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  • #80753
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    In another thread: Toy Soldiers v model kits

    Martin R wrote

    ‘Artillery is still a pain, always has been, always will be, particularly if you have to paint a load of horses to pull it.’

    Which triggered guilty thoughts of the hundreds (over the years) of tractionless artillery pieces I have deployed (particularly where horse teams were required).

    In 20th century battles this has largely been rationalised in terms of ‘off table’ support (indeed most of the artillery, even if there were models, were ‘off table’ sat behind a bit of coloured wool or cotton marking the end of the world).

    But the real guilty work has been in ‘horse and musket’, and to a lesser degree in ‘pike and shot’ (the old saw of civilian drivers legging it once the piece was deployed etc eased my conscience) periods.

    Limbered artillery has usually been depicted by simply reversing the facing and adjusting movement rates as backward facing crews prolonged the piece forwards at a fantastic rate. (You lose if you mention the ‘B’ word!)

    Do other people actually invest in limbers, caissons etc for their artillery or are they content (lazy) enough with my (mostly) imaginary solution/failure to complete my armies?

    #80754
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I used them, but then I played 6mm.
    I also invested in Ambulances, Caissons and all sorts of models that had no impact in terms of rules, but they just looked pretty..

    #80758
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    My 6mm Napoleonics have all their limbers too!

    It is one of the few periods (armies) in which I have done this.

    Partly I think it was because Irregular actually made/make them – whereas a lot of the manufacturers I have bought from in other scales have not, presumably knowing there was no profit in making models that would not be bought in sufficient quantities! (My excuse, and I’m sticking to it!)

    #80764
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Irregular are a gold mine for pretty accessories for games, they have so much in the way of odds and sods.

    #80775
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    A complete waste of time, money and space. Try deploying just one complete 28mm limber and team before you argue with the latter.

    Don’t get me started on caissons, powder wagons and the rest of the bloody commissariat 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #80776
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    In a scale such as 28mm (and yes, I know 28mm is technically not a scale), limbers take up too large a footprint. You need big tables to use full limber teams in the game, unless you simply want some vignettes for visual effect only.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #80781
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    In the early seventies there was a picture either in, or on the cover of, an old Minifigs catalogue I think, with caissons and ambulances and pontoon bridging sets (although I may be confusing a Hichliffe set with the latter) all merrily moving along, and I kept wondering ‘what do you actually DO with all these?

    Now I know – nothing!

    I feel a great weight lifted.

    #80783
    MartinR
    Participant

    I have tows (including horse limbers and a variety of horse carts) for twentieth century operational games. There are an awful lot of beans and bullets to haul around on the modern battlefield, and they produce such lovely traffic jams. I aos have piles of fuel trucks, radio vans, repair vehicles, bridges etc.

    My nineteenth century stuff has lots of 6mm limbers and wagons (thank you Irregular, also many thanks for the 6mm bearer stands!), although strangely my 15mm Colonial armies don’t have huge amounts of transport apart from mules and camels. A horse cart is a horse cart however, and I’m sure my WW1 and WW2 armies don’t mind lending a few out. My WSS chaps have a rather grand pontoon train.

    Even my 54mm chaps have some artillery limbers and wagons, although latter are pilfered from kids cheap plastic Wild West sets.

    Real armies are encumbered with tons of baggage which gets in the way and makes their movements somewhat ponderous. It seems a shame not to represent it. I still hate painting horses though, so I have an awful lot of one and two horse carts. Thanks goodness for the internal combustion engine.

     

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

    #80785
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Real armies are encumbered with tons of baggage which gets in the way and makes their movements somewhat ponderous. It seems a shame not to represent it. I still hate painting horses though, so I have an awful lot of one and two horse carts. Thanks goodness for the internal combustion engine.

