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  • #193806
    Avatar photoNKL Aerotom
    Participant

    Greetings all, I am in the process of writing a WW2 game aimed at 6mm – 15mm miniatures and thought I’d ask for some advice and maybe share my process here.

    I’m aiming at Operation Barbarossa to start with, 1941 – mid 1942, and have put together some printable “miniatures” to prototype with, using the top-downs from juniorgeneral and adding my own nameplates / borders.

    Before I start, my main question is: Tactically, what were the Germans capable of that the Soviet’s weren’t in this period? I’ve been reading a few memoirs from both sides, Soviets are clearly a bit green compared to the Wehrmacht, but how do we represent that on the tabletop? are Soviets incapable of things like Fire and Movement and stealthy line advances, or is their leadership just more static, and officers less capable (or allowed) to use their initiative? Should they have lower situational awareness and ability to hit things across the board, or is that just unfair? Should we give players an option to take green and average troops, while Germans are more elite?

    My design goals are:

    Simple, functional movement/spotting/attack rules based on real life armor & penetration values (drawing from This website for data, and Bob’s Rules of Infantry Combat for MG effectiveness and the factors that really cause units to break/surrender  i.e., primarily not casualties!)

    Simultaneous, Hidden Deployment – This will make use of something similar to the flight plan system in Missile Threat, where players plan out where forces will arrive (choosing from any table edge), and where some pre-planned artillery strikes will take place, turn by turn. This will definitely create some chaos, and we’ll see if some limitations need to be introduced if players regularly end up deploying everything in the same area…

    Written Orders System – in my Ukraine 2022 game, I came up with a simple yet fascinating orders system where both players write orders on a small piece of paper (each unit having an id number), and give a direction for where the order should be conducted. All these orders from both players are placed in the same bag, and a few orders are randomly drawn and resolved each turn. This means that the orders you give may not take place when you want them to, or the situation may have changed by the time the units carry out the orders.

    While this sounds like a lot on paper, it worked flawlessly on the tabletop and was a huge amount of fun. You still have total control, just there is a time delay between you giving an order and your units carrying them out, and your enemy has the same issue!

    It also made for interesting situations where you issue an order that causes a unit to be forced to move through forest when they could have taken the clear path, but due to the poor orders they have to slog through the crap terrain!

     

    Weapons and Armor in more detail:

    Some examples of pulling in data and crunching the numbers – Working out the relative thickness of sloped armor, using the following formula:

    I worked out Front, Side and Rear armor using this, and converted into game terms (I’m loosely basing this system on our Ostfront WW2 game released in 2016, so using the same Unarmored-Light2-Light-Medium-Heavy-Heavy2 etc. armor bands shown on the right there):

    Plugging in the armor penetration (at 0 degrees) for AT weapons at 100, 400 and 800m. I figure beyond 800m AT engagements aren’t super common, and it will simplify things greatly to just have Close-Medium-Long range bands for all AT guns:

    Working out the percentage that a weapon could penetrate a given armor value at a given range, it’s maybe not perfect (taking the armor penetration of the gun and comparing it to the range of armor values in a given armor band, then working out where that penetration value sits in the armor range as a percentage)

    Converting the percentages into 2D6 rolls, using the actual percentages of the 2D6:

    And finally, putting all this info together in a readable fashion in the game rulebook, hopefully this is nice and clear, you can cross reference your weapon, the range and the target’s armor: “H” means Hit – and is for all those 100% or more penetration chances. I will likely change this to 3+ or suchlike to prevent things always hitting, as this is based on armor penetration, and not actual hit chances during combat. I may also adjust the Soviet weapons to reflect the lower training (increase percentage by 25%??)

    Here are the units if that helps make sense of which weapon goes on which vehicle: “SA” is situational awareness, the 2D6 roll needed to detect a target (this gets harder if things are at longer range, or in cover)

    And here’s the same for the Soviets:

     

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on how this in shaping up – I would love to create a simple yet accurate WW2 game that encourages flanking, maneuver and real-life tactics, while simulating a level of fog of war and command & control friction in a fun way…

    #193813
    Avatar photoOh no….
    Participant

    That looks really good, it’ll be interesting to follow your campaign if you’re going to add updates.

    I especially like the orders method. How do you decide how many order chit draws to draw each game turn? Is it by a dice throw each turn or just a set number?

    #193814
    Avatar photoNKL Aerotom
    Participant

    How do you decide how many order chit draws to draw each game turn?

    Hey, glad you like the look of it!

    The way we ran the order in Ukraine 2022 was like this:

    Before the game both players write 1 order and place in bag

    Then each turn:

    • Each player writes two orders (bag now holds 6 orders)
    • Draw and Resolve 4 orders

    Then repeat. So essentially the bag has 6 orders in it at the start of the turn, and 2 remaining at the end. You could easily tinker with the numbers of initial orders, number of orders written, and resolved. The more orders in the bag, the less likely the orders you want to happen will happen. We found this balance seemed to work pretty well

    #193816
    Avatar photowillz
    Participant
    • One of the main advantages the Germans had over the Russians was better tactical control over and faster action / reaction of individual tanks, subsections, sections, platoons and larger units.   The use of radios in tanks / AFV’s by the Germans whereas the Russians used flags in tanks, which limited the speed of Russian action or reaction.
    #193903
    Avatar photoJohn D Salt
    Participant

    Yes, it’s a long one. I could have broken it into four postings, but I didn’t.

