Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #9 – Rush to Contact

Otherwise known as “the ballad of Lieutenant Esparza”.

It’s time for yet another tale from the Combat Commander ladder.

The ladder competition, run by the incredible Patrick Pence of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame, is the monthly Combat Commander competition where everybody on it plays a set scenario from the many scenarios that are included in Combat Commander and its many expansions.

Happily enough, there are 12 different groupings of scenarios to go with 12 different months!

I don’t know what he’s going to do if another expansion or something comes out.

Anyway, I didn’t play last June for personal reasons so this is the first scenario I played from the base Combat Commander: Europe game (though I have played all of them with my friend Michal).

This month’s scenario is from that base game, and it’s Scenario #9: Rush to Contact.

This is a strange scenario because it’s susceptible to a “gamey” situation where the Germans can try to win or lose very early if they decide they want to.

There’s a very small group of Germans on the map. If they exit off the board, they win!

If they’re eliminated, the Americans win!

However, a big set of German reinforcements are ready to enter the battlefield after the first Time trigger.

Yes, this month’s scenario is Rush to Contact.

My opponent was Joshua G (Americans-Green) and I was the Germans (again, as I played the Germans against Michal as well). The Germans are, of course, grey.

Joshua set up the Americans first and he set them up so running my sparse units off the board would be difficult.

(Reminder that you can click on all images to make them larger)

So I set my guys up in the forward Objective 4 position but left one Weapons Teams way in the back so I couldn’t be eliminated early.

The minefields are setup to cause as much trouble as possible, and I made them 7-power mines instead of 8-power so I could start with a Minefield card in my hand (I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t!). This is a scenario special rule.

How did it go?

Ugh.

Well, let’s take a look anyway.

Joshua started the game by moving his Americans to try and get a better position toward my main stack of units. I, of course, had a Fire card and tried to make him pay!

It didn’t work much, though I did break one unit.

Lt. Esparza (you will be hearing his name a lot) and his men tried to go around the buildings and stumbled into a minefield!

Esparza was the only one who broke (that’s saying something).

Pfeiffer also kept up the fire, killing Esparza!

The fire also caused a Time Trigger, so the German reinforcements came out on the board.

That was really early! Way earlier than expected. You’d think that was good for the Germans, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.

The Americans got a few reinforcements too.

all of the circled units are reinforcements

So as mentioned, Esparza died due to the huge fire roll (a 12 Time Trigger means a big fire roll!).

The Americans quickly recovered (this quickly became a theme as the scenario seemed to be going my way but I couldn’t kill a damned unit and Joshua kept recovering them).

Captain Wehling and his men quickly advanced to the edge of the heights in the back left corner, meaning the Heavy Machine Gun could dominate the entire field.

Would that become an issue?

Sadly, not as much of one as it should have been.

A lot of broken Americans!

On the first American move of the next turn, the HMG was devastating, breaking almost everybody!

Of course, the Americans had a Recover order.

Curses!

Everybody was still in good order and Esparza was the only casualty so far.

The Germans finally got a chance to use their artillery, and it was devastating

Artillery breaks everybody!

Or it should have been.

Everybody broke!

Trying to follow up and kill them, the HMG opened up but sadly didn’t have any effect.

And the Americans recovered.

Curses x2!!!

The Americans then fired on my original units in Objective 4, first throwing a Satchel Charge into the building!

And causing a Time Trigger due to the deck running out.

And getting a Walking Wounded event!

Which meant that Lt. Esparza was only mostly dead originally.

Oh no! Lt. Esparza!

But he appeared in a bad spot.

This did bring on more American reinforcements as well.

Things weren’t looking good for the Germans.

Then it was time for the normal American fire in addition to the Satchel Charge.

Pfeiffer and his brave men died, but thankfully not before the rest of the Germans had come on the board.

Esparza made a dash for the board edge, hoping to give the Americans some much-needed VP, but being broken, he couldn’t reach the edge.

Later, Sgt. Esser recovered, and then laid some devastating fire down on Esparza.

The fire was horrific, though the Sustained Fire actually broke both German machine guns! (I’ve since learned that the “Sustained Fire: break a gun if you roll doubles” only affects one of the guns if there is more than one…something I didn’t know!)

The subsequent Sniper check actually eliminated the guns! that’s not good (again, should only have been one gun).

Poor Esparza

Poor Lt. Esparza died yet again.

“Is this my Hell Loop?” he asked.

That gave me 6 points! (3 points each time he was eliminated)

The Americans advanced into Objective 4 and caused a 6-VP swing (even though the squad broke due to leaving the minefield).

(Tactical Mistake #1)

Before all of this happened, I should have advanced some of my forces into the farm house in the middle of the board. While they may have died, they would have contested two VP spots and also have delayed the Americans from taking up some good positions. I never recovered from this.

Shortly thereafter, the Americans caused the German radio to break down. There had been a couple of great artillery barrages but then sadly the Germans couldn’t draw another Artillery Request card to save their life.

The Americans started moving forward, exposing the fact that the Germans hadn’t drawn a Fire card in quite a while.

Notice also the Americans with the scrounged German LMG near the central farm house

The Americans had gained the heights near Esser’s position!

A bunch of little stuff happened, and another Time Trigger!

Let me stop to just say that this scenario is kind of weird.

The Germans desperately need that first Time Trigger because they need their reinforcements to get onto the board and relieve the pressure on the initial units.

But after that, the next three Time Triggers result in American reinforcements, culminating in the American radio coming into play.

So they really want the first one, but then each one after that just kind of hurts them if they haven’t been able to kill any Americans before it happens.

Which I hadn’t been able to.

Anyway, back to the AAR.

One highlight of my night (on a night of few highlights) was the American Lt. Wray moving forward. I didn’t fire on him in the Brush, so Joshua thought I didn’t have a Fire card.

