platoon HQ: 1 Senior Leader (Lieutenant with Mk1 Rifle), 2 Riflemen with Mk1 Rifle
- Greek Rifle Squad: 1 Junior Leader (Corporal with Mk1 Rifle), 7 Riflemen with Mk1 Rifle
- Greek Battalion Staff: 1 Ranking Officer (Major with revolver), 1 Senior Leader (Sergeant-Major with revolver), 5 Riflemen with Mk1 Rifle
- Greek Bren Team: Bren and 2 assistants with Mk1 rifles
- New Zealand Rifle Squad: 1 Junior Leader (Corporal with Mk 1 Rifle), Bren Team (Bren and 2 assistants), Rifle Team (4 riflemen with Mk1 Rifles)
- New Zealand Mortar: 2-in mortar crewed by 2 men (Enters on Turn 4. Minimum range 12″. Has 6 rounds of HE, the rest being smoke. VARIABLE ATTACHMENT)
All Greek Troops are green, while the New Zealanders are regular. New Zealand units may NOT move north of the gully during the scenario. The Greeks have limited ammo. A triple “1” rolled when firing results in that team or squad being out of ammo. The Allies have 5 command dice.
The Allied troops may begin the game in foxholes, although these may not be dug on roads.
Force Morale: 9 (roll of 5 on d6, minus 2 for being majority green troops = 3. Result of 3 or 4 = 9 morale).
The Patrol Phase
Chain of Command does deployment a little differently from most. Rather than having set deployment areas, the game begins with a patrol phase. Here you move patrol markers to gain ground and determine “jump off points” that are essentially safe areas you can deploy to. This is a great way to determine who starts where, and shutting these down becomes a secondary objective when playing (as losing jump off points will damage your force morals and severely limit your ability to bring in troops to the fight).
Now right off the bat we hit our first snag. Chain of Command does not have paratrooper landing rules, so I am going to wing some based on what happened back on 20 May 1941. Perhaps not an ideal situation as I am not familiar with the Chain of Command Rules, but I have been wargaming long enough to figure it out. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll soon find out as we play.
These represent areas that the enemy has secured enough to feed troops in to battle. They also represent areas of enemy activity.
With that in mind (and after reviewing the different scenarios in the Chain of Command rulebook to see how the patrol phase is conducted for attackers and defenders in various situations) I cam up with the following:
- The Germans receive 3 patrol markers which begin in a single pile on their landing zone point. When the patrol phase is over they will place 2 jump off points from these, and a third directly on their landing point. That reflects the disorganisation of the jump and the Germans struggling to grab ground as they land.
- The Greek and New Zealand Forces receive 3 patrol markers each. The Greeks all begin in the walled cemetery in a single pile. The New Zealanders begin on the eastern two feet of the southern table edge. The New Zealander patrol markers must be placed 6″ apart. From these 6, the Allies will place 3 jump off markers, with another being located in the walled cemetery.
- The Germans will not gain any bonus moves. They are conducting a landing under fire and, although an attacker will normally gain a couple of bonus moves on a defender, I have made the set up a little difficult for everyone representing a hasty attack and defence.
Here is the beginning of the patrol phase:
The Germans have the highest force morale and so get to move a patrol marker first. I am playing this game solo and I desperately want to take that walled cemetery as quickly as possible. I need to secure the rock outcrop north of my deployment zone and the large olive grove on the right flank. Those will be my main objectives for jump off points.
So I move a patrol marker 12″ northwards, ignoring terrain. The Greeks move theirs southwards and our patrol markers come within 12″ of each other, locking them in place. when one side has all their patrol markers locked down, the patrol phase ends. My marker reached the northern tip of the olive woods and I’m hoping this will let me assault the cemetery quickly. So far so good.
The Germans move another patrol marker out, heading north. I want to veer left to the big olive grove on the right flank, but you must maintain a distance of not more than 12″ between your patrol markers. The Greeks move another out of the walled cemetery, hoping to shut down German deployment.
I move another patrol marker in support of my flanking move (to enable me to extend my chain of markers). The Greeks move out another marker to do the same. The Germans move again, entering that right flank woods.
Here you can see what I am trying to achieve. I want to hem in the Greeks, while distancing myself from the New Zealanders. As the New Zealanders have not yet moved, they will be slower to deploy. The Allies will need to give up the wood and get the Kiwis in to play. So they make a move with the centre-most New Zealand patrol marker, moving it 12″ north. The Greeks could have moved their middle marker within 12″ of both German markers. That would have locked both the German markers in place and ended the patrol phase. However, doing so would have probably given the Germans an advantage as the New Zealanders would still be on the baseline.
