Halftracks and Passengers

Moderators: Laffe, Vis Bellica

batesmotel34
Posts: 424
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by batesmotel34 »

If you listen to the Military History Not Visualized link in the post you replied to and then read the account in your first link, it seems clear to me that the later war German use of their gepanzert troops was primarily in a breakthrough roll in direct support of the panzers. To do this they would stay mounted in their half tracks where feasible so they could move and fight with the armor where possible. When it came to terrain where this wasn't possible, as in needing to clear a town, then they would dismount and fight on foot as in clearing the town in the example in your first link. This does seem to differ from the early war doctrine where the 251/1's really were primarily as just transport and not as fighting vehicles.

How appplicable this is to fighting on the scale of CoC is a different question. Given the ranges involved and that most games aren't intended to represent an armoured breakthrough in relatively open terrain, the value of fighting mounted in game terms and in the situations the game represents are limited. I would probably be willing to allow troops in a half track to fire as normal in a stopped halftrack and at half effect in a moving one as do vehicle mg's. Given the vulnerability in game of the half tracks and the cost for the half tracks I'm not sure this would really be unbalancing. I would also limit passengers firing to no more than 4 figures out either sides of the vehicle, and maybe two firing to the rear, with a 45 degree field of fire. Similar to firing through a windows but with twice as many figures allowed to fire. Unlike windows, troop firing at the passengers would not be restricted to being within the 45 degree field of fire to fire at the passengers.

Chris
Truscott Trotter wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:54 am
That not what my resesrch shows as every manual or account I have seen including a training film made in WW2 talks of them fighting dismounted.

The reason being when they tried it in 42 against the Russians they ran out of halftracks pretty fast as they were all burning.(Kharkov is a good example 1st and 2nd battles)

The one real life account I found of them fighting mounted (other than drive by attacks against disordred infantry) was 2nd SS in 43 trying to stop a Soviet tank breakthru - they lost almost all their halftracks though they did the job

The other issue is trying to hit anything further away than 5m from a moving halftrack cross country.

Then the final issue is you are then gonna have players wanting to have a truck race down the road with 20 men in blazing away.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=iR ... ck&f=false

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=lq ... ck&f=false

George2591
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:11 am

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by George2591 »

Thanks for the links and inputs. As you say not going to happen on a 6x4, but....... ;)

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 7528
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by Truscott Trotter »

So batesmotel are you also going to change the rules to allow passengers to be shot at?

If so I suspect they are going to be dead pretty quick unless of course you are going to allow moving passengers to shoot accurately at long range. 😁

batesmotel34
Posts: 424
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by batesmotel34 »

Truscott Trotter wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:14 pm
So batesmotel are you also going to change the rules to allow passengers to be shot at?

If so I suspect they are going to be dead pretty quick unless of course you are going to allow moving passengers to shoot accurately at long range. 😁
Firing passengers should certainly be vulnerable to return fire. Probably count as hard cover but again they are likely to take a lot more incoming fire than they put out.

Chris

siggian
Posts: 878
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:22 am
Location: Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by siggian »

I wonder if the confusion over their use is because it changed a number of times over the course of the war. I'm speculating that they were used as primarily transports in Poland and France because they were unknown technology and had limited numbers. Then in mid-war, their abilities were more known and there wasn't a proliferation of AT weapons yet, so they could be used relatively safely in aggressive assault roles. Then late war, it became unsafe to use them in attack except in specific circumstances, so they went back to being generally transports.

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 7528
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by Truscott Trotter »

siggian wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:32 pm
I wonder if the confusion over their use is because it changed a number of times over the course of the war. I'm speculating that they were used as primarily transports in Poland and France because they were unknown technology and had limited numbers. Then in mid-war, their abilities were more known and there wasn't a proliferation of AT weapons yet, so they could be used relatively safely in aggressive assault roles. Then late war, it became unsafe to use them in attack except in specific circumstances, so they went back to being generally transports.
Sounds logical but when I did some reading it doesn't back it up.
It was more like what the commander needed them to do on the day
"Right lads I want you to assault that village from your halftracks and move on in support of the tanks to the next defensive line"
"But Sir that suicide there is a pak front in that village!"
"and your point is Sgt?"

CoC is based on theoretical OOBs
and Theoretical manuals
So I would go with general theory on use - and for whatever other reasons Rich has seen fit to not allow firing from passengers or firing at passengers.

siggian
Posts: 878
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:22 am
Location: Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
Contact:

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by siggian »

Oh I agree that that the local commander would decide what to do on the day. I was talking general trends, which is what the theoretical manuals would recommend as general guidance.

Your hypothetical example demonstrates my point. The sergeant knows that it is dangerous (and likely the men do too), so the safer course of action would be to dismount at a distance. But safer doesn't necessarily mean proper or better all of the time. The officer may have good or bad reasons to take the riskier course. The other thing to observe is that people note and remember the exceptional, not the ordinary. So in you hypothetical, the survivors of the encounter would remember the exceptional moment of the officer going against the ordinary way of dismounting to do the attack. It works the other way too. If the officer had ordered a dismounted attack where normally they would stay in their vehicles, that would also be remembered.

andysyk
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:11 pm

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by andysyk »

Ive a training manual from 42 that advocates mounted and dismounted attack. Including close assaulting whilst in the halftrack. There is a training film made in late 44 that ends in a mounted attack. Its on three parts on youtube. Lost the link. Most people watch the first part which is the PzGrenadier Coy harbouring close to the objective , then doing a recce on foot and liaising with the local Infantry. Ive seen this referenced as proof that they always fought dismounted. However if you watch the next two parts it shows them make a plan then conduct a combined mounted dismounted attack on entrenched Soviet infantry. It shows close combat from the halftracks. The Platoon commanders ht are sfkfz 251/17 so its quite late war. Post war The Bundswehr adopted the same tactics. Im waiting for funds to purchase a translated 1944 manual.
Of course against an opponent with an effective AT screen its not a good idea. One unit atempted it in the Bulge and there is a photograph of a field littered with shotup ht. Also Arnhem.
Ive come across quite a few accounts of Germans coming from the Russian front where these aggressive mobile tactics seem to have been more successful getting a rude awakening on trying them in the West.
But in the manuals mounted ht manuevering and close assault is par for the course for the Germans.
Pasengers shooting from the halftrack other than in close assault, no. IIRC its says in the manuals that this is
Basically a waste of time unless youre actually in close assault.

If you search on here there are numerous threads on ht use and its one of those subjects that people seem to get a little heated about.

batesmotel34
Posts: 424
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 12:14 pm

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by batesmotel34 »

Something else to remeber is that German tactical doctrine was primarily based on Eastern front experience in the later part of the war. While the Germans and Western allies developed better infantry AT weapons, for the most part the Germans were primarily facing Soviet infantry with little more in the way of anti-armour weapons than their standard AT rifles so fighting mounted was not nearly as dangerous as facing infantry generously equipped with bazookas/piats/panzerfausts. Given that CoC is primarily an infantry oriented set of rules where action occurs at relatively short range, the omission of rules for fighting mounted is understandable even if it is something that probably could be included without seriously distoritng the rules although adding a bit more complexity. And it does seem that the situaton where fighting mounted was doctrine are also in cases where cooperating closely with heavier AFV so again not really in the purvview of what CoC primarily aims to cover.

Chris

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 7528
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: Halftracks and Passengers

Post by Truscott Trotter »

Chris from 43 onwards I doubt any Soviet infantry went anywhere without suppprting 45mm ATG if not Zis-3's.

Post Reply