21 March 2014

The Battle of Mouen

For historical context and game setup see here: http://tasmancave.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/coc-counterattack-at-mouen.html
Game setup prior to the Patrol Phase: Flanking Attack
Chain of Command (CoC) commences with the patrol phase, which is rather different and reflects pre-game reconnaissance.  Being a Flank attack, the British deployment area was one corner quarter of the battlefield, while the Germans advanced their tokens from two edges.  It certainly made for a different symmetry to start from.  The Germans advanced their 6 markers from both edges while we Brits pushed hard in one direction only.  In the end James had snuck a Jump off point nicely up the closer long edge of the board while the Germans on the other side were locked down before advancing far onto the board, so we could try and make the most of the wooded terrain with open fire lanes to the front which the Germans would have to advance through.

Battlelines are drawn after the Patrol Phase completes
The German Perspective-Deployment: Our plan was cunningly simple and fiendishly clever....as the scenario simply called for us to break the British Force Morale before our own was reduced to 3, and our forces had the firepower advantage, we determined our best course of action would be to set up in good cover and pour it on the hapless British till they had had enough...

The Germans deployed first, with a few squads and a Pz IV (James was still scarred by the game where it never came on and didn't want to take any chances!).  I then rolled well for my phase, getting 2 sixes to gain the next phase also.  I quickly deployed an infantry squad in the woods, and ran up to the hedge to let the advancing Jerry squad have it.  Lots of dice were subsequently thrown and while it could have been worse, that German squad was pinned and a shadow of its former self.  A good start I said to myself.. 
That that Jerry! Brits open up on advancing SS PzGrenadiers in the open
German Perspective- Surprised as we were by the aggressive British patrolling, my Panzergrenadier comrade found his forces caught in the open as they tried to take up their positions against the hedges...my Wehrmacht lads were able to exploit the advanced patrol areas on the British right flank and start a firepower duel with the Brit MMG that appeared behind the ruined farmhouse. My Platoon Commander, starting on the table, dispatched the Panzerschreck team to an advanced position on the opposite side of the field, so they could put some wunderbar HE into the PIAT team skulking in the farmhouse....

"Made a diary entry this morning.  Simply says: Bugger!"
...which is where my opposing number thought it was time to bring on another squad into a flanking position and bring up a Tiger tank for direct fire HE in support.  Coupled with HE shots from the advancing Pz IV on the right flank, it was a grim day for that squad and the three remaining chaps beat a hasty retreat as the broke.  That said, exchanging one regular Infantry squad for an elite PzGren squad with 2 MG42s was well in my favour, just don't ask the NOK. On our right flank we deployed an infantry squad and a MMG to cover the wire obstacles and a long range exchange of fire with a German squad commenced with mild, mutual attrition. 

German Perspective- The temptation to advance the Tiger forward to crush the Britishers once and for all was ALMOST overwhelming for my comrade, but he held his Teutonic discipline and held back, thus not subjecting the Tiger to being swarmed...the PzIV had a cracking good time pumping HE rounds into the British lead section, whilst the Bow MMG sprayed the PIAT team to keep its head down...

One of the support options the Germans took was a preliminary bombardment (for 2 points).  Given the nature of the game with no units on the board when the battle starts, this is executed in an abstract fashion - a 50% chance that a unit will actually deploy until the first Turn ends.  This turned out to be invaluable as British units continued to fail to deploy (having been deployed by shells, diverting around shell holes etc etc).  This included a few infantry squads and both Churchills which let the Panzers roam freely in the meantime.  For 2 points, it was a very effective support option, and one which makes sense for a counterattack too.  The Churchills did eventually come on, through the one access point over a bridge and the lead tanks started a long range duel with the Pz IV, which started well, tapered off in the middle and the less said about the end of it the better from the British side of the house.  
There goes the 5 quid that tank's driver owes me...
As a result, my Churchill was stuck on a bridge behind a flaming wreck (again) and unable to get into the battle. 

German Perspective- The PzIV had entered Overwatch as soon as the rumbling of lost tanks was heard down the road...this proved an excellent psychological weapon more than actually effective, as the first shot went wide.
We got right into the vehicle rules over the next few phases as each side hit but failed to penetrate, whilst the Tiger managed to fire an 88mm HE round at point blank into the nearest British squad to little effect....