I move the central German marker up where it can support the flanking move, allowing me to extend the chain further. The New Zealanders move up a second patrol marker. I use that time to push further in to the right flank olive grove. The Greeks respond by shutting down one of my markers. I then move my last marker to lock up the Greek ones, ending the patrol phase.
The situation is as follows:
We now have to see where the jump off markers can be placed. To do this we must create the deployment zones of these jump off markers. This is done by tracing bisecting lines from the closest two enemy patrol markers and finding a spot in cover 6″ or more back from your own marker. Failing that you must deploy on the table edge.
An example of tracing the deployment zone of jump off markers is as follows:
With all the jump off markers deployed the map looks like this:
This gives the Germans a scattered deployment, gives the New Zealanders the south eastern corner and the Greeks the area around the cemetery. In that respect it closely duplicates the standard deployment of the scenario as written. However, the patrol phase adds a really interesting tactical element. It has you thinking carefully about deployment and how to grab the terrain you want. I think it’s excellent.
As regards my ad-hoc rules, I think they have worked out OK so far. For variety you could give the Germans a free move or two, although in this case you might want to start the New Zealanders 6″ in from their base edge. You might also want to give the Greeks a more spread out deployment.
Right then, let’s get on with the game.
Now we reach our next problem. The German paratroopers jumped armed only with pistols and hand grenades. Their main weapons were in containers that parachuted with them. Lots of fallschirmjäger were shot as they scrambled to get their weapons. How do we model this?
Well I came up a solution I think is balanced.
a) Upon activating an un-deployed team or a squad you may choose to either deploy them or equip them. If you choose to deploy them, the deploy without their weapons. If you choose to equip them they may deploy in a subsequent phase fully equipped. Alternatively you may may deploy and equip them in the same phase. To do this roll 1d6 and apply the result:
- Suffer 2 men dead and 2 points of shock. The team or squad gains its weapons.
- Suffer 1 man dead and 2 points of shock. the team or squad gains its weapons.
- Suffer 2 points of shock. The team or squad gains its weapons.
- Suffer 1 point of shock. The team or squad gains its weapons.
- The team or squad gains its weapons.
- The team or squad gains its weapons.
This method allows you to trade time for safety. As the scenario has a time limit, carefully equipping your squads could cause you to lose the game. It also saves tracking weapon containers and allows you to get on with the game.
Right then let’s kick off the action.
Turn 1 Phase 1 – German Command Dice: 4 / 2/ 4/ 5 / 4 / 1
Well that “5” adds one to our command dice total. These allow you to perform cool actions that represent you grasping critical moments during the battle. You need to accumulate 6 points to get a command dice. But one is better than none. I mark the point with a red dice on the side of the game board.
Now what to deploy…
Using the “1” I activate the MMG team and equip them. Using the two “4”s I activate both senior leaders and equip them. Using the “2” I activate the squad one and equip them.
So the following are equipped:
- Platoon HQ
- Rifle Squad 1
- MMG Team
Turn 1 Phase 2 – Allied Command Dice: 4 / 4 /2 / 5 / 4
So the Allies also earn a point towards a command dice. I track it with a big blue dice.
The New Zealanders will deploy a rifle squad in the rocks, ready to cover any German units. By bringing this unit in to the game early, they can begin to provide a base of fire to support the Greeks. It will also give the Germans something else to think about. The New Zealanders don’t have a senior leader off table so they must dice for deployment. They roll a “4” and can deploy normally.
While the squad cannot move when it deploys, it can deploy within 6″ of a jump off point (as it is a regular squad).
Turn 1 Phase 3 – German Command Dice: 4 / 3/ 6/ 3 /3 / 2
Well, no command points. I use one “3” to activate squad 2 and equip them. I could really do with some “1”s but they are not coming. So I’ll use another “3” to deploy the equipped squad 1. As they are elite they can deploy within 9″ of the jump off point. I deploy them in the olive grove facing the cemetery. With a second squad or an MMG there I can make an assault on that position. As this will be the pivot of my attack, I also deploy the Unteroffizier (Senior Leader) there. That will allow me more control over my troops. I have everyone go tactical when they deploy. this means they hug the ground, increasing their cover level from light to hard cover. That will make them hard to hit!
