Withdrawing at the end of the turn?

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Withdrawing at the end of the turn?

Post by Darren »

Hi All,

I have also posted this question on the IABSM Facebook page.

At the risk of being accused of heresy, I’m proposing that a unit should be allowed to withdraw when the tea break is drawn.

I’ve had situations in games where unit has been in a poor tactical situation when the tea break card is drawn where realistically withdrawing was the smart tactic.

For example.

A single PAK40 is engaged by a troop of 3 Churchill tank including a CS tank (95mm howitzer). The PAK40 activates use 3 actions fires 2 aimed shot at the CS tank, one hit, which bounces off the front armour.

The Churchills activate. A 75mm Churchill and the CS tank engage the PAK40, using HE with direct area fire, causing 1 casualty and 1 shock. The other 75mm tank uses all its actions to move into a firing position on the PAK40. The turn ends.

Next turn, the Churchills activate first. All 3 tanks use direct area fire to engage the PAK40 with HE, causing 1 casualty to the and 2 more shock. The PAK40 now has 3 crews with 3 shock. The turn ends before the PAK40 activates. This means the only option the PAK40 has is to fire at the Churchills, which it does. The result, one hit CS tank, which bounces off the front armour, again.

Next turn, the Churchills activate before the PAK40, which is engaged by the 3 tanks and destroyed.

Clearly, the PAK40 was in a poor tactical situation. From my perspective, the smart tactical option would be for the PAK40 to withdraw on second turn above. It couldn’t because it didn’t activate during the turn and could only fire when the turn ended.

Based on the Lardies ethos of “play the period not the rules”, I believe the PAK40 would have withdrawn in real combat situation, which means you should be able to do the same with IABSM.

What does the tea break card represent?
IABSM does not define what the tea break card represents. However, in Chain of Command the end of the turn is defined as “lull in the action”(Turn, Pg10). Similarly, Sharp Practice defines the end of turn as “significant break in the action” (3.3, Pg31).

If a similar definition is applied to IABSM, then the end of turn is time when a unit in a poor tactical situation would withdraw.

How would withdrawing at the end of the turn work?
When the tea break card is drawn any unit which has not activated is able to withdraw, this is an alternative to firing or spotting.

The move must be away from all known enemy units or blinds.
The withdrawing unit must end the move further away from all enemy units or blinds than in the original position. For example, if the withdrawing unit was initially 6” from the enemy, the withdrawal move must finish more than 6” from all known enemy units or blinds. Or, the move must take the withdrawing unit out of the line of sight all enemy. Or, into a better level of cover.

All the normal movement rules apply. So, if your movement dice are poor the withdrawal could end badly.

Using the example above, the PAK40 would have 2 actions due to reduced crew.
One action is needed to limber the gun, leaving one dice to move. Alternatively, the crew could have man handled the gun with all their actions for move 1 dice. With 3 shock and 1 move dice, the PAK40 may not have escaped. But, I believe the PAK40 should have the option to move out of a poor tactical situation when the opportunity arises.

Those are my thoughts. If you think I have spoken heresy and want to launch an inquisition, please feel free to say so.

I’m happy to hear alternative views.


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Re: Withdrawing at the end of the turn?

Post by Archdukek »

Hi Darren,
I don’t think it is heretical to put ideas up for discussion which you think will improve the game. However, in this instance I think you are confusing different concepts from different rules.

As you say, both Chain of Command and Sharp Practice have mechanisms which can introduce a significant lull in proceedings Into the game. This is called Turn End in CoC and Chapter End in SP. neither event occurs with any frequency and it is quite possible to play an entire game of both without either arising, although in CoC a player can force it to happen by spending a Chain of Command dice.

Although the terminology is similar this is a very different concept to when a turn ends in IABSM on the turning of a Tea Break card which is a regular and frequent event. I would suggest that Tea Break is closer to the ending of a Phase in CoC or the turning of the Tiffin card in SP.

Given that in IABSM a turn by definition (p5) represents only 30 seconds to 1 minute of real time, the events you describe in your example will have occurred over a space of 1-2 minutes. Scarcely enough time for the PAK 40 crew to react at all other than by firing and too little time for the gun commander to make the tactical decision and give the orders to withdraw.

If you wanted to introduce the possibility of “a significant lull in the action” into IABSM then probably the simplest way would be to adopt the same rule as in SP, namely that if the Tea Break card is drawn out first at the start of the Turn you have a break Of sufficient duration to do what you propose.


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Re: Withdrawing at the end of the turn?

Post by siggian »

I think historically that AT guns were very vulnerable once they had been discovered. Their primary way of surviving was to either ambush and knock their opponents out quickly or to be in such numbers that they would overwhelm the tanks (a la Kursk).

It the scenario above, the PAK was already in trouble being one gun taking on three very heavily armoured tanks. Had it been taking on Shermans, it might have gotten one or two tanks before being taken out.

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Re: Withdrawing at the end of the turn?

Post by Truscott Trotter »

Best tactic would have been to keep their heads down and hope the Churchils didn't spot them

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Re: Withdrawing at the end of the turn?

Post by Darren »

Thank you everyone for your thoughts.

I didn't consider the length of the turn, you make a valid point.
I will rethink my approach to the end of the turn.


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