Home Forums WWII Suppressing Fire

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #40216
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    I’m doing a game mechanic for WW2 suppressing fire (early, 1940 if it matters) so I can lump elements together in one game action so for example if the order for one platoon is to give suppressing fire into a treeline I just count up the rifle groups (sections) LMGs, MMGs & HMGs, roll a dice and that’s that.

    What my real question is, is how much more suppressing fire can proper MGs give compared to a rifle squad?

    I was thinking LMGs count as 2 rifle groups for SF purposes and MMGs & HMGs x3. Or would LMGs count as a rifle group as there is only 1 firing barrel or should I look at the equivalent ROF (if there is such a thing)

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

    #40218
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Do you mean a single LMG compared to a entire squad of rifles?

    I have no real experience of such things, but I would suggest to keep gameplay simple, that a single LMG = 1 regular rifle squad
    That any bigger MG counts as the same but gets +1 to the SF roll?

     

    #40219
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    Do you mean a single LMG compared to a entire squad of rifles?

    Well, say you have 6 rifle groups, 3 MG34 and a supporting MG42, I want an equivalence across the whole lot, so would that be like having 9 rifle groups plus the MG42 = 10, 11 or 12 rifle group “equivalents” for calculation purposes.

    But yeah a bonus for the MGs is a good idea too.

    They are just going to be spraying the cover, I am going to assume that the only effect, if any, is suppression and no kills.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

    #40221
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    There are some interesting points raised here about suppressing fire:

    Suppression effects in infantry games


    https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-4355.html
    https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/133961/coffee-talk-modelling-suppressive-fire-tactical-wa

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Les Hammond.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

    #40222
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    Sorry, should have said that my rifle groups are 4 grunts based together

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

    #40231
    MartinR
    Participant

    A general rule of thumb for MG equivalents is that an MG is ‘worth’ 9 rifles (and an 81mm mortar is worth 3 MGs, or 27 rifles). In some firepower tables (some of the US ones used for exercise adjudication in the 1960s) it is more like 14 and in one case I’ve seen a belt fed, water cooled, tripod mounted MG with plentiful dumped ammo rated as 40-50 rifle equivalents.

    So I reckon your rule of thumb (1 LMG = 2 rifle groups, 1 MMG = 3) seems fairly OK, although irl automatic weapons seem to be far more suppressive in general than single shot ones. Something about being shot at by machineguns is a lot more scary.

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

    #40241
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    …although irl automatic weapons seem to be far more suppressive in general than single shot ones. Something about being shot at by machineguns is a lot more scary.

    All the more reason to up their effect then. Thanks, sounds like I’m on the right track.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

    #40243
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Do you mean a single LMG compared to a entire squad of rifles?

    Well, say you have 6 rifle groups, 3 MG34 and a supporting MG42, I want an equivalence across the whole lot, so would that be like having 9 rifle groups plus the MG42 = 10, 11 or 12 rifle group “equivalents” for calculation purposes. But yeah a bonus for the MGs is a good idea too. They are just going to be spraying the cover, I am going to assume that the only effect, if any, is suppression and no kills.

     

    Some observations

    You wouldn’t have an MG42 in 1940 😉

    MGs should have defined firing zones. Spray and pray doesn’t happen as much in real life as it does in the movies

    Most, one could almost say ‘all’, small arms fire in WWII was ‘suppressive’.  You were still W/KiA if you got in the way of a bullet though whatever weapon had fired it. But what Martin said about machine guns makes sense.

    I think that WRG’s original WWII rules model small arms fire very well. Perhaps you could have a glance at a copy. It might be useful?

     

     

     

     

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

    #40247
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Most, one could almost say ‘all’, small arms fire in WWII was ‘suppressive’.

    Indeed. Or another way to put it is that there is no such thing as suppressive fire, in the sense that you do not use your weapons any differently from the way you would when trying to kill someone. It’s just that the difference in shooting accuracy between that required to score a hit and that required to come close enough (a few metres) to worry the target is enormous, and I think often underestimated by wargamers.

