Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Holding Chapel Pass

Finally, the long awaited (I’m sure you were all on the edge of your seats) report of the Blitzkreig Commander game I had with Gary Chappell last week.

We switched things up and had a little battle in the desert. We wanted to try a bit of a bigger battle with multiple commanders and formations (at least on one side). I gave Gary a British infantry battalion with order to hold a pass (Chapel Pass). I took a Panzer Grenadier Battalion and two Panzer companies to attack with. The Scenario we played was “The Assault”. I had 8 turns to take a rise in the middle of the pass. We also each had a battery of artillery off board and an observer on the table (to try out the artillery rules).

Our actual forces (each platoon = 1 stand)

British - 2/3rd Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s own Light Infantry.
LCol. Chapel and Battalion HQ (command value 8?)
12x Infantry Platoons (4 companies of 3 platoons)
1x platoon of 3” mortars
1x platoon of 6pdr At Guns
1x Jeeps (to tow AT guns)
1x platoon of Vickers from the Divisional MG Battalion
1x Forward Artillery Observer, C battery, 23rd Royal Artillery Regiment.
1x 25pdr battery (off table) , C battery, 23rd Royal Artillery Regiment.

Germans - Kampfgruppe Braun
Oberst Braun – Kampfgruppe Commander (Command value 9)
1x Recce platoon of Sdkfz 222
Major Meuller – Commander of II/5 Panzer Regiment
2x Platoons Pzkv IV
3x Platoons of PzkwIIIJ specials
Major Klaus – commander of I/8 Panzer Grenadier Regiment
9 Panzer Grenadier Platoons (3 companies of 3)
3 MG platoons (1 per company)
1x battery of Lorraine Schlepper (off table) 17 Artillerie Regiment

here’s how it played out:

Initial dispositions

Gary set up his battalion stretched ot across the pass. I decided to roll my guys up on one flank which looked like it would provide cover for most of the advance.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

You can see the British stretched out in the pass. On the far side of the table by Gary there, between the two rocky outcroppings that bracket Chapel Pass. In the bottom right you can see the German force in their FOP hidden from the prying eyes of the British behind some large dunes (The spray can had been used to steady the camera for one of the close-ups I had just taken…).

Close-up of the German force – ready for action!

Close-up of the British initial positions.

Turn 1

Germans moving up under cover.

British anxiously awaiting them.

Turn 2

Germans move up. The artillery observer is now in position so he calls in some HE on the British line suppressing the MG platoon. Recce races ahead to see what’s what.

British fire upon and suppress the Recce (with the 6pdrs, I think…).

Turn 3

Germans continue their advance, I thin I had only one move for my tanks and infantry so they moved out in the open but then stopped. Artillery is not proving to be terribly effective so far. Three hits are caused but no suppressions. Perhaps more than one battery is needed…?

British now have targets! The six pounders fire and cause two hits and suppress a PzkwIII platoons. They fire again and finish off the platoon. They fire again, two more hits, no suppression. Gary’s on a roll! Snake-eyes! The two pounders take TWO actions the first finished of a second platoon and the second action causes three hits and a suppression! Military medals all around for those chaps!

The British start brewing up panzers.

Turn 4

To start the turn a couple of the tanks platoons fire under their own initiative causing a few hits and suppressions among the infantry. In the orders phase he tanks continue to fire suppressing more infantry and the AT guns (WHEW!).

The artillery observer dices a command blunder! INCOMING! 150mm shells rain in on his own position causing a hit and a suppression (YIKES!).

The infantry only got one move, crawling ahead amid the burning wrecks of the Panzer III company…

The British stall. The AT guns are suppressed by sudden violence of the tanks returning fire, the infantry are unsure what to do (failed command roll). Artillery was called in but had little effect.

Turn 5

No major victory for me as the DAK are nowhere near their objective (the dune that the AT guns are sitting on).

My reconnaissance troops prove to be incompetent (roll anything but a one to make contact with HQ… one…dang).

Initiative fire nets a few hits and suppressions on infantry.

The panzers continue pumping shells into the British position causing some hits and two suppressions as one was already suppressed we rolled to see if they ran (infantry in trenches won’t fall back but if they roll 10+ they bug out) and one platoon decided they’d had enough and vacated!

The infantry were emboldened by the sight of fleeing Englishmen, their commander diced a two for his first command roll! SCHNELL!! Away they went while the MGs stayed behind and fired at the AT guns (causing a couple hits but no suppressions… oh dear) .

