1939 Poles errata

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Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:20 am

Archdukek wrote:
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.
I'm not implying it would be a good idea to add additional JLs, merely trying to figure how Rich got the Force Rating so badly wrong (if indeed it is wrong and I haven't made a mistake myself).

Agreed 6D6 does seem too powerful for a BAR, compared say with a Bren. But are we comparing like for like? It is a BAR (@3D6) + 3 team members (@1D6) giving 6D6 in total for the four man team (which, after all was the team's historical composition, not 3 men as stated in the lists). Or for consistency with the Belgian weapon, 4D6 for a two-man crew (no. 1 and no. 2), plus 2D6 for the no.3 and no.4 carbine-armed ammo-bearers, which still comes out at 6D6.

Do bear in mind that the standard SMG gives you 4D6 at close quarters, and the BAR fires effectively to 18" not 24" like an LMG. Also the issue of how many of those ammo-bearers are actually firing their weapons somewhat disappears when you consider that in WWII only 15-20% of infantry were willing to fire their rifles in combat (Grossman, On Killing, 1995).

At an absolute minimum the four man team must do 4D6 of damage or there is little point in having it over 4 riflemen (only the advantage of rerolling 1s). So, the options are really 6D6 total or 5D6 total for the whole four-man Team, sliced whichever way you prefer into operators and additional riflemen.
Last edited by Contrarius on Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Seret
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Seret » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:27 am

Archdukek wrote:
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. :-)
Also, pretty much all the platoon ratings were refactored when the CoCulator was published. It's not totally clear what method was used to derive the original list values, but many lists have changed value and the original PDFs weren't updated:

https://tinyhordes.com/updated-chain-of ... e-ratings/

If you take the list at face value (BAR plus three crew) then the list comes out as 92pts so +1.
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.
Gotta say I agree with this.

Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:12 am

Seret wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:27 am
Also, pretty much all the platoon ratings were refactored when the CoCulator was published. It's not totally clear what method was used to derive the original list values, but many lists have changed value and the original PDFs weren't updated:

https://tinyhordes.com/updated-chain-of ... e-ratings/

If you take the list at face value (BAR plus three crew) then the list comes out as 92pts so +1.
Well, that's a result! A +4 difference in Force Rating: that's a 7TP tank or a 37mm AT gun.
I suspected the Poles were being shortchanged but not by that amount!


As for the 6D6 for the BAR wz 28 crew + ammo bearers (totalling four men, not three per the incorrect CoC lists) see my post above.

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Seret
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Seret » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:18 am

Sure, I agree with the 4-man gun team, but the question was whether some or all of the supernumeraries should be using their personal weapons. Personally I'd lean towards a crew of at least two on the gun, reflecting Polish training and doctrine. Which would be a max of 5d6 for the whole group. IMO two men is the minimum size for keeping an automatic weapon in the fight, and if men are continually shuttling back to a platoon ammo point then probably more.

Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:14 pm

Seret wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:18 am
Sure, I agree with the 4-man gun team, but the question was whether some or all of the supernumeraries should be using their personal weapons. Personally I'd lean towards a crew of at least two on the gun, reflecting Polish training and doctrine. Which would be a max of 5d6 for the whole group. IMO two men is the minimum size for keeping an automatic weapon in the fight, and if men are continually shuttling back to a platoon ammo point then probably more.
OK. Agreed the gun definitely requires a minimum of two crew. If we take 5D6 as our goal for the 4-man team, then the options are:

2-man crew (No.1 shooting, No.2 loading) @ 3D6 + 2 ammo-bearers/riflemen @ 1D6 = 5D6
or
3-man crew (No.1 lance-corp, No. 2 shooter, No. 3 loader) @ 4D6 + 1 ammo-bearer/rifle @ 1D6 = 5D6
or
4-man crew (No.1 lance-corp, No.2 shooter, No. 3 loader, No. 4 ammo-bearer) @ 5D6

The First-to-Fight 1/72 packs provide only 2-man crews, so my BARs are physically based on that variant with 2 supernumeraries on individual bases as casualty fodder. In this case, when the crew is reduced to just 1 man, the BAR should fire with only 2D6.

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Arlequín
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Arlequín » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:27 pm

We always seem to compare the BAR to the Bren. Why not compare it to the Breda 30, which was an awful weapon, complicated to load, prone to jamming and fired a low-powered cartridge? That gets six dice. There are other LMGs with poor performance that get six dice, the Japanese Type 11 for instance. The French FM24/29 has the same ROF as the BAR and is only superior due to having a top-mounted magazine with more rounds in it; does that warrant twice as many dice?