I have marked junior leaders with a green dot and senior ones with purple to distinguish them.
Turn 1 Phase 4 – Allied Command Dice: 5 / 4/ 3 / 2 / 5
Chalk up two more command points for the Allies and their tally increases to 3. They’ll use the “2” to move the New Zealand squad up further. They move normally, using 26d of movement, but these rocky outcrops are heavy going, subtracting 1 off each dice. they want to reach the northernmost line of rocks and take cover there. They roll 6 + 5 for movement, giving a total of 11. But because of the heavy going, this is reduced to 9″. The team get in to cover behind the rocks.
The Greeks then use the “3” too deploy their rifle team in the cemetery. As they are green troops they must deploy within 4″ of the jump off point. Some of them do not make it to the wall. They cannot yet seen the German paratroopers in the olive groves (line of sight passes 6″ through the olive groves) and the trees in front of them are blocking most of them.
Finally, the Greeks also deploy their platoon HQ using a “4”. They still have the major off table directing deployment, so they won’t have to worry about their teams not deploying.
Turn 1 Phase 5 – German Command Dice: 2 / 3/ 2/ 1 /1 / 3
Well now we have some 1s. But now I have some difficult decisions. Do I deploy the MMG to deal with the New Zealanders? Do I deploy it to assist my attack? Do I instead equip my sniper and my mortar?
I decide to deploy the MMG with a “1” and to equip the mortar team. Why? Because the New Zealanders have line of sight to the open ground I must cross to reach the cemetery. I don’t want them ambushing me or cutting me down when I do as it could take the power out of my attack.
The MMG team are allowed to open fire when they are deployed and do just that. The MMG fires with 10 dice and we are firing at regular troops at close range. So we hit on a 4, 5, or 6. We score 6 hits. We know roll for effect. As the NZ troops are in hard cover behind those rocks, we hit score a point of shock on a 5, and kill on a 6. We score a single kill. Not bad. We’ll keep plugging away at them. I check if the junior leader is the casualty (one man was killed so he becomes a casualty on a roll of “1”). He doesn’t which is good for the New Zealanders as it would limit their activation options if he was killed.
I use a “3” to deploy second squad in the southern olive grove so I can attack the cemetery from two fronts. I use the other “3” to move first squad tactically, rolling a 4 for movement and spreading them out in to a firing line. I combine the two “2”s to make a “4” and activate my senior leader who moves up tactically with Squad 1’s LMG team.
I now have most of my men in place for an assault. I’d like to get squad 2 in to a better position and will focus on that.
Let’s see what the battlefield looks like:
What I want to do is have the MMG continue to suppress the NZ troops, while the two Fallschirmjäger squads rush the cemetery and seize it. However, that really depends on how I manage to use my command dice. I would also like to get the MG34 teams on to overwatch and I am concerned about getting jumped by the Greek Bren team.
We shall see how it pans out.
Turn 1 Phase 6 – Allied Command Dice: 3 / 5/ 6 / 5 / 3
The Allies have two “3”s to use to activate their troops. They also gain two points towards a Chain of Command dice, so I advance their count to 5. One more point and they get a dice.
They need to get their Bren team on the board but that won’t happen unless they roll a “1”.
Using the first “3” they activate the Junior Leader leading the Greek rifle team in the cemetery. A Junior Leader, when activated, has two command points that can be used to activate his own squad, or individual teams. He could split the Greek squad in to two teams, but given that they are likely to come under a hail of German fire soon, it is probably not a good idea to do so.
However, what he can do is activate the lone rifleman standing in the back rank and move him up to the firing ports. That uses one command point. While that rifleman won’t be able to fire (he moved and counts as activated), next phase he will be able to add in his fire. He rolls a 3 for movement on 2d6 and just gets in to place
They Greeks thus have 6 riflemen who can fire (the junior leader cannot as he is behind is men and the rules do not permit firing from figures behind other models where there is not a 2″ gap between figures for that figure to shoot through – and if you think this rule is odd, I have had an idiot fire a Lee Enfield right next to my ear and I can say it left me half deaf and stunned. The guy did apologise but that didn’t stop me clubbing him with the Lee Enfield I was holding. Suffice to say things degenerated rapidly from there). Anyway back to the shooting. The Greeks roll 6 dice (one for each rifle). They hit on a 5 or 6 (firing at elite troops at close range), getting a single hit. Rolling for effect the German troops count as being in heavy cover (they are in light cover, but are tactical which increases it to light), so receive a point of shock on a 5 and suffer a casualty on a 6. The Greeks roll a 3 and there is no effect.
