Advance to Contact

Scenario taken from Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy 105 played using Chain of Command, Scenario 5

Its April 1945, a sleepy hamlet on the German border is in the path of the advancing British. An ad-hoc platoon of Volksturm has been given the task of defending this strategic crossroads. They are expecting a probing force to test the defenses but not a sustained effort to breakthrough this part of the line.

The British scouts approach from the south and west trying to gauge the strength of the German forces. They see activity around the church and decide to hold at the tree line until they get a better idea of the force they face. On the approach to the hamlet the Britis scouts push right up into the buildings coming into close contact with enemy and then holding position.

The first British section is sighted in around the farm buildings just east of the cross roads. This is met with fire from the building across the road. A troop of British tanks is sent ahead of the advancing column to support the infantry.

Suspecting German resistance might be stronger than expected the British commander pulls back the advanced section and has his Forward Observer call in mortar support. A strong force is positioned along the hedgerow ready to advance towards the objective once the barrage had finished. One section is sent with the tanks to flush out any panzerfaust wielding fanatics.

Unexpectedly the building right on the objective which the British forces are hoping to take and use as cover bursts into flames and plumes of smoke obscures their line of advance. The British Armour moves around the flank as the German reinforcements start to arrive as a hastily put together force to bolster the defence. A Stug appears at the crossroads and opens fire onto the advanced Sherman. The fire is largely ineffective.

Shots are exchanged, the Sherman’s fire fails to penetrate the frontal armour but eventually persuades the crew to abandon their vehicle which is a blow to the defenders morale.

The British infantry is at a standstill whilst the barrage is effect, the flaming building has really limited the avenues of advance.

Seeing armour approaching on the flank, the reinforcements are sent to to hold them off with panzerfausts in hand, in desperation they are fired off at long range which is in effective.

The German commander sends forward a panzershreck team to deal with the armour. Their round flies true and blows the advanced Sherman up.

In anticipation of more armour appearing the Volksturm enlist the help an experienced Pak40 crew.

With the attack on the hamlet effectively at a standstill, the British tank commander tries to advance on the German reinforcements. Their sustained fire decimates the 2 squads.

Even with the huge amount of fire thrown towards the defenders the attackers advance faulters giving the Germans a reprieve and they hold the crossroads.

British Forces

Motor Infantry Platoon with FOO + 3″ mortar battery, pre-game barrage and adjutant (Gareth – Commander)

Tank troop – 2 x Sherman V and a Sherman VC ( Mike)

German Forces

Green Volksturm Platoon with Pak 40 (Alistair)

Reinforcements – Officer, 2 squads, Tripod mounted MMG and Stug G. (Jason)

This was the first game I had put together by myself using the scenario from WSS as a basis. The forces and scenario were kept secret from the players until the game was about to start as to maximise the fog of war. I was unsure how this scenario would play out, I expected it to be a walk over for the British. With the pre-game barrage in effect and the aggressive way that the British played their patrol phase I thought that it would mean a fast advance onto the objective unhindered. However I have never seen so many double or triple phases played in one game and multiple turn ends. Twice four sixes were rolled on the command dice, one only a few phases into the game causing the pre-game barrage to end, the German reinforcements being able to come on and the building in the centre to burst into flames which completely changed the dynamic of the game.

I thoroughly enjoyed putting this together and watching it being played through. I thank Gareth, Alistair, Mike and Jason for being patient with me and for making it an entertaining evening.

Dean

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