We rolled 'Attack and Defend' with Gharak attacking with 10 support points. I got half that - eek!
The Jump Off Points
After the Patrol phase, Gharak seemed to be set up to attack one flank, with me occupying the village and hilltop we dubbed 'Hill 42'. Gharak's infantry quickly filled the hedges and woods around his jump off points, covering the hilltop with a worrying number of MG42s.
With the tree line quite exposed, I take to laying down smoke with my 2" mortar...
...to no avail, as my lead Section is cut to ribbons by the combined firepower of two full German sections, with the survivors thrown back in disarray.
German armour arrives! My support was a Staghound MkII armoured car, which though fast and packing a fair punch against infantry, was well outmatched by the Panzer IV.
The first German assault on the hill ends badly, shot down as they reached the tree line by the sheltering Brits, who spent a Chain of Command action to withdraw out of sight.
The Staghound takes a battering and while not destroyed outright, the Panzer's fire eventually forces its crew to bail out. Not ideal, though its tenacity stopped the Panzer from joining the attack on Hill 42.
A second wave of German infantry soon followed up the hill and an ill-judged counter assault by my Brits brought my morale to zero and game over. We found Close combat to be brutal on the attacker, best reserved for sweeping up pinned and routed units.
We also got a second game in the following evening, Brits probing German lines. Gharak played very aggressively, seizing the table centre with sections split. Fearful of the MGs, I played cautiously, keeping more in reserve and used the lee of hills and woods to avoid any crossfires. Eventually, an assault down the far left flank and deploying a second section to threaten the same on the right forced Gharak to give chase to head then off, while I used a double-6 double turn to deploy from reserve and open up with my Vickers team on an exposed team. With his morale dangerously low, Gharak conceded he couldn't prevent me from reaching my objective on one or the other flank. One game each!
In Gharak's words: 'this was the ruleset we were looking for when we bought the 10mm WWII'. We last tried 'Baptism of Fire' second edition, which was fun and had a solid core but the rules were sometimes felt vaguely written meaning we spent lots of time conslting the book and trying to decide what the most suitable result would be. Both games feel quite realistic, but CoC is more streamlined and the rules are much easier to understand and remember. The CoC PDF is well worth getting as it is well-seeded with hyperlinks to relevant sections (I got the hardcopy rulebook too).
Chain of Command didn't suffer at all from being played in smaller scale and multi-based units made it easier to handle, if anything making deciding which units could see easier. Also, being able to throw a flocked mat down over the dining table after dinner was very convenient.
We found the two forces played slightly differently, Gharak splitting his sections into teams more often while ai kept mine together and focused to focus firepower and avoid crossfires from MGs.
We had a quick tester before this game to thrash out the game concepts, which was worthwhile as
CoC introduces a few new mechanisms. I particularly like the pre-game Patrol Phase and slightly random activations, which simulate the fog of war without being too restrictive and force you to adapt your plan as evens unfold. We didn't find the Chain of Command points to be particularly powerful. Yet the core of the fighting are quite simple which is ideal for us playing infrequently, the similarities to Sharpe Practice are an advantage too!
All in all a very worthy addition to the rules stable, and one I think we'll play semi-regularly. I look forward to getting a few more games in - I'm eyeing up a small platoon in 15mm so I can grow down a few games at Wyvern Wargamers.