Indeed, ‘impetuous’ cavalry forced to keep charging until their horses are blown and they get massacred! 😉
The ‘auto’ response thing really gets tricky to me; let’s say you’ve got a convoy of four trucks rolling down the road. I point to my artillery and say I’m going to fire on your convoy. So does the auto-response kick in now and all of the guys in the trucks dismount?
But what if the arty is off target? I suppose you could have a separate “arty on target or not” roll; hell, I do that sometimes anyway with my spotting rounds, but mostly I just roll kill and shock dice.
So if arty is not on target the trucks keep rolling, but if it is I suppose you roll your normal combat resolution and then after that all the surviving inhabitants of the trucks are assumed to be dismounted and taking cover? I think that sounds reasonable, but it probably still doesn’t solve the situation totally.
I think it’s possible to be engaged by arty that misses so badly you don’t realize or understand that you are being engaged. But let’s change out the arty for a machine gun (and leave out the issue of whether you should be mounted in range of a machine gun or not); from my perspective an MG could fire on a convoy of trucks and hit them, maybe even cause some casualties, but the trucks keep rolling, and you’re actually doing them a disservice by forcing them to dismount. Think of an ambush where Immediate Action is to get off the ‘x,’ but they can’t, they’re actually forced to dismount in the kill zone because of the automatic response mechanism.
This is where my talks with Wolf bogged down; his argument was that tabletop units should be able to carry out Immediate Action drills, but my opinion was that it soon became too complex. So I have a platoon in column walking down the road and you have a squad lying in cover and concealment that initiates an ambush of my troops from less than 50 meters away.
That is what we call a ‘near ambush’ and the Immediate Action response is to fire your weapon as fast as you’re able and to close assault through the ambush. So the cleanest it can get is this: your squad opens fire, I take my casualties and suffer negative morale impacts, but then everyone not dead or cowering immediately gets to charge the ambushing force.
But it can get much dirtier than that: part of the concept of Immediate Action drills is to overcome the shock of contact that forces units/men to become pinned or suppressed, so should you now allow every man/unit that was pinned/suppressed to have an ‘Immediate Action’ roll to see if their training overcame their base impulse? What about the effect of small unit leaders on that pseudo-rally? What about deciding if everyone is reacting to the tactical situation in the same manner? In this scenario it would be easy for the lead elements of the ambushed platoon to understand it is a ‘near ambush’ and react accordingly, but it would certainly be possible for trail elements of the platoon to believe its a ‘far ambush’ and react differently, or to not understand the situation and simply halt and take a knee while things get figured out, which is the opposite of Immediate Action. Do you allow leaders to roll to see if they can influence the reaction to ensure everyone is acting uniformly? If so, do you roll to see if the leaders have an accurate understanding of the tactical situation and are responding accordingly, and how does this interact with the rally mechanism discussed above? Or themselves carrying out the Immediate Action drill, or their own thoughts of self preservation? They may be leaders but they still can’t rally 1st Squad, shout orders to 2nd Squad, manipulate their personal weapon, and charge the enemy at the same time.
Sorry for the incoherent rambling, it’s just that I like the idea of Immediate Action, I just can’t figure out how to make it work on the tabletop. To take into account all the things I just mentioned would take you dice-rolling and checking tables for 20 minutes, to resolve something that happened in real life in 20 seconds.
For that reason I prefer, so far at least, to have combat mechanics that show definitive troop states (pinned, suppressed, out of the fight) and let the player make tactical decisions to the best of his ability, knowing he can’t do everything he wants to do.
In this case, there is no doubt the Commonwealth commander did not want his infantry to be caught in their carriers, but because of the German Stukas and rapid assault by the tanks, he couldn’t avoid it. That is to say he definitely could have spent his limited command capacity to have them dismount, but then his remaining tanks wouldn’t have been engaging the Germans, which he thought was more important at the time.