1939 Poles errata

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Archdukek
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Archdukek » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:58 pm

Thanks Andy, I hadn't picked up that the FM30 is the same as a BAR.

Strictly speaking in the lists the BAR is still part of a Team, the question in the terms of the COC rules is did it need the dedicated attention of an assistant loader as crew to operate at full efficiency in the short time span of a CoC firefight or could the loader fire his rifle. I think Rich was persuaded not in the case of the Americans, which might have been influenced by the relatively low firepower of the US BAR Team. I don't know.
Personally, I'm persuaded by your and Seret's arguments that it should have at least a second crewman.

On the basis of what gebhk has described as their role, it seems that the Poles stuck to a larger crew, or "team" if you prefer, for their equivalent.

John

andysyk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by andysyk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:34 pm

Hmm
Well the Belgian Manual lists: Corporal, Shooter(No.1) 1st Ammo bearer (N0.2) and 3 assistant ammo bearers.

However to be pedantic the Chasseurs Ardennais and Fusilier Cycliste only added four men in their FM squads, when they added an extra FM, they did make the NCO for these teams a SGT rather than a CPL, however this is an indication that they considered 4 men necessary for a FM team. (Note this does not match the COC 1940 handbook make up for these units, my research obviously differs))

Now the Poles had a 4 man team, roles described as above.

If however we go by the 1940 COC book only 1 man in the Belgian FM group operates the (BAR) so all the others can fire their rifles, so the Polish should also be able to fire their rifles apart from obviously the Wz.28 man.

Also in that case why cant a British L/Cpl Gun Group Commander fire his?
Or an early war German third man.

Also if the BREN or MG34 is operated by one man it loses dice, where as a FM30, WZ.28, BAR which had the same idea of dedicated crews (if not in numbers, then in purpose) do not? Even with a BAR an assistant is an advantage, if it was not the role would have been dropped in the F series USMC ToE when Fire Teams were introduced. (They were in operation with Raider units before this and earlier in the Banana Wars)

Its inconsistent and its reasoning doesn't actually match doctrine?

In actuality obviously different nations thought that different numbers of men were needed to keep a LMG in operation. In fact in the Belgian and Polish examples they considered it necessary to have more men for a fixed barrel, low magazine capacity weapon.? Probably due to 20 rd Mags.

And considering gebhk post about a Platoon ammo dump and runners, maybe the Belgians had a similar practice? Which is different from other nations immediate practice, although not so different, (ie German, British) this would explain the perceived need for multiple ammo carriers, who would not in that case be on the firing line. So no firing rifles in game. This is not unusual some nations MMG teams were very man heavy.

Honestly not trying to stir a hornets nest, just??
Last edited by andysyk on Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gebhk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by gebhk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:48 pm

Or an early war German third man.
Or for that matter the 2nd and 4th man could blast away with their pistols. The reason I am making this inane suggestion is to highlight the point that I think Andysyk is making that it was not the role of the SAW team to be part of the rifle team. There was a reason why they were equipped with close combat weapons.

And considering gebhk post about a Platoon ammo dump and runners, maybe the Belgians had a similar practice? Which is different from other nations practice(ie German, British)
I can't imagine how you could operate otherwise. There is only so much ammo that can be carried on a man and given the vast expenditure of ammo on a modern battlefield there would have to be some means of replenishing not too far behind the firing line. Out of curiosity, how was British and German practice different in this respect?

andysyk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by andysyk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:33 pm

gebhk

Yes you've hit the nail on the head, why cant the LMG gunner fire both his pistol and LMG at the same time? However.