    Much of which (should) get factored into tabletop movement rates. I’ve never felt the need to add masses of fleeing civilians into my games either

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #80786
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I have also invested in supply lorries and tows for Megablitz – because it seemed relevant (at that level you don’t get resupplied otherwise!) but at the battlefield level most of that gets abstracted.

    Perversely, if I were doing a ‘brigade’ game as in Paddy Griffith’s Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun I would probably include limbers and ammunition supply if there were guns involved because it would be important for decisions (and the ground scale distortion is less) – but in an army level game I’m not tracking ammunition supply at  the caisson  level.

     

    #80792
    MartinR
    Participant

    Much of which (should) get factored into tabletop movement rates. I’ve never felt the need to add masses of fleeing civilians into my games either

    Oh dear, I’m afraid  do have columns of fleeing civilians too.

    As Guy notes, this partly depends on the level of game and whether logistics has any role to play at all. I wouldn’t bother with this stuff in a battalion level WW2 game, nor a Corps level WW1 trench assault apart from dumped ammo.

    Army level APW though? With all those straggling columns, and poor old Benedecks half starved troops slogging along a singleetrack in Bohemia? There is a reason a Prussian Corps took 50km of road space. And yes, you can just stretch the units out vertically as V&B does, or can shove a load of wagons in the way too.

    I appreciate this stuff isn’t for everyone. Sometimes I just use all the logistic elements to decorate the various formation HQs. Railheads make a nice table top feature.

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

    #80805
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I always supply logistic elements for my 6mm forces. All my artillery batteries have tows. I have tons of wagons and lorries for supplies and transport too. When I still had them, my WW2 Germans had horse-drawn limbers for the artillery and wagons, as well as the usual range of lorries and tractors. My tabletop would not look right without these elements, to my mind.

    It’s also worth noting that sometimes the logistic elements are integral to the running of the battle, as well as looking pretty. I play WW2 rules where there is a chance that ordnance can run out of ammo, and you need somewhere to resupply them from. The supply units provide that option. There’s loads of other ways to use them too, such as making them the focus of a scenario, using them as markers for various statuses, or just for prettifying the table. Although I generally loathe painting, I love sorting out these ‘non-essential’ elements for my games.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
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    #80807
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Did units in WWII regularly resupply in action? Or did they pull out of the line to do it?

    Unless your table’s really deep how do you model the rear areas?

     

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #80809
    cmnash
    Participant

    My Baccus 6mm ACW have limbers, but I couldn’t imagine having them for a 28mm army … that said, I find it very hard to imagine the number of 28mm figures that you can get on a 6′ x 4′ table as an ‘army’ …

    I guess that may be one of the reasons I’m downsizing my figures …

    .

    #80818
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Did units in WWII regularly resupply in action? Or did they pull out of the line to do it?

    Good question, and I am not really sure of the answer. It’s probably a question that relies a lot on context. I’m sure others can give you a more detailed answer.

    In terms of the units I field, they are integral to the formations represented, being supply vehicles that would have accompanied that particular formation and remained close by. This is about immediately available supply, not supply dumps or anything like that.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #80820
    McKinstry
    Participant

    Depends on the level of the game and the size of the figures. In 6mm Blucher where a single base represents 3 full batteries, I usually put a caisson and limber or two in back but not horse teams. In 6mm ECW where one base/gun represents one gun, I do have both limbered and unlimbered bases for each gun.

    I usually apply the same standard to mounted and dismounted cavalry where the figures are available. My ECW dragoons, ACW cavalry and Old West both have mounted and dismounted versions but my Napoleonics do not although I may do a base or two of dismounted French dragoons thanks to Adler (eventually).

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    #80836
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    I am a big fan of having all sorts of stuff on the table that is odd, but that has a function.  I have some limbers in 3mm for ACW that I am just starting.

    Now, most of my gaming is modern+ and in skirmish scales, so small things like where carts are, if there is an ambulance, etc, are actual major concerns as far as effect and cover go, as well as good scenario fodder.

