Home Forums Nordic Weasel Games Historical Americans for Trench Hammer?

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    Avatar photoTonicNH

    Spurred on by the discussion in the “French Squads in Trench Hammer here https://www.thewargameswebsite.com/forums/topic/french-squads-in-trench-hammer/ I was wondering how to handle the American Expeditionary Forces

    Based on the info provided in the Toofatlardies “Mud and Blood” rules I get a company looking something like this

    Company = CHQ (captain + 20 men) + 4 Platoons

    Platoon = PHQ (6 men) + 4 squads

    1st squad: 12 bombers
    2nd squad: 9 men with 3 VB launchers
    3rd squad: 17 riflemen
    4th squad: 15 men with 4 chauchat (or BAR very late on)

    So in trench hammer game terms I came up with

    PHQ = Leader
    1st Squad = 1 x bombing squad
    2nd Squad = 1 x rifle grenade squad
    3rd Squad = 1 x double size unit?
    4th Squad = 1 x LMG squad?

    Reasonably happy with the definitions for the 1st and 2nd squads

    3rd squad is a big one (17 men) gut instinct is to go with a double size unit

    4th squad is a bit problematical – big squad with a large number of (potentially unreliable) automatic support weapons. Although I’ve got this down as a bog standard LMG squad it doesnt seem quite right to me (i.e. its possibly a bit “underpowered” considering the number of LMG’s – even if some of them are more prone to jamming as they’re probably using the .30-06 round version)

    Anybody got any ideas/suggestions (both on the 4th squad and the TOE in general)?



    Avatar photokyoteblue

    Looks about right to me.

    Avatar photoRobert Dunlop

    Perhaps the first step is to establish clear definitions for the unit types. For AEF regular army units (not including US Marine Corps which had a different TO&E), each rifle company had 4 platoons. Each platoon was organised into sections. Each section was made up of squads, so the concept of ‘squad’ was lower down the organisation, which can lead to some confusion.

    The TMB description is not quite right for battlefield operations. It represents the in-between battles organisation but AEF platoon commanders reorganised the sections (and their composite squads) into half platoons, similar to the French concept. An AEF half-platoon would comprise:

    1 x Rifle Squad (8 men)

    1 x LMG Squad, each with 2 Chauchats (7 men – 1 NCO and two LMG teams, each with: 1 gunner and two ammo carriers)

    2 x Grenadier Squads, comprising VB grenadiers supported by carriers and riflemen, all capable of operating as hand bombers. Each squad would have roughly 8-10, given losses from pandemic, battlefield casualties, etc

    So a platoon will have 8 squads altogether, comprising:

    • 2 x Riflemen squads
    • 2 x LMG squads
    • 4 x VB grenadier squads – but you could reasonably use 2 x VB grenadier and 2 x bomber squads if you wish. This reflects the fact that configurations could be altered depending on the circumstances of each battle. An open-warfare scenario late-war is more likely to see 4 x VB grenadier squads for example, compared to a trench warfare example.

    Referring back to the thread on French TO&Es, the late-war Chauchat was not more stoppage prone that other LMGs. Unit-based aggregation of firepower stats, which is how Trench Hammer works, should never be based on anecdotal reports of how a single gun works in practice in any case. The AEF Chauchat teams, organised into the two-gun squads, had considerable stopping power and were a key asset in attack. The squads took as many Chauchats into battle as possible but this was not unique to the AEF, as infantry teams across the nations came to respect the utility of LMGs. German specialist Stosstruppen┬ápaid bonuses from the unit’s mess funds to men who captured Chauchats for re-use within the team, such was the respect for the Chauchat.


    Avatar photoTonicNH

    Hi Robert

    Thanks for the additional info – I’d be interested to find out more about AEF (and USMC) TO&E’s – can you point me in the direction of the reference material you used as I haven’t found much on the subject here in the UK (or I haven’t been looking in the right places!).

    Never knew about the bounty on captured chauchats (I vaguely remember something similar about captured Lewis guns but cant remember where) – is this from the same source(s) you used for the TO&E?



    Avatar photoRobert Dunlop

    There is a summary of the information here:


    At the bottom of the web page, there is a reference to the source article which you can search for online. I picked up a copy via another group that I have access to.

    The information about chauchats came from the son of a Flammenwerfer Pioneer who served during WW1.


    Avatar photoTonicNH

    Thanks Robert – much appreciated!

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