Chain of Command First World War: Cambrai Solo AAR

Recently, I set up a solo game of Chain of Command using the CoCing up Mud and Blood rules that can be found in the Too Fat Lardies 2014 Christmas Special. I based the game on the first day of the Cambrai attack in November of 1917 and this was a similar scenario to the CoC WW1 game I played at Steel Lard in 2019. A British platoon with the support of two tanks was attacking against a German platoon in trenches. I also filmed the game as an AAR and that can be seen below, but I also took photos and they can be seen below the video.


The German lines from the British attack line

The British were to advance and capture as much of the German front line trench as possible to win. It was going to be a big ask as the Germans had taken barbed wire as one of their support options...

The German trenches are protected by barbed wire

Opening the game, the British rifle grenadier section took up positions in a shattered wood, ready to lay down some explosive firepower. 

British rifle grenadiers in the woods

In the centre of the field the Lewis gun took up their positions and waited on overwatch. 

The British Lewis section move into supporting positions

And the bombing section set up to drive on the German flank.

The British bombers get ready to attack the German flank

The British Mark IV Male tank also began its slow move across the field. 

The British Mark IV tank begins moving

Meanwhile, the Germans wake up and begin manning the parapets to fend off the attack. 

German infantry begin manning the parapets

A Lewis section gets ready for the attack

More Germans arrived and the trenches began to fill with men.

More German infantry arrive to defend their lines

The female tank joins the attack and the two behemoths push forward.

The two tanks begin attacking

The British Lewis section come under heavy fire and start to take casualties including the Corporal Sid Upton.

The Lewis section comes under German fire

Eventually the fire is too much, Cpl Upton is killed and the remaining men break, falling back towards the British lines. 

The British Lewis section breaks

British support arrives in the form of a Stokes mortar barrage, which drops directly on the German trenches, but causes little damage. 

A Stokes mortar barrage begins

Meanwhile, the rifle grenadiers take casualties as well as the platoon Commanders with the Sergeant being wounded. 

The rifle grenadiers take heavy casualties

Using the mortar barrage as cover the British rifles and bombers advance to attempt to attack the German trenches. 

The riflemen and bombers move to attack

Meanwhile, the rifle grenadiers take more casualties as Sergeant Albert Plaistow is killed and Lt Duncan Macbeth is wounded.  

The two British leaders take hits, killing one and wounding the other

The British morale collapses with the death of Plaistow and wounding of Macbeth, the Germans hold the line and only took two casualties. 

The British attack was a failure

The British attack barely got off the ground, the rifle grenadiers and Lewis guns took up great positions initially but the Germans were able to keep them pinned with accurate and heavy fire from the start. By the time the British rifles and bombers could begin their attack their supporting units had already disintegrated. It may have been worthwhile waiting for the tanks and this is something to consider for the next game. Whatever the outcome, the game was great fun and worked well for a First World War engagement, so I will be doing more of this in the future. 

Comments

  1. Great stuff- whilst I'm not a massive fan of the system I do like your videos on it.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Cheers Pete, the more I play of CoC the more I like it, it's fast becoming my go to game at the moment. What's your take on it?

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    2. Mix of good and bad really. The dice activation system is ok- but the Chain of Command Dice should be more useful in my book.

      Morale/Shooting is fine- no problem there at all. Mortars are as deadly as they should be.

      Movement - not a fant of totally random movement. 3-18" is a ridiculously big range imo.

      The pre game set up is interesting but I'll be honest it is where the game is won or lost. If you have been out manouvred here there is little point in setting up sometimes as I think you can be at that much of a disadvantage. This is where being a more experienced player really shows.

      I also think that given the way they system is set up it doesn't easily allow for making your own scenarios up (well not as easily as other systems I've used). Using the standard 3:1 attacker: defender ratio the game struggles if one side has less than a platoon or more than one. I think that the points system is wrong- I can see the Soviets getting much support other than extra men for example...

      I've played at least 10 games of it now so I've given it a good try, I just think that trying to 'fix' imo the errors in it will break the game so I tend not to play it that much...

      That said I do struggle to find a decent platoon level WW2 game that I am satisfied with so it is not alone in not delivering what I am looking for in a game.

      Hope that makes some sense.

      Cheers,

      Pete.

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    3. All fair criticisms, tbh. There's always tweaks you can give a game and I don't believe any are perfect anyway. But IMO CoC is dynamic enough to keep me going back for more. I actually really like the random movement, it allows for more friction!

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  2. Loving these AAR's. They keep my hobby juices flowing during lockdown. I love the Chain of Command system and I think you do a good job of highlighting the strengths of the Lardy rules.

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Andrew, I am glad you're enjoying the AARs. I'm enjoying playing the games, so they will continue for a while just yet...

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