Forum Replies Created
Insofar as any of my games are ‘simulations,’ these, in which I’m playing with an 11-year old and 6-year old boy, certainly are not.
I’m generally a fan of 1:1, ‘what you see is what you get’ in any case, making it easier for the boys to translate what the rules to what they see. I’ve lengthened it a tad, I suppose, only letting bazookas fire about 6”, so if I had to put a number on it I suppose I’d say the 6’ x 4’ table is about 300 yds x 200 yds.
Which makes a lot of stuff point-blank range in real life, but I’m still treating weapons values as operating at some distance (even though pretty much every weapon can reach the entirety of the table), particularly AT/armor values. It’s very much ‘toy soldiers.’
Maybe only slightly more than my normal games 😉
Thomaston – Yeah, the firefight between the German armored cars and American light tanks had an auspicious start, and the US light tanks were never really defeated; I think only one out of five were actually knocked out. Having 2nd Platoon pinned in their halftracks certainly didn’t help, but it wasn’t a showstopper, they still could have been rallied if he’d have used the M7 Priests to put up a fight, rather than charge them through the woods.
Rod – Thank you, and yes, it feels good to be playing again, especially with my sons.
Whirlwind John – I liked the boy pushing the Priests out to the right flank, but I wouldn’t have advanced them past the road. I would have kept them there and fired laterally (to the northeast) at the Germans coming across the fields. I thought he was going to push 2nd Platoon out there on the right, into the woods, to screen the Priests, which wouldn’t have been a bad idea, even though I would have dismounted them in the northwest (and fallen 1st Platoon back) and made the Germans fight for every inch of the town. That theme shall present itself again in the second battle.
Norm – Wow, thank you for the kind words! I’m glad to have such an effect, and I look forward to seeing your 15mm troops.
Yeah, he’s a boot 😉
0600-1400 local time
16 December 1944
US 14th Cavalry Group vs 8th Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjager Division
So, this is it, the first battle to kick off our extraordinarily ambitious campaign to play out the “Battle of the Bulge.” I will admit, before playing even the first game, that I may have bitten off more than I can chew. This is a campaign that lasts ten days, with three phases per day, involving 27 different ‘battlegroups’ on each side. There is no set number of battles per phase, but the first phase is set up and there are a total of eight tabletop fights scheduled. If that holds to be the average, that puts us somewhere in the neighborhood of… 240 fights to finish this campaign. Not sure I could actually pull that off, but let’s get this going and see how it works out.
So this is it, the very opening of the German offensive in the Ardennes (historical note: I know that, chronologically, this fight occurred after numerous other fights beginning around 0530, but I’m playing the campaign in eight-hour phases, and from that standpoint it doesn’t matter what order I play the ames in). In this fight we shall see German paratroopers, backed up by some light armor, attacking a US Cavalry unit consisting of some light infantry with some light armor. Somehow it has ended up that my older son is playing the Americans, while my younger son and I are playing the Germans. We are playing this game using a mashup of Ivan’s 5Core rules and Warlord’s Bolt Action rules. I’d intended on adding Battlegroup Wacht Am Rhein’s “Battle Rating” and chit-pull morale system as well, but I did not as I wanted to keep the game moving as quickly as possible in an attempt to keep the boys’ attention.
With armored cars burning on the road and under heavy fire, the Germans push forward to the outskirts of Losheim.
Braving German mortar fire, Colonel Denver wades into the mess and rallies the troops!
A Panzerschreck screams in at an American Stuart light tank.
To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
Next fight coming up soon!
Darby – Yes, my understanding was that the whole idea revolved around Marines ‘wasting’ ammo. I’m not sure exactly how anyone can delineate exactly which ammo was wasted and which ammo wasn’t when your squad has taken casualties and is pinned down in a ‘near ambush’ situation, only a couple Marines actually returning fire, albeit at the cyclic rate, rather than carefully aimed shots; such thoughts are the realm of the benighted officer class and, alas, I was simply enlisted swine 😉
Thomaston – Hey buddy, hope all is well. Sorry, no Gump, and helos won’t play a huge role in my squad-level scenarios. Even when they’re there they’re pretty much just window dressing, not performing too much of a ‘real’ on-table function. I.e., you’re either running from the helo, running to the helo, or the helo has been shot down and you’re going to rescue survivors. So there are no helos present in the first tour, though I have purchases an H-34 (haven’t received it yet) for use later, probably in the boys’ third tour when they go to 3rd Recon Battalion.
