Home Forums General Game Design WW2 Assault Guns at operational / tactical level, opinions? Reply To: WW2 Assault Guns at operational / tactical level, opinions?

John D Salt

Plus I cannot digest Assault Guns not being able to move with infantry and, well, assault.

MMmyes, but their role is shooting in the assault, not accompanying it. It’s the difference acknowledged, when I was in the TA, between “distant support” and “intimate support” from tanks. Naturally, and in the tradition of cruiser tanks, the donkey-wallopers thought that the best way to support infantry (if they had to support infantry, rather than their preferred role of free-wheeling tank attacks across the steppe) was to shoot them in from a safe distance of, say, 2000 metres. Only a few were keen on intimate support, which (despite sounding like a surgical appliance) involved driving their sixty-tonne gruntcrunchers over the enemy position while the friendly infanteers were fighting through it. That is not something I would fancy trying without more MGs than the typical assault gun can boast, never mind the lack of turret.

  • Moving and attacking is allowed
  • Attacks are simultaneous
  • But… enemies that are unspotted and fire on you cannot be targeted that turn, so in effect get a free shot at you as you blunder into their field of fire and you are considered “tactically disadvantaged” and are easier to damage.
  • Interesting. This puts me in mind of the “first fire” mechanism that John Hill used in his “Hue” (company a counter) and “Bar-Lev” (battalion a counter for tanks) games. You might want to try something like that — the ambushers get to shoot first, but survivors can reply to their fire (presumably still at a disadvantage because the ambushers will be dug-in or hull-down). If you had such a rule, you might enact that, in the event of two forces in motion blundering into each other — so neither would naturally have the advantage — turreted AFVs have first fire over fixed-gun AFVs.

    You mention the intended emphasis on recce, which I heartily applaud — historical analysis shows that recce-led manoeuvre is one of the principal determinants of battle success, but most wargames rules still show that “time spent in reconnaissance is always wasted”. One thing that I was thinking about recently in a different context was the fact that an awful lot of recce vehicles, to this day, tend to be equipped with 20mm or larger cannon, despite its uselessness against heavy armour. I think it might be interesting, if adopting a “first fire” rule, to say that another tie-breaker is whether the weapon used is an autocannon. This means that, while your Sd Kfz 234/4 might be the best bet when you bump a bunch of enemy T-34s, the /1 with its 20mm is better against the kind of thinly-armoured beasts you’d expect to meet more often on recce tasks, and there’s a reason they made more /1s than any other variant.

    Also in the context of recce, I think the idea of having a transport mode might be a good one, as for example was used in the company-a-counter monster “Highway to the Reich”. Trading faster movement for greater vulnerability on contact is a choice one makes when using administrative movement, and used sensibly it enables faster operational manoeuvre. For the Russian Front in particular, I would have thought this an interesting mechanic to use. In the early years, Russian armour suffered terribly when caught in march columns, and the Cold War Russian obsession with march security detachments and putting a third of your force into winning the recce battle was the result of lessons learnt in the school of hard knocks.

    All the best,