A Zoom WW2 Wargame

A remote game of Chain of Command

A diagrammatic representation of the battlefield, Brits attacking from the left

Following a previously successful venture into socially distanced wargaming (please see A Zoom Napoleonic Wargame), a further attempt at conducting miniature combat by video conference was made by various members of the club. Graham kindly volunteered to host this game, chosing to offer a 20mm WW2 Chain of Command game featuring British and German forces in an attack/defend scenario in Normandy. Gordon and Pete were the commanders of the assaulting British force and Neil W was in charge of the German defenders. To save time and simplify the game mechanics, Graham worked out in advance the support units allocated to each side and also decided to omit the "Patrol Phase" (an important feature of the game) and allow the players to determine in advance the location of their jump-off points.

German order of battle and briefing

Regular Fallschirmjaeger Platoon (Page 84 of CoC rule book) commanded by Neil

Additional Supports: - Panther tank in emplacement, Panzerschreck team, tripod mounted MG42 and crew, 2 entrenchments

The Germans have 3 jump-off points in their half of the table plus a "bonus" jump-off point in the British half (this was located in building "Charlie", see map above). If this jump-off point were captured by the enemy this would not result in loss of Force Morale points.

The Germans start the game with 2 full Chain of Command dice

Victory conditions - to hold the church and Hill 56 without Force Morale reducing to zero

Views of the battlefield prior to commencement of hostilities

Allied order of battle and briefing

Motor Platoon (Page 88 of CoC rule book) commanded by Gordon

Additional Supports: - 2“ Mortar, Piat team, 2 Flamethrower teams

Armoured unit , commanded by Pete, comprising of: -

Sherman with Senior Leader

Firefly with Senior Leader

Recce Section - 2 Bren carriers with 8 men (2 teams) and a Junior Leader

Armoured Car with Junior Leader

Vickers HMG with Bren carrier transport

The British force enters the field from the left hand table edge, armour from anywhere and infantry from 2 jump-off points

Victory conditions - to destroy the Germans or capture the church and Hill 56 while maintaining an advantage of six Force Morale points over the enemy

The British advance on the right, knocked-out Sherman in the foreground

The game was played over two sessions in the last week of May 2020, the first on a midweek evening, the second on Sunday afternoon. Clive attended briefly for the first session and Bryan kept an eye on proceedings on Sunday. Graham moved the figures in accordance with each CO's instruction and players rolled their own dice and announced the results. Having the initiative, the British forces moved on to the table, armour concentrated on the right with infantry mainly focused on the left and centre. The Germans made full use of their advanced jump-off point, deploying one of their Panzerschrecks in an early phase to knock out the armoured car (the A/T team was subsequently destroyed) and then laying an ambush with the second Panzerschreck team to account for the Sherman. Despite these early setbacks, the plucky Brits pressed on towards their objectives, the Recce section advancing to point Delta and Gordon's infantry occupying Hill 4 and moving into field Golf. The first German squad now deployed behind the wall to the right of point Foxtrot and began to exchange fire with the Brits. Both sides took casualties but, after suffering 50% losses, the Germans retired behind the nearby house and sought cover.

In the next few phases the German commander introduced a second squad, the MG42 team and the Panther to the right of Point Echo, laying substantial volumes of fire onto Hill 4 and the section situated in field Golf. A Flamethrower team and the section in the field were both pinned, and the troops on Hill 4 were obliged to retreat down the reverse slope. At this point, with the British attack stalling, reinforcement arrived in the shape of a second Sherman and in addition the Panther received an order to return to HQ immediately and was removed from the table.

Recce section, HMG and replacement Sherman fight their way toward the church while the Firefly burns

With the odds somewhat re-balanced, the British pushed on with vigour on their right and the Germans deployed their final squad behind the wall to the right of point Foxtrot. Almost at once, this squad lost its junior leader as a British marksman inflicted a fatal injury on the unfortunate Obergefreiter. Nevertheless, the German paratroopers were tenaciously holding their ground and, with the threat on the British left virtually neutralised, began shifting the MG42 team and remaining squad to support the hard-pressed troops defending the church. The Firefly fell victim to yet another Panzerschreck attack, although further attempts on the Bren carriers by Panzerfausts failed. In an inspired effort, a British Flamethrower team rushed forward and, although pinned by heavy fire, managed to inflict damage on the leaderless squad at point Foxtrot.

Now the situation was that the British armoured unit was down to 3 Chain of Command points, the motor platoon 6 and the Germans 5 points. The game had been going on for seven hours in total and it was decided to call it a day. The British force had technically failed to achieve its objectives but the success of the Germans was by no means guaranteed as the British still had plenty of fight left in them. A draw seemed a fair outcome.

This was an exciting and challenging game that was enjoyed by all participants. Graham did sterling work in organising and running the game, not only that he also provided the diagram and photographs used in this report. Take a bow, sir