Home Forums WWII Modelling Tank vs. Tank Skirmish Combat

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  • #18790
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    To all:

    This topic is an off-shoot of a broader discussion on skirmish rules in general. It was suggested in that other thread that a separate thread be created for the specific discussion of the roles and mechanics of operating tanks and other AFV’s in a skirmish style game. So Panda here it is!

    What rules mechanisms in wargames work and what mechanisms in wargames don’t work when trying to model the combat between AFV’s and more specifically tanks in “Skirmish’ games set in WWII. Assume that the terrain is closed enough that manoeuver and unexpected contact are possible (if not likely) situations in such a game. How should a game best handle:

    • Movement and Fire mechanisms for the AFV’s.
    • Spotting and Acquisition in such encounters.
    • Initiative or Activation as the case may be.
    • The roles of Training, Experience, and Morale on the combat and the differential between the combatants in these areas.
    • The roles of the different crew in the tank or AFV’s.
    • Ambush Fire.
    • Suppressive Fire from the targeted tank and other sources.
    • Fast-paced Tank Duels.
    • Auto-cannons on AFV’s.
    • The “Fog of War” and uncertainty in small scale armoured combat.
    • Anything else which is germane to this topic but which I have neglected to mention.

    Thank you in advance for all of your insights and ideas.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18794
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    To an extent, I think there’s a point where we have to consider whether a predetermined system can manage all the factors or we need a human GM to call the shot, like in old roleplaying games.

    “okay, sherman is juust poking around the corner, there’s a lot of smoke and there’s been mortars going off nearby, gun crew gets a 27% chance of reaction. If they do react, they have a 75% chance of hitting (battle hardened crew in a prepared position, watching that corner)”

    At the other end of that line of thought we have “I move and shoot, then you move and shoot” with nothing else going on.

    So games always fall on that axis, either closer to the “move and shoot” aspect or closer to the “take everything into account” aspect.

    I am actually curious about this, since I tend to be an infantry-kinda guy.

    The follow up question would be:
    How much of a difference should we make between troops ordered to do a specific thing versus troops reacting to things around them.

    THe classic “putting the unit on overwatch” is a good example of that. In a lot of games, you only react if you were ordered to do so (giving up your normal turn).
    So I have to deliberately order the antitank gun to “watch out” or it won’t shoot.

    Is the answer a chance to shoot at any time, but an increased chance if the unit is “on watch” ?

    Should I be rolling both to be able to take the shot AND to hit or should it just be rolled into one roll? (there’s that Results vs Consequences thing again)

    Some games make these things very constant: In Crossfire, I can always shoot at you unless something happened to me. In some games, you have to make it a conscious action, in some games you have to roll for it (and a few you have to both declare it AND roll for it, yikes).

    Cheers

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Ivan Sorensen.

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    #18802
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    As a starting point, here are some basic descriptions of what AFV’s should be able to do In a skirmish game. The list is by no means complete so feel free to add or to subtract from the list below. The list includes but is not limited to:

    • Have their own specific movement rates to allow different types of tanks to operate differently.
    • Have their movement rate(s) degraded by terrain, meteorological conditions and being Buttoned Up vs. Crew Exposed.
    • Have their movement improved by terrain conditions if Unbuttoned.
    • Be able to move in forward and in reverse.
    • Be able to carry passengers – the number of passengers should be specified by vehicle
    • Be bogged or immobilised in certain terrain with modifiers for the mass and ground pressure of the AFV.
    • Have to operate within command and control distances which are set by the rules and depend on visibility or the availability and reliability of radios.
    • Be able to both move and fire most of the weapons with which they are outfitted (although not all at the same time).
    • Have their own specific armour ratings differentiated for different locations on the AFV.
    • Be able to enhance their armour protection by ad hoc modifications if there is an historical precedent to do so.
    • Be able to use terrain as cover to go hull-down or turret-down.
    • Be able to use movement and speed to degrade the enemy’s chances of hitting it.
    • Be able to use defensive technology such as smoke candles, smoke mortars and engine-based smoke generators.
    • Be able to lay down speculative fire on unacquired targets as suppressive fire.
    • Be able to fire in the general area of infantry/crews in cover without being able to acquire them, if they know from reports that the targets are there, but have that fire of limited effect.
    • Be able to fire accurately at acquired infantry/crews in cover with lower chances to hit but full effect if they do hit.
    • Be able to physically overrun enemy.
    • Be able to survive most small arms fire depending on its level owned completeness of armour protection.

    Cheers ts and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    #18805
    Spurious
    Participant
    • Have their own specific movement rates to allow different types of tanks to operate differently.
    • Be able to move in forward and in reverse.
    • Be able to both move and fire most of the weapons with which they are outfitted (although not all at the same time).

    Just picking on these bits specifically as I feel they’re actually quite interlinked. Given the lack of stabilization for gunnery going on in WW2, there’s a distinct stop-start nature to the short range fighting from what I’ve read/seen/played in the more simulation end of computer games. This makes practical speeds far more about crew reaction time and acceleration on the given terrain, so for a game system could quite easily be had as not so much about the vehicle’s specific top speed  over X terrain over time but rather a rough indicator of just how well it can shift when called to go to or from a dead stop when required. the distances covered on boards in a skirmish for most sized of miniature wouldn’t even allow many vehicles to hit their top speed (unless playing with a very distorted ground to figure scale I guess).

    Also in reactions, amount of time to align the turret really matters because the short range duels can be entirely decided by one tank not ‘looking’ in the right direction, even if they know the enemy is there. And on those lines, not just turrets turn but how a vehicle as a whole turns can be important if going for a very fine level of detail, like the CHAR B1’s ability to rotate the tracks in opposite directions rather than just braking on one side letting it turn on the spot.  Part of putting that in games is just nailing down how fine a slice of time do you want to try and represent, because the shorter the amount time accounted for in actions the more granularity that needs to be accounted for, because when aiming for the more simulation-y end of the spectrum, you gotta stop and ask yourself questions like if it’s actually adding anything to have actions account for a timespan so short that reloading is a serious consideration, or whether you can afford to ease up and abstract that out more (or even ignore it entirely in spite of not having the right shell, or even any shell loaded being a real life problem) and instead focus on the quality of the crew or something.

    #18806
    War Panda
    Participant

    I’m leaning towards an active “overwatch” mechanism required for reactive fire.

    Apart from that I’d be open to BA’s Tank Wars type Skills.  The Skills would be allowed only after a successful  Skill Activation Test (SAT).  In BA there is a reaction to receiving fire that infantry can make. A Down Order which makes them harder to hit, the roll must be made before hit die are rolled. The target of the fire can’t have acted already in the  Turn. Perhaps there’s room for some other kind of response from a vehicle that has not already acted within the turn (obviously not a springing leap towards the nearest cover but maybe a Snap Shot (reduced chance to hit?) This “Snap Shop”  might require an unbuttoned status to preform this reaction….

     

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18807
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Wouldn’t moving and firing be very dependent on the time frame of a turn?
    If a turn is 30 seconds, a moving tank is firing while on the move (and the shell may end up in the same zip code if you’re lucky).

    If a turn is 2 minutes, then it’s firing from the “short stop” etc.

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    #18808
    Etranger
    Participant

    How complicated do you want to make it? Many of those items are subject to a lot of variation.You have to choose how abstract Vs minutely detailed that you want to be with these rules. Personally I’d go with a degree of abstraction and use a post hoc review to decide on any apparent anomalies.A few to ponder on are below:

    •Have their own specific movement rates to allow different types of tanks to operate differently.
    > Moving tactically, most tanks will be operating at well below their maximum speed, so this is largely irrelevant.

    •Have their movement rate(s) degraded by terrain, meteorological conditions and being Buttoned Up vs. Crew Exposed.
    > Which presupposes that you’re using accurately modelled terrain with a 1:1 figure:ground scale ratio. Otherwise there is a lot of abstraction regarding line of sight, minor variations in terrain, etc.
    > Again, the AFV is going to be creeping along most of the time anyway.

    •Have their movement improved by terrain conditions if Unbuttoned.
    > Having their Visbility improved is more pertinant, at the expense of greater crew vulnerability.

    •Be able to move in forward and in reverse.
    > How well can the driver ‘bug out’ in reverse? If it’s a Cromwell then the speed in reverse is ‘very slow’ (2MPH). See the events at Villers Bocage for an example.

    •Be able to carry passengers – the number of passengers should be specified by vehicle
    > The true answer to this is “as many as the sergeant says you’re carrying”. 22 appears to be the record for fully equipped paratroopers in a jeep and trailer combination, (at Arnhem) but you won’t find many rulesets allowing you to fit most of a platoon into a single jeep.