He kept moving, and I unleashed a barrage while he was in the open…breaking both him and his squad!

That was fun.

In doing so, though, the Americans drew a Reconnaissance event, revealing my hidden objective. Which made each Objective hex worth 2 more VP. With the Americans poised to take over almost everything, that wasn’t good (though it would have come out at the end of the game anyway).

Of course, Joshua had a Recover order ready.

Curses x3!

I managed to fix my radio, but it didn’t help because I never drew another Artillery Request card.

The Americans moved into the farmhouse Objectives and took a bunch of VP, bringing it to 11 American VP.

A German squad was eliminated as well by a Sniper (one of the few effective Snipers in this game)

The American used their new radio to some good effect, though it didn’t hit the HMG hex (which didn’t really matter because it hadn’t been able to fire for quite a while now). One squad broke and one was Suppressed.

Subsequent American fire killed the squad that broke from the artillery.

Another American artillery bombardment brought Lt. Esparza back with another Walking Wounded event! Again, he was only mostly dead!

He’s back!

And this time he appeared in a better spot for Joshua.

(This just goes to show you that I couldn’t eliminate another unit to save my life)

The bombardment also revealed Joshua’s Objective. Objective #5 was worth 5 VP. That was nice, but without me being able to do something to his units, it didn’t help much.

The bombardment broke a squad but nothing else.

He then used another artillery barrage (how did he get so many?) to lay some smoke and try to blanket the HMG (which hadn’t done much recently anyway).

It kind of worked, cutting them off from about half of the board.

Esparza then exited the map for 3 VP.

What a resilient fellow!

Joshua then Routed my broken squad off the board for 2 more VP.

Curses x4!

The Time Triggers began coming fast and furious and the Germans drew a Walking Wounded event!

Which sadly brought a squad right into the meat of the Americans.

Oops! They should have been broken.

Would that be 2 more VP for the Americans (who didn’t need any more)?

The German HMG did manage to get a shot off at the Americans in the farmhouse, breaking them.

Amazingly, the Americans didn’t have a Recover card!

But they did have an Advance and moved into the German lone squad on the right side of the board.

It was subsequently eliminated (2 more VP!)

And then the Americans did have a Recover.

Curses x5!

The Germans did try one final artillery barrage to try and save Esser on the right side of the board, but it drifted enough that Esser actually got hit! Thankfully it didn’t cause too much damage.

Esser and his men did Advance into a lone Paratrooper squad hex and eliminate it in melee, but that was the last bright spot for the Germans.

Time was progressing and things were definitely not looking good.

To add insult to injury, one of the subsequent American events brought a mortar out as a reinforcment!

It never got used, but still.

More American artillery smoke finally took the German HMG out of action, not that it had done much.

The Germans had one more chance.

They had 2 more Artillery requests and 2 leaders.

How about calling down a bunch of fire on the farmhouse? Maybe break and then eliminate some Americans!

Sadly, that couldn’t happen.

One Fog of War event caused the Germans to discard one Artillery Request.

Then a second Fog of War event almost immediately after caused the other one to go away.

Not only that, but Lt. Wray and his men exited the board, giving the Americans even more victory points.

At that point, with the game already at 3.5 hours and still a couple of Time Triggers to go until Sudden Death, my personal morale broke.

I conceded the game to Joshua and we called it an American victory.

This was a fun game, but I wish I hadn’t made the mistake of not contesting the farm house.

I might have died, but the units that I would have used ended up not doing anything anyway. Moving them to the farm house before Joshua could move in would have given them something to do and they may have prevailed!

The game started off well for me, to the point where both Joshua and a couple of spectators thought that he was going to lose.

And that’s why we play the game.

Joshua took advantage of the breaks he got and I wasn’t able to take advantage of mine.

He played really well and he just flat out beat me, fair and square.

The best part of the night was Lt. Esparza appearing twice from the casualty track. He just kept coming back for more.

Joshua was a great and gracious opponent. I hope he does well in future games on the ladder.

This puts me at 8-5 on the ladder, and I look forward to my July game!

If you find these AARs interesting or the game itself sounds interesting, I encourage you to check out the Ladder. There are a bunch of great guys on it and there are so many spread out all over the world that Patrick has been able to set up two divisions. This means that (unless you want to) you don’t have to worry about playing somebody with a 12-hour time difference.

Stay tuned for more exciting AARs in the future.

Combat Commander Ladder – After Action Reports

May 2021 – Scenario #112 – Sonnenwende
July 2021 – Scenario #23 – No Man’s Land
August 2021 – Scenario #34 – Encircled at Hill 30
September 2021 – Scenario A – Grassy Knoll
October 2021 – Scenario M6 – Breakout
November 2021 – Scenario #35 – Spartakovka Salient
December 2021 – Scenario #51 – The Uneasy Wait
January 2022 – Scenario #65 – Road Trip
February 2022 – Scenario #75 – Sturmgruppe Beton
March 2022 – Scenario #90 – The Man Who Would Be King
April 2022 – Scenario LoM9 – Operation Mercury
May 2022 – Scenario #119 – Sky Fall
June 2022 – Scenario #9 – Rush to Contact
July 2022 – Scenario #14 – At the Crossroads
August 2022 – Scenario #30 – Red Skies At Night
September 2022 – Scenario E – West Tank Barrier
October 2022 – Scenario M4 – Templeton’s Crossing
November 2022 – Scenario #41 – The Commissar House

21 Comments on “Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #9 – Rush to Contact

  1. That is indeed a crazy scenario, which can go either way and each time plays completely differently. I remember our play when I was storming (before first Time Trigger) the occupied German house which was saved by Dave only thanks to bringing his own artillery on himself and my attacking units!

    Liked by 1 person

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