Has it only been a month since my last Combat Commander ladder AAR?
Actually, it’s been less than a month!
I consider that a win.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for another adventure from the Combat Commander ladder, that monthly tournament of one of my favourite games of all time.
Run by the acclaimed Patrick Pence, he of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame, the ladder allows me to face off against opponents from all over the world, trudging through the countryside from Guadalcanal all the way to the shores of France (going the long way around, of course), trying to beat your opponent into submission with superior maneuver and firepower.
And have tons of fun and laughs doing it.
This month’s scenario was taken from the pages of C3i Magazine #20, a little scenario between the Americans and Germans on D-Day behind the Normandy beaches.
My opponent this month was Ted W, somebody who I have had great experience watching Patrick play in the Normandy Campaign on Patrick’s channel.
After watching those videos, I knew I had my work cut out for me.
You can click on each picture to blow it up.
In the scenario, the Germans (Me – grey) have a small force attacking across a small bridge against a very small American (Ted – green) force (this scenario is, as they say, small…).
A couple of special rules.
First, the stream is actually an impassable water barrier, and those Soviet control markers on the edge are also impassable.
Essentially, the only way across the water is that one bridge.
The Americans set up first, and can set up 8 hexes deep from the left side of the map. However, they can’t set up on the German side of the river.
The Germans can set up 4 hexes deep.
Smoke is going to be very important in this scenario, so it’s a good thing the Germans have a mortar that can fire it!
If they didn’t have a crew trained by me, anyway…
Also, all fences (the thin brown hex sides) are considered hedges, and all hedges are considered bocage (so they have +2 movement/cover instead of the normal +1).
Thankfully the Americans are in Recon posture and not Defensive, so they can’t use any of those annoying defense cards to stop my advance.
How’d it go?
Lots of twists and turns.
Let’s take a look.
Thankfully the German units have a heavy-machine gun and a 2-leadership leader to help lay down covering and suppressing fire across the water. I made heavy use of that.
They also all have boxed movement factors (the rightmost number on the counter) so they can use the Smoke Grenade cards to lay some smoke when their mortar crew sucks…
I quickly moved Esser into firing position as well as advancing my maneuver group.
The guys in the south were the ones who were supposed to go over the bridge.
Some German fire suppressed Wray and returning American fire brought out the German Hero, Dietel!
I like him much better than Smythe.
Later, I made my first bone-headed move of the night, though thankfully all it cost me was an extra Fire card.
I got ready to move Lauerbach’s men around the bocage and into the forest on the other side of the road.
But I made a Line of Sight error and laid the smoke in the wrong hex! It was a 7-hindrance smoke, but then the hex I moved them through turned out to be in LOS of the American guns.
Ted unloaded and broke the squad in the road. Thankfully, Lauerbach stayed rallied and he was able to move them off the road and out of sight.
The rest of the guys moved, throwing 10-hindrance smoke into the hex the first squad should have, wasting the Fire card that had Smoke Grenades on it.
The squad quickly rallied, but I was still shaking my head at that error.
Seeing that I hadn’t set anybody up in the north, ready to rain down holy hellfire on one of the American buildings, Ted advanced his guys into it, setting up his own group with Lt. Wray.
Some American fire on Esser ended up breaking one of their two Medium Machine Guns and a German sniper that ended up targeting his own mortar crew did end up breaking the MMG for good.
Here’s where a large part of the laughter in the first part of the game began.
After firing on his own mortar crew, the German sniper realized that if he kept doing that, he would probably end up going to the Eastern Front.
So an American attack brought on some German morale checks and one of those checks brought on another sniper…which targeted Lt. Wray!
To keep Wray out of the line of fire, Ted advanced back behind the building until he could draw a Recover card.
He then fired again…producing another German sniper who apparently has learned to lead his target.
Yep, Wray got shot again and ended up out of action.
With Wray gone and having already reduced his MMG squad to an Elite team due to Light Wounds, Ted figured it was time to retreat that MG out of the line of fire to where he could still target the bridge.
This was, shall we say, annoying.
Mainly because I couldn’t draw a Move card to save my life. I had a couple of Fire cards, but I didn’t want the mortar to lay Smoke until I could take advantage and move onto the bridge.
The one remaining squad in my line of fire did an impressive move that I had to applaud Ted for.
I had previously suppressed the squad, so he played a Move card, then threw some Smoke Grenades out in front of him, before retreating…and then moving back!
That’s one way to keep from getting fired on.
So Esser fired on the other American leader instead, not only breaking him, but the German sniper came through again!
All of that work laying smoke, and the sniper broke the American squad anyway.
Sadly, this is where I have to say that while I was getting amazingly lucky with snipers and the like, it was almost fake luck, because fate determined that I would not be able to draw cards to take advantage of it.
After all of this, my hand consisted of two Rout cards, two Recover cards, and two Artillery Request cards.
The stalemate continued. Ted quickly rallied Goziak and I promptly broke both him and his squad again. But I couldn’t finish them off.
