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    Avatar photoSparker

    Has anyone had a look at the free introductory version on offer on the news page? Any thoughts?

    'Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall need to be well 'ard'
    Matthew 5:9

    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    I’ve just received my copy Harry Freeman’s, courtesy of Ed Mike. Making the bold assumption that Mike s happy for criticisms of the rules to be posted on his forum (please thwack me smartly about the sinciput with a fresh haddock if this is not the case), I make the following knee-jerk  immediate responses based on a very rapid once-through read:

    1. It makes my palms itch when wargames rules do not mention scales. The figure scale is clear, but the time scale and ground scale I couldn’t find. These should be clearly stated in the intro.

    2. Related to the above, I much mislike distances being given in inches. First, it is cruel to people accustomed to a rational system of units, which means everyone outside the Anglobubble, and most of those inside who are not either American or middle-aged. Second, it makes it harder to fiddle with the ground scale to fit a game on to a larger or smaller table. Third, and probably most important, it destroys the willing suspension of disbelief that I think is an essential part of a fulfilling wargame experience. No section commander ever gave the fire order “Gun, six inches, enemy infantry by the bushy-topped tree, rapid, FIRE!”

    3. Mr. Picky returns to an old matter of contention by pointing out that HEAT rounds do not “burn through” armour plate (and, yes, Tovarishch Pickski is familiar with the meaning of BP as an ammunition designation under the old Soviet ammo naming scheme, but that doesn’t change the physics). For similar reasons, I dislike the terms KE and CE when applied to anti-armour ammunition types. I haven’t heard them used in a while, and I suspect real tank commanders are more likely to refer to “sabot” or “fin”, or “HEAT” (HESH in British service because we’re weird and like HESH).

    4. Continuing the “British are weird” theme, some concession probably needs to be made to our transatlantic market cousins by explaining organisational terms such as company, squadron, platoon, troop, and so forth. I suggested to Mike that the title would be guarantied to confuse Americans, and he quick-wittedly pointed out that http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/2-3acr.htm they have one of their own. However, recall that in the US Cavalry a squadron is a battalion-sized unit, not a company-sized subunit. And referring to the level of infantry organisation below section as “group” smacks a bit of the Old Queen’s day; these might also be called fireteams, bricks, trinomes if you’re French, or for the real oldies, blobs. I tend to think that section-a-stand would make more sense for a company-a-side game, but lots of existing games use fireteams.

    5. Casting an eye over the data tables supplied, it is noticeable that the same gun is sometimes rated differently when mounted in different tanks (I’m thinking here of the NATO 105mm and the Russian 125mm particularly). This raises the point that in these modern times it’s not so much the gun that matters, as the ammunition. For the NATO 105mm, Russian 125mm and to a lesser extent the Rheinmetall 120mm, which between them have accounted for almost all first-class MBT armament for the last 40+ years, there is a very wide variety of ammunition available, and it differs very widely in performance — 410mm to 650mm RHAe at 2000m and normal for 125mm rounds, disregarding the maraging steel versions and the latest model, if wikipedia’s page on ammunition for the the 125mm is to be believed.

    6. Oh, and I’m sure the Rarden’s a nice gun (if you keep your thumbs out of the way), but it really shouldn’t have an armour-defeating value anywhere near the 76mm MV.

    Moving on to the positive points,

    1. Mr. Picky could find no spelling or grammatical errors, a welcome relief in these debased times. Though my taste in graphic design would tend towards sans fonts (I confess I love Calibri) and eyelined tables in the style of Simonsen, the overall layout is clear, clean, and easy to read.

    2. Visually breaking out the worked examples of play is an excellent idea (and less space-consuming than the Victory Games method of using separate columns).

    3. It is good to see game designers whacking their parts on the table right at the beginning and declaring the principles behind their design. Mike does with the five points that he considers characterise modern combat. I probably tend to discount technology more than he does; but I know this right at the start, because he has made his world-view clear. What a pleasureable relief from the mealy-mouthed “these rules are designed to be both realistic and playable”, which I have seen far too often over the years.

