How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Moderators: Laffe, Vis Bellica

Contrarius
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:35 pm

How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by Contrarius »

So, my squad is lined up at the edge of forest, some room to expand but not infinitely. How many of them can fire out?

I know this is touched on in the rules, with illustrations showing men firing only from the front rank despite considerable intervals between the figures. And then there’s a rule somewhere — which as usual, I can’t find — about how many men can shoot through a tight gap, say, between buildings... But in reality things are rarely so clear cut.

I was thinking maybe there’s a ‘ready reckoner’ way to estimate how many men should be allowed to fire on a given frontage. For figs based on 1p coins, which seems common for both 28mm and 1/72 scales, these are 20.3mm in diameter, so is this a fair maximum density? Call it 20mm between friends.

Or maybe that’s too generous, since on Sabot bases figures can often be separated to give a spacing of up to 25mm?

As a separate question: How do you account for those micro-moves, shuffling your squad up into its optimal firing line? Does that count as a full move (say with a single dice) and require an additional CI from a Leader? Does it mean your leader can’t use your nation’s special characteristic, e.g. for the Germans — Maschinengewehr, which requires 2 or more C.I.s?

Come to think of it, pushing men into optimal firing positions, preventing them from skulking in cover, or behind friends WERE precisely the tasks of low-level NCOs. While doing this they can hardly be directing the fire of the squad MG34.

Levi the Ox
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by Levi the Ox »

You want Rule 8.2: Who Can Fire?, which is on page 32 in my physical copy.

The rule is that each figure needs to trace line-of sight more than 2" from any friendly figure that is forward of it (with some exceptions for friendlies in armored vehicles and hard cover). There's a diagram there that is pretty good.

In practice, I might make an exception for figures that are adjacent to but only slightly behind a friendly figure (less than a base width back), as long as they still have at least a base width clear to their front. The frontage would still be at least a base width per firer, I'm just not inclined to require them to line up exactly perpendicular to their target. Referencing the same diagram, that would let one or maybe two more figures fire.

Or using this image I quickly found on the web, once the squad has deployed into skirmish line everyone except possibly the assistant gunner can fire forwards, and the AG will be feeding the MG anyway. But if the enemy were off to either flank, fewer of the figures could fire.
Image

There's no rule about gaps between buildings that I know of, you may be thinking of the rules for firing from buildings, which specify two figures or one crew-served weapon per aperture. I'd probably extend that to firing from building corners as well.

As for repositioning, each figure can rotate for free when it activates, unless it has a heavy weapon, but any movement requires an action. If they're only going a short distance, the move 1d6 plus fire at half effect option is appropriate for rearranging the formation.

Together, these restrictions may seem strict and limiting if you're coming from another game, but I find adhering to them actually encourages and rewards movement, as flanking an enemy unit will mitigate their firepower until they can shift to face you. It also prevents the unrealistic concentration of all-around firepower into a dense clump of figures, and forces you to consider the deployment of your troops more carefully.

OldNick
Posts: 175
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:59 am
Location: Coventry UK

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by OldNick »

Where it's not specified in the rules, and many players, judging by YouTube videos ignore it completely,

I play mainy in 15mm and startd in 20mm, with figures that were group based. My riflemen in 15mm are single based. Back in the 1970s I receive quite a lot of British infantry training through the cadet force, and this was premarily derived from 1950s infantry training manuals, reprinted for cadets. My views are therefore heavilly coloured by that, and by comparative studies I've done in British manuals from pre-war and through the war. (It'salso incidentally why my 20mm figures were group based at quite wide spacing.

My conclusion from all that is that troops should not count as firing, even rifles, if their bases ovelap, or if firing through gaps smaller than a base, even within their own team. If firing through / nar other teans the gap needs to be greater and as specified in the rules. In real life there is an horribe trendancy of troops to bumch up, and there is repeated emphasis in training manuals on discourging this.

Now, one of they key benefits of 15mm is that ground and figure scale are close to being in line. but even so, buildings and obstacles are modelled too small. The problem gers worse in the larger scales.

As to micro moves, there should be no need for them,unless movement dive are small. A move is to the distance rolled, unless previously declared to be up to a terrain feature. So, if a section i moving upto fire from a wall, the player should be choosing enough dice to ensure that it is likely that all his men will have the move to getto a position along that wall. Depending how threatene the position is, the more important it is to have enough move to reachthat position - even if some of the pips may be wasted. If they chose too few movement dice, and/or roll low, well tough, it's another moev next turn, and te same applies. Make sure you pick enough dice not to risk being caught short.

