Sunday 28 September 2014

Historian Speaking on Battle of Rorkes Drift.

I have been asked to pass the word. If you live in the bath area, this may be just up your street.



Dear Pat
I have an event that I think you and your followers would be interested in and I was wondering if you would pass the details on to them.
Rob Caskie is speaking for NSPCC at the Royal High School Bath on the Battle of Rorke’s Drift on the 3rd October, poster is attached.
The Royal High is itself a wonderful venue and sits on the outskirts of the beautiful city of Bath and used to be a school for the daughters of military men and celebrates 150 years next year
Rob as you maybe aware is a renowned speaker raconteur and historian and will bring the Battle of Rorke’s Drift to life for the audience
For only £10 per person come and enjoy a wonderful evening of entertainment all whilst raising money for this leading Children’s charity
I would really appreciate some feedback to my email and hope that you will publicise our event to your followers for me
I am the daughter of an Army Major myself if that is any help!
With Best Wishes
Caroline Morgan NSPCC Community Fundraising Manager
Bath Bristol Gloucestershire North Wilts & Swindon
Direct Dial 01793 435329
Mobile 07795 283 698

Friday 19 September 2014

HILL 112 AND A HALF. A Chain of Command Game/Scenario

                                                  HILL 112 AND A HALF.

                              A Chain of Command Game/Scenario (Hidden Deployment)

My friend, John Warren came over to my place for a game the other day and so I decided I would try out something a little different using the excellent Chain of Command WW2 rules.

Rather than using the Patrol Phase and Jump Off Points which by the way, work really well and actually make these rules quite unique, I wanted to do a one off scenario where the German defenders would be hidden with their positions marked on a map and the British player would have the uncertainty and tension of not knowing how much damage the Naval pre bombardment would have done and then advancing blind up the hill knowing that at any second the enemy could appear and give them hell. 

                                                                   Scenario Briefing.

It is D-Day plus 34 and the Allies have pushed the enemy back off the beaches and are pursuing them inland. Part of the 10th SS Panzer Division have made a stand at point 112 AND A HALF.
Elements of the elite 21st Panzer Grenadier Regiment, along with whatever other units they could muster, have chosen their ground well and have dug in ready to make a stand.
The Eterville – Evrecy Road passes along the front of this hill and this is where you find yourself and your Task Force strung out in a long column.
You have been promoted from platoon leader to acting Captain, not due to any heroics but because of the amount of officer casualties received in the last couple of days and you are now the most senior officer available. (Ranking Leader – initiative 4, range 12)

Your transport is a Dingo Scout Car, with Bren gun.

The rest of your column is as follows:

Recce Section – Humber MKIV, Tetrach Light Tank and two Universal carriers with four crew each and a Junior Leader.

Sherman Platoon – Three M4 Sherman’s and one Firefly. (Senior Leader in command vehicle)

1st platoon, A company of the 4th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry. (Regular)

Platoon HQ

Lt, Sgt, Piat team( 2 x crew), 2” Mortar( 2 x crew.)

Section 1-3 Corporal, LMG Team (3), Rifle Team (6).

Engineer Section No1 with Junior Leader, Flamethrower team (2 x crew), Demolition Team (2 x crew)

Engineer Section No2 with Junior Leader, Wire Cutting Team (2 x crew), Mine Clearance Team (2 x crew)

Vickers MMG with 5 x crew, plus medic and FOO.


Piat Team 2 x crew
2” Mortar 2 x crew
Your objective is to drive the enemy off the hill and hold and secure. You know what Gerry is like at counter attack. Prior to kicking off, your FOO will call in a massive Naval bombardment which should have a devastating effect on the enemy and I can’t imagine there will be much left for you to do, other than mop up. A walk in the park really, well tally ho old boy, off you go.  

  Game Notes.

1. No patrol phase.

2. Jump off points – base line for British along full length of road. None for German.
3. German units start off hidden and positions marked on a detailed map.

4. German units only placed on table after they have fired or moved.

5. Massive Naval bombardment prior to start of game.
 British player places a set number of markers/explosions on the table where he thinks the enemy might be hidden. (I allowed 30 x pieces on a 10ft long table. Adjust according to the size of your table)
We played it that the marker only just had to clip any hidden unit for the whole unit to be destroyed.
(I wanted this stage of the game to be quick and brutal and expected 50% casualties but only lost 4 x units which resulted in a loss of only one morale point. See point 7. It probably helped that I only kept the units in slit trenches and my sniper in their forward positions and everything else was marked on the map back off the ridgeline on the reverse slope.)

6. As with the main rules, if you want to move the sniper you will need a Chain of Command dice for this, so you take your chances with deploying him in an ideal location with the risk of becoming a casualty to the bombardment or deploy him on the reverse slope but wait for that CoC dice before you can move him up.

7. Morale starts high at eleven for both sides, but the Germans will reduce their morale by one for every three units that they lose to the naval barrage. 