    •Be bogged or immobilised in certain terrain with modifiers for the mass and ground pressure of the AFV.
    > And for crew quality, maintenance status etc.

    •Have to operate within command and control distances which are set by the rules and depend on visibility or the availability and reliability of radios.
    > and the nature of those radios. A lot of the EW tanks didn’t have any radios at all & even the Germans mostly had ‘recieve only’ sets in their early panzers.

    •Be able to both move and fire most of the weapons with which they are outfitted (although not all at the same time).
    > This varies enormously between tanks, eg the Char B1Bis where the driver fired the main armament and the commander commanded and acted as turret gunner. Anyway, most WWII tank gunners weren’t trained to fire on the move. The exceptions being the British and to some extent the Americans. It’s also dependent upon the ammunition loadouts too. In NW Europe allied AFVs often carried a HE round ‘up the spout’ because their primary opposition came from infantry or ATGs, rather than enemy AFVs. Do the rules reflect the actual doctrine and training of the nation portrayed?

    •Have their own specific armour ratings differentiated for different locations on the AFV.
    > Which is itself modified by the ground slope, angle of the vehicle to the firing gun, aiming point etc. EG British 6 pounder ATG gunnners were trained to ‘bounce’ their AP shot off the ground just in front of a tank so as to penetrate the thin belly armour, rather than the much thicker front glacis. The same sort of thing was also taught when aiming at the Panther, where shots where aimed to hit the botom of the mantlet & deflect down into the thin hull roof. (The reason why some later Panthers had a ‘chin’ on their mantlet, to stop this happening).

    •Be able to enhance their armour protection by ad hoc modifications if there is an historical precedent to do so.
    > Though these were mostly ineffective and potentially reduced mobility and mechanical reliability. …..

    •Be able to use terrain as cover to go hull-down or turret-down.
    > Need to be able to distinguish between the various degrees of cover. There’s always a fight over LOS…..

    •Be able to use movement and speed to degrade the enemy’s chances of hitting it.
    > and acceleration……

    •Be able to use defensive technology such as smoke candles, smoke mortars and engine-based smoke generators.
    > isn’t this much the same as weather/light conditions with regards to visibility?

    •Be able to lay down speculative fire on unacquired targets as suppressive fire.
    > Don’t forget to keep a count of ammunition, crew fatigue etc.

    •Be able to fire in the general area of infantry/crews in cover without being able to acquire them, if they know from reports that the targets are there, but have that fire of limited effect.
    > Suppressive fire.

    •Be able to fire accurately at acquired infantry/crews in cover with lower chances to hit but full effect if they do hit.
    > Subject to all the provisos above!

    •Be able to physically overrun enemy.
    > and be vulnerable to infantry AT weapons.

    •Be able to survive most small arms fire depending on its level owned completeness of armour protection.
    > Exposed crew are a lot more vulnerable, even if the tank isn’t. Nothing like having your commander fall back into the turret with the back of his head shot away to reduce crew morale.
    > Vision blocks etc are also vulnerable to small arms fire. The RUssians taught their AT riflemen to fire at the vision blocks on German heavy armour as they could be effectively ‘blinded’ even if the underlying tank wasn’t damaged.
    > There’s a tiny chance of ANY weapon having some effect EG a 2″ mortar once KO’d a Tiger II, by causing an ammunition explosion whilst resupplying …….

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Etranger.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Etranger.
    #18811
    War Panda
    Participant

    Movement rates.

    Personally I hate the idea of tanks in the combat zone moving around like they’re in the indy 500.

    I also really favour random movement rates. I hate absolutisms. I think it helps removes the gamey feel to a table top game.

    Lets take the example of our Tiger vs Sherman. Tiger’s activating. The Sherman is around the corner. It isn’t on overwatch. It has already activated. It doesn’t have a skilled crew so no skills to react.

    Within this controlled environment there is the absolutism of who will fire first.

    I’m not bothered by the situation highly favouring the Tiger to let loose with its gun first. It’s the absolutism set within the game that irks me.  We know beyond any doubt that if we decide to give our Tiger  an Advance order (move and fire) it will make it around the corner and it will shoot first.

    Now let’s give the Tiger a variable random move. 2 d6’s rolled means he will almost certainly make the 4 inches he needs but there is a chance he won’t and then the situation will “reset” for next turn and perhaps the Sherman will ready himself with OW.

    Of course the quantifying of time becomes very variable and non-linear.

     

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18812
    Etranger
    Participant

    Sorry, that sounds like I’m nitpicking!. It wasn’t meant to be so, more a matter of the detail that might be needed with a very ‘granular’ approach.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Etranger.
    #18821
    Norm S
    Participant

    If we are talking about genuine close up skirmish rather than the cartoony representation of combat distances that we generally embrace and enjoy to get our models on the same table, then I think the list Rod provided generally holds good – though I am less convinced by the need for detailed armour penetration rules at these distances – a hit is more likely to be a kill at these ranges and so the ‘to hit’ process is the more important part.

    What seems to matter more is the reaction capability to get the first shot off, so crew layout, training, button up / down, turret traverse speed (or no turret!), what shell type is actually sitting in the gun tub already (if any) and driver initiative.

    I’m not a huge fan of different weapon systems on the same vehicle being able to take on different targets with usual efficiency.

    In the high pressure moment of ambush, training, training, training is intended to kick in (above the natural fight / flight programming of our brains) – as sort of auto pilot, so there needs to be some rules that stop the vehicle obeying every whim of the player and an emphasis given or at least an understanding of  (1) the training manual used (2) the training capability (i.e. Russian crews often had little training compared to other nations, but those that survived the first few days improved dramatically) and (3) the individual fighting characteristics of a vehicle that aided or under-mined their close combat capability.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Norm S.
    #18834
    War Panda
    Participant

    Sorry for breaking from the flow a little…From the discussion on the trail run of modifications BA’s armour

    “Perhaps the StuG should have suffered an additional +1 to hit on its first shot only due to not having seen the Sherman at the start of the turn?”

     

    Yeah I forgot about that and I think it makes sense for both tanks to be penalized in the first turn (in some way. And incorporating it into the “to-hit” makes most sense. My worry Rod is there’s already going to be a +1 for moving into position…will a tank want to risk it at all. And perhaps thats the point….wasn’t that the case in reality anyway.

    What about the point Jack makes about penalizing a stationary tank rather than the moving one?

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18859
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    The War Panda:

    “My worry Rod is there’s already going to be a +1 for moving into position…will a tank want to risk it at all. And perhaps thats the point….wasn’t that the case in reality anyway.”

    If I understand the system then high morale/experience units have a better chance to hit than units at lower levels. This means that the tactic of closing in on and firing at an enemy tank is easier for a highly rated unit and far more difficult for lower rated units. This will simulate the aggressive tactics of high morale units and force lower morale units to fight more clumsily or defensively or to gang up on enemy tanks. So, yes I think that the additional +1 to hit for starting out of sight of the target is valid.

    As to Just Jack’s point about stationary targets, I agree that a -1 to hit modifier should be applied after the later rounds of firing so long as both the target and the firer remain stationary. This should not be comulative but a single -1 modifier no matter how long the two stationary targets blast away at each other. This should take effect on the second turn of the gun duel so you get a progression of  +1 or +2 then +0 then -1 as the duel develops.

    I also think that anytime a tank takes a hit from a large gun (auto-cannons and up which have a chance of penetrating the armour/killing the tank) then the crew of the hit tank should have to take a morale check to avoid panic. Failed morale checks could trigger a use of defensive smoke, a “bug out” move, crew paralysis, or a partial or complete bail out, etc. this would also favour the better trained/experienced/motivated crew and make them more aggressive.

    Cheers.

    Rod Robertson

    #18867
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Are there hit locations? If so, I imagine the location struck would be an impact to crew morale.
    Otherwise, it can be tied into the severity of the damage roll.

    A shell going through the hull might be a bigger worry than one knocking off the tracks.

    Rod – Looks like you might advocate something like a random morale failure effect to see what units do if they fail their morale check?

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    #18880
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan:

    i am not sure about random morale effects but morale effects which go hand in hand with the damage done by a hit seems sensible. Thus a none penetrating hit might trigger popping smoke and a bug out or one turn of crew panic if morale is failed. A penetrating hit might cause crew panic and a partial or complete bail out. More serious damage would lead to more serious consequences like crew having to make morale/training rolls to avoid injury or death. Catastrophic hits would imply either crew death or such serious injury that barring a miracle the crew is functionally eliminated from game play.