I’m sticking with this one squad for the entire concept, specifically the two knuckleheads. For this tour they are part of a rifle squad and we’re following the squad; the squad will receive replacements on a frequent basis as casualties are suffered. In later tours we will be following the boys with a different squad, then a reconnaissance team, then probably a full rifle platoon.
And don’t forget Lee Marvin, one of my favorites!
Thanks a bunch for painting those up and posting, Norm. I like the look and so I jumped on in, got the smaller box.
First, thanks everyone, I’m glad you liked it and I appreciate the kind words.
Whirlwind John – Regarding the VC choosing to stand and fight vs fall back, everything is down to the dice and cards: when/where the contact occurs, the type of contact, the size of the enemy force, and how they go about accounting themselves on the battlefield. When Danny reached the bunker there was a 10% chance the VC would stand and fight, a 10% chance the VC would surrender, a 10% chance VC reinforcements would arrive, and a 70% chance the VC would fall back, disappearing without a trace. They chose to stand and fight; you’ll see more of that, particularly when the NVA arrive in Operation Utah), but a lot more of the ‘ghosting.’
Regard the VC that fell back out of the bunker, again, it’s all down to the dice. Despite the Marines taking some casualties, the VC were suffering some pretty horrendous shooting rolls, and this allowed the Marines to maneuver and bring a tremendous amount of firepower to bear on the bunker at pretty much point-blank range. The three VC in the bunker couldn’t be hit, but the suppression’s just stacked and stacked until one of the three enemy soldiers fell back. From my standpoint I would think he was trying to escape but then found himself in even more dire straits out in the open, preventing him fleeing in his panicked state and causing him simply to seek the next best thing, which was hitting the dirt on the opposite side of the bunker, where incoming fire kept him pinned but couldn’t actually hit him.
By that point in the fight it didn’t seem particularly odd to me that a small team would want to abandon the bunker, which was under increasingly heavy fire and being flanked. From my standpoint, there were certainly times the Vietnamese stood and fought, but far more frequently they took their shots and left to fight another day.
Nate – The hedges are from Crescent Root, though they have unfortunately stopped selling them. And 24 weeks? It’s just the end of the boy’s first month in country, they still have about 44 weeks left!
Darby – Now that M-14 question is very interesting. I’ve never heard of an M-14 that wasn’t fully automatic. I did some reading and was surprised to learn there were some sort of locks that armorers could install which prevented the rifles from being put on full auto. All the Marines I know told me the weapons were all the same, but that one Marine per fire team was designated the “automatic rifleman” and that he was supposed to be the only one firing on full auto. I’ve also been told the “automatic rifleman” designation typically went out the window as squad strength in the field dwindled to 7 or 8 guys instead of the T/O&E 14, and ‘normal’ riflemen tended to ignore the prohibition on using full auto once the shooting started, particularly in a ‘near ambush’ situation.
I am also familiar with the M-14A1, which had a pistol grip, bipod, and heavy barrel to try and make it a true SAW, and I know Marines used the bipod, but I don’t know if Marines actually used the M-14A1 (the internet is saying it was a US Army modification, but who knows). Besides, I haven’t seen one in 15mm 😉
Regarding a machine gun team, “assets,” such as MG, mortar, AT (3.5” super bazooka), recoiless rifle, tank, track, having a Corpsman, Platoon Commander, Platoon Sergeant, etc…, are all driven by the cards. In this case I drew an “escort” mission and then the FO as the element needing escorting, with no further help.
I can tell you I meant to play more fights with more ‘assets’ involved, but it just didn’t happen, so most of the fights are just the squad by itself. Having said that, I was a machine gunner, so if you think M-60s won’t play a role in this tour you must be outta your mind 😉 Just wait for the next fight!
