Crew - what can they do

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bcantwell
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Crew - what can they do

Post by bcantwell » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:56 pm

In the glossary under teams, crew are described as "the men who serve the gun and may not undertake any other role " The discussions here have made it clear that those crewmen do not fire their personal weapons, but I was wondering exactly how limiting this is meant to be, especially with reference to the LMG crewmen.
Can part of the crew be broken off as a separate team to go do something such as capture an enemy jump off point?
Can the LMG crew follow the junior leader into close combat proceeded by a hail of grenades?
Can the LMG crew throw a grenade or fire a panzerfaust?
etc.

I cannot see anything that prevents a crew from engaging in close combat, but my opponents did cry foul the time I gathered my entire Japanese knee mortar squad and used them to launch a back breaking assault on the Marines on Guadalcanal.

We are doing a game from the Operation Martlet book tomorrow and the German starting platoons are all LMG teams (2 per squad). While I like the considerable firepower of two MG-42 per squad, I would like to know how limited these teams are so I can decide if I have to include the rifle team from the support list to provide any sort of flexibility.

Thanks

Brian

OldNick
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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by OldNick » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:53 pm

You’ve quoted the glossary, which is very clear. While they are crew members they act as part of a crew, and that’s it.

Of course, they are still soldiers, and can be assigned to other roles, but when they do that they are no longer crew. This can be done by a junior leader expending a command initiative - but in normal terms in a game it is far more frequent for the JL to use this to transfer riflemen in to the gun team to keep it adequately crewed.

“Junior Leaders may also use one Command
Initiative to transfer one man from one Team to
another if both Teams are within 4” of him and
under his command. ”

As to rifle grenades, grenades, and similar...
“Get a Unit which is not Tactical or on
Overwatch to throw a single hand-
grenade, fire a single rifle grenade or use
a single Section or Squad anti-tank... “

Now, a unit may be a team, or a section, depending on unit integrity, but it is certainly not a single crew member. If a team throws a grenade, it probably is one of the crew members who does it, but that does not mean that each may do so.

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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by Archdukek » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:09 pm

Hi Brian,
The weapon crewmen are there to serve the weapon and essentially that's it. You normally would use the spare rifleman in most Panzergrenadier LMG teams for other things like throwing grenades or firing Panzerfausts. However, in Operation Martlet the platoon is under strength so in the absence of any additional rifleman one of the team members would be tasked with firing a panzerfaust or throwing a grenade if that is needed, but keep in mind that while doing so they can't crew the LMG. So that if the LMG crew is reduced to one figure it's firepower drops by 3 dice. So you would generally only use a member of a 3 man team for such a task.

In theory you could strip a crewman from the LMG Teams to form an ad hoc team for other purposes but that just weakens both the LMG team and both they and the ad hoc team will be very vulnerable to shock. My strong advice would be to operate each LMG Team as a unit and better still follow the historic German tactical doctrine of always fighting as a Gruppe/Squad with both teams moving and fighting together, each squad covering the advance of other squads when required.

Any LMG team can join in a Close Combat assault counting each team member as a single man thus gaining 1 Combat dice, but they will gain no bonus for having the LMG when attacking. One reason why the Panzergrenadiers in this case are stronger on the defence and that supporting rifle team can be potentially very useful as an attacking force once the enemy has been soundly beaten up by the LMG fire.

John

bcantwell
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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by bcantwell » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:49 pm

OldNick - I like the idea there that a soldier is crew when assigned to the weapon team and reverts to "rifleman" if detached as an ad hoc team or some such. Elegant solution.

John - In a perfect world my kindersoldats will be able to man their MG-42s and mow down Tommy without need for deviation from doctrine. I don't expect that perfect world to get anywhere near my battlefield, so want to think about how to do things outside that doctrine with the forces on hand. Sometimes you reach a critical point where no doctrinally-approved options remain and an unorthodox action will carry the day (such as the charge of the knee mortar platoon).
Rich has often stated that he wrote CoC to explore theoretical tactical doctrine (hence mostly full strength formations, etc), but I've always been more interested in what happened when doctrine met the reality of understrength units, command confusion, lack of support, etc. So I'm looking forward to the challenge of dealing with the impending British attack.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by Truscott Trotter » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:47 pm

Archduke has summed it up nicely..

I would only add charging into close combat with your knee mortar squad us quite acceptable in fact quite historic too


I would only see some objection if you were say taking 3 men from an artillery crew and the JL and wandering off to fight.

Archdukek
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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by Archdukek » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:51 pm

Hi Brian,
Just be aware that Nick's elegant suggestion when applied to an ad hoc team created during the game means that the Team must remain more than 4" from its parent squad or it will be absorbed back into its original structure.
In a campaign the Platoon Commander is free to restructure the platoon as he sees fit to accomplish the task he is given. Sometimes it's necessary to cope with casualties. The benefit of such pre-game restructuring is that it remains stable during the game.

John

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by Truscott Trotter » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:04 pm

The problem with ad hoc teams is practically they need 1 on the dice or an attached SL to activate them.

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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by Munin » Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:19 pm

Archdukek wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:09 pm
...one of the team members would be tasked with firing a panzerfaust or throwing a grenade if that is needed, but keep in mind that while doing so they can't crew the LMG. So that if the LMG crew is reduced to one figure it's firepower drops by 3 dice. So you would generally only use a member of a 3 man team for such a task.
I'm not sure this is the case, actually. Use of weapons like grenades, rifle grenades, and panzerfausts generally happens with the expenditure of a CI and is not predicated on whatever other firing the unit has performed that activation. The typical CI expenditure on a Junior Leader usually looks something like: first CI activates the squad to fire, add up the dice for the LMG and any non-crew riflemen, roll for hits and effect; second CI, hmm, don't have any Shock to rally off, so let's fire a rifle grenade at those enemy jerks as well! I don't think I've ever seen anyone say, "Well, all of your riflemen fired with the first CI, so you can't now toss/fire a grenade too."

As far as I'm concerned, if a nearby Leutnant wants to spend his 3 CI to order a lone MG-42 gunner to fire his weapon dry (5 dice for reduced crew) then toss a pair of potato-mashers out there to dissuade the enemy from getting frisky while he swaps in a new belt of ammo, I'm all for it.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by Truscott Trotter » Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:37 pm

I had missed that part of Johns answer.

If you look at page 19 sect 4.5.3 thowing a grenade or using a panzeraust is not an activation so troops that have fired (or moved) ca still do that and it is a unit throwing rhe grenade not an individual figure.

So I agree with Munin on this point.

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Re: Crew - what can they do

Post by MLB » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:16 am

bcantwell wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:56 pm
I cannot see anything that prevents a crew from engaging in close combat, but my opponents did cry foul the time I gathered my entire Japanese knee mortar squad and used them to launch a back breaking assault on the Marines on Guadalcanal.
That was perfectly legal. The GD squad can opt to fire their rifles instead at any time as well as charge into close combat. I found the GD squad very useful when I played the Malaya 1942 campaign and while I never charged into close combat I did have them resort to their rifles from time to time.
The Tactical Painter
Painting little soldiers for tactical battles on the table top

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