10/09/2021 at 16:21 #161614AbwehrschlachtParticipant
Brand new video for Friday and it’s a game of Through the Mud and the Blood along with an explanation of how the game works and a bit of a review as well.
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/stormofsteelwargaming
Blog: http://www.stormofsteelwargaming.com12/09/2021 at 10:12 #161654John D SaltParticipant
The overall result of that battle seems quite reasonable to me. A platoon is not really enough combat power for the British to be attacking a dug-in MMG with a half-platoon in support, even with the enemy position mysteriously lacking wire. As for rushing the bomber section over the hillock and straight at an unsuppressed MMG — it really shouldn’t be a surprise to have the section blown away in a single turn. Your post-battle anaylsis was fair — lots more caution needed attacking with such a poor force ratio. And some smoke wouldn’t have hurt, but frighteningly often wargames rules leave out rules for smoke. Does “Through the Mud and the Blood” allow for smoke grenades at all?
As I’ve seen in your other reports, the Lardies do seem quite fond of rolling great big handfuls of dice. From the considerable number of kills in this action, I think I can see why they make the results a bit more shocky in other sets. It’s not in itself a bad mechanism, and personally I like rolling dice by the handful, but I was a bit mystified by the roll to determine whether a “big man” had been hit. The probability in every case was below, and in some cases far below, the probability that would come from a rule of strict proportion; and we know that in small unit combat casualties are typically higher among junior leaders than they are among the rank and file, as they have to expose themselves to exercise leadership.
All the best,
John.12/09/2021 at 10:38 #161655AbwehrschlachtParticipant
The training pamphlet SS143 specifically trains the platoon in attacking a destroying a dug n MG post, as German defence tactics had changed to strong points by 1917. So platoon power was enough to knock out this kind of strongpoint. It was my fault, not the tactics of the time. Also, smoke grenades weren’t a thing in the FWW, smoke was laid down by mortars or artillery or canister. Needing a lot of preparation and was usually reserved for large scale actions, not this typical small scale stuff. Also, not every position had wire protection, especially if it was hastily dug. Wire took a long time to lay out and had to be done under cover of dark, so in this case the Germans are in a freshly prepared position. You only roll to see if a Big Man is hit when there is a kill on the unit, so the more kills the more likely he is to have been hit.
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/stormofsteelwargaming
Blog: http://www.stormofsteelwargaming.com12/09/2021 at 16:12 #161663John D SaltParticipant
The training pamphlet SS143 specifically trains the platoon in attacking a destroying a dug in MG post, as German defence tactics had changed to strong points by 1917. So platoon power was enough to knock out this kind of strongpoint. It was my fault, not the tactics of the time.
A platoon against a lone MG post, yes.
A platoon against a position occupied by a couple of sections, yes — 2:1 odds in sections, and against the fairly weak German sections used in this game, something like 3:1 in men.
The two together, however, is too much for a lone platoon without either astonishing luck or some surprising terrain features to provide a covered approach.
Of course one has to pack up at some time, but what I would guess would have happened next, assuming that the Germans don’t leg it and the British are conducting themselves in accordance with SS 143, is that the follow-up platoon from the attacking British company would appear. Now the Germans really would be in trouble, having suffered a fair few casualties from the first platoon attack, and having the embarrassment of an intact British section in their rear, making withdrawal a ticklish business. A nice example of why “soft-spot” tactics work.
Also, smoke grenades weren’t a thing in the FWW, smoke was laid down by mortars or artillery or canister. Needing a lot of preparation and was usually reserved for large scale actions, not this typical small scale stuff.
Mr. Picky is going to disagree rather strongly with you there. I take it that the rules don’t include rules for smoke grenades; I reserve my tedious list of evidence for their existence during WW1 for the end of the post. Note, however, the apparent fleeting reference to smoke grenades in SS 143.
Also, not every position had wire protection, especially if it was hastily dug. Wire took a long time to lay out and had to be done under cover of dark, so in this case the Germans are in a freshly prepared position.
True enough, and although 1917 seems a bit early for “open warfare”, of course everything depends on the local tactical situation, so it can be whatever suits best.