Thanks, Nate, I appreciate it, very kind of you to share. I look forward to carving out some time to dive into them.
I’m actually playing out a Vietnam-era skirmish campaign right now, getting ready to post the first batrep.
And the link works fine for me.
Thanks guys, and the first fight is in the books, with the Germans pushing the Yanks out of Losheim. I hope to post late next week, and we’re playing game 2 tomorrow.
Your typical levels of insanity! I’m with Darby, these guys (and that one in particular) have zero luck.
Well, it only took ya a couple weeks! 😉 In all seriousness, thanks guys, glad to know you saw them.
Thomaston – Yeah, I didn’t even need the tank to whoop them Commies! And they were too cowardly to use theirs. The ZSUs have definitely been a huge letdown for the bad guys. Regarding armor sitting around, 5Core is built on the idea everyone doesn’t get to do something, you’ve got to prioritize.
John – Lots of fun, but I must admit, 30 fights with 5CCC in a row was too much…
Continuing towards my closeout of the mini-campaign and Operation Chunky Bandit, I present more batreps.
Under counterattack, the Cubans launch a LAW at an encroaching Communist BMP.
1215 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #20
TF Hammer vs FLA 4th Company
1430 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #21
TF Bowie vs FLA 3rd Company
2115 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #22
TF Hammer vs FLA 6th Company
2330 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #23
TF Hawk vs FSNL 8th Company
0530 on 6 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #24
TF Hawk vs FSNL 8th Company
I hope you enjoy them, and next week I’ll look to close out the mini-campaign with batreps 51 through 56.
Rod – I’m furiously searching for my camouflage onsie… Glad you’re still kicking.
Kyote – Quit yer bitching and get to work!
That is the plan, but first I have to close out South Leon and Cronistria…
I wouldn’t mind doing it in 15mm, but I’m afraid of how much it would cost once I began letting the project grow…
Thanks for asking, John, I’ll take a look.
Patrice, thanks for the link, I’ll check it out! I know after the battle the name was changed from Belleau Wood to “The Woods of the Marine Brigade.”
Thanks guys, I appreciate the support! And I apologize; regarding my comments on the popularity of these batreps, I didn’t mean it in a “woe is me” sort of way, just a statement of fact that these Operation Chunky Bandit batreps haven’t enjoyed the same level of popularity (as determined by views on my blogs and comments on the various forums and blogs) as some of my other batreps, such as KG Klink, Cold War, and the Black Ops fights. Operation Chunky Bandit started as a goofy little set of fights, then somehow expanded into this giant enterprise (somewhere around 50 fights now); it’s been a lot of fun for me, but hasn’t drawn as much interest as some of the other things I’ve done.
Thomaston – I was thinking interpretive dance, but I’ll see what I can do 😉
Darby – Cuban High Command is definitely feeling the strain of supporting the Expeditionary Forces deployed to South Leon and (don’t forget about) Cronistria, particularly now that the Americans are calling on them to join with the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ for Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Thanks again guys, hope you love them, and more to follow. This mini-campaign was a total of 30 fights (still haven’t typed all of them up), taking Operation Chunky Bandit to a total of 56 fights.
I haven’t posted any batreps in awhile, been busy with real life. That and these batreps haven’t proven to be particularly popular, so combining those two factors and adding the fact I need to get the rest of the Chunky Bandit batreps posted in order to move the story forward and get on to other things, I figured I’d post a bunch of batreps. I hope you enjoy; a pic to refresh your memory:
Troopers of the South Leon Army launch a mechanized counterattack to eject the Communist forces from the village.
Op CB 39
2330 on 4 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #13
SLA A Company vs FSNL 6th Company
Op CB 40
0630 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #14
SLA B Company vs FSNL 2nd Company
Op CB 41
0800 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #15
SLA A Company vs FSNL 8th Company
Op CB 42
0830 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #16
SLA D Company vs FLA 1st Company
Op CB 43
0930 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #17
TF Bowie vs FSNL 4th Company
Op CB 44
0930 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #18
TF Hawk vs FSNL 7th Company
Op CB 45
1000 on 5 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #19
TF Hammer vs FLA 5th Company
So, I hope that makes up for lost time and tides you over for a bit, I’ll be back with more soon.
