CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

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Len Tracey
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CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by Len Tracey » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:19 am

G'day all,
Apologies in advance for such a long post but its an issue that concerns me.
After reviewing the rules and FAQ relating to single-team squads, I now have some concerns regarding how they play. Having played a few games against Soviet platoons and tested the Japanese platoons, my concern is that single-team squads are actually superior to two-team squads. This is certainly contrary to how I feel things should be. Single-team squads should be less capable than the more tactically flexible two-team squads, not the other way round. Unfortunately, due to how the game system mechanics are applied to single-team squads, the two-team squad’s tactical flexibility can actually work against them.

The single-team squad actually gains some considerable game-system advantages compared to the two-team squad. These include the following useful tactical advantages:
1. For the cost of 1 SP you can dig-in the entire squad
2. Suffer only +1 Shock for double-time movement. This means that on a CD 3, the squads JL can initiate double-time movement with one CI and then remove the Shock with their other CI. That’s a significant mobility advantage for the single-team squad.
3. The squad’s LMG always dies last. This means it will retain a basic firepower rating of 6 – 8 dice until wiped out. In contrast, the two-team squad runs a real risk of losing its LMG much earlier given how hits are divided and resolved. This is purely mechanical, as there is no historical or tactical reason for a single-team squad’s LMG crew to be better protected than a two-team squad’s LMG crew.
4. Single-team squads completely invalidate the British doctrine special rule of Concentrated Fire. This is significant in the Asia-Pacific theatre. Again, it is a purely mechanical benefit not supported by history.

However, the biggest game-system advantage that comes with single-team squads is a potent game winner. They suffer significantly less BTH rolls and so lose FM much more slowly. The following is an example of what I mean:
Working on a “squad reduced until it’s wiped out” scenario, the two-team squad potentially suffers double the amount of FM loss. The single-team squad will only suffer one “Squad wiped out” BTH roll for a 50% chance of –2 to FM. The two-team squad will suffer two “Team wiped out” BTH rolls for a combined 66% chance of –2 to FM. This incurs another 50% chance of a further –2 FM if you follow the double jeopardy interpretation when the second team is eliminated (roll for loss of team AND squad).
If you accept a starting FM of 8, then after losing one squad, the two-team squad’s side could easily be down to FM 4 (with loss of 1 CD), while the single-team squad’s side will, at worst, be down to FM 6 (still has full CD). Add in a bad JL loss BTH roll and the two-team squad is at FM 2 (with only 2 CD and loss of one JOP), while the single-team squad is at FM 4 (loss of 1 CD). By my count, this gives forces with single-team squads a massive advantage for winning games of Chain of Command. This seems neither fair, realistic nor historical.

The only serious disadvantage a single-team squad suffers is the inability to spread hits across two teams. This means all Shock will be concentrated, resulting in greater loss of firepower and movement than for a two-team squad. A simple example: two squads each have 10 Shock; the two-team squad has it split 5 Shock on each team. The single-team squad will lose 10” of movement and 5 firepower dice. The two-team squad will lose only 5” of movement from each team and 2 firepower dice from each team (for a squad total of 4).
A single-team squad also suffers a couple of minor inconveniences:
1. Can’t use CD 1 to activate part of the squad. Given the ability to dice-up and the presence of other types of teams, this is not much of a problem.
2. Can’t bring a squad’s LMG team on for an ambush. Again, other types of teams are available to do this with.

My big concern is that these game-system discrepancies will unduly advantage the Japanese squads & platoons (which are already larger than their allied equivalents) and thus render the Asia-Pacific theatre an unbalanced situation. Having expressed my concerns and the reasons for them, I offer a suggested solution below:

Suggested Solution: Basically, each single-team squad is divided into two teams, an LMG team (contains the LMG and its crew) and a Rifle team (contains everyone else), but these teams have the Non-deployable rule.
Non-deployable: These teams may not be deployed or activated individually under any circumstances. This includes not on a CD 1, not via a leader’s CI, and not via a COC Dice. They must always remain within coherency distance of each other. They must always move to regain coherency if this is broken. However, they are regarded as Infantry teams for all other rule purposes such as allocation of hits, targeting by special rules, accumulating Shock from double-time movement, loss of team BTH rolls, etc. Also, the squad’s JL can still use CI to move troops between rifle and LMG teams in order to reinforce the LMG crew. The squad’s JL always counts as being part of the LMG team when relevant (e.g. to determine leader casualty checks).

I believe the above solution would enable the team focused game mechanics to apply equally to both types of squads while still allowing the greater tactical flexibility of a squad with doctrinal fire-teams.
I’d appreciate any thoughts and suggestions on this matter.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by Truscott Trotter » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:59 am

Would it not be simpler to make all squads single team squads?
My reading is that is how they tended to operate in combat the team manourvers were fine in peace time drills but combat changed things very quickly.
In fact I am currently reading a book written by an SAS section leader. In theory had 3 teams of 3 in practice they fought as a group of 9.

andysyk
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by andysyk » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:03 am

Len.
I too have considered the single team superiority. Youre fix would seem to be a good one. Most squads that did fight as a single team still had allocations within the squad so these non-deployable elements can be identified.

