Help support TMP

"Morale Rules for Recon Units?" Topic

43 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Cold War (1946-1989) Message Board

Back to the WWII Discussion Message Board

Back to the Game Design Message Board

Back to the Solo Wargamers Message Board

876 hits since 4 Mar 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 3:25 a.m. PST

Theoretically, in many cases, these units are pretty lightly equipped and armed – thinking WWII, and/or Cold War vehicle-borne units here, primarily, but I guess this could apply to recon forces on foot too.

Frequently, they're supposed to avoid heavy combat on most occasions, while they move about the battlefield rather stealthily, in order to obtain intelligence about the opposition, e.g. numbers, types of forces, current positions, etc., etc..

Sometimes they also perform flank screening actions too.

Occasionally, if the mission is critical enough, they're even tasked with fighting for intel, and/or to distract and mislead the opposition, so that the unit(s) they're assigned to can accomplish their missions.

Generally, I tend to dislike the way most rules systems handle "morale". It usually seems to be a bolted on, afterthought, in many cases, and the rules are frequently rather cumbersome to understand and apply.

So, I've been toying with developing my own rules, and trying to keep them reasonably simple, and straightforward, and fairly easy to understand.

Basically, the chances for morale failures are relatively in line with the number of units lost in a platoon, or company, and checks are made when:

- 1st vehicle is lost (both for the platoon, and company);
- 50% losses (both units);
- 75% losses (both units);
- last vehicle in the unit remaining (both platoon and company);
- loss of unit commander bonus – (platoon, and company level);
- and, loss of unit second in command bonus for the company level only.

I'm possibly considering modifying these by training/experience levels, but then again, that gets pretty complicated, since a chart would be required (and/or +/- percentage changes to the final numbers).

For the most part, the chances of failing morale are pretty much a function of the percentage of losses suffered by te unit, e.g. if a 3 platoon unit suffers one loss, there's a 33% chance to fail morale. If the platoon commander is the lost vehicle, then there's a bonus for failing morale for that, unless the platoon is within relatively close proximity to other platoons, and/or the company HQ units.

For 50% losses, the chance of morale failure is about 50%, give or take the unit's size – since 50% plus of a 3 vehicle platoon shoves it up into the "last vehicle surviving" category too, which makes passing the morale check much worse.

I'm not taking account of suppressions, and being fired on for the vehicles, since that would over-complicate things, I expect (the above is complicated enough already), but do want to consider how to handle morale for vehicles assigned to recon work.

Perhaps in just those cases, suppressions, and/or just being fired at, might need to be included, since I suspect in most cases, recon vehicles should attempt to break off combat/contact, if possible, whenever they are detected by the enemy, and fired upon (or, if not all the time, certainly for a good percentage of the time).

Of course, that doesn't mean they get permanently driven off, since no doubt their higher level commanders will find that to be unacceptable, but they should have to withdraw a bit, perhaps pause, and then: seek another avenue of approach, wait for reinforcements, or get authorization for a more direct style of engagement with the enemy, since they've now been detected anyway.

Have any of you considered special rules for this type of action?

With real players, perhaps it is a non-issue, since they can establish the rules of engagement, or they can be controlled by the umpire.

For solo game play though, it is another thing that needs to be dealt with.


GeoffQRF04 Mar 2017 3:44 a.m. PST

Perhaps you also need to consider what moral rules are intended to enforce, as a game mechanic.

The problem is that the player is not (usually!) in any personal danger. The tendency is therefore to take the hit but ignore other effects, "Fred's dead, I'll just keep going with Jim"

While we may be aware of the reality being different, morale forces us to take that into account. It also creates uncertainty which prevents "bishop takes pawn" certainty. What if the bishop first had to take a moral check to see if it had the courage to attack the pawn? What if the pawn got support from the others and fended off the attack? What if the approaching bishop was so terrifying the pawns all ran away before it got there?

This is what differentiates wargaming from chess. It also creates a certain random factor beyond the players control that forces him or her to make tactical risk-conscious decisions, and have to deal with unexpected events that can turn a battle.

Timbo W04 Mar 2017 4:36 a.m. PST

Maybe recce forces should take a morale test to open fire because this could give away their position? Unless they've already been discovered or fired on I guess.

Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 5:17 a.m. PST

Yep, Geoff, I'm looking for something a bit more campaign, or at least mini-campaign like, so the troops aren't just discarded without care.

Of course, there may be times to do that, but they shouldn't be carelessly discarded, nor should they be so timid as to be utterly useless either.

That is a good point, Timbo, since I think the firer needs to weigh the chance for success in eliminating the opponent, without being detected/reported himself, if another recce unit, or a heavier one, that wants to remain hidden.

If you can kill him outright, so he doesn't get a chance to radio back to another unit, that's fine, but you wouldn't want to engage in a long-range firefight with little chance of success, since that just gives the game, and your own position(s) away.

I suspect even a 50% chance of hitting and eliminating the target might be too low to fire. Might want to have at least roughly an 80% chance of success, if possible.

May need to add in some stealth movement rules too, just for grins, to keep observation chances low, instead of racing off at full speed down a road, especially if it is a dry dirt or gravel one, which might give the game away with dust clouds.

Thinking about a meeting engagement between West German and Soviet recon troops, but it could equally be as well, Brits, Yanks, Danes, East Germans, or Poles, too. Perhaps 2 – 4 x Luchs vs. 4 – 6, or even 8 BRDM-2s, depending upon the unit, and recon force's composition. Each may be backed up by a few tanks, and/or IFVs as well.

Of course, the Soviets will be under pressure to advance quickly to keep NATO off balance, and to ensure they don't get over-run by their quickly advancing forces.

repaint Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 5:20 a.m. PST

A recce unit may have actually an easier "run away" threshold. However, they should be harder to hit.

Basically, the rule should drive two aspect: ability of recce units to sneak in and their aversion for combat (unless per mission, they are required to fight).

Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 5:25 a.m. PST

I agree with that, but also more likely to re-engage too, even if temporarily forced to withdraw, since they expect to be contacting the enemy. It's part of the job.

Timbo W04 Mar 2017 5:34 a.m. PST

If I remember from an old Miniature Wargames article, the Soviets were fond of recce by MBT & APC. So they had a rather different attitude. More of a 'probing force' with enough firepower to take minor positions maybe.

Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 5:56 a.m. PST

Yea, frequently, they have a mixed force, with those, and/or IFVs, in addition to the BRDMs.

I'm doing early – mid Cold War as well, so the Bundeswehr might have M41 tanks, and/or Leopards for recce too, in addition to those lovely Luchs cars.

Andy ONeill04 Mar 2017 8:56 a.m. PST

In ww2 the Sovs had sneaky-deaky scouts and suchlike who would just gather intel.
They also used frontal attacks of T34 or infantry units for recce.

German ww2 recce was intended to be capable of fighting.

Mostly, other recce wasn't really intended to fight except to get them out the inevitable jams.

The way recce was done is a bit boring in game terms because often it'd be a scout car or something pushes a bit forward and then a tiny patrol gets out and sneaks about.
More of a pre game effect maybe.

In the desert and steppes you could find lightly armoured armoured cars roaming around behind enemy lines. The "lines" were often very porous with big gaps between units.

Morale trigger wise.
Seeing friendlies run is a major trigger. Usually you don't know why and panic is extremely infectious. Plus there's the "they're pulling back so that means everyone is and we didn't get the message passed on".

Coming under fire unexpectedly is another big trigger. Recce are probably just as prone to running. If not more so.
Maybe they rally quicker.
Their job is usually not really full out assault. If you use modes for friction they should have a different sort of mode allows them to pull back quickly.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 9:33 a.m. PST

I think much of the morale will depend on their mission and the odds of it succeeding. If their mission has a chance of succeeding they continue even with causalities or a high chance of passing the morale check.

This should give some good info:

Like some others have said most likely recon units would voluntarily pull back if the defense was heavy.

Movement to Contact: Keep moving until the enemy shoots then let the main force take over. That would pertain to US Recon jeeps in Western Europe. Just behind the jeeps would be mech infantry in half tracks and mortars. This is probably the best game scenario for recon units.

During an attack: Recon units (especially mobile ones) were held behind the FEBA as a reserve to exploit a breakthrough, plug a hole in the line or screen the flanks. You could have a scenario where recon units meet/ambush mechanized enemy units that just broke through. Their morale would be high because they may be the last line of defense.

