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Suppression of infantry must be a key element in rules for me. I play Western Desert games centred on the relief of Tobruk 1941. In the Western Desert infantry attacks without tank support or massed artillery tended to get bogged down pretty quickly (due to the generally coverless, flat nature of the terrain). Infantry, in battalion strength (not isolated bits of a battalion), could quite often remain pinned down in no man’s land for hours – sometimes they would lay out in the desert all day, casualties slowly mounting, until it got dark enough to cover their retreat.

In my house rules, based on Piquet mechanisms, following effective (casualty causing) fire the target can be morale challenged (it costs a point of your army’s morale count to do this, so you don’t do it willy nilly – Piquet is a game of choices). If it fails it goes to ground, it can’t move and shoots at very reduced effect until it passes a morale check (costing a point of army morale), if contacted whilst suppressed it surrenders. If it fails a further morale challenge whilst suppressed it ‘hunkers down’ and can’t rally until the enemy are unable to lay down small arms (inc. mortars) fire upon it – this is a change from standard Piquet mechs in that a second ‘disorder’ would normally cause a rout; troops in no man’s land hunker in the desert because there is little in the way of better cover to run / dash to (nowhere to run); this is why so many prisoners were taken in the desert, they hunkered down until mopped up (see 5th SA Brigade, etc.).

The nature of my games means that they are usually armour oriented but, infantry play a large part in my battles. Infantry, though secondary, are essential and must be modelled accurately. BTW, this is one of the reasons I can’t understand the rush for ‘small unit’ 28mm Desert stuff. Look how flat and empty most (not all) of it is – not terrain to be skirmishy and sneaky in! – and very few ‘limited objectives (like a village)’ to march on or take.


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