Friday, 19 August 2016

Bi-curious Italians Hungry For CoC

With Operation Stag out of the way - and the majority of us extracted from the jungle with only minor damage to our sanity - I can once again contemplate some hobby activity which doesn't solely consist of repetitively cleaning up and basing an entire Battlefront PAVN infantry battalion.

The horror... the horror...

Numerous distractions aside (15mm ACW anyone?), my main aims for this year were to get a 6mm Soviet force together for Team Yankee and to use the numerous 15mm WW2 miniatures I own (initially purchased for Bolt Action) to give the supposedly far superior Chain of Command a go.

The book features the usual high quality Lardy production values...

Ostensibly, it shouldn't be too hard to switch from 1940k to Chain of Command. The basing conventions are the same (no pesky element bases), both systems represent combat at a platoon level, and whilst the range of hardware available in the supporting list can be pretty wide it seems from a superficial reading of the CoC rules that you are likely to be fielding far less supporting units. So any viable and faintly historically accurate Bolt Action platoon should be pretty much ready to go.

But I then got thinking about one of the more unique mechanics of Chain of Command - and the aspect that got me interested when I first heard about it - the Patrol Phase. During the initial deployment stage, both players take part in a mini-game which represents them reconnoitring the board and attempting to find and 'fix' their opponents in play to gain a tactical advantage against them when they deploy their forces. Or that's how I understand it at least... I've not actually played yet!

Given that we will be playing the rules as written, just scaling down to 15mm for a slightly more realistic experience as we did with Bolt Action, this offers a fun hobby opportunity with regard to the Patrol Markers and Jump-off Points. The rules state that Patrol Markers should be approximately 2.5" in diameter, and when playing in 28mm that they should feature some appropriate national symbols to denote which is which. 2.5" is close enough to the 60mm MDF bases I have kicking around for government work, and in 15mm is more than large enough to put together some cool little dioramas representing the various reconnaissance forces each side has at their disposal.

The title of this photo is 'Jeep Mania', which is an actual condition that Tom has.

(This totally wasn't my idea by the way - but it seemed far too good of one not to pinch. I've now long forgotten where I first saw it, but it might have been on

The rules are a little bit less clear about Jump-off Points (" unobtrusive vignette...") but similarly offer an excellent opportunity to build some characterful dioramas - and Battlefront and other companies already produce a number of theatre-specific Objective Markers which would work really well and which take up the same dimensions as a large Flames of War base, so this will be my starting point. In fact, I already own one for the Italians of an officer sitting down to his spaghetti!
Other Italian cultural stereotypes are available...

Initially I was just thinking of adding to my existing Paracadutisti Nembo force and going from there. However, there aren't actually any published army lists for Mid/Late War Italian Paratroopers - and whilst there are some useful tools out there like the Coc Calculator to help you work out your forces, and bloggers like Andy Duffell over on Tiny Hordes putting out some exhaustive lists for the Italian Theatre of their own devising, it seemed sensible to go with one of the Lardies own published force lists for my first foray into Chain of Command.

Fortunately for me, Too Fat Lardies have been very good at supporting Chain of Command over on their blog Lard Island - releasing lists for plenty of theatres which fell outside of the D-Day and beyond scope of the main rulebook, including some very interesting ones which proceeded WW2 altogether like the Spanish Civil War and the Abyssinian War.

The most interesting theatre for me though has always been North Africa, and in particular the early stages of the conflict- when men were men, tanks were awful, and armoured cars went 'swanning around in the blue'. Luckily again the Lardies have me covered, with lists for both the Italian army in East and North Africa in 1940 and the early desert British circa Operation Compass.

Whilst they've never properly graced the table outside of the odd game of Tank War, I do actually have quite a few North Africa miniatures for all the different sides, in various states of completion. This includes a whole Flames of War Bergsagilieri Army - painted to a far higher standard than I could muster - bought off eBay a while ago. Why not use Chain of Command as an excuse to whip my existing miniatures into shape and start getting them to the table? Why not indeed.

One thing I won't be doing, however, is bettering this amazing Afrika Korps objective marker...!

There is also a mini Indiana Jones, with mini anachronistic Panzerfaust. AMAZEBALLS.

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