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Just Jack

“…a task that the rest of the company or battalion wasn’t in a position to support.”
I gotcha, and man, assuming we’re talking about an attack, obviously sometimes you find yourself in those types of situations, but that’s what we called ‘getting caught with both feet in the air,’ and can (and sometimes did) very rapidly turn into a @#$% sandwich.  I can’t recall us doing it on purpose, but it often happens in urban environments where a support or reserve element is moving up to assist a unit in contact, but takes too wide a berth (gotta watch out for friendly fire in real life), or even gets lost, due to the narrow frontages you are generally confined to in a city, and now you have two or three elements (whether they’re companies, platoons, or squads at this point, doesn’t matter) that are left to figure out and take care of the situation all on their lonesome.

I just had a Eureka! moment; maybe this is why casualties are so high all the time on the tabletop?  In real life, if you are properly supported and your company/platoon/squad gets into more trouble than it can handle, the commander commits more forces/supporting fires to extract the unit in trouble.  In games you rarely see an element withdraw; on the tabletop, you’re playing a ‘discrete’ squad, platoon, or company-sized game, so when you get in trouble you’re stuck, all you’ve got is what is on the table, so you generally get annihilated, or something close to (though I must tip the hat to Chain of Command and Battlegroup for their ‘Force Morale’ concepts to help rectify this).

The only set of rules that I can recall handling this differently was Disposable Heroes 2; you and your opponent each command a platoon of infantry, but you really never have the entire platoon on the table at the same time.  The rules make each side go with the doctrinal ‘2 up, 1 back,’ so in the standard ‘attack/defense’ game, the defender has a platoon of infantry, but starts the game with only one squad on the table (in the defense the platoon has two squads in the line, one in reserve, and they’ve opened their frontage quite a bit, so the attacker is striking the ground occupied by a single squad), and if you get in trouble you can call in the reserve squad, but it affects the victory conditions.  The attacker begins with two squads on the table, and if things get out of hand he can call in the third, reserve squad; again, it affects your victory conditions.  It’s an interesting idea, but obviously rather restrictive, and I don’t recall exactly, but it had some other parts designed to make the attacker push forward as rapidly as possible that I wasn’t particularly fond of.