Chris Harrod and I played my Carabanchel Scenario. Chris played the attacking Nationalist Moroccan Regulares and I played the Republican Militia.
First up the terrain objectives. I placed my terrain objective in the Military Hospital on the grounds that it seemed, well, more historical. The barricades blocked the two streets leading to the Military Hospital. I then noted where my troops were hidden. Chris placed both his objectives on the Republican left, one in the forward zone and one in the rear zone. Chris also placed all his troops on this flank. His plan was to use the tanks to dominate the streets and his infantry to take the two terrain objectives he’d placed. I must admit I found it quite scary to see all those troops massed against half of mine.
Chris deployed all of his troops quite close together. Platoon 1 was the serve and the other two platoons the strike force.
I was quite pleased to get out my Nationalist Panzer Is. These are the original Flames of War models produced in the late 1990s and painted by the designer, Evan Allen. Notice the little Nationalist flags on the back of the turret.
Nationalist Panzer Is
Chris took the first initiative and advanced under cover of smoke. Eventually he felt he couldn’t safely advance further until he had more smoke and passed.
I decided to try a spoiling attack so Chris wouldn’t be able to bring his entire force to bear on my left flank. So I revealed my first platoon and sent them across the road. Unfortunately, Chris immediately used his Political Cooperation free pins to trap the PC and a rifle squad in the middle of the road. Ooops. But the other two squads made it across safely. But my attempt to rally the guys in the road failed and initiative passed.
Republican Spoiling Attack
First thing Chris did was to line up one of his Panzer Is on my guys in the street.
Panzer I Takes Aim
Then he moved up his reserve platoon and company commander to deal with the anarchic interlopers.
Nationalists counter attack
6-2 and dead militia. My spoiling attack had worked, in that I’d distracted his reserve platoon, but it had already been costly.
Nationalists Extinguish the Republican Spoiling attack
Luckily the success went to Chris’s head and, on my left flank, he group moved a platoon across a road without first doing RBF. Unfortunately for him the target building sector contained a rifle squad and my sole HMG. Target in the open and I had the benefit of Ambush fire too, so +1d6.
Nationalist Frontal Assault on HMG
A lot of Moroccans died. The PC and two squads in the initial charge. The other squad got suppressed and, after some faffing about, killed.
Then in the centre a probing Moroccan scout found my last platoon, and got killed for his trouble.
Nationalist Scout Blocked
Chris pulled back the remainder of the third platoon, presumably to make room for his reserve.
We didn’t take a photo of the final action. Chris brought up his reserve platoon (Platoon 1), which was his only remaining intact platoon, and placed them in the same building complex as his third platoon. The reserve platoon then assaulted across the street and got massacred.
Great game. Nail biting. I won at 90 minutes. Nationalists had captured the front terrain objective but neither of the rear terrain objectives when they reached their casualty limit.
I think the best thing about the scenario was the tactical decisions both players had to make before the game even started. This involved placing terrain objectives, barricades (for the defender), and troops.
Chris set up very well (I think) by massing on one flank. You can’t imagine the feeling of dread I felt when I saw a whole company line up against one and half of mine.
Chris’s strategy was let down by the two attempts he made to cross a road into defended buildings. With Moroccans, who are Reckless like Russians and Japanese, this is a dicey affair; they ignore PINs but get killed on a SUPPRESS. I rolled a lot of suppressions with the resulting carnage.
Not sure if my spoiling attack was effective. It certainly distracted one of Chris’s platoons but it did cost me a whole platoon. It is possible that it had a more of a psychological effect as Chris mentioned that it was because of this little fight that he got impatient to advance and did his first charge across the street. If so, the spoiling attack was worth it.
I was concerned about the two real hour time limit wouldn’t be enough. But we found the game played to a satisfying finish well within that time limit. And the time limit did seem to have some effect on the players, e.g. in this game Chris’s dashes across the street.
It was nice to have the Panzer Is on the table although they didn’t play too much of a part in the game, nor the subsequent games. I’m mulling over whether to have an “Antonio Coll” special rule. I the the scenario as written Antonio is factored in by giving on stand per militia platoon “bombs” which are effective in close combat with tanks. If you do the math, and factor in my house rule on Close Combating Tanks, you’ll see that Antonio would have +1 and the target tank +3 in close combat, so there is a good chance Antonio would die on the first attempt. OK, he did die, but it was on his second successful attempt, so perhaps a give the nominated Antonio stand a +3 for his bombs or something. Just a thought at the moment.
Chris and I played a few non-standard rules regarding “stand width” and buildings. In particular:
- Allowing a commander outside a structure to rally stands in an adjacent structure (I’ve been playing this for years, and hadn’t even thought about it so it isn’t part of my house rules)
- Allowing stands in adjacent building sectors to group move (Chris’s logical extension of that)
After reading the rules carefully I realised they really did say what a “stand width” is when talking about buildings. I wrote up my musings on what constitutes a “stand width” in the context of buildings and posed the set of questions to the Crossfire Yahoo Group. The consensus was that “stand width” within a building sector was the building sector and no more. So neither of the above non-standard rules were allowed. I’ll update my House Rules to make this explicit.