    Hit locations do not have to be too specific, hull front, hull side, hull rear, turret front . . . deck rear is all that is really needed. If it helps the narrative then more specific locations can be used.

    Cheers.

    Rod Robertson.

     

    #18893
    War Panda
    Participant

    If I understand the system then high morale/experience units have a better chance to hit than units at lower levels.

    Not exactly. The to Hit modifier is only effected by “inexperienced” troops. We can easily change 1+ for experienced though

    This should take effect on the second turn of the gun duel so you get a progression of  +1 or +2 then +0 then -1 as the duel develops.

    I’m liking these changes Mister Rod. I actually had a massive response here and I submitted it and “poof” gone…I don’t have the heart to do it all again…needless to say it was pretty special stuff

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18895
    War Panda
    Participant

    <div id=”d4p-bbp-quote-18867″>

    Rod – Looks like you might advocate something like a random morale failure effect to see what units do if they fail their morale check?

    Exactly what I was working on for 15mins and I submit and I’m told, “You need to be signed in before you can submit….” AGHHHH

    </div>

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18916
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    The old Vor: Into the maelstrom game had a random morale table which I always liked. It only had 3 outcomes but I’d love a big D20 table for morale failures by unit type 🙂

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    #18926
    War Panda
    Participant

    “The old Vor: Into the maelstrom game had a random morale table which I always liked. It only had 3 outcomes but I’d love a big D20 table for morale failures by unit type :)

    When I first started playing with multiple Companies I remember naively wanted to have hit locations on armour and multiple effect charts for tank damage. At that level it was just ridiculous and I think I never really got over it. But I think it might fit very nicely here 🙂

    Hit locations do not have to be too specific, hull front, hull side, hull rear, turret front . . . deck rear is all that is really needed. If it helps the narrative then more specific locations can be used.

    Again I think a simple location selector could be used, depending on the attack angle 🙂

    I want to list the BA Hit Modifiers, Proposed Additions in Bold (Note: The use of positives and negatives are as used by the BA Rule Book)

    • Shooting at point Blank  +1
    • Per Pin on firer -1
    • Long Range -1
    • Inexperienced -1
    • Fired on the move -1
    • Target is  in soft cover -1 (slightly obstructed/unsighted)
    • Target is in hard cover -2
    • Targeted first Sighted this Turn -1 
    • Second shoot at target while both firer and target have remained static +1 (Sustained Fire)
    • Target hit in previous round and neither firer or target have moved +1 (This is not cumulative with Sustained Fire Modifier) *
    • Experienced +1

    So if any hit sustained causes the effects of a BA pin (a morale test is required to activate) The BA Rules are that any “Damage Done” (i.e. Penetrates) the tank is automatically pinned and loses this turns Command Dice.

    I believe whats been proposed is that any hit by a potentially damaging weapon (7+ hit in BA) will cause the above morale conditions. Or perhaps further random morale  effects depending on the experience of crew.

    For campaign type games using the Tank War Skills a potential Damage Effect could be the death of a particular crew member.

    There are only three relevant crew types in TW Skills. Commander. Driver. Gunner. The Skills available belong to the relevant crew member. With the crew member lost the skill is lost etc…Again might add a little favour.

    What is the consensus with random movement? I really like it but like everything could always be an optional rule. Though it work effect the mechanics (plus skills etc) quite a bit

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18931
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I don’t feel strongly about random movement for or against it.
    I’ve played games that were fixed movement rates (faster to play), all random (more fog of war) or a mixture (Nuts, FiveCore) and it all came out fine.

    It’s an easy optional rule to add.

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    #18971
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan and the War Panda:

    Randomly determined variable movement can lead to some real problems. Imagine trying to simulate a flank attack from off board where the flanking forces is crawling along at a snails pace due to poor rolls. Also, try running a convoy when every vehicle is going at a random rate. The convoy will crawl along at the slowest rate rolled for multiple vehicles and that would likely be very slow. Finally, some tanks like the Soviet BT-7 or the M-24 Chaffee depended on their speed as a substitute for armour protection. To force such vehicles to slow to a crawl is a defacto death sentence to these vehicle’s crews. M-24’s and Hellcats should be barreling around the gaming table when they are not waiting in ambush to observe or fire. This is why I prefer differentiated movement allowances for AFV’s.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #18983
    War Panda
    Participant

    Also, try running a convoy when every vehicle is going at a random rate.

    The convoy would need to be treated as a single unit if coherent movement was to be maintained whether or not random movement rates were being used or not. In the system model discussed half the “individual trucks” would potentially activate and the others would not. If  the “convoy” or vehicle unit travelling as a group is not treated as a unit chaos will surly ensue

    AWAT Imagine the vehicle furtherest to the end activates first and hasn’t enough movement to clear the leading vehicle. A traffic jam would likely to ensue regardless of rates.

    Imagine trying to simulate a flank attack from off board where the flanking forces is crawling along at a snails pace due to poor rolls

    And that’s exactly where provisions would need to be made to assign enough time to accommodate a ETA  (emphasis on “estimated”) I think it is precisely in orchestrating such coordinated manoeuvres that random movement enhances the game. Again I see a large coordinated flanking manoeuvre should worry far more about the individual activation mechanic than some form of random movement. Could be a short and lonely trip if only one unit makes the activation.

    But some form of contingency to regularize a slightly less variable range of movement. Average dice or minimum of 3 on a d6.

    Of course completely optional and in the past I have found that I usually drop it just to encourage the flow of the game 🙂

    To force such vehicles to slow to a crawl is a defacto death sentence to these vehicle’s crews. M-24’s and Hellcats should be barreling around the gaming table when they are not waiting in ambush to observe or fire. This is why I prefer differentiated movement allowances for AFV’s.

    Again I’d argue that these characteristics of faster more consistent vehicles you mention have a greater potential to be “set apart” from lesser vehicles by making their allotted movement rates more consistent.

    I’m not sure in a tight confines of a skirmish game that we’re best simulating the effects of speed with merely applying larger distance rates to certain units? Which ties in to this debate but surly shouldn’t be exclusive to it. Any thoughts on whether these more nimble vehicles should have their speed expressed in any other way other than  th measure of space travelled on the table? Movement reactions (subject to SAT)  to being fired at?

     

     

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #18984
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    A lot of legit concerns for random movement. Should one wish to use random movement, they are things that can be minimized though:

    Roll two dice and pick the highest (or lowest).
    Roll three dice and pick the middle.
    Roll + add a fixed amount.
    Minimum moves.
    Roll once for the convoy at the players discretion.

    And probably a bunch more 🙂

    As far as skirmish gaming goes, I have a feeling that maximum speed or even relative speed won’t ever come up, due to the close nature. A vehicle may be able to go 50 kph but when would it do so, in the streets of Stalingrad or the Bocage in Normandy?

    WHat WOULD be of importance though is acceleration and how quickly the vehicle could get to “combat speeds”. A Stuart would be more nimble than a Matilda no doubt, in that regard.

    Nordic Weasel Games
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    #18985
    John D Salt
    Participant

    For more years than I care to recall, I have from time to time run a tank skirmish game whose latest incarnation is called “Churchill Troop Commander” (previous versions all used Shermans, and didn’t really have a name). Briefly, it works a bit like an umpired “multi-player solitaire” adventure, with each player commanding a single tank in a manner not entirely unlike that in AH’s “Patton’s Best” boardgame, and with the PIP dice idea stolen and adapted from DBA.

    A reasonably full report of the game as I ran it at COW a few years ago can be found in The Nugget nos. 228 and 229 (unfortunately my piece in 228 suffered a degree of typesetting mangling, so 229 contains errata, as well as a comment on the game from Phil Barker) and 244. The Colour Supplement to no. 228 includes a good shot of the playing aids, which I think shows clearly enough the orders chits, spotting chits and ammo markers, and the way ammo remaining, hatch state, turret direction and wireless setting are recorded. There were also counters for damage such as “shattered periscope”, “lost antenna” or “broken track”. All these Nuggets can be downloaded free from
    http://www.wargamedevelopments.org/nugget.htm

    What is not shown in the Nugget writeup, for reasons of space, is the briefing document issued to each player at the start of the game. This is about four pages of relentless detail on the specific technical charcteristics of the tank (drawn from Hunnicutt’s “Sherman” for the previous versions of the game, Fletcher’s “Mr. Churchill’s Tank” for this one) such as armour thicknesses of each main plate, horsepower of engine, muzzle velocity and penetration performance of area of effect for each ammunition nature carried, and details of ancillary equipment such as Hellesen lamps, fire extinguishers, crew small arms and what have you. Most of this has no effect on the game whatever, but is intended to both help the player get into the mood of the thing and fool him into believing that he game is based on immensely deep and rigorous research instead of the umpire’s whim.

