Combat HQ - more Brits vs Germans

Tom and Graham played another Combat HQ at the end of August 2021. Grateful thanks to Tom for another detailed account

After a chaotic couple of weeks I managed to get another game of Combat HQ with Graham. We replayed our previous game set in 1940 with the Germans attempting a breakthrough with an armoured battalion supported by a motorised infantry battalion. The British decided not to dig in, taking a 4th infantry company, an HQ infantry platoon and a light tank instead, this giving them three additional command dice and an additional staff die. The British deployed on table with dummy bases and recon units deployed forward while the infantry were held back around the church and woods towards the back of the table. Their roll for availability of their reserves (an armoured Battalion of 5 troops A11 Matilda 1’s, 3 troops of A12 Matilda 2’s and 2 troops of Vickers Light Tank Mk VIs) meant they would not be available until turn 3. The German recon units took their pre-game move onto the table but did not see any of the British forces at this point. The Germans rolled 2 ‘1’s for initiative which were lost due to the level of British general support. A good command roll by the Brits meant that they failed to roll any ‘1’s or ‘2’s so the German general support did not affect their initiative. However, the Germans did get a unit of aircraft turning up this turn.

The Germans had the initiative and first moved forward their recon units and revealed the British recon units on each flank and a dummy base in the centre of the table. Having very little to do at this point the British chose to convert a long command chain of ‘3’s into 3 extra staff orders to give them some extra flexibility later in the game. Over the next few phases the Germans brought their other units onto the table on ‘blinds’ each company of tanks being supported by a company of motorised infantry. Using the German flexible command control they had concentrated the infantry mortars and infantry gun with the squadron of Panzer IV’s and a recon unit to form a close support company, which deployed in the centre of the table. The only other British actions this turn were to activate their two recon units, the first failed to spot the Germans moving forward on the right, but spotted the German armoured battalion that had moved up on the left. This activity drew the attention of the German aircraft which managed to wipe out one of the recon units.

Next turn the German initiative was back up to full strength and the managed to get two air support units. Gaining the initiative the Germans used their logistics phase and their air superiority that turn to call in an aerial recognisance unit to help control their artillery support. They passed their communications checks and used their off table artillery to lay a smoke screen across the centre of the table to cover their deployment and to lay down a barrage on the church at the crossroads in the centre of the British positions. This caused no damage but was intended to restrict the British ability to deploy. The German first move was to push the armoured company in the centre of the table forward past the wood and the ‘T’ junction, moving up their lorry mounted infantry and deploying them behind.

The British used their logistics phase to call in two barrages against the Germans deploying in the centre of the table, but due to the German general support and the smoke screen, the artillery bombardment was delayed until the next turn. The Germans then used two ‘double’ moves to move their armour and infantry on the left forward over the hill with the infantry deploying from their trucks. The British reaction to this move was to move an infantry company out from behind the church in an attempt to block this move.

The Germans then moved their close support group up through the centre and deployed behind the hill in front of the church with the recon unit deployed behind the crest to act as the spotter. In response to this, the British infantry company deployed behind the wood next to the church using a triple activation to move round the wood and to start to deploy into the front of the wood.

The German reaction was to double move the three Panzer III’s from their heavy company forward to attack the British infantry before they disappeared into the woods, but only managed to cause one suppression. The supporting infantry roll low and are left behind. The German air units attacked the two remaining British recon units, driving them back.

In turn three, the Germans got one air die and chose to keep the aerial recon to allow them to keep up their bombardment on the church causing one suppression. The 2nd battery stopped the smoke screen and brought down a bombardment on the British infantry on edge of the wood causing two suppressions. The Germans then used a long command chain to try and get a jump on the British before they could move. First, an aircraft attacked the British infantry deploying from behind the church, causing one suppression. They then activated their support company using the recon unit to spot as they bombarded the same British units with mortars, infantry guns and Panzer IV’s causing the first two British infantry units to retire shaken.

The Germans then moved their armoured company on the left forward but in their haste they left their supporting infantry behind and loosing a squadron of Panzer II’s to ambush fire from a 2 pounder A/T gun in the church. Luckily the bombardment reduces the effectiveness off the A/T rifles and the cause no damage. The return fire from the armoured units force the remaining British infantry in the open to retire. In the centre the German armour and infantry moved forward and the tanks bringing the Church under direct fire forcing the infantry lining the edge to retire.

The British Logistics phase was poor as the spotters for their artillery fire have all been suppressed and forced back and are no longer available. Instead they used their staff die to call in their reserves, one of which arrived on the table edge behind the wood in an attempt to block the exit point for the Panzer III’s. The British first phase was short as they had very few units they could move.

As time was running out the Germans decided to throw everything into one risky move triggering a triple move on the Panzer III company and added to this two wild dice to guarantee two ‘6’ on the random movement. This gave them a total movement of 34” to make a run to exit the enemy table edge and try and pull off a victory. The British infantry in the woods were all suppressed and could not opportunity fire but the Matilda 2 in the newly arrived armoured company opened fire and destroyed one squadron of Panzer III’s before the other two managed to exit the table. This gains back the -10 victory points the Germans started the game with and pulling out a narrow victory on morale.