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Combat Commander: Battle Pack #5 – Fall of the West» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The Isthmus Ablaze rss

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Stacey Hager
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Combat Commander: Europe
3/28/2014
Scenario 80 - Bitter Isthmus
Germans - Stacey
French - Nate

Sgt. Grein leads an assault group on the German right flank, which moves up through the woods. Lt. Lauerbach takes charge of the German HMG to the left, and leads it up to the edge of the trees on that side to oppose French Lt. Serrault, who is manning the French HMG directly across the field in objective 2. The road is a deathtrap from both sides. On the way up to the right front, Grein's assault force and it's attendant rifle squads manage to uncover a hidden minefield, and witness a fire spread to become a blaze.

Grein's force moves up to the edge of the trees to face off with Sgt. Rochefort and a Chesseur sqaud. Several rounds of fire are exchanged between Grein's group and his, as well as a French Chesseur squad and LMG team who are entrenched in objective 3, to no effect. The German rifle squad with an LMG, adjacent to Grein's hex, is killed. Rocehfort, preparing for possible close combat, deploys his squad into two teams. The French objective 3 team suffers two weapon breaks that eliminate the LMG.

1 - From across the field, Serrault observes the relentless firefight in the far clearing between Grein and Rochefort. From the cover of the trees he adjusts his weapon to 10 o'clock position and unloads a magazine in the direction of Grein's muzzle flashes. Grein's LMG team breaks...and a stray round ignites a second blaze in the map edge trees that serve as the only covered path between one side of the clearing and the other! Any hope the combatant's had of advancing through this cover to close to Melee distance is dashed. Rochefort's teams and the objective 3 group follow up with a burst of fire that breaks Grein, and his other rifle squad. Now, all three units in the assault group are broken. Catastrophe looms...but a recover order is successfully executed just in time. Somewhere along the way in this phase (can't quite recall) a German rifle squad with an LMG is eliminated in the midsection trees by Serrault's HMG as well.

2 - Dietel, who will receive the Iron Cross due to his heroism in this action, arrives on the scene and sets up with a German rifle squad in the brush to he left. His given mission is extremely dangerous: maneuver through the brush in order to flank Serrault's deadly HMG nest. He waits for orders...





3 - Rochefort's group, soon to be joined by the former French LMG team moving out of objective 3, advances into the no man's land clearing just in time, as a breeze spreads the adjacent blaze in his direction, consuming the hex they were just in! As the time trigger hits, both his group and Grein's quickly dig in. In the French rear, Serrault and Fache begin repositioning themselves to the German right. Serrault and his HMG abandon objective 2 and make for objective 3. Fache moves his units up towards Rochefort's former position, in order to consolidate forces for a push into the forest. Serrault and his HMG take up position in objective 3 along with two other French teams. He has fortified the now empty objective 3 and maintained a fire lane across the field to ensure that the road he was guarding prior to movement remains covered. A German rifle sqaud with an LMG moves up to reinforce Grein, but is caught in hidden wire.

At this point, as the German commander, I have a hard decision to make. All the French forces are concentrating on Grein's position. Rochefort and 3 teams are directly adjacent to me, in foxholes. I make a command decision to order Grein to advance into melee, as I finally have an ambush order in hand. I hope to eliminate Rochefort, take his covered position, and open fire on the objective 3 units headed by Serrault and his HMG. In melee, I break a unit in ambush. Attack totals are one point apart...and I roll middling. Nate rolls better, and he has the initiative. Grein's entire assault force is bested in close combat by determined French. (Descendents of Napoleon's bayonet troops?) Rochefort's group moves into Grein's former foxholes and eliminates the adjacent Germain rifle/LMG squad in the wire. They face down another rifle squad who was in the rear. They break him, but a fortunate light wounds action reduces him. He runs in a panic! The French forces move forward en masse...and another breeze spreads the fires even more! We are at the beginning of what could be an out of control forest fire.



At this point, my personal morale check is pretty grim. If Nate eliminates one more of my units, he wins. If I am remembering correctly, his VP stood at 8 at this point, (we both had flip-flopped getting defender VP during each time trigger due to the scenario special rules.) My squad who had suffered light wounds is within dangerous distance of a massive French troop movement, who are now clearly looking to exit the map for significant VP's. I fortunately grab a move order and get this team out of immediate danger. Nontheless, a wave of hopelessness falls over me, as I am consigned to the fact I will lose this game. An awful feeling.

But if there is one thing I have taken from these forums over the years, it is this: YOU NEVER GIVE UP IN A GAME OF COMBAT COMMANDER!