    THE COUNTERS

    The T-34s look like the 1941 model. Any reason not to include some 1940 model? They have a thinner turret front, and a shorter main gun.

    Similarly the T-26 and KV-1 have some variation by year model.

    The Sd Kfz 221s all seem to be toting the sPzB 41 (a modification started in 1942). The tables lower down do not seem to list any penetration data for the sPzB 41, but do list the Sd Kfz 222, which would (like the Panzer II) be armed with a 2cm cannon.

    The counter shows the Sd Kfz 250s as the /8 variant carrying the 7.5cm L/24 StuK, but the tables have the plain MG-armed 250/1.

    The tables also list a “5cm PaK 36”, which I assume is a misprint for “3.7cm PaK 36”.

    It seems a bit unfair to the sovs not to mention any of their 76mm guns such as the ZiS-3, deployed in enormous numbers. They would also have had a few 57mm ZiS-2s early in the war, before the idiot boys Voronov and Govorov cancelled it.

    It seems odd to give the soviets 37mm anti-tank guns when the 45mm was surely more common; likewise the 37mm spade-mortar is a bit of an oddity, and 50mm mortars were the usual thing. See the numerous wonderfully detailed and comprehensive organisation tables in Zaloga and Ness’ “Red Army Handbook 1939-1945”.

    I’m a bit baffled by the large number of loose LMGs. Are the squad counters supposed to consist only of the squad’s riflemen?

    Naming the squad leaders makes things a bit more personal, but gives no idea as to the command structure — who is in which platoon, and which platoons in which company?

    THE ANTI-TANK SHOOTING SYSTEM

    The armour bands seem to make much the same sort of distinctions between levels of protection as contemporary commanders would have. To take the Germans as an example, the earliest, lightest tanks were protected by about 15mm of armour, and frontal protection was successively upgraded to 30mm, 50mm, and 70-80mm. Add the Tiger and the Panther and this suggests that six armour bands is the minimum required to make the necessary distinctions.

    However, plotting the mid-range thickness for each band shows a strangely woobly curve. I wonder if it might not be a little tidier, if a little plagiaristic, to use the same bands as Phil Barker’s WRG rules, which make much the same distinctions, but with a more regular progression:

    Band	Thick-	Band 	Band	Thick-	Band
            ness    width           ness    width	
    I	20	20	Lt 2	19	19
    II	40	20	Lt  	44	25
    III	60	20	Med	79	35
    IV	85	25	Hy	99	20
    V	120	35	Hy 2	120	21
    VI	160	40	Hy 3	199	79
    VII	230	70	Hy 4	230	31
    

    For angle of impact, I see you are using the modern NATO and WW2 continental convention of measuring angles from the horizontal. Remember that in the English-speaking world angles were measured from the vertical. Some of the armour angles quoted seem badly wrong; the T-34 glacis plate is nothing like 45 degrees. Another worry to consider at this point is that, while the T-34 glacis should be pretty much invulnerable to German AFV-mounted weapons at this epoch, its turret front was considerably thinner and more vulnerable.

    Using simple trigonometry to calculate the effective armour thickness is fine for HEAT rounds, but underestimates the value of slope for conventional penetrators (and it doesn’t matter if you use degrees, radians, or for goodness’ sake, gradians, as long as you are consistent; but armour slope is always given in degrees). Niklas Zetterling’s “Normandy 1944” includes a set of German basis curves for their standard calibres which show that the effect of slope is greater for smaller calibres. I am usually happy just to use the general basis curve quoted in NA piece number WO 185/118, “DDG/FV(D) Armour plate experiments”, which gives the following thickness multipliers for different slopes:

    Angle   Multiplier         
    10 deg	1.01
    20 deg	1.06
    30 deg	1.25
    40 deg	1.52
    50 deg	1.89
    60 deg	2.50
    

    The angles are given according to the WW2 Anglo-Allied convention, from the vertical.
    Notice that this makes the T-34 glacis equivalent of 117mm thick, in the Tiger class.

    Now might also be a good time to mention the German use of special armour-piercing ammunition, namely Panzergranate 40, an APCR nature. I am not sure if the in-service date for Pzgr 40 on various guns, but Hahn’s magisterial “Waffen und Geheimwaffen des deutchen Heeres 1933-1945” shows it being produced in 1940 for 3.7cm, 1941 for 5cm, and 1942 for 7.5cm guns. Russian APCR I think would come later, but, as ever, it’s hard to find definitive information on in-service dates.

