15 October 2021

Gung Ho- Along the Coral Road (1)

Followers of this blog will know that myself and Pierre-Yves have recently started a Saipan campaign. Since I hosted the Gembloux Gap campaign, it fell to P-Y to host our next campaign. He had been recently working on Jungle terrain, so this gave him a chance to put it on display. P-Y is a master terrain builder as well as a great photographer so this was something to look forward.

My gaming friends in Finland have put on several games in which I have participated and I felt I should return the favour. I also had some jungle terrain as well as USMC and IJA forces that I painted and built from 2017 through to 2018 but have yet to see the table. I let the Finns decide on which theatre they would like to try and they uniformly wanted to do some Jungle gaming. Coincidentally, at the same time a new Pacific campaign came out for Chain of Command so we all agreed why not. The other big thing for me is that I do shift work and many days in the week I am off, so this was something I could easily do while at the same time making it convenient for the players in Finland. Tuesday is the regular game night for their club so we selected Wednesdays for this campaign. We had our first game this past Wednesday. We start at 1200h EDT which is 1900h in Finland.

I had to do a bit of work on my terrain and I was short some Japanese figures, so over the last couple of weeks I put in some work. With P-Y's suggestions I was able to put together a fairly nice table for our first game. Here is an overview as well as some closeups. There are 4 tables in the campaign, and they are all 90% jungle, aside from some roads and the occasional structure.

But on to the actual campaign. I am not going to reveal everything here as I have kept the players in the dark about the specifics. Both sides started the first scenario without knowing the actual composition of the opposing force, the wild cards that were available etc etc. After the first turn the Japanese now know that they are facing a USMC Raider Platoon and since they were occupying the island, I made available to them the 4 scenarios maps.

The campaign was written by William Thorpe, I believe this is 3rd campaign for CoC, myself and P-Y had played his All American campaign which we quite enjoyed. The campaign itself is available on Wargamers Vault. The campaign follows the exploits of the USMC Raider platoon being dropped off by submarine on the remote Makin Island in the Pacific where they have been ordered to search and destroy Japanese installations.

A few housekeeping issues before I describe the game. I have been increasing frustrated with Zoom, they have a good system but they just can not deliver 720p video on my system despite me paying for it. My friend Eero in Finland uses Discord for all his games so I thought I would give it a try. It was a little intimidating at first but once I figured it out it really works well. I was able to integrate private audio chat channels for each side as well as a integrated dice roller. There invite system is seamless, and I can have multiple text channels on my server. I was able to deliver 3 video channels in our game yesterday with good quality and they also have an integrated share screen which is quite useful. I used 3 wireless iPhones for the Video feeds and aside from one phone that could deliver 4k, the other 2 phones delivered what appeared to be good quality 720p. I should say I bought the Nitro upgrade for $100 per year.

Enough chatting, we had 4 players in Finland set up to play, one had to bow out because of an acute illness but we are playing regular CoC so all we really need is 1 player aside. Eero and Petri are very experienced CoC players, I have learned a lot from them. We also have Mikko and Kyanor who have some CoC experience so I feel the campaign will be well balanced in respect to experience.


2nd Marine Raider Battalion

3 Raider Squads with Superior JL's and 9 men

Supports (6)

Native Assistance (2)
? (4)

Japanese (FM 11)
62nd Garrison Force

Grenadier Section with JL and 8 men and 3 50mm Mortars
Otherwise unknown composition.

Supports (3)



So on to the Patrol Phase, we started off using P-Y's patrol ap but my skill set is not his, so I ran into a bit of a roadblock and half way through we had to transition to the table. This however was pretty smooth and we ended up withe the following.
As you can see the Raiders got the jump, as they had 4 free moves. There JOP's were well up the table, the IJA were about 18" in from there edge.

So I have to say it was a very short game, mostly because of the forward JOP's for the Raiders. They also played their "Lt Peatross" wild card which gave them a Pre-game Barrage for the first turn. This did make IJA deployment difficult. With the "Native Assistance" support they were able to deploy a Raider Squad 12" from a JOP rather than the usual 6" and with their "First to Fight" national charactersitic they were able to deploy this squad on just a 4 with a SL!

So suddenly the Japanese commander was faced with 3 Raider squads with an SL on the table within striking distance of all 3 of their JOP's and just a knee mortar squad on the table. The IJA prudently withdrew yielding the first table to the marines.
Here are the final positions at withdrawal.

Butcher's Bill

USMC (platoon 1)

Final FM 9
no dead

CO +3
MO +2
Platoon Leaders Outlook Happy

IJA (platoon 1)

Final FM 11
no dead

CO -1 
MO +2
Platoon Leaders Outlook Cheerful

Well, certainly a short game but the IJA now have quite a bit of intelligence about the Raiders while the Raiders have little about the Japanese. We are planning to play our next game on 20-10-21, so stay tuned.