I’m okay, Old Man, just been busy with ‘real life.’ And you have my email address and cell phone number 😉
Kyote – Indeed! 😉
Rod – Glad to see you’re still kicking, I love how you resurface every six months or so to surprise me 😉 Negative, KG Klink will not be heading to North Africa; my original intent was for that to happen, but then I bought a bunch of 10mm PzIVs with long 75s (and no schurtzen) and painted them gray, rather than brown, so KG Klink is staying on the Ost Front.
I am truly blessed, great times with the little guys. I hope all is well, and quit messing around and get back to your 15mm USMC in Afghanistan!
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the kind words and support!
Norm – We’ll see; it’s just that 10mm is so perfect for North Africa…
Whirlwind John – We are inextricably linked 😉
Kyote John – The boys really want to play with them, so batreps coming soon.
Tony – I apologize for the confusion; fourth time going 15mm WWII, but the first three times were all NW Europe, these are my first Western Desert forces in any scale.
Martin – Not madness to me 😉 But everyone has their own idea as to what they’d like their table to look like, just down to personal taste. Looking forward to your Benghazi Handicap battle reports!
Sane Max – I’m a big fan of the aesthetics of the Crusader, too!
Darby – Let’s go man, get off your butt, I wanna see some more SOG stuff outta you!
The HMMWV opened fire with its Mk-19, suppressed the T-72. The FSNL AGS-17 returned fire on the HMMWV as the enemy CO moved up and attempted to rally the suppressed tank crew, but failed (rolled 1S dice, got a ‘6’) and so the tank had to fall back a ‘normal’ move distance. Now the T-72 started the fall back only about 4” from its own table edge, so the failed rally attempt should have taken it immediately off the table, but I’m playing on a small table and was feeling charitable so I simply moved the vehicle to the table edge, so the Commies would potentially have another chance to rally it, but they didn’t as the dismounted .50-cal immediately got in on the act and scored another suppression, which forced the T-72 off the table.
Goodness… anything is possible, I suppose 😉
Just wait til ya see what I post next, even you shall be impressed! Well, probably not, but I’m quite proud of the accomplishment nonetheless.
Kyote – Yup.
Thomaston – Typical Commies 😉
I suppose I could do a better job of snazzing it up for the narrative, rather than just typing out what mechanically happened according to the rules. So change “…the T-72 was already suppressed and the HMG fired with 1S dice and scored a ‘6,’ thus compelling the vehicle to fall back off the table,’ I suppose I could write it up as “…the HMG engaged the enemy tank, wrecking the main gun’s optics and destroying the tank’s smoke dischargers, which caused a fire. The tank commander ordered the driver to reverse out and then set about extinguishing the fire, but then the HMG again engaged the tank, hitting the tank commander. The driver made a command decision to fall back in order to get the TC the necessary medical attention and get the tank back in good fighting condition.”
2130 on 4 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #12
TF Bowie vs FSNL 4th Company
Captain Madre-Animral leads his TF Bowie against the FSNL’s 4th Company, with whom they are very familiar. That familiarity is born of an absolutely ferocious battle the two held several hours earlier, literally fighting themselves to exhaustion. Unable to press forward yet unwilling to cede ground, both sides called for reinforcements and dug in. This is a simple attack/defend scenario; the Cuban goal is to crush their enemies on the way to the capital, the Communist goal is to hold the ground.
The Cuban attack jumps off (top left and bottom right).
Fierce hand to hand combat breaks out on the far left.
While the Captain Madre-Animral pushes his men forward on the right under heavy fire.
To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
Next up we have the SLA’s A Company defending against an assault by the FSNL’s 6th Company.
“What does a squad/section do when it’s suppressed?”
To prove Martin’s point above, I think everyone is going to have their own expectations of what this looks like. From my perspective, taking fire does not equal having an impact on troops, it must be some level of ‘effective’ fire, which is as easy to define as… well, you get it. Man, we could fill pages talking about different variables within the immediate tactical situation and how they might affect men taking fire.
