On Friday, Alexander and I played Scenario #4 Closed for Renovation with him taking the Americans (Attacker) and me being the Germans (Defender).

The IG 18 Gun is a piece of light field artillery used in large numbers by the German Army in World War II.
From the playbook we read the following:

Humaine, Belgium, December 27, 1944 – After days of fierce combat and heavy bombardment, the town of Humaine was surrounded by forces of the US 2nd Armored Division.  Most of the German defenders surrendered after some hard fighting. 

Remnants of the 9th Panzer Division occupying a chateau on the north end of town refused to give up, however, and it fell to CCR to root out these stubborn troops.

The scenario set the Surrender condition at 8 for the Germans and 11 for the Americans. The Germans were to set up first and were simply to hold the Americans from taking the chateau located in the middle of the map. With this in mind, I set up a forward fire team consisting of 1 of my 2 Heavy MG’s in the building located at Objective #2 with an Elite Rifle unit led by Lt. Lauerbach (Command 1) and flanked to the left by a Light MG team led by Lt. Schrader (Command 1) set up in the woods. I knew the Americans would be set up in the last row of hexes on the board and attempt to scale the walls to attack me. I thought this set up would give me a good field of fire on the Americans but really only led to trouble for me.

Lt. Lauerbach and Lt. Schrader hoped to hold the Americans at the wall and remain flexible enough to be able to move to the left flank to intercept units scaling the wall from the woods to assault the chateau.

The scrificial lamb was my Heavy MG team setup to guard the right flank and lane of advancement to the chatteau.
My 2nd unit placement was a total mistake but I placed a Weapon team with my other Heavy MG in the buildings at Objective #4 as I wanted to make sure the Americans couldn’t place a large force there and move toward my right flank unopposed to assault the chateau. I backed up the Heavy MG with an Elite Rifle unit to slow the advance toward the wall if they defeated the MG nest. (The Americans easily broke this MG team with consistent Fire Attacks of 12-14 FP.)  Finally I set up 3 squads of Elite Rifles to guard the chateau itself, 1 in the buildings on the left flank at Objective #1 and 2 Elite Rifles in the chateau, one with a Light MG.

I had to protect the chateau as that was the only way the Americans could win.
The Americans set up in 3 groups, one on the left flank behind the wall with Satchel Charges and one Medium MG team with no leaders to start, one group led by Sgt. Buehler (Command 2) with 2 Elite units, one with a .50 cal MG and the final team on the right approach by Objective #4 with 3 Line units, 1 with the other .50 cal MG and 1 with a Medium MG led by Lt. Wray (Command 2). Finally, the scenario allowed me to set up the IG 18 Gun with a Weapon team anywhere and I placed it to the southwest of the building to cover that approach.

The IG 18 Gun is powerful but I was only able to fire it twice with only 1 hit, a suppression!
The scenario started with the Americans using a few move cards to scale the wall on the west edge of the map and advance relatively easily to the first line of trees threatening the chateau very quickly. I would have done a Fire action on them but my IG 18 Gun can’t participate in opportunity fire. Ugh!  He also took a huge calculated risk right out of the gate. He ordered Sgt. Beuhler and the Elite unit stacked with him to Advance over the wall and into my building at Objective #2 to engage in melee. I fortunately had an Ambush action in my hand and broke Sgt. Buehler bringing his FP down by 3 from 11 to 8 against my FP of 10.

Yippeekaiyah and over the wall comes Sgt. Buehler in a typical American cowboy move!
I pulled a roll of 9 vs. his roll of 6 and I won the melee 19-14. The 1st casualties on the track are huge for me as I knocked out one of his best leaders and took out the .50! What a fortunate turn of events for me!

1st 2 casualties are Americans and the scenario is off to a great start for the Germans.
For the next few rounds the Americans focused on Artillery requests to fire on Lt. Lauerbach’s position in Objective #2 leading to the Heavy MG breaking along with my Elite Rifle being suppressed. What just a few minutes ago looked like a powerful position from which I’d cause the Americans casualties turned to a very weak hex. We then had a few quick Time checks and we reached space 3 from which American reinforcements would come in the form of a Command 1 leader in Sgt. White along with 2 Engineer units with Flamethrowers. He placed one right in front of the building at Objective #2 occupied by Lt. Lauerbach and the other unit with White on the left flank to begin a coordinated assault on the chateau.

Hammered by sustained artillery fire, my Germans were breaking and became a severely weakened force.
The Flamethrower is an extremely powerful (FP 11 while reducing cover bonuses to 0) and deadly weapon which is very hard to be able to effectively use as its range is only a 1. But if you have a situation like this scenario where when reinforcements deploy they are immediately in range then they are truly to be feared.  This was the case as the Americans immediately were able to fire into the buildings reducing my cover bonus to zero. This attack was just like roasting marshmallows at a cookout over an open fire as he killed all of my three units there bringing my casualties to 3.

This attack with the Flamethrower was just like roasting marshmallows at a cookout over on open fire.

Modern flamethrowers were first used during the trench warfare conditions of World War I but their use greatly increased in World War II.
At this point I retreated Lt. Schrader and the Elite with the Light MG to the woods just on the northwest corner of the chateau to open fire on the advancing Americans. I also was fortunate and able to play a Dig In action to place a foxhole in their hex to improve their cover by 1 over the woods. This team was not really very effective as they had an FP of only 5 but I wanted to force the Americans to burn through their deck getting through to Time checks to bring the scenario to an end as we were now at Time space 5. That is a general rule for the Defender, take every shot you can whether it has a good chance of success or not as it eats through the deck. Time is your friend! The Attacker should be more cautious and fire only when they have an effective shot so as to slow down the enemy from turning their deck over.

Lt. Schrader was firing nearly each round at the American advance to eat up their Fate deck, even using 2 Spray Fire actions to fire at two hexes.
We battled back and forth with Fire orders for about 3 rounds and I could tell he couldn’t draw any Move orders. He couldn’t win the scenario without advancing on the chateau and controlling it prior to the Sudden Death checks. I simply began to pull back my units into the chateau as I drew 3 Move orders. The next Time check brought us to Sudden Death and the scenario ended when he pulled a roll of 6. I had held out and won, my first victory with the Germans.

The situation at the end of the scenario. I had moved most of my healthy units to the chateau but was fighting a blaze that came as an Event.
This scenario was won by me mainly due to his inability to draw Move orders. In order to win, the Americans must advance quickly and get in position to assault and take the chateau.  He had plenty of Fire orders and Artillery Requests but was generally ineffective with the artillery as he rolled double 6’s a few times moving the shells far away from their intended target, even killing one of his own units in the process. His artillery crews either needed some practice or need a new more effective leader assigned. I also think he would chosen to have used smoke more to assist his advance up the left flank if he could have drawn more Move orders. We are learning and improving in our tactics and grasp of the game. We still struggle at times to most effectively set up our troops at the outset but are getting better. We still have 8 scenarios in the base game to play in addition to another 10 from the Paratroopers expansion. As always, we are looking forward to our next play of Combat Commander: Europe!

-Grant