    Rather than provoking groans from my usual victims by posting a mass of numerical drivel on this topic, I shall refer interested parties to masses of numerical drivel that I have previously inflicted on readers of “The Nugget”. Bimble over to Bob Cordery’s Wargame Developments page at http://www.wargamedevelopments.org/nugget.htm and you will find that Wargame Developments have made a shedload of back issues of “The Nugget” available to any Tom, Dick or Harry who fancies a gander at them.

    On the topics of assessing the relative firepower of different weapons, the amount of ammunition carried in rifle sections, the amount of ammunition required to score a hit, and the difference between that and the number required to score a suppression, I have previously written the pieces listed below. The first is on HE weapons, the next two on HE and bullet weapons, the rest on bullet weapons, the last just on machine guns. The table of my calculations in “The suppressive effect of small arms” has rather obviously been misprinted, and the reference to “Jeux et Strategie” in “25 years of Firepower Scores part 2” should of course be to “Vae Victis”.

    Nugget 201 What’s that in 25 pounders?
    Nugget 211 25 years of firepower scores, part 1
    Nugget 212 25 years of firepower scores, part 2
    Nugget 214 Five minutes of rooty-toot
    Nugget 224 The suppressive effect of small arms fire
    Nugget 253 Fight to the Finnish
    Nugget 255 Dakka-dakka-dakka!

    These are all very short, so if you can’t be bothered to read them, I can’t be bothered to summarize.

    Estimating the relative suppressive power of weapons by their relative rates of fire is quite a respectable thing to do, and is exactly what OR analysts did in WO 291/471, “Weight of small-arms fire needed for various targets”. Making the rather generous assumptions that a Bren could fire 120 rounds a minute, and the No. 4 rifle 18 rounds a minute, they calculated the weights of fire necessary to inflict two levels of neutralisation on enemy in slit trneches or pillboxes at a range of 100 to 200 yards. “Light neutralisation” was reckoned to be enough to inflict 2.5% casualties per minute (say one man per platoon) if the enemy stayed in a firing position for more than a third of the time. “Heavy neutralisation” was enough to inflict 10% casualties per minute, or one man per section, this being considered sufficient to prevent any retaliatory measures. Their calculations are described as “extremely tentative”, but worked on the basis of needing 10 bullets per minute per yard of frontage for heavy neutralisation, and a quarter of that for light neutralisation, against enemy in slit trenches. For enemy in pillboxes, the density of fire required was doubled.

    Bear in mind that infantry sections typically only carry enough ammunition for five or six minutes of fire at the rapid rate (see “Five minutes of rooty-toot”). Rather than assess relative suppressive power by rate of fire, it might make more sense to compare the ammunition loads carried. Specifically for France 1940, I believe that standard doctrinal loads would be:

    Germany
    MP-38/40 SMG 6×32-rd mag 192 rounds
    Kar-98k Rifle 12×5-rd clip 60 rounds
    MG-34 LMG 2×300-rd belt and 9×50-rd belt box 1050 rounds

    France
    MAS-38 SMG 8×32-rd mag 256 rounds
    MAS-36 Rifle 12×5-rd clip 60 rounds
    FM-24 LMG 25×25-rd mag 625 rounds

    Great Britain
    SMLE Rifle 20×5-rd clip 100 rounds
    Bren LMG 25×28-rd mag 700 rounds

    The British rifleman is nominally carrying one bandolier (50 rounds) for himself and a second for the Bren, but loading magazines is an annoying task to have to undertake in action. If we take 60 rounds as the basic rifle firepower, then from the above we might argue that:

    An SMLE is worth 1.6 foreign rifles (or 0.8 of a foreign rifle if you don’t let him use the second bandolier)
    An MP-38 is worth 3.2 rifles (if you can get close enough, and without allowing for the weaker bullets)
    An MAS-38 is worth 4.2 rifles (if you can get close enough, and without allowing for the even weaker bullets)
    An FM-24 is worth 10.4 rifles
    A Bren is worth 11.6 rifles
    An MG-34 is worth 17.5 rifles

    Given that rifle sections are seldom up to full strength, I would be tempted to allow for something like 2 suppression points for a mag LMG, 3 for a belt LMG, and 1 for the rifle element of a section, or 2 if at close range (say within 200 yards) and equipped with an SMG (so not British sections for this campaign).