The artillery observer spent the turn getting his wits together and yelling at the battery commander.

The artillery is called in and is as ineffective as ever. Then it’s time for LCol Chapel – a blunder! CEASE FIRING! The command unit takes fire; five hits and a Suppression! Being the only command unit that would mean Gary would do nothing this turn OR NEXT TURN(!) which would mean he’s basically effed. We diecided that perhaps Gary should have had a second command stand all along (the Battalion 2ic..?) so we gave him one and decided they would have been the ones that had the command blunder… so they take the five hits.. and are destroyed… So the battalion commander takes over and carries on… (in a nutshell we ignored the command blunder). Gary make another command roll; 10. Face it Gary you just weren’t meant to do anything that turn…

Good for me as the AT guns weren’t suppressed!

Ooh look there’s one less British infantry stand out there! We are on our way to the TOP!

Turn 6


Initiative phase. German infantry suppress British infantry with fire, then the panzers roll in to over run their position.

My recce troops continue with their bird watching or whatever they are doing…

In the command phase I bring in some more artillery on the British position, which causes a few hits and suppressions, but both armour and infantry commanders fail command rolls so we skip right ahead to close combat – once again without successfully suppressing the AT platoon!?

I had two combats; both tanks versus suppressed infantry. In both cases the infantry were wiped out and the tanks disengaged and regrouped BEHIND the AT platoons position! Huzzah!


Initiative fire suppresses one of my infantry platoons. Artillery finally causes one hit, but fails to suppress anyone. Then came the command phase… Gary got his entire formation to go three or four times in a row – moving some reserves up to try and fill the gap left by the company on their left which had been wiped out, and firing lots of firing. I think this is where Gary had his epiphany. We had wondered at the rules and figured one should direct all his fire on one unit and wipe it out before moving on to the next… which seemed a bit like Crossfire and perhaps a little gamey. Gary discovered the value of suppressing troops – easier than killing them, they won’t move or do anything to you next turn, and if you suppress them again they’ll fallback a bit and might just leave…! Also in a game with a time limit (as this one had) one turn of not moving – especially combined with some retrograde movement due to fallback is a big disadvantage! So that’s what he did The AT gun fired on the remaining panzers to his front and the mortars, MGs and rifles let fly with and absolute hurricane of lead pinning and suppressing and forcing just about every unit in my command to fall back!

Germans trying to advance under withering fire from the British defenders.

Panzers make it through the lines and behind the guns.

Turn 7

My reconnaissance finally, FINALLY, came through! +1 to my overall commander which would take over direct control of most of the action this turn. Everyone that could was pumping shells and bullets into the British position during initiative fire; the AT platoon was taken out and a couple infantry were suppressed. In the command phase everyone ran like hell in a last ditch effort to take the high ground before turn 8… I’m not sure what would happen at the nd of trun 8 that would prevent them from carrying on..? they turned back into pumpkins…? But that was the scenario so there it is…


Gary continued on with his “suppress everyone” tactic with much success.

Turn 8

I know we played out turn 8, but I seem to have taken no notes. It being almost a week ago I’m having trouble remembering what happened. I know I got tanks on the hill but failed to clear it off….

Some pics of the final positions:

Panzers on the hill and to the rear… but unable to clear or hold the objective. Even if they had cleared it I would have lost as the game requires that Infantry be on the position to be in control of it and all my infantry were pinned out in the open in front of the position…

There they are. Pinned infantry everywhere.

Overhead view of the final positions of all involved. The British still had 9 of 12 initial infantry platoons. I think I took out the Vickers platoon on the last turn with fire from my own MGs and/or artillery. I myself had only lost one or two infantry platoons, but having them all suppressed turn after turn and unable to move forward is just as bad!

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Action in the Age of Sail: a naval battle using Tim’s new ships and Savage Worlds!


  1. Shouldn't it be the Battle of Chappell Pass?

    I kill me

  2. Tim,
    The events as you show were as I saw it too. (makes sense as we were both there!) I think at the very end you had cleared the hill of my troops with your tanks but did not have any of your own infantry to claim it. However, You still could have won the game if my Germans "broke" since my losses were over 1/2. Had I failed the "morale" test on the last turn then the Germans would have broken, but I passed it and squeaked by with a win.

    Thanks for the fun game! - Gary

  3. I think you mean "if your BRITISH broke.."

    Half? Were you really? I din't think you had lost that much... whatever... it was totally fun either way! Looking forward to trying it again! Thanks.