In terms of people being shot at, I’m pretty close to John’s ‘morale states.’ For me the lowest ‘form’ of being affected by enemy fire is what I call “pinned,” which means men go to ground and work to return fire. Then you’ve got “suppressed,” which means the fire is effective enough that the men have gone to ground and are only seeking cover, they are not (or are no longer) willing to return fire. To discuss men collapsing/running, here we really need to define what we’re talking about, real life or a wargame, and at what echelon.
As an example, I play what I call ‘perspective-based wargames,’ meaning if I’m playing a company-level battle then I am the company commander and I make decisions in the game at his level; I do not make decisions at the platoon commander’s or squad leader’s level, so when a squad is taking fire that is very effective, a unit can go from ‘happy’ to ‘suppressed’ and even falling back in a heartbeat. The point being, in my opinion, in real life, let’s say 95% of the time when a Western squad falls back in the face of the enemy it’s because the squad leader made a tactical decision that falling back was the best option available to him at that moment in time, not ‘the men broke and ran, completely routing from the battlefield.’ So in game terms, the dice results ‘decided’ the enemy fire was super effective against my squad and compelled that squad to fall back, even though I as the player/company commander did not want that to happen. In my view that was the squad leader exercising his own initiative; if we were playing a lower level game, where I’m now the squad leader, that changes how I’d look at things.
“In many games, suppressed squads can be ‘unsuppressed’ through leadership. In reality how often does this work, and how much time does it take? Many accounts say that once troops have gone to ground it’s hard to get them up again. Is this the same thing or something else?”
Again, too many options here. The short answer, I suppose, is yes, absolutely, small unit leaders can get their men up and moving again, sometimes even under very heavy fire; if that weren’t the case, units wouldn’t take heavy casualties, one guy would get hit and the entire operation would ground to a halt. Quite alarmingly, I’ve seen several accounts of this in contemporary engagements in Afghanistan; take fire, take cover, call for supporting fires, sit tight until it arrives, then police up the casualties and go home. Again, subject for another day.
In any case, in terms of ‘how does it work?’, well, that’s what I was talking about in my initial reply about ‘you can never have enough leaders.’ How it works is that small unit leaders have to get up, expose themselves to fire by moving amongst little knots of men and putting their hands on them to direct their fire and/or get them moving. My experience was that radio comms immediately breaks down once the gunfight begins; it’s not like the movies where guys are chatting back and forth, fire a couple rounds, chat some more, fire a couple rounds, chat. In real life most guys shut up once the shooting starts, they sure as hell don’t want to respond to queries, and they can’t hear you anyway because it’s not just a couple rounds flying it is a veritable cacophony, so the most effective means of communicating is moving to them and getting face to face.
So when you say “how long does it take?’, well, it depends on a whole host of different factors.
Again, if you’ve got particular situations in mind, please lay them on me and I’ll throw my two cents at ya, and if you do, please throw in the echelon we’re talking about (squad/platoon/company/battalion) as it certainly has an effect my answers.
Ian – Glad to be of service 😉 I quit smoking several years ago, it’s like a dear friend died, I still daydream about it…
Kyote – Cuban.
Thomaston – If I was wanting to cheat, the Cubans wouldn’t have been in that position in the first place! 😉
Whirlwind – Indeed, and to continue what I started in the line above, yes, my Cuba Libre stuff is often more cartoony, high risk-high reward stuff. In real life they should have broken contact and fallen back, but in these games, being so small and quick, and wanting to give guys the opportunity to heap glory upon themselves, I more often than not go for broke. I play the odds straight (if I recall correctly the CO charging up the hill was doing so at a -4) and sometimes you get super lucky. Hell, sometimes you get super lucky and keep rolling it; there are some really good fights in the future of this campaign, and there are some real stinkers that saw some Cuban legends made, looked like a game of Chinese Checkers…
1400 on 4 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #11
TF Bowie vs FSNL 4th Company
1st Lt Madre-Animral leads his TF Bowie straight east, in pursuit of the FSNL’s 4th Company, whom they defeated and forced to withdraw earlier this morning. This is a simple attack/defend scenario; the Cuban goal is to crush their enemies on the way to the capital, the Communist goal is to hold the ground.