And then an American reinforcement event brought Sgt. Fuller onto the board!
Meanwhile, I had advanced Lauerbach right next to the bridge, ready for the dash across!
If I could ever get a Move card.
I was still in good shape though. I had 5 rounds before Sudden Death and I had to start drawing some good cards sometime, right?
After all that, I had two Recover, two Command Confusion and two Artillery Requests in my hand.
Thankfully, at least one of the Artillery Requests was a Dig In, letting me put foxholes in Dietel’s hex at the next Time trigger!
Of course, after that and discarding all but one Recover card, I ended up with four (!) Recover cards and an Advance (somehow I missed drawing my 6th card)
And then more Wray hilarity happened.
A Walking Wounded event!
Wray was the only eliminated unit, so he had to come out…and he showed up right on top of (or adjacent to) the mortar team!
Of course, Walking Wounded, you come back broken, but Ted still momentarily thought about taking on the team, but then decided against it.
Not having any part of that, he quickly advanced Wray away from the crew before I could get any bright ideas.
I don’t know if I had the balls to do that (I did have an Advance card), but he made it moot.
I did decide to move one of my firegroup squads and LMG that wasn’t really doing anything where it was.
I was going to circle around and take Wray from the front before he could run off the board…and through Objective 4, giving Ted 6 points!
Sadly, it was not to be. I had finally drawn a Move card (after discarding three Recover cards, I drew two Move cards!), but Ted already had one and quickly Wray scurried off the board like the rat he is.
Finally, with a Move card and a Fire card, the mortar tried to lay some smoke…and missed.
For a long time afterward, I had two Move cards and could not draw a Fire card to save my life.
Not to mention that a German event brought a new Strategic Objective out…double elimination points!
If only my sniper could get moving again…
Even worse, subsequent German fire brought out the American Hero, Lucas.
I eventually grew to hate him more than Smythe.
(Before that, though, a brief digression. Ted pointed out to me after the game that one of my options, with multiple Move cards and no Smoke, and a Recover card, was to try to move everybody across the bridge. Send Lauerbach and his men, drawing American fire since Ted was always activating most of his guys. Then, even if Lauerbach didn’t make it, Esser and his men could then run across the bridge. Even if Ted had another Fire card, he wouldn’t have much to shoot with. That would have involved ditching my HMG, which maybe is why I didn’t think of it, but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened. This is why Ted is the tactical genius and I’m not).
Ted then forced a ton of card draw by targeting Lauerbach’s hex with all of his men in multiple fire attacks (with Goziak actually firing on Dietel since he couldn’t see Lauerbach).
It burned through a bunch of my cards while I was trying to find the right ones to finally assault with.
Though a German sniper once again broke the lone squad in the building.
Time advanced, Wray came back on the board, and I had another Fire card!
And the mortar missed the smoke again…
At this point, I had a Move, two Advances, a Recover and a Rout in my hand.
And then three Moves after discarding!
Blistering American fire killed Lauerbach’s squad, meaning he’d have to use one of his other ones for the assault that he knew must be coming.
Here is where my second bonehead move of the night came in.
The Americans fired and during that fire, the German morale check produced an Interrogation event.
I got to look at Ted’s four remaining cards. He had one Fire card, two Recovers, and an Artillery Denied!
I quickly had him discard the Fire card.
This would give Lauerbach and his men a chance to run across the bridge unhindered!
I quickly played a Move card and activated all of Lauerbach’s men…wait, what was that?
Oh, Ted drew back to 5 cards at the end of his turn?
And he drew what…?
Lauerbach moved onto the bridge and faced the full force of American firepower.
I didn’t plan on moving the rest of the guys onto the bridge, but I did want to move them forward, so I moved a squad to where Lauerbach used to be.
Hey, Ted just happened to have a Spray Fire card, which means not only did he attack the moving squad, but Lauerbach too!
The squad survived but Lauerbach was suppressed.
Then the Peanut Gallery pointed out that even though Lauerbach wasn’t moving at the time, he was still activated to move, so instead of being suppressed, he’d break again.
What a silly rule.
No, I know it’s the rule…but
Anyway, Lauerbach’s dead and my personal morale is kinda low. But I was determined to fight on. We were still two rounds away and I could still get across the bridge!
Lauerbach had given me 6 points by taking the bridge before dying.
More intense firepower from Esser (pissed off that his buddy Lauerbach was lying on the bridge) broke the American squad and Lucas, but caused another Time trigger.
One round away!
That’s when Lucas decided to get extremely irritating.
I had a bunch of Move cards, and this close to the end, I thought I would try and charge across the bridge.
But Lucas got it into his head to take those 6 VP back for the Americans!
He rushed the bridge, and of course I had a bunch of Movement but no Fire cards to stop him.
And then he sat there on the bridge.
And sat there.
And sat there.
While I had Move cards, I had no Fire, no Smoke, and no Advance card!
Suddenly, I was stymied by one lone man blowing raspberries at my guys over bridge’s guard rails.
