To Embark Upon the Great Crusade 10

The two marks (Mark and Marc), continue their chronological newsreel AAR series thru the sands of time  with Combat Commander as the metaphor of their exploration of squad level combat in WWII.

1942: The Shadow Lengthens…

In a series of victories across the globe, the foul powers of the Axis nations drive back our own troops and those of our allies.

A Gray Tide Washes Upon Stalingrad, September 18

All around a major grain elevator, the Soviet troops attempt to fend off their German aggressors. Here they are, their men holding key buildings and the bulk of their forces in the grain elevator itself. The Russians don’t have any fire lanes extending from the elevator but key portions of the building must be held at all costs.

The Germans fire and advance with textbook precision and regularity. On the right, one squad of Soviets fights a delaying battle until he must give up the objective building. But he is able to retake it when the Germans clear out to advance on the elevator. On the left, the lone squad (leader and team have been killed) fights for every inch of the objective building but the superiority of German numbers finally overwhelms them.

Time is rushing by but then it seems as if everything is in slow motion. The Germans breach the grain elevator. The Russians fight and fire but are rushed by their enemy and killed to the last man. A final, valiant squad bearing a flamethrower makes its way to the building. They are able to avoid a mass of troops that tries to enter melee with them but then are cut down by heavy fire. The last few men lay down their arms and the Germans have advanced that much farther into Stalingrad. Here is the bloody result:

The Japanese Near Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, October 26

The Guadalcanal campaign has been bloody. The success of our forces in taking key parts of the island has been opposed fiercely by the Japanese. They continue to try to retake the airfield, called Henderson Field, and they came close to it today. Here our men are holding a key hill in the way of the Japanese on the way to the airfield.

An MMG bearing squad atop the hill is ready to shred the offensive line as it approaches when suddenly a shot rings out from the jungle. A man is hit and they’re thrown into confusion. They recover quickly and the men on the hilltop begin their fire at the advancing enemy. It is to no avail, however as the Japanese are getting closer. Then occurs a bloody battle for the hilltop. The Marines moved from their trench back to prepared foxholes to keep up the fight and rally he men.

That’s when Sgt. Eastwood appears. He lays down heavy fire up the hill to hit the Japanese, especially those who have been wounded by an Avenger strafing previously. As Eastwood moves his men up the hill, Japanese units around the side of the hilltop are able to spot him. Eastwood is cut down in mid stride! The Emperor’s brutal soldiers rush the Marines who, with bayonets fixed, nevertheless are killed to the last man. The remaining men on the or near the hill have to give up. Here is the final sad result:

Game Notes

Scenario 36 is from Combat Commander: Battle Pack #2 – Stalingrad. Things were going all right until the time triggers seemed to stall. When the grain elevator was finally taken, it ended up being a 19 VP swing to the Germans. Unfortunately, early on, the Germans had to draw an open Objective chit which made all the key spots worth 3 VPs. There was little doubt they would clear out the buildings to the front right and left. All I could do is harass them. But once they got their overwhelming forces into the elevator, it was probably a foregone conclusion. Still, it’s ever over until it’s over so I tried that last mad dash with the flamethrower squad. Germans win by Russian surrender.

Scenario J is from Combat Commander: Pacific. Really not my day today. In both battles, as the Defender, I couldn’t hold off the attackers long enough to win on time. Here the Japanese simply overwhelmed me. It felt like my cards were just bad. I couldn’t get Enfilades and my men on the hilltop with MMG and Medium Mortar were all rather ineffective. It didn’t help that the Sogeki Hei was getting great rolls. I sent a squad around to deal with him and in their fighting, Pvt. Hale appeared to help. But a single Japanese squad managed to Ambush them and that plan was ended. The Japanese then did several rounds of firing at individual squads and breaking them, and then advancing unbroken squads in to kill them in melee. A great tactic made all the harder to stop since Eastwood had been killed.

This is our chronological play through of all the published Combat Commander Series scenarios. Current standings are Allies 9 – Axis 14.

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