You only roll to see if a Big Man is hit when there is a kill on the unit, so the more kills the more likely he is to have been hit.
That didn’t seem to be the way you were playing it. Around minute 57 of the video (another rather fine piece of presentation, by the way; I wish I could speak to camera so long without saying “errrmmm” or picking my nose), while the poor bomber section are getting chopped to catsmeat by the MG08, only one leader test seems to be taken for five kills. Since it seems to be 1 on 1d10 for a leader to be hit, and there seem to be nine men (including the leader) in a full-strength section, the risk to leaders would still be disproportionately low for the first kill. It would get still more disproportionate for successive kills, even if one did test once per kill. Given the apparent importance of the “Big Men” in the rules (and indeed in real life), this seems to me to be a serious distortion.
A less distorted result would come from rolling 2d6 for each kill for each big man, and seeing if he is the unlucky winner using the following table:
Chooser-of-the-slain table No in group Roll to die 2 3, 6, 7, 8 3 2, 6, 7 4 4, 7 5 2, 7 6 7 7 – 8 6 9 – 10 5 11 – 14 4 15 – 18 3
That produces slight distortions, but nothing like as bad as a 10% chance regardless of group size or number of kills.
An idea of the distortion is shown on the following table, with results rounded off to the nearest percentage point. If you want to be that little bit more precise, and don’t mind rolling a d100 (or 2d10 read as tens and units), just roll against the “true” percentage. Asterisked numbers show where the 2d6 roll proportion is exact.
How-wonky-are-the-Valkyries table 1 in True % Roll % ----------------------- 2* 50% 50% 3* 33% 33% 4* 25% 25% 5 20% 19% 6* 17% 17% 7 14% 14% 8 13% 14% 9* 11% 11% 10 10% 11% 11 9% 8% 12* 8% 8% 13 8% 8% 14 7% 8% 15 7% 6% 16 6% 6% 17 6% 6% 18* 6% 6%
Of course, if anything, the danger to junior leaders should be greater than to their followers, but it’s hard to come up with a numerical basis for that.
All the best,
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Smoke Bombs in the Great War: The Evidence
Links are followed by verbatim quotes from them.
“As the war developed, the army also used rifle grenades, which were fired from a rifle, rather than thrown by hand, greatly increasing their range. These were later modified to carry smoke, incendiary devices, flares and anti-tank warheads, as well as high explosive.”
“The British Army introduced the first factory-built white phosphorus grenades in late 1916 during the First World War. During the war, white phosphorus mortar bombs, shells, rockets, and grenades were used extensively by American, Commonwealth, and, to a lesser extent, Japanese forces, in both smoke-generating and antipersonnel roles.”
“British brigade orders issued for the Somme attack on July 1, 1916, stated that the grenade or bombing squads: each non-com would carry 6 mills bombs, 4 rifle grenades and 2 smoke; the 2 bayonet men would carry 12 mills bombs and 4 smoke; the 2 throwers carried 24 mills and 4 smoke; the 2 carriers (reserve throwers) carried 24 mills and 4 smoke and the 2 rifle grenadiers carried 8 mills and 20 rifle grenades for a total of 74 mills bombs, 24 rifle grenades and 14 smoke grenades.”
“Grenade, hand and rifle, screening smoke, No 37 Mk 1”
“Type N Smoke Grenade : Nebelbombe, Germany”
“A Smoke Attack (1914-1918)”
“Grenade Incendiaire Et Fumigene AB Modele 1916”, filled with 500g of white phosphorus
“The grenades of the Alphabetical Series were generally chemical grenades for throwing or launching from catapults and spring guns. So there were Grenade, Chemical, Type A; Type B; Type C; Type D; etc. They were introduced in 1915 and were mostly obsolescent by the beginning of 1916. However, a few continued to be used until the end of the war, including:
The Chemical Type C, also known as the P (phosphorus) bomb, and which became the No.26. Although supposedly succeeded by the No.27 in 1917, the P bomb remained in service in parallel with the No.27, and was still being made in mid-1918 such was the demand for smoke grenades.”
On page 10:
“Two P. bombs should be carried by each “mopper up” in addition to other descriptions.”
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