The New Zealand junior leader activates with the other 3 and turns his squad on the German MMG that just claimed one of his men. He has four riflemen (including himself) and a Bren team, so a total of 10 dice. The rifles are just in close range and so hit on a 5 or 6. The Bren is at effective range (it is 21″ away) and so requires a 6 to hit. The rifles miss entirely, but the Bren scores two hits. Rolling for effect we got “no effect” on both hits.
Things could get ugly if the Germans get a good command dice roll.
Turn 1 Phase 7 – German Command Dice: 4 / 4/ 6/ 3 /4 / 5
Well that’s not good! I can’t bring on my sniper or my mortar, and I won’t be able to use my MMG. Of course, there is a fix. I could bring on my Leutnant using a “4” and then activate the MMG. It means my mortar and sniper will struggle to come on, but at this point I think I have the upper hand and don’t want to let go of the initiative. A couple of lucky rolls could see me decimate the New Zealanders and the Greeks and capture that cemetery. I have to use what is available and take the risk.
I start off by using the a “4” to deploy my Leutnant and two Jagers from the command squad. I use one command point to activate them and the two Jagers fire their rifles at the New Zealanders. I roll a hit, but it has no effect. Then the Leutnant uses his two remaining command points to activate the MMG team to fire. The Germans have a special “national ability”. If they activate a machine gun team with two or more command points, they add that many dice to the firing of the machine gun. [EDIT: I was not sure if this only applies for LMGs, but as the MMG is an MG34 on a tripod it made sense to me to apply it. However, after checking the rules I see it should only be for LMGs]. I hit on a 4-6 and and cause 5 hits. Rolling for effect, that is one point of shock.
I use the next “4” to activate the other senior leader. He uses two command points to open fire with the LMG team, adding two dice to its firepower of eight, while the two riflemen in the team also fire. They hit the green Greeks in the cemetery on a 3-6 as it is effective range, and get a stonking 9 hits. However, they resolve in to a solitary kill. The tactical marker on the unit is removed as they fired. Using the other command point I get the rifle team to move up tactically, but they only move 2″. I want to get them close enough to charge in with hand grenades.
I then use the “3” to put activate the junior leader of squad two, who puts the machine gun team on overwatch, while the rifle team moves up 9″. The junior leader remains with the LMG team to add his command dice to their fire.
Finally, I track the command dice point, but the Germans are a long way off from getting a command dice.
The map now stands as follows:
Ideally, as the German commander, I want to keep moving up my rifle teams while my MGs lay down a curtain of fire to pin down the Greeks. The MMG’s job is just to hold the New Zealander’s in place and keep them from shooting at my assault teams.
Turn 1 Phase 8 – Allied Command Dice: 5 / 6 / 5 / 2 / 1
Well the Allies get a Chain of Command Dice (shown as a blue 6, with the count continuing next to it). That will come in useful for them.
The “2” allows them to activate a single squad, which is pretty bad news fro the Allies. I think the Greeks are in the greatest danger, but the New Zealanders can see the riflemen of Squad two cowering amongst the rocks. As the Germans have not quite reached cover, they can shoot at them in the open, which is a better target than MGs in light cover. So I activate the New Zealanders and fire.
The range is about 35″, so they are firing at effective range and hit the elite Germans on a 6. They have a total of 3 rifles and a Bren (9 dice) as the leader is not activated because they activated with a command dice of “2” rather than “3”. They score two hits. dicing for effect they get one kill and one no effect. The first German soldier goes down with a bullet in his chest.
Turn 1 Phase 9 – German Command Dice: 5 / 4/ 5/ 1 /6 / 1
Using your command dice effectively is the key to success in this game. And I am quickly learning just what an advantage having 6 of them is over the 5 of the Allies.
With the “1” I activate the MMG team and open fire on the New Zealanders. I roll 10 dice needing 4, 5, or 6 to hit (I am shooting at regular troops at close range). I only hit with 2 dice, but manage to score another kill.
The “4” I use to activate the senior leader with Squad 1 in the north of the map. He uses his 3 command initiatives to activate the rifle squad and have them advance tactically. They move a disappoint 2″. With the other 2 command points he activates the LMG team using the national ability to gain 2 extra fire dice. The roll 10 dice and hit on a 3-6 (firing at green infantry at close range). They score 7 hits, but only succeed in causing one kill. However, that kill turns out to be the leader of the Greek squad! He is wounded and cannot be activated for the rest of the turn – which will give the Greeks more problems. However, this event does not affect Greek morale.