Every member of the British Section/Squad carried ammunition for the LMG, actually this was the case in British practice, not German, according to early war German manuals the 3 man MG34 team was supposed to carry all required ammo among them, later in practice all members of the squad carried ammo. Of course in practice you carry far more ammo than any manual advocates. In British practice there were no allocated ammo runners in the Platoon at some point during a lull in the action you would send back men to pick up ammo from the Company reserve.
In practice, in my experience I carried 4 x 20 round magazines for my SLR (pre SA80 issue) I carried at least 50 belted rounds for the section GPMG, more likely, usually up to 250, I could have a bandolier of extra rounds, but in practice I would be carrying cardboard 20rd boxes of extra ammo. After awhile all you carry is ammo and water. My immediate ready ammunition in the magazines would see me through a "Firefight" after which would be conduct a Reorg, ammo would be redistributed among the section. Mags refilled etc.. In action if in a support role with the GUN Group and Rifle Group in close proximity the GPMG NO.2 would shout along the skirmish line for ammo this was thrown from man to man. You never have enough ammo, but this is where troop quality plays its role. If you know your business, controlled disciplined fire is the key, fire orders specify the ROF, where it is to be applied and when, the Squad Leader has this in mind. If youre really good you can keep fire superiority without vast ammo expenditure. Poor units fire off loads to no effect.
A section could easily fire off all its ammo well under a minute. That's why you have controlled fire, directed fire. That's why you have drills. Each rifleman when given the order Fire, Rapid Fire etc knows how many rounds a minute this means. The section commander knows how long differing fire rates can be sustained.
Of course in action this can go out of the window, in fact if you look at a lot of accounts you will here of units coming under intense initial fire from an attacking foe and then the enemy melts away, this is because they approach all guns blazing run out of ammo and then have nowhere to go, nothing to go anywhere with. Likewise units in defence fire off all their ammo then abandon their positions.

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Arlequín
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Arlequín » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:36 am

WW2 British additional ammo was carried in the platoon 15cwt. Which itself would be replenished from the company reserve. The W/Es often stipulate how many rounds 'on man' or 'with weapon', as well as 'ready' and 'reserve' stock. Naturally I would assume much of the ready ammo ended up 'on man' in action.

Prior to the Bren, Lewis sections had an NCO, two man gun team and five men to carry extra drums in special webbing. Ammo issue for those guys was 25 rounds for their rifles, including ten in the rifle itself. The Spanish had NCO, two-man LMG team, two ammo runners, an ammo mule and handler. The NCO and No. 2 had pistols as PDWs, one runner had a carbine, the other a rifle.

Pretty much all the pre-war organisations I recall that featured 'LMG teams' within sections (including the French iirc), had dedicated ammo bearers for the weapon, typically armed with pistols or carbines as PDWs, rather than rifles. The Spanish Hotchkiss LMGs for example, only came with five stripper clips, so one runner would be constantly engaged in re-filling them, as opposed to adding to the weight of fire with his own weapon.

In extremis however the weapon you had was there to be used, but typically gun teams existed to keep the weapon firing and well-stocked with ammo.

Wargamers typically like to roll as many dice as possible, but in reality every man was not necessarily shooting. Most LMGs were worth a section of rifles, so losing two or three men out of the firing line to keep them fed was of no concern.

Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:41 am

Some great input chaps. Really fascinating discussion.

So, where does that lead us with the Polish BAR wz 28?
There's a great youtube vid about it on the Forgotten Weapons channel:
https://youtu.be/ME0EbkI34Uw

Certainly it was an improvement on the American BAR, and unlike that weapon it was often used on the (somewhat improved) bipod.

For CoC, I would suggest a basic two-man crew firing with 4D6. Then, two additional ammo-bearers, who would serve as casualty fodder but can also fire their carbines giving an additional 2D6, so 6D6 in total for the whole team.

Alternatively, 6D6 for the weapon firing with full crew, whether this is 4, 3 or 2 men including the shooter, but dropping abrubtly to 3D6 if reduced to just one man.