THIS SHALL NOT STAND!!!!
But it did.
I was discarding like mad. I got some Fire, including Smoke Grenades (since the mortar didn’t seem to want to help), but still no Advance! It would be pointless to move onto the road without a potential Advance to melee Lucas.
And then I decided “what the hell?”
I’d drawn another Fire card, so the mortar could fire onto the bridge and then Dietel and his men could move next to Lucas, using Smoke grenades.
Some 4 smoke on the bridge and 7 smoke in Dietel’s hex worked wonders.
But I was still waiting for that Advance card.
Of course, now I had 3 Fire cards and still no Advance.
And then 4 Fire cards! Including two Smoke Grenades!
I kept firing away at the lone American squad, breaking him sometimes but Ted kept rallying him.
And no Advance card would come out.
Meanwhile, American fire had broken Dietel and his squad, even with the smoke.
The squad rallied but Dietel refused to.
One small bit of hope for the Germans is that in trying to kill Dietel’s stack, Ted did a Sustained Fire attack with his remaining MMG and promptly drew a Jammed trigger, killing the gun.
And a Blaze broke out in Goziak’s hex! He was forced out of the hex.
That objective would never become German, sadly.
And then I finally drew that Advance.
But no Recover!
Even though Dietel was broken and the squad was suppressed, I had to act, since I did have an Ambush card as well.
So did Ted, but thankfully that just killed Dietel, who wasn’t doing much anyway.
The way my luck had been going, I fully expected to lose this fight, even though I had a 4-1 strength advantage.
Surely Ted couldn’t overcome a 3-point deficit…could he?
No, he didn’t. Lucas died too.
No points for me, but I did get 6 points for recapturing the bridge.
The remaining squad threw a bunch more smoke and moseyed up next to the American squad in the one remaining objective I could conceivably capture.
Nobody fired on them, which was a welcome change.
But before I could do anything else, Fuller and his men moved toward the building too. And then used an Assault Fire action!
That fire ran my deck out, and the subsequent Sudden Death roll was a 6, ending the game.
Ted won with 15 VP.
That was a true roller coaster ride.
Things were really going my way at the beginning of the game, but I just couldn’t capitalize on it.
A couple of bonehead mistakes combined with some bad luck also sealed the deal.
Ted played a brilliant game, though. I couldn’t afford to make the mistakes I did and plan on beating him.
Maybe I held on to cards a bit too long, even though I had multiples?
I think it would have been interesting to see what happened if I did the double dash that Ted suggested after the game.
Would it have changed things?
Maybe, maybe not.
The game took just over two hours and there was a lot of laughter throughout the game, both from us and the peanut gallery.
It’s probably the most fun I’ve had playing a Combat Commander game so far.
Thank you, Ted, for a great game.
That puts me at 12-12 in my Ladder career.
I really need a win next month!
The scenario will be from the base Combat Commander: Europe game, so it should be interesting.
Until then, if you enjoyed this after action report, how about joining us on the ladder?
It is such a great group of people, and it allows you to play as many games of one of the best games there is as you want!
In the meantime, have a smoke.
Make it a 10-factor smoke.
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
December 2022 – Scenario #53 – Deeds Not Words
January 2023 – Scenario #67 – The Orient Express
February 2023 – Scenario #82 – Hidden Guns Lash Out
March 2023 – Scenario #91 – The Battle of Trafalgar
April 2023 – Scenario LoM8 – Codes in the Sunrise
May 2023 – Scenario #105 – La Fiere Counterattack
Pingback: Combat Commander After Action Report – Scenario LoM #8 – Codes in the Sunrise – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander After Action Report – Scenario #91 – The Battle of Trafalgar – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander After Action Report – Scenario #82 – Hidden Guns Lash Out – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander After Action Report – Scenario #67 – The Orient Express – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander After Action Report – Scenario #53 – Deeds Not Words – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #41 – The Commissar House – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: COMBAT COMMANDER PACIFIC – AFTER ACTION REPORT – SCENARIO M4 – TEMPLETON’S CROSSING – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Pacific – After Action Report – Scenario E – West Tank Barrier – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #30 – Red Skies at Night – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #14 – At the Crossroads – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario LoM9 – Operation Mercury – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario 90 – The Man Who Would Be King – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander – After Action Report – Scenario #112 – Sonnenwende – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Great session, thanks!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pingback: Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #9 – Rush to Contact – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander – After Action Report – Scenario #119 – Sky Fall – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander – After Action Report – Scenario 75 – Sturmgruppe Beton – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario 65 – Road Trip – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario 51 – The Uneasy Wait – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander – After Action Report – Scenario 35 – Spartakovka Salient – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Pacific – After Action Report – Scenario M6 – Breakout – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: Combat Commander Pacific – After Action Report – Scenario A – Grassy Knoll – Dude! Take Your Turn!
Pingback: May 2023 Gaming – Dude! Take Your Turn!