Home Forums General Game Design Battlefield Taxi's

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  • #54422
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    In his Horizon Wars rules, Robey has made care to prevent the battlefield taxi from being a thing.
    See HERE.

    My KR 16 rules very much do allow the battlefield taxi thing, however it is never used by anyone I play with.
    I only ever use the vehicles to get troops to a place and then it hangs around providing support.
    It does not then zoom off to pick up another load of troops and then drop them off etc.

    I wonder if this a player thing, a scenario thing, force composition thing?

    Thoughts?

    #54429
    shelldrake
    Participant

    I am fully on board with Robey on this one – the vehicle develivers the troops and then hangs around providing support for the troops it dropped off.

    It is more to do with a force composition thing – you don’t remove a unit’s/detachement’s assests during a battle, as it reduces the effectiveness of the unit on the ground and can cause confusion on the battle field… especially when you need that asset.

    #54431
    PatG
    Participant

    There’s been a lot of ink spilled in the Chain of Command WWII forums arguing the reverse case. New players want to rock up in their half-tracks guns a-blazing then unload their troops right on the objective while the carrier gives support  and wonder why the platoon and support lists aren’t set up to let you do that by default. The answer of course is doctrine.  The rules will let you do exactly that but try it and you will catch a panzerfaust or bazooka cooking your section.  The troop carriers of the time were barely MG proof and their armament was often drawn from the section they carried. Doctrine was to use the troop carriers to move the troops to the battle area and then withdraw (i.e. act as battle taxis) When used for support, it was from the back edge of the battle area  well out of range of any infantry AT.  (Yes I have seen the Panzer Grenadier training film where they do assault on to the object in their 251s, I am speaking more generally here)

    Now fast forward to modern times and the same infantry carriers are more light tanks with dedicated armament and crew that can also carry a few infantry (6 in the Bradley vs 12 in the M3). They are more survivable, operate in a much more integrated combined operations environment and are simply more capable than their 1940’s predecessors.

    Now for SF battle taxis, I believe they appear in the Co-Dominium stories and the Dorsai books. Like their WWII equivalents they exist solely to provide mobility out of the line of fire.  For KR16, I would want a couple of trucks for the junkers both for infiltration operations by”civilian agricultural workers” fully expecting the truck to die and to rapidly shift troops from one side of the board to the other out of LOS of the enemy.

    I think the real problem for most games is that they don’t take into account what happens in between battles. The strength of the Commonwealth Motor Battalion and the US Mechanized Infantry was not that it could ride into the assault in an armoured box but that it could move from one sector of the front to another with great rapidity and allow infantry to keep pace with armour after it punched through the enemy’s lines.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by PatG.
    #54434
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Personally, I take “Mobile Infantry” to include Mechanized Infantry, although Light Cav could be in that basket as well.  Alternately, depending on your chosen background, Heavy Infantry could count as Mechanized as well.  In fact, it’s arguable that if we develop powered armor in the next century or so (as we, read: “The United States Armed Forces,” have fantasized about since the publication of Starship Troopers), they will likely be the successors to Mechanized Infantry of the present day.  Giving a single trooper something approaching the strength and mobility of a gunned up IFV would pretty well fill the bill.

    #54437
    MartinR
    Participant

    Largely, exactly what Tim just said.

    The old BAOR training films show FV432s doing just that, suppressive artillery fire on the objective, the APCs and their Intimate Support Chieftain roar forwards the chaps get out a couple of hundred yards away (artillery safe zone). They then clear the objective on foot, shot in by the tank firing HESH, while the 432s get out of there. As on the NBC battlefield, mechanised infantry without their transport are as much use as a chocolate teapot.

    In Afghanistan, the Russians would sometimes group a few BTRs into a mobile fire support group once the troops had dismounted but most of the transports went away and had somewhere safe.

    On no occasion were they used as a transport relay, as they are part of the unit.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #54438
    PatG
    Participant

    Thanks Tim – a much better explanation.

    Edit: And thank you John!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by PatG.
    #54439
    John D Salt
    Participant

    I’d say you can argue from history to do whatever you like with your infantry carrying/fighting vehicles, it’s just a question of picking the right bit of history. APCs in the Soviet and British armies were pooled into the 1950s, and the Australians and ARVN ran pooled APCs in Viet Nam.

    Rather than write wads of text on the topic, I shall refer people to a wad I wrote a couple of years ago, a presentation to the 2015 Close Combat Symposium entitled “On the wagons, off the wagons”. It is available at

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289928182_On_the_wagons_off_the_wagons_the_Infantry_Fighting_Vehicle_problem

    to those with access to ResearchGate (please post any follow-up discussion here rather than on ResearchGate). There is also an unauthorised copy floating about on a slide-sharing site, which of course I cannot recommend you read. Downloading the .pptx file from ResearchGate enables you to read the notes accompanying the slides, which gives a bit more depth to the thing than merely sitting through the slides.

