Loose plans were made for the Calgary Strategy and Wargaming Group to convene, as it does every other Saturday, at the Sentry Box, with Britannia having been bandied about as a contender for Game of the Week. Five of us poked our heads out of our various hovels long enough to realize that that number was less than ideal for that game, so we split into two groups: Todd, Gord and Kent taking on Maria, a game I have little love for--despite enjoying Friedrich--so Tommy and I broke out CC:E for what would be his sophomore effort, after displaying some hardcore beginner's luck in his first outing last week on the Carentan Causeway.
We determined sides randomly, and I ended-up defending w/ the Russians. Other than a coupla random Secret Objectives (one each), exit points were the real money-makers in this scenario, being doubled (W). The onus was on ze attacking Germans, needing to overcome a 9 VP handicap, as well as the Russians starting out controlling 80% of the board and 3 out of 5 of the objectives.
I set up w/ a strong manoeuvre group (a Guard SMG squad, my best leader [Lt. Khukovsky], and a team to maximize melee efficacy) way out front in one of the buildings on the left edge of the board. This constituted my one grave error in a game that ended-up being quite forgiving of it from my perspective. The remainder of my forces set up centrally to provide firelane coverage for the rest of the board w/ my .50 cal set up in splendid isolation on the island in the centre of the lake.
Tommy noticed my error in judgement right away, and capitalized on it by setting up all his own close-quarters action forces immediately adjacent to my manoeuvre group, and in doing so, visually emphasized the perilous position I had placed my men in, having to face a one-two punch from a Satchel Charge and a Flamethrower right off the bat!
Much to Tommy's consternation, his initial draw did not allow him to capitalize on the scenario-determined Axis first turn. He wasted it by discarding his entire hand! Unfortunately, my own hand left much to be desired, not providing the ability to take advantage of this German misfortune, and forcing myself to make a maximum discard of my own in turn. My subsequent hand was no better, if not entirely useless: four Recover cards! I would need all four, as Tommy opened the gates and hellfire rained …
Considering the concentration of fire that Tommy was able to repeatedly bring to bear on my manoeuvre group, including the loss of Lt. Khukovsky on the first volley, my boys did the hammer and sickle proud by hanging in there long enough to see two Time! triggers effectuate. After that, though, the left side of the board was wide open for ze Germans to attempt their own exploitation of the doubled VPs offered by the scenario's Open Objective. My Russians responded by repositioning and consolidating their remaining forces in a Pillbox at Objective 3, stopping ze German manoeuvre group cold in the buildings across the street, where they cowered for the remainder of the battle.
Tommy tried to exploit the now clear right edge of the board and sent a squad down that side to try to pick up some increasingly urgent VPs, but I was able to set up an interesting shuttle procedure which consisted of sending Sgt. Bikovets ahead and then helping the team encumbered by the .50 cal to cover the distance between Objective 3 and the island quite handily.
The latter half of the game bogged down a surprising amount, with neither of us getting the cards we needed when we needed them, necessitating a lot of hand management between the two of us. It became apparent that the only way ze Germans were going to win at this point was to eliminate two of the remaining Russian units, forcing a Surrender. I, nevertheless, managed to run out the clock before Tommy was able to make that happen, and the Russians managed to eke out a victory in a scenario distinguished by significant mobility and fire ability thanks to superior quality troops on both sides, which, of course, is inherently fun to command.
As the Russians, I think I managed to compensate for my initial egregious error in force disposition by judicious use of cards w/ Actions available only to the Scenario Defender. After the game, Tommy discussed his preoccupation w/ trying to accumulate hands made up of a majority of Ambush cards to assure success in melee, and indeed, Rob Bottos, Combat Commander extraordinaire, had shown me in past games the importance of hoarding a couple of them, but I think in this case, when all Tommy needed was a couple more kills to win the game outright, he should not have delayed, and just gone for a big Human Wave-style attack ignoring the potential for unit loss from over-stacking after the fact because hey … ! Who cares, right? By then he'd have won the game!
- Last edited Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:29 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:04 am
Nice write up Andrew! Commando School was one of my favorite scenarios from the first 12. I do believe the key for the Germans is to break through and advance off the board for the victory points. It is a difficult task though as the Russians can be tough in town/city scenarios where close combat becomes necessary for the Germans to dig them out or get past them unscathed.