A few weeks ago, the club had an all day session. In the morning I played Saga: AoM, as reported here. In the afternoon, I played a game of CoC, using my Peter Pig troops and PSC vehicles against Nigel. I wrote a scenario in advance and here are the briefings for the two sides;
The British are pushing forwards from the town of Lambeek along the road toward the important rail junction at the town of Grolschbeek, some 5km distant. The countryside is flat and wooded with no buildings, except for a bombed sugar beet factory complex. The factory is in the centre of the table. Until now, resistance has been slight but aerial photographs have revealed a build-up of German forces in this area. The make-up of the German troop concentration is not known, so patrols are being sent forwards to test the defences.
As the British wish to push an armoured force along this road to capture the Grolschbeek junction, it is essential that better intelligence about the enemy defences is gathered. To this end, a platoon of Rifles has been sent to probe the ruined factory. Supporting the infantry is a recce section of three carriers and one M5 light tank, accompanied by an Intelligence Corps officer in a carrier
The force is;
Rifle platoon (dismounted from trucks which are off table) as described in the rulebook, i.e. HQ plus 3 sections
Recce section: 3 Universal carriers, 2 Bren teams, 1 2” mortar team, 1 junior leader
1 M5 Stuart light tank, 1 junior leader
Intelligence Corps observer (in a carrier). This officer activates as a junior leader on a 3 on a command dice. He must enter the factory area and remain there.
The British will have four patrol markers and may place three JOPs.
Advance as far as the factory and neutralise any opposition. You are escorting an Intelligence Corps officer in a fourth carrier. He should be protected and allowed investigate the region. To simulate this, his carrier must enter the factory complex and remain there until the end of the game.
Since being pushed out of Lambeek by British forces, Intelligence reports suspect that the next move will be to assault and capture the Grolschbeek railway junction. As reinforcements have been delayed by Allied air attacks, it is essential that British patrols do not discover that the town is currently only lightly-defended. Therefore, a number of forward defensive locations have been identified. One of these is the ruined sugarbeet processing factory on the Grolschbeek to Lambeek road. An augmented Zug of Grenadiers, supported by a machine gun section has been sent to occupy and hold the factory. The troops are carried in trucks but have dismounted short of the objective.
The force is;
Grenadier Zug as listed in the rulebook, except that each section leader has two Panzerfausts
One extra Grenadier section, led by a junior leader without any Panzerfausts
MMG section: two tripod-mounted MG42 MMGs (each carried in one unarmed SDKfz 251 halftrack) with a junior leader. This must deploy from the German table edge.
The Germans will have three patrol markers and may place three JOPs.
Occupy and hold the sugar beet factory and prevent British patrols from advancing towards Grolschbeek.
We rolled dice to see who would play which side. Nigel chose the British and I played as the Germans. Here is the table before the Patrol Phase. The Germans would enter from the far edge and the British from the nearer one.
A good Patrol Phase saw the Germans establishing a JOP just behind the bombed factory, from where troops were soon advancing to seize control if the buildings.
More Germans deployed in the fields behind the factory. For me, getting boots on the ground quickly was essential to achieving my objective.
However, the British were soon advancing tactically behind a 2" mortar smoke screen.
I was worried about the speedy Carrier Recce Section and soon got my Panzerschreck team peppering it to good effect. The last thing I wanted were trigger-happy Bren teams driving around.
I got more troops into the factory complex, including my most important assets, the two tripod-mounted MG42s. They were my one big hope for keeping the British at bay.
However, the Brittish squaddies were getting close. I used a CoC dice to end the turn and lift the smoke. Would this be enough to stop them getting any closer?
My section across the road continued to fire at the British in the big field surrounded by hedges, causing both shock and casualties, including the section leader.
The British infantry in the smaller building were getting too close. Time to unleash the firepower.
First, I brewed up another carrier with my Panzerschreck.
Then I got the MG section targeting the infantry. I was gaining the upper hand. The British advanced into hand-to-hand combat, with predictable results.
The remnants of the British section fled, leaving a dead section leader behind. British Force Morale was falling dangerously low. The Stuart light tank wasn't contributing anything. I decided to ignore it until it came closer.
Further exchanges of fire saw more British casualties, as I tightened my grip on the factory buildings. When British FM fell to 1, we called it a day. It was a win for the Germans.
I think that this could have gone either way, but a good patrol phase, plus a few double phases gave the Germans an early advantage from which they never really faltered.
I think that I'd like to do a follow-up scenario, with the factory at one end of the table, with a similar German forces dug-in (without the extra rifle section (to account for casualties in this game) and defending, possibly with an anti-tank gun of some kind, and with the British attacking with some useful supports, probably a couple of decent tanks and maybe a Vickers MMG attached to the platoon HQ. I will have to work on this a bit. Victory conditions might be driving German FM down to zero, getting them out of the buildings or getting a tank off the table at the defending end.