    You also need some mechanism to prevent people from brassing up tree-lines half the morning without resupply and still having enough left to shoot at real enemy when they appear. Most wargamers find ammunition resupply rules too dull to bother with, but look at Phil Sabin’s “Fire and Movement” (gorgeously presented with Kallistra hexes and miniatures by Martin Rapier a few COWs ago) for inspiration. The good thing about representing ammunition resupply is that it gives something for the carrier platoon of a British infantry battalion to do. The German player may smugly blast away in the knowledge that he has a thousand rounds per gun as against the modest 700 per British Bren, but the boot is on the other foot when the carriers roll up with another 700 for everyone. This also shows what I suspect is one of the key advantages of mechanised infantry — never mind mobility, once the mech inf have shot away their basic load they can just get a replen from their vehicles.

    All the best,

    John.

    #40263
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    You wouldn’t have an MG42 in 1940 😉

    MGs should have defined firing zones…

    Well spotted. I guess they must be tripod mounted MG34s then! Regarding firing zones, would this have been an arc of open ground or gap between cover or a specific topographical feature like a building?

    I used the WRG rules years ago, I thought they were OK but I want to do a kind of group fire thing for suppression not dice for every shot.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

    #40265
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    …another way to put it is that there is no such thing as suppressive fire, in the sense that you do not use your weapons any differently from the way you would when trying to kill someone. It’s just that the difference in shooting accuracy between that required to score a hit and that required to come close enough (a few metres) to worry the target is enormous, and I think often underestimated by wargamers.

    ….

    You also need some mechanism to prevent people from brassing up tree-lines half the morning without resupply and still having enough left to shoot at real enemy when they appear. Most wargamers find ammunition resupply rules too dull to bother with…

    Thanks John, plenty for me to think about. I’ll be sure to plough through it, can’t have too much information!

    I would definitely have SF availability determined by the scenario to avoid the abuse of it.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

    #40284
    MartinR
    Participant

    Johns articles on firepower are well worth a read.

    These sort of stuff is also covered in things like ‘The Stress of Battle’ (sadly long oop) and ‘Brains and Bullets’ (still in print!). Both try and quantify the tactical factors which determine combat outcomes, including the supppressive effects of various types of weapons as well as posture etc.

    The WO firepower analyses are fascinating, my one take away being that a rifle section can expect to suppress 100 yards of front (pretty much irrespective of target density). So don’t bunch up.

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

    #40297
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Connard Sage mentioned the WRG’s original 1925-1950 rules, and indeed these did include rules for direct area fire, but this was possible only for MGs and bigger. They also used what I consider an unfairly narrow frontage for tripod-mounted MGs. I do, however, recall the area fire rules with fondness, because of an incident that occurred when I umpired the student finals of some bloody silly national wargame competition at Exeter in, ooh, 1979 or thereabouts. One player had spent almost the entire game lurking in poltroonish fashion behind a ridge-line, while the other had advanced slightly less cautiously towards the objective, a central position on the table and worth a lot of points. Since the aim of competitive wargaming seems to be to exploit weaknesses in the rules, the lurksome player organised what these days we should call a flag rush for the closing turns of the game, covered by a smokescreen. The rules placed no limitations on the availability of smoke projectiles, so games did sometimes resemble a struggle between two low-lying banks of cumulo-nimbus. In this case, the cumulo-nimbus extruded a pseudopodium to cover the objective, beneath which a platoon of lorried infantry dashed on to the objective just in time to claim its points, and a smashing victory. Unfortunately for Mr. Lurker, the wicked umpire (me) ruled that the other player was permitted to carry out direct area fire against the smoke advancing towards the objective, it being a fair bet that it had been placed there for a purpose. Mr. Lurker’s opponent — let us call him Mr. Flakwagen — had invested heavily in 20mm cannon in multiple mounts, rightly perceiving them to be useful for a variety of purposes and a points-value bargain. The result was a massacre of the lorried infantry, a clear win on points for Mr. Flakwagen, and much bitter whining from Mr. Lurker, who complained that my umpiring was unfair. I think I had first annoyed him when I insisted that he take reaction tests for his troops when they were shot at, as the “house rules” he was used to playing with just ignored them. He also played a “house rule” I have seen elsewhere which allowed elements on destroyed transport to survive on a roll of 4, 5 or 6, and was quite unhappy when I insisted that we play the rules as written in the rulebook. In retrospect I think he may well have been the reason I have had nothing to do with competition wargaming ever since.