Recon in Force: In a recon in force (fighting for information) or movement to contact which would lead to a meeting engagement or discover enemy static defenses their job would be to advance until the enemy started firing at them. If the defense were light they attempt to continue their advance. If heavy they'd let the regular forces behind them take over.

I look at recon more as a as a pre-game activity. When the attack starts intel from recon units performing route recon (identify good roads, minefields, static positions, etc) would determine route of advance and enemy defenses to bypass.

Soviet recon units are a little different. In WWII they would infiltrate behind the German lines over a number of days. When the main attack begins they'd hit the enemy in the rear, ambush reserves moving up, interdict communications, etc. Cold War Spetnaz units would do the same. Much more fun.

Using vehicles during the Cold War in Europe would most likely involve recon in force. This could involve a shaping operation before the main attack, penetrate enemy screening forces or a diversion attack. The objective could be to take some strategic location like a hilltop or force the enemy to commit their reserves away from the main effort.

My recon training was early 1970's with the Marines which I don't think would be much help for what you are doing.

Hope this helps.


nickinsomerset04 Mar 2017 9:45 a.m. PST

As Wolfhag mentions, RECCE (The proper spelling!) should really be a pre game asset unless a specific scenario, and not as an additional Sabre troop in BAOR.

I have started a few games with the Recce screen having to reach and pass through their own lines.

The Sovs would, on the other hand, carry out recce by force and attach MBTs to recce that would then fight for information.

Tally Ho!

Legion 404 Mar 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

Yes, I agree with Wolfhag as well …

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 1:46 p.m. PST

Legion 4,
Hey, I'm back from the DH. I've been warned all of my future posts must submit to a PC test that I must tolerate.

I'd like to thank Bill for helping me make my point. Still locked out of the PC Ultramodern board. Probably for the best.
Big Brother is watching so I'll sign off for now.


Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 4:02 p.m. PST

Yea, I'm locked out of the Ultramodern Board as well, for not being PC, and stating facts. A pity, but there are a number of us.

Thanks for all the replies above.

I really appreciate it.

Yes, I can see some recon units being more likely to pull back, and/or to try to divert around enemy forces, in their work, e.g. stealthily sneaking about, and/or in probing attacks.

I'd like to do some recon scenarios before the main events, in some cases, just since I find it so interesting.

I agree that they'd be more likely to try to avoid a fight, in some cases, if they can, but that if reinforced with tanks, they might fight for ground, or at least strongly probe the enemy lines to see what's there.

Recovering more quickly than other units is probably a given.

Might want to do some meeting engagements too, and the recon forces frequently lead the way.

I suspect recon units equipped with tanks, or reinforced with them and IFVs will probably be more likely, and able to fight for intel, and ground, as opposed to those lightweight armored cars carrying just machine guns, or light auto cannons.

The WRG 1950 rules I'm considering using don't directly address it, so I'm considering giving vehicles moving at 1/4 speed, and in/amongst cover, a +1 modifier, making them harder to be spotted, which I think should work reasonably well.

As a tradeoff, in the basic rules, they need to move 250m/yds. to get a negative bonus to be hit when fired upon. Also, in the regular rules, if they move 1/2 speed or more for the terrain type they're occupying, they are more easily spotted.

Given the above, I think the new, special stealth mode movement rule gives the players a choice. Move stealthily and hope not to be spotted, but if they are, more easily hit, OR, move more quickly, but be more easily spotted, but harder to hit by enemy fire.

Robhb104 Mar 2017 7:17 p.m. PST

Hi all, IIRC 'classic' recon was a relatively small part of what recon units actually did (>15%?); I may have got this from:

'To Fight or Not to Fight'
Robert S Cameron
… a US Army published, possibly PhD thesis, history of recon from interwar to Op Iraqi Freedom

PDF link

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 7:57 p.m. PST

I think everything posted here so far is pretty much spot on, except maybe some terminology.

To me, if you're talking about 'recon' units, you're talking about small, light units that hide, collect data, and report what they see, behind enemy lines via non-organic insertion techniques (AKA, 'deep reconnaissance'). They may also perform surveillance and target acquisition duties (following an enemy unit to maintain situational awareness of said enemy unit in the former, calling in supporting fires on enemy targets in the latter).

