David G. Cox Esq.
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Combat Commander: Europe
Port Macquarie, Australia
May 12th, 2009
Soviet Commander: Da Pyrate
German Commander: Herr von Peake
This was Selwyn’s third game of Combat Commander over the last 12 months. We had twice played Scenario #1. I, on the other hand, am grossly over-experienced and still sadly under-skilled. I have played close to 20 games of Combat Commander and this will be the fourth time that I have played this particular scenario. The last two times I played it I was, again, the Soviets and both times lost.
Before the game I seriously reflected on my previous defeats and decided to do things a lot differently. I had learnt about wire. Previously I had used it adjacent to my strong points and found it hadn’t slowed the Germans enough. This time I was putting it one hex away from strong points, forcing enemy units to stop as they entered it and stop again as they exit giving me two chances to shoot or run before they could enter close combat.
Also, I put significant forces forward and on the right-hand side of the map. The plan was to try to gain lots of exit points as I anticipated that the Germans would advance on my left flank where the terrain is clearer.
Selwyn put two squads with Lt. Schrad3er in the centre of the German front line with all remaining troops and Sgt. Ganz on my right, ready to come through the woods.
The game started with both Selwyn and I discarding cards. I was lucky enough to draw two ambush cards. Selwyn advanced with a squad and a team. He eliminated his team and I rolled high in the ensuing melee and at the end of the second German turn and killed two enemy units – nice start. The only downside was Selwyn’s whinging. It just went on and on and on…
I was a little dismayed to be facing so many Germans in the woods. I decided that I needed to move Cpt. Egorov from the command post, pick up some troops from the centre of the map and rush up the road towards the forward-most objective. The Germans had placed a single squad in that building as Lt. Schrader and a single squad moved forward and to their left, to join up with the main force under command of Sgt. Ganz.
Cpt. Egorov and two squads moved quickly off the far end of the map, laying some smoke as they went past the German squad in the objective building. That added another seven points to my score. I was looking good while on the other side of the table the whinging went up to the next level.
At this point something significant happened. The Germans gained the event walking wounded. The walking wounded appeared in the wood across the road from my command post. Immediately after that there was a time trigger and Cpt. Egorov and two squads appeared in the same vicinity.
I couldn’t believe it – the Germans left the protection of the woods and headed towards my vacant command post. I shot at them. They broke but before breaking Selwyn played a light wounds card to make them into an unbroken team. I shot them again and the team broke. Selwyn played a recover card and they recovered. I had no movement cards and so I did a maximum discard to pickup fire cards and/or movement cards – I drew a blank. The German squad rushed across the road and into the safety of my command post.
Things were hotting up in the woods as the force under the command of Sgt. Ganz tried to close with the Russian forces under the command of Sgt. Maisky. I wanted to send support to Maisky but felt I needed to take possession of my command post first. Cpt. Egorov’s troops moved next to the command post. Next turn we fired but with no effect. The German team fired and Cpt. Egorov broke.
Almost immediately Egorov recovered and we drew an event that allowed us to look at the German cards and discard one. I saw that the German had two ambush cards and I discarded one of them.
I had a hard choice to make. Take my time and try to blast the Germans out of the command post or go in, knowing that they had one ambush card. I knew I would have a plus 3 on the dice and decided that I needed to move quickly. We went in rolled a seven and the German rolled a ten – all units dead.
This was a crucial result. I had lost my best commander and lost the initiative on the battlefield. At this point Ganz’s troops had caught mine and the Russian militia’s movement of three meant I just couldn’t run away.
Sgt. Maisky managed to escape to the command post. Cpl. Gordov, who had been positioned in the centre of the map with a squad, a team and a light machine gun moved to the woods behind Ganz’s force. That was a mistake – he should have gone in the opposite direction to either exit troops or take out the single German squad still at the far end of the map.
At this time I was only one unit away from surrender while the Germans were three units away from surrender. The turn marker was one spot short of the Sudden Death marker.
A German squad, team and Sgt. Ganz made an assault on a Soviet unit in a foxhole just outside the wooded area. I played an ambush. The ensuing melee had the Germans rolling dice with a plus fou. They rolled an eight – I rolled an eleven.
I surrendered. Had the Germans rolled a seven rather than an eight then the melee would have ended in a draw and all units would have been eliminated.
I got off to a great start but lost the initiative with the death of Cpt. Egorov. Selwyn said that he would not have gone into a close combat situation knowing that he only had a plus three on the dice. Looking back, I don’t see that as a poor decision. I felt that I needed to resolve the problem around the command post quickly so as to be able to focus forces on forming a second line to stop Ganz’s force moving out of the forest.
I accept that it was a mistake to send Gordov towards the main German force and I can’t believe that I did it – I just hoped that the Germans wouldn’t have a fire card.
The game was interesting, enjoyable and one of my better Soviet performances in this scenario but clearly there are still many things that I just don’t get about tactical combat in WWII.
good aar, thank you. What's cool is that it sounds like you have a great time playing even though you admit not being the best player. You sound like me.