8. Minefields are marked on the map and left off table. British will spot these when they come within 12 inches. Barbed wire left on table and visible from start of game. (Option of directing some of your Naval Barrage to clear a path by destroying the wire.)
9. British ‘Ranking Leader’ only has influence with foot units. (See new amendments below)


Due to the size of the game, we found that only one set of CoC dice for each side was not enough for the amount of units being used and if we were to do a refight, we would use the excellent free download ‘BIG CHAIN OF COMMAND’ that the TOO FAT LARDIES have recently brought out as an add on for their main rules. This allows you to move up from a platoon size game, to fielding two or more platoons, which can be Infantry and Armoured.

I would also allow the British ranking leader at point (9.) to have control and influence of both foot and armoured units.

I had classed the wheat fields as light cover which gave the British the equivalent of hard cover when they went Tactical. This gave them the same protection as the German defenders in their slit trenches, which just didn’t seem right, so in a refight there would now be no light cover for the wheat fields. (Not sure if we had been playing this right in the first place?)  

I would also reduce the number of German units that I had in my original list, as the extra dice with BIG CoC would have made them too powerful, especially as the Naval bombardment hadn’t been that effective. I originally had an Infantry platoon, six pieces of armour, an ATG, MMG, FOO, Sniper, Mortar and an additional couple of Infantry Squads. Not that it mattered as I didn’t have enough dice to activate them in the original game. I think one Infantry and Armoured platoon, plus one or two supports would probably be enough but then this is all relevant to the size of the force you are up against. I think it is also trying to get the balance right with that initial bombardment, if you increase the size and number of markers/explosions then is there going to be anything left on the ridge to fight, on the other hand, if you don’t do enough damage then the attacking force is in for a hard time.


John placed his 30 x markers for the bombardment on the table and then he was allowed to redeploy the British anywhere along the road from extended column into their jump off points. Whilst he was doing this I went around with my map and secretly marked off any hits that the bombardment had made. (I actually had marked quite a few of my units on the map with their bases touching the rear table edge and then measured in and wrote the distance down so that I could get accurate results with any hits. I would also give the benefit of the doubt to the British for any borderline hits.)

I had planned for the naval bombardment to be devastating and was expecting to lose about 50% casualties, which would have worked fine for the game due to the original amount of German units I had deployed. As it was, John had directed a lot of the fire on the top and front of the ridge and ended up only destroying four of the hidden units. These were two slit trenches with an infantry team in each, a platoon sergeant and a sniper. This reduced German morale by one down to morale ten. I let John know how many hits he had but not what or where they were.

John activated his FOO who called in his off-table mortars to deploy smoke prior to advancing his infantry and one of his Sherman’s along his left side of the table. He also pushed his Recce units forward along the left hand road.

The Germans had a Puma hidden in the edge of the woods on this flank which opened up on the lead carrier but only causing minimal damage and shock, forcing the carrier to take evasive action.

An uneven firefight started here with the Puma being the only target on the table for the Sherman, Humber and Tetrach, so a Tiger 1 came on to even things out.

 The Tiger destroyed the Humber whilst the Sherman managed to get rid of the Puma.

Whilst this was going on the British rise out of the tall wheat and advance on Hill 112 (and a half) under cover of the smoke screen.

Back on the left flank a lucky hit on the Tiger causes a point of shock and forces it to reverse 1D6. Unfortunately as the Tiger was right up against the base line, it reversed right off the table, never to appear again. (A big learning curve for me there to not to get into a firefight when your units are touching your table edge…………… even with a Tiger.) 

Three 6’s rolled by John will see the end of turn and the smoke clearing. The British continue to advance but are now in the open ground and vulnerable but they have support units on overwatch along the main road, ready to assist their mates when Gerry shows his head.

With the smoke dispersed and a clear field of fire, the defenders start to appear.

An ATG placed in the corner of the table on the German left flank, fires along the length of the table and engages the three Sherman’s lining the road down the far end but to no effect, the Firefly returns fire, scores a hit and takes out the ATG.


A Panzer III appears and damages but fails to destroy the nearest Sherman. The combined fire of the other three Sherman’s controlled by a Senior Leader in his command tank makes short work of the Panzer.


 The immobile Sherman is a prime target for the Panzerschreck team who are brought forward to dish out some payback for the loss of the Panzer III.

The platoon of Panzer IV’s are activated and brought forward from the reverse slope to try and relieve some of the pressure the infantry in the slit trenches are having to endure from the British Sherman’s.

This is not a good day for German armour and as they appear over the crest they are systematically taken out by the combined fire of the Sherman’s under the leadership of the command tank.

John has deployed his sniper on top of one of the transports lining the side of the road. This single figure managed to cause enough hits and points of shock on the German tripod MG opposite, causing them to break and run.
The Vickers MMG also added their firepower and pressure onto the German defenders, who eventually broke with zero morale just as the British Infantry started to reach the ridge on their left flank.


The morale of the British had also been reduced down to level four. This had no effect on the engineers, who had not been used and were still back on the base line drinking tea with a maximum morale level and could have carried on all day (drinking tea).


A few additional photo's.
FOO trying to find a suitable observation position up in the barn to direct his fire from.
The rear of the British column stretching the full length of the 10ft table.