    It’s all very well modifying the effective armour thickness by a factor for the slope, but what about the angle of strike in the horizontal plane? This makes a considerable difference, and accounts for the shape of the Kleeblatter (clover-leaf diagrams) used by the Germans to visualise success envelopes for tank shooting in, for example, the Tigerfibel.

    The method of adjudicating penetration by calculating how far up the band a penetration figure is strikes me as a bit weird. I would tend to believe Phil Barker’s argument that most plates tend to concentrate about the middles of the bands he has chosen (I haven’t checked, but it would be remarkably convenient if true). I would tend to compare the penetration figure with the central value of the band, and, treating that as the 50% success point, calculate penetration probability with a small random wobble from the expected penetration.

    Now is probably a good time to mention that the effective thickness of armour plates presented from any given angle can vary considerably. It seems to me very difficult to gather the information needed to model this, but I believe Irishserb has managed something like it.

    Hitting seems to be assumed to be more or less automatic, so P(kill) is conditioned solely by penetration performance. This is probably not wildly unreasonable if you are considering a multi-shot engagement and ranges only as far as 800 metres. However there is some straightforward maths you can use to calculate P(hit) if you know the weapon’s ballistic dispersion and the dimensions of the target. 800 metres seems a bit short to me; I’d want to be able to do twice that, at least.

    Zaloga and Ness (op cit) give the following table of ranges at which Soviet tanks and assault guns were knocked out in 1943-44:

    Range		75mm gun	88mm gun
    100-200		10.0%		 4.0%
    200-400		26.1%		14.0%
    400-600		33.5%		18.0%
    600-800		14.5%		31.2%
    800-1000	 7.0%		13.5%
    1000-1200	 4.5%		 8.5%
    1200-1400 	 3.6%		 7.6%
    1400-1600 	 0.4%		 2.0%
    1600-1800	 0.4%		 0.7%
    1800-2000	 0.0%		 0.5%
    

    You could argue, if you capped things at 1600m, that you are only missing less than one per cent of 75mm kills and only a bit more than one per cent for 88s.

    Biryukov & Melnikov’s “Anti-Tank Warfare” says, based on Great Patriotic War experience, that anti-tank guns needed 1-2 shots to secure a hit at 300 metres, 8-10 shots at 1000 metres.

    THE COMMAND AND ORDERS SYSTEM

    If you like putting things in a bag and drawing them out, I very strongly urge you to take a look at the chit-pick command system in Eric Lee Smith’s “Panzer Command” boardgame

    https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2072/panzer-command-gateway-stalingrad

    Ignore the sneering Nazi on the box lid, this is a superbly well designed game, and very nicely produced. The emphasis on the command system, and the ability of players to stuff the pot with additional activation chits by expending some of their stock of dispatch points, do a lot of what I think you want to achieve, namely, show how early in the war the Germans were able to give the Russians a good thumping despite the Reds having, on paper, superior guns and armour. Essentially the Germans can usually do more in a turn, and recover faster from disorganisation, than their opponents.

    The question of how the Germans can beat the Russians in 1941-42 when they are so obviously inferior in weapons, armour and numbers is one that has exercised wargamers for decades. Often they have resorted to what looks to me like cheating, for example “Panzerblitz” representing German armour in platoons but Soviet armour in companies.

    I am intrigued by the idea that elements of either side can enter from any board edge. That sounds to me like a recipe for a right bugger’s muddle. It is, of course, true that a cautious commander should always maintain an all-round defence, and this may reflect certain chaotic situations that arise during armoured breakthroughs such as occurred during the initial stages of Barbarossa. I wonder if it might make more sense to stick with the tedious old wargamerism of each side having a baseline across the table from their opponent, but with the following provisions. Foot-slogging infantry can only arrive at their own baseline. Mobile troops (recce, armour, Panzergrenadiers, motor rifles, cavalry, aerosans) can also arrive on the side edges. Deep-raiding troops (paratroops, Brandenburgers, partisans) can arrive from the enemy baseline as well.

    A lot of the things that gave the Germans their edge come down to the effects of command and leadership. It is now generally accepted that the German idea of “Auftragstaktik” is a superior command doctrine to the more rigid approach pursued by the Soviets. Even if this were not so, the quality of the Red Army’s officer corps at the start of the GPW was dreadful, thanks to the depredations of the Yezhovshchina, one of Stalin’s more insane acts of totalitarian self-harm. Most early war Soviet commanders are likely to be extremely fearful of displaying initiative, and are not going to question their orders, no matter how insane. This is also the period of the war to include NKVD blocking detachments (from 12 Sep 1941) and punishment battalions (from 28 July 1942). Again, not something one often sees on the wargames table, and all rather grim, but, hey, it’s the Russian front. Graham Evans has had some interesting ideas on modelling the use of coercion in command in his games on the Russian and Spanish civil wars run at COWs over the years.

    Willz has already mentioned the German advantage in radio control; armoured forces are all very well, but without reasonably reliable VHF radios to control them, they will be slow and clumsy. This difference would be much less pronounced among the infantry, I believe that German infantry companies only got four radios each mid-war.

