Pioneers in Combat

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Eclaireur
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Pioneers in Combat

Post by Eclaireur » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:52 pm

In playing games of CoC we have our core platoon and then we can add support options of mine clearers, wire cutters, demolition experts and maybe even a flamethrower.
But what if we are portraying a pioneer platoon or adding a pioneer section to our core infantry platoon? Seems to me that in these cases you should have sections that are able to fight like infantry, and in most armies pioneers or combat engineers would have had a pretty standard set of infantry weapons, but also be able to undertake some of those functions that the specialists from the support list do. I would expect a German pioneer section in 1943, for example, to be able to lift mines, cut wire, or demolish things.
Has anybody seen rule mods for this? Maybe a different support list rating reflecting the versatility of the troops? Or ways of combining the existing support list engineer options under a junior leader and also giving the the ability to shoot?
EC

Archdukek
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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Archdukek » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:59 pm

The short answer is no. Rich has been very clear that the Engineer support available in the lists are not combat troops and shouldn't be used as such. Obviously if you select an Engineer/Pioneer section rather than individual teams it comes with a JL which gives you more control over which team you pick and how they are activated, but it doesn't make them combat troops.

He has, however, it indicated that he quite fancied developing a list and rules for a German Combat Engineer platoon at some point. I wouldn't be surprised to see something like that appear in a Stalingrad PSC.

John

Rich H
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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Rich H » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:48 pm

Write one?

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Truscott Trotter » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:54 pm

There are Germam Pioneers in the Kursk PSC's but they are either in fighting role or Engineer role they are not able to do both at the same time..

I think this is partly a game design/balance issue and partly a time frame one. By that I mean within the timeframe of a game of CoC you would not be given multiple roles/equipment. You would be given wire cutters and told to clear the wire to let other troops through. On another day you may be given SMG and satchel charges and told to clear a house

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Iztvan
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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Iztvan » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:26 am

I would assume that the more combat oriented pioneer teams (flamethrower and tank assault) would be able to fight? The tank assault team even has two guys with SMGs.
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Eclaireur
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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Eclaireur » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:48 am

Thanks for replies people ...
Archdukek - you've rightly pointed out that you can select a pioneer squad with JL in the existing support lists (I shouldn't have confused things by using the term 'section'), would you mind pointing out where the rules are that talk about how you can configure that squad? And you're also right that Lardy Rich is actively interested in this area for Stalingrad scenarios and his games where the US army is storming fortifications on the German frontier, which is why I would very much like to draw him in to this discussion.

Because as things stand, this idea (p.68) that "engineer teams who have no further engineering tasks to fulfil on the tabletop will not move any closer to the enemy. They do not have rifles and cannot fire other weapons" leaves me puzzled. Reading a history of the Saint Lo battles at the moment there are assaults in mid-July 1944 described by 4th Coy, 2nd SS Pioneer Battalion and in another case paratrooper pioneers from 15th Company, 9th FJ Regiment. These were delivered with the usual infantry weapons + the pioneer stuff like flamethrowers and demolition charges. Both SS and FJ pioneers get written up in this history as picked assault troops, carrying out platoon or company level operations on their own as well as in support of infantry. I'd like to game some of these on the table top - in the spirit of playing the period rather than the rules!

Rich H: I think my temptation would be to move the pioneer squad from List 4 to 5 or even 6, and allow it to consist of 2-3 teams, allowing them to fight with infantry weapons as well as performing defined pioneer tasks.

TT: really? you've got the wire cutters and a demolition charge. You've also got your rifle or SMG slung. As you crawl towards your obstacle and take fire, how long does it take you to unsling your weapon and return fire? Seconds ...

EC

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Truscott Trotter » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:35 am

Its not your job is what I am saying it is the other guy that crawls through the wire . That is what Rich has implied with his replies. Feel free to search his posts on the subject. The search engine actually works reasonably well on this forum.

You.may also find this thread interesting.
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5200&sid=f02b348ef ... f&start=20

In Stalingrad the pioneers were used in am assault role with horrendous loses of irreplaceable highly trained specialists.

On the Kursk PSC Rich has both engineering pios and assault pios but they are not interchangeable. It is not about how many weapons they can carry but how the men are actually used.

Contrast this with Flames of War were no one takes any infantry except pioneers/engineers.

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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Archdukek » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:18 pm

Eclaireur,
You will find the rules for selecting your Engineer or Pioneer Section on page 82. The selection is made immediately before the game starts and therefore after the enemy has placed any minefields, obstacles etc. The extra support points you pay gets the JL and his professional assessment of the tasks which needed to be done so you can tailor your teams.

As for engineering teams being able to fight, this reflects a clear rule design decision by Rich as expressed in section 16.1 "Engineer or Pioneer Teams are specialist troops who are deployed to do specific tasks." Their skills are too valuable to waste as ordinary infantry and if they come under fire they would normally take cover or withdraw until the area is secure enough for them to continue working. A Platoon Leader doesn't have the authority to retask them as ordinary infantry which is exactly what most players would do if they had the choice - anything for an extra few firing dice.

The German Assault Pioneers are very different. They could act as normal engineers and so behave as in the rules, but they could and were as you say sometimes tasked with an explicit combat role. That needs separate organisation and rules treatment which is what Rich has provided in the Kursk PSCs, as TT has reminded us, by including an Elite Pioneer Squad as a List 8 support choice.

I completely agree with TT that within the short timescale represented in a CoC game, your German Pioneers will be acting either as Engineers or Assault Troops not switching between roles. If you use the Kursk support lists and have the points, you could field both using the engineer teams to clear any obstacles and the Elite Pioneer Squad to lead the Assault.

If you want to field an entire Pioneer Platoon in a combat role you could use the information in the Kursk lists and the CoCulator to create one. But it will be expensive in terms of Force Rating, I'd guess at least a +12 depending on the number of squads.

John

Archdukek
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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Archdukek » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:33 pm

Iztvan wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:26 am
I would assume that the more combat oriented pioneer teams (flamethrower and tank assault) would be able to fight? The tank assault team even has two guys with SMGs.
Yes, Istvan that's their designated role and what they are tasked with. The SMGs or LMG in a tank hunter team can engage the enemy while the others attack with their satchel charge, anti-tank mine or whatever. They may be engineers, though not always, but they are not doing "engineering tasks" as in the rules.

John

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Arlequín
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Re: Pioneers in Combat

Post by Arlequín » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:04 pm

Assault-Pioneers weren't confined to the Germans, but John is on the money for me. You're paying the support points for a task to be performed by regimental or battalion pioneers/sappers, not elite assault-pioneers who should be in formations of their own in any case.

It does seem counter-intuitive to not allow these infantry 'engineers' to fight, but then again a team leader would be in a world of hurt after the battle if he'd lost men in activities not related to the task they were sent to perform. Specialists don't grow on trees after all.

I do think they should be allowed to defend themselves in close combat however, it seems an easy point to score to target the idling engineer team that has performed its task.

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