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Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Chain of Command: The Probe at La Cambe. Turn 1. Map 1

 So, to the first game in the Campaign!

I start with the standard US platoon from the rulebook, to represent 6th Platoon, Bravo company. 

We played out the patrol phase.  As hoped, I ended up with a jump off point by the Farmhouse on the right flank, with the other two behind the hedges closer to my table edge.  The jump off points are shown below.  Once the jump off points were established, Sigur laid some barbed wire and a minefield on the two flanks.  

With that, we were ready to start.  We rolled for force morale:  The Germans ended up with a force morale of 11, while the US rolled 9 - clearly the march up from the beach past the bodies of their comrades had shaken the platoon, and they weren't at all keen on getting into the war! 


2LT Morrisson jogged forward, peeking over a hedge to spy out the land.  Still no sign of the enemy.  Looking behind him, he could see his platoon hanging back. [Out of Character: My first roll of the game was terrible 4 x 4's and 1 5.   2LT Morrisson was on his own!]

2LT Morrission leads from the front - he's the point man for the whole 175th Regiment!

    2LT Morrisson was shortly joined by 2nd Squad under  SGT Connor, while SGT Dean and 1st Squad rushed for the cover of the Farmhouse on Morrisson's right flank.  Off to the left the officer heard the sound of a Sharman from the 747th tank battalion start to crunch up the road.  Peering round the corner of the farmhouse SGT Dean ordered two of his scouts forward.
"Mancelli! Porter!  Advance towards the orchard.  See what's up there!"
The two scouts exchanged nervous glances then advanced by rushes before hitting the dirt.  The tank rumbled further forward.  Things seemed to be going OK, Morrisson thought to himself, as he ordered 2nd squad to push through the hedge and advance towards the orchard.

Boom!  Suddenly off to the left came the sound of an anti-tank gun firing.  The shell roared across open ground striking the lead Sherman in the turret and killing the gunner, Pvt Andrews, instantly.  Inside the tank SSGT Barron cursed and started trying to move the body of the gunner out of the way of the main gun.  "What the heck do we do sarge!" Pte Waldeck, the driver yelled as the tank stalled to a halt.  2LT Morrisson flinched as a second anti-tank round whistled over the stalled tank to explode behind him.  As the scouts Porter and Mancelli advanced further on the right flank, fire exploded from the hedge lining the orchard.  Mancelli fell dead and Porter hit the ground, dropping his rifle and trying to dig a hole in the ground to shelter in.  1st squad took more fire and shock and casualties began to pile up.  Along the road the Sherman troop commander appeared heading towards his stricken colleague.  Another boom - and another round from the German anti-tank gun struck SSGT Barron's Sherman, but failed to cause damage.  SSGT Barron was still trying to drag the body of his gunner out of the way so he could fire, all the while trying to ignore the panicked yells of his driver.

Morrisson's advance was beginning to falter.  Further fire from the Germans entrenched in the hedgerow struck 1st squad.  As more bodies fell to the ground, SGT Dean and the BAR team beat a hasty retreat.  Seeing his men hesitate, 2LT Morrisson rushed forward to try and retrieve the situation.  In the rear, SSGT Kartner nodded to himself - the young LT was demonstrating bravery in the face of the enemy.  

2LT Morrisson tries to save his advance

As Morrisson rushed forward, he heard the sound of another tank advance up the road. But a fourth shell blasted out from the German anti-tank gun and finally knocked the lead Sherman out.  As flames started spreading around the interior of the tank, SSGT Barron ordered his crew to bail out, the tankers rolling into a ditch on the side of the road.  3rd Squad, under the command of the wiley SGT "Pops" Herbert moved into position in an attempt to bring fire from the left flank against the Germans

The lead Sherman goes up in Flames

By now the advance was falling to pieces.  Despite Morrisson's best efforts no-one was moving forward or firing.  "Get some goddam fire on those Krauts!" Morrisson yelled.  But his orders were drowned out by a new line of fire coming from the buildings up ahead, in addition to the Germans in the hedgeline  Rounds struck 1st and 2nd Squads, causing additional casualties, including SGT Connor, who fell wounded by the side of the road, and the scout, PVT Porter who was shot dead in his shellscrape.  A few of the GI's finally managed to work out how to fire their rifles and a spatter of bullets hit the German position, but by then it was all over.  2LT Morrisson ordered his men to fall back to the start line. 

Well, that was a bit of a disaster for Bravo Company!  Although Sigur is kind enough to say my command dice rolls weren't too good, I still made lots of mistakes.  I spent too many activations trying to replace the gunner on the Sherman while sitting out in the open - I should have moved the tank back into cover before trying to swap the gunner out.  The infantry advanced OK but hardly fired except towards the end, when it was too late.  I forgot that the trees along the track to the farmhouse didn't block line of sight. As such, 6th Platoon were essentially repeating the tactics from the First World War, walking into a hail of machinegun and rifle bullets.  By the time Morrisson moved forward to rally his troops, the US had lost a Sherman tank, a scout team and had shock piling up on the rest of the troops, which ultimately became impossible for him and the squad leaders to manage.  I brought 3rd squad on too late and my idea for them was to start putting fire on the anti-tank gun team, but by the time they deployed it was all over. 

So 2LT Morrisson falls back, leaving a burnt out tank and a number of dead and wounded on the battlefield.

Although in this campaign tracking the losses for the US platoons is not required, I am still going to track casualties.  So 6th Platoon has 5 dead, 3 seriously injured left on the battlefield, and 2 who stumble back to the lines to get patched up, plus SGT Connor who lies wounded in a ditch by the track leading to the farmhouse.  The supporting tank troop lose one man killed.  

175th Roll of Honor: Turn 1
Pvt Mancelli, 175th Infantry - KIA  
Pvt Porter, 175th Infantry - KIA 
Lcpl Dubray, 175th Infantry - KIA
Pvt Walton, 175th Infantry - KIA
Pvt Perez, 175th Infantry - KIA
Pvt Andrews 747th Tank Battalion - KIA

"What the hell happened, Lieutenant?!" Captain Whyte snapped, as Morrisson stumbled back into the company command post.
" don't really know" Morrisson stutterd.  "We were advancing smoothly, then out of nowhere, we got hit by an anti tank gun and then machinegun and small arms fire. men tried their best but.. well..." He faltered.  "What do I do about my men, Sir? I..I mean, my casualties." the LT asked forlornly.
"Never mind them for now.  We'll worry about that once we clear this Hamlet." Captain Whyte turned to 5th Platoon.  "OK LT Hendry.  Get up there and clear that goddammed village!"

The only tracking the Americans need to do for this campaign, is the opinion of the Regimental Commander Colonel Goode.  As the Americans lost this game, Colonel Goode's opinion drops by one level.  He is now troubled rather than concerned. 

So, it is now over to LT Hendry and 5th Platoon to to try and clear the Germans out of La Cambe.

US Troops - Perry Miniatures
US Tanks - Warlord games
Buildings - Charlie Foxtrot Models
Scenery - Various
Rules and Dice - Too Fat Lardies.


  1. Aye, good AAR that. Poor Mancelli and Porter.

    I would just like to add that my firing dice also rolled pretty well! Looking forward to the next game.

  2. Smashing report.

  3. Great stuff, more please.