Thursday, 28 January 2016

Big CoC - Somewhere near Arnhem 1944

The overall layout of the table prior to all the lads arriving.  Hopefully with enough interesting terrain and open spaces
to make the game interesting for everybody
We thought it was time to get the lads out again for a slightly smaller game of CoC on the "Big" scale in order to become increasingly more familiar with the rules and to see if we
could co-ordinate our attacks better as supporting platoon commanders in order to achieve victory.
The game was setting up as a German Counter-attack on an established position in a town on the outskirts of Arnhem.  The British know there are resilient Panzer Grenadiers on the attack as well as scouting reports of armour close by.  They also know that their own armour is close but at least two full turns away from supporting them. 
As we know, a turn in CoC can be quite elastic and at times can feel like an eternity.

Handmade buildings from the old collection of "The Lonely Gamer" himself Nathan acquired many, many
years ago now.  Starting to get a lot more use in recent years.

The Patrol markers are out and the laser pointers are now doing their work in allowing us some accurate ideas
on exactly where our jump off points can be set up.  I think we got some wrong in terms of allowing them to
be behind hills rather than in cover however you live and learn

The Germans got a good jump on the allies in this phase being able to push quite aggressively on our left flank
and causing no end of issues for Martin and his West Riding lads.

The chaps first deploy and take some shock almost immediately

Phil moves his Panzer Grenadiers up rapidly over the creek bed and up to the hedge line very close to our most extreme left
jump off point

Mikes British Para's take to the courtyards of the local houses to see if they can hold-up the advance

Steve's troops go Tactical and look to get after the Brits as quickly as they can.

Another German section immediately deploys and attempts to take advantage of the tardy arrival of one of the British Platoons through the most abysmal Command dice you would ever want to see in your life as well as the effect of a
well timed and thought out pre-game barrage!

The combined effect of four LMG's concentrating fire on Marty's boys has a devastatingly quick effect on his shock and starts an immediate recovery mission for the allies on the left

Mikes Airborne take the extreme house and attempt to lay some fire upon Alex and Steve's advancing forces

On the left the aggressive pincer movement continues

That bloody MG42 caused some havoc early in the game let me assure you

I think that jump off point should have been in the actual courtyard itself

My lads finally come on and deploy a Bren and a sniper up top

Whilst the rest of the section takes to the first floor windows to add support

Alexanders section find a perfectly protected position to set up some sustained automatic fire

The Red Devils make a run for the house on the right and cop a spray of hot lead

Phil's German advance comes to a halt temporarily

A British 2" Mortar attempts to lay some HE on the enemy forces to the left...with
very, very limited success by the way!

Martin brings on his platoon on Cromwell's to counter what German armour may soon be rearing
 its ugly head in the vicinity 

Sure enough, a platoon of Stug's and Panther's arrive...perhaps once again a little too quickly ( I think it is one vehicle per phase only).  Once again, learning the rules as we go.

In the centre I send a section forward to try and support Mike's 1st Airborne platoon which is
finding the going quite hot against the combined firepower of Steve and Alex.  However the latter has made a rookie mistake by massing his two sections and is about to find out what mortars can do to such an attractive target!!

The Germans advance and capture the first allied jump off point...Force Morale is low

The lead Panther, paying no heed to local farmers horticultural efforts, pushes forward. 

The rest of the armour heads on.

At this point the consistent damage being taken by Steve and Alexanders infantry platoons started to take some very real effect on all the German forces, including the newly arrived armour.  To be fair we did misinterpret the rolls you had to take on Leaders in the vicinity of teams and sections who have taken kills and subsequently killed or wounded off a Senior Leader as well as a Junior Leader in the same series of rolls which was plainly incorrect.  Only one leader needs to roll when a section he is attached to takes mortal casualties.

In addition, we did not correctly interpret the HE fire of tanks on buildings and the rolls to hit which should have been 4,5 or 6 were only being acknowledged on sixes.  This obviously allowed Mike's British Airborne to last out a fair amount of time more than they should have.

So what did we learn?  Certainly a few new nuances of the rules.  The rapid advance of the Germans on the allied left, though successful initially, did leave the other two German Platoon Commanders slightly out like "shags on a rock".  When the armour did come on, the aforementioned 2nd and 3rd Platoons were nearly spent and the effect on the newly arrived forces was devastating on Force Morale. 

The defending British had four players however against three attacking German's which did cause some consternation amongst some in terms of dice rolling opportunities etc.  The thought that one Chain of Command dice each in the pie was an insufficient bonus was discussed however I personally thought that the additional support points would have more than compensated for that.  The Germans used their support poorly in my opinion when you consider a Tiger I never made it to the field despite sucking up a third of the German sides available support points.

The Tiger appearing early could well have swung the game away from the British so far they could never have wrested it back.

Once again we had an enormous amount of fun, followed by a lovely swim (it was 38 degrees C outside) and a lovely "Pot Luck" dinner afterwards when our wives all joined us at 6 pm.  A few rec wines, half a bottle of scotch and a few more beers later, the result of an allied victory was in dispute.

Just the way it should have been!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Normandy conclusion and some observations

A view showing the US Airborne's key base for the duration of the fighting.  Once the sniper
 was dispensed with from the spire it was a great place to see where the enemy were massing. 

The Stugs appear to harass the American flank

The Germans quickly move up machine guns to flank the Canadians

The Stug is forced to withdraw from some Airborne AT fire.

The US Airborne bring on some support in the form of a Wolverine... well as a nice 57mm AT gun.

Back on the allied left the British and Canadians continue their advance

Churchill and Humber

German players final section set up the HMG

Whilst the troops under Steve's command continue their manouvers

Churchills advance unsuspecting

A Stug goes up in the centre

As does one of the Churchills...quick and brutal!

These lads have taken a pounding and after several turns trying to withdraw they manage to do so...not before
they sucked a hell of a lot of Command Initiatives out!

The advance goes on through the left

The M10 sees an opportunity and fires...and the result is plain to see!

The cows wonder what they have done wrong...shredded beef anyone?

Another Churchill goes up

US Airborne bazooka team and scouts make a run for the vineyard

In the centre the Canadian player Mike, who has patiently advanced his flamethrower and engineers forward
all game prepares to deliver a coup de grace!

A third line of defence is set up on the German right

Smoke starts to be laid to obscure the allied advance

Up pops a bazooka team to take on the Stug in the distance

The moment when the Germans thought it was time to pull out whilst they still could.

So the game concluded in a distinct allied victory however not without significant cost.

We all had an enormous time of it...well...lets face it.  Gaming, food and a few drinks always goes a long way when it comes to having some good laughs.

This game was a sensational introduction to all of us of the joys of the Big CoC game system and just how co-ordinated you need to be in cross-armed supported combat in terrain suited for the humble grunt.

The game absolutely rewarded historical tactics and the use of fire and movement.  The wonderful shock system forces your units who are in trouble to warrant considerable energy to either withdraw or reinforce.

Great, great gaming system.