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Close Combat, Attacker on Blind

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:40 pm
by dsenebrecht
Hi folks:

Had this situation come up in a game recently.
Attacker entering from board edge. Panzer Grenadier Engineers with flamethrowers.
Moved with 3 actions, debussed with 4th. This brought them to within 4 inches of Brits behind hedgerow.
German section only had 8 figures but with flamethrower plus engineer plus a BM3 gave them lots of dice. Brits only had 8 men but got a few extra dice for defending thick bocage.

It seemed odd that:
-Germans suffered no penalty in dice for spending 4 turns moving on a blind (yes I know that is what the rules say)
-Germans suffered no penalty in dice despite essentially stumbling into Close Combat (as opposed to an ordered charge against a spotted enemy)
-Brits got no bonus in dice despite expecting attack, looking in direction from whence attack came

Thoughts? Corrections?

In hindsight, I've thought of adjusting rules as follows:
it seems since auto-spot in open occurs at 9 inches range, then Brits would get the equivalent of +1 for every dice it took for Germans to transit from 9 inches away to 4 inches away
Germans lose -1 dice for every dice it took to get within 4 inches

Thanks, Dan

Re: Close Combat, Attacker on Blind

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:15 pm
by Archdukek
Hi Dan,
From your description this doesn't sound like the Germans stumbling into Close Combat, but rather a planned assault by the German section on the previously spotted British section which they have caught by surprise since the British failed to spot the German blind when it was put on the table in the first place.

No one gets bonus dice in any Close Combat for being able to see the attacking enemy approaching them however far they have moved so I'm not sure why the British should in this case. What the defenders "gain" is the loss of dice from the attacker's movement usually, but in this case they attackers have snuck up and surprised them, hence they suffer no penalty.

If it really troubles you then I suppose you could require units on blinds who wish to Close Assault to decloak from the blind, as they must do to fire, before assaulting. However, that removes the possibility of assaults catching an opponent by surprise which the rules allow.


Re: Close Combat, Attacker on Blind

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:09 pm
by dsenebrecht
Thanks, John. In this case, they did "stumble in" to within 4" of a hidden British unit behind thick bocage facing directly towards the direction from which the Germans came.

As umpire, since the units came within 4" of each other, I ruled that Close Combat automatically occurred.

1) Also, is there ever the possibility for a unit to "refuse" close combat or order a retreat but still suffer some casualties
-in this particular case, the Brits were confronted with Panzer Grenadiers (3 sections in total) coming down the road at them. The Brits were hidden behind the bocage. Even with just one section the Germans got 24 dice and the Brits 12. Not sure how you could craft a rule for this occurrence ....maybe allow the Brits to retreat but they only fire with 1/3rd of their dice and must move 8 inches away and take 3 points of shock? The Germans also only fire with 1/3rd of their dice but are allowed to seize the position
2) other than having the British card being dealt early in the turn and thus being able to go on Overwatch, is there a way to factor in Defensive Fire for a stationary defending unit under cover? especially if they can clearly see a unit that is coming to assault them?

Re: Close Combat, Attacker on Blind

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:43 pm
by Archdukek
Hi Dan,
The fact that the British section was hidden behind a bocage hedge does put a different complexion on things. While your ruling was strictly correct in terms of the rules, I think in the circumstances I would have applied the Chain of Command approach which requires both line of sight and a clear path to the enemy before Close Combat could be initiated which the Germans didn't have. I would have then given the British the option to slip away unseen when their card was drawn or initiate Close Combat across the hedge.

I'm not aware of any way for a unit to retreat to evade close combat unless their card or that of a controlling Big Man comes out at the relevant time. While reserving dice (Overwatch) is the only means for defenders to get in defensive fire in advance of Close Combat.


Re: Close Combat, Attacker on Blind

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:23 pm
by dsenebrecht
Thanks, John. I'll definitely adjust Close Combat rules for next game when Blinds are "bumping" into unseen units.

It was an interesting mix of results.
We were playing an EPSOM battle from Skirmish Campaigns. Nearly identical assaults on both flanks: Germans coming down road in halftracks with Close Combat occurring on both flanks. Both Close Combats had about 24 German dice vs 12 British dice. On one side the German squad was wiped with Brits rolling seven 5 & 6's out of 12 dice while on on the other side the Brit squad was completely wiped out with the Germans only suffering 3 casualties.