Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

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hedgehobbit
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:49 pm

Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by hedgehobbit »

Since there aren’t official rules for night fighting yet, I thought I’d share some thoughts about the availability and use of parachute flares and illuminating rounds. Doing some cursory research, I found that not all nationalities used the same weapons to deliver their flares. Most nations used their 81mm (or equivalent) mortars to fire flares but the US and Japan actually used their light mortars, not their 81mm mortars. I’ve created a chart for all the major combatants (plus Britain since they seem popular here). As regular artillery barrages aren’t present in the support lists currently, I’m not sure how they would be used as they are the only flares available to early war British.

Image

Each Senior Leader has a flare pistol.

Firing a flare can be accomplished with one command initiative if firing a flare pistol or rifle grenade. Firing flares from a support weapon uses the usual firing procedure. Place a Flare Marker for each Flare using the procedure for off-board mortar deviation on page 46. Remove all Flare Markers at the end of the turn. If a Flare Marker is held over after the turn due to a Chain of Command die, roll for the deviation of the new Flare Marker at the end of the turn.

Non-moving troops in the area covered by the Effect Radius of the flare can be fired upon but treat their cover as one level better than actual. To be considered moving, they have to have moved in the previous phase and not currently be Tactical or they have to be fired using Overwatch.

Troops within twice the Effect Radius of the Flare can be fired upon but are considered to have two levels better cover unless they are moving (as above) in which they are one level better.

EvilGinger
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 am

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by EvilGinger »

The illumination radius seems to be too small a parachute flare would light up pretty much all of a CoC battle field to some degree & even a flare pistol will give a good light over a considerable area, from experience & on this ground scale 20-30". The problem with all of them is that once they burn out on the turn end every one's night vision is bolxed for at least the next turn & every body is blind.

They also quite effectively blind troops to what is going on beyond the circle of illumination

:evil: Ginger
Dark lord at large....

evillsvain
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:12 am

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by evillsvain »

Hi,

Flare Pistol rounds shouldn't last longer than the Phase they're used and probably the following Phase (so about 20 sec.). The longer illuminating pistol flares with parachutes came after the war to my knowledge.

Cheers,

Ville

EvilGinger
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 am

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by EvilGinger »

Given the length of a phase is something like 3-4 seconds even a pistol flare would last longer than that. The main issue with illumination rounds is that they can either burn at variable rates or be taken down or moved to a useless location by wind & weather in an unpredictable manner.

I think the end of turn is a better end condition myself.

:evil: Ginger
Dark lord at large....

evillsvain
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:12 am

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by evillsvain »

Hi,

As I recall a Phase is about 10 sec. according to Richard and the illumination rounds from flare pistol didn't really last longer than that (about 5-15 sec.). I've once been in a live firing exercise at night where we didn't have modern night fighting equipment (just RK-62 assault rifles with tracers) and our platoon leader had a flare pistol (an old Russian model if I remember correctly). He really didn't have much time to do anything else than shoot and load the flare rounds as they burned out within seconds. In the end I started to spot for targets when a flare was shot and then aim by my tracer rounds impacts.
If a flare pistol round would burn for a whole Turn (so between about one minute to several minutes) it wouldn't be that realistic, I think.

Cheers,

Ville

evillsvain
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:12 am

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by evillsvain »

Hi,

Apparently Germans had a illumination parachute flare for flare pistol called Fallschirm Leuchtpatrone which lasted for up to a minute. Now were these distributed to normal troops and were they used for night combat illumination that I have no idea - anyone?

Cheers,

Ville

EvilGinger
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 am

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by EvilGinger »

I have only used a flare pistol in anger once & that was a modern one & was fired to mess up the enemies early model night vision equipment more than to let us see I have no idea how long it burned as we let lose hell the moment it stared to dim & averted our eyes whilst it was burning. setting up a GMPG on a tripod with your eyes shut takes some talent.

:evil: Ginger
Dark lord at large....

evillsvain
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:12 am

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by evillsvain »

I guess that's the idea behind repeating the same simple tasks in absurd amounts during training so that you can literally do them eyes closed :)
That also brings up the question does anybody know were flares used to blind the enemy in ww2 infantry combat? There are some references that Soviets (maybe other participants as well?) used tank assaults with headlights on to blind the enemy with success. Apparently the tanks had also sometimes sirens on to further demoralize the enemy.

Cheers,

Ville

hedgehobbit
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:49 pm

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by hedgehobbit »

EvilGinger wrote:The illumination radius seems to be too small a parachute flare would light up pretty much all of a CoC battle field to some degree & even a flare pistol will give a good light over a considerable area, from experience & on this ground scale 20-30".

I gave a normal mortar flare a radius of 15" so that will be a circle of 30" diameter plus the more faintly illuminated areas 15" more inches after that. That's a circle that's 5 feet across which should cover most of even a large game table.

evillsvain wrote:Flare Pistol rounds shouldn't last longer than the Phase they're used and probably the following Phase (so about 20 sec.).

I've gone back and forth about the duration. One phase seems too short since it won't affect your opponents phase whereas a turn is too long. What I don't want is to have to keep track of all the various Flare Markers with different durations unless it's necessary to make it reasonably accurate.

evillsvain wrote:Apparently Germans had a illumination parachute flare for flare pistol called Fallschirm Leuchtpatrone which lasted for up to a minute.

I really don't have a good set of information on the features of these weapons. However, on lexikon-der-Wehrmach, the burn time of the rifle grenade parachute flare (Gewehrfallschirmleuchtgranate) is only listed as 28 seconds. That's a bigger round (30mm vs 27mm for the pistol).
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Waf ... erat-R.htm
The US M83 60mm mortar round only had a 25 second burn time.
Last edited by hedgehobbit on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

EvilGinger
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 am

Re: Night Fighting - Parachute Flares

Post by EvilGinger »

I will ask Steve to put his nit picking skills to use on this one

:evil: Ginger
Dark lord at large....

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