To me, if you're talking about what I would call 'battlefield reconnaissance,' i.e., searching for gaps in the enemy's line, you're talking about cavalry units, not reconnaissance units. Cavalry units find holes, sometimes even make holes, i.e., punch through lightly held lines to take a key objective needed by follow-on forces (a bridge, for example). They can conduct surveillance on enemy units, typically to a flank, and perform screening, which means not just providing information on where the enemy unit is and what it's doing, but it can actually engage the enemy unit to keep it from reaching our main body. In this role, the cavalry will many times also perform target acquisition missions, levying supporting fires to aid in its screening mission.

I don't know if all that makes sense, and it may very well be an 'American' way of looking at things. But the former, in the US military, is done by folks like US Marine Amphibious and Force Recon (and, for Wolfhag, Radio Reconnaissance, all members of the Recon and Surveillance Element of each MEU), Army and Navy Tier 1 and 2 R&S elements, and the latter is stuff like US Marine Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions (LAVs) and US Army Armored Cavalry Regiments. Two different sets f folks with two different mission sets, with some overlaps and parallels.

For what it's worth.


Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2017 11:44 p.m. PST

Mako 11:

I wonder if you're trying to shoe-horn too much into morale rules. Trying to model unit behaviour to conform to doctrine seems sensible but is a morale mechanism the way to go? If you are purposely conflating morale, training level, élan/guts and aggression into one mechanism for simplicity's sake then the solution, like Aristotle's crystal spheres, may become very unwieldy or not work at all.

Perhaps other mechanisms are better to model recce/recon behaviour. For example, using a pool of command points where actions that are in line with a unit's SOP are cheap to perform but unorthodox or very dangerous actions are expensive might be a better way to go. To see if a unit will perform a particularly dangerous action might require a training or élan/guts check or the unit balks this turn. This could further allow you to differentiate between different types of recce/recon units and their functions on or near the battlefield.

Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.

nickinsomerset05 Mar 2017 12:23 a.m. PST

Just Jack,

or in the case of BAOR where the Cavalry do both!

Tally ho!

wizbangs Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2017 6:19 a.m. PST

I think morale check at company level for the first loss is excessive (unless you're talking about the first platoon & not the first section or squad).

I like the greater likelihood of recon withdrawing & regrouping. As Atilla the Hun figured out, if you leave an enemy a way to escape he is more likely to quit the field than if he is surrounded. Speaking of which, you should include a check for when an enemy flanks or gets behind a platoon.

I also like the suggestion of testing before you fire & give away your position if you are in ambush, but conversely, there are also those who fire too soon when the enemy is still out of effective range.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2017 6:52 a.m. PST

wizbamgs brings up a good point about the flanks. If you do not know your flanks are covered and out of comm with higher HQ it would not be unusual to fall back without being attacked or losing anyone.


Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2017 8:17 a.m. PST

Could be Rod. That is a consideration, but not sure if I want to deal with training/experience ratings for the units. That might be a better way to go for some things, but is another complication too.

I agree with some/much of the above.

Many call their forces recon units, and not cavalry, but I understand what you are saying.

Not sure your average tanker would really know if they were flanked, or not, excepting perhaps for the commander, if he's got his head out of the vehicle. Of course, he/they wouldn't be happy about that, but would probably just turn to meet the foe(s), instead of retreating, I suspect.

You'd probably need to take hits in the flank, before being aware of that, otherwise, and by then I suspect, in most cases, it is game over, assuming the enemy has a decent weapon to use.

Rear attacks are somewhat similar spotting wise, but I suspect they'd definitely get your attention, assuming you survive the first impact(s) from the enemy. Probably a greater chance of causing a unit to break off a fight, and/or try to escape.

I agree with the company level first vehicle loss, but the percentage chance for that will be really low, e.g. 5% – 10%, depending upon the company's size (10 – 17 vehicles in a unit). Therefore, maybe that should be ditched, and only check morale if one platoon suffers 50%+ losses, and/or is completely eliminated, or the survivors' morale breaks in that platoon.