13 October 2021

Saipan-Securing the Beachhead (2)

This past Monday week, we had our 2nd turn in the Saipan campaign. This was the "Delaying Action" scenario from the main rulebook, Very simple game, the USMC had to capture a JOP and end the turn to gain victory. This was a little tricky for the Japanese as this was pretty open terrain with the defensive points well forward. This is always difficult as the player wants to deploy in good position but also having JOP's forward makes it easy for the attacker to win the game.

As you can see from the Patrol Ap result it, it did not come out well for me. I was able to get a JOP in the hard cover with the airport building but allowed P-Y to get in the jungle to the north allowing him advance along his left flank in cover. So on to the game.

USMC (FM 11) (+2 on FM roll)
6th Marine Regiment

Type F USMC Platoon- Fresh

3 Infantry Squads with JL and 12 men

Supports (10)

Red Dice (2)
Pregame Barrage (2)
M3A1 Stuart (5)
Corpsman (1)

Japanese (FM 10) (+2 on FM roll)
136th Infantry Regiment

Type B Infantry Platoon #1 (less 6 men)

2 SL
3 Infantry Sections with Jl and 11 men
Grenadier Section with JL and 8 men and 3 50mm Mortars

Supports (6)

3.7 Type 94 ATG (3)
MMG Team (3)

So on to the game:

My plan was to play it safe, I felt that this table was going to be a difficult one to win and this was obvious after the patrol phase. The USMC having a JOP in the forest on my right flank was going to be a real problem. I did have some cover in the small forest on my edge as well as in the terminal/control tower at the airport. I would have to deploy early and on overwatch.

So we started the game and of course P-Y had wisely taken a Pre-Game Barrage which was probably going to stymie my plans. I had taken a ATG as I was suspicious that he would take some armour and he did take a Stuart. He brought this on almost immediately and was able to get it in the jungle on his left flank. I was able to get an LMG squad as well as my grenadier squad in the jungle on my edge and by the tightest of margins was able to get in the ATG in there as well. By then, P-Y had deployed 2 squads in the same jungle on his left flank and then placed a 3rd squad behind the small rock in his centre. In response, I placed my MMG team on the top floor of the terminal as well as another LMG squad spread between 2 floors.

So here we were sitting with 80% of our troops deployed, it was really up to the dice now. Double phases where one could fire first and then manoeuvre or place the squad on overwatch (we play the TT modifications) would be ideal. Unfortunately for the IJA, the red dice here starting to show it's value with P-Y getting a lot of activations. I was able to get a good shot off at the Stuart but only 1 net hit; shock only! P-Y brought the power of his squads to bear, I think 19d6, re-rolling 1's is just a real challenge and soon I was taking a lot of shock without really getting the chance to fire back. A little over an hour into the game I decided to withdraw. Another USMC victory! Really going to have to get my ducks in a row for our next game.

Butcher's Bill

USMC (have a new platoon each game)

Final FM 11
no dead!

CO +2
MO +4

Japanese (platoon 1)

Final FM 8
1 man dead, 1 missing for next game (6 down again)

CO 0 
MO 0

Platoon Leaders Outlook to be determined at the end of game 3

On to some terrific photos from the camera of P-Y....

Our next game should be sometime in early November, as I am away next week.

06 October 2021

Black Seas-Pitched Battle

Yesterday myself and Adam got in a game of Black Seas at the Hobby Bunker in Wakefield. It was nice too see Adam and to get out for an in person gaming session. Although we have played a few games of Black Seas, it was also the first time he got to see my Spanish fleet as they had been trapped in Montreal for almost 18 months because of the pandemic.

We decided to go with the Pitched Battle Scenario from the rulebook, this is a 2000 point game played on a 6x4 sea terrain. I played the Spanish and Adam the French.

Spanish Fleet

Admiral Juan de Lángara
1st Rate w/ Lucky, Sturdy, Boarding Nets, Master Gunner
Two 5th Rates w/ Sturdy, More Carronades
5th Rate w/ Lucky, More Carronades
Two Brigs/ Sturdy
6th Rate Xebec w/ Sturdy

French Fleet

1st Rate w/ Sturdy
Three 3rd Rates w/ Sturdy
Two 5th Rates w/ Sturdy and Streamlined Hull

So we got on with it, Adam has played a lot and I have not played this ruleset for close to 2 years so I had to be cautious. As you can see, I went with pretty defensive attributes with Sturdy and upped my firepower with More Carronades. My 1st Rate was going to be my main offensive ship so I added a couple dice re-rolls with Lucky and Master Gunner.

