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"Chain of Command - France 1940" Topic

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1,376 hits since 15 Sep 2013
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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fred12df15 Sep 2013 6:48 a.m. PST

We decided to try an early war game this week, Germans vs British in France 1940.

The early war German platoon has been published by TFL on their blog, but I needed to work out some details for the British.

Checking Bayonentstrength, revealed a surprisingly small platoon, with 3 x seven man sections.

British 1940 Platoon Force Rating -4
Officer, Sergeant, 2" mortar, with 2 crew

Section x 3
LMG team (2 men)
4 riflemen

I gave this a Force Rating of -4 based largely on comparing with other platoons in the rules. I also stated up a handful of vehicles to have as support options. Ranging from Humber LRC and Vickers tankettes on List 3, to Matilda II on list 6.

The German platoon has 3 twelve man sections, but only 1 senior leader.

We took the Attack and Defend Scenario, with the British as the Defender.
The Germans rolled 11 for morale, the British just 8.

The Germans rolled 2d6 for support points and managed 3. This gave the British 6 pts to spend (1 from the scenario, and 5 from the difference in force strengths.

The Germans selected, a satchel charge, a medic, and an adjutant.
For the British I went a bit more aggressive and took a Humber LRC and a Vickers Mk VI tankette. To give me some mobile firepower to bolster my small infantry core.

For the patrol phase the British defender starts on the table the attacker gets several free moves 3 in this case.


The end of the patrol phase.
The Germans choose to come fairly centrally, which allowed me to get a some width in my patrol markers. Neither of us managed to reach the buildings though.

From this the jump of points were:


The British got one behind the hill on the right flank, one behind the village, and one in the wood on the left flank.
The Germans were in a line, with one on the right, one in the wood behind the village, and the third in the wood on the far flank.

Then we got into the game proper and I forgot to take photos as I was too involved in the game.

So I have added some (lots) of arrows to photos I took the next morning of the end positions.


The game stared with the Germans deploying a squad centrally, and advancing towards the walled yard near the goods shed.

The British deployed a section and headed towards the large brown house.

The Germans deployed another squad in the left flank woods, to provide covering fire.
I deployed my 2" mortar just near the jump off point with LoS to the woods, thinking that this would help my shooting this proved a big mistake. My squad advanced into the house and took up firing positions, and the Germans advanced towards the goods shed. This advanced involved some dithering as the Vickers VI had appeared on the hill (this was a rules error vehicles don't use Jump off points) they use the board edge or roads.

The 2" mortar started a duel with the left hand german squad this proved to be horribly one sided, one the mortar tried dropping smoke this went wide. And even deploying my Platoon sergeant to rally them was too late, as the shock and casualties mounted. After another burst of MG34 fire, 1 crewman dropped and the team had too much shock, and routed, taking the sergeant with them. I rolled 9 on 2d6 for routing distance (+6 for a rout) and was promptly off the table this forces 2 moral tests, and I lost 4 points of moral dropping me to 4 perilously close to the 2 which would cause me to break.

In the centre the Germans had made it into the goods shed and were trading fire with the British across the road.

On the right flank the Vickers made use of its speed and shot over to the undefended Jump off Point denying its use. By now I had a Chain of Command dice so could force the end of turn, capturing the JoP and forcing a german moral test which had little effect (they may have even cancelled it with their own CoC dice).

In the centre the Germans were inflicting casualties on the British in the house, who retreated to the back of the house. Another British section deployed to the centre, to put some more firepower into the goods shed.


On the left the Germans deployed their third squad to the woods and put suppressive fire onto the Vickers but with no effect. But it did cause me to re-deploy it back to the hill, where it could put fire into the Germans but was out of their range.

On the other flank the Humber had deployed, and engaged in a long range fire fight with the Germans on the left flank.

I decided in the centre that I needed concentrated fire power to get the Germans out of the goods shed, and deployed my 3rd squad behind the wall. As the Germans had moved their MG34 to take on these troops, the remains of the squad in the house moved back to their firing positions. Both AFVs moved to add their firepower to the the goods shed.

Section 2 moved to the hedge to put some fire into the German second squad, who were moving forward across the road to the second wood.