The Communists push very strongly in the center (right to left).
And force the Cuban right.
Using textbook fire and maneuver in order to push the Cubans back.
Followed by vicious, point blank fighting on the Cuban left.
The Cuban CO launches desperate counterattacks to stabilize the line!
To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
Here are the Turn 3 Map Moves:
Next up we have Captain Madre-Animral’s Task Force Bowie and the FSNL’s 4th Company having at each other again!
From what I recall, the Cubans were very effective at keeping the recoiless rifle team pinned down.
Some of it was dice, some of it was my initial deployment, which I apparently haven’t quite figured out yet. Kinda tough to pull off a fighting withdrawal on such a small board, me thinks. I did random deployment for the Cubans, and while it made things a bit less organized than normal, it still basically built up a defensive line opposite the enemy’s entry area. Again, I suppose the Cubans couldn’t have been too far from the enemy’s entry area, lest they begin the game only one move away from escaping.
So yeah, it was a pushover, the scenario just didn’t work the way I planned. And I apologize, but my excuse remains that when I’m playing out a 30-game campaign, some of the fights are not going to be as riveting as I’d like them to be, and I’m moving too fast (trying to get through 30 games) to re-play a battle. Obviously I don’t have to handle it in that manner, but that’s been my approach.
“Sometimes the bad guys just come in quite dumb I guess…”
I don’t think they came in dumb, I just don’t think there was a good way to come in at all, given the Cuban deployment. The two sides were starting on top of each other (in terms of ranged fire) and so it turned into a dice-rolling affair.
The games have been playing out between 45 and 90 minutes, more towards the lower end of the spectrum.
“And I’m not busy, I’m lazy.”
That’s why it was in quotation marks 😉
But knowing you, you’re probably doing it and just not telling us, waiting to spring the whole thing on us at some point in the not so distant future.
Don’t forget hermit crabs and Girl Scouts!
I tried to get him to do those 6mm figures in a dozen poses each, but he was too “busy” 😉
If I had but a fraction of his talent!
I agree on both counts.
1430 on 4 Aug 1990
Mini-Campaign Fight #10
TF Razor vs FLA 3rd Company
Now we have Captain Soares’ Task Force Razor fighting a rear-guard action against the Free Leon Army’s 3rd Company. TF Razor is the other part of Task Group Fulgencio, which was cut off from friendly forces and is now fighting west to break out and return to friendly lines. Unfortunately the withdrawal was halted when FSNL5 decided to counterattack TF Redleg on Hill 261, which allowed the pursuing FLA3 to catch them.
This fight is occurring west to east (right to left), with the pursuing enemy insurgents chasing the Cubans, and the Cubans starting spread across the right half of the board and having to withdraw their forces off the left table edge.
The Cuban rearguard is strung out along the left as the Communists give pursuit from the right.
The Cuban MG Team (bottom center) catches three enemy rifle teams as they enter the village (top center)…
And roughs them up!
The Communists try to flank the Cubans with a Technical (bottom right), so we can have the obligatory rocket shot.
To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
Next up we have Lt Madre-Animral’s Task Force Bowie in a re-fight against FSNL’s 4th Company. Earlier this morning TF Bowie defeated FSNL4 and forced them to fall back, and now they are in hot pursuit, hoping to roll them before they get a chance to recover.
Definitely food for thought, though I’m still not exactly sure how to pull it off.
“the initial pin reaction of troops who witness but are not themselves targetted by fire.”
My experience is this is very much dependent upon the experience of the troops being fired on. Once you are experienced you can identify exactly what is shooting, where it is shooting from, and who it is shooting at, pretty much in real time. There may also be a strange machismo in place as well that keeps veteran troops from ducking, where they’d rather make fun of boots than take cover themselves.
“BTW, I was only thinking of this in the case of previously unlocated enemies, or in the first round of enemy fire.”