    Another thing that is not shown in full is the hit probability tables issued to each player. And example in text form is:

    75mm Mk V		Hit rating
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Shot	Target		11	10	9	8	7	6	5	4	3	2	1
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1st	static		200	300	400	->	500	->	600	700	800	900	1200
    	hull-down	200	300	->	400	->	->	500	->	600	700	1000
    	moving		200	->	300	400	->	500	->	600	700	800	1000
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2nd	static		200	300	400	600	800	900	1100	1200	1400	1700	2200
    	hull-down	200	300	400	600	700	800	900	1000	1200	1400	1800
    	moving		200	->	300	400	500	600	800	1000	1100	1300	1700
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dice Roll	12		*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	
    		11	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*			
    		10	*	*	*	*	*	*					
    		9	*	*	*	*							
    		8	*	*									
    		7	*										
    		6	*	*	*								
    		5	*	*	*	*	*						
    		4	*	*	*	*	*	*	*				
    		3	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*		
    		2		*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    P(hit) %		94	83	69	56	44	33	25	17	11	06	03
    

    I hope it’s fairly obvious how to use the thing; if you think the hit rating required for a second-shot hit on a hull-down target at 1000 yards is 4 (succeed on a roll of 2, 3, 11 or 12) then you’re reading it right. The numbers in this table were derived from my Python p(hit) program, and the intention is for the players to do table look-ups rather than difficult addition and subtraction, while retaining as much numerical fidelity to the available data as possible.

    All the best,

    John.

    #18987
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan and the War Panda:

    With regards to random and variable movement my first question is why? First it complicates the game and slows down the pace of the game. Second, what purpose does it serve? The only argument I could come up with to defend the idea is that game turns do not represent a fixed amount of time and thus some circumstances offer a tank crew more time to maneuver while other circumstances give the tank crew less time. Also, I suppose an argument that micro-terrain effects movement (rubble on the road perhaps or small patches of mud in a field) could be used but seems pretty hallow to me. So why are variable movement rates needed? Is it to enhance uncertainty and make the game more exciting for solo play? If so then I could see it as an optional rule for solo play but  otherwise I am not convinced … yet.

    I remember a game set in Russia in spring 1942. The defenders were a platoon of German infantry with two MMG teams, a 5.0cm mortar team, two PaK 36 ATG’s and two SdKfz 222 armoured cars defending a hamlet. The Soviets had an under-strength company of infantry and six BT-7 fast tanks in support. The Soviet commander loaded most of one of his platoons onto the BT-7’s and did a rapid end-run around the German defenses while the rest of the Soviet infantry fought like hell to dislodge the German infantry from well dug-in positions on a reverse slope on a crescent shaped hill just outside the hamlet. Had the BT-7’s crested the hill they would have been cut to pieces by the PaK’s and SdKfz 222’s. Since they were fast tanks they used their strength (speed) to wrong foot the German defense and managed to get their passengers into the town before the German could fully react. As a result the game turned into a hard fought battle which could have gone either way. As it turned out the Soviet players lost but only because the dice favoured the Germans in this game. It was a close fought marginal victory to the Gemans. Had the game system limited the movement of the BT-7’s or imposed a random, variable movement system on the Soviets they would not have had this option and would have had to use BT-7 as if they were KV-1’s, a very bad idea.

    So unless someone can make a case for using variable movement, I will remained unconvinced.

    John D. Salt:

    Very interesting reports once I caught on to the need for entering a password. I must really learn to read instructions thoroughly. However I have one concern. “Barwick Green” as the music for the game? All I could think of after reading that little gem was that the two troops of Churchills were accompanying a company of ribbon-waving and skipping Morris Dancers into battle! Despite the German weakness and propensity for surrender I regretfully found myself routing for the Huns in that case! The game you designed looks very enjoyable. Did you ever come up with a German equivalent or Italian equivalent in order to provide a player-controlled opposing force for the Brits?

    The second shot row of your table is interesting but alas, due to the short ranges of engagement in skirmish games the difference between first shot and second shot probabilities seems minor if I read the table correctly. However at longer ranges there is certainly a big difference.

    Thanks for joining the conversation!

    Cheers and good gaming all.

    Rod Robertson

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    #18991
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I don’t feel strongly about variable movement either way, but the common arguments for it are that history has plenty of examples of troops showing up much faster than expected or being delayed by unpredictable events.
    I do think those elements are more applicable to unit sized games than a man to man skirmish action though.

    Troops may have concerned about nearby enemies (or perceived enemies) that slow them down, orders are not responded to in time or executed promptly, equipment issues, ground or terrain that is less passable than expecte, inefficient path finding, the lieutenant turning the map the wrong way or any number of other factors.

    I will add that there’s no inherent reason that random movement means the same rolls for every unit.
    A T26 might move 1D6+3″ while a BT moves 2D6+6″ for example.

    Likewise, a common enough mechanic is to have the standard, expected moves be a fixed amount but have exceptional moves where troops are pushed beyond expectations be random. This seems to satisfy both viewpoints:

    I know what I can expect but I won’t always know what happens when I push beyond that.

    From a gameplay perspective, it introduces uncertainty but it does also slow down the game. In a game with 3-4 units on each side, it’s not a big factor (particularly since a lot of games use some activation roll or card system) but it does add up because it means you can’t do anything without consulting a dice roll.

    I think this is more Panda’s baby so I’ll let him make the passionate pleas and arguments. If he already left for his trip, I guess you’re stuck with me 🙂

    Jack’s argument will be confusion over movement in directions that are not a direct frontal assault 🙂

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Ivan Sorensen.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #19005
    John D Salt
    Participant

    “Barwick Green” as the music for the game? All I could think of after reading that little gem was that the two troops of Churchills were accompanying a company of ribbon-waving and skipping Morris Dancers into battle!

    Morris dancers do not wave ribbons, they wave handkerchiefs (or short sticks, or long sticks, or swords, or in special cases antlers). Nor do they skip, although they might do rant step. Anyway, “Barwick Green” is a stirring tune, I’m surprised no non-fictional regiment marches to it.

    The game you designed looks very enjoyable. Did you ever come up with a German equivalent or Italian equivalent in order to provide a player-controlled opposing force for the Brits?

    No, because an opposed game would require some proper rules, and a much greater umpiring effort (probably from more than one person), especially to make the spotting mechanism work (players place spotting counters at a PIP each, unless closed down, when it’s 3).

    There’s also the problem that if you have people in tanks shooting armour-piercing ammunition at each other, somebody is going to get hurt, and it’s not so much fun if you have to bail out and wait for Monkey Orange and the recovery vehicle while the other players are still fighting. For an opposed game I’d probably want to cast players as troop leaders — there’s an idea, give them an “own tank” control panel to place orders for their crew, and two “NPC” tanks which act in some programmed semi-andom manner unless given suitable orders (which would need more orders chits for the subordinate tanks). Then, if a player gets “unhorsed”, he can run over to his troop corporal’s tank and take command of it. Of course, some players might prefer to skulk in the rear while letting the subordinate tanks in their troop do all the dangerous stuff, so the rules for NPC tank control would have to be rigged to make this a largely unproductive approach…

    All the best,

    John.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by John D Salt.
    #19007
    John D Salt
    Participant

    As far as skirmish gaming goes, I have a feeling that maximum speed or even relative speed won’t ever come up, due to the close nature. A vehicle may be able to go 50 kph but when would it do so, in the streets of Stalingrad or the Bocage in Normandy?

    WHat WOULD be of importance though is acceleration and how quickly the vehicle could get to “combat speeds”. A Stuart would be more nimble than a Matilda no doubt, in that regard.

    This is an observation that has been made by professional defence simulationists and AFV designers. In combat, where AFVs are moving from covered fire position to covered fire position, they will probably spend the first half of the distance cranking up to full speed, and the second half decelerating again, so they will never be moving at their top speed. Rapid acceleration, on the other hand, is one of the reasons for choosing gas turbines, which otherwise have very little to recommend them, being thirsty and hot.

