Monday, February 11, 2013

Combat Commander goes to the Volga.........

Had another couple of games at my Dads (and as ever 1 each of victory counts !) of Combat Commander: Europe, this time using my newly aquired Stalingrad module. More really excellent gaming, two scenarios full of excitement, death (cardboard variety only), destruction (ditto), frustration, shouting with glee and with woe, events, re-inforcements, supports, weapon breakages and all the other delights this game has to offer. Stalingrad module has a few new specific rules (again nothing onerous) with Rubble (will use this in all scenarios now), Urban Snipers (an aid to melee rolls), Factories and Urban Melee. Of these the Urban Melee is the biggest change as melee not concluded instantly during player turn but delayed to start of next German turn. Whilst this does not sound much in practice its a major boon for Ivans we found as they can re-inforce a melee, withdraw from a melee, or discard in hopes of getting Ambush cards for the melee and we felt it nicely reflected the tenatious Ivans in the city on the Volga.
First scenario (using map 1 from CC:E) was set during the August 1942 push towards Stalingrad with my Ivans spread out across several victory locations being a mix of decent Line troops and some Militia types both with usual low firing ranges for Ivans. They were backed up with an MMG and couple of LMGs. Huns fielded  several Line units with HMGs and LMGs. They had re-inforcements of a group of Elite Rifles. Terrain fairly wooded. I had loads of Events generating rolls on the Russian Support table for 1942 and managed to get a 82mm Battery support, which I then lost, and then a 122mm Battery support !  I also generated an onboard Medium mortar and crew which preceeded to 'Break' every shot it took !! These all gave Germans a torrid time and forced play of several cards to deny them to me.  Germans seemed to be able to re-generate units from their dead pile at will (Nazi Zombies as I called them) ! However they could make little headway (I think my Dad picked wrong flank to concenrate on) and I won by killing enough Fritzs to force their Surrender.

Second scenario took us to the Grain Elevator in downtown Stalingrad. This introduced the Urban rules along with Rubble and Factories (ie the elevator in center of map). I had several SMG units but fairly widespread victory locations to defend (scenario has several within the Grain Elevator) with couple of MMGs and LMGs and two Stachel Charges and several Wire entanglements. Fritzs had lots of Line troops with MGs and a 75mm Howitzer. It looked like a very tough proposistion for Fritzs and seemed so in early stages, especially as on German right my Dad inexplicably took on a lone SMG squad with a Satchel Charge in a building surrounded by wire (I think he could have easily ignored this but got fixated by the VP location worthless as it was). The SMG squad set off the Charge in adjacent hex, rubbling it and suppressing its Fritz occupants whom he then proceeded to melee and kill (lucky discard replacements yielded two Ambush cards - which break enemy unit prior to melee). He did of course succumb later but Hero Of Soviet Union medals all round for them albeit posthumously. Again I got support from a 122mm Battery but the close nature of combat meant it was bit risky to use at times. Fritzs did manage to break into the Factory and take a key VP location but I meleed them to death here too. However all this hand to hand was not saving my men from superior German firepower and despite my efforts Ivan losses mounted to again force a victory by Surrender . As per previous scenario Fritzs generated 'Zombies' several times with two appearing behind my lines !! Great stuff again and a very close run thing this one.