The table was as close to identical as we could make it.
I even put my last jump off marker, the scenario objective, in the same place Fritz did.
We begin! Fritz comes on early with a Panzer III. Surprising, given his 15 support points. I would have thought a Tiger, or at least a Panzer IV. The Americans remain hidden.
Another Panzer III...
Ok, a whole PLATOON of Panzer IIIs. This could be interesting.
A single infantry section trails the armored platoon, staying carefully hidden in the woods and well out of line of sight of the American jump off points.
Two tanks take up hull down positions in the ruins of a building. The third catches up, preparing to go first through the orchard and make a run for the American jump off point, while the other two stand on overwatch.
A lucky end of turn roll sees the tanks' overwatch end. The Americans take advantage of the brief lull to begin firing with a 76mm AT gun.
Things begin rather well... the Panzer III explodes taking out two men nearby, and loading the section with shock.
Unfortunately, accurate return fire from the two remaining tanks sends the AT team packing. The junior leader survives, so it may be possible to bring them back later.
With the AT team on the run, the tanks give pursuit.
The infantry section follow the lead tank and take up positions.
A bazooka team appears - but the Germans interrupt, pinning them before they can fire. The rest of the squad shows up to support them, making it harder for the enemy to find them again amidst all the movement.
The German infantry are a tempting target, and in the hopes of gaining time to rally my AT guns, the machine gun section opens fire on the enemy.
The Bazooka, supported by a senior leader (who removes their shock) manages a difficult frontal shot on the Panzer III. It doesn't penetrate, but two hits cause the crew to bail out.
The German infantry breaks, first one team, then the other. They flee for the forest. Morale on both sides is plummeting. The loss of two tanks and a broken section sees the German morale drop to a 3, costing them two command dice. American morale, broken down to a 4 thanks to the AT gun crew breaking and some officer hits, somehow remains steady.
The Americans go for a gamble. The last infantry section appears, far to the right of the action. They move up on the double, racing towards the German jump off points.
This was not a "smart" move. Fritz still has two full sections off table, and it's likely that these guys aren't going to make it home. They're ordered forward anyway. I want Fritz to expose some soft targets, as the bazooka team can't seem to connect to the final tank, yet the tank has no problem blowing the hell out of the infantry. Let's see if Fritz is willing to give the bazooka breathing room...
As expected, another infantry section appears on the far woodline, and the tank starts throwing HE at the advancing squad. A hit to the junior officer sees me spending my last CoC die to avoid the morale hit.
But with the bazooka free to fire, it finally gets lucky, blowing out the final tank. The German infantry, all still at their far table edge, can't hope to cross the entire table for the objective, especially now they they only have two command dice. They melt back into the woods to fight another day.
An excellent, if stressful game. Seriously, I had a headache when I left from clenching my teeth. Fighting three tanks with no armor of your own, even outdated tanks, is an anxiety inducing experience.
As for the scenario - Fritz and I agree that it is exceedingly difficult to meet the victory conditions without some extreme luck. I doubt we'll be trying this one again any time soon. Anyone know where I can find some additional scenarios for Chain of Command?