One of the features of CoC mentioned in the rulebook is that there is supposed to be no differences across a weapon type. On that basis where the improved BAR clones are operated as LMGs, with a crew of more than one, they should be treated the same.

What I like about the 'BAR one crew' rule, was that you can have the No.2 and No.3 in a team shooting too, which made the BAR team effectively 'five dice', which I thought was fair and a good fix. It also compares with the U.S. practice of a one-man BAR team only putting out three dice.

Designated ammunition runners should probably be absent in the same way as platoon orderlies and runners, but we've never done that with other lists so why start now?

gebhk
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by gebhk » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:14 pm

Sure, I agree with the 4-man gun team, but the question was whether some or all of the supernumeraries should be using their personal weapons
The simple answer is they shouldn't. That wasn't their job and (a) there were plenty of men in the squad whose job it was and who had the proper tool for it (as thought at the time) and (b) rifle fire was virtually ineffectual on the WW2 battlefield for a host of reasons one of which Contrarius touched upon earlier. Basically because an automatic weapon, any automatic weapon, was so much more effective, it was worth expending every possible resource to keep it working optimally and diverting resources from automatic weapon to rifle fire simply reduced the effectiveness of the squad overall.

The fundamental problem is, of course, that the killing power of rifles in particular but also of machine guns is vastly overrated in most wargames rules..... This makes technical differences in ROF, range, etc significant and debateable whereas in reality they probably were not 99% of the time. And even technical debates usually omit to discuss all significant aspects such as durability and squaddie-proofness as Arlequin has just pointed out.

In reality I suspect that it made little difference in the grand scheme of things whether the squad was armed with a BAR or MG34. What mattered far more than weapons' technicalities was tactics, the element of surprise - the usual truisms of warfare since wars began. Having the benefit of the opinion of many men who had first-hand experience at the sharp end, Polish squads armed with BARs did not feel particularly disadvantaged vs the MG34 - except in one psychological aspect - the use of tracer rounds. Inexperienced troops found the visible evidence of all the s... coming their way unnerving. Otherwise they felt it was much of a muchness other than that the German thing was much more prone to jamming and generally fouling up.

One should probably also consider the benefits of having a team leader in the Polish squad. There was a reason after all why having a separate gunner and tank commander in a tank was considered necessary.

Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

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

As usual, these are all brilliant points. I continue to be amazed by the depth of knowledge and indeed
first-hand military experience on this forum.

We have two options:
(a) Rewrite the rules, so that, among other things the average rifleman fires only 0.2 dice (mirroring the academically established reluctance of WWII squaddies to fire in combat)
or
(b) Take the rules as written and try to adjust the lists to conform with reality as far as is possible.

Since we all love the rules more or less “as is”, I suggest our only option here is b.

In this light, and @gebhk’s last post among many others, I would suggest 6D6 for the four-man Polish BAR team is not excessive. It’s really just a question of how to apportion operators/ammo-bearers.

Adding a JL to the BAR team may be worth considering; but... one battle at a time.

Archdukek
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Archdukek » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:02 pm

Contrarius wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:54 pm
In this light, and @gebhk’s last post among many others, I would suggest 6D6 for the four-man Polish BAR team is not excessive. It’s really just a question of how to apportion operators/ammo-bearers.

Adding a JL to the BAR team may be worth considering; but... one battle at a time.
Sorry Contrarius, but this obsession with trying to give the Polish BAR team the equivalent of 6D6 seems to me to be directly contrary to what gebhk is saying about the 4 man crew not using their personal weapons to augment its fire. He has explained repeatedly that wasn't their tactical role which would point to leaving the list as is with 3 crew but adding the extra rifleman to the squad perhaps to give you an extra 1D6 on its firepower.

That may not be consistent across lists but does seem to reflect how the Poles used the weapon which I think is what we should be trying to model in our games.

John

Contrarius
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Re: 1939 Poles errata

Post by Contrarius » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:46 pm

You know, @Archdukek, I'm not obsessed with 6D6. That's just what comes out of the current rules & interpretations: 3D6 for the BAR itself (with 1 operator) plus 1D6 for each of the three assistants.

Seems daft, no patently absurd, to me to have a gun staffed by four men which is only kicking out only 4D6 of damage, as it would be much simpler and more flexible to just have four riflemen. Thus, the solution must be 5D6 or 6D6.

I'm not at all adverse to the 5D6 solution (with 3D6 for BAR including 2-man crew, plus 2 ammo-carriers/riflemen each @ 1D6. Or failing that, some equivalent that adds up to 5D6).

That is how the rules work at present, so we're kinda forced to adapt what we have, not what we'd like to have.
If anyone has any other solutions please do mention them.

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