Friday, January 17, 2014

COMBAT TEAM! Rules Battle Report #2 (WWII Epic)

Played a straight-up, smash-mouth infantry battle today with an American Airborne Battalion and some support elements (57mm AT Gun Platoon and a Battery of 75mm Pack Howitzers on-call).  The "Screaming Eagles" were up against a regular German infantry Battalion with a few surprises of their own like a self propelled AA platoon and a panther platoon, along with some truck mounted infantry.  This was a fun game and a real nail-biter.  What is it with units failing their initiative test ALWAYS when you need them to pass it most!

quaint farm country in Normandy.  A Village in the upper left, some fields, hedgerows and woods.  The US player's units would arrive on the left.  The German player's units are already on the table to the right.
The Germans garrisoned the village, farm fields and woods in the right of the picture.  This is D+1 and a consolidated paratroop battalion is tasked with seizing the village due to some item of military significance such as a cross-roads or enemy communications center.  Regardless, our fearless battalion commander has a job to do...

The US player is "elite" and also has the "Assault Troops" special rule meaning they hit in close combat on a 3+ (elite) and can re-roll missed hits in close combat!  Deadly!!
US paratroopers at the start line

Company B moves up to the start line


The Germans are ready and waiting for them....

The village is brim-ful of angry Germans!


The first turn starts without a hitch.  The US player gets a +4 and the German player gets a +4 for tactical initiative bonus so initiative rolls are even throughout.  The US player wins the first round and activates the forward observer to lay down smoke and cover the advance!
US FO dropping rounds on target!  He is about 50 cms away from the point of impact so you use 5 dice and an arrow-direction die for the artillery.  It lands on target!  

smoke lands and the Paras are ready to start the assault!
The attack starts.  The US player reserve company and support companies are below.
German units spring into action and begin firing on the US player when they activate.
The German battalion mortar platoon also begins its deadly work!  The result is way off and the barrage misses.
Meanwhile the US player moves out and secures cover.  This company (the reserve infantry company) establishes a blocking position so the village assault can go through.  
 The US player immediately sees a problem with the location of his AT Gun platoon as the sound of tracked vehicles comes rumbling from the woods to the south!  They'll have to ensure that gets sorted out!  Also US player moves into the farmhouse buildings along the roadway to cover the blocking position.
US and Germans exchange fire during their respective activations.  The US player scores 2 hits on the German platoon and since they are in cover they get 4+ saves.  They pass one and fail the other and Gerry scratches 1 platoon!


The US player is advancing across open fields and doesnt have the benefit of a cover save.  Thank Goodness for smoke!  They lose a weapons platoon during the advance.

meanwhile the reserve company is moving up along the road.  

The 57mm is redeployed.  It wont make a dent in the Panther platoon's frontal armor but from the side....



Drat!  Gerry moves his small Kampfgruppe out of the woods to counter attack the Americans and they roll a "1" strung out on the road.  no movement for these Panzergrenadiers this turn...

OH NO!!!  The US Forward Observer rolls a "1" in his activation.  The assaulting troops will not have the concealment of the smoke anymore!  It will be a turkey shoot!


The Germans open fire!


The assault on the village begins.  Remember, the US Paras get a 3+ to hit for close combat as they are assault troops.  They get a 4+ for firefight.  The Germans get a 5+ for close combat and a 4+ for firefight.

Here are the tallies from the combat.  US scores 4 hits against the German 2 hits.  Gerry loses his remaining units defending the village except for the mortar platoon who are the only remaining element from this Combat Team.

The "5" on the dice next to the commander represents the number of platoons they've lost.  Since they're regulars, their breakpoint is at 50%.  Any additional loss beyond 50% is a negative modifier for initiative rolls.  They started with 6 units so their breakpoint was 3.  This is a -2 roll to each initiative action!

Finally the German armor and panzergrenadiers start their counterattack only to be ambushed on the road by the blocking force of paras!  This is bloody combat at its best.  The Germans move up their 2 trucked platoons and dismount.  A swirling battle develops lasting almost 3 rounds until the Germans eventually break.  The US is left in control of the field with 1 platoon and at his breakpoint (elite is 75%)

The US player gets a 5cm consolidation move per the Epic rules (so also per my rules as well).

The German mortar platoon from the village passes its morale check and is no longer broken, but still gets a -2 to initiative rolls...

The Panther platoon rallies as well.  Here's a stumbler - what do i do with the trucks now???  Their infantry are all gone.

This picture was from way before the US even assaulted the village.  I dont know why it's down here - should be higher up on the page.  Oh well, it's still cool looking!
By now, Gerry's only hope for a counter attack is the company in the field behind the hedgerows with the AT gun.  They immediately come under fire by the US mortars and artillery.  They have a scratch force of 3 platoons and a 50mm AT gun to use in a counter-attack on the village.  And remember the Panther platoon is still out there.
unbelievable!  The US 60mm mortar section launches a barrage and knocks a German infantry platoon out of commission.

US Combat Team in the village still holding on.  That "5" is trouble.  Next casualty they take is their breakpoint.  Good thing they're in hard cover!


US blocking position is in good shape for a counterattack by that Panther platoon.
So this game ends well for the Americans.  The Germans lose another platoon to direct fire from the village and it's a wrap for the game.  The Germans don't have the manpower to retake the village and this is a US Victory.

LESSONS LEARNED (sort of)
This game was incredibly enjoyable and I still believe my values are solid.  If you have a game with "assault troops" and elite morale, you had better have a counter to use against them.  The Panther platoon was my ace in the hole and still lived to the end of the game.  Like in real life, the Artillery was the US player's lifeline and kept his advancing infantry alive through the advance.  Does that even need to be written???

The German player probably could have used a covered and concealed route to counter attack the village as that would have saved those 2 en-trucked panzergrenadiers from destruction and the para ambush.

What i really love about this game is the speed in which it's played.  This game was resolved in under an hour even with artillery and tons of infantry moving only 12cm's per turn.  In fact this was a slower game than usual but luckily I diced and ended up with playing the width of the table versus the length.

I think next I need to come up with unit breakpoints so I'm not doing math during the actual game.  A quick mathematical formula for determining BP and casualty rolls would be helpful as well.

Giving each infantry platoon a "support weapon" roll made for a quicker game also.  This represents light machine guns and possibly 60mm mortars carried at teh company level in many armies.  It gives infantry the ability to "reach out and touch" instead of solely relying on them for firefight and close assault.

I am moving closer to actually writing these rules.  This is my 7th or 8th game of Combat Team! and so far the results have been fairly realistic without too much ambiguity.  Still wondering about the concept of suppression and right now the breakpoint rule and subsequent modifier to the initiative roll is all i've got - but the game still flows nicely.  When I finally get my desert board finished, I can play some North Africa battles with some lighting fast tank engagements!





4 comments:

  1. Good Stuff! I like the fact it is fast.

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    1. Shaun,
      That's one of the best parts of the game - it flies. Infantry slow it down a little bit but I played a game with about 15 to 20 units per side and it took a little under 45 minutes!

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  2. Cracking! Great set up and cool looking kit!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Al - more coming stay tuned

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