Home Forums Terrain and Scenery Undulations Reply To: Undulations

John D Salt

Yes, I get all of that, Chris. But if you take it the other way, and the infantry get in that volley, what happened to the dead ground? It disappeared? But the maps say it was there!

One of the problems with dead ground is that it is often very difficult to spot that it is there, even with a good map and a direct view of the ground. During one of our “ditch-hikes” to the Normandy battlefield, some wargaming pals and I stood at the bottom of Bourgebus ridge and looked up it where a road ran diagonally across our front. A car is a rather shorter visual target than a man on a horse, especially if he is wearing a big hat, but it was instructive to see cars vanish from sight over the course of a few hundred metres because of a curve in the slope that was entirely imperceptible from where we stood.

I’m planning the battle of QB, not a generic game that may or may not have set typographical features.

Ah, “geo-specific” rather than “geo-typical” terrain, as the terrain modellers say. In that case I shall put off blethering about terrain wavelengths, statistical P(LOS) and Battelle walks for another day.

On Martin’s advice, I’m going to experiment with placing some lengths of dowel (Regiment-sized) under the battle mats: something I’ve never done before. I think it fair to think experienced cavalry commanders would try to sniff out such features.

The ability to read ground in this way remains one of the most important and hard-to-train skills of junior leaders. I have seen almost no attempt to represent it in wargames rules, other than perhaps rolling dice to assume hull-down positions in some armour games.

The other issue is standing crops on this battlefield which also provided cover.

Normally, some hideous movement penalty applies to moving through obstacles . For this game, I propose to limit the movement penalty as it is counter-intuitive to budget for such cover but make it so difficult to move through that it becomes useless.

I don’t see that standing crops would provide much of an obstacle to movement of any sort; fresh plough might be a bit sticky, but would’t provide good concealment (which Mr. Picky distinguishes from cover).

I know from my own experience that standing wheat can provide superb concealment for individual riflemen, and you can shoot SLR blank at people from under 50 metres and remain undetected. Don’t forget that before Borlaug’s invention of semi-dwarf wheat, the wheat would have stood a good deal taller than it does now.

All the best,