    The idea of having “situational awareness” (not a WW2 term) ratings that mean the Soviets never see anything to shoot at strikes me as one of those mechanisms that comes under the heading of “cheating”. A lot of Russians, coming from rural rather than urban populations, would I think be rather better at fieldcraft than the Germans.

    A feature of many Soviet defeats in mobile actions early in the war was their wretchedly bad march security. This explains their post-war obsession with it, and their habit of devoting a third of their strength to the counter-recce battle. In the early part of the GPW they took no such precautions, and suffered for it. I don’t know what mechanisms would be appropriate to represent it, but I think the Russians should quite often be “out-scouted” by German recce.

    WHAT’S MISSING

    I have already commented on the absence of Soviet 45mm and 76mm guns. There are other things I think it would be a shame not to include for this period of the war. Both sides will have anti-tank rifles, the Soviet ones being considerably more effective, but rare as hen’s teeth early on. The Soviets will also have that magnificent weapon, the Kartukov ampulomyot

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampulomet

    …we don’t see enough of those on the wargames table, in my opinion. For real novelty, maybe include dog mines, too.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-tank_dog

    More seriously — and you might well already have thought about these, just not mentioned them above — there need to be rules for field artillery and field engineering. The Soviets considered that the result of a meeting engagement weas usually decided by which side got its artillery into action first. This is another area where German agility might give them and edge over Soviet mass, although as the war went on and the Soviets got more competent, the “Red God if War” became ever more decisive and difficult to counter. And it’s not the Russian Front without mines.

    Anyhow, good luck with the scheme, I look forward to hearing how it develops.

    All the best,

    John.

    #193931
    Avatar photoNKL Aerotom
    Participant

    John – you are an absolute LEGEND, always get excited to see your replies to my topics that often deal with dense details. You always go above and beyond with your analysis and insights, so just have to say thank you once again! Will definitely be putting all your information to use and re-thinking my approach.

    With the counters I was kind of limited to what I could find on juniorgeneral, all the images are from there, I don’t know if they have the earlier T-34 variants or not… The markers are just for playtesting at this stage – I don’t think I plan to publish these – I’ll need to get permission before doing that.

    There is an “A20” pre-production model – would that be closer?

    I’m aware of the issues with the half tracks too – Thought I’d fixed it on this sheet, but it’s the older version I posted.

    Noted your comments on the various weapons, I had added the 45mm AT gun, (after reading Litvin’s – “800 Days on the Eastern Front”) I’ll add in the 57mm and the AT rifles (Although perhaps up-costed for rarity?) and the 76mm ZiS-3/ Divisional gun, as well as short 76mm Regimental gun.

    Not sure if I follow you on the T-34 armor, the website I was using (https://wwiitanks.co.uk/FORM-Tank_Data.php?I=535) lists the armor as 45mm at 45 degrees from vertical (although the image below lists the armor as at a 60 degree angle?)

    My calculation of 45mm at 45 degrees slope using the formula gives 66.5mm, while the website (https://wwiitanks.co.uk/FORM-Tank_Data.php?I=535) gives 64mm (in brackets)

    The system as it is does satisfy your “the T-34 glacis should be pretty much invulnerable to German AFV-mounted weapons at this epoch”, as only the Pz.IIIs 37mm and 50mm guns can really penetrate the front of the T-34, and only at close range:

    I do like the idea of horizontal deflection causing more difficulty to penetrate, and I remember seeing a nice game aide that can do that easily, can’t remember where I saw it, but it was something like this (set for 2D6)

    I think the idea of a few more range bands is good, I can add 1200m and 1600m quite easily, won’t screw up my table formats.

    Thanks for the info on an example of a similar orders system, I will check that out. The orders will likely be the main area where Germans and Soviet differ I think, so getting that right will be the main challenge, and somehow incorporating the command units on the table into it.

    Nice idea on the limitations for units entering the table too, I think that will suit nicely once the lines calm down. I would like to playtest the free-for-all to start with and see if it’s feasible… might be nicely chaotic.

    Good point on the situational awareness too (I can rename this for flavor), I might keep that even for all infantry and most vehicles, except green Soviet infantry could have a lower rating, while German tanks would have increased situational awareness compared to Soviet tanks for their dedicated commander / 3 man turret.

    Will definitely have rules for Artillery / mines etc. we had all these in the original Ostfront, just starting with the main units, and will expand as I go.

     

    Thanks again for your info! will keep referring to this as I go.

    #193981
    Avatar photoJohn D Salt
    Participant

    There is an “A20” pre-production model – would that be closer?

    If you told me that was a 1940 model T-34, I’d believe you.

    Not sure if I follow you on the T-34 armor, the website I was using [snips] lists the armor as 45mm at 45 degrees from vertical (although the image below lists the armor as at a 60 degree angle?)

    It’s an impressive-looking website, but on this point it is simply wrong. The T-34’s glacis is probably the most famous sloped armour plate in the world. Check any other source and, like the diagrams you showed, it will give 60 degrees from the vertical.

