SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

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Len Tracey
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SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by Len Tracey »

G'day all,
Below are some generic special rules that can be applied to troops to reflect particular traits. The first is a summary of how I see undivided squads working (i.e. those squads that are not sub-divided into fire teams - e.g. an LMG team and a Rifle team). The next three are ways to reflect the varying training levels of platoon NCO. The final three are characteristics that certain troops types can display.
I'm presenting these for two purposes. One is to get feedback so I can better refine my use of them when designing forces and scenarios. The other is as ideas for others who may be doing the same. All feedback welcome.

GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

United Squads: The rifle squads of many nations fought as a single entity and were not divided into smaller tactical teams. The squad’s leader was required to keep his squad together in combat and use it as a single unit, usually centred on the LMG. This has the following effects:
• For targeting purposes (i.e. allocation of hits within the squad), such squads are divided into a 3 or 4-man LMG Team and a Rifle Team comprising of the remainder.
• These squads can be activated by leaders using 1 CI as normal and only require 1 CI to be put on Overwatch or Covering Fire.
• The squad’s JL may not use CI to activate or detach individual teams from the squad, including scout teams.
• Neither the LMG nor Rifle Team can be activated on a CD 1 or used to perform an ambush using a COC dice.
Note that a SL within command range may still use a CI to detach a two/three-man scout team from a rifle squad if they wish. The SL cannot use CI to individually activate or detach the LMG or Rifle teams.

Subordinate Senior Leader: This rule reflects senior NCO who, while well trained, were not given the same command autonomy as senior NCO in professional western armies. Although they were expected to enforce the officer’s orders and keep the troops on the job, initiative was not really required. These senior NCO in PHQ acts as a SL but only have two CI.

Inferior Senior Leader: This rule reflects those senior NCO in armies that were poorly trained and given very little command autonomy. While they served adequately to enforce the officer’s orders and keep the troops in line, they were allowed, and usually showed, next to no initiative. These senior NCO in PHQ counts as a JL (i.e. for command range and JOP entry) with two CI, but can use this CI on any units in their command range.

Inferior Junior Leader: This rule reflects squad leaders that were given no training and granted no tactical autonomy. Their job was simply to direct the squad according to the platoon commander’s orders. This has the following effects:
• These JL treat their squads as United Squads and may never activate or detach any sort of team from their squad.
• These JL must spend 2 CI and succeed in rolling D6 = 4+ to put their squad on Overwatch or initiate Covering Fire.
• If no SL is on the table then these JL are reduced to having only 1 CI.

Dogged: This rule reflects troops that were determined (if often fatalistic) in following their orders. This can have any or all of the following effects, depending on the unit in question:
• The unit only loses 1” of movement for every 2 Shock suffered. [United Squads only?]
• The unit can re-roll any of its Bad Things Happen rolls.
• The unit gets a -1 to any of its Bad Things Happen rolls.
Applying all three would make a unit “very” dogged, but may be justified in certain circumstances (can’t think of any myself).

Mobility: These are options for units that demonstrated good cross-country mobility or adaption to certain terrain types. Any of the following examples could be applied:
• Stamina: Treat all terrain types as one movement category lower (i.e. Heavy Going becomes Broken Ground). [This allows the troops to move increasingly quicker in the harsher terrain types.]
• Agility: Add +1” to each movement dice rolled (applies to all foot movement in any terrain type). [This makes the troops slightly speedier over all terrain types.]
• Adapted: Add +D3” to the total movement distance rolled in specific terrain types (e.g. jungle, desert, deep snow). The unit still calculates its basic movement as per the terrain type but then adds the additional D3”. [This allows the troops to move well in a certain terrain type but not others.]

Scout Teams: These represent specially selected men from the parent company or even battalion/regimental reconnaissance unit. They are normally small three or four man teams sent ahead to scout for the main force. Generally comprising of smarter, better motivated men who display initiative, they are relied on to make their own decisions to achieve their mission. Such scout teams can have any (or even all) of the following special rules:
• Deploy an additional 6” from a JOP.
• Activate on a CD 1 or 2.
• Move 2D6 and still go Tactical.
• Loss does not trigger bad things happen rolls or effect Force Morale.
• Use their activation to remove D3 Shock, providing they are in some sort of cover. (Remember, if pinned in the open they will be Tactical and so in Soft Cover)
• Gain +D3” to all movement totals.

Appreciate consideration and feedback.
Cheers,
Len

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by Truscott Trotter »

G'day Len

Not sure about United squads would need to give some thought and maybe a bit of a playtest.

Like the differing NCO's all makes sense to me.

Really like the scout rules makes them much more useful, and I think more realistic.👍

Dogged looks intersting its similar to the one I came up with for the Japanese. Reflects there ability to keep going to achieve their objective despite setbacks eg only 6 men left out of 30? Keep going 😋better than Banzai type rules.