    Any deeper comments probably need a play-through, which I am not currently in a position to try, or, at the very least, a more thorough read.

    Oh, yeah, and it really is a very good name for a set of rules.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoSabresquadron

    Don’t take it out on Mike; he’s just the messenger. The buck stops here!

    I don’t mind a few comments, even if immediate, as long as they’re considered. In fact they enable me to provide more detail as to the thinking behind the rules.

    To answer each comment in turn:

    1. Scale is mentioned in 1.1.3 Scales. It is not precise deliberately as few things are ( for example, in 1973 no Israeli tanker parked his tank 499 metres from a Sagger and thought he was safely within its minimum range). We are emphasising the overall effect so have adjusted ranges and distances as required to allow most weapons to be used and to give a representation of relative effectiveness, even if these are not precise. This is not to everyone’s taste but what is?
    2. Using inches is quite common in wargames rules produced in the ‘Anglobubble’, from which over 90 per cent of the requests for copies have been received. If I’d used centimetres there would probably to be similar comments, a bit of a no win really so one makes a decision. As for using metres and a conversion, the use of a imprecise ground scale would have led to to the “you’ve made the minimum range of ATGM X Y metres when Wikkipedia says it’s Z metres” type of comments. There’s nothing wrong with suspending disbelief, one can still make the appropriate noises when turning turrets.
    3. KE and CE are handy terms. The plethora of jargon and technical terms have put many people off the period so we’ve tried to keep them to a minimum.
    4. The link I sent was to show that ‘Sabre Squadron’ appears in the US Army nomenclature so might not be confusing stateside, although Armored Cavalry organisation still confuses me! I think most wargamers realise that different armies use different terms to mean the same thing or the same terms to mean different things, and the term is defined in  1.1.2 Armies.
    5. The Datasheets will be expanded and will allow for ammunition developments.
    6. Actually it might be that the Scorpion is low. One for the Action List.

    Thanks for the positives John. This is a first release so wanted it to be a quality publication. The thinking behind the rules is something that was important to get across from the first. And I’m very pleased with the name!

    Thanks for the comments



    Avatar photoMike

    Don’t take it out on Mike; he’s just the messenger.

    I am happy for reasonable debate to take place.
    Who would not be, so no haddock needed!

    But yes, the rules are not mine, not sure how that conclusion was reached.
    They are not mine, nor sent by me, or in anyway associated with me, for better or for worse.

    anyway, as you were…

    Avatar photoGeoffQRF

    I’m just taking a look at them for my 1/300 gaming

    QRF Models Limited

    Avatar photoGaz045

    I’m awaiting my ‘copy’……..bit of a sponge for rule sets…………don’t you use FEBA ,Geoff (shocked gasp)?


    The ‘inches’ debate is of no consequence, measuring units or whatever can be switched about, I often use cm instead of the Imperial Inch…..makes the rules more figure scale ‘flexible’ as it were…..inches for 20-28mm and cm for smaller stuff.

    "Even dry tree bark is not bitter to the hungry squirrel"

    Avatar photoAndy hutchinson

    Hi Nick,

    Looked at the intro copy.


    They look interesting so far after a short read through. One thing I picked up on, where are you defining weapons as having a HRF (high rate of fire) I was reading though the Shilka taking on an M113 example and couldn’t see where this came from.

    I know the Shilka isn’t in the data  sheets yet. And was wondering if it will be noted there.

    Is HRF only going to apply to multi-barrel weapons?





    Avatar photoSabresquadron

    Hi Andy,


    Automatic weapons get to re-roll a near miss against vehicles at close range. HRF is for multi-barrel weapons such as Shilka and Vulcan – and possibly other weapons if the rate is extremely high – and means that extra hits can be scored. There are none listed yet because I didn’t put any AA weapons on the datasheet, but that will be rectified in time.



    Avatar photoAndy hutchinson

    Hey Nick.

    I figured it might be the case. But wanted to check.




