Monthly Archives: June 2011

Combat Commander Europe – 12/06/2011 (Nick)

This time we played the 2nd scenario from the base game, “Hedgerows and Hand Grenades” – Yanks v German Volksgrenadier and Conscripts. We called it a draw after 3.5 hours of me stonking his troops with artillery, them breaking, me playing a rout card and them retreating to the edge of the board only to rally just before they left the board. We also had the MG42 HMG of Doom – 3 separate units got their hands on it (1 German & 2 Yanks) and all broke and routed off the board without actually hitting anything with it.

I was very lucky with my artillery on turn 1 and kept up the pressure with the rout cards, but Nick got a defence line together eventually and with the aid of fox-holes even his worst units became tough nuts to crack. I pulled out 2 time events in the first few turns which not only gave the German’s VPs but shortened the game time remaining, so as the Yanks I had to get a shift on as the Germans start in control of all the VP locations – I think at one point it was 13-0 in VPs (!), but by the end of the game, German casualties and a couple of buildings captured by the Yanks had made the gap a lot closer. The scenario seems really well balanced and could have gone either way when we called time, but the fact the game took three and a half hours is worrying – maybe it’s just us!

Operation Squad – 30/05/2011 (Solo)

German Squad

I have the “Operation WW2” platoon level set by these authors (which I’ve been meaning to try), but rules addict that I am I picked up a set of this squad level version at Cavalier, mainly because they looked quite light and not ASL with figures. They ended up in the leafed-through rules pile until I bought the new “Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy” at Salute, and in there was a review of the rules and more importantly, it was in the form of a battle report. They looked interesting enough for a solo try-out so here we are. I picked the first scenario from the book “Recce” which is basically a meeting engagement with a building to take for VPs as well as causing casualties to the enemy.

Table Layout – 4′ x 4′

Both squads were the basic ones provided in the book with the addition of a sniper each. The game recommends 500 points for forces, but I was only using around 350 a side – on reflection, the British could have done with that Vickers.

British Squad

The plan on the German side was to place the LMG behind the right hand hedge to cover the Sergeant and the rest of the squad bounding up the road and approaching the church from the road-side.

German deployment

To cover the rear of the church, they posted a sniper by the hedge juction with a wide field of fire. The British approach was to post the Bren team on the crest of the hill (which miraculously sprouted a hedge after I took the layout photo).

Bren Nest

The rest of the squad would manoeuvre around the back of the church whilst the bren pinned down anything coming up the road.

British move through the bocage

Unfortunately, this was the area covered by the German sniper.

German sniper covers the left flank

To start the game both sides roll 2D6 and add the highest VT number of their surviving troops (I think this equates to tactical awareness). As both sides are standard squads, this number is 4 for each, but the Germans win the roll and elect to go first. The first German trooper in the line by the hedge declares he will run up the road towards the church. The loader in the Bren team has a shot at him when he becomes visible through the gap in the hedge – the Germans pass, as do the British, so we roll to see who gets the priority – roll 2D6 and add VT again, which is 3 in both cases as these are troops not leaders. The British roll higher, so get to take a shot at the running German as soon as he comes into sight. He has a basic 3D6 and his SMLE at range 70cm gives him a +1 D6 plus his VT of 3, but the German has 1D6 for the shot crossing the hedge, 1D6 for running and 1D6 for not being in line of sight when the order to fire was made, so 3D6 defence. British roll 8 + 3 VT =11, Germans roll 12, so the attack is less than defence, therefore no effect.

Germans draw Bren fire

By taking the shot, the Bren loader has revealed his position and lost his hidden marker, so the German LMG springs into action and declares a shot at him in return. The British sniper sees the danger and declares a shot at the LMG – the German sees an opportunity to get another man up the road whilst the sniper is distracted, so orders the 2nd man in line to run towards the church. The rolls including VT are as follows:- LMG (13); sniper(7); German trooper(8); the German gets to carry out all his actions before the British. The LMG has a rate-of-fire of 6(!) and because it is belt-fed, it can stop after any number of shots and interupt any figure’s action with 20cm of the original aiming point and make a priority roll to fire at them as well. However, 3 of any number on its dice will make it run out of ammo and there will have to be a reload action to get it back into action – the loader can do this as an action and the gun can resume it’s overwatch on the same turn, or the gunner can reload as an action next turn if there is no loader – it pays to spend the points on at least 1 loader! The LMG gets a basic 3D6 + 1D6 for a range of 70cm for 4D6 while the Bren loader only gets 1D6 defence for being behind a hedge. German roll is 20 + 3 VT against 5, so a difference of 18. There are 3 levels of effect for shooting in Operation Squad – a difference of 11-13 gives a pinned result, a difference of 14-15 gives a wounded result and a difference of 16+ is KIA – this is an obvious KIA. The LMG has 5 shots left, but rather than effectively going on to overwatch and saving his shots for later, the German moves along to the Bren gunner. Because the Bren gunner is hidden, he must be spotted first – this is an opposed roll of 2D6 + VT needing a result of equal or better to succeed in spotting. The LMG spots the Bren gunner, but although  he still had the same number of dice as last time, the British get an extra D6 for being out of LOS when the order was given – the result is 18 against 5, so the Bren is pinned and the only order he can be given this turn is to move carefully (10cm and retains hidden marker).

