Infantry in half tracks, MG use

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dsenebrecht
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Infantry in half tracks, MG use

Post by dsenebrecht »

Getting ready to play one of the two Battle of the Bulge Scenarios from the 2005 Summer or Xmas Special.

Both scenarios are heavy with German PzGrenadiers in Sdkfz 251/1. What's the best way to handle squads in halftracks especially the two MG42s, one in front and the one in the back with the swinging mount?

1) If 8-man squad is in the halftrack and it does not move:
-how many firing actions does the squad as a whole get and in what direction.
looking at Section 7.2, the front mounted MG counts as Tripod mounted so that's a 3D6...at minimum.

a) does the rear MG on the swinging mount only gets to fire roughly in a 180 arc from rear of vehicle (photos of how it mounts seem to support that?
b) if both MGs fire, in appropriate directions, can the other 4-rifleman fire at anything

2) Can one MG team stay in the halftrack and part of the squad get out of the halftrack?
If so, the 6 men out of the halftrack....how many firing actions do they get for example if they dismounted the previous turn.

3) I assume being a PzGren squad, they can elect to debuss from the HT altogether and move around with the usual actions and if they don't move, fire with 4D6, correct?

Thanks in advance -Dan

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Vis Bellica
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Re: Infantry in half tracks, MG use

Post by Vis Bellica »

There's a lot of info on this in the front section of the Bashnya or Bust scenario book, which I'm sure you have!

dsenebrecht
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Re: Infantry in half tracks, MG use

Post by dsenebrecht »

Thanks for that suggestion. But I don't have that because I don't do Russian front. That being said, can you can still offer me some guidance? I have been a good lardy boy...I've bought several scenario books and specials over the years...

dsenebrecht
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Re: Infantry in half tracks, MG use

Post by dsenebrecht »

Here is the answer I got from John Ewing on IABSM facebook page:

You have to keep in mind that the 252/1 is an armoured transport, a battle taxi, not an Infantry Fighting Vehicle in the modern sense. Most Panzergrenadiers used it to get were they needed to be then dismounted to go into action. On the open spaces of the Eastern Front in the early War it could be used as part of a mobile attack on already suppressed enemy positions, but by late War and in the West with lots of infantry AT weapons about it would rapidly turn into a steel coffin if you tried to fight mounted.
The squad has to provide men to both drive the vehicle and man any MGs on board so if the whole squad dismounts the 251 will remain stationary and cannot fire. You can of course choose to dismount with fewer men.
To answer your specific questions,
The front mounted MG with shield counts as a Medium MG and can be fired with 3 or 4 actions if stationary depending on the quality of the squad, usually 4 for Veterans. You lose an action for each action used by the half-track. Up to 4 riflemen can fire to the side from within the vehicle.
a) the rear mount is for anti-aircraft fire and is ignored for engaging ground targets. It’s the squad’s own Light Support Weapon and will be taken with it when it dismounts.
b) As above, 4 rifles can engage the enemy to the side.
2) You can dismount with part of the Squad leaving men behind to drive the half track and/or fire the front MG in support. It takes 2 men to fully man the MG and 1 to drive so you can dismount a 5 man squad with its LSW and still operate the 251/1 but the squad needs to remain within 18” of its 251.
It counts an action to debuss and you can use remaining actions to spot, move or fire (2.3.3).
Next turn the squad has its full actions.
3) yes the whole squad can debuss and leave the halftrack behind. They will then act as a normal infantry squad.
I recommend buying Byazma or Bust, and anything else written by Robert Avery, they are always good value and you could adapt the ideas to other theatres.

dsenebrecht
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Re: Infantry in half tracks, MG use

Post by dsenebrecht »

Posting a reminder from John Ewing who notes: "Dan, remember to credit them to Robert Avery since I’ve just paraphrased the approach he recommends in Bashnya or Bust."

Archdukek
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Re: Infantry in half tracks, MG use

Post by Archdukek »

Glad to help, though it’s Robert whose done all the real work.

John

Contrarius
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Re: Infantry in half tracks, MG use

Post by Contrarius »

Very interesting about the rear mount on the SdKfz 251/1 being for anti-aircraft fire. Didn’t know that. I suspect it could be used for firing a cheeky “Parthian Shot” against ground targets as the Hanomag retreated, though the gunner would be exposing himself more than his mate manning the forward pintle.

Archdukek
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Re: Infantry in half tracks, MG use

Post by Archdukek »

Contrarius wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:55 am
Very interesting about the rear mount on the SdKfz 251/1 being for anti-aircraft fire. Didn’t know that. I suspect it could be used for firing a cheeky “Parthian Shot” against ground targets as the Hanomag retreated, though the gunner would be exposing himself more than his mate manning the forward pintle.
Contrarius,
Quite possibly, but in IABSM LMGs are treated as a part of the squad’s firepower and don’t usually fire on their own hence the restriction. Keeps life simple.

John

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