    The system as it is does satisfy your “the T-34 glacis should be pretty much invulnerable to German AFV-mounted weapons at this epoch”, as only the Pz.IIIs 37mm and 50mm guns can really penetrate the front of the T-34, and only at close range:

    I think there should be no chance whatever of them penetrating the glacis at any range, apart from the long 5cm with APCR. They might, of course, get lucky, and post a shot though the MG mount or an open driver’s visor, but it’s not likely. Since it’s the nearest thing to hand, I refer to the penetration figures given on p. 129 of Hahn’s “Waffen und Geheimwaffen”. At 100 metres, the 3.7cm penetrates 34mm with Pzgr, 64mm with PzGr 40, nothing like adequate, although the PzGr 40 might do something against the turret. The short 5cm penetrates 54mm with Pzgr 39, wholly inadequate, or 96mm with Pzgr 40, which is closer to useful but still not really enough. The long 5cm does 69mm with PzGr 39, again inadequate, and it is only with PzGr 40 that it stands a chance against the T-34 glacis, punching 130mm with Pzgr 40, or 122mm with Pzgr 40/1. The latter is a slightly heavier, slightly slower version of APCR; I gather that the original Pzgr 40 had an alarming tendency to bulge the cartridge case and jam the gun.

    I do like the idea of horizontal deflection causing more difficulty to penetrate, and I remember seeing a nice game aide that can do that easily, can’t remember where I saw it, but it was something like this (set for 2D6) [Snips]

    Shades of the “tank stick” from Charles Grant’s “Battle!” The alternative is to list armour values not only for front, side and rear, but also for front and rear quarters, so the defence value used depends in which octant the AFV is shot at through.

    The orders will likely be the main area where Germans and Soviet differ I think, so getting that right will be the main challenge, and somehow incorporating the command units on the table into it.

    Indeed. Russian rigidity compared to German flexibility might be reflected in the number of commands each is allowed to change per turn. It would not be completely outrageous to have radioless Russians unable to change their orders at all, and have the Russian player dependent on releasing reserves if they want to do something not in the original plan.

    Nice idea on the limitations for units entering the table too, I think that will suit nicely once the lines calm down. I would like to playtest the free-for-all to start with and see if it’s feasible… might be nicely chaotic.

    It strikes me as perfectly reasonable to specify the wider situation as being “static”, “fluid”, or “breakthough”. For a static situation like Kursk, the defenders are on the table, with entrenchments and obstacles, before the game starts, and the attackers come from a known direction. For a fluid situation, use the rules I suggested. For a breakthrough, go for full-on chaos.

    Good point on the situational awareness too (I can rename this for flavor), I might keep that even for all infantry and most vehicles, except green Soviet infantry could have a lower rating, while German tanks would have increased situational awareness compared to Soviet tanks for their dedicated commander / 3 man turret.

    Certainly it would be good to be able to reflect the limitations of the early T-34’s two-man turret, with its fiercely over-worked commander.

    All the best,

    John.

    #194152
    Avatar photoNKL Aerotom
    Participant

    It’s an impressive-looking website, but on this point it is simply wrong. The T-34’s glacis is probably the most famous sloped armour plate in the world. Check any other source and, like the diagrams you showed, it will give 60 degrees from the vertical.

    Yeah most sources seem to give 60 degrees for the front facing, running this through the formula for relative thickness only gives (47mm x 60 degrees) only gives 94mm, which would be “Heavy” in this system.

    This means that only the Flak88 and the 50mmPak-38 have any chance of penetrating the front facing of a T-34 in this period, so should still fit the bill. Then from the side things get a little easier for the other german guns, and they can penetrate at ranges of 100m or less.

    It’s definitely going to be fun balancing the orders system, look forward to trying out some concepts in playtesting…

    Also looking at a system where casualties aren’t tracked at all on table, and infantry either retreat or surrender instead of being worn down by casualties.

    I think I will still tinker with this to make it more likely that infantry attacked from the flanks at close range surrender, rather than it being based on broad modifiers like “attacked from flanks”. Could add a ” Attacked from Flanks within 6″ ” modifer of +2 or suchlike.

    I’m thinking about a very simple campaign system, where both players start with something like 500 points to spend as a “Reserve” / “total forces on their section of the front”, and can only spend a certain amount each game (say up to 200), so you have some loss aversion, as if you lose a lot in the first few games, you won’t be able to spend as much in the later games. Any way to make players want to withdraw their forces instead of fight to the death (unless they already have so little remaining in their reserves they have no choice)

    From this pool of Reserves / Forces, players could spend points on preliminary artillery barrages to wear down the enemy before the battle, could spend it on air support, fortifications, and suchlike. It would make for a very simple campaign, where players are just tracking a single number behind the scenes and choosing how to spend part of that number each game, and then applying any casualties to the number at the end of the game.

    With infantry, you could perhaps track casualties on a piece of paper as a whole for your army, so each time your infantry are forced to retreat, you would make down “1 casualties” on a piece of paper, and it wouldn’t be specific to the unit, but applied in total to your army after the game. Any infantry that surrender would be removed from your Reserves / Forces value, and perhaps even equipment captured by the enemy could be added to their Reserves / Forces value.