    Nor does this only apply to close terrain. I get the impression that people are thinking of a tank skirmish gamr as being one that features only very close engagement ranges, but I don’t see why that should be so. Churchill Troop Commander dealt with distances of a thousand yards or so — the sort of distance a company attack would go in over — and, while individual crewmen were represented for the tank troops, the supported infantry were represented as sections (for the supported company) and platoons (for the neighbouring companies of the battalion). The enemy were sections, weapons and individual vehicles.

    All the best,

    John.

    #19008
    War Panda
    Participant

    Sorry guys. I’m still around Ivan. I’m crazy busy today but I might get an opportunity tonight but I’d like to quickly address some things:

    Firstly John very interesting, I’m looking forward to properly investigating it all

    my first question is why?

    First of all I’d like to say straight out: This wouldn’t be a big thing for me. I would love to test out a system that were really similar if not exactly the same, so we could compare notes etc…I’d love if there were a gang on board with Ivan and Jack and the whole gang…so unless Rod’s totally happy with this we can chuck it out and leave it for solo/optional use.

    Also I think it might be a better idea to test the system without variable movement first and see what it feels like. If it seems like its working and achieving some semblance of what seems satisfying I’ll tear it apart and try some thinking with the variable movement.

    Now having said all that…. 😉

    First it complicates the game and slows down the pace of the game

    I think you have answered your own question Rob and in all honesty I think in both cases your absolutely right. I don’t think you can argue against what you’ve just stated. I’d also say that these are two elements that I want to avoid at all cost save one.

    Of course every additional single rule of any game will to a lesser or greater degree “complicates the game and slows down the pace of the game.”  Any additional rule that say injects   excitement or a sense of unpredictable realism. Each will come with some degree of complication and delay.

    The question is does the level of excitement and unpredictable realism justify the complication and delay it provides.

    The price I’d be willing to pay is to create immersion in an unpredictable and exciting environment that doesn’t rob you of your decision making. Instead this uncertainty has to be expected, respected and accommodated.

    For me the presence of uncertain measure simulates an unparalleled non-linear experience of the battle field where numerous activities are taking place in the represented reality. We are severely restricted by the nonsynchronous gaming mechanics that we employ to activate all of these single elements as if we trying to hold each one aloft but only having one hand to do so. Variable movement merged together with random activations obliterates the “absolutism” of getting to the other side of the street unharmed when the player is in the absolute knowledge of exact distance, exact activation of one single unit in this “frozen state of time,” absence of overwatch, absence of any other unit on the battlefield been able to react on time.

    Who knows if the MG42 whose immediate attention has been drawn towards the introduction of the noisy Sherman will not in fact notice the US rifle team sprint across the street.

    The non- absolute movement of the rifle team does not represent only the movement of their unit. It is representative of the entire cast of the battle. Representative of the MG42’s amazing alertness that they saw the rifle team and reacted just in time to swing around and shower the street in lead. Excitement. Or the absolutism of  10 inches is less than 12 and I know the MG42 is not on overwatch. That rifle team have said their prayers and the God of the Cosmos, Lord of all time and space has answered, as He always does. In this case He is nothing more than the BA Rule Book and Rod’s insistence with boring old fixed movement …yawn 😉

    Can I give you a narrative from an actual report (it’s on an unmentionable war site …let me just get)

     

    Report was based on Operation Biting

    Barrack’s House or Villa with the Radar in front (this is a real photo 🙂 )

    If we take a look at the the situation in my own game… My British team (British Flight Sergeant Cox and several sappers) need to run from a house across a fairly short distance to a radar building to dismantle the radar equipment. This open ground is in clear sight of an German MG.

    The Barracks House

    My version of the Villa or Barracks House (yes I agree it is nicer than the original)

    Game Situation: In this Turn the German MG had already fired at a bren gun team on the second story of the Villa in this turn so he isn’t in overwatch mode and so according to the rules was not entitled to shoot or activate in this turn again. There are no other enemy in LoS of this open patch of game table. The distance in game terms was 6 inches. Time is of the essence as the two German companies will have an excellent chance of activating in the next turn as there has been gun fire. (Can’t remember exactly but I think it was a 50% chance for each company and then 100% chance in the turn after that.) The British have a random chance of dismantling the radar once they are in the Radar Building (no chance first turn, 5,6 next turn, 3,4,5 turn after, automatic after that)

    In a fixed movement game as the player I know what to do. I run 6 inches. I get into the building. Not exciting at all. Yawn. Yaaawn. Snore… 🙂

    In a variable movement game I can sprint across with 3 d6’s. I know the German’s cannot shoot at me this turn they already have activated. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll make it across. Kind of unlikely the British won’t but it’s not a certainty. Realistic uncertainty and bloody exciting!

     

    Real Life interpretation of the game: The British notice the MG is firing furiously at the top window of the house, its a short distance to the radar and the German MG look distracted with the Bren Team…in reality however the British don’t know for sure if the German’s do notice them running across and react in time…even if it seems unlikely. They can’t afford to waste much time. But they certainly can’t afford to lose Sergeant Cox to MG fire. 

    So now the British are left with a choice;

    1. as the MG does look kind of busy do they risk it and sprint across now  (time is of the essence…there are 2 whole companies of Germans awaking right now to the sound of gunfire in the near by village.
    2. Do they put down some suppressing fire on the German MG and then run across. Remember only British Flight Sergeant Cox can dismantle the radar equipment

    So the dice which are available to the British are rolling 3 d6 if they run full pelt (like the clappers as they say…)

    Important: The result of the total dice is not to be understood just as speed.

    If they roll crap it doesn’t mean Sergeant Cox is an over weight hippo. It doesn’t mean he’s leading a band of legless pygmy sappers. It doesn’t even necessarily mean they slip and fall over. Nor do they decide its a nice place for a picnic and the moon looks just lovely shining on the sea this morning.

    It means they need to make a decision and they’re not in complete control of the situation. While the MG42 is involved in a firefight with the bren team it isn’t out of the fight yet. Without Cox the operation is a failure instantly. Tactical decision is required. It’s bloody exciting I’ll tell you.

    The meaning of what is rolled is a formula that will decide whether the MG reacts to the British movement. It is the uncertain chance of the German MG noticing the British and reacting in time…In this case its unlikely that the MG notices and has the swiftness of reaction to bear their gun down on them. But it’s NOT an absolute.

    That is what this roll is about…not just how fast the British run…

    So if the dice roll total results in a number greater than the distance to be moved than that simply means the German did not react to the British movement.

    If the dice is lower than the distance it doesnt mean necessarily that the British run slower but it means that

    the German’s do notice the British and do react to it…

    But why are we saying that the movement dice roll doesn’t necessarily mean actual speed or the strict understanding of distance covered over a certain period of time?

    Because as Don said “Methinks you’re thinking of fixed/specific time periods for a move…”

    And why would that be …why not fixed time periods…

    Well I’d imagine when creating a multi-player game that each side moves seperately from each other yet is attempting to simulate simultaneous action then there needs to be a different representation of time…

    Otherwise our battles would represent the ridiculous…one side shoots while the other stops everything…then they move while their enemy stands motionless frozen in time and space…

    Do you want to know what I decided to do?

    This tactical genius decided to risk it al in a daring dash across the green…

    Do you know what happened…

    4

    Well  a  $&@%!      “5”  is what happened. Five.

    Yes I rolled two 1’s and a 3…

    Next turn German MG activated first and mowed down the entire team of three including Mr Cox (he has never forgiven me)

    I could not believe it. I was so stupid. I have never been in shock as the result of a war-game in my life… apart from that moment.

    Despite the terrible disgrace that variable movement cast upon my soul that faithful morning at Bruneval….I still love variable movement. So there.

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #19012
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Oh look, I’ve just found one of my frighten-the=players-rigid-with-detail briefing sheets. If it is not rendered unreadable by tab damage, people with nothing better to do might cast an eye over it. The instructions on communication I expect players to follow during the game; the listing of items stowed has sometimes been known to influence role-playing when for some reason it matters whether there is a pair of wire-cutters available; but mostly the detail is there just to drive home the point (recalling my original motivation for designing the game) that this tank commanding lark is not as simple as some people might think.

    The Churchill Mark VI
    
    Automotive
    ----------
    The Churchill VI you command has a battle weight of thirty-nine tons.  It is powered by a Bedford twin six engine, 
    a 12-cylinder, horizontally-opposed petrol unit giving a maximum output of 350 brake horsepower at 2,200 revs per 
    minute.  This is a robust and reliable engine, giving a top speed of 15 mph on roads, or 8 mph cross-country.  
    