We got in a very good game lasting around 3 hours, I had a lot of fun. It was touch and go for a while as my 1st Rate staying in the action and delivering some devastating firepower, but my overall lack of offence with my small ships eventually ended up with a clear victory for the French.

Here are a few photos I took of the actions.

Well played Adam, we are hoping to get in a game of Devil in the Wilderness next. Looking forward to it.

15 September 2021

Saipan: -Day at Red Beach (1)

Last night, Pierre-Yves and myself started our 4th Chain of Command campaign but our first in the Pacific/Far East theatre. I have been the attacker in our last 2 campaigns (Bloody Bucket, Gembloux Gap) so it was good that P-Y picked the USMC who are of course the attackers in this campaign in the Marianna Islands. The campaign is free available for download here. You can also watch the campaign being played out on Tabletop CP

 P-Y is hosting this campaign in Montreal, I joined by Zoom from Salem and as usual we were joined by our intrepid but tired friends Janne and Eero in Finland, if I have it right it was 0200h in Finland when the game started.

I had put a bit of time thinking about how I was going to defend against the USMC (I have to admit I forgot how overpowering American platoon can be in CoC with their BAR's and their re-rolls). The first table in the campaign is a bespoke Beach Assault scenario, I thought it was quite well thought out with the USMC suffering shock (1d6 per squad) and casualties (1 d3 per squad) as they deploy on the beach under a Pregame Barrage. They do have a lot of support though and can arrive in APC's. The Japanese have several fixed defences and also suffer shock (1d6 per squad in the 1st turn). The following photo show my pre-game defensive plan......
......and as you can see from the Patrol Ap result it came out pretty well as planned in respect to the JOP's (pink). 
Here is a photo of the actual table......
......and with Japanese defences.

Anyway on to the set up:

USMC (FM 9 (+2 on FM roll)
6th Marine Regiment

Type F USMC Platoon

3 Infantry Squads with JL and 12 men

Supports (19)

Red Dice (2)
Pregame Barrage (2)
FO (5)
LVT(A)-4 75mm Howitzer (4)
? (6)

Japanese (FM 9) (+2 on FM roll)
136th Infantry Regiment

Type B Infantry Platoon #1

2 SL
3 Infantry Sections with Jl and 12 men
Grenadier Section with JL and 12 men and 3 50mm Mortars

Supports (8)

3.7 Type 94 ATG (3)
7.5 Type 1 Field Gun (5)

So on to the game:

My plan was quite straight forward, I was quite focused on taking out any AFV's so I took as good as AP weapons as I could find combined with good HE ability, thus the 2 guns. I also had added HE with my grenadier squad. I believe these were probably good choices but I am not sure if my deployment plan was the best. Should I deploy early so I was on overwatch when the Marines deployed or should I wait until they got close and fired and engaged in combat. As it was I could deploy 2/3 of my force in Hard Cover so I opted for early deployment. Waiting might have been a better option as the Marines had to get 2 units off the table to win the game, this seemed like a challenge and I had to remember that they have 3 team squads and units can equate to a team in CoC.

It is always a challenge to have 5 CD and you are facing a force with 6 CD, and this really came up in this battle. The Marines had the initiative and deployed the LVT(A)-4, this was good as it only has an armour of 2 so I deployed my 2 guns. They did take quite a bit of shock coming on, but were able to get reduce it pretty quickly and they were successful it stopping the APC.
7.5 cm Field Gun
3.7cm ATG
By now, however, the Marines had deployed 2 squads on the beach and with 3 BAR's per squad and re-rolling 1's they made fairly short work of the 3.7 cm ATG, killing the crew and causing the JL to abandon the gun.
There is a lot of firepower here.

To take on these 2 squads, I brought on my grenadier squad, I had planned to bring on at least 1 more infantry squad as I had rolled two 2's and two 3's but the PGB prevented them all deploying. They were entrenched but 1 squad facing 2 marine squads was not going to go well as I soon found out.
P-Y brings on a FO and before I know it a barrage is sitting on top of my entrenchment and bunker, the Japanese try to hold up, but P-Y's  dice are excellent and mine are abysmal. I believe he had 3-4 double phases, I had none.
I could have pulled back my troops (we use TT"s modified barrage rules that allow movement and firing while under a barrage) but by now it just seemed that it would be a drawn out affair so I withdrew to fight another day. Well played by the marines!

Butcher's Bill

USMC (have a new platoon each game)

Final FM 7
2 men killed

CO +1
MO +1

Japanese (platoon 1)

Final FM 7
4 men dead, 2 missing for next game

CO -1 
MO +1 (started at +2)

Platoon Leaders Outlook to be determined at the end of game 3