    But I digress.

    I have a vague suspicion that the area fire rules Connard was thinking of might have been in the WRG’s second edition modern, rather than original WW2, armour and infantry set.

    http://www.wrg.me.uk/WRG.net/History/OLDWRG/Modern.pdf

    The area fire rules — called “suppressive fire” in this edition — are on pages 17 and 19. Particularly interesting to me is Phil’s definition of what kinds of feature can legitimately be made the target of area fire.

    All the best,

    John.

    #40301
    MartinR
    Participant

    Oooh, those are rather good (if overcomplex).

    I’ve been working on (yet another) brigade-ish level WW2 set and I’ve borrowed the concept of ‘suppression dice’ from 5Core Brigade Commander – essentially elements get to throw lots of dice when firing but the vast majority only result in suppressions, which are distributed around nearby targets, hence encouraging dispersion (or more likely, penalising the Napoleonic formations favoured by many WW2 players). Hopefully not overcomplex, but do at least give the chance for a lonely platoon to suppress half a battalion – if they insist on advancing into machinegun fire with linked arms.

    Such suppressive fire can be directed against terrain features, including e..g harrassing fire by artillery vs crossroads etc.

    I’ll be inflicting them on the unfortunates at the Sheffield club tonight.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by MartinR.

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

    #40317
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Oooh, those are rather good (if overcomplex).

    Ah yes, the wicked Barker expects wargamers to perform division sums, as well as understand English punctuation. 😉

    Could you describe a bit more about how the suppression dice mechanic works? It seems to me that unless the number of dice is modulated by the number of targets in the beaten zone, it doesn’t discourage concentration as much as it should.

    This is one of those things that are made considerably easier by the use of a grid, where one can simply rule that all elements “stacked” in the same cell are attacked by area fire falling at that location. In this case I think it is quite fun not to enforce a stacking limit, but let the players suffer the consequences if they put too much stuff in one place.

    It is one of the long-standing annoyances of tabletop games that they tend to work as if Lanchester’s square law were true, whereas in fact it seems more likely that dismounted fire combat follows something more like the linear law.

    Another mechanic I quite like, suppression-wise, is one I recall from John Armatys’ “Battle Group” game some COWs ago now — to which IIRC Martin you contributed. The idea here was that suppression is inflicted in one player’s turn, and the other player — the suppressee — then has the choice in his turn whether to keep his head down, or try to bash on regardless. The latter option results in a much higher chance of losing an element. I like this because it is a natural-seeming way of giving players the option of cautious or bold tactics, as appropriate to the situation. Combine it with a much easier suppression-recovery roll for experienced troops, and you have the possibility of “green” troops needing to crack on and risk losses rather than go to ground and be stalled for most of the game.

    Finally, I like the idea of keeping the shooting player unaware of how effectively his fire is suppressing the enemy until after he has made his decision to move assaulting elements. A couple of different ways of achieving this are in Phil Barker’s “The Sharp End” and Phil Sabin’s “Block Busting”.

    All the best,

    John.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.