    The six internal fuel tanks hold 150 gallons of petrol, and an external jettisonable auxiliary tank can be fitted 
    to the hull rear plate giving an additional 32½ gallons. Road range is approximately 120 miles with the auxiliary 
    tank, or 100 miles without.   
    
    The Churchill VI can cross a trench 10 ft wide, a vertical step 2 ft 6 ins high, or a ford 3 ft 4 ins deep.
    
    The gearbox is a Merritt-Brown regenerative type, which means that the Churchill can perform a neutral turn.  
    This is useful not only for turning on the spot in tight corners, but for collapsing enemy slit trenches.  
    
    Protection
    ----------
    Your Churchill is protected by machineable quality armour plate and castings as follows:
    
    Driver's plate	3½ in (89mm) IT 80 at 0º	Turret front	3½ in (89mm) IT 90 at 0º
    Glacis plate	1½ in (38mm) IT 80 at 70º	Turret sides	3 in (76mm) IT 90 at 0º
    Hull nose	3 in (76mm) IT 80 at 20º	Turret rear	3 in (76mm) IT 90 at 0º
    Hull sides	2½ in (64mm) IT 80 at 0º	Turret roof	13/8 in (35mm) IT 80 at 90º
    Hull rear	2 in IT 80 (51mm) at 0º	
    Fore decking	¾ in (19mm) IT 80 at 90º
    Aft decking	5/8 in (16mm) IT 80 at 90º
    Fore belly	¾ in (19mm) IT 80 at 90º
    Aft belly	5/8 in (16mm) IT 80 at 90º	
    
    Much of the armour is backed by half an inch of mild steel.  The front hull sides have appliqué armour 
    added on, which increases the armour thickness by some 20mm. Your crew have welded worn-out track plates 
    onto the turret for additional protection.
    
    Fighting equipment
    ------------------
    The main gun is a 75mm Mk V, 40 calibres long, with a quick-firing (falling-block) breech.  It is a reliable 
    and accurate general-purpose weapon, with a maximum rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute.  
    
    The tank carries 84 rounds of main gun ammunition.  The ammunition natures provided are:
    
    Designation			Type		proj wt		m.v. 
    
    Shot, APC, M61			APCBC-T		14lb 15½ oz	2,030 f.p.s.	
    Shell, HE, M48 (super)		HE		14lb 11¼ oz	1,980 f.p.s.
    Shell, HE, M48 (normal)		HE		14lb 11¼ oz	1,520 f.p.s.
    Shell, Smoke, HCBI, M89		Bursting smk	 6lb 9¾ oz	  850 f.p.s.	
    
    Penetration performance, in millimetres, of APCBC against homogenous machineable-quality (MQ) and face-hardened 
    (FH) armour plate at 30° incidence is as follows:
    
    Round		Armour		500 yds		1,000 yds	1,500 yds	2,000 yds
    
    APCBC		MQ		66		60		55		50
    		FH		74		67		60		54
    
    As far as is known, all German tanks and SPs use MQ plate except for the face-hardened front plates of the Marks
    III and IV.
    
    The HE shell M48 has very good fragmentation effects, giving a lethal area of 2,900 square feet against men in 
    the open.  Because of the good ballistic match between the AP rounds and HE shell M48 with supercharge, it is 
    possible to adjust fire with HE shell as for normal anti-tank shooting up to about 2,000 yards.  Above that 
    range, bracketing procedures must be used.  The 50% zones in the horizontal plane, in yards, for the HE shell 
    fired from the Mk 5 gun are as follows:
    
    	Charge		2,000 yards	3,000 yards	4,000 yards
    	
    	Super		28		27		34
    	Normal		22		34		51
    
    The turret is fitted with a two-speed electrical power traverse system.  The rapid rate is 24 degrees per second
    the slow rate 15 degrees per second, but giving better fine control.  Elevation is from +20 and –12½ degrees.  
    
    A 2-inch bomb thrower Mk I is fitted in the turret roof and is operated by the operator.  It throws smoke bombs 
    to 20, 70 or 110 yards. 30 smoke bombs are stowed ready to use.  The bomb thrower can fire ten rounds per minute 
    easily. Nine bombs per minute will maintain a 500-yard smoke screen in average smoke conditions.
    
    The co-axial and bow MGs are 7.92mm calibre BESA Mk III*s.  They are gas-operated and air-cooled.  Their cyclic 
    rate is 500 rounds per minute.  Ammunition is in 225-round continuous metallic belts, loaded 1 in 4 tracer, and 
    the normal rate of fire is one belt per minute.  Tracer burns brightly after 200 yards and can be spotted up to 
    1,000 yards, but note that the trajectory of tracer fails to match that of ball beyond about 800 yards.  42 boxes 
    of BESA ammunition are stowed with one 225-round belt in each, giving a total of 9450 rounds.
    
    A .303 Bren gun is stowed in the turret, and may be used with the Lakeman anti-aircraft mounting to be fired by 
    the tank commander.  Six magazines are stowed, and these are the 100-round drum type, giving a total of 600 
    .303 rounds.
    
    Also stowed in the turret are a .45 Thompson machine-carbine, together with 24 20-round magazines (480 rounds), 
    and six 36M grenades (Mills bombs).     
    
    Communications
    --------------
    The No. 19 R/T set also serves as a 6-station intercom.  A selector switch enables you to select the 'A' channel, 
    to talk to other tanks in your squadron, or 'IC' to talk on the intercom to your crew.  If you have 'IC' selected,
    you can still hear the 'A' channel, but cannot talk on it.
    
    A further means of communication is furnished by a Tank Distinguishing Flag Set, which should be stowed in a tube 
    attached to the turret, but may have been replaced by something more useful.  A 1-inch Signal Pistol No. 1 Mk III*, 
    or Véry pistol, is kept in the turret, with 12 flares, 4 each of red, white and green.
    
    A tank telephone is fitted on the left of the rear hull plate.  This gives accompanying infantry the opportunity 
    to speak with you, even if you are closed down, by talking on your intercomm.  Make sure you do not reverse over 
    any infantrymen attempting to use the telephone.  Also, be alert for infantry indicating targets to you by means 
    of tracer or coloured smoke.
    
    When speaking on the R/T, use the following phonetic alphabet, standard identifiers and voice procedure.
    
    Phonetic Alphabet
    -----------------
    			Able				Nan
    			Baker				Oboe
    			Charlie				Peter
    			Dog				Queen
    			Easy				Robert
    			Fox				Sugar
    			George				Tare
    			Howe				Uncle
    			Item				Victor
    			Jig				William
    			King				X-ray
    			Love				Yoke
    			Mike				Zebra
    
    Standard identifiers
    --------------------
    Each day, the squadron will be allotted a code letter.  Each troop is further identified by its number.  Each 
    tank within any troop other than the troop commander's will have a further letter: A for the troop 2-i-c, then B.  
    Thus, for example, if the squadron had been allocated the letter G, the squadron's CO would be George, his 
    2-i-c would be George Able, the troop commander of 3 Troop would be George 3, and the troop corporal of 3 troop 
    would be George 3 Baker.
    
    Arm-of-service identifiers
    --------------------------
    The following fixed codewords may be used at any level of command:
    
    			Ironside	Cavalry or R Tanks
    			Foxhound	Infantry
    			Sheldrake	Royal Artillery
    			Tentacle	Forward Air Controller
    			Holdfast	Royal Engineers
    			Bulldog	        Military Police
    			Rickshaw	RASC
    			Playtime	REME
    			Starlight	RAMC
    
    Additionally, commanders may be identified as 'Sunray', and 2-i-cs as 'Sunray minor'.
    
    Voice procedure
    ---------------
    Calls must state the callsign of the station being called, followed by the callsign of the calling station.  
    Calls should be kept short and clear.  Bear in mind at all times that the enemy is listening.  The following 
    prowords should be used to expedite each call:
    
    			Roger			Received and understood
    			Wilco			Will comply
    			Over			Over to you
    			Off			End of transmission
    			Wait			Wait up to 5 seconds
    			Say again		Repeat your message
    
    NEVER say "repeat" on an R/T net unless you are an artillery observer.
    
    It will sometimes be necessary for commanders to check that all stations are receiving them correctly.  This 
    means a call of the form "Hello all stations Jig,  this is Jig, report my signals, over".  All callsigns 
    beginning with Jig should then reply, in order, giving their callsign.  In this case, the first reply should 
    be "Hello Jig, this is Jig Able, OK, over", followed by Jig Baker, Jig 1, Jig 1 Able, Jig 1 Baker, and so on.  
    If a station makes no reply after five seconds, the next station in sequence should carry on.
    