Munin
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by Munin »

My concern with the United Squad only activating on a 1 stems from the statistical distribution of Command Dice rolls. For your typical section, you can either activate on a 2 or add two 1s together, which increases your odds of being able to activate a section in any give throw of Command Dice (because you can combine dice but not split them). By only activating on a 1, you limit activations pretty severely relative to other armies - especially because your 2s are now useless unless combined to activate a leader.

I like the variation in Leaders!

Len Tracey
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by Len Tracey »

I'm going to have to re-word the United Squads entry. The squad activates on a CD 2 or, via its JL, on a CD 3; just like other squads. This means you can still add two CD 1 together to get the "2". The point I was trying to emphasise is that you cannot use a CD 1 to activate either the LMG group or Rifle group independently (i.e. as a team on its own). Only sections or squads that were tactically divided into teams can do this. The idea is that united squads can only be activated as squads and cannot have teams detached (except by a SL) or activated independently. Hope this clarifies things a bit better.
Thanks for the feedback, this really helps.
Cheers,

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by Truscott Trotter »

Ahh OK Len I understand now I had the same concern as Munin.

FWIW CoC always allows a section to form ad hoc teams but they only activate on a 1 so generally are hard to use unless you dedicate an SL to them so I do not see that a single team Squad would need any special rules for stopping this - I think Rich's philosophy is its really not a good idea but if players want to try it fine.

Not that I am a fan of the extra bookkeeping for imaginary teams within the 'united squad' but if you are going to go that route I would allow the JL to transfer men for 1 CI just like in a 2 team squad.

The mobility rule is also interesting and I can see it being useful in scenario or PSC's with unusual terrain/weather factors.
Again I would probably need to playtest them to see if the added complexity was worth it to the gameplay.

Captain W Martin
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by Captain W Martin »

Hi Len

Hope you are well? I always look at your posts with great interest.

1) United Squads
I'm missing something with the united squads I think?
I play the Russians a lot, so no teams, all built around the LMG, deploy or activate on a 2 or use the JL on a 3, 2 points shock when at the double, only 1 dice roll under a barrage, 1 CI for covering fire etc..... what you gain in durability you lose in tactical nuance.

2) Subordinate / Inferior Leaders
For me this additional leaders often gets forgotten during a game (Italians, Japanese etc) and at this low level I think doesn't bring much to my game. The various levels of responsibility all smooth out and I like to keep it simple, it feels this would be better at Iabsm company level?

3) Mobility
Again for me at this zoomed in platoon level is there much difference at how troops are going to deal with 250 metres of terrain? If there is (e.g. much better at secondary jungle or snow) I think this is much easier to deal with in a scenario specific note perhaps giving a nice simple modifier that' nice and easy to recall, "In this scenario all Finnish troops and 1 pip per dice of movement'. Easy and similar to existing rules. Better Company level activity can be modelled additional patrol phase moves.

4) Scout teams
I've been thinking along similar lines for a while. Again for me all I'd want to add really is the ability for organic shock recovery, any team or squad can spend their activation to shed a point of shock. This would make a huge difference to the utility and survivability of scouts.

I play a lot of CoC currently and for the simpler and closer to existing rules any mods are the better as I simply forget them, get confused by or argue over them! :lol:

Good work keep it up mate.
D

Len Tracey
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by Len Tracey »

Cheers CAPT Martin, appreciate the feedback. I'll try and address your points.

United Squads: This is simply a summary of rules that already exist and some clarifications of how I see certain aspects working. To go through the dot points in order:
Groups for targeting purposes. This is a "new rule" as a such. The division of undivided squads into a LMG group and Rifle group for targeting was to facilitate the division of hit dice and application of special rules such as the British Concentrated Fire. Otherwise such squads gained an unrealistic advantage in being able to leave the LMG until last when resolving hits. It also seemed unrealistic to me that while a British Bren team could pick out a German MG 42 team, it couldn't pick out a Japanese Type 99 team.

Overwatch & Covering Fire: The squad's JL only needing 1 CI to activate the squad or put it on Overwatch or Covering Fire simply restates what is already the case. One entrenchment also takes the entire squad, although I haven't mentioned that in the summary. Sometimes simpler confers advantages.

No detaching teams: Not allowing the squad's JL to use CI to detach teams, even scout teams, reflects the fact that this was not something they were trained or authorized to do. These squads are not divided into tactical teams, so allowing the squad commander to artificially create them seemed unrealistic. Note that a SL can still detach teams using CI, as this was where the tactical authority existed in these organizations.