The second option would certainly make the weapon operate on the field more like an LMG and give the Poles a vague fighting chance. Although I'm worried that it would be too powerful, indeed on par with the Bren. However, if it's too weak - a four-man team firing with, say, only 4D6 - it might be preferable to just have four riflemen.

jdg
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by jdg » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:07 am

"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 F

Actually in the US Army in "actual combat" the assistant to the Bar gunner was seldom used as such being just another rifleman to the point that in May of '44 the assistant BAR man ammo belt was dropped from the TO&E solder was officially converted to a rifleman.


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Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:54 am

Well, that's weird. Just ran a revised Polish list thru the CoCulator, and I find it should have had a Force Rating of +2, not +5!

Perhaps I made a mistake?

Platoon HQ = 23 pts
[2x SL @9pts = 18
1xAT rifle @ 2pts (incl 2 crew?) = 2
1x46mm mortar (3 crew) = 3]

3xRifle Sections @ 26pts = 78 pts
[1x JL = 6
14 rifles = 14
BAR wz 28 incl. team of 4 men (firing a total of 6D6) = 6]

So 23+78 = 101pts, which when you feed it into the CoCulator equates to a Force Rating of +2.

Now, with the weaker 3-man BAR team firing 3D6 in total (per the original list) we come down to just 92pts = Force Rating of +1
[Post edited here in the light of @Seret's comment at 11:27am on 8 Nov.]

(The +2 band actually covers from +96 to +101 points, the +1 band from +90 to +95.)

Removing the 46mm mortar brings us down to 89pts and a Force Rating of 0!!

Hmmm... The only obvious way to get up to +5 Force Rating (114-119 pts) is to add a second JL (Kapral) at section level. Perhaps that was Rich's original intention?
Last edited by Contrarius on Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

gebhk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by gebhk » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:09 am

We seem to be quoting from examples through history and perhaps ignoring the relative carrying capacities of different armies' soldiers, which is perhaps clouding the issue a little. It might be helpful to limit the discussion to 1939 and consider the differences in carrying capacity caused by such prosaic realities of life like whether the company had a truck to shift the footsloggers backpacks. Also I think it is clear that there is a difference between carrying the odd clip or two of SAW ammo and actually being part of the SAW team - ie primarily serving the weapon and only using ones personal weapon in dire circumstances. Also within those teams there is a difference between men whose job was physically servicing the weapon (gunners, loaders, assistants, ammunition carriers and what have you) and command (SAW team leaders).

In reality, most armies had very similar numbers of actual SAW operators in foot infantry units - 3 (eg Polish); 4 (eg German, Hungarian, Soviet, Romanian) or 5 (eg French). If you break it down further, to use that favourite wargaming gag, the army list :? we have:
Gunner 1
Assistant 0-1
Ammunition carrier 2-3 (though usually 2)

As you can see, the main reason for differences lies in whether there was an assistant or not. The reason you have nearly always at least 2 ammunition carriers is so that there is someone to fetch more ammo as it starts to run low.

The other main difference in team structure is whether it is deemed necessary to provide the team with its own leader (eg Polish, Romanian) or whether the command function is shared between the gunner and squad leader (eg German, Soviet, French).

Undoubtedly there were, for various reasons, exceptions at either end of the scale, however 4-5 men in the team as a whole seems to be the norm with 4 being the strong median. These 4-5 men where deemed, for a number of reasons such as carrying capacity, command structure of the squad, etc, the minimum necessary to operate the gun at its full efficiency. In a historically-based game, the game mechanics should reflect this. Yes the gun team could start popping off their rifles, but this should result in a significant reduction in SAW output and/or efficiency. In real armies that is why there was nearly always an NCO or lance-corporal on hand to stop that sort of nonsense...... and it should not, therefore, be encouraged in a historical wargame army either :twisted:

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Archdukek
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Archdukek » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:16 am

Contrarius,
I wouldn't try to infer anything about additional JLs from the Difference in calculated Force Ratings. It might be that he considered it initially but arithmetic has never been Rich's strongest suit or it may be a typo. :-)

6D6 is way too powerful for a BAR type weapon team, it is not an LMG and should be at a disadvantage when operating against a squad with one.

John

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