    Here are some examples of “odd” things I have put on the table that made for great scenarios:

    WW2 sceanrios:

    1. after a big battle in NWE a small German unit attempts to secure a couple of US ambulances in order to use their medical supplies and transport ability, must take them intact.
    2. A US (or brit) patrol hear the Germans attempting to recover a pair of tanks (either the feared tigers or common PnzIV) using retriever tanks and must disrupt and hopefully stop their efforts with meager AT and a whole lot of guts.
    3. A lost Brit patrol finds itself being driven back their lines by an armored advance.  Only problem is a German kitchen unit is in their path and they must fight through it and the unit that it is feeding before the armor catches up to them (this one was messy and fun, with troops scattered all over the place, guys from both sides surrendering, and one dude making off with a wagon full of potatos!)
    4. Half squad of troops hear about the fantastic wine cellar in a nearby farmhouse and set out foraging.  They have a motorcycle and sidecar and hope to grab the local’s donkey and cart to haul the spoils.  Problem is that some enemy are taking a rest scattered through the area, including a machinegun team in the second story of the house… (this too was a hoot!)

    Also did one that was the start of a “kelly’s heroes” sort of game where an OSS team had to hijack a german tank off of a captured US transporter to use in their attempt to secure some special items being held in a town hall nearby that were in danger of being evacuated by the enemy.  Also also did one where some US Rangers came across a pretty large enemy howitzer battery and their motor transport.  As the guns were to well protected they decided to wreck the trucks so the guns couldn’t get away when friendly armor pushed forwards.

     

    Now, I also do a lot of games where civilians are involved, usually in Vietnam games or sci-fi.  Vietnam is especially good for this because troops could be doing a cordon-and-search, or even just a normal patrol and have to keep an eye out for rice farmers suddenly turning into snipers and such.  Having a lambreta full of prostitutes show up at the wounded collection point in a battle can also be a hoot.  And fleeing civies can indeed cause chaos and clog roads that need to be used, cause some ROE problems and the like.

     

    And to push this even further, my guys are planning on doing a huge mech game in 28mm.  Mechs, tanks, helicopters, infantry, ambulances, trash trucks…. yup, trash trucks.  As a big convention game it will be set up to entertain and there are always those people that want to do goofy or out of the ordinary things so we give them an outlet.  In fact, the game will actually be set up so that it is more about these people (trash trucks, news crews, competing case-evac companies, the paper boy, hotdog seller, drug dealers) than the actual mech on mech combat.  War is confusing, and just because there is a fight going on doesn’t mean that other people are going to put their lives on hold and stand aside… Should be ridiculously fun!

     

    So TDLR: ya, I use unusual things/units in my games.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #80841
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Did units in WWII regularly resupply in action? Or did they pull out of the line to do it?

    I can’t imagine anyone being allowed to take their unit out of the line just to replenish supplies; rest, refit and maintenance, yes, which is why armour usually goes back to leaguer every evening, but as (I think it was) John Weeks said, armour just rolls into action and then out again like visiting Martians, the infantry are the people who actually live at the sharp end.

    Among the many popular misconfrabulations on the difference between WW1 and WW2 is the idea that infantry in WW1 were more subject to prolonged exposure in the forward areas than in WW2. On the Western Front, at least, not so; one of the advantages of trench warfare is that it lets you settle in to an organised routine, so units could be rotated out of the line fairly often. Under Petain’s “noria” system at Verdun, rotations were very frequent; this may have had the undesired effect of exposing more eople to the horrors of the sharp end than might otherwise have been the case, and had a much less beneficial effect on overall morale than was intended. At the other extreme, the exceedingly inhumane personnel policies in the US Army of WW2 meant that American infantrymen pretty much stayed in action until wounded or killed.