Thinking too, of some restrictions on recon units firing. 80% chance to hit/kill an enemy is probably too high a bar, but perhaps having at least a 50%+ chance to do that before a unit can fire on the enemy might be appropriate, for at least some modes of recon work (those where stealth is preferred), but not recon in force, where they're willing to fight for intel and terrain, and have the units to do that with, e.g. tanks, and/or IFVs and not just MGs and light cannons on their armored cars, unless fighting against similar light forces, like other armored cars, and infantry.

nickinsomerset05 Mar 2017 8:55 a.m. PST

You would need a pop smoke rule too, very useful when withdrawing,

Tally Ho!

Andy ONeill05 Mar 2017 9:21 a.m. PST

One of the german tank aces described a battle where the Sov tanks passed them by and they shot them up from the rear.
The Sov force never seemed to work out where the fire was coming from.

My preference is usually to abstract out recon. There are a number of ways of doing this. Fuzzy placement is one. Basically you start with a figure representing the rough location your unit is in. When encountering enemy you roll off and placement is firmed up. The winner chooses who places first.
Recon units get a + on their roll.
You can bolt this sort of rule on most game systems.

We often play attack defense and the defender map deploys. He/they only place anything on table that is "obvious". You can add pre game recon onto this at various levels. Usually any fixed fortifications like pill boxes must be placed on table. Next step up being trenches etc etc.

Legion 405 Mar 2017 10:36 a.m. PST

Legion 4,
Hey, I'm back from the DH. I've been warned all of my future posts must submit to a PC test that I must tolerate.

I'd like to thank Bill for helping me make my point. Still locked out of the PC Ultramodern board. Probably for the best.
Big Brother is watching so I'll sign off for now.


I hear ya Bro ! thumbs up I've got your 6 !

I've got to answer the door now. There are a couple of guys in black suits and fedoras knocking.


nickinsomerset05 Mar 2017 10:42 a.m. PST

Something to bear in mind is that in the recce role, we trained to operate by either troop or 1/2 Troop with a great deal of independence.

Tally Ho!

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2017 2:48 p.m. PST

I hesitate to jump in here with such experts in the field but Recce is an area of interest. I see it as an opportunity to field light armour & other troop types who don't appear in conventional clashes.

I guess you all know this book?

I've found it useful.

My plan is to link a Recce-based game with a later, more conventional clash. That is, the outcome of the scouting game will impact on the mission & the troops used in the follow-up.
Thus morale & "acceptable losses" will be up to a player with an eye to the next game. At this stage, I'm thinking I won't need special rules.

BTW are you guys with cur-tailed privilege barking up the wrong tree when blaming Bill?

See Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

Legion 405 Mar 2017 5:18 p.m. PST

No one is blaming Bill for anything. Stay On Topic please … Caesar not withstanding …

I hesitate to jump in here with such experts in the field but Recce
[Smarm ?]

Don't know if we are experts. However, Wolf was trained by the USMC for Recon ops. And I by the US ARMY Infantry, SFs/Rangers … And I'm sure we even ran and/or participated in Recon ops/missions. A number of times. And it appears there are a number on this thread that has similar, etc., training, experience, etc. So we clearly do have a very good working knowledge of the subject.

I have not read the Osprey Book you mentioned. But I did read and studied a number of US Army FMs, SF & Ranger Handbooks, etc.

And good post Just Jack ! thumbs up Recon units and missions come in a number of types, use various SOPs, etc., …

You would need a pop smoke rule too, very useful when withdrawing,
thumbs up Nick !

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2017 7:13 p.m. PST

Stay On Topic

I wouldn't have made the comment if Mako, Wolfhag & your good self hadn't been OT. As for blame: read Wolfhag's post.

I'm not at all interested in modern warfare but WW2. I'd acknowledge the Osprey is probably pretty basic but at least based on the correct period.

I'd be interested in any relevant tomes on the topic: particularly if British & German.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 12:19 a.m. PST

I can't say I'm very familiar with the UK recon but their operations in Indonesia(?) are worth looking into.

I still think recon has the best potential for a pre-game sequence to shape the scenario.

I could start a topic in the Modern group about recon ops in jungles. Things like how to call in an airstrike through a triple canopy while running from the bad guys and only knowing what grid squad you are in. Also the best way to stop being chased and tailed in a jungle. Should be good for Force on Force games. I'm locked out of the Ultramodern.

