Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bank Holiday gaming!

Yesterday was the first bank holiday that hasn't seen the outinlaws appear.  Mainly this was because I had booked the dining room for a game of Chain of Command and, as they sleep in the dining room, they couldn't stay here.

Oh dear.

How sad.

So, onto the game.  Nathan used his British infantry platoon while I took out my Italians for their first game.  At first glance I thought they were going to be unwieldy, as their platoon structure was very different to that of other countries.  The British platoon had an Officer and a Sergeant (Senior Leaders) and 3 sections each with 10 men.  The sections are lead by a Corporal (Junior Leader), a 3 man Bren team and a 6 man rifle team.  Platoon support is provided by a 2" mortar and a PIAT, each with 2 crew.  American and German platoons are very similar, with 3 squads and support. 

The Italians do not use this structure, instead having a single Officer (Senior Leader) as the sole HQ element.  Then there are 2 squads, but each has 20 men in it.  These squads are commanded by a Sergeant (Junior Leader), who takes direct command of 2 LMG teams, each with 4 men.  The remaining men are a Corporal (Junior Leader) and 10 riflemen, who make a single (large) team. 

So a British Platoon has 2 Senior Leaders, 3 Junior Leaders and 31 men, manning 3 LMGs, 1 mortar and 1 PIAT.  The Italians have 1 Senior Leader, 4 Junior Leaders and 36 men, manning 4 LMGs.  This squad setup proved to be much better than I had thought as more men were activated by a command dice than was possible for the British.

The table set up
The table was set up to represent a small village occupying a "vital" road junction.  Nathan's British took an M5 Stuart and a single truck for their support, while the Italians got an L6 light tank and some Panzerfausts.  This was the first use of proper tanks, which was good.

Italians in the streets
The Italians quickly moved on with one full squad and the LMG teams from their second squad seizing the buildings that covered the road junction.  They were also set on overwatch, ready to hit any Tommy who stuck his head up.

Nathans first units moved on and fired at one of the LMG teams, killing 2 men despite the cover provided by the stone walls.  The return fire was slightly less effective, but one Tommy went down.

British truck on the flank
The 2nd British section appeared on the right flank in a truck.  Obviously a sneaky, high speed drive around the flank was in their sights.

The result of a 20 man melee
The 3rd British section moved around on their left flank, trying to outflank the LMGs in the buildings.  The Corporal in charge of the Italian rifle team spotted this and rushed his men over to block them.  A load shout of "Carica" rang out and the Italians threw themselves at the British.  Despite the rapid fire of the British Sten and Bren guns the Italians won the fight.  As the British Corporal fell wounded, 7 of his men were also cut down.  As the smoke cleared the remaining Italians gathered themselves, suddenly realising that their corporal was also down, along with 5 other men.  The 2 remaining Tommys routed away as the 4 Italians captured their corporal. 

The truck turns and the tank appears
While their comrades were seeing off one danger, the 2nd Italian rifle team came on and moved to cover the advance of the British truck.  As the advanced, one of their LMG teams also moved up to cover the area.

As the left flank attack had failed, Nathan was forced to bring on his Stuart to cover any threat on that side.  At the same time the motorised section changed course to come down and reinforce the center. 

Lt S-C-G looks for his men
As the enemy had revealed their armour, the Italian CO brought on his one remaining asset, the mighty L6 tank.  Ah how the British tremble at the throaty roar tinny drone of its engine was heard.  Who could possibly stand up against this mighty engine of Italian might?  Ok, its small and has a measly 20mm gun, but it is a TANK! 

There they go, into the distance!
The Italian LMG fired at the truck, killing a man and delivering some shock.  The British CO, Lieutenant  Smythe-Carruthers-Goodyear, came on and ordered the truck to get out of the line of fire.  As the driver floored the accelerator, something went wrong with the truck.  Despite the minimal damage caused by the Italian fire, the truck moved a measly 8 inches (on 3D6 doubled!).  So the Italians got another burst in, killing another man.  "Change gear you blithering idiot" shouted Lt S-C-G and, with a grinding noise and a belch of diesel smoke, the truck shot off down the road.

Smoking Stuart!  BOOOM
"Oh bother" though Lt S-C-G as he realised that he was now all alone facing off against 14 Italian soldiers.

Not many British left now
In the town the Stuart was hammering away at the Italian LMG team on that flank, having driven the victorious rifle team back out of sight.  As he watched the fall of his MG fire the tank commander suddenly spotted a vehicle, as the mighty L6 came around the corner.  Shouting at his gunner to switch targets and use the main gun, he watched as the 20mm gun fired at him.

Curly and Moe!
Despite the excellent aim of the Italian gunner, the Stuarts paper thin armour was too much for his 20mm shells.  The Stuarts 37mm gun barked and, amazingly, bounced off the turret of the Italian behemoth.  The 20mm cannon barked again and somehow found a weak spot, the Stuart exploded and showered the nearby British infantry with shrapnel.  Fortunately they were just far enough away for it to have no effect, but things were looking grim for the British.

Just to add insult to injury the L6 fired at the truck, killing another man and forcing the troops to bail out, as the driver decided enough was enough for one day and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

At this point Nathan's force morale had dropped to 1 point and he decided to retire his remaining troops.

 It was a good game again.  Every game I have played or watched has been entertaining, as you never know what will happen.  The British plan to advance on both flanks was probably his downfall as it split his force up too much.  The Italians proved to be very strong on the table, with their rifle teams being able to match the 2 of the British sections, leaving the 4 LMGs to fire at the other one and support the rifle teams.  The tanks were interesting but proved to be of little real use in a built up area.

All in all we had another good day, then went off to Zob's to play a Black Powder ACW game in the evening.  A scenario from the latest Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy magazine, the Rebs drove the Union troops back and broke enough of their brigades to win the day.  It looked a bit rocky at one point, but Panjo managed to stop failing his command rolls and swept forward with his best brigade, sweeping all before him.

Have fun and keep rolling those dice.

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