Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

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sjwalker51
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Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

Post by sjwalker51 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:41 pm

First outing for my 1940 Belgians today, playing first scenario “Going with a Bang”, and several questions arose on which I’d appreciate the collective’s opinion....

1. Germans used an off-table machine gun as a Support. Rules say the player “must place a marker on the table edge” but which table edge? We assumed it meant the edge from which the German patrol markers started but were we right to do so, and what if the German had a JOP on a different edge, would that be legitimate, representing a team that pushed forwards in order to shoot in the attack from off-table? We also assumed that the MG is on ground level as far as LOS is concerned, rather than on an off-table hill or building, but what if such a hill is on the table edge and the marker is placed on it?

2. Belgian DBT section: “If the Junior Leader adds any one or more CI to control fire, he may add that many D6 when the section or individual DBT launcher fires”. I argued that, As the JL starts with 2 CI, when activated on a ‘3’ and does nothing but activate/control the fire, then he adds 2 dice but my opponent claimed that he needed 1 CI to order the section to fire, leaving only 1 to add dice (but could not explain under what circumstances the JL might be able to add 2 dice!).

We assumed that teams firing at half effect at a target could not run out of HE, and rolled the 2 dice per team separately thereafter, so it was clear when a 1-1 was rolled, is this the correct procedure?

(We’ve adopted a house rule whereby on-table mortars have to be within 12” “shouting range” of the friendly unit in LOS of the target unit in order to engage them indirectly, which seems more appropriate for the early period, rather than tucking them away at the back out of harm’s way, and assuming that they communicate with the front line troops by telepathy!)

3. Belgian FM1930 and Chauchat FM15/27 AR: do these count as SMG or LMG when in close combat?

4. IIRC, the original Belgian 1940 list allowed the use of the Boys ATR as a support, now not listed. Other than satchel charges, seems like the Belgians have NO AT capability unless they get at least 4 support points, right?

5. “Going with a Bang” Scenario: the plucky Belgians managed to drive off the German attack and break their morale in a hard-fought game even before they deployed their Engineers to destroy the 2 culverts. Should this be a draw or a victory for them? The latter assumes that they destroy the culverts at their leisure once the Germans have been driven off but who knows what time pressure they are under - maybe there’s a column of German armour heading up the road even as they celebrate their victory?

Was one of our best games for a long time, featuring several shabby Nazi tricks, particularly a LMG team posing as refugees which got dangerously close to 2 of my JOPs before being unmasked and wiped out by a bayonet charge. It’s certainly prompted us to start thinking about a pint-Sized campaign or two set in 1940.

Thanks in anticipation of your answers and opinions!

Archdukek
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Re: Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

Post by Archdukek » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:56 pm

Hi Simon,
Here's my thoughts on your questions.

1. As a minimum I think the MG marker would be placed on the German platoon's original base edge, but I suggest you should apply a bit of common sense here and if the Germans have managed to move a JOP around one of the flanking sides then it would be reasonable to allow the MG marker to be placed on or behind the JOP. Clearly it would be unreasonable to claim the whole of the side edge and attempt to place the marker further along it to flank the enemy, but your suggestion seems reasonable.
If there's a hill on the base edge then I can't see why you can't place the marker on it and assume the MG is firing from higher ground off table. It still wouldn't be able to fire over a high terrain feature like a building or wood.

2. I would allow a JL commanding the DBT section to fire to add either 1 or 2D6 into the pot depending on how many CI he chooses to spend. That's certainly how the German Machinegewehr National Characteristic has always operated. His direction of the fire includes the activation of the firing team or section.
Sounds like the correct procedure to me for firing several DBTs.

3. They count as neither, they are Automatic rifles so gain no bonus in Close Combat. If attacking you could try to fire at the enemy with them before the rifle team moves into Close Combat.

4. The Belgians are not alone in no longer having an ATR. If you want a Boyes you can buy a team from the British list for 2 points but it would bring the Unreliable Allies rule with it.

5. A similar question has come up before in relation to some of the scenarios in the core rules, notably the delaying action. Rich's answer has always been that forcing the enemy to withdraw counts as a victory, even if the specific objectives have yet to be achieved.
So the Belgians won in this case and gained the time needed for the engineers to blow up the culverts. Job well done!

John

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Re: Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

Post by Munin » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:05 am

Archdukek wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:56 pm
2. I would allow a JL commanding the DBT section to fire to add either 1 or 2D6 into the pot depending on how many CI he chooses to spend. That's certainly how the German Machinegewehr National Characteristic has always operated. His direction of the fire includes the activation of the firing team or section.
No, actually, Maschinengewehr is very specifically 2 (or more) CIs spent, and also very specifically the activation of a single LMG team. A wounded (or inexperienced, if you're using the ATSE rules) JL with only a single CI can't invoke either the Maschinengewehr or Handgranaten National Characteristics, as both require 2+ CIs spent.