Finally, I use the last “1” to bring on the mortar team. Their HE will add some punch to my attack (they were equipped in Turn 1 Phase 1). [EDIT: I realised that with all my Senior Leaders on the table I should roll to see if the squad deploys. It should only deploy on a 4-6 result on a D6. I’m learning…]
Turn 1 Phase 10 – Allied Command Dice: 1 / 2 / 3 / 5 / 5
The Allies now have some options. They can use the “1” to bring on the desperately needed Greek Bren Team. That will add more firepower to their defence. [EDIT: In hindsight I should have used the Bren team to ambush the advancing Germans using the Chain of Command dice. I guess I am learning by experience…]. The roll 6 dice, requiring 5-6 to hit (close range firing at elite infantry). They score one hit and the Germans count as being in light cover as they moved tactically. The hit has no effect. It’s a bad day to be Greek.
The New Zealanders activate with the “3” and fire at the German rifle team crouching in the rocks. This time they fire with 9 dice (they lost a man last phase, but are activating with the squad leader) and score two hits, but both have no effect. The squad leader also uses a command initiative to reduce one point of shock.
Finally the “2” is used to activate the Greek rifle team in the cemetery and they fire on the German LMG team. They score one hit, but again no effect.
Let’s take a look at the situation:
As the German commander I now have considerable fire superiority over the Allies. My troops are closing in and I should be able to conduct a successful assault. The Bren team could be a problem, as the Allies Chain of Command dice will let it interrupt my movement to fire – and I intend to assault it. I also want to get my Germans closer to the cemetery to throw some hand grenades over the wall. One of my MG teams is a bit out of the fight on overwatch, so I’ll get them to move up and do something useful.
Turn 1 Phase 11 – German Command Dice: 3 / 6/ 6/ 5 /4 / 3
Well this is good. The double 6 means I will get another turn. Perhaps this could be the decisive moment.
First I use the “3” to activate the Junior Leader attached with Squad 1’s Rifle Team. He will use his two command activations to order two grenades thrown at the Bren team. This does not count as an activation so the team can be activated at a subsequent phase by another leader (I want my senior leader there to do it). I roll to hit (2d6 trying to get a total higher than the range of 7) and get an 8 and a 3. Two hits are inflicted on the Greek Bren team, counting no cover. It causes a point of shock. Oh well, better than nothing.
Next I use a “4” to activate my senior leader with squad 1. He uses a command initiative to activate the mortar team and they fire at the Greek Bren team. It counts as effective range as they don’t have clear line of sight to the target. They score one hit, which kills one of the Bren crew.
The senior leader still has two command initiatives left. He uses another one to activate the LMG team and has them fire against the Bren team. This time they cause one kill and one shock. With two points of shock and one man remaining, the Greek Bren team breaks. It routs a standard 6″ + 7″ (the result of a 2d6 roll) for a total of 13″ – right off the table. That reduces the Allied morale by to 8.
Finally, the Senior Leader uses his last command initiative to activates the rifle team and have them move up 2d6″. As the Germans have the next phase they should be able to assault the cemetery very soon. We get a result of 10″ and surge forwards to the edge of the cemetery. There will be some grenades exchanging fire. And we also have the opportunity to capture a jump off point.
The Greeks use their command dice at this point to fire at the Germans even though they are not active. It is close range, so they hit on 5 or 6. They score two hits and 1 kill.
The Germans then use their last “3” to activate the Junior Leader with squad two and he leads his MG team forwards with a 2d6 move, approaching 8″ closer to the cemetery. doing so allows him to regain control of the whole squad. This will become my assault element.
Turn 1 Phase 12 – German Command Dice: 2 / 6/ 4/ 3 /3 /4
Well that’s a shame. I wanted at least one 5 to use a command dice to end the turn and seize the Greek jump of point I am threatening.
I’ll use a “4” to activate the Senior Leader with the MMG team. He activates them and the two men with him, firing at the New Zealanders with 12 dice. We score 7 hits. It results in 3 points of shock and a kill. The New Zealanders are wavering…
I use the next “4” to activate the Senior Leader with the LMG team of squad 1. He activates the LMG team with 2 command initiatives, allowing them to rake the cemetery with fire for 10 dice. They Greeks have another man killed. He uses his other command initiative to activate the mortar who fires at the Greeks in the cemetery. They have line of sight, so fire as if at close range, killing another man and causing a point of shock.