Back up at the main forward line, the infantry clash continued unabated with lots of lead flying in both directions. 
The PIATs were brought into action against the PZ IV, scoring a couple of hits to wound the Commander, damage the bow MG but not knock it out completely. 

German Perspective- That was a bummer..... fine German engineering right there....
PIAT teams in the building take aim at the Panzer down the road
The infantry firefight, supported by close range fire from the Tiger, was starting to really knock the British around now, with Force Morale down to 6 having lost another infantry section unit and the MMG .  The Germans were also down to 6 though, having had a number of leaders wounded along the way.  At this point we had a really interesting set of interruptions which showed the mechanic very nicely.  It went something like this:
  • Brit Player 1 declares shooting by an Infantry section onto an enemy squad
  • German Player 1 expends a CoC point to interrupt this action to fire with the squad being targeted.
  • Brit Player 2 declares an interruption with a separate Brit rifle section to fire at the same German squad (ie before it could fire)
  • German Player 2 declares an interruption with the Pz IV to take the second British squad under fire.

In resolving this in reverse order, the:
  • Pz IV inflicted 2 casualties and 1 shock upon second British section.
  • The second British section opened up on the Germans, also inflicting 2 casualties and 1 shock on the German section, which resulted in it being pinned.
  • The now pinned German squad engaged the original British section with much reduced firepower due to being pinned, with minimal result, and
  • The original British section engaged the German squad, inflicting further casualties.
That sounds complex but it was quite straightforward to determine and execute.

EDIT - it also appears that we did this quite incorrectly, and that only a single interrupt is possible.  Pity, as this was pretty cool.

At this point we had run out of time (4 hours) and had only just gotten the last of the units onto the board (except my Sgt, who has never actually made it onto the battlefield in 3 games!) and a draw declared.  Comrade James's Pz IV earned its first kill ring (which painted on after the battle) while my Churchill has now survived 3 battles, two by hiding on a bridge concealed by the wreck of a flaming comrade!
Comrade James's Pz IV proudly sporting its new kill ring
German Perspective- We had just deployed the 81mm off-board mortar battery FO and the Sniper team, but sadly were unable to bring either to bear.....the off-board fire support mechanic looks particularly interesting, especially coming from a Bolt Action background, as there are opportunities for multiple fire missions in one game, and the choice between using spotting rounds for better accuracy or going straight to FFE for speed quite realistic.

Overall a most enjoyable game, but we did spend a bit of time looking for different rules and mechanics, particularly the second level effects like Tank HE vs Infantry, or the effects of "Slow Tank" and "Heavy Armour" attributes.  We found them all eventually (thanks mostly to the online FAQ it must be said) but it did slow down the game.  much of this was an artifact of our inexperience though.  Having played two games now, we'll consolidate our thoughts on the CoC system and publish that separately.


  1. Interesting read and looks like you had a great game.

  2. You can't interrupt an interrupt. See page 23 "Only  one  interruption  is  allowed  in  any  single Phase.    A  player  may  not  use  a  Chain  of Command  Dice  to  interrupt  play  during  his  own Phase  –  so  you  cannot  interrupt  an  enemy  who happens to be interrupting your Phase. "

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  4. As it was a 2v2 game, so no one player interrupted more than once but yes we did that wrong and that is indeed a handy thing to know! Ooops :-) Thanks for the heads up

  5. The rules in CoC certainly don't cover all eventualities. You've got to work things out for yourselves occasionally.

  6. Nice report with beautiful pics, interesting maps too...and great looking burnt building...

  7. Another cracking report Paul, I can feel my resolve weakening!

  8. Great AAR Paul! It seems to have been a cracking game. Too bad about the rule-chasing. I find the TFL style to be nice to read but not very helpful as quickly referenced rules. We've spent several evenings cursing their loquacious delivery - we just want the facts!

    That impact explosion is the sh*t! Love it. (I'll be ripping that off, thanks very much!)

  9. Very nice AAR !

    Best regards Michael