15 November 2015

Closing the Gap: A New Chain of Command Campaign

St Lambert, 19 August 1944. The Canadian officer on the left holding the pistol is Major David Currie.  He commanded a combined force of armour (the South Alberta Regiment) and infantry (the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders). This was the last action in Operation Tractable which finally closed the Falaise Gap to prevent German forces retreating back to the Fatherland. For his heroism at St Lambert-sur-Dives, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
We had our second game in our August 1944 Falasie Gap campaign yesterday. Mike (the Germans) invited me to Rhode Island for the game and it was a nice drive on a beautiful morning. Mike has quite the gaming set up in his house and we had a great game. Additionally his wife put on a superb lunch that was much appreciated.

Scenario 1: The Road to St Lambert

We played the first game in the campaign about 3 weeks ago, I am afraid I took no photos. Mike sent me one a few days ago but it somehow or another got deleted. I had actually played this game once and presented it on Gamesday at the Hobby Bunker in August. The terrain was pretty well laid out as you can see. The game resulted in a Canadian Victory, although I foolishly took a lot of casualties which is not good in this campaign. Here is our campaign tracker after the first scenario.

Scenario 2: Entering the Town

In our second scenario, Major Currie makes his first attempt to enter St Lambert on the morning of August 19, 1944. The Germans are well positioned and they have some Panzer IV's ready for action. This is a difficult scenario for the Canadians as they have to cross the River Dives, which is quite deep and counts as a major obstacle in CoC. For victory, the Canadians needed to secure a JOP in the greyed German zone.

Well on to the game, I seldom remember to take photos during a game, but I did get some at the start.
Set up
Patrol Phase
Canadian JOP's
German JOP's with the target JOP in Blue
First advance by Canadians was doomed.
Canadian Plan and German Defenses
For supports, I took a UC section with a JL, Piat team as well as a Bren team. I also took a FO with an off-table medium mortar team. Mike took a HMG team. According to the campaign rules, I had a Sherman and Mike had a Panzer IV.

I had a pretty straight forward plan, and that was to secure victory in this scenario with my supporting troops and preserve my core platoon as I had foolish squandered half a section in my first game. I would have liked to have got a JOP across the river, but at least 2 of them were on the edge but in retrospect, I am not sure how well this served me. The game started off poorly for me with a 8 on my Morale throw with Mike getting an 11. The dice were tossed, and laid down my smallest section. On Mike's first throw he got a treble 6 and that was it for them with a JL killed. Horrible throws on the Morale table ended up with me going down to a 6 on the first turn of the game! Not looking good.

I still felt my plan was good and set it into place as you can see in the last photo above. I was able to deploy my FO fairly quickly with a 2" mortar section throwing out smoke rounds. I also deployed a full section and my Platoon Sergeant behind the hedge. With this position they had good LOS for both the medium and small mortars and quickly laid down smoke to obscure the German squad 1's LOS to my combined section/mortar teams. I was then able to quickly get out a full barrage on top the German first squad as well as the HMG team in the house. 

Time to advance the Sherman to take a shot at the Panzer if it appeared on the road. Mike throws another double 6 as well as completing a CoC Dice, he ends the turn and my Sherman is exposed to the Panzer and kaboom, it is taken out. At this point I have no real antitank weapons aside from 2 Piats! One get laid down in the hedge, but is too far away to shoot. I successfully call up another mortar barrage and again it is well placed and lands on the road reigning down further mayhem on the HMG team, German squad 1 and more importantly on the road. I bring on my UC section, as you can see the plan is to dash over the bridge and then advance on the German left flank which is poorly protected (the arrow on the photo above somewhat incorrect in that UC section has to cross the bridge and then verve to the left). I have a great throw and the section gets all the way to the bridge on their first move. Mike's turn, he throw yet another treble 6; the turn ends, the barrage and smoke again disappear, and he is now able to lay down suppressive fire on the UC section with the HMG team as well as fire the Panzer's cannon. The advance has been thwarted and Major Currie orders a tactical withdrawal. A German victory.

Well it was really a fun game the combination of Mike's excellent defensive tactics as well as some unlucky die rendered an outcome unfavorable to the Canadians. But my core platoon was kept essentially intact from the the first scenario and I will start the third scenario with the same number of men as the second. I was a little unlucky on the post game process and my Men's Opinion of my leadership has plunged and I am now -1 on my next force morale. Mike was also able to bring the campaign force morale tracker up to it's base of 10 with the victory and the destruction of the Sherman. Our next game is this coming Saturday, time to shine up the dice.


  1. Nice, very nice batrep John...great maps and explanations!

  2. I agree with the other comments, the layout you have at the moment makes it nice and clear as to what the battle plan was and how the game went. Great looking games and explanations.

    I really like the campaign tracker spreadsheet, I might borrow your idea next time I play a campaign if you don't mind John?

    1. Thanks Matt, I believe I am going to have a tough time in the next game. Feel free to use the campaign tracker.

      I am looking forward to introducing Major Currie into the game.

  3. Looks to have been a great day out! Good luck on your next mission John!