I then use a “3” to activate the German Junior Leader with Squad 1’s rifle team. He uses one command initiative to get his men to throw a grenade. The grenade hits and causes one point of shock and one kill. Finally, he uses the other activation to open fire on the defenders. There are 4 rifles, 1 SMG at close range and 1 SMG at effective range, giving a total of 10 dice. Their hail of fire causes another 2 points of shock and the Greeks are pinned.
Finally, I activate the Junior Leader with squad 2 and move quickly towards the cemetery. Using 3d6″ of movement they rush to the gates. He uses his other command initiative to have the team throw a grenade. The grenade hits and kills one of the HQ team riflemen.
Lets see the action now:
The map shows how the Greeks and New Zealanders have been hemmed in. Can they hold out against a Fallshirmjäger assault? Unlikely…
Turn 1 Phase 13 – Allied Command Dice: 1 / 3 / 5 / 3 / 2
While the Allies get to activate some teams, their lack of a “4” will hurt them. It means they cannot activate their senior leader to reduce shock on the Greek rifle team. And that will probably cave in their defences.
Using a “3” the New Zealanders activate their Junior Leader. He uses one command initiative to remove a point of shock and another to order his men to fire on the MMG. Despite rolling 9 dice, they obtain no hits. The “2” activates the Greek rifle team in the cemetery. They would normally have 3 dice to shoot, but as they are pinned they only fire with 1 dice (half, rounded down). They cause a point of shock on the German Fallshirmjägers.
Turn 1 Phase 14 – German Command Dice: 6 / 2/ 6/ 5 /5 /3
Well that means the Germans have a Chain of Command dice and also have the next phase.
However, it also means I only have a “3” to work with. I activate the Junior Leader with squad 2 and he uses the HANDGRANATEN! national ability of the Germans. Rolling a d6 and subtracting 2 for hard cover, the Germans hit with a hand grenade before swarming over the wall in to close combat. The grenade kills one of the HQ team riflemen and the Germans get in there with bayonets.
So we start with 1d6 per man for each side. That’s 4 for the Greeks (3 riflemen and their platoon leader). There are 11 Germans. The Greeks get +3d6 for my wild charge, but lose 2d6 for their 4 points of shock. That gives them 5 dice so far. The Greeks get 3d6 for their senior leader, while the Germans get 2d6 for their junior leader. Totals: Greeks – 8d6 / Germans – 13d6. The Germans gain another 6d6 for 3 SMGs, while the Greeks are defending heavy cover and gain 4d6 more. New totals: Greeks – 12d6 / Germans – 19d6. The pinning Greek unit removes half the dice, leaving 6d6 [EDIT: I should have worked out totals separately, but it wouldn’t make much difference].
The Germans roll 19d6 and get 10 kills plus 4 points of shock. The Greeks get 4 kills and a point of shock.
The Germans butcher the Greeks and gain control of the cemetery. They immediately play a Chain of Command Dice to end the turn and claim to two jump of markers as well. As a result of losing two teams, two jump of markers, a Junior Leader and a Senior Leader, the Allies lose 7 morale points, taking them down to 1.
The Germans lose their Junior Leader in the bloody combat, and their force morale drops to 9.
It is GAME OVER and a German win.
It took me a long time to play this game, because I was checking rules and playing in odd 10 minute gaps here and there as I found time over 2 weeks. This damn house move has really put a dent in my wargaming time.
If I had to play it out in one session, two hours would have been plenty of time. And that’s great for a wargame. So from that aspect this rules set rocks.
Historically, the Germans took Cemetery Hill after a fierce battle that was fought at close range with SMGs and hand grenades – something reflected in the play through of the scenario. The Germans had excellent command rolls (and the Allies were really unlucky with their shooting). If you want to give the Germans more of a challenge, give the Allies a free move or two in the patrol phase.
I didn’t make too many mistakes in the way the scenario played out (although I’m sure there are some I missed). However, once you get used to the system, Chain of Command is fun to play and does give you the great feeling that you are controlling men and not robots. The use of shock is a great morale mechanic and I love the fact that you hit based on the training of your target, reflecting better trained troops use cover better.
Really a fun game and one I will be coming back to again and again.
Do let me know what you thought of the game.