Maybe Legion 4 could tell us a little about the LRRPS.


UshCha Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 12:57 a.m. PST

It seemd to me the "Morale" yhing is well of coure. you are usinggiut ro drive game requirements, not an efficient way in my opinion.

In reality most recon by stearh takes long time periods and looks genetally not for what wargamers want. Wargamers have a board infront of them and the horror I encountered when sugessted rating bridges by weight was unbelievable (proably as it screws up points systems).

In our long and complicated games recon by stearh is covered. Rhese assesrs are cossted as irriplaceable as they reqire very high caliber troops and lotsa of extr traininbg. They are not to be used as Cannon fodda as ana when a copmmander fancies it.

Advanced guards are sort of recon but in the case of say a Russian Motor rifle Battalion, may only be 20 mintures infront and so not be steathy to any greatr extent and are drawn from the standard forces. They stop (willingly or unwillingly) when they encounter significant enemy forces. They give time for the main rtoopos to deploy for action. Again this is outside a "classic" wargame.

you need to have a clear brief/range of briefs on what the recon force is to deliver. Only then can you write tules that are credible.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 3:09 a.m. PST

@ Wolfhag

UK recon but their operations in Indonesia(?)

Do you mean the Malayan Emergency?
It's almost WW2.

This is an interesting read:

PDF link

BTW the ME saw the SAS get a new life.

nickinsomerset06 Mar 2017 4:00 a.m. PST

I think that there needs be be a clear indication of the type of Recce. We are seeing a blur between Armd Recce/Close Recce, Stay behind and SF/HAC and Special OP. Armd/Close Recce could also perform the stay behind/OP role, with Close Recce under BG command.

Tally Ho!

Legion 406 Mar 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

I wouldn't have made the comment if Mako, Wolfhag & your good self hadn't been OT. As for blame: read Wolfhag's post.

It's not placing blame, it's a fact here. The Eds. rule, we all know that. And no one else commented on Wolf's post to me. But you … ? Hence Stay on Topic …

I'm not at all interested in modern warfare but WW2. I'd acknowledge the Osprey is probably pretty basic but at least based on the correct period.
Many of us are students of history as well.

Legion 406 Mar 2017 11:19 a.m. PST

Maybe Legion 4 could tell us a little about the LRRPS.

Sure ! Many of our Instructors in both ROTC and on Active Duty were SF and/or Rangers. Who ran LRRPs. I.e. Long Range Recon Patrols while in SE Asia.
And in many ways was that is how we were trained when it came to dismounted patrol ops. Albeit Recon is only one mission on the Patrol menu. Which includes Ambush, EPW Snatch, Raids, etc.,…

However, in very closed terrain like the jungle. The LRRP would be in @ 6-12 man teams. They'd use all the methods of fieldcraft, camo, cover & concealment, etc. to remain unobserved and very "stealthy". These patrols would go way behind what would be considered "Enemy Lines" in any other war. They were inserted by various methods, choppers, boats, etc. But in many cases they just walked and walked, and walked, etc., hence the Long part of LRRP. And find & infiltrate into the enemy(s) location(s), etc.

Their entire mission was Recon. Avoid making contact first & foremost. Observe & Report … not shoot or get shot at. Remain unknown, invisible, ghosts, etc. The jungle is perfect for this type of op.

If need be they could call in CAS to cover their withdrawal. If they made contact. Or if some very high priority target comes into their sights.

We studied AARs, etc., where a Recon Tm would be hidden in the middle of a VC or NVA Company or Bn. Moving thru the jungles around them. They just did nothing but count the numbers of troops, officers, heavy weapons, etc., grid location(s), direction of travel, etc.

And once the VC/NVA clearly had passed, etc. Call-in the report. And if need be call in CAS if Higher HQ deems it. But again on a recon. You must try to remain invisible, your primary mission is observe & report.

Once the LRRP was completed, it may last days or even longer. Exfil to an extraction point. Return to base and debrief, etc.

In the 101 as a new LT, we trained for this type of op. And was deployed to the jungles of Panama 3 times. We perfected this type of op. And at the same time to find and if need be prevent enemy[Communists from Central American countries, etc., or even Cuban troops, etc.] infiltration into Panama, the Canal Zone.

