Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ImagiNations - Cold War - Game 1

Having the house to myself, I managed to get a game of Chain of Command in last night. I am using them to game a fictional Cold War campaign that I posted about yesterday.


While the Soviets are fully painted and based, I just did not have any attachment to them for some reason. So I spent my set up time prepping for the Israeli platoon. I used the force composition from Rock the Casbah for a full strength Paratrooper platoon. This would prove to be too strong in my opinion and unbalanced the game. The Israelis were flush with leaders. They had two senior leaders in the form of the Platoon Commander (Segen Mishne), the Platoon Sergeant (Samal Rishon), a Sergeant (Segen) commanding the headquarters squad and three squad sergeants (Segen). The HQ Squad was a small formation with a radio operator, a designated marksman, two riflemen and a medic. I chose to leave out the two man Dragon anti-tank missile team as an optional support item. The squads were large and broken into three fire teams. The first team containing the Corporal (Rabat - did not treat as a leader for the game), a Light Machine gunner and a rifleman. The second fire team had a rifleman with an RPG-7 (the Israelis had captured so many of these weapons in 1973 and again in Lebanon that they were widely distributed among their troops but were not officially part of their organization) and two riflemen. The last fire team was formed with the second corporal and three riflemen. One of these three was to be equipped with an M203 under their Galil rifle but Peter Pig does not make such a miniature and my scratch building skills stink. Here is where I made a mistake. This was an 11 man squad. The paper strength of the squads were 18 men. But I doubt this was ever achieved. The squads could have had 12 or more men. What I did not do was leave any behind with their vehicles. The whole platoon dismounted. I should have left a driver and gunner behind at the very least if not also a track commander.

The Soviets did leave three members behind as I only painted up the dismounted elements. The Soviets had their platoon leader, the platoon sergeant and three squad leaders. The squads had six men in addition to their squad leaders and were broken down into two teams of three men each. One with a light machine gun and two riflemen and the other with three riflemen, one of which was sporting an RPG-7.

I treated both similar to how the main Chain rules treat US or German mechanized troops. The base unit is the infantry in the vehicles. Their vehicles are extra. I treated the M113 as a List 5 item and the BMP-1 as a list 6 item. But that was just me as I was making stuff up. Given that for support for mission 1, I rolled one List one item for support, it was dismounts only. I really did not have anything for a List One support so everyone was running with what they had.

Platoon Background

The Segen Mishne for the Israelis was a fellow by the name of Raul Speyer. Originally born in Sao Paulo, he made Aliya in 1974. He found a home in the army and has not left. He is a barrel of a man.

The Samal Rishon of the platoon is Meir Ben-Shahar. Born in Haifa, he is a tall and thin who is somewhat of a gear head. The command track for the platoon is the smoothest running vehicle in the company.

Commanding the headquarters squad is Samal Levy Kantor. He is a kibbutznik from the Galilee. He is extremely happy for this posting and gives thanks daily he is not in Lebanon. He is even taller than Meir and once considered a career in basketball.

The first squad is commanded by Samal Phineas Homa. Phineas is a Tel Aviv beach bum of average build. He would rather be back looking for a felafel on Rechov Shenken.

Second squad is commanded by the dour Samal Yannis Friedman. An average man from Jerusalem who still carries his Haredim curls.

Third squad is under the command of another man from Tel Aviv. Uriel Sachar is of average build but with his blonde hair and blue eyes appears more Aryan than a son of Abraham.

The Battlefield

Raul's platoon was rushed forward toward the border to attempt to intercept any Soviet advances. They were moved to an area known as the Saddle for its twin hills with a shallow pass through it. It was a fertile area that was fed by a stream on the eastern side of the Saddle.

The farms on either side of the saddle have been in an ongoing feud for the past 70 years. Neither party is sure how it started but rumor has it that inappropriate activities with sheep were involved. In retaliation, the other farmer signed his name in the other farmer's field in 12' tall letters in salt. The feud has mostly be fought out in pranks and mostly harmless things. But the advent of the war caused all the farms in the area to be abandoned hastily.

The Patrol Phase was carried out. I am still not really good at this part. The Israelis had the higher force morale of 11 (lucky roll) so they went first. The Soviets, with a terrible die roll, had a force morale of 8. I figure the Soviets were assigned to East Bratislovakia as a punishment. That would make them have a lower morale at the start of a campaign.

The Israelis began in the center section of the table. The Soviets from the bottom left corner. The advancing scouts moved forward with the Israeli's getting to the hill and over it before the Soviets.

