Friday, 12 February 2021

A guide to following the Bloody Bucket campaign

As the Bloody Bucket campaign for Chain of Command has a slightly different structure than usual I thought it might be useful to have a guide for readers to understand how each player will need to approach the campaign. Each turn will present both players with a number of options for action both on and off the maps and this will determine how the campaign unfolds.

This is a summary of some of the mechanics of the campaign and is provided purely as background to my reports of our games, if you are interested in understanding more I highly recommend you get hold of the pdf version of the Bloody Bucket campaign which is available from the Too Fat Lardies website here. The reports of the games we play in the campaign will be posted as usual on the Chain of Command campaign AARs page here on the blog.

©Too Fat Lardies

The Americans will be defending six different maps which the Germans must try and capture in nine campaign turns or less to achieve a victory, that much is fairly straightforward. 

However the Germans can choose to attack these maps from a number of different directions and perhaps more significantly, they can choose the order in which they do so. In addition, each Campaign Turn the Germans may choose to attack up to two separate maps (assuming their platoons are in an eligible position to do so and they may not attack the same map twice in the same campaign turn). Furthermore, should the Germans achieve a scenario victory they have the option for a 'blitzkrieg' which allows the platoon that just fought to immediately attack the next map with the same platoon and supports that survived the initial scenario. In short, while it is unlikely, it is possible for the Germans to mount four attacks on four different maps in a single campaign turn. As you can see, the campaign is anything but a simple matter of fighting up a campaign ladder where you clear an enemy from Map 1 before attacking Map 2 and so forth.

The picture below shows the six maps that the Americans will be defending (the numbered red boxes). The Germans can approach these from several different directions. The dark blue lettered circles (A, B, C etc) indicate assembly points. These are locations that German units can move to on each campaign turn (via the broken dark blue arrows) and from where they can attack various maps (via the solid blue arrow). You will also notice a light blue solid arrow that follows a road. The Germans may attack down these lines but only if they have captured the map from where those lines originate. The only movement the Americans will be aware of will be the attacks against various maps, how many Germans are moving between assembly points will remain unknown.

©Too Fat Lardies

So for example, if the Germans are at Assembly Point D they could attack either Map 4 or 6. If they have captured Map 3 then they may attack Map 5 via the road (if they have captured Map 4 or 6 they may also attack Map 5 from that direction as those maps are adjacent to it). Of course, to have arrived at Assembly Point D the German platoon will have had to spend campaign turns travelling from Assembly Point A, where it started, via Assembly Points B and C.

Each campaign turn a platoon may choose to attack any map it can reach via an eligible route (ie the map they attack is adjacent to the current map they occupy, or the map is connected by a dark blue arrow to the assembly point the platoon currently occupies, or the map is connected via a pale blue arrow down a road from the map the platoon currently occupies). Alternatively a platoon may spend the campaign turn moving from one assembly point to another, in which case it does not carry out any attacks. When the ability to infiltrate to the assembly points is wedded to the ability to make up to two separate attacks in a single campaign turn it's possible to imagine how a canny German player can maximise their chance of capturing all the maps in the shortest number of campaign turns.

How does this work in practice and what are the choices for the German player? The Germans start with a single Sturm platoon of Volksgrenadier at Assembly Point A. They may start by attacking Map 1 via the dark blue arrow route or they could spend the campaign turn moving to Assembly Point B. Each campaign turn the Germans will receive a fresh platoon at Assembly Point A. So for example:

In Campaign Turn 1 the Germans could choose to have the first platoon attack Map 1.

©Too Fat Lardies

On Campaign Turn 2 a new platoon will have arrived at Assembly Point A. If we assume the Germans were successful in capturing Map 1 in the previous turn then the German player could choose to have the first platoon attack from Map 1 along the pale blue arrow to Map 2. At the same time the second platoon could move from Assembly Point A to Assembly Point B.

©Too Fat Lardies

On Campaign Turn 3 a third platoon will have arrived at Assembly Point A. The Germans now have several options. If the first platoon succeeded in capturing Map 2 in the previous turn it could attack Map 3, while the second platoon at Assembly Point B makes its way to Assembly Point C and the third platoon which just arrived makes its way to Assembly Point B. 

©Too Fat Lardies

If the first platoon has failed to take Map 2 the Germans could choose to make two separate attacks in the current campaign turn and have the first platoon make a second attempt to capture Map 2 while the second platoon attacks Map 3.

©Too Fat Lardies

As you can see the German player has a number of choices and several possible avenues of attack. They also have a considerable force with which to achieve their objective, what the player doesn't have is time. They need to be aggressive and push forward using the various routes that are available. Not only that, their armour support requires a crossing at the River Our. This won't be possible until campaign turn 4 or later and will require a successful die roll, so initially the Germans will have to make do with light support.

Where does this leave the American player? They will assign one platoon to each map, each under a 'stand and hold' order. In other words a slow fighting withdrawal is not an option, they must delay the Germans by fighting bitterly for each map, to withdraw is to risk becoming scattered and lost. They are assigned 48 support points at the start and these can be allocated as the player wishes across the six maps, with a maximum of 12 points on any one map. In addition a limited and variable amount of support (which will include some armour) will arrive from the west of Map 6 from Campaign Turn 2. 

For the Americans the front line will be everywhere, with the Germans likely to crop up in the most unexpected places. The Americans do have the ability to move support units between connected and adjacent maps each campaign turn which allows them to be responsive. However German units at assembly points can try to interdict this movement and with German units able to attack maps from several points the Americans must always do so with one eye over their shoulder.

All this gives the players plenty to think about and several interesting challenges. I think this is what is so appealing about the campaign, it won't just be about fighting individual scenarios but also stringing together a cohesive campaign to outfox our opponent.

I will do my best with the AARs to help readers follow this off map narrative as much as the action on the table in each individual scenrario. Hopefully this post can make a good reference point if things start to become a little confusing.

A few extra points to keep in mind:

The Germans platoons are all Volksgrenadiers but can be either a Sturm platoon equipped with StG44 assault rifles or a regular rifle platoon. What type they will be is subject to a die roll at the start of each campaign turn (1 or 2 it's a rifle platoon, otherwise it's a Sturm platoon). These have different force ratings which will influence the level of support the German player has for each scenario.

The German platoons are rated as Green but will roll 5 command dice. Their leaders are more experienced than the men and have the Alte Kampfer characteristic which means when rolling to see if they are hit the player will need to roll less than the number of kills, not equal to.

If you don't own it already I highly recommend that you purchase the very reasonably priced pdf version of the Bloody Bucket campaign for Chain of Command from the Too Fat Lardies website, available here.

You can find the first post on the opening turn here - Bloody Bucket turns 1 & 2

As we play through the campaign (first game is 11 February 2021) game reports will be posted on the Chain of Command campaign AAR page.



  1. I don't have British or Russian troops so I can only comment about American based campaigns. But this is the best of the lot so far. Watch those Green Germans, the difficulty in killing their leaders gives them and advantage that I didn't expect! I lost this campaign with the Americans, but can't wait to try it again! Good Luck!

  2. Thanks Dick, I've been wanting to play this one for a while, there are so many options and variables it makes for a wonderful challenge for both players.

  3. I'm building up the forces for this one. It should be a cracker.

    1. Lots to think about in this one, both on and off the table, which makes it a nice twist on the usual campaign ladder structure.