    When you spot enemy troops, or come under fire, you should first of all send a contact report.  A contact 
    report should state when and where the contact occurred, what the enemy is, what it is doing, and what you are 
    doing about it.  A model contact report might be:
    
    "Hello Uncle, this is Uncle Three, CONTACT, now, at grid 123456, two enemy carriers advancing, am engaging, off".
    
    The use in cavalry and yeomanry regiments of fox-hunting slang such as "view halloo" instead of "contact" and 
    "gone away" instead of "enemy broken contact" is officially deprecated by the Army Commander.
    
    Additional equipment
    --------------------
    Your Churchill carries six fire extinguishers.  There are two seven-pound bottle CO2 extinguishers in the 
    fighting compartment, a one-quart Pyrene (carbon tetrachloride) extinguisher in the fighting compartment and 
    another on the lap gunner's side of the driving compartment, and two methyl bromide extinguishers on the 
    outside of the turret, one each side. Also stowed around the tank are tools such as shovels, a pick, a 
    wire-cutter, a jack, a sledge hammer and a ball-peen hammer, two Hellesen hand lamps, weapon-cleaning gear, 
    radio spares and spare periscope prisms, maps, the crew's bedding, camouflage netting, a large quantity of 
    rations, water, personal comforts and a brew-can.
    
    The crew
    --------
    Your Churchill has a crew of five men, including yourself.
    
    At the left front of the hull sits the lap gunner.  He is usually the most junior member of the crew.  
    He assists the driver with mechanical maintenance, fires the bow MG and makes the tea.  In the event of one 
    of the other crewmen being injured, the lap gunner will take over his post.
    
    At the right front of the hull is the driver, who gets the tank from one place to another and does mechanical
    maintenance.  Each tank is issued with a particularly fine wristwatch, which should be kept in a slot on the 
    driver's dashboard.
    
    At the right of the turret sits the R/T operator, who is also the loader.  As well as maintaining and netting 
    the R/T, he assists the gunner with gun maintenance, loads the main gun and co-ax, and fires the bomb thrower.
    
    At the left right of the turret is the gunner.  He maintains and fires the main gun and co-ax.
    
    All your crewmen will usually be troopers, except for the gunner, who is usually a lance-corporal.
    
    Your position as tank commander is at the left rear of the turret.  In action, you will normally be the only 
    member of the crew who keeps their hatch open, as visibility is extremely poor when closed down.  You have a 
    simple split hatch, and are advised to be careful when closing it, as it is heavy and can easily slice off fingers.
    
    Bailing out
    -----------
    If your crew have to bail out after a hit, remember the following points.  If your tank is immobilised, do not
    stay with it; it is an easy target, and you should bail out.  Churchills tend not to burn quickly, but don’t hang 
    around, there are plenty of escape hatches, and don't hesitate to use the extinguishers – a little carbon dioxide 
    won't hurt.  The gunner will have to bail out through the commander's or loader's hatch – help him.  Make sure that 
    the gun is not traversed to one or eleven o'clock, as it is muzzle-heavy, and can fall and trap the driver or 
    lap gunner.  You will probably be bailing out under machine-gun fire, so lay smoke if possible and all bail out 
    at once. You may wish to prepare a "bail-out bag" of essentials to take with you.  Take personal weapons with you 
    for self-protection, but don't bother trying to dismount a BESA unless you have plenty of time.  If possible, 
    send a message to your troop or squadron so that other people are aware of your situation and can have you 
    picked up.  Make sure you destroy any maps, slidex charts or other sensitive materials you are carrying, and 
    check that the operator has de-tuned his R/T. After bailing out, run back along the track-marks of your tank, 
    in order to avoid mines.
    
    Of course, it is better to avoid being hit and having to bail out in the first place.  Remember, the tank is 
    your responsibility – you've signed for it.
    

    I wonder if any of our real tankers have any comment to make on this nonsense?

    All the best,

    John.

    #19013
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    John D. Salt:

    Regarding the Morris Dancers: When I lived in Bristol the Morris Dancers who occasionally danced on the Clifton Down near my home had ribbons attached to their sleeves at the elbows and these ribbons hung down below their hands. It was these ribbons which I was referring to. Yes they had batons (sticks) and I have seen others with handkerchiefs (never swords however but that just means I am ignorant of the whole Morris Experience). I offer the following as video evidence:

    Did I mention I hate Morris Dancing and I think that the British aristocracy should substitute Morris Dancers for Foxes to make their great hunts more politically acceptable. And if I ever have to listen to that damned “Obby ‘Oss” song again …..

    I think the idea of having players play troop commanders while other tanks in the troop are NPT’s is a great idea and is a direction you might explore at the next COW convention if you are so inclined. I imagine that even as opposing players those lucky enough to play the game would have a grand time.

    With regards to the role  of tanks/AFV’s in the skirmish game I think most of us were operating under the notion that the tanks were supporting infantry in a very localized battle. However you have shifted the paradigm to a much larger land-scale conflict and that is a very good point. So I at least will start thinking in terms of a wider battlefield with greater ranges.

    Ivan and The War Panda:

    Panda, you’re worse than Just Jack for large scale data-dumps when you post and with all that yawning your doing you had better get some sleep.  I understand that you want variable movement and so you should have it. But I want my BT-7’s and similar fast tanks to whizz about and bound from place to place like metal gazelle on the savanna. The point about acceleration made by Ivan is a very good one so now I must wonder how to reflect acceleration, inertia, momentum and deceleration in a miniatures game! Curse you Ivan for complicating my life and doing it around Tax Time! So how to model acceleration and braking ability/ deceleration into armour rules? Have two maximum allowable speeds, one based on potentially full out movement and a second “bounding speed” for short bursts of movement? Argh, my brain hurts but its time to go back to first principles and rethink this through. When I have come up with some ideas I will get back to you all.

    Cheers and good gaming (sleeping for Panda).

    Rod Robertson

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Rod Robertson.
    #19014
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I imagine the most playable option is to have a “burst speed” and a “travel speed”. The latter might be more suitable for movement in campaigns or large scale maps while the burst speed is used when moving from position to position.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #19016
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Ivan:

    I agree but how to calculate a reliable burst speed and how do you adjust it with terrain and other modifiers? That’s a whole lot of math which I don’t really want to do. I’m going to watch Game of Thrones now!

    Rod Robertson.

    #19018
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I’m the guy who didn’t even want to assign quality ratings for my flagship game so I may be the wrong person for that 🙂

    I’d base it on vehicle type (light tank, heavy, scout, armoured car) etc.
    You can always give or take an inch or three for vehicles known to be particularly fast or slow, provided reliable data exists

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #19020
    Just Jack
    Participant

    “Jack’s argument will be confusion over movement in directions that are not a direct frontal assault.”
    What are you talking about?  Everyone knows there are three kinds of attacks:
    1) Feint left and go up the middle.
    2) Feint right and go up the middle.
    3) Quit @#$%ing around and go up the middle.

    Panda – I agree with you about random movement, but philosophically (yours, not mine) it doesn’t make any sense as, game-wise, you’re getting a diced-for result, then having to make up a reason  for why it happened afterwards.  I.e., your tank is on the road but rolls bad and only moves 3″, or your tank has bad ground in front of it but rolls well and moves 8″.  How’d that happen?  Afterwards you can say the first driver was distracted, or worried enemy anti-tank weapons were nearby, and in the latter the driver is super competent and that allowed him to find the one clear path (not marked on the table) through the rough ground.

    But it’s okay brother, I understand: the heart wants what the heart wants.  Sometimes feeling good is good enough 😉
    “For me the presence of uncertain measure simulates an unparalleled non-linear experience of the battle field where numerous activities are taking place in the represented reality.”
    You need to get off your butt and try Company Command, I guess in April.  I’m beginning to think you’re not playing it just because I am.  My opinion is that it does exactly what you described above; I would’t recommend it if I thought you wouldn’t like it 😉

    John Salt – That is fantastic, and my hat is off to you for the time you poured into that.  I would love to play in such a game umpired by you, though I admit I’m too weak a man to try something like that myself.  I’m going to look up those Nuggets.

