My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Test Game of Company-level WW II Rules

I did a quick test game of the new Company-level WW II rules I am working on. (The working title is Memories of War – in homage to its origins – but it is just that, a working title.)

All I have worked on so far is infantry (small arms) fire, light anti-tank weapons, direct fire for mortars, and halftracks. With that started, I decided to throw the miniatures on the table and give the rules a try, to see where the problems are.

I decided to choose a small area – 9 squares wide by 7 squares deep (36" x 28") – with a simple objective: attack an enemy platoon dug in defense. Mind you, this game is not intended to be fair (it is one platoon attacking another platoon dug in, with no points advantage), nor is this an example of how to properly attack or defend in this situation. The goal was to get as much engaged as possible, looking at the interactions, and seeing if they "felt" right. With the excuses for my poor play out of the way, I present "Defense of Hill 327". (You can click on any image to see a larger, 800x600 pixel version.)




Yes, some artillery and smoke would have been nice for the Germans to have. Something to suppress those LMGs on the hill. As it played, however, I was fairly happy with the results. Infantry, even in woods, were not going to face off against two LMGs with impunity. The Germans thought they would be clever and creep up to the American line, using the MGs on the halftracks to pin the Bazooka skirmish line, but the 37mm anti-tank gun showed its usefulness.

Some changes from Flames of War that I allowed (or at least, some changes from the way I remember how they played):

  • Infantry units on hills can fire over infantry units as long as the target unit is farther from the intervening unit than the firer is from the intervening unit.
  • Anti-tank guns can fire over intervening infantry units that are dug-in or gone to ground.
  • Infantry count vehicles as concealment if either are moving, but as cover and concealment if both are stationary or if the vehicle is destroyed and in the same square.
  • MGs on halftracks (actually any open-topped vehicle's hull MG or co-axial MG, or any vehicle's AA MG) are subject to the effects of pinning, lowering their dice from 3 to 2 if pinned (while a .50 caliber MG would be lowered from 4 dice to 2).
  • A vehicle being destroyed in the same square as an infantry unit adds a (single) pin marker to it. The same applies to gun teams. (By default, unless a weapon indicates a separate ROF value when pinned, a weapon has an ROF of 1 when pinned. If it has a base ROF of 1, it cannot fire when pinned.)
  • A weapon with an ROF of 1 cannot fire on the move or when pinned. An exception would be if the weapon had stabilizers.
  • All infantry units in a square are hit by enemy units firing on that square. These hits are rolled separately, however. For example, if an LMG fires on a square with two infantry units in it, it would roll five dice separately against each unit. If the square is mixed – infantry and armored vehicles – the firer must state whether they are firing anti-personnel or anti-tank rounds. In that case the opposite unit type is not affected (i.e. anti-tank rounds do not affect infantry, etc.).
During play I realized that pin markers were racking up too high and that you would quickly get to a point where no one could move. The basic rule I was following was that a unit could roll two dice at the start of its turn to remove pin markers (Fearless 67% chance of success on each die, Confident 50%, and Reluctant 33%). With the basic chance of hitting (and thus inflicting a pin marker) on an infantry unit set at 50%, units were getting about 1-3 pin markers from concentrated fire. And as units were firing twice – once in their own turn and once in the enemy turn as defensive fire – pins were racking up fast. I then decided to limit the number of pin markers a unit could accumulate. Right now it is set at 3 for Fearless, 4 for Confident, and 5 for Reluctant, but it needs more testing. (It might be a case of "double jeopardy" to set the number of markers and the chance to remove those markers by morale rating. I think I might just limit it to four markers for all morale levels.)

One thing I like about these rules are that it is easier to see historical tactics in use. You can provide covering fire from some elements in an attempt to lay pin markers on enemy that might be able to sight your moving elements. It will not stop the enemy's fire, but it will generally restrict it.

I also liked ignoring the marginal cases, such as whether an MG or rifle could affect a halftrack. In Flames of War the infantry has an anti-tank value of '2', while a halftrack's armor rating is a '1'. So on a hit, if the halftrack rolled a '1' and the infantry rolled a '6' (1 chance in 36), the halftrack would have to bail out. In my rules I simply rate a rifle and an MG as unable to affect the halftrack at all. By the same token, a 37mm anti-tank gun has an anti-tank value of '7', meaning if it hits the halftrack must roll a '6' followed by the anti-tank gun rolling a '3' or less for the hit to not penetrate the halftrack; all other hits result in it being destroyed 50% or bailed out 50% of the time. I simplify this by giving the halftrack a simple save of 16%, per hit taken. (In addition, it takes a pin marker for each hit, if not destroyed.)

I have a lot of work remaining, however. Artillery bombardments are next and armored combat will be the big hurdle. I will keep reporting here as I make changes and progress.

3 comments:

  1. Nice AAR and good pictures...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi! Just thought you might like to know I've nominated you for a Leibster award! :)

    http://colourofwar.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/leibster-blog-awards.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting, Dale. I quite like the idea of the square grid - I have one of those!

    Cheers,
    Aaron

    ReplyDelete

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").