Home Forums WWII Tank commanders & closed hatches

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  • #58039
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    So by default in my rules I assume that if not in contact, AFV commanders will have the hatch open and be having a good look around. As soon as a threat is spotted, they will be ducking back in, battening down the hatches and will be subjected to the applicable spotting penalty. Of course, if a player specifies otherwise or has written standing orders for different status when approaching cover, etc fair enough.

    My question is, if the tank CO alone gets taken out due to barrage or small arms fire for example, does the tank’s combat effectiveness reduce sufficiently to count as destroyed? Obviously I s’pose this depends on the detail level in the rules…

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
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    #58053
    John D Salt
    Participant

    On April 13th every year, the successors of B Squadron 3rd Carabiniers (B Sqn SCOTS DG) commemorate the action at Nunshigum, part of the battle of Kohima. Nunshigum lies at the edge of the Naga hills, dominating the main airstrip for 4th Corps in Kohima on the plain below. B squadron’s M3 Lees were deployed to support 1/17th Dogras in an attack up the steep hill, which the Japanese believed impassable to tanks and had studded with bunkers. It was not, but, having to remain exposed to guide their vehicles in the restricted terrain, tank commanders fighting from their open hatches rapidly became casualties. All were replaced by other crew members, and, when all the officers of B squadron and the two lead companies of the Dogras had become casualties, the attack was continued under the command of Squadron Sergeant-Major Cradock and Subadar Ranbir Singh, who successfully coordinated their actions despite lacking a common language. Finally the Japanese broke and ran, leaving 250 casualties on the field.

    SSM Cradock was awarded the DCM for this action, and every year on Nunshigum Day B Squadron parades without officers under the SSM.

    Tank commanders do not button up just because they are being shot at, and tank commanders who become casualties can be replaced.

    All the best,

    John.

    #58068
    MartinR
    Participant

    I had always assumed the “armour shock” morale test in Squad Leader represented the TC meeting an unpleasant fate.

    So no, the wounding or death of a Commander does not automatically mean a kill, it depends on the motivation of the rest of the crew. A windy crew may well use it as an excuse to withdraw of course.

    When John Foley was wounded by a sniper outside Le Have, his gunner responded by spraying the sniper with an entire belt of BESA. They then sorted themselves out and carried on.

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

    #58072
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    Tank commanders do not button up just because they are being shot at, and tank commanders who become casualties can be replaced.

    OK, so in your example the terrain necessitated the tank commanders to operate ‘hatches up’ for increased seeing even though they were under fire. That is like a player declaring such in a game for the same reason but he would have to do so beforehand to gain the benefit. (I suppose picking your way through a cleared minefield might need the driver to be ‘hatches up’)

    6mm France 1940

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

    #58073
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    Les, I think your default is spot on for Soviet tanks, but not is respectfully necessarily valid, in my opinion, for others, especially Germans and western Allies after at least France 1940, if not earlier.

    Interesting, Tim, that you mention the different types of cupola, etc. Perhaps I should fully penalise the spotting for tanks with crude cupolas but only a partial penalty for the more swanky designs…Hmmm. I already have firing penalties for one-man turrets. Also 1940 is my period exactly, when was the doctrine changed that you refer to around then?

    …At least one German tank, the Panzer II, and I also believe the 38(t) and 35(t), had 2 man turrets with the commander acting as the gunner exactly like the Soviets. Such a configuration doesn’t operate as well with the commander hatches up… but then the commander spots the enemy on top then slides down to operate the gunner and somehow reorient the turret to point the gunner’s telescope at the target he spotted when his head stuck up outside the turret.

    I have to believe the commander in a two man turret who operates as the loader instead of as the gunner can operate effectively hatches up as I did this in a Scorpion turret (on a wheeled chassis) myself. 😀

    For traditional 3 man turrets (the KV-1 had a 3 man turret, did not operate in the traditional manner), the commander may drop down into the turret without closing the hatch, especially when close to infantry. In built up areas or wooded areas, and possibly under sustained artillery fire, the commander may well close his hatch. In general though, doctrine is to operate with head out of the hatch. We were taught eyes only above the turret ring.

    Maybe you could have the default the opposite for the countries I’ve mentioned? With players able to specify closed down, of course.

    It’s not really a skirmish set of rules but I think I will look into what tasks in the turret might suffer if a crew member had to fill in (wireless operation and the rate of fire spring to mind).

    Sorry about the CO business, I got lazy typing ‘commander’

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

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

    #58079
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    I use different arcs for AFVs depending on turret crew configuration and whether or not the tank can be operated hatches up. This sounds really complicated, but the arcs of fire are on the reference sheet for vehicle characteristics I generate for a game.

    Same here.
    I assume an H39 commander is going to be concentrating on the direction of most probable threat, unlike his counterpart in a PzIII who possibly has the time available to look in a wider arc.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

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

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