So, I got a great game of Blitzkrieg Commander with Madaxeman at CLWC last night. My late War Brits getting their first outing with BKC against those dastardly Germans. Tim used his 50% bonus points for being the attacker to field an eclectic force of big tanks (in fact, a veritable zoo including one each of Tiger, Elefant, Bison, Jagd-something and others). I spent my 2000 points unwisely, including buying the worlds most incompetent commander, pitiful artillery support, the world's squishiest AT guns and and pointless transports. Oops.
I even remembered to take my camera. Sadly, I forgot to actually take and pictures until we'd set up the board and terrain, played 8 turns each and tidied everything away. Oops.
But whats that to stop me, I'll soldier on with an AAR! My plucky Tommies were deployed closely surrounding the German objective: a large hill commanding view of a (presumably) strategically important crossroads. The Germans surged on, three formations with plenty of infantry on foot and in transports and half a dozen terrifyingly large vehicles.
By turn three the Germans burst though the woods, engineers clipping my bargain-basement wire and bombardment from three German batteries disrupting my dug in infantry. Later, the same the German Forward Artillery Observer would earn his transfer to the Eastern front by repeatedly failing to call in targets. Alarmingly, the British AT on the hill was quickly neutralised by the German Armour. Not good.
Mid-game, the German, a Sdkfz 251/6 (probably - it had a flamethrower) caused havoc on my entrenched troops, while the bunker AT failed turn after turn to accept its orders to knock it out. The my CO blundered, commanding his infantry out of their trenches and onto the hill. Oops.
With a dozen German infantry units rushing over open ground to the hill, it looked real bad. But my FAO put in a man of the match performance, landing every barrage of 25-pdr shells. As the Germans staggered onto the hill, sweeping aside my reserve units in their expensively pointless half tracks (why?), he called out 'Danger Close' fire to slow the advance and give my ragged troops a chance to knock more infantry stands out. Out of nowhere an engineer Stug launched its little Goliath, a bomb on tracks. The first attempt failed. The second couldn't reach it's target with infantry in the way. The third was picked off by a precise shell from the 6-pdr - the only thing the damn thing managed to do all game. The fourth (or perhaps it was the worlds most effective Sdkfz-whatever?), managed to knock out the last hunkered-down AT. Darn.
I've not mentioned my right flank. All too painful, see. After a lethargic start, the two German tank-hunters trundled on and spent turn after turn pounding my half dozen-strong Sherman formation. They were kept pinned and steadily hammered down by some fantastic CMD rolling. Not good - most of my tanks weren't even in range. Oops.
Despite it looking like a hammering, time trundled on (helped by too-frequent blunders curtailing our grand strategies) and my single artillery battery and some careful use of my limited troops thinned out the German infantry to four stands. Three would need to stand on the hill, and survive, to win. The carnage among the Shermans was all a sideshow. I knew I should have 'done a Wellington' and parked them behind the hill.
By turn 8, I'd managed to knock out one stand. One more, and I could claim a technical victory. But the German armour swept my last troops aside, and with my 2000 points down to three command stands, one Vickers platoon, one M3 half track and my off-able guns, I conceded. A major victory to the Germans - 9 turns to take the hill with losses among the Brits unacceptably high.
All in all, a great game. I really like BKC, the mechanics feel right for the era, it encourages tactics from the time and has good 'fog of war' with the command rolls and blunder tables. I feel I've also learned some valuable lessons:
-don't bother with CMD 7 leaders
-as Brits, buy more off-table artillery. Lots and lots more artillery.
-Then use it to smash the German advance far more effectively than the infantry or armour ever will.
-two German big tanks will crush Shermans which are carelessly left in open ground. Hide British armour. Or bring Churchills - damn tough they are.
-only buy transports if you need to get somewhere in a hurry.