Random thought/s on close combat

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bob696
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Random thought/s on close combat

Post by bob696 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:46 am

Whilst sat here waiting on new years day for the rest of the household to get their lazy backsides out of bed my mind wanders to Close Combat.

I have never been a fan of the TFL nuclear close combat rules and whilst I have heard, and understand, the arguments that it is meant to be deadly, not everybody is actually dead yada yada yada I find it too much that both sides are pretty much screwed after an encounter. 'Winning' is pretty pointless as there is rarely anyone left to run off and few to hold the ground. This is also contrary to what I understand of close combat (in all eras tbh) in that the majority of casualties are caused as one side breaks and attempts to flee.

In our last game we had an isolated german senior leader with a pistol sat in the middle of wood. Ideally the british section looking to 'take him out' would simply have shot the crap out of him but with the 4" visibility it meant they had to get within 4" and hence close combat. During said close combat he killed 6 of them. Whipped out the bren team, wounded the junior leader and killed 2 riflemen. He got a bump on the head (we decided he was captured)
(Long example as I am still waiting for the lazy sods to get up)

Now I understand the argument that it could represent an isolated incident of foolhardy bravery/martial prowess, looking at the handful of dice we were throwing it was not that unusual a result, upper end of the bell curve certainly but not a freak result.

As I understand the design concept of the nuclear C/C the 'dead' represent all wounds, twisted ankles, concussions and individuals running off/hiding and screaming etc as well as dead dead. Many of these casualties would be back in the fight pretty damn quick with a slap from the corporal and some shouted words of encouragement such as "FFS grow up", "grow some balls" "Get on your feet or I will shoot you" (a soviet favourite that last one).

My suggested solution is a simple one and gives a point to 'winning'. The side that holds the ground gets a saving roll for it's casualties. If it makes a save, the kill is converted to a shock.

And there I have to leave it as my son just woke up and remembered he is working today and is desperate for dads taxi to turn up

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Seret
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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by Seret » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:22 am

Close combat should be pretty rare, because you should only do it when you've got an overwhelming advantage (or are desperate). I have no problem with an assaulting unit being pretty much knackered afterwards, that's realistic. Once a unit takes a defended objective you don't ask them to push on straight away, you'll need fresh troops to exploit forwards. There are many, many reports where an immediate counter-attack retakes ground, because the attackers are temporarily pretty shagged too.

As for your SL in the woods, I would have just shot him. If the attackers were also in the woods then they can see him from 12". The 4" limit is only if you're outside looking in. In both situations you can sit outside 4" and blast him.

Sounds like him killing six enemy was a bit of an extreme roll though. How many dice was he rolling? I think an average result for that situation would be more like 2 or 3 dead.

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Arlequín
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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by Arlequín » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:28 pm

Rare? It is the be all and end all of infantry action. Perhaps it was a mistake to call it Close Combat and maybe Assault would have been better.

4" is 36' and nobody is using bayonets and entrenching tools until they are 1" from their enemy. It is however just within the maximum distance grenades can be thrown and ideal ranges for SMGs and pistols; hence being a generally more violent and noisy time than the firefight before that.

Certainly the end result might be a bayonet charge, but mostly winner and loser is decided before physical contact is made and one side will withdraw. Of course the underdogs often didn't withdraw and a melee would take place, but there was always a close range firefight.

bob696
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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by bob696 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:43 pm

There are many, many reports where an immediate counter-attack retakes ground, because the attackers are temporarily pretty shagged too.
<Emphasised text mine>
There are also numerous examples where an immediate counter attack has failed tbf.
I agree totally with your comment regarding being 'shagged' BUT as you say yourself, it is temporary. As the rules stand the winner is permanently shagged. Play as many turns/phases as you want and they will still be shagged. hence my suggestion that some 'kills' be replaced by shock, no 'hits' would be ineffective. In the above example an average result from 6 hits (assuming 3 hits were a 6) would result in 3 or 4 kills and 6 or 5 shock if attacking in a wood (in the open 6 shock and 5 kills)

I would even be happy with the shock from close combat being doubled. It would just make it FEEL more accurate to my mind.
At the moment when I look at a potential CC situation my mind is thinking "do I want to lose my squad to kill that squad/team" rather than "do I need to take that terrain feature and is the risk worth it"

GunnarL
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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by GunnarL » Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:07 pm

One thing to think about is that many of those kills, especially for the loser, are there to represent men being shot as they break away or being permanently isolated during the engagement. They fall into a shell hole or something and decide to just stay there because they can no longer see their friends or do want to go back into the fight.

If you want to change things though, I don't like adding rolls where they don't need to be. Try this: 4 and 5 shock, 6 is shock and kill. That should change things up.

That said, one reason close combat is so deadly is to make sure that it does not become the end goal of every unit. While that is often the end result of many infantry engagements, if the game does not make it hurt, you'd see everyone just launching into close combat at their first opportunity, even when it wouldn't make tactical sense.

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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by Archdukek » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:05 pm

Worth keeping in mind the timescale of Chain of Command where an entire game can represent a pretty short period of time. So squads may well not have much time to recover between combats and "temporarily" shattered squads might still not have fully recovered by game end.

John

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by Truscott Trotter » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:19 pm

I was going to suggest simply halving the number of total combat dice (having aeen my opponent roll 40 dice its a no brainer) but I kinda like Johns idea of 5 being 2 shock as well.

Might combine the two

My reading indicates most times one side broke and ran before the other side got to their trenches.

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Seret
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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by Seret » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:11 pm

bob696 wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:43 pm
As the rules stand the winner is permanently shagged.
No, just until the end of the game, which is fairly short period of real time. A whole turn in CoC is only a few minutes, phases are maybe 10-30s. A game could be 15mins of combat, certainly less than an hour. In real life people that have just been through traumatic experiences take time to rally, typically a leader would pull troops that have been in the worst of it off the line and park them somewhere safe to recover. Part of that is modelled in the force morale system. If you win the game while keeping high morale you get a lot of your casualties back. As well as simulating dominance of the battlefield it simulates the psychological impact on your fighting strength.
At the moment when I look at a potential CC situation my mind is thinking "do I want to lose my squad to kill that squad/team" rather than "do I need to take that terrain feature and is the risk worth it"
...or to put it another way "Have I softened that target up enough to make a close assault likely to succeed?". That's exactly what a real leader would be thinking, and what every tactical manual says you need to do. Chucking a squad in to attack a strong, unpinned enemy should be incredibly costly. You're encouraged to either win the firefight, or outmaneuver them (preferably both). Whittle them down and get the shock on them before assaulting, if they're in a strong position you ideally want them pinned first.
Truscott Trotter wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:19 pm
My reading indicates most times one side broke and ran before the other side got to their trenches.
And I think CoC models that fairly well. Most of the time you'll be breaking enemy units at distance through weight of fire. Closing to point blank is rarer and tends to only happen if the terrain is very dense. Part of the reason everybody hates FIBUA.

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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by Nick B » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:36 pm

Essentially you should never assault unless you have pinned the enemy with fire unless absolutely desperate.

Definitely should have fired at the JL - as pointed out you could have done this without moving into close combat.

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Re: Random thought/s on close combat

Post by Truscott Trotter » Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:32 pm

As the rules stand the only time you get one side breaking off without a bloodbath is when this applies - pretty rare

Total up the number of dice to be rolled by each
side. If one side has four or more times as many
dice as their opponent, then the side with fewer
dice Routs immediately.

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