    Particularly germane to this discussion is the Simpkin Dismount Triangle, shown on slide 8 (from R E Simpkin, “When the Squad Dismounts”, Infantry 73[6], Nov-Dec 1983). Each corner of the triangle reflects an extreme of carrier vehicle behaviour after their infantry dismount. I have labelled these “Intimate support”, “Independent Action” and “Withdraw to Zulu Muster”. The notes page accompanying the dismount triangle says:

    Using IFVs in an independent role tends to confirm Richard Ogorkiewicz’ original opinion of the BMP as a light tank with an infantry-carrying capability. But why not use light tanks in that role? When the other side has no armour, any tank is a super tank, and one of Dupuy’s historical surveys on the employment of light armour since WW2 has pointed out that recce vehicles are very often employed in non-recce roles. This is the tank in its original role as “battlefield bully”. Starry’s account of the ARVN use of M113s (Armor in Vietnam) makes it clear that they were not employed as APCs, but, with reduced crews, added armament and improvised gunshields, as light tanks.

    Alternatively, if the IFV has a long-range ATGW, it may draw off and attempt to contribute to the tank fight. Good luck with that.

    In the intimate support role, IFVs might still be acting as battlefield bullies, but as infantry tanks. In effect they are an armoured gun group for the dismounted rifle group.

    Withdrawing to a Zulu muster doesn’t give the carriers much to do, and increases the time it will take to get back and reembus the troops.

    One of the advantages of open tops – and perhaps firing ports, though I doubt it – is that they let the troops know something of what is happening outside the vehicle. As a minimum, they should be able to listen in on the vehicle’s radio. However, emerging into the sunlight, and perhaps the firefight, is bound to be potentially confusing.

    If your Combat Net Radio runs an automated position reporting scheme, the doubling or tripling of callsigns on dismounting might cause problems beyond extra traffic on the voice net.

    Does the section leader dismount? I have been unable to find national policies on this, and it seems to be left to his discretion. I would argue that as the prime function of an IFV is to provide infantry close combat capability, he should be outside the vehicle on his feet saying “Follow me”.

    A pooled APC might, instead of withdrawing to a Zulu Muster, go and pick up a fresh load of troops. This is the way landing craft and helo transports are generally used, because they are a scarce resource, and it was only when carrier vehicles became sufficiently common that infantry units started owning them as an organic component. I have said that where the passengers own the vehicle it is really more like a “battlefield Winnebago” than a “battlefield taxi”, but battlefield taxis, in the latter sense, have existed in one form or another ever since their literal incarnation on the Marne. I see no reason that they should not do so again, if ever they involve technology that is sufficiently advanced to be expensive and therefore rare — for example a really capable defensive aids suite. Of course in an SF seting you can simply make the technological and economical assumptions that give the result you prefer, and bash on. Infantry might even enter combat again in a one-way disposable transport, as glider infantry did in WW2.

    All the best,

    John.

    #54523
    Etranger
    Participant

    In his Horizon Wars rules, Robey has made care to prevent the battlefield taxi from being a thing.
    See HERE.

    My KR 16 rules very much do allow the battlefield taxi thing, however it is never used by anyone I play with.
    I only ever use the vehicles to get troops to a place and then it hangs around providing support.
    It does not then zoom off to pick up another load of troops and then drop them off etc.

    I wonder if this a player thing, a scenario thing, force composition thing?

    Thoughts?

    In WWII, when the APC concept first saw practical use there were differing doctrines. The panzergrenadiers had organic transport with their SPWs (sdkfz 251s) which were often used to provide fire support to their offloaded passengers, but usually from a distance. It was a long way to walk if their SPW was KO’d. Of course, most PG only got a truck anyway, as there were never enough SPWs to go around.

    The British/Canadians used their Kangaroos very much as taxis, dropping off one load and then retiring to pick up another. They weren’t organic to any infantry unit, but attached for specific operations. One APC regiment (64 vehicles IIRC) had the lift capacity for a single infantry battalion.

    The American armored infantry were meant to ride their vehicles into battle and fight from them in theory, but in practice (& after some unfortunate experiences in Tunisia) very rapidly adopted a practice of assaulting on foot, often with fire support. They also dismounted their vehicle mounted weapons quite frequently, to provide support fire.

    Sorry, Tim already said all that I said, and better!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Etranger.
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