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Bretteville, Normandy, 1944


Second World War , Chain of Command, 28mm

After our Great War game two weeks ago using the prototype of Great CoC, we decided to opt of an everyday game, using the rules as they were written, rather than with Great War amendments. Essentially the aim was familiarisation – both Campbell Hardie and Bill Gilchrist were CoC virgins, so we decided to play a basic platoon action. Actually, Bill was a substitute – the original Allied commander was to be Bart, but both he and his Poles couldn’t make it, so Bill and his Canadians filled the void. This was a “Capture the Objective” game – in this case the objective being a crossroads, where local lanes cross the vital Bretteville to Argences road to the east of Bretteville. The attackers were a platoon of the Argylls of Canada,  while the defenders were drawn from the German 89th Infantry Division. To win, Bill’s Canadian platoon had to reach the crossroads, and cut the road.It all began fairly well. During the patrol phase the Canadians rushed forward, establishing “jump off” points within two feet of their objective. Hemmed in, the Germans did what they could to establish a defensive line between the Canadians and the crossroads. Both sides deployed fairly rapidly as the game began – the Germans with one squad on either side of the main track which ran the length of the table, and the Canadians concentrating on the ground to the west (their right) of the track… north in the picture above.The German reserve was held off the table, waiting to see which way the Canadians would go. As the German player, Campbell’s cautious deployment was just as well. One of the first teams the Canadians brought on was their mortar observer, who hid behind some trees overlooking the main track, spotted the German positions, and called down a barrage. That fairly comprehensively tore one of the German squads apart, leaving the survivors running for the table edge.Two could play that game though, and Campbell duly called in a mortar barrage of his own, concentrating on the British deployed around the centre of the table, in a small hedged field. Also in the beaten zone was the Canadian mortar observer. Bill didn’t like this much, so he dropped smoke from his 2″ mortar, blocking the German observer’s line of site. He then moved his troops out of the way. Next, Bill played his trump card – he deployed his reinforcements.This came in the shape of a Wasp – a “Bren carrier” equipped with a flamethrower. These weapons are pretty lethal in CoC, and have a healthy range. The Wasp parked near a small bridge, pointed its spout at a pocket of Germans deployed in a farmyard, and let rip. Two turns of this was enough to convince what remained of the defenders to run away. Having dealt with all of this, Bill began a general advance – albeit a cautious one. One section provided cover, while two advanced through an orchard and along the road, covered by the smoke barrage. For his part Campbell played his CoC Dice” and ended the turn, lifting the smoke and the mortar barrages, but giving his remaining defenders a better line of fire.His panzershreck hit the Wasp, but all it did was to kill the driver. This held up the Canadians for another phase or two though as the Wasp was protected by smoke, the driver replaced and then the carrier moved to a safer position. By the time the advance began again we had run out of time. As the Canadian’s hadn’t fulfilled their objective (capturing the crossroads), the German defenders were declared the victors, even though they took far more casualties than their opponents. Next time Bill’s Canadians will need to move faster. It was a good little game, and fairly rolled along. Best of all, I think the CoC virgins enjoyed their experience, and will be back for more.

 

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