    Something to tinker with – any way to prevent the usual “attack at all costs until everything is dead” mindset (although perhaps the Russians receive regular reinforcements to their Reserves / Forces value, meaning they can be a big more cavalier with human life…

     

    Aside from that I’ve been sorting out my ranges and conversion from real life range to in-game range. I settled on:

    [Real life Range] ^0.42

    Which gives something like this for Anti Tank weaponry:

    Point Blank (0-100m): 0 – 6”

    Close(100 – 250m): 6-12”

    Medium Range (250 – 500m): 12-18”

    Long Range (500 – 1000): 18-24”

    Extreme Range (1200+): 24-30”

     

    I’ve had to squeeze things a little to get nice ranges on the table, and probably still some work to do with relating this simplified AT range system to other weapons like mortars and artillery. These are my numbers from Excel, showing the ranges generated from the formula, and the ranges I’ve chosen to use in-game to the left:

     

    I’ve been reading the following, which have been quite interesting looks at life and infantry combat in the red army:

    This guy was a 45mm gun layer, as well as serving with a maxim HMG detachment and willies driver / chauffer for command and repairman:

    This guy was a mortar crewman, and just generally nuts – saving comrades from burning tanks, protecting the reputation of his fellow soldiers (don’t tell anyone this guy was killed by a Sewing machine!!)

    This one is a more general look at the war’s effect on the population and the horrific problems they had to deal with, as well as some of the chaos that ensued when the Germans invaded (such as civilians looting everything in the communal stores, and red army soldiers looting the civilians…)

    #194309
    Avatar photoJohn D Salt
    Participant

    Yeah most sources seem to give 60 degrees for the front facing, running this through the formula for relative thickness only gives (47mm x 60 degrees) only gives 94mm, which would be “Heavy” in this system.

    Mmmyes, remmber that the line-of-sight distance understates the value of sloped armour for rounds other than HEAT.

    This means that only the Flak88 and the 50mmPak-38 have any chance of penetrating the front facing of a T-34 in this period, so should still fit the bill. Then from the side things get a little easier for the other german guns, and they can penetrate at ranges of 100m or less.

    There is more chance with turret hits, and don’t forget the Panzergranate 40 special ammo.

    Still, T-34s should be a real problem. It is perhaps worth providing details for the 10cm K 18 — AIUI in the early part of the war a battery of these in a Panzer division (normally part of the divisional arty medium abteilung) was dedicated to hunting heavy tanks.

    I think I will still tinker with this to make it more likely that infantry attacked from the flanks at close range surrender, rather than it being based on broad modifiers like “attacked from flanks”. Could add a ” Attacked from Flanks within 6″ ” modifer of +2 or suchlike.

    Yup — remember the phrase extracted from the 1919 tactics manual I mentioned 9 months ago:

    “Frontal fire seldom pays; flanking fire pays well; surprise fire pays best.”

    Aside from that I’ve been sorting out my ranges and conversion from real life range to in-game range. I settled on:

    [Real life Range] ^0.42

    I would very, very strongly advise against a non-linear ground scale. A ground scale of 1mm to 2 metres (1 inch to 50 metres) still works OK when you are only resolving infantry to squads. This will give you direct fire engagements up to 0.8m measured on the table, only a tiny but more than your maximum of 30 inches (0.75m), and leaving room for maneouvre on a British Standard Wargames Table of 6 x 4 feet (1.8 x 1.2 m).

    All the best,

    John.

    #195275
    Avatar photoTom Dye
    Participant

    I’ll probably get nuked for what I am about to suggest but so be it. While it’s interesting to use stats to base an historical wargame on, such wargames overlook the most important factor of warfare since throwing of rocks at the enemy……man! Being able to use stats has to factor in the abilities of the man pulling the trigger. Even well trained, battle hardened veterans missed a lot! (Stats: Just look at ammo consumption data.)

    While we will always need to arrive at the results of combat in our games, I suggest we look at not the hits and kills but rather the effect of those losses upon the ability of the unit to continue to function. To wit: pick any period of history-you will usually find units that ran with little or no casualties while others fought to nearly the last man. So scratch “casualties” as a defining parameter in our games. Yet losses do affect the combat power of the studied unit. So rather than counting losses (numbers) of men and materials, I suggest the real controlling result to be tracked is the effect upon the target unit to remain in the fight.

    The ability of the unit’s leadership to keep the unit functioning and ability to inflict damage upon the enemy that is essentially we are trying to determine. For example, if Tigers were so tough, why isn’t the western world speaking German today? Again, that weapons system had it’s flaws as well as it’s support chain. (There is a reason why the big cats aren’t on display in all of the military museums.) Yet, their crews were the real factor! A tiger without a crew is incapable of offensive combat! How successful ANY weapons system is can be counted upon it’s crew.

