Saturday, 12 September 2015

Chain Of Command Espana Attempt Number 2........

Back to Sunny Spain

Having a week off work, means that I get the chance to dig out the old Spanish Civil War collection, and jog on over to New Buckingham Historical Wargamers to put on a game.

Once again, its the turn of Chain of Command, for those of you unfamiliar with these rules, they are a platoon level skirmish set, primarily designed for WW2 games, but if you click on the linky

You can grab yourself a free, yes thats right FREE, set of lists to help you construct your forces for the SCW. Too Fat Lardies offer a great deal of support for their rulesets, and Chain of Command is no exception, for those of you wanting to have a go, but are not sure how the rules work, then we have a solution for you too

They have created a series of videos, running through the rules, above is part one, and its well worth clicking through and watching the whole set, because it gives a very good insight on how the rules work.

Right then, car loaded and off to the club I go. Its takes a litle while to get into the hall, as the promised Tapdancers are not there, so the hall is firmly locked, and I have no keys!!!!
Rescue arrives, in the shape of Andrew Knapp, and he scoots off to get the keys.

Once inside, with the help of a few club members, I get set up and ready to go, and this is how the board turns out

I decide the "Attack on an Objective" scenario would be a good one to play out, the objective being  holding the junction on the far side of the river, that joins the main Madrid road

Objective, reach the road, control the junction

Clive Waterhouse has brought along his collection of Anarchist FAI/CNT militia, and adding those to my figures gives the Republican commanders a full platoon to play with.
After rolling for support options, they decide a bit of command assistance is required, so they add El Hombre, which gives them a bit of flexibility, and to boost their firepower, they take an LMG team, not much to add, but it proves to be an excellent choice in the end.
I manage to scrape together a Foreign legion platoon, minus a few bits n bobs ( No 50mm mortars, and no scouts).  There support options are a lot better, and they trundle out a Panzer 1, and give themselves a bit of heavy firepower, by buying an 81mm mortar with an observer to direct its fire.
One learn straight away, I do not have enough figures painted to put on a decent game, and I fully intend to buckle down, and get more stuff finished.
The patrol phase gets underway, and we are fortunate that a new member has turned up, his name is Paul, and he knows the rules!! Hurrah :-)
Paul helps us to fumble our way through the patrol phase, and eventually we get some jump off points sorted.
Patrol markers on the move, with the Nationalists getting over the river, which proved to be very useful in the game.

Another learn, get there early, get set up quickly, and put a time limit on the patrol phase. I spent far too long farting about with terrain, and the patrol phase got very tactical, meaning that the game proper did not kick off until after 9pm; not good.

So lets bung a few pics up, with some captions, rather than a blow by blow, he rolled a 6 and 1 and 2 etc etc

The Anarchists take cover, with their LMG covering the road, this turned out to be their most effective weapon, trading fire with a Legion squad in the house opposite, and towards the end, firing in desperation on the advancing Pz1

Legion Condor in the guise of Panzergruppe Drohne men in a Panzer 1A begin their attack on the town

The Anarchists view of the approaching danger

Anarchist commanders agonizing over their next move.
They decide to move forwards, but are caught in the open by the Nationalists firing their 81mm Mortar, and forcing them down to take cover, they never recovered from this, and spent most of the game pinned in the olive grove

The Legionarios break out of cover, and start to attack the houses.

They know that the Anarchists are hiding in the houses, after being fired on by them.

The relentles advance of the Nationalist super weapon, and thats the fun of these SCW games, no uber tanks. Where a Pz1 is a game winner. This one trundles on, with LMG fire pattering off its front armour, as the Anarchists try to get a lucky shot through the vision slits.

Anarchists debating their orders, in true style, Andy and Clive debated their moves, trying to marshall the scant forces available to them, at one stage I thought they were going to vote on them!. A gleeful Nationalist commander, in the shape of Stephen, watches their efforts.

The endgame begins, the Legionarios asaault the houses, dring the Anarchists out by bayonet point, and  they rout in confusion. The Nationalists take two of the Anarchist jump off points, and its virtually game over.

What can I say? 
Well, after our first efforts, I am glad to say that this game went a lot better. I think it really is a case of play play and play some more, so the rules stick. The rules themselves give you a great tactical game, and remove the usual I go, you go sequence favoured by quite a few rulesets.
The Anarchists were hampered by their lack of command dice, just 4 to roll each turn, and having no junior leaders in their squads, getting them to do anything was quite hard, which is why taking the El Hombre option was such a good idea, they have a woeful lack of firepower too, not helped by the Nationalist side rolling low dice on the support options ( still not entirely certain we have got this bit right)
The Legion found it a lot easier, having an abundance of commanders to activate, and that extra command dice made a difference. Picking the tank, and the Mortar gave them a definate advantage, and the effective deployment of these, meant the Anarchists had a tough time of it. There was a lot of hiding in houses, but once we got going, it was a bit more fluid moving.

We could not fight it out to a conclusion, as we ran out of time, this was more due to the fact that we had to refer to the rules a fair bit, plus we began the game a bit too late. Once we have had a few more games, I think its going to be easy to get a game finished in time, and I'm loking forwards to having another go.

So, in conclusion, the Chain of Command rules give a fast, fun and thinking game, making players look very hard at what they are doing.

Thanks go out to Andy, Alan, Clive and Stephen, for puting up with me fumbling my way through the game, and also to Paul for stepping in with useful advice, to help us along.