    Anyhow, back to the replenishment question, the way the British Army manages this — and has since at least WW2 — is through a system of what it calls “echelons”, all of which form part of the supply and evacuation chain, as follows:

    F echelon is the fighting element of the unit, the combat vehicles, fighting personnel and fire controllers. There is a pretty stern upper limit to the amount of supply that can be carried here. Three days’ rations is easy enough if you have a platoon truck, as the British always did from 1939, but a basic load of ammunition is something an infantryman can shoot away in five minutes if he’s a mind to, and it is hard to make the firing time last more than four times that. It takes longer to empty the basic load of a tank, but one of my Xmas presents (“The Tank Commander Pocket Manual 1939-1945”, Ruth Sheppard, Pool of London, 2016) contains a handy table drawn from FM 17-30 of 1942 which shows that the US light tank M3 and medium tanks M3 and M4 can sustain fire at the useable rate of their weapons for a period of 8 to 16 minutes, depending on the weapon. This means it is practically certain that you will need an ammo replen after one serious fight. Checking ammo and replenishing if necessary is a standard part of the humblest infantry section or platoon attack, and in my TA days a popular wrinkle was for the platoon sergeant to carry a 58 pack full of link and mags, ready to push this to the fire section as soon as a platoon attack started to develop (it’s embarrassing if your covering fire stops before you have got close enough to start the final assault).

    A echelon is a logistic element that belongs to the unit (by which I mean battalion or (British) regiment, but highly-mechanized units will have sub-unit echelons). It is divided into two parts, A1 and A2 echelon. Roughly, A1 is responsible for immediate resupply, and follows up a tactical bound behind F echelon, ready to provide combat supplies at a moment’s notice. A2, following on behind, is responsible for recovery, and medical evacuation, so this is where one would expect to find the regimental aid post and vehicle casualty collection point. B echelon, probably in the brigade logistic area (“in the rear, with the beer”) is the place where administration and personnel (‘A’ matters in old army speak) are dealt with, as well as repair of vehicles backloaded from the vehicle casualty collection point.

    When people talk of a unit holding (say) three days of supply (DOS) of ammunition, water, or whatever it might be, this does not mean that every fighting vehicle and rifle section soldier goes into action with three days’ worth of everything strapped to them; rather, there wil be 3 DOS spread throughout the F, A1, A2 and B echelons of a unit.

    Unless your table’s really deep how do you model the rear areas?

    Good question. Very good question. I like the WRG approach (I often like the WRG approach) of modelling off-table artillery batteries in a “table rear” area using smaller-scale models, with slips of paper indicating how far from the table baseline they are for purposes of adjudicating counter-battery fire. It occurs to mme that something similar could be done for the other support arms and services, perhaps using Phil Barker’s brilliant idea of “range batons” from his “Subs and SAMs” experimental naval rules. Some of a unit’s rear elements can be really quite a long way behind the fighting line — I recall when I was looking through the war diaries of the 21 AG units that fought at Villers-Bocage, one unit (I think the Sharpshooters, might have been RB) had elements of its echelon still back in Harwich at the time.

    From the point of view of the miniaturist, this approach has the advantage that you don’t have to fork out so many good-looking spondulicks on unglamorous ‘B’ vehicles (which just means unarmoured, not associated with B echelon) if you have, say, an armoured regiment in 15mm and its logistic bits (other than A1 echelon, say half a dozen three-tonners) in 6mm.

    From the point of view of the simulationist, this not only gives the support arms and services something to do in the course of a game, but it probably makes more sense of air support — most WW2 tactical wargames permit close air support of a much more intimate and precise nature than was ever possible in reality. The real benefit of those Stukas and Thunderjugs and Rockphoons (and even Hs-129s and Shturmoviki) over the battlefield is not panzer-pranging, it is blowing the bejasus out of ‘B’ vehicles trying to bring up the petrol and ammo. Similarly, the real intended use of armour (as distinct from tanks, in WW2 British army speak) is to zoom off the enemy baseline, and then have fun driving about the countryside shooting up petrol bowsers and ammo trucks.