The German trooper runs up the road unopposed, then the British sniper shoots at the LMG gunner. The sniper has lots of special rules (doesn’t lose his hidden marker when he shoots; treats a damage effect as one level worse, so pinned = wounded for example; rolls 3D6 for spotting tests) but the only one which applies to the shooting roll is a re-roll of 1D6 for the Marksman attribute. 3D6 + 1D6 for range + VT of 4 results in 16 against 4 0n 2D6 (1D6 for the hedge + 1D6 for being out of LOS when the order was given), so a pinned result of difference 12. The sniper might as well re-roll the dice with a 2 on it, as even a re-roll of 1 will still get a pinned result, and it pays off with a roll of 6. This turns the result into a KIA (20 v 4) and down goes the LMG gunner. As the LMG is a support weapon it can be picked up by the assistant for free and he can use the remaining shots as well – damn!

In the next phase, the LMG is ordered to fire at the sniper, but as the only British model which can react is the corporal with the sten and he is out of range, the Britsh pass. The LMG still has to spot the sniper but fails so that ends his turn. There is no-one on the right flank to oppose the Germans running up the road, so the German sergeant declares a run up the road towards the church, while the British send a man out of the forest at the back of the church to draw fire – this succeeds in getting a shot from the sniper.

British rush church

The turn order rolled is sniper, British trooper and German sergeant, so the British trooper gets to move, but the sniper gets a shot in anywhere along his path. 3D6 + 1D6 for range + 4 VT gives 21 against 8 on 2D6 (running & not in LOS when order given) gives a difference of 13 with the German declining the re-roll – this leaves the British trooper pinned behind the field wall. However he has done his job as there is now nothing to oppose the British running towards the rear of the church – likewise, the remaining Germans get to run up the road unopposed, and there the turn ends.

Germans approach church

On turn 2 the Germans win initiative. Their sniper can’t see the sergeant as he is just hidden by the rear corner of the church, but he can see the man in the open behind him. The British sergeant ignores the sniper, and declares he will run to the front corner of the church and fire at the Germans on the road (move reduced to 15cm from 20cm for firing). The sniper wins priority and KIAs the British trooper with 4D6 against 1D6 (for running) – 21 v 1 is a sure kill. The British sergeant has a sten with a ROF of 3 so will get 3 rolls, but only gets his basic 3D6 (as the range is between 20cm and 40cm)  plus VT. The closest German will get 3D6 (1 for running, 1 not in LOS when order given & 1 because firer moved) – 3 opposed rolls produce no hits.

Missed!

The German who was targeted declares he will jump the wall behind him to get into cover then return fire at the sergeant, the British sniper says he will fire at this German after he has jumped the wall and the German LMG says it will target the sniper before he fires. The roll-off gives the LMG priority over the sniper, and after it succeeds in spotting him, it has the luxury of 6 shots at him. The first one pins him, but second shot misses and turns up triple 3 – an out of ammo result. With no loader, the LMG will have to reload as an action next turn, but it has pinned the sniper so he loses his shot at the German crossing the wall. When he gets behind the wall, the German fires at the British sergeant, getting +1D6 for range against the 3D6 defence for move & fire (1) and hard cover (2). The German rolls well and the British doesn’t, so the sergeant is pinned.

Sitting duck

The second German rifleman on the road declares a move and shoot action against the pinned sergeant (you can fire at the beginning of you move or at the end, so you could fire then move out of LOS in a building or a wood for example, but would give 1D6 defence for moving a shooting). The British rifleman behind the sergeant declares he will shoot at the German as he rounds the corner, while the German sergeant will also move and shoot at the pinned British sergeant – in response another British rifleman will move and fire at the German sergeant. Priority goes German sergeant, stationary British rifleman, moving British rifleman and German rifleman. The German sergeant with an MP40 is within 20cms so gets 2D6 for range along with his basic 3D6 and VT, while the British sergeant gets 2D6 for cover and 1D6 for German moving – the sergeant rolls appallingly getting 4 on 3D6, so the German total of 23 easily kills him. In response, the stationary British rifleman manages to pin the German rifleman so he loses his shot, but as this was against the dead sergeant it’s hardly a big loss! The moving British rifleman now has 4D6 against the German sergeant for only 1D6 defence (for moving & shooting) but rolls 12 + 3VT against 5, so no effect.

The Germans only need to kill one more British soldier to force a break test (each model has to roll 2D6, add their VT and beat 11 – if there is a leader within 20cms, use their VT and re-roll one of the 2D6). With the sergeant dead, it looked likely that a few would fail, so going all-out for another kill and to protect his exposed sergeant, a German rifleman on the road declares a move and shoot action which the British respond to with a move and shoot at the sergeant action. The German wins priority, but miscalculated his movement so that when he comes to take his shot, his own sergeant is in the way – he has to take an aim test where he has to roll less than or equal to his VT on 1D6 to hit the target, otherwise he hits the man blocking LOS – his own sergeant – ooops! Predictably needing 3 or less and with me rolling the dice, it comes up a 4, so the shot hits the German sergeant – it is the Eastern Front for that soldier. 3D6 + 2D6 for close range against the sergeant’s 1D6 for the soldier moving before firing gives 5D6 + VT v 1D6 and the result is predictable – 1 dead sergeant. The British rifleman loses his shot as the only target he had was the sergeant, but not to worry!

With both leaders dead, a draw was declared. A grand little set of rules and I’m now working on 500 points worth for British and German basic squads, as well as painting up some British Paras and German Paras to give squads with a different flavour – I’ll make them both veterans and give the Germans some assault rifles. There are rumours of a set of vehicle rules coming out soon as well, so that will be a definite buy from me. I will continue to use Disposable Heroes for platoon level games with vehicles, as I don’t think Operation Squad could cope with 30 figures a side on the table, but for a quick game on a 4′ x 4′ table they seem hard to beat – recommended.