And yes, the patrol markers used are Italian WWII Patrol Markers. I never got around to making any others. Both sides went with just three patrol markers each.

Using US Pennies and Dimes as Jump Off Points, the Soviets had crummy positions. The Israelis had two that were on the hill and one on a table edge. In the diagram below, the Jump Off Points locations are circled in what I think is Blue for the Israelis and Red for the Soviets.

Turn One

Rolling 64432, the Israelis moved with the Platoon Sergeant to the middle jump off point with one squad following him there. Another Squad was deployed on the second jump off point right in the middle of the saddle.

The Soviets next came up with a 5,5,4,2,1 for their initial phase. Deploying their platoon sergeant and one squad into the sheep pen, I made the mistake of not placing them up against the wall in cover. This would be a mistake. The one was thrown away as I was not willing to break the squads up yet.

The next Israeli phase gave them a 5,5,4,3,3. This was a dandy roll. The squad at the middle jump off point moved up on one die and was placed on over watch by the platoon sergeant.

That left more room for action. So the squad deployed in the Saddle was placed on tactical and began to creep forward.

Somehow, I let the other 3 drop. The Soviets had a really good roll of a 6,6,3,3,2. This gave them the next phase. They deployed a second squad to to the top corner of the sheep pen. And another squad near the ford. With the remaining die, the initially deployed squad attempted to fix their error and hugged the wall. This movement drew the fire of the Israelis placed on overwatch. Net result was two shock on the squad.

The next phase had the Soviets move again but with a less immediately useful roll of 6,5,5,5,3. The newly deployed squad in the sheep pen attempted to dash to the trees in front of them. This drew some fire from one fire team that had them in their line of sight causing one casualty and two points of shock from moving flat out. Worse yet, my poor movement die rolling stranded the Soviets in the center of a stream.

With this next turn, I forgot to take some notes. The Israelis deployed their final squad behind the hill in an attempt to counter the movement of the Soviet squad. Also the headquarters squad was deployed behind the squad on the saddle.

The Soviets fired on one of the fire teams on top of the hill and scored their only casualty for the day.

Also the squad in the stream darted forward to the cover of the trees.

Apparently, I am hard headed and have not learned anything from Rich's tactics lessons. The Israelis on the hill got bogged down into a fire fight with the Soviets opposite them. What they did have was good dice rolls. They managed to put down three men and brought them to 4 total shock on the squad. The Soviet Platoon Sergeant would attach himself to the squad to attempt to reduce shock.

The Soviet Platoon leader arrived and now the whole Soviet force was on the table. He tried to move the squad across the ford. Abysmal die rolling did not even get the squad to the edge of the ford.

At this point the game was all but over. The squad in the saddle fired on the Soviets at the ford and knocked one man out. The newest squad moved around the base of the hill with two teams moving tactically and the third (lmg team) on over watch. This stopped the one Russian squad in the trees.

The squad across the hill poured fire into the one Russian squad and killed 5 out of 6 of the men with the two attached leaders making it out safely. But the squad broke from accumulated shock. They fled back nearly to the table edge. The Soviets burned a Chain of Command die to avoid the morale test but the Israelis burned one as well to end the turn. This routed the remains of the squad (1 man), the squad sergeant and the platoon sergeant off the table putting the Soviet morale at 4. Seeing as the Israelis still had a morale of 11 and were only down one man, the Soviets withdrew, giving the field to the Israelis.


Well, the Israelis had too big of an advantage with the super sized squads. I should have pulled three men from each squad to serve as the crew for the vehicles. The Soviets lost 8 men in the battle which worked out to 4 men KIA, two that will miss at least the next action and two that could return to duty.

The Israelis had their man return to duty right away. They obtained what was essentially an easy victory. I was not sure what to do when the defenders win the first scenario in a half ladder campaign. So what I will do is fight over the same terrain using scenario 2 as the game with the Israelis as defenders again. This time both sides will get their vehicles. Mostly because I want to play with those toys on the table. When dismounted, the Israelis will be down 3 men.

The Soviets will be deploying a brand new platoon as the men are being divided among their regiment as replacements and the Platoon Leader will be "interviewed" by the GRU to understand where the failure occurred and then "transferred" elsewhere. Either to a shallow grave or to Afghanistan depending on how merciful the GRU officer is.

Raul is sitting pretty. His men's opinion of him is now at a +2. His commander's opinion is at a +1. No one was recommended for a medal. Depending on when I get home, I may play this tonight.

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