Martin – Rereading my reply to you, I want to make something clear, please: when I said “…tie you up in a discussion if you don’t want to have one,” I meant that in terms of me being long-winded and that not everyone can/wants to devote a bunch of time to my silly ramblings on the internet.
Ivan – Yeah, Nuts!, IABSM (through its number of activations being lowered by casualties and shock), and, of course, your own NEiS all do that. For me, personally, I think it’s probably realistic to feel yourself (as the tabletop commander) becoming mired and unable to get things done, but it’s not particularly satisfying on the tabletop (for me). As I’ve said a million times, I’m much more a fan of the 5Core Kill/Shock dice and the immediate results/carrying out of results regarding casualties and morale.
I’ve also given thought to the idea of runners and other forms of communication. Part of the problem, to me, is that it could be incorporated into a platoon-level game, but would be more appropriate to a company-level game, but then it seems to me that should be done using individually-based troops, which is madness! 😉 The other issue is that using runners is a huge oversimplification; in real life you have a signal plan, consisting of various flares, smoke, even signal mirrors and flags, and then you (at least in modern times) have a no-comms plan for disasters (think of the British 1st Airborne in Arnhem), emissions discipline (“radio silence”), and comms-denied areas (EW/jamming). This would require players to actually formulate a plan prior to the tabletop fight starting; in this case, carrying out the plan is the (relatively) easy part!
John – I understand your point about this happening in local counterattacks, and this: “…with very brief exceptions (Kasserine, early Bulge, Korea) there haven’t been that many American units in these kind of bad situations…” may be true in terms of the defense, but my point above was that this will often happen on the offensive, when there is a misunderstanding or mis-appreciation of the terrain, or when a unit gets into trouble and instead of moving within the construct of mutually-supporting elements someone panics and makes the rash decision that the only way out of this mess (saving 1st Squad or 1st Platoon or A Company) is to send 2nd Sqd/Plt/B Co out and around, but now 2nd Sqd/Plt/B Co gets into their own mess and now both 1st and 2nd are being annihilated. When you read of attacks going in and being repulsed, suffering 60% casualties, sometimes this is what happened (sorry, I can’t quote any sort of percentage regarding how often that was the case).
“…lots of combats IRL are pretty much foregone conclusions.”
Man, that is not an idea that I can get on board with at all.
“And the very structure of a tabletop game tends to discourage the response of the odds look rubbish, I am withdrawing.”
Though I agree wholeheartedly with this; in real life most commanders are not willing sacrifice their men and thus allow/order their men to fall back when it’s clear they’re about to be close assaulted out of existence. I’ve never seen nor heard of a tabletop commander doing that, most of us are fighting tooth and nail, and if the game has Force Morale/a breakpoint we scream and holler that we could have won when it is reached and our force involuntarily ‘quits’ on us 😉
“…not just to make it a random event, but a situational one…”
I was thinking the squad leader/platoon commander would grab the nearest riflemen and tell him to go tell the boss ‘we’re in trouble and need help,’ then we would activate the runner each turn and track him across the table until he reaches the boss and delivers the message, then tracks back to the squad leader/platoon commander to tell him what the boss said.
Stephen – I’m sorry man, I have it but I haven’t played it, I’ve only read through it once when I first got it (maybe two years ago?), so I’m not familiar enough to answer those questions. If you go to Iron Ivan’s blog you can see some batreps that will give you an idea of how the rules work, which is what convinced me to buy them in the first place.
I don’t think they’re that bad. The first time they’re firing on a target I usually give them 1K 2S, then move that up to 2K 4S once they’re dialed in, even more if the target is troops bunched up.
Lefties, eh? Filthy! 😉
I like all of them, can’t seem to stop buying them…
“…a task that the rest of the company or battalion wasn’t in a position to support.”
I gotcha, and man, assuming we’re talking about an attack, obviously sometimes you find yourself in those types of situations, but that’s what we called ‘getting caught with both feet in the air,’ and can (and sometimes did) very rapidly turn into a @#$% sandwich. I can’t recall us doing it on purpose, but it often happens in urban environments where a support or reserve element is moving up to assist a unit in contact, but takes too wide a berth (gotta watch out for friendly fire in real life), or even gets lost, due to the narrow frontages you are generally confined to in a city, and now you have two or three elements (whether they’re companies, platoons, or squads at this point, doesn’t matter) that are left to figure out and take care of the situation all on their lonesome.