    Rod – Speed and inertia, stopping distances???  You are still crazy 😉

    V/R,
    Jack

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Just Jack.
    #19076
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    I am thinking that maybe the solution to the problem of modeling the rapid acceleration and deceleration of AFV’s in combat is to view a movement allowance of a tank in a different way. I am thinking that it might be possible to use the movement allowance of a vehicle for both movement and acceleration. Suppose a vehicle has a movement allowance of 9 inches per turn/action (9 MP) and also suppose that vehicle starts its turn motionless. The first movement point (MP) would be used to overcome static inertia and the vehicle would not move. The second MP would be used in acceleration to bring the vehicle to a velocity of 1, the third MP would be used to move the vehicle one inch. The fourth would be used to accelerate the vehicle to a velocity of 2, the fifth and sixth points would move the vehicle 2 inches. The seventh MP would be used to accelerate the vehicle to to a velocity of 3, and the eighth and nine points would be used to move the vehicle 2 of the three inches it could use its speed would allow it move. On the next turn the vehicle could either continuing moving at a speed of three or further accelerate (after expending one more MP as forward movement) up to its movement allowance as a maximum velocity.

    Deceleration would work in the same manner but would be easier (perhaps two points of deceleration for each MP spent on changing its velocity). A Hellcat Tank Destroyer is moving at a speed of 10 along a road and wants to slow down and get into cover. The first MP is used to overcome dynamic inertia, the second MP is used to decrease the velocity to 8 the next 4 MP must be used to move forward (half of the velocity) the next MP is used to drop the velocity to 6. The next three MP (two this turn and the first MP of next turn) must be spent be spent moving forward. Next turn the speed is 6 but the Movement allowance is still 10, so the first MP , as mentioned above, is expended moving forward. The second MP is used to decelerate to speed 4 and the next two MP must be used forward 2 inches. The next MP is used to slow to speed 2 and the next one or two MP to move 1-2 inches forward and then a final point to slow a velocity of zero. The last one or two points are not used.

    Different types of tanks could accelerate and decelerate at different rates by either altering the MP cost for acceleration/deceleration or by changing the number of acceleration/deceleration points awarded  for the expenditure of an MP. I haven’t decided which is a better approach.

    Alas, I think this might be cumbersome to use without markers to recall velocity and MP’s which must be expended in forward motion next turn.

    Rod Robertson.

    #19195
    War Panda
    Participant

    All sounds absolutely enthralling …(latin for ridiculous) but how does all this tie in with the beautiful art of random movement? Or has Rod strayed from the truth…heretic

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #19222
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    The War Panda:

    i kinda agree with your assessment but having taken the trouble to make up a bunch of tables to simulate different types of AFV’s I still decided to put it out there. I tried the mechanics out and it was very confusing and quite annoying so it’s back to the drawing board.

    Cheers and better gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #19239
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you, Rod.

    I think it’s admirable what you’re doing (trying to do), I wish I could be more helpful.  It’s just that I’m much more of a ‘concepts’ guy, rather than a ‘grinders and gears’ guy, which is definitely what you have to be if you’re trying to have a reinforced company on the table and track every single human individually.  I think one of those games would take longer than my whole Poland campaign 😉

    Good luck man; I will certainly continue to follow this thread and help when I can.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #19242
    War Panda
    Participant

    Rod to simulate acceleration or maneuverability, apart from allowing  fixed modifiers to the random movement (which in random movement and random activation game play terms effectively gives them greater responsiveness and reactions rather than just speed.)

    I will label any vehicles that constitute these aforementioned marvellous attributes RRRR’s (Rod Roy’s Road Runners)

    Apart from that here are some ideas:

    1. If random activations are being used an extra Acceleration Die could be added to the mix.  RRRR’s could have a Bonus move/Reaction move when this die is drawn. The RRRR could be marked (as in Over Watch as a reminder of its Reaction Move (RM)
    2. Reaction Move: Any enemy declares the RRRR (marked with a RM)  a fire target the RRRR can make an evasive maneuver (random d6x??? inches, change of direction x- degrees??) (maybe firer is given a negative -2 modifier to hit to reflect the acceleration etc… )
    3. Snap Shots: Maybe to simulate the added speed to get into firing position more efficiently the RRRR doesn’t receive the -1 to move and fire. Does receive the negative modifier for first shot/ acquisition modifier.

    Some random thoughts…

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    #19253
    War Panda
    Participant

    I’ m rather reluctant to even mention this because it would turn everything on its head but here goes:
    Opportunist Fire.
    As in Crossfire if a unit enters in the LoS of enemy certain enemy units that qualify they can open fire. We’ll call this Opportunist Fire. There are exclusions and modifiers to Opportunist Fire. 

    These modifiers will be explained momentarily but are connected to the Acceleration Rate of the target that triggers the Opportunist Fire

    Opportunist Fire does require an successful Skill test/Morale check

    Opportunist Fire does not require an Over Watch action.

    Units Activated already this Turn can Opportunist Fire.

    Each Pin on a firing unit gives +2 modifier (this is a negative modifier for the firer)

    Tanks can Opportunist Fire with a +2 modifier (+2).

    Buttoned up tanks fire with a +5 modifier.

    Movement Rate and Acceleration Rate.
    Forget everything we’ve said about random movement ok…its back to boring old fixed movement. Each troop/vehicle type  has a fixed Movement Rate. It also has an Acceleration Rate.
    An infantry Movement Rate is 6. In a Turn it can advance 6 inches (move and fire). In a Turn it can Run double its Movement Rate 12 inches

    It’s Acceleration Rate is (0) meaning d6 with zero modifier. This is the distance it can move across the table without triggering enemy Opportunist Fire

    A Run Order increase the Acceleration Rate by +2. So the Acceleration distance of an advancing infantry unit would be 1 d6 inches while a running unit wound be 2 d6 +2 (This of course would have a maximum of 14 inches which is greater than the distance travelled but this is irrelevant to the mechanism…the  Movement Rate is always the maximum distance the unit can travel.

    Example:

    US Squad want to get across the street to their objective. The distance is only 6 inches. There is a MG42 in the top story of a building to their right overlooking the street. It has 1 pin already and has fired this Turn. There’s a German rifle team to their left right beside a buttoned up Panzer IV . Neither hasn’t activated  this Turn. None are on Overwatch.

    The Squads movement rate is 6. They could make an Advance Order, shoot at the MG42 and still move the entire distance across the street.

    The squad decides to shot at the MG42 first then casually walk across the street under the noses of the Panzer IV and the German rifle team. Under the current BA rules we know they will not be fired on. We know Absolutely.

    The US squad fires and pins the MG42. And then begins to move its 6 inches. But it needs to roll for its Acceleration Distance based on its Acceleration Rate.

    It rolls 1d6 (0) gets a 1!!! Its Acceleration Distance is 1.

    It moves 1 of its 6 inches and now the German Units with no modifiers can declare Opportunist Fire. 

    The rifle team fails its skill test and so they don’t open fire,

    The MG42 has 2 pins so 2 inches per pin +1 =5 inches in total

    The US move up another 4 inches (they’re now just 1 inch from the building. The MG42 fires. It’s fire is penalized for the pins as per rules. The US squad receive a pin and one dead. They are allowed to finish their move. The buttoned up panzer doesn’t get to fire as its modifier takes it over the distance moved.

    Now lets see the US declare a run.

    Remember this is a short distance but they’re not going to walk across the road exchanging fire with the MG42 this time.

    Run Order means 2d6’s and a +2  They roll a 1 followed by a 1!!!!  that’s 2+2= 4. TheUS squad move 4 inches. Then whoever can fire will fire.

    The German rifle team fail their skill test and so don’t get to fire.

    The MG42 team have only one pin so they will fire at 6 but the  US are in the cover of the building and don’t receive a hit.

    Of course in the game the US player may be unaware of the sniper hidden in another building to their left and he’s on Overwatch. Acceleration won’t help him there.

    Take a situation in a particular scenario. And please keep in mind I don’t have a fantastic knowledge of the speed  rates of WW2 vehicles but you’ll get the drift…)

     

    A M18 Hellcat has already been on a run order in the previous Turn (this means he’s accelerated to max) He has a Movement Rate of 12. He wants to come to the aid of a platoon of infantry across town. He’s on a run order again this Turn. He’s moving 24 inches x 2 (he’s on a road so double movement) so that’s 48 inches. His Acceleration Rate is d12 (6)   So that’s a 2 d12 +6

    He’s passing through a street 13 inches wide. A Tiger is down the street. The commander is upside. It has activated.

    Rolls a 2 and a 7 +6 he moves 16 inches before anyone in his LoS can effectively react to his movement

    The M18 drives along before the Tiger can react

    If the Hellcat didn’t run last Turn perhaps reduce the Acceleration Rate to d12 (3) or whatever?!?!

    Hope this makes some sense I have to run and its probably all over the place

    And all the actual rates and modifiers are just out of my head and may not make any sense….

     

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

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