“Chain of Command” by the Too Fat Lardies is my preferred small unit set of rules, it always gives a very tension filled game. One of the most fascinating things about it is the way that it totally punishes poor unit tactics. A friend suggested to me a little while ago that you don’t actually win a game of Chain of Command but rather your opponent looses! I think that is true, victory will go to the person who makes the least amount of mistakes. Like all good games there is a random element to keep you on your toes but this is an addition rather than a detraction.
I recently played a practice game with a friend of mine who is going to CanCon, one of the oldest gaming conventions in Australia, later this month to take part of the “Chain of Command” tournament. The theme for this particular tournament is World War II Pacific, a particular interest of mine. While I enjoy playing WWII Europe I must say that for the most part I find the Pacific campaigns much more interesting. This was initially triggered by my fascination with the Kokoda campaign evolved to include pretty well the entire Pacific war.
Mark played his Australian platoon and I used my Japanese forces. We set the game around 1943-44 and used the later war force lists. We decided on a basic Attack/Defend game with the Australians in defense of a lone Government outpost somewhere in the Papua New Guinea. Overall the terrain was a bit more open then a lot of the Pacific games that we have played. The link below goes to John Shaw’s Blog on our Malaya Campaign that was written by Len Tracey and in the Too Fat Lardies 2015 Christmas Special. https://battleswithminiatures.blogspot.com you will see those games were a lot more crowded and they made for interesting games.
The Australian patrols were very aggressive and locked down the ability of the Japanese to project their force forward of the line of Palm trees at the bottom of the picture. The bulk of the Australians ended up deploying near the government house to the top right of the photo.
The Japanese were quick to deploy the first of their two Medium Machine Gun teams near the centre of the table and immediately started firing on the Australians that were discovered hiding in some bushes. A fire fight between the two teams soon broke out with eventually the Japanese gaining the upper hand with superior firepower.
The Japanese commander deployed the mountain gun that had been so laboriously dragged through the jungle. As a side note, during the Kokoda Campaign the Japanese actually dragged these heavy guns over the entire of the Owen Stanley Ranges and eventually abandoned them when they started their withdrawal from the hills above Port Morseby. The deployment of this gun was successful in stopping the advance of the Australians who were skulking around the right hand side of the table.
Meanwhile the Japanese were bringing more and more men on near the centre Jump Off Point and eventually once all the Japanese were deployed the Gunso (Platoon Sergeant) took a small force and raced off to the left in an effort to outflank the Australians who had dug themselves into the hedge line on the far side of the road and where proving difficult to shift.
In an effort to shut down the barrage of fire coming from the Japanese Medium Machine Gun the Australian commander called on the skills of the 2″ Mortar team, who were able to drop smoke rounds directly were needed. Obviously during the initial scouting of this area the Australians had pre-sighted various targets on the battlefield as time and time again the Australian Mortar teams were able to drop smoke exactly where needed, including in front of the Mountain Gun that was chewing up the Australian sections on the right flank.
Heavy fire from the Australians was pinning down the advance up the centre and one squad was forced to take shelter behind the tin shed, not that it provided much cover with the squad leader being killed by an Australian sharpshooter hiding in the bushes.
The Gunso finally got his troops into position and withering fire from the MMG and infantry squad exacted a heavy toll from the Australians holding up the left flank. The Japanese prepared for more fire when night fell and the Australians withdrew under darkness. (actually it was almost midnight and we decided to finish the game)
Once again the Too Fat Lardies Chain of Command gave a superb game. Mark and I enjoyed ourselves and so did our observer/heckler John. The Australians are formidable opponents and Mark is a true gentleman. I am looking forward to someone else painting Japanese as I am looking forward to putting my Kokoda Militia on the table. The irony for me was that I only painted the Japanese to provide an opponent for my militia but I seem to play them rather a lot. The early war Japanese are very dangerous as the amount of firepower coming out of the squads is remarkable. On to the next game!!