    So if this flies in the face of some rules authors here, I would be honored to take this further. Some really excellent work is posted here which would help define unit capability potential verses varied threats but I maintain that the variables in the employment of various weapons systems in combat conditions with real people would simulate more accurate results. Sure, it may have taken 5, 6 or more Shermans or T-34’s for every Tiger/Panther destroyed but the allies could afford to recover/repair/ and even total write-offs better than Germany could. More importantly were the crew losses. Expertise was not able to be passed on to new crews in the quantities needed. Again the case for the human factor for consideration.

    Sorry for the intrusion from a new member who really does appreciate the hard work of this thread but no apologies for my comments regarding the human factor being more important than machines.

    #195276
    Avatar photoNKL Aerotom
    Participant

    Hi Tom, welcome aboard!

    I actually agree with everything you said, and early on decided to try to follow “Bob’s rules of infantry combat” (below) which are not a wargame ruleset, but a set of rules/laws based on a ton of real research from various conflicts.

    https://www.testofbattle.com/upload/bob/Rules%20of%20Infantry%20Combat.htm

    In these, he highlights the same concepts you mentioned – people can’t hit shit in combat, and casualties don’t actually make that much of a difference.

    And of course the man behind the machine is crucial to it’s fighting ability.

    In light of these ideas, I have essentially removed casualties from infantry, instead opting for retreat, suppression or surrender results from incoming fire. Only occasionally will casualties be inflicted, as it is still important to show units being worn down and destroyed if they stubbornly keep fighting instead of running or surrendering.

    I also took into account the ideas of surprise and “invincible” tanks, so an infantry unit that is surprised, attacked from a flank and/or faced with armor it is incapable of dealing with, it is more likely to run or surrender.

    With the concept of different unit qulities, I have an “effectiveness” rating for each unit which determines how well they can spot targets, and how likely they are to flee or surrender.

    With hitting I have included a 75% hit rate for all units in my stats, although this is certainly oversimplification, I might experiment with factoring the effectiveness into the hit rates as well.

    Command will likely play a massive role in how units perform, and I will allow players to choose commanders of different qualities that can alter (or bungle) the orders passed to them.

    #195277
    Avatar photoTom Dye
    Participant

    Thanks, Tom! I probably enjoy talking about good research as much as playing and painting. Don’t forget that a possible outcome for infantry could also be attack! US and German units (yes, even down to squad level) had elements to draw attention while one or two other squad fireteams tried to neutralize the pinning faction. (So not being pinned, withdrawing or surrendering the only options.) A wonderful (and really cheap) book is “Panzer Rollen” , from German primary sources and edited by Bob Carruthers. (Pen and Sword). Got mine for under $5.00USD from the UK. Explains a lot of direction to Brigade on down. I now have more respect for their Companies of motorcycles! Lots of intricate work posted above and much appreciated the sharing of it. As you can garner, I have been a great proponent for the human factor being the main element in conflicts.  I believe I have a workable solution for integrating into game designs but involves changing out value sets that have been led us here (like casualties and morale; and especially command and control radius! What rubbish- Units continued to carry out their assigned missions/tasks until either accomplished, cannot continue with forces at hand or under new orders as long as the unit leadership remains in control of the men. I can see it now: “Sir, we cannot go any further because if we do, we will be outside of our command radius!”  Fantasy gaming with WWII minis!  Thanks again for allowing me in this thought provoking thread!

    #195278
    Avatar photoNKL Aerotom
    Participant

    Thanks for the info on the books Tom, will check them out!

    I have been reading the following recently:

    Really interesting book about StuGs in Greece, the Caucasus and Russia. At one point it takes them 18 hits to destroy a T-34! Started with lots of detailed info about specific engagements around Barbarossa and Greece, but by about 1943 it had devolved into general operational stuff, not so much at the tactical level.

    especially command and control radius! What rubbish

    I think the command system in my rules is the most fun part, and certainly with my Ukraine 2022 game (which uses the same command system), it made for very interesting gameplay full of friction, but in a fun way. Essentially players write orders on a slip of paper, and both players put these orders into the same bag. The bag holds between 4 and 8 orders, and you draw randomly from it to see what happens.

    This means that units only ever do what you want, but it may not happen when you want it to, and the situation may have changed by the time the orders are carried out. Makes for really interesting “non optimal” moves / attacks from your units, really representing what it might be like to be giving orders from way behind the lines.

     

    I had the first playtest the other day, down at the local club. It was just myself trying to slog through the hard parts of how objectives and deployment should work. Once I got that running, the gameplay itself was very straight forward and flowed nicely, with good friction.

    Situation at game start:

    German Pz. IIIs realize there are T-34s and T-26s on their flank while advancing over a field

    The Pz.IIIs easily knock out the T-26s, and manage to bypass the T-34s without either firing a shot at each other. Russian infantry move up behind some forest cover to try to take a nearby village, held by German infantry.

     

    I only got a few turns in, and not much happened, but it was a great way to force myself to crystalize the set-up of the game. Both players place an objective anywhere they want on the table, and I had to find ways to prevent them from just capturing or defending their objective on their side of the table, so forced them to deploy the objectives within 24″, and made one player “arriving” from table edges, while the other is “defending”.