I think the split team squads are even more penalised in the F Series USMC Rifle squad with 3 teams. Which some would argue was a very successful tactical option, formed after years of combat experience and only just now being changed.

andysyk
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by andysyk » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:14 am

Truscott Trotter wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:59 am
Would it not be simpler to make all squads single team squads?
My reading is that is how they tended to operate in combat the team manourvers were fine in peace time drills but combat changed things very quickly.
In fact I am currently reading a book written by an SAS section leader. In theory had 3 teams of 3 in practice they fought as a group of 9.
Yes many units dropped by the manual drills or developed other methods of fighting but that's actual use vs COC full strength TOE by the book premise. Or at least its original premise, many lists in the 1940 Book are not strictly by the book/manual especially in the allocation of men to teams. Discussed at length in a recent thread. Which seems to be for game balance more than any historical basis? The designation of the BAR as a one man weapon is more actual practice than the book practice. So we seem to be in a bit of a flux....

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by Truscott Trotter » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:30 am

Indeed I searched through 4 books of battle accounts last time and stuggled to find any maybe Big Rich has some?
I did find one in a unit diary but it was Russian and they don't have teans ....oh well.

andysyk
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by andysyk » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:39 am

Some units did employ manual tactics and quite successfully. There are accounts.

Others didn't, others were incapable due to a lack of training knowledge. For example Ive come across accounts/reports from British/German/US that say they are no longer able to conduct small scale tactics effectively due to a lack of ability in replacements, in NWE, which suggests they were doing so beforehand.

It isn't often mentioned in accounts, because honestly most accounts rarely describe how they actually fought tactically. Ive read hundreds of accounts and rarely do people say how they fought, even that they were a member of a section/team/platoon etc.. Many presumed their audience would know such things.

JimLeCat
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by JimLeCat » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:11 pm

An interesting idea, although it perhaps contradicts 4.5.7 as written. Admittedly, it isn't a rule I've seen used often, but it is used occasionally for good in game reasons (in the same way that multi-team squads don't generally split up unless there are good reasons).

Maybe amend it to say they must maintain coherency unless 4.5.7 is applied, and this new rule only applies to the rump of the squad under those circumstances?

In the same vein, I don't see the need to say they *must* move to regain coherency if it is lost. In most cases the player will *want* to do just that, but there will be occasions where that doesn't make sense. For instance, a squad is caught with either end in cover and the middle in the open (say crossing a road). The men in the open are killed and the two 'teams' are now more than 4" apart. If they *must* move to maintain coherency, does that mean one of these teams is forced to leave cover just to rejoin the other? Perhaps replace this with a rule that the JL cannot spend CI on more than one team unless they are within coherency distance, due to lack of training in controlling men under those circumstances?

Lastly, is it deliberate that you have reduced the effect of shock on fire abd movement for these squads, negating what you noted as their only big disadvantage?

Cheers,
Jim

chris cornwell
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by chris cornwell » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:57 pm

Your example isn’t really correct though, is it?
2 x squads. 1 of 2 teams. 1 a single section.
Both have 10 shock.
If the 2 team section is moving or firing as an entire section on a command die of 2 or a 3 it applies the shock exactly the same as a single section would, not by individual team. If moving/firing by team then apply the shock effect by team.
Some advantages of 2 team sections are less quantifiable. The ability of platoon with 2 team sections to utilise rolls of 1’s with more flexibilityy and the ability of a section to split by providing 2 out of covering fire/regular fire/movement- these ARE significant advantages of a 2 team section over a single section, particularly if the 2 team section has a red dice option and the single section doesn’t.
Personally I lean towards thinking its not broke enough to fix

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john de terre neuve
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by john de terre neuve » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:52 pm

If the 2 team section is moving or firing as an entire section on a command die of 2 or a 3 it applies the shock exactly the same as a single section would, not by individual team. If moving/firing by team then apply the shock effect by team.
That is how I have always played it.

Interesting discussion though.

John

Gibby
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Re: CONCERNS WITH SINGLE-TEAM SQUADS

Post by Gibby » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:15 pm

As someone who mostly plays as the Soviets in Chain of Command, I have to say the single team aspect of their platoon sections is definitely a challenge. The cons outweigh the pros, I've found. Allowing for the fact that they're already at a disadvantage by having me in command, the platoon having single team sections makes them a difficult force to get the best out of.

They're totally inflexible with regards to activating and maneuvering them about compared with better trained forces, which means they force you to either be very aggressive or at least be prepared to throw one or two sections at the enemy together. The fact that they can absorb more shock mitigates this a bit but they soon bog down anyway if an attack meets resistance. The Soviet platoon perhaps more than any other really relies on its supports to aid the sections in their fire and movement tactics.

Also, the Soviet and Japanese platoons having single team squads that can, by their nature, take more shock does seem to line up with historical accounts. Both armies were known to be fairly stubborn in the face of enemy fire (perhaps because of the various incentives offered by their respective leaders). Them being harder to shift through shock is probably one of the unique challenges of facing them. Not that my regular opponent seems to have much difficulty... :lol:

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