No CD 1 activation of LMG or Rifle groups. This should really have been included with point 1. It is meant to clarify that while the squad may be divided into an LMG group and Rifle group for targeting purposes, these are administrative groupings, not a tactical organization, and so cannot be independently activated using a CD 1.

Subordinate/Inferior Leaders: I personally think this is a very important distinction at this level. I've worked with a number of armies where officers treat their NCO as little more than a point of contact to get the troops to do what they want. You don't fully appreciate how good and valuable our capable NCO are until you see these limitations in action. The differences in leadership and tactical capability have a massive impact at small unit level. The ability of (mainly Western) armies to leverage the capabilities of their NCO to influence the decision cycle in battle at a lower level has been critical to success.

Mobility Options: Agreed they make good special rules for scenarios and that may be the best use for them. I would not see them getting a lot of general use except in special cases. The Gurkhas are a case in point. The ability of those blokes to traverse difficult ground is amazing to watch.

Scout Teams: I've included a variety of options, of which any or all could be applied. What options are applied to a particular scout team would depend very much on the particular army and where they were drawn from. Scout teams can cover a wide variety of options; varying from specially trained reconnaissance teams right down to two or three conscripts pushed forward as bullet bait. The former might get most or all of the options, the later none. My general rule is that scout teams detached from sections or squads by leaders using CI should get few or none of the options, depending on the training and doctrine of the army. Specially selected scout teams, represented by support options, should get any number of these options to reflect their more capable soldiers and better training.

Anyway mate, I hope this clarifies things a bit more. I should admit that I am a person fascinated by minutia and one who tends to like detail (I am an avid Advanced Squad Leader fan). Also, as a long-serving and recently retired Infantry Officer, I am likely a prisoner of my own experience when it comes to game mechanics.

All the best.

pman
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by pman »

Re the united squads i think the proposed special rules tries to fix something that is not broken.
To me the reply that stated: what you gain in durability you lose in tactical nuisance, is spot on.
For for the russian and japanese squads it equals up and is fair

So the proposed special rule is raised to satisfy the british bren gunner, in my opinion that is to go rather far to satisfy a single ability.

Regarding realism i think that to target a german LMG is easier as it is the one doing the fire while the rest of the squad is doing the movement.
For russians and japanese the fire and movement is done at squad level so you are not targeting a single squad support weapon but a firing line of one squad.

I like the simplicity and logic of the CoC rules so the rest of the proposed rules will be a good flavouring for PSC's to increase historical feel
Nice done, you must have put some work in them.

regards

Peter

Munin
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by Munin »

pman wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:17 am
Re the united squads i think the proposed special rules tries to fix something that is not broken.
To me the reply that stated: what you gain in durability you lose in tactical nuisance, is spot on.
For for the russian and japanese squads it equals up and is fair

So the proposed special rule is raised to satisfy the british bren gunner, in my opinion that is to go rather far to satisfy a single ability.
It's not just the Bren gunner. Under the current system, you can guarantee that the last casualty in any given Russian or Japanese squad is the LMG gunner - simply because of how casualties are allocated. This is pretty "gamey" and unrealistic. There should be a chance that the LMG team is wiped out due to firing (from any source, not just a Bren), and I think Len's proposed rule is a good way to reflect that.
pman wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:17 am
Regarding realism i think that to target a german LMG is easier as it is the one doing the fire while the rest of the squad is doing the movement.
For russians and japanese the fire and movement is done at squad level so you are not targeting a single squad support weapon but a firing line of one squad.
You're conflating two different things here - the number of men versus the location of those men. If your LMG team is laying down fire for a maneuver element, chances are good that they're more than 4" apart on the table. In that circumstance, then sure, targeting them is easier. But if they are co-located?

Any infantryman worth his salt is going to be trained to focus his fire at the point from which enemy fire is the heaviest. In general, that means at the spot from which the enemy LMG is spitting out scads of bullets. Allocating some amount of incoming fire to the LMG crew makes good sense and I feel is more reflective of the period rather than the rules. As it stands, I don't think the lack of tactical flexibility of the Soviets/Japanese comes anywhere close to making up for the huge advantage of being able to guarantee keeping your LMGs in action until a squad is wiped out.

On a semi-related topic, one of the ideas I've kicked around is instead of having a team or squad activate on the appropriate Command Die result of 1 or 2 respectively, give them a single CI to spend. In most cases, they'll use that CI to activate and play will proceed "business as usual," but if it's absolutely critical to (say) remove a point of Shock, they can do that in lieu of activating. This would make scout teams and 2-man weapons teams a little more durable, and would keep squads from being mostly paralyzed in the absence of a leader.

siggian
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Re: SOME GENERIC SPECIAL RULES

Post by siggian »

I just do another roll like checking for a hit leader to see if the LMG gets hit but instead of checking against the number of kills I check against the number of men remaining in the unit.

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