Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Jhamjar border skirmish

Lt Frank Ocker's mood had not improved in the weeks since his skirmish with the Jhamjaris.  His little "police action" had been a failure.  He'd lost men (both wounded and killed) and he himself had been wounded by the Jhamjar Vickers gun.  Now he was finally back on his feet, he was going to go back to the dusty little principality and teach those sepoys a lesson!

I managed to meet Kevin and Jim to get in my second game of Chain of Command: Jhamjar last Friday.  I won't carry on the narrative this time, but in my mind the foul-mouthed F. Ocker is cursing up a blue streak - which my puritan mind won't allow me to convert to the written word 8^) and Lt Singh Widj is calmly and professionally keeping his troops motivated and confident.

Based on lessons learned in the previous outing, I added more terrain this time.  In the foreground to the right there are a few rocky outcrops and a small Hindu shrine on the left.  Past the shrine there is a small orchard (surrounded by a low wall), then a small settlement consisting of a short market street and a farm compound.  Alongside the muddy creek, there are some areas of marsh grass.

We decided to rate the buildings as soft cover this time, as they aren't really fortresses, or at least to discourage us from treating them as such!  The creek is shallow and easily fordable so is rated as difficult ground.  In the photo below, you can see the Jhamjar Rifles mustering on the right, and the ANZACs of Ockerforce gathering on the left.

The table as seen from the Ockerforce side.  

A couple of shots of the market street.  The merchants have fled; this is the quiet before the action starts!

Two shots at the end of the Patrol Phase.  Ockerforce has the Union Flags, and Jhamjar the red flower.

The jump-off points have been placed.  Ockerforce has the lorries and Jhamjar has two mule carts and an elephant.

Early deployments.  A section of English troops is attempting to enter the compound, and a sniper team has deployed above the fishmonger's shop.  Meanwhile, two sections of Jhamjaris have deployed, Muslims near the compound and Sikhs (with the Havildar and a medic) in the rocks. 

Bad news for the Poms!  Just as they climb to the rooftop, the Jhamjar Vickers Gun sets up across the creek and lays down covering fire!  The Poms take three goats (aka shock points).

Pommie corporal rallies one shock from his troops and urges them to take cover (tactical marker added).  Ockerforce sniper fails to have any effect.  Another section of Muslims deploys on the Jhamjar right.

A section of Sikh riflemen maneuver around the Hindu temple.

Ockerforce kiwis (in peaked caps with havelocks) tries to balance out the Ockerforce left.  Sniper still ineffective.

 Kiwis advance to the edge of the creek and take cover in the rushes.  We know they are kiwis 'coz they have acquired a couple of sheep (two shock points).

Pommie section is engaged in a firefight with the Muslims across the compound.  The Ockerforce sergeant has arrived to rally off the shock and direct fire for the Ockers.

Sikh section has occupied the shrine.

Firefight continues...

But now the Ozzies have deployed into the orchard to confront the Sikhs!

Glamour shot of the shrine!

 Kiwis have decided to hunker down (going tactical). 

Meanwhile in the orchard, the second Sikh section has charged!  Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!  and the Australians are driven back...

and then the survivors take more fire from the shrine!  (one injured corporal and now 4 shock on the section).

So Frank Ocker deploys his last section into the orchard.  They charge and chase off the Sikhs!

While across the village, the Muslims rush in and wipe out the kiwis.

Back at the compound, Sergeant Bloggins and the Pommie Corporal are all that are left of the section.  They have collected a decent herd of shock markers, so are now pinned.

And with most of Ockerforce out of action (two sections wiped out, the other two reduced to less than half strength), we decided to call it.

This game went a lot better than the first.  I feel I learnt a few good lessons tonight (I was Frank Ocker again!).  Patrol phase was a lot better.  With a few more games it will be better still!  But this time it felt pretty balanced.  Having more terrain on the table was a bonus as it allowed better placement of the JOPs.  

The forces were not that well balanced.  I found that there's a reason the MMG is a List 4 asset!  It more than outweighs the two LMGs (Lewis Guns) in Ockerforce.  I can't really comment on the sniper.  He suffered from poor dice rolling  - never hit a thing all game!  He should succeed on a 3+ but the only time he got that Jim went and rolled a save!  So next time, more thought to balancing the forces, as well as looking at a different scenario, such as an attack/defend scenario.  I'm also ready to add some National Characteristics, to allow leaders to use their command initiatives to do things like direct fire or inspire charging into melee.

Melee is very decisive.  After mucking about with firefights for much of the evening, the melee combats we had were very decisive!  There were three of them and each pretty much wiped out the defender (although at significant cost to the attacker in some cases).

We managed to forget all about Force Morale.  There were several incidents that should have taken morale points off of Ockerforce - such as wounded NCOs and infantry sections destroyed in melee.  We got the same result in the end but it would have been good to track the effects on the fancy Force Morale boards!  We also failed to use Command Dice.  Each side earned a couple of these, but we weren't familiar enough with their use to take proper advantage.

So in the end, a good game, decisive result but a few lessons to apply for the next game.  Definitely looking forward to having another go!

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