    Then of course there are a very few odd people who quite like the idea of having rules for logistics, because it can make for some nice resource-allocation puzzles.

    As I think has been mentioned previously, I would prefer morale rules in WW2 tactical games to be based not so much on the historical reputation of a division, but more on how well-fed, well-rested, and well-supplied with dry socks and mail the troops are. There is good reason for the British Army to have taught “administration and morale” in the same set of lectures for many decades.

    All the best,

    John.

    #80844
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Yes to that John!

    I hamfistedly tried to allude to the WRG rules with my initial comment about artillery lurking behind bits of coloured wool/thread at the back of the table (I should have mentioned the notes about about how far back they were as well).

    I quite like games where logistics are the puzzle – but to work for me they are generally a distinctly different beast than a logistics ‘bit’ tagged on to a ‘regular’ tabletop clash at the sharp end.

    I suppose one of the real reasons for me not having many limbers etc (particularly the etc) in many of my games has been that the rules used didn’t really do anything with them.

    Where their role IS modelled – I think I mentioned Megablitz above somewhere – I buy them and use them (and it concentrates the mind).

    I quite like logisitics games but trying to mix them with a ‘classic’ last hundred yards battle doesn’t really work for me, as there are two focal points of the modelling going on, and my brain has trouble enough with one. If those functions can be separated and fulfilled by different people in the same game then again fun can be had, with the ‘fighting’ end insisting on yelling for supplies/ammunition and missing the point of keeping all those vehicles and stores moving smoothly and properly accounted for.

    But that is probably another dicussion. 

    #80849
    James Manto
    Participant

    My 28mm colonial British have 2 limbers and an ammo caisson for the field guns, elephants to pack a heavy piece, plus mules for the more widely used screw guns.

    #80852
    James Manto
    Participant

    I like limbers and ammunition caissons.

    A black powder artillery battery is pretty big and takes up a lot of space so having the vehicles in the rear makes sense.

    Should also cover way more frontage than the single gun model we normally see!

    #80866
    Norm S
    Participant

    I have the odd token limber for Horse and Musket, but not enough to cover my gun collection. I am happy just to turn the gun to show it is limbered. For WWII however, nothing moves without its allocated transport.

    #80881
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Personally I like the look of limbers on the battlefield, it’s painting them i hate. In most Wargames polls where the question is ‘what do you hate painting most?’ the winner is almost always horses, and I am in that camp.

    I once saw several proper 6-horse limbers in 28mm on a 8*4 table, and that did look very silly indeed.

    Pat

    #80897
    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    I have a few limbers, although not as many as there are batteries, in my 15/18mm Napoleonic armies. When I remember, they mark the position of batteries on the move and are replaced by the guns when unlimbered. So they are just markers. It is rare to have more than one or two batteries on the move at any time, so I don’t need very many. I’ve also been known (heresy, heresy) to use limbers from another army (preferably an allied one) if nothing else is readily to hand. I don’t mind doing the occasional limber model; that is infrequent enough to be a change.

    For other periods I rarely do limbers or other transport. No real excuse, except the rules I currently use don’t call for them.

    Maybe it is a bit of a ‘scale’ thing. I can see the difficulty at 28mm, whereas 6mm units tend towards diorama, lending themselves to limbers with artillery, and other such paraphernalia.

    RogerC

    #80906
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I suspect a ‘scale thing’ is involved with me. I never went for many limbers in 28mm, as the part of the battle being played/modelled is ususally not where artillery move about much.

    With 6mm, for me, it is not that it lends itself to diorama so much, as the scale of game involves more of the grand tactical manoeuvre – batteries are moving into position and repositioning (we hope as our victorious forces press on  – or help cover a crushing defeat), and you need limbers.

    But I am not sure that excuses my laziness in not having 15mm, 10mm or in the past, 2mm limbers!

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