I just had a Eureka! moment; maybe this is why casualties are so high all the time on the tabletop? In real life, if you are properly supported and your company/platoon/squad gets into more trouble than it can handle, the commander commits more forces/supporting fires to extract the unit in trouble. In games you rarely see an element withdraw; on the tabletop, you’re playing a ‘discrete’ squad, platoon, or company-sized game, so when you get in trouble you’re stuck, all you’ve got is what is on the table, so you generally get annihilated, or something close to (though I must tip the hat to Chain of Command and Battlegroup for their ‘Force Morale’ concepts to help rectify this).
The only set of rules that I can recall handling this differently was Disposable Heroes 2; you and your opponent each command a platoon of infantry, but you really never have the entire platoon on the table at the same time. The rules make each side go with the doctrinal ‘2 up, 1 back,’ so in the standard ‘attack/defense’ game, the defender has a platoon of infantry, but starts the game with only one squad on the table (in the defense the platoon has two squads in the line, one in reserve, and they’ve opened their frontage quite a bit, so the attacker is striking the ground occupied by a single squad), and if you get in trouble you can call in the reserve squad, but it affects the victory conditions. The attacker begins with two squads on the table, and if things get out of hand he can call in the third, reserve squad; again, it affects your victory conditions. It’s an interesting idea, but obviously rather restrictive, and I don’t recall exactly, but it had some other parts designed to make the attacker push forward as rapidly as possible that I wasn’t particularly fond of.
Whirlwind John – I’m with you. Regarding “…Durham Light Infantry in WW2, and discrete platoon attacks weren’t that rare…”
When you say ‘discrete platoon attacks,’ what does that mean to you? Are you saying a rifle platoon stands detached and is going tromping off 5km away from the rest of the battalion and carry out some task, or do you simply mean the ‘company commander has given 1st Platoon the task of taking the farmhouse’?”
“…how much of the latest series of KG Klink or Cuba Libre can be easily broken down into the actions of the discrete sections/squads involved?”
In both cases one base=one squad/wpns tm/vehicle, so literally every single time two opposing stands came into base contact I could have set up a 2′ x 2′ table and played out a squad vs squad fight to determine the winner of the IABSM or 5Core Company Command game’s ‘close combat,’ rather than simply roll dice in accordance with the rules’ melee mechanics. I agree that how each opposing unit got into that particular situation was a result of complex interactions with plenty of other units, but once the attacker has closed with defender, everything else is out the window. In that immediate time span there is no support and there are no reinforcements, it’s five minutes of fury to determine who will be the last men standing. From my standpoint, it’s literally that simple and straightforward.
Steve – I’m a fan of all levels, they each have a special place in my heart 😉 I really enjoy your BKC games, but like I said, someday when I’m playing BKC and I have a Close Assault, I’d like to stop the BKC game and play a lower-echeloned game, rather than use the simple roll off for CA.
Martin – Indeed it is, and I hope I haven’t couched my comments in an inarticulate way, I was simply hoping to point out to folks that want to play squad vs squad tabletop games that there are certainly options besides ‘Sergeant, take your squad and patrol down to the river and back.’ And to that end, Darby put a lot more meat on that bone, anyway, I ended up getting off on a tangent about company-level tactics…
“Modern (Iraq, Afghanistan) is different as the troops are vastly better trained and equipped.”
I disagree wholeheartedly, but won’t tie you up in a discussion if you don’t want to have one 😉
I really enjoy you big battles, just saw you’ve posted another one and headed over now to have a gander.
Kyote – I had looked at the Gale Force 9 ones and almost bought them several times, but when Darby posted a photo of one of Sigil mats, I had to have one. Now I’ll have three… 😉
Thomaston – Yep. And Flashpoint gave me a bunch of left-handed M-79 grenadiers. Please tell that wasn’t really all it took for you to give up the ghost 😉