Sunday, 3 December 2017

Virgin Soldiers

It's been thirty years since my regular opponent Dave last painted a unit of miniatures, but after years of board games Chain of Command has inspired him to get back into collecting and painting.  His first unit is a platoon of US Airborne and so we decided that a local club meeting was an ideal moment to let his virgin soldiers get their first blooding.  At the same time I had recently painted ten of the Wargames Foundry Resistance Fighters plus found time to finish off the Sarissa Precision Chateau, and so it was only fitting we play a scenario set in Normandy.

The Chateau building itself is the Sarissa model, the only additions are roof tiles, these are laser cut from heavyweight paper by Charlie Foxtrot Models.  The tiles are in strips and are easy to apply, the end result works well. The fountain, iron fence and gates, and greenhouse are all MDF kits from Blotz.  The base is a piece of MDF and the solid walls were scratch built from cork floor tiles.  The cobble stones are embossed wallpaper, something I bought in A4 sheets off eBay.

This isn't really a full AAR, but I took a few pictures and have some thoughts on the US Airborne. The scenario was going to be a probe with the Airborne trying to eliminate a German HQ and secure a road junction while making their way across the table.  The Germans would defend with a regular infantry platoon and five support points.

The US Airborne, with the two squad platoon, would have the assistance of the ten Resistance fighters, who could deploy from any table edge, at least 18" from any German unit or JoP.  The Airborne would play as 5 command dice elites and the Resistance would be Green.  We used the Resistance army lists that are posted on the CoC Facebook page and gave them 2 support points.

The Germans used their support to bring in a Sdkfz 250 with a Recce team, an adjutant and an entrenchment.

The terrain featured a road running across the table, with a large orchard to one side and on the other the Chateau, set amidst a large wooded area.

The Airborne deployed on both sides of the road, with the 60mm mortar and one squad on the right and the other squad with the bazooka team in the orchard on the left.  So with a small fanfare Dave's Airborne make their first appearance in a game:

Squad and 60mm mortar opposite the Chateau

The bazooka team watch the road, in anticipation of German vehicles.

The Resistance deployed early on, entering close to the rear of the Chateau.  Things looked ominous for the Germans almost immediately.  I suspect we may have made the terrain too dense and so the Germans were going to be thinly spread to meet the range of threats.

The Resistance swarm the Chateau
The Airborne made very effective use of Marching Fire and with their ample firepower proved a deadly force. The Germans deployed a squad into the kitchen garden behind the Chateau, but almost immediately their LMG team was wiped out in a single fire phase from the approaching Airborne squad.

The Chateau itself offered little protection and was more of a trap than anything else.  Germans firing from the windows were soon dealt with by effective return fire.  While this was going on the Airborne in the large orchard advanced forward.  To meet that threat the Germans deployed the Sdkfz 250 and the Recce squad.

The US advance demands a response

The German half track makes an appearance

Around the Chateau the Germans fall back in the face of the Resistance, ruing the loss of their LMG team and its firepower.

To the front of the Chateau the Americans continue to advance to the surrounding iron fence.

The German half track moves up to the hedge at the orchard and the recce team disembark with their MG 42.

But things don't go well for the Germans.  To avoid being trapped in the grounds of the Chateau they beat a hasty retreat over the wall.  The recce team do little to slow the advance in the orchard and when the Airborne squad returns fire, the three members of the LMG crew are killed in a hail of fire.  The Germans try to form a final line of resistance behind a hedgerow.

Meanwhile the Resistance ransack the Chateau and take possession of a German JoP.

The only consolation is the half track driving out into the road and taking on the bazooka team.  One of the team is killed but they return fire only to miss.  In the following German phase the remaining crew member is killed.  The defence line at the hedgerow tries to hold but within a few phases the German SL is killed and the JoP near the orchard is overrun.  With a triple six and a turn end German FM plummets to one and it's all over.

This wasn't just the first time Dave's US Airborne figures had seen action, it was the first time either of us had played with or against an Airborne platoon.  Our conclusion - they are a bit like British Paras on steroids.  The large squads, with 30 cals, Thompsons and lots of rifle fire can generate a lot of firepower.  The fact they can do this to full effect and move 1D6 or with half firepower and move 2D6 makes them capable of moving forward with a lot of momentum.  In the close quarters of the Normandy terrain the German platoon just couldn't equal the fire or stand up to it for long.  Like the German panzer grenadiers, the Airborne are a daunting force to face, but as we've found with the grenadiers, there must be ways to deal with them.  This was a great introduction and I've no doubt we'll be seeing more of Dave's platoon in action in the future.


  1. terrific looking game with fantastic terrain

  2. That is a really nice table set up. I really must get more games of Chain of Command in.