1939 Poles errata

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Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:23 pm

gebhk wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:03 pm
TBH, I'm a little sceptical of the idea of of a single-crew mag-fed gun in any list. In practice as soon as the gun goes into action it's going to require at least one other man to start stuffing magazines.
Amen to that in general. Almost every army I can think of had 3 men operating the SAW - ie gunner and two ammunition carriers. The job of the latter two was to ferry spent mags to the platoon ammo dump, return with full ones and to act as general dogsbodys for the gunner. However, all being well, mag-stuffing was (in the Polish army at least, but I suspect in most) done at platoon level, where they had special gizmos to speed and optimise the stuffing process. The man in charge of the dump would usually be given one or two riflemen, borrowed from the squads, to help keep up with demand. So, in fact, more men were involved routinely in 'feeding' the SAWs than the TOEs would indicate. Of course in dire need, mags could also be stuffed manually with rifle ammo and since they were loaded from 5-round clips same as rifles, this was not that complex a process.

The Polish army and many others, added a 4th man to the SAW team to act as team leader.
Don't forget, the action in CoC all takes place over a matter of mad minutes. Surely the collection of spent ammo, refilling cartridges etc, would (mostly) take place when the lead is not flying so thick? When your life is in immediate danger you will either seize the nearest weapon and fire back or (more likely) take cover.

Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:34 pm

An infantry cart with its "infantry cart resource manager" forms a key and integral part of the Polish platoon, at the platoon level. Being essentially non-com it is abstracted out of CoC, but I think it makes a cracking Jump-Off Point.

Actually, the same is true for the basic German infantry platoon.

andysyk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by andysyk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:47 pm

In the Blitzkrieg handbook the FM30 is given 4 Dice, so the Polish wz.28 version should be equal. In the Belgian lists it is also a one man weapon!

Yes refilling of mags is generally post combat, unless in extremis or a prolonged defensive action, it would be done in reorgs either of which in a game of COC would probably be out of game.

However the main function of extra crew members in most continental armies was ammo carrying or originally to carry the optional tripod and so forth. However they wouldn't generally fire their personnel weapons except in hand to hand combat, or if there was a stoppage on the SAW/LMG.
In British practice the L/Cpl role is very much a commander role, yes he carries extra ammo but his main role is directing and controlling fire etc. The Polish BAR Team Leader would have a similar role. They are generally to busy to fire their weapons.

I think the best way to go for such teams in COC is to apply the allocation as according to the manual. Its how they intended to fight. These crew are there to service one weapon and use it to its maximum effectiveness, their personnel weapons are mainly for immediate self defence, not additional firepower for the squad.

The problem here is that the WZ.28 is NOT a BAR, tactically, in action as prescribed is more akin to other LMGs, it should be a four man team. The fact it doesn't put out the volume of FP as other LMG teams is just down to the weapon design if you start to class it as a one man weapon then it opens the door for other weapons.

The problem is that the BAR as been classed as a one man weapon, Im not sure this accurately represents its use, according to the manual and actual combat usage, an assistant BAR man seems to have been an important role from accounts. However the BAR does also not suffer from FP dice reduction and neither the FM30.
So if you class the Polish as the Belgians it would be a one man weapon.

Yes you can operate a BAR solo, you can do so with a BREN, which I have many times, used as a bolster to a sections firepower, you can use a belt fed GPMG solo. But you are not anywhere as effective as a 2-3 man team in terms of putting down effective, observed controlled fire. As crew: No.1 firing/operating weapon, directed by the Gun commander who is directing fire, observing the actions of the Rifle Team, watching for commands from the Squad Leader, as a NO.2 loading, unloading, assisting in stoppages, (changing Barrels, not in this case) extra ammo bearer, stowing empty mags, passing full mags to NO.2, collecting spare mags from other squad members or ammo runs in prolonged action. All to keep that SAW/LMG working at full efficiency to maximise its tactical application. It is your focus of attention, your personal weapon is for when the main weapon goes down, your in a section close assault or being close assaulted. You are a GUN "TEAM", youre primary role is to keep that one weapon operating, honestly you do not pick up any weapon and fire: you do your job.

So what we have is in the case of the BAR/FM30/WZ.28 a weapon which is in COC very distinct from other LMG and does not operate according to practice laid down in the manuals.

gebhk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by gebhk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:02 pm

I would generally agree that the limiting factor on output - at least in the medium and longer term - was not weapon design but the efficiency of ammo supply. Bear in mind that the wz 28 gunner could carry 5 magazines along with the gun and associated clutter. Each mag held 20 rounds. At a practical ROF of 80/minute, it is not difficult to see why an excited gunner might run out of ammo quite quickly and well before the 'mad minutes' Contrarius quite correctly describes are up.

The other impact on SAW effectiveness, which we havn't so far addressed is surviveability. Being a priority target on the one hand and more difficult to conceal when in action on the other, made the life of SAW gunners particularly exciting. Having a bunch of guys help him prepare well concealed positions, alternative positions to move to when the first begins to attract too much attention, cut firelines and such like, significantly improves the gunner's chances of living long enough to support his squad to the end of the engagement.

