Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Moderators: Laffe, Vis Bellica

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 7528
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by Truscott Trotter »

...but an interesting example to quote when people say that Medium mortars should never be on the table?

"The Germans took cover and the mortar platoon commander decided to call for artillery support. His section leaders told him they would rather use their mortars, so he agreed to their request.

Section Sergeant Delbert J. Stumpf yelled at his men to turn their ‘tubes’ around. Due to the close proximity of the enemy, Sergeant Stumpf realized he must act quickly. He ordered his men to prop the bipod legs of their mortars up on the edge of their emplacements so as to fire at an angle of about 89 degrees. They then reduced the range at which their rounds would fall by removing all powder increments from the rounds, and using only the shotgun-type propellant.

Stumpf wanted his rounds to detonate close to him and his men, as quickly as possible, since the nearest German was by then only fifteen yards away. He gave the order to fire as he reported back to the platoon commander by telephone.

Private First Class Bob Newbrough, a rifleman with Company D, sat crouched in his slit trench adjusting fire as the mortar shells, many of them tree bursts, rained down on the enemy soldiers, some five yards distant. Newbrough actually felt comfortable. Having gone through intensive training with these mortar crews, he had every confidence in their ability.

The Germans withdrew, leaving several dead behind and Vacha’s men took two prisoners whom they sent back to the platoon command post for interrogation."

(from "The Battle East of Elsenborn and the Twin Villages" by William C. C. Cavanagh)

User avatar
MLB
Posts: 906
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:57 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by MLB »

Interesting, I’m sure there are other cases, but it would have been ‘in extremis’ and atypical. Problem is, make it a general rule and gamers will make it typical. Probably a case for a funky rule for a one-off scenario. It also seems the ranges they are talking about (15 yards!) would almost put them in close combat range.
The Tactical Painter https://thetacticalpainter.blogspot.com
Painting little soldiers for tactical battles on the table top

Tuilerian
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:25 pm

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by Tuilerian »

I agree with MLB, sometimes soldiers imagine something and it works. During the escape from south of France in August, Kempf, the leader of a Kampfgruppe of the 11.Panzer made something during a night battle at La Coucourde : crew exposed of his Panther, he shot one Sherman of squadron Butler with his starshell in spite of shooting in the sky. This illuminate all around the Sherman and Thieme destroyed this Sherman and two others too near.

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 7528
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by Truscott Trotter »

Yes there are 3 'broken arrow' moments and I am only 5% of the way into a book covering one division in one part of battle.

I guess they had a fair bit of faith in their entrenchments...more than you would have in the rules as written.

I know the Germans occasionally did this not sure about the Brits or Soviets.

User avatar
Seret
Posts: 4095
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:45 pm
Location: Kent UK
Contact:

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by Seret »

Truscott Trotter wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:58 am
...but an interesting example to quote when people say that Medium mortars should never be on the table?
They shouldn't be if you're talking indirect fire.

But what you're talking about here is using medium mortars for direct fire, which is a whole different kettle of fish. Personally I've put direct fire 82mm mortars on support lists for Soviets as they did have units that were equipped with mortars but had no spotters or system for controlling them indirect. I went for a minimum range of 24" and HE 6 (reduces cover).

OldNick
Posts: 172
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:59 am
Location: Coventry UK

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by OldNick »

MLB has it spot on. Allow for special cases like this in the rules, and wargamers will use them as typical. In this case, there are perfectly good rules for close combat, and the detailed mechanics are abstracted. In the and way we don't need to know which end of a rifle is used in close combat we don't need special rules for point blank mortar fire.

andyskinner
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:45 pm
Location: Massachusetts, USA

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by andyskinner »

You could allow four 6s on command dice to break a rule instead of special event. Now define how you are allowed to break a rule. :)

andy
I cheer for Nick.

Munin
Posts: 1137
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:49 pm

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by Munin »

OldNick wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:57 am
MLB has it spot on. Allow for special cases like this in the rules, and wargamers will use them as typical.
Aw, man, does that mean I'm not going to get an addition to the FAQ about getting extra dice in close combat for swinging my mortar tube like a cricket bat at my foes? You guys ruin all my fun. ;)

Levi the Ox
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by Levi the Ox »

Truscott Trotter wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 2:58 am
...but an interesting example to quote when people say that Medium mortars should never be on the table?
I mean, Stumpf's people shouldn't have been in that situation, either. Weird stuff happens in war, and people are smart. Doesn't mean it should be a common thing in the rules, but if a scenario calls for on-table medium mortars, no problem with using 'em.

I had soviet troops race my (moving) train down the tracks, leap aboard, and destroy it with molotov cocktails in a game last month; the rules are plenty robust enough to handle a little thing like direct fire medium mortars!

If you want a house rule for deliberately firing high-angle weapons danger close on your own position, that probably falls under the category of "have a leader spend an extra initiative to do it" like other funky stuff. If the enemy is close enough, you may even have to spread the hits onto your own teams.

Rich H
Posts: 1148
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:18 am
Location: Preston UK

Re: Mortar minimum ranges....not saying we should change the rules

Post by Rich H »

Why would you take a support unit whose only battlefield role is going to be direct *emergency* fire like this?
Their normal role sees them off table.... Take an infantry gun instead?

Post Reply