Humaine, Belgium, Dec. 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 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.
After dinner, it was Dancing with the Stars night, so I thought I'd check and see what Robert Bolan was doing. Turned out he wasn't doing anything so a little while later he stopped over and we sat down to play the 4th scenario for Combat Commander: Europe. This scenario pits the US forces in an assault against the German defender. The Germans have only two "1" command leaders and a small force of Elite Rifle Squads backed by some good weapons - heavy and light machines guns as well as the bad ass IG 18 Gun (pictured). Robert was tired of playing defender and choose to be the US forces this time around, so I setup my Germans. The main objective to the map was the chateau in the middle of the map (worth 15vps), so I setup the bulk of my forces there and one small group on my left flank. I setup wire in front to slow down any guys wanting to make a charge. Robert had to setup his US forces only in the first row of the map and spread out accordingly. My first turn was vanilla - I fired the IG 18 to let the Us forces know I could see them. Robert's cards weren't quite what he wanted, so he discarded the first hand - something I hoped for early - and I capitalized by getting reinforcements immediately. I choose a sergeant (leadership 2) which immediately gave me a huge amount of flexibility that I hadn't had a minute earlier. The US forces then called upon their artillery to lay down a couple of thick fields of smoke. With the German vision of the enemy reduced to one unit, there was nothing to do but fire and wait. The Germans managed an early kill by breaking and then routing an American squad. Then there was a lot of waiting - by both of us. Robert couldn't get movement cards, and I was holding cards waiting for the inevitable assault. It never came. Time ticked away rapidly in the early stages of the game. Finally Robert was able to press - he started moving troops up the German right flank, covered by a wall and lines of trees. Rather than waiting to be hunted down, I moved a couple of weapon units and heavy machine guns from the position in the house, out to some trees outside the wall in the hopes of catching the Americans out in the open. The US forces caught the Germans moving into position and open fire, breaking both weapon teams. I was forced to use my Recover card to restore the teams instead of getting off some shots with my Assault Fire. Once recovered, the machine gun teams were able to break an American leader, but the US brought up a medium machine gun and blasted the weapon teams, breaking them again. For a while it was a stalemate as the US tried to finish off the troops, but they were able to dig in a bit and last (though I couldn't get a Recover card to restore them to fighting prowess). Finally, I used an advance to pull the group back. A breeze came up and wiped the smoke from the map. With the view cleared, both sides started firing, though to little effect. And then the game went against Robert. Time and again, he called for an artillery barrage - time and again, the people shooting the artillery missed. A lot. Twice Robert hurt himself with artillery while the German forces looked on. The third time cost Robert the game. The third time, Robert rolled a Time! and then rolled sudden death. He never got a chance to see the perfect shot his artillery was about to deliver into the heart of the Germans. Sadly for the Americans, not a single German unit was lost, while the US suffered 3-4 losses and lost by a score of 31! I fear for our next game - Robert's luck has been so bad these two games, it will be bound to swing around soon enough.