Archdukek
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Archdukek » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:09 pm

The fact that Rich has changed the crew requirement for the BAR Team in the US platoon does not mean that the same change would apply to other platoons using a BAR. It depends on the tactical usage in the platoon in question.
From what's been said it would appear that the extra men in the Polish platoon did not use their personal weapons to add to the BAR firepower so no change is needed, it should keep 3 or 4 crew in this case I'd suggest.

John

gebhk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by gebhk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:24 pm

Actually, the same is true for the basic German infantry platoon.
Oddly enough not so for the German infantry platoon of 1939 - they had no allocation of vehicles. They made up for it with far more 'tonnage' at company level and the stubble hoppers, relieved of the need to schlepp their backpacks around like their Polish counterparts, could carry more ammo on their persons into battle.

This changed as the war wore on of course.

Bestest
K

Archdukek
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Archdukek » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:42 pm

gebhk wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:23 pm
Apologies for labouring this point which I think is that while not having a rigid command structure like, say, the German squad, the Polish squad had as many if not more command resources at its disposal but used them more flexibly. This needs to be taken into account if the Polish squad is not to be at an ahistorical disadvantage, particularly compared to its German counterpart.
From what you say it would seem to me that you are making a good case for the Polish squad to be split into Teams like the Germans, French or British, but not to go so far as to add another Junior Leader into the mix as initially raised in the OP.

John

andysyk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by andysyk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:58 pm

Archdukek wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:09 pm
The fact that Rich has changed the crew requirement for the BAR Team in the US platoon does not mean that the same change would apply to other platoons using a BAR. It depends on the tactical usage in the platoon in question.
From what's been said it would appear that the extra men in the Polish platoon did not use their personal weapons to add to the BAR firepower so no change is needed, it should keep 3 or 4 crew in this case I'd suggest.

John
John when I started to write my post, I had to edit it because I was going to say what you have. However the Belgian lists class the FM30 which is basically the WZ.28 as a 1 man weapon and don't use a Team, when their manual specifically does. So the 1 man crew has been carried to the Belgians. The Belgian crew members most probably(definitely) didn't use their personnel weapons either. (4 men minimum according to the Belgian Manuals).

Even in the F Series USMC Squad, split into 3 Fireteams of 4 there was an assistant to the BAR man. The US Army Rifle squad has a BAR team. Historically and in the manuals the BAR is not a one man weapon. I don't understand the change making a BAR a one man weapon unless it is an in game fix to address the lack of COC FP in a US squad.

In the Blitzkrieg book its been carried on to the Belgians so why not the Polish?

I would argue that in all cases all should be a Team.
Last edited by andysyk on Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

andysyk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by andysyk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:08 pm

gebhk wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:02 pm
I would generally agree that the limiting factor on output - at least in the medium and longer term - was not weapon design but the efficiency of ammo supply. Bear in mind that the wz 28 gunner could carry 5 magazines along with the gun and associated clutter. Each mag held 20 rounds. At a practical ROF of 80/minute, it is not difficult to see why an excited gunner might run out of ammo quite quickly and well before the 'mad minutes' Contrarius quite correctly describes are up.

The other impact on SAW effectiveness, which we havn't so far addressed is surviveability. Being a priority target on the one hand and more difficult to conceal when in action on the other, made the life of SAW gunners particularly exciting. Having a bunch of guys help him prepare well concealed positions, alternative positions to move to when the first begins to attract too much attention, cut firelines and such like, significantly improves the gunner's chances of living long enough to support his squad to the end of the engagement.
COC isn't really detailed enough to deal with ammunition beyond immediate or carried supply, unless you use specific PSC or scenario rules. Its abstracted, yes in reality you have to consider it in game its not. If you look at all armies, carried ammo and practical rates of fire nobody would have been in action for very long.

The actual biggest ROF limitation in any LMG/SAW is a fixed barrel. That's where the BAR designs fall down in comparison to other mag fed designs which seems to be missed in every BAR/BREN comparison I have seen.

Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:13 pm

gebhk wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:24 pm
Actually, the same is true for the basic German infantry platoon.
Oddly enough not so for the German infantry platoon of 1939 - they had no allocation of vehicles. They made up for it with far more 'tonnage' at company level and the stubble hoppers, relieved of the need to schlepp their backpacks around like their Polish counterparts, could carry more ammo on their persons into battle.

This changed as the war wore on of course.
I've seen (rare) photos of small carts being towed behind the much larger German company Feldwagen during the 39 campaign. They have much smaller wheels than the later IF8 German infantry cart, which appeared I believe only from c.1941. Always thought these were the standard issue German infantry carts for 1939, but that we don't see them in the pictorial record because of AH's edict against photographing horse transport because it made his army look primitive.

In truth the bulk of photos of marching German infantry in Sept 39 show them without accompanying horse transport, except that is for the Gebirgsjaeger, who are typically accompanied by pack-horses.

Come to think of it the IF8 has a strong resemblance to the Polish infantry cart of 1939; slightly better engineered but very similar in terms of wheel-size and overall dimensions. Maybe not a coincidence?

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