    Edit** I was doing some reading on Johns point 6. Rarden v 76mm and managed to come across a 6 page argument on a forum about the merits, or lack there of,  of the Rarden. What impressed me though was that none of the people involved had any experience of using it. 🙂 Can’t help on that point as my experience is with proper guns, firing properly (indirect)

    Avatar photoSparker

    Just recieved my copy, thanks Nick!. Not had a chance to flick through it yet. But both the positive and negative feedback have raised my expectations, and I am definately casting about for a set of Cold War rules, so I may ask my long suffering club-mates to play test these soonish…

    With the Inches/Centimetres issue, maybe thats a good thing? Use inches for 15/20mm and centremetres for micro-armour? Speaking as a paid up member of the anglosphere of a certain age I find inches easier anyhow!

    'Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall need to be well 'ard'
    Matthew 5:9

    Avatar photoJurgen Leistner

    I will have to take a look at these; I assume that the final version will include Chinese vehicles equipment.



    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    So if I was playing this, how many dudes and vehicles would I have on a normal table?

    Avatar photoSabresquadron

    We’ll have comprehensive equipment listings for the full version. In the meantime we’ll add equipment to the datasheet via the website. This will include modern Chinese not least because we’ve been playing with them.  The first AAR is at http://www.sabresquadron.com/reports.html


    Avatar photoSabresquadron

    There’s typically a company per side, which may be weakened if defending or strengthened if attacking. A mechanised infantry company is usually between 10 and 14 vehicles, each carrying a pair of fire teams of around 4 men ( or figures) each. This might be reinforced, for example, by a tank platoon (most are 3 0r 4 strong), an anti-tank section (2-4 vehicles), and/or a recce section (a couple of vehicles).

    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    Infantry based in teams or individually?


    Thanks! 🙂

    Avatar photoSabresquadron

    In teams.

    Avatar photoMichael Moore

    To ease your confusion untill recently the US Army maintained two distinct true cavalry organizations. The ACR or Armored Cavalry regiment and the Armored Cavalry Squadron.

    The Armored Cavalry regiment was a Brigade sized organization Usualy found supporting a Corps or larger sized Formation while the Armored Cavalry Squadron was a Battalion sized element found supporting a Division sized formation. Yes in ACRs you would have heard the Regiments 3 Combat manuver elements refered to as “Saber Squadrons”.

    A ACR contained 3 Bn sized elements consisting of 3 Cavalry troops and 1 Tank troop supported by a artillery battery , The Divisional Cavalry Sqadrons had no organic artillery .

    There were slight diferences in troop and Platoon organizations but these were not significant.

    A Troop Hqs and 3 Platoons

    Platoons usualy consisted of a Platoon Hqs a apc transporting the Platoon leader , RTOs Medic and platoon Sargent . 1-2 APC carrying ground survailance radars.

    1-4 APCs carrying scouts , 1 APC carrying an Infantry sqad, 1 SP Mortar Track a Light section (2 tanks) or Heavy section (3 tanks) Vietnam Org The Lt Section commanded by the Tank Platoon Sargent , The heavy section commanded by the Tank Platoon Leader. The APC was of course the M113 while the Tank would have been the M48 later replaced by the M551.

    Post Vietnam The platoon was slightly different with a Command track (M113 untill replaced by the M2 Bradley)

    4 scout tracks M113 (NOT ACAVs) armed with M2 and M47 Dragon ATGM on M175 dragon missile vehicle mounts (M113 untill replaced by M2 Which itself would be replaced by the M3 Cav variant of the Bradley MICV).

    2 M150 (Untill replaced by M901) ToW ATGM tracks, Not present in Bradley equiped platoons.

    1 M1063 SP heavy Mortar

    3 MBTs M60A3 in Divisional Squadrons or M60A3 or M551 In regimental troops (Untill replaced by M1 Abrams).

    In BN Scout Platoons were restructured in the 90s for both armored and Infantry Battalions , with the armoured Bns having Bradleys and  and the Infantry platoons having Humvees and Bradleys.

    There were of course Air Cavalry troops In Divisional Cavalry and Air Cavalry squadrons at regimental Cavalry Units (AH1 untill replaced by AH64).

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