4 - Lauerbach, who could only watch from the German left this whole time as hell broke loose on the German right, orders his HMG to move into the brush to prepare for movement. They now have only one choice - to move up the road and secure position towards their ultimate objective, which is ahead and off map. But before the mass of units can get aligned to move, Dietel, who is enraged at the catastrophe on the German right, runs forward and yanks the MG34 with it's tripod right out of the hands of it's possessing team. They protest, but the ice cold glare in his eyes shuts them up. He drapes a belt of ammo around his neck, and he runs like a madman RIGHT UP THE ROAD!

Across the field in objective 3, Serrault spots Dietel. He quickly snaps his HMG to 2 o'clock and pulls the trigger.....a few rounds fire off, Dietel jumps in a ditch (foxholes that appeared via action) and the gun jams!

Dietel jumps right into the position occupied by Serrault at the beginning of the game in objective 2. He unloads a volley of suppressing fire towards the direction of the earlier action, as Lauerbach and his men watch with wide eyes. Knowing that the opportunity is at hand, Lauerbach screams at his men to run like hell down the road. Halfway down, some of them jump into the ditch just in time, as Serrault repairs his HMG. Serrault curses loudly as he opens up towards the unexpected mass of Germans to no avail. As he runs out of ammo, Lauerbach spurns his men on to exit the map for 7VP! Time runs out just in time to give me (the defender) 1 additional VP! We are one time marker beyond sudden death, and I have the initiative. I elect not to re-roll. Hidden objectives are revealed, and they grant me 6 more VP for having objective 5 for 5 and 1 for 1. The massive French group that had eliminated Grein never get a chance to finish off the team that ran from them, and they get stymied from moving towards exit, most likely from the fires that threaten to surround!

The Germans avoid complete disaster to win the game!





It was as usual, an excellent experience with CC. Some after game notes:

1. This was our first time using the French deck. Nate remarked that at only one point in the game did he feel nerfed with the 1 discard (although the SSR allowing a Command Confusion to be thrown away after using an action helped). The light blue units and deck seemed to be more than adequate for the task at hand.

2. This was our first BP 5 Fall of the West scenario. I chose this one due to the simple SSR's and low unit count, as well as the fact that the Pitched Battle SSR was quite interesting. With Pitched Battle, you make a roll every time trigger to determine posture. You end up flip-flopping between attacker/defender/recon, which opens up a whole host of limitations and opportunities to contend with. Their were times when I appreciated having more cards, but also plenty of times where being able to use defense only actions was a great help. We neither one had to discard due to posture changes, and we both certainly benefited from getting defender VP's at different times.

3. The only flaw I think Nate made was not leaving Serrault and the HMG at objective 2, even though Serrault could still cover it from objective 3. His secret objective was 5, and he knew he couldn't get over to that side of the map to take it from me, so he opted to try for big exit VP. The end result was me grabbing them...but I never would have done so if not for Dietel! Again, I receive a hero, which is something I seem to do reliably.

4. I won the game despite being one away from surrender and not having eliminated even one enemy unit. The fire spreading through the forest was great...could have gotten real nasty with another breeze!

5. Initiative used scantly. It was passed to me to nullify a good fire roll. I held on to it to re-roll sudden death, which gained me an extra time period. It was handed to me again to nullify the penultimate sudden death roll. The subsequent roll still ended the game, leaving me with initiative.

6. At long last, Nate and myself get to play CC. The last THREE times we attempted to do so resulted in aborted games due to life circumstances.

7. Glad to post my very first CC session report.

8. YOU NEVER GIVE UP IN COMBAT COMMANDER!


(edits for typos and clarity)


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Richard Pardoe
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shager wrote:
Time runs out just in time to give me (the defender this time) 1 additional VP!

A small note - the SD roll occurs before the defender VP.

As a result, if the game ends as a result of the SD roll, there is NO VP granted. If the game continues (failed SD roll), then the defender VP is awarded.
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Stacey Hager
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Looks like we flubbed that one. Note to self - Execute the time advancement procedure on the play aid in order after each time trigger. We actually did this the first few times...it was late and we were tired near the end though.

End result should be 1 VP less for me. I'm glad we didn't end up with a 0 VP game decided by initiative...this error would have given the game to Nate.
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Stacey Hager
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One other observation I neglected to add: this was the first game where we really saw the true value of deploying squads into teams. Very wise to do so up close with impending melee! You end up with a higher melee attack total, and you also decrease the effectiveness of ambush actions played against you, as there are more units to spread the damage to.
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Richard Pardoe
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shager wrote:
we really saw the true value of deploying squads into teams.

Of course, on the other side, the surrender level doesn't change and eliminating 2 teams takes up 2 spots toward surrender while a squad takes up 1.

In other words, another case of balancing the pros and cons.....
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Chick Lewis
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Wonderful story, Shager !
 
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