    The table edges are labeled as North, South, East & West, which is used for the orders system too.

    For deployment, both players plan their deployment on paper in secret. The “Arriving” player chooses which turn their forces arrive, and at what location. This is totally free form, so you have have some units arrive in the North, 18″ from the West table edge, on turn 2, while others arrive from the West, 24″ from the North table edge on turn 1. The player is limited to the first 5 turns, no forces can arrive after that.

    As for the “Defending” player, they must deploy using coordinates, and can also choose which turn to ‘reveal’. So a player might choose to deploy infantry 6″ from the North edge and 28″ from the West edge. Forces can also be deployed in a box if you specify the dimension (no larger than 10″, and might need to limit this to prevent abuse).

    With this deployment system, it makes for a very fluid situation right from turn one – none o f the usual, “you line up on your side, I line up on mine”, but instead troops arrive at unexpected times from unexpected places. There is some guesswork involved in using the co-ordinates too, as you can’t pre-measure any of the distances. If you feel you are really good at guessing ranges, you can impose a “Handicap” on your guesses and scatter D6 or 2D6 from the intended position, depending on what kind of handicap you want to impose. This will prevent people who are great (or terrible) at guessing from feeling the game is unfair.

     

    Anyway, that’s the current progress, I put together a points system in excel, using the maths of the various weapons, movement distances and troop effectiveness to determine their value.

    #195459
    Avatar photoTom Dye
    Participant

    Thanks, Tom. At least your command and control is not a command radius. I will try out your idea next time I get a chance to set up a table. I’m a bit of a George Jeffries follower in that units are assigned “postures” with objectives clearly stated. A unit (in my example) are Companies. Units will continue to carry out their objectives until either A) They accomplish their objective; B) The enemy prevents them; C) new orders change their objective; or D) Impassable terrain is encountered due to poor recon or faulty intel in their warning order. In each of these cases, the unit commander has the obligation to send messages up the chain. The postures are: Attack, Defend, Maneuver and Rest/Reorganize in place. Specific locations to be specified. Example: Secure the town at (enter table location) by turn 6. Commanders orders can always revert to “Defend” if attacked but changing postures (other than defend) must come from Battalion. All this is based upon age old axiom that officers are officers of their state- as an officer, they are always tasked to protect and safeguard the country’s assets. (Defend). They may only risk his unit if ordered to by authority above him. This is why I would allow any posture to be automatically revert to “defend” if conditions change beyone their control.

    Command and control consists of 5 elements: (Commanding element, Commanded element, downward flow of communication, upward flow of communication and Friction at all levels!

    1) Downward flow of communication to the commanded element (we do that pretty well in our games!)

    2) Upward flow of communication to the commanding element. Nobody seems to remember that decisions made by the commanding element are strongly influenced by fresh, new actionable intel received by subordinate commander on the scene

    3) Time it takes to communicate, understand the communication, devise a plan and communicate the plan to subordinates (where the process starts again at a lower level then finally execute the new plan/posture.

    4) Friction at all level of the process. There are two things that every commander cannot control: time and distance. Technology can reduce the time time it takes to cover the distance (motorized transport vs walking a mile) but distance will always remain the mile. You cannot add nor subtract minutes or hours from “time now”. These two factors can work for you or against you. The better leaders do their best to plan ahead and have an idea how long the process will take to successfully execute any plan. Knowing your unit leaders, your unit leaders knowing you is a function of how long have these leaders and men served together, their training and experience. “I” call this “Unit Cohesion”.

    That long dissertation lies heavily upon how you rate your units- quantifying the unquantifiable yet I have figured out how to do that. A unit may be rated high on training and experience but be led by an idiot! At the beginning of the game, everyone is 100% in unit cohesion. Cohesion is lost due to movement, combat and lack of rest, supplies, water, etc. Combat results are not expressed in casualties but rather the effect those casualties have upon the unit leadership to maintain control over the direction of the unit. Unit cohesion can be lost and can be regained. Unit leaders can take actions that can regain lost control. What those actions are (like making the men take a drink of water- refreshes electrolites- found new energy) but the gamer does not have to know such techniques- he only needs to determine the effects the leaders had upon keeping the unit together. Takes more time to explain than in play as long as everyone knows that there is no direct relation between casualties and unit cohesion. (Be glad to take that up in another post- this one already is too long.)

    Thanks to all who made it this far. Some of you may remember me as “Mr. Cohesion”. Been refining explanation of why the current value sets need to be changed that rules are based upon to those value sets that come into play in real life. Been at this since George Jeffries and I conversations before he passed ( around 1991-ish). Problem has always been getting gamers to let go of what they have learned over the years (like casualties, command radius, fixed level of morale grades, morale and modifiers, etc.)

    I look forward to discussing any of this with anyone interested in shaking up the status quo of game design. While most of my efforts have been up to 1900, the principals haven’t changed.

     

     

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