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Khlevnoye, Voronezh Front, 1943


The Second World War, Chain of Command, 28mm

This game was played during one of my visits to Orkney. In my absence the guys in the Orkney Wargames Club have been living on an almost total diet of Chain of Command, and although their terrain still looks very western front, their games are now set in the depths of Russia. This one was meant to be a much larger clash, but Alan was on call, and had to skip the game due to some medical emergency or other. So, rather than intrude I let Gyles and Sean get on with it.The fourth regular – Joe – was also absent that week – something to do with his daughter visiting the island. Anyway, I supped tea from my samovar, and watched disaster unfold in the Russian countryside.This was also meant to be part of a on-going campaign, but in Alan’s absence (he had most of the kit) that was replaced by a small infantry clash with a platoon a side, supported by a tank. Strangely the Germans fielded a captured T-34/76, while the Soviets opted for a lend-lease Sherman that looked suspiciously like one that usually fights in Normandy. The terrain too seemed more Normandy than the Ukraine, but the lads didn’t seem to mind, and set to with a will, moving their patrol markers forward and hoping to get an edge over their opponent.I’m not going to write much about this game as I wasn’t taking part, but essentially Sean’s Germans stayed on the defensive, while the Russians attacked. The battle centred around an important road junction, pictured above. The game was fought lengthwise across a 6×4 foot table.The Russians reached the “T-junction” without much difficulty. After capturing it they stormed forward again, driving the Germans from the wooded slopes beyond it, thanks to some supporting machine gun fire. The picture above shows a Russian section at the top of the hill, firing down on the retiring Germans in front of them. So far so good for the comrades. That, of course, is where it all came unstuck. The two tanks had been trading shots, but some lucky die rolling saw the Soviet lend-lease Sherman getting brewed up.Gyles hadn’t banked on this, and none of his infantry had any anti-tank capability. He could have had an anti-tank gun, an anti-tank rifle squad and tank killer teams, but instead he spent his points elsewhere. So, the game came to a rather quick and bloody end. The Soviet advanced troops were forced to retire, and were duly wiped out. Then the tank trundled forward to the road junction, squishing running Soviet troops as it went.That, pretty much, was that – the Soviet survivors retreated into the woods, and victory was handed to the Germans. It was nice to see how the guys had taken the rules to their hearts, and in my absence had been painting up plastic Warlord troops. All these came from Gyles, who is gradually expanding his toy collection. On my next trip north I’ll join in, and ideally give the Nazis a well-deserved thrashing!

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