Contrarius
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:35 pm

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by Contrarius »

Bear in mind, I’m talking early war here, so none of your tiny 9-man squads, where the problem is minimal. German squads in Poland have 13 men; the Poles themselves 18 (or 19 if you count the fourth man on the B.A.R., which Rich seems to have regarded as superfluous). And don’t get me started on militia squads in the Spanish Civil War which can have 20 men. Any movement that involves turns or obstacles is bound to cause bunching up and it is this that needs resolving with ‘micro-moves’, as soon as the firefight is initiated. Surely though, those troops at the front will be firing while the micro-moving goes on behind them?

The temptation is to allow one ‘shooter’ per 20mm of available frontage, and I think Rich and other players on those Youtube vids seem to allow this much, estimating available shooters rather ‘by eye’ than based on any fixed rule. But perhaps the laggers need to be moved up first into the firing line by the NCO, expending a CI (?), and then firing at half effect?

OldNick
Posts: 175
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:59 am
Location: Coventry UK

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by OldNick »

The larger the squad, the less appropriate a 'micro move' is - micro moves are not part of the game - and the more that proper moves according to the rules will be required.

I'd still say don't overlap your bases, don't shoot through gaps that donlt exist, and choose your movement rate based on the likely worst case for movement rather than the best.

If you use your JL to rush a large section into place, they'll all be there, and of you can allocate anotehr 3 to the section next turn you can knock off a point of shock. With a lasrge singlel team early-war section, you only have one point to remove. Donlt try to fiddlel around with short moves, and adjustments on following phases, as you would quite rightky need another 3 to sort out the partially done moves.

Contrarius
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:35 pm

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by Contrarius »

You say “Don’t overlap your bases”. That’s just not practical with an 18-man Polish squad. You have to move doubled or trebled or you unit will extend over one and a half feet! It’s impossible to deploy from a deployment point into such a line as you’d have to form a semi circle of six inches in radius. Any manoeuvre at all you do causes some men to lag behind, and moving them up by ordinary moves strictly by the rules will take an eternity.

I would disagree that micro-moves are not part of the rules, they are just a way of overcoming the low-res nature of the rules in some parts, a way of fine-tuning and adding more detail.

eatU4myT
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:57 am

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by eatU4myT »

Contrarius wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 4:40 pm
...allow one ‘shooter’ per 20mm of available frontage...
This is what we have ended up doing, as my regular opponent bases on pennies and I base on 2p's (28mm minis, I can't get on with penny bases as they fall over to easily!). Works well and simply when lining an obstacle, not quite so obvious when bunched up in open ground.

User avatar
Truscott Trotter
Posts: 7600
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 pm
Location: Tasmania the Southernmost CoC in the world

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by Truscott Trotter »

The rule if 2 keeps it simple.
Exception being if you can arrange an arrowhead or similar you may get a few more base sized gaps

User avatar
MLB
Posts: 921
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:57 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by MLB »

I think there’s a danger of overthinking it.

I play in 20mm with figures on 20mm round bases, so even with bases touching that’s a minimum 6’ or call it approx 2m between each figure. So even when they appear bunched up, they are not really that close. I also consider it somewhat abstracted. In most of the game it’s sections and teams that count not individual men, so keeping it simple I consider that each of these will perform as trained, not as limited by my basing convention or the pose of the figures.

On the other hand we have rules for how this applies in a building, in a confined space I tend to interpret using those guidelines. Otherwise I assume the whole section or team can perform their function regardless of exact position of the models within that unit.

That said, I’m more specific on other units (not individual figures of the same unit) blocking line of fire and use the rules as written about the 3” gap, I think that’s the more important spacing to observe and that’s a point that’s been made by Rich and others.
The Tactical Painter https://thetacticalpainter.blogspot.com
Painting little soldiers for tactical battles on the table top

Archdukek
Posts: 5073
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:49 pm
Location: Linlithgow, West Lothian, UK

Re: How many of my squad can fire, or how many figs per cm of front?

Post by Archdukek »

The 2” rule for a clear fire lane does not apply to members of the same Team (see FAQ) but each figure having Line of sight still matters. As has been said already, bases sizes for 28mm can distort the spacing required for figures so many players are content to use two staggered lines of figures with the rear figures positioned to see and fire through the gap between the figures in front. Bases are effectively ignored, its the position of the figure which matters.

John

Post Reply