But it is important to note that when using Maschinengewehr, the JL's "direction of fire" includes the activation of a (one, singular) LMG team, but not the section as a whole. In other words, while the squad leader is activating/directing the LMG team and adding his dice, the rifle team is not being activated. This National Characteristic is less useful for Panzergrenadier squads, for instance, because the JL is almost always better off using a CI to activate the squad as a whole (firing both LMGs) than simply adding +2D6 to a single LMG. But if one has blocked LOS or if there is a Senior Leader present, then the JL can direct the fire of one LMG team and the SL can direct the fire of the other.

Based on how the DBT rule is worded, I would say that he could spend 2 CI to activate and direct the fire of a single team with +2D6, or use one CI to activate the entire section and add a further +1D6 (total, not for each team) by spending his other CI to direct the fires. This might not seem like an important distinction, but remember that you might suffer casualties or have an individual team roll doubles and run out of ammunition, meaning that early in the game the JL is directing fires from the entire section, but by the end of the game he may be directing the fire of a single team.

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Re: Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

Post by Archdukek » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:41 am

I take your point about the specific limitations on Machingewehr, Munin. My point in referring to it was simply that you didn't need to separately use a CI to activate the Team before applying the bonus dice, which is what Simon's opponent was suggesting.

I can see nothing in the wording of the DBT rule which makes a distinction between directing the fire of a single Team or the whole section at the same target, but your interpretation does have a certain elegance to it.

John

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Re: Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:00 pm

sjwalker51 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:41 pm
1. Germans used an off-table machine gun as a Support. Rules say the player “must place a marker on the table edge” but which table edge? We assumed it meant the edge from which the German patrol markers started but were we right to do so, and what if the German had a JOP on a different edge, would that be legitimate, representing a team that pushed forwards in order to shoot in the attack from off-table? We also assumed that the MG is on ground level as far as LOS is concerned, rather than on an off-table hill or building, but what if such a hill is on the table edge and the marker is placed on it?
Looking at this from a non-rules perspective, wouldn't an off-table position be chosen specifically for its advantageous nature (eg higher ground or the upper storey of a building)? I accept your later comment that LOS would be interrupted by walls, hedges, etc (as they would if the weapon was at ground level), but I would consider giving it an elevated firing position on a roll of, say, at least a 3-6 on a D6, giving a 2/3 chance of some advantage.

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Re: Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

Post by Seret » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:36 pm

BaronVonWreckedoften wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:00 pm
Looking at this from a non-rules perspective, wouldn't an off-table position be chosen specifically for its advantageous nature (eg higher ground or the upper storey of a building)? I accept your later comment that LOS would be interrupted by walls, hedges, etc (as they would if the weapon was at ground level), but I would consider giving it an elevated firing position on a roll of, say, at least a 3-6 on a D6, giving a 2/3 chance of some advantage.
Very much so. Wherever possible the guns will be on an elevated position for several reasons:
  1. Range
  2. Observation
  3. The option to put the guns in defilade on the reverse slope
  4. Somewhere to hide the trucks/carriers/whatever
To be honest, even if the guns are on the same level, they'll be far enough back that the arc will carry fire over the top of a lot of intervening obstacles:
Image
That effect will be even more pronounced when firing from a hill, especially if the guns are in defilade, so describing a higher arc. Probably best not to worry too much about it though, otherwise you start getting your slide rule out mid-game. Just assume the guns have been properly sited so they can observe and fire onto the objective (ie: your table).

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Re: Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:52 pm

Having done a lot of study into WW1 (assisting Andy Robertshaw in his time at the NAM), and wearing my "14-18 hat" (Gor Blimey variant), it had struck me that the beaten zone/area denial tactics used by massed/supporting MMGs in that war would still have been current thinking two decades later.

Morgan
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Re: Blitzkrieg - some questions after today’s game...

Post by Morgan » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:21 pm

Archdukek wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:41 am
I take your point about the specific limitations on Machingewehr, Munin. My point in referring to it was simply that you didn't need to separately use a CI to activate the Team before applying the bonus dice, which is what Simon's opponent was suggesting.
Actually, I think his opponent may have been correct. The wording in that paragraph is far from ideal but I suspect the intention might have been to use the term "Leader" rather than "Junior Leader" - it would be unusual (in CoC rules terms) to have something that can be done by a JL but not by a SL. I further suspect that the use of the word "add" is important.

I would personally reword the majority of that paragraph as follows: "The D.B.T. section is collectively activated as a section on a roll of 2 on the Command Dice. An individual D.B.T. Team may activate on a roll of 1 or the whole section may fire at the same target when activated a Leader commanding the section with one Command Initiative. If the Leader chooses to add further Command Initiatives to control fire, he may add that many D6 when the section or individual D.B.T launcher fires."

So a Senior Leader could order the section to fire and then add one or two dice on top of that. The Junior Leader has the option of adding one die (if the JL's second CI is not being used for something else). That's my interpretation anyway.
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