Finally the weight of fire in the centre told for the British and the germans started to suffer significant casualties eventually just two leaders (and the medic) were left. The Germans used a couple of CoC dice at this stage to avoid moral tests. The leaders then made a dash for the rear, where the 3rd german squad was advancing. The corporal was cut down by a burst of bren fire.

The 3rd german squad and made a dash over the hill, but was caught in the open by both British AFVs, which really started to chew them up being caught in the open will cause lots of casualties and shock to a squad.

At this point the German player threw in the towel even though his 2nd squad had managed to shoot up most of the British section behind the hedge.

View from final British position past the now bullet riddled goods shed, to the decimated german 3rd squad


Another great game even though we got a couple of things wrong.
Vehicles don't deploy from Jump off points and moral checks are made for wounded leaders

Achtung Goomba15 Sep 2013 8:42 a.m. PST

Good report, interesting because early war British is the sort of platoon I'd like to jump in and run with CoC.

Thanks for posting :)

fred12df15 Sep 2013 9:01 a.m. PST


As has been pointed out to me in Lardie land, I can't count. The British section should have an extra man, so go for a 3 man Bren team.

One thing about early war is that the tankette is king of the battle field!

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2013 12:39 p.m. PST

Interesting, thanks!

Captain DEwell15 Sep 2013 1:54 p.m. PST

This is an immensely interesting and timely post for me. I will refer to it often as I recreate a similar battle – for nostalgic reasons as it was the first WW2 battle I ever gamed. I want to do it again.

Excellent photographs and very informative script/report along with a great looking wargame table. Well done.

Thanks for sharing.


fred12df15 Sep 2013 2:07 p.m. PST

Thanks chaps.

Rather too many orange tape measures in the pictures though!

Chariobaude24 Nov 2018 6:10 p.m. PST

i have played a few games of coc. i dont think they are for me. i find the patrol phase forced. i prefer the idea of areas of deployment. the dice activation phasing, again i understand that each activation is a few seconds of time, i just cant get my head around it. it is a story telling type if game in which you can make a reasoned story why units dont react. it does get frustating when either player gets a double phase, and can get many double phases on the trott, usually without the ability to react. the barrage mechanic is very powerful, dealing units that are in the area deploying. the infantry fire fights become one of attrition, and quickly one sided. it maybe is realistic, but makes the game no fun. and i guess thats my point. it tries to be realistic, and probably does a great job, but im looking for a game.

not quite found the ww2 skirmish game for me yet.

TacticalPainter0125 Nov 2018 8:18 p.m. PST

Thanks for the AAR. I loved this piece of understatement:

being caught in the open will cause lots of casualties and shock to a squad.

Indeed it will.

One other observation about the 2" mortar. It only has limited HE (three rounds) and its main use historically was to provide smoke for the platoon. It's not intended as a front line weapon to take on squads. Any small team of two or three men is always very vulnerable when it's out on its own. They need to be supported, so generally it's a good idea to have them within 4" of another unit so that the shock can be shared amongst them.

If they are in light cover and take fire from a German squad on average dice you can expect 7-8 hits. Again, on average results that will likely result in one kill and two shock exactly enough to break a two man team. In short the odds are that a two man team will rarely survive the first round of fire from a full squad. That's not being unlucky, that's just to be expected. You are better placing them where they don't have a LOS and rely on a unit spotting for them. You reduce the chance of the mortar hitting but you also increase the chance of the mortar team surviving.

Thinking about that same team, you risked losing your platoon sergeant having him try to rally the shock off them. As it was he routed with them off the table, but he could easily have been killed instead. The option would have been to have the sergeant only within command range and to order them to fall back to him and cover, rather than the sgt going to them.

A good idea for a British sergeant is to command a base of fire, say a section and the mortar somewhere they can suppress enemy units while your other sections manoeuvre. That way he can use his CI to do lots of things. For example, in that situation he could use two CI to have the bren team in the section use concentrated fire to try to take out the German LMG team. He could use another CI to have the mortar fire smoke and block the line of sight of another German squad that could provide supporting fire. That would still leave the section corporal to use his CI to have the rifle team fire and perhaps put covering fire on the German squad, so their return fire would be less effective.

Just some thoughts for you. Good to see you are enjoying CoC, it's a great rule set.

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