When I later rotated to the ROK with the 2ID. The primary mission while on the DMZ was dismounted patrolling. Even for a Mech Bn like I was assigned too. The Squad[or a little larger] sized patrols would run recon during the day to find ambush positions for the night. And look for anything else "unusual" If any enemy infil was going on would most likely be under the cover of darkness. And the ambushes would take care of that, if required.

No matter what type of Infantry you are, Light or Mech. Dismounted patrolling and dismounted movements is the basis for all Infantry operations.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 1:01 p.m. PST

It's not placing blame, it's a fact here.

I'm really not interested in discussing your ban. This interminable naval gazing is just a distraction. Again, you're OT Ralph. Please stay on topic.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 2:32 p.m. PST

Perhaps the best way to tackle the problem is to first determine what jobs recce/recon units are called upon to do. Then assign these jobs to different types of recce/recon units in order to form a play-book for each type of unit. So let me start the lists.


Scouting routes of advance.
Terrain appreciation and route demarcation.
Obstacle and mine detection.
Finding and observing enemy units and infrastructure.
Taking prisoners for interrogation.
Deep insertion for target identification and remote targeting.
Sabotage and ambush operations (if SF capable coupled with recce/recon task).
Planting sensors and GSR.
Signal location (if possible).
NBC detection and demarcation.
Screening deploying forces in the FEBA.
Flank security and Patrolling.

Types of recce/recon units:

Combat recce/recon units.
Specialised scout patrols.
Military patrols (generic soldiers).
Armoured recce/recon units.
Heliborne/helicopter recce/recon units.
Boat-delivered recce/recon units.
UV-Drone recce/recon.

Once the types and tasks/activities lists are fully fleshed out then it's easy to build a play-book for each unit based on what it is most likely to be asked to do. Tasks not in a unit's play-book will be more difficult and more costly to perform and have a lower chance for success.

So what needs to be added to either list?

Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 2:53 p.m. PST

I think you pretty much cover it. Morale modifiers could be based on mission which is what I suggest.

Units ordered to observe, snoop & poop would probably conduct a tactical withdraw out of danger which is different than morale.


Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2017 3:00 p.m. PST

"I'm really not interested in discussing your ban".

AND, yet you continue to do just that, ochoin.


Lion in the Stars06 Mar 2017 4:46 p.m. PST

One of the bigger problems with morale rules in general is that a combat unit that has taken 33% casualties isn't going to do anything but stay put and wait for MEDEVAC. That's all they're capable of doing (and fighting like hell if assaulted).

Most of our game morale rules don't even start taking checks until 50% casualties!

The older flames of war recon break-off rules, where every stand in the platoon shooting at the recon platoon got to shoot with one die, then the recon team tests to break off, and if the recon team fails to break off the shooter gets the rest of their fire (usually another 1-2 dice per stand).

Legion 406 Mar 2017 5:17 p.m. PST

Heliborne/helicopter recce/recon units.
Boat-delivered recce/recon units.

As I said in my post about LRRPs. Those are some of the ways the Recon Patrol, etc. is delivered to the battlefield. Many standard Infantry and/or Scout/Recon units are trained to use those methods. I know I was, whether Light or Mech*.

Note: Light Infantry includes, Airborne, Air Assault, Mountain, & Ranger.

And almost all the tasks/activities you listed are generally standard missions. For most any well trained Infantry unit. Again, I know I was*.

*FYI: I'm not saying I was anything "special", i.e. I was not. However, most Infantrymen were trained to do those "tasks". I served in 4 Infantry Bns – 1 Air Assault, 3 Mech. Again … nothing special.

GreenLeader06 Mar 2017 9:02 p.m. PST

Very interesting point: I think most players tend to think of their recce assets as just another platoon to use as they want… so it is well worth trying to put some rules in place to have them used more realistically.

I would agree with those who suggest handling it in a pre-game phase, however, as having different morale rules (or similar) could get very complex indeed.

Lion in the Stars06 Mar 2017 11:15 p.m. PST

Several games give the player with more recon units in his army the advantage in setting up the table.

Since most games have an "Army Parade Phase" where you can ask your opponent what each unit is, you can't really let recon change that. In games where there isn't an "Army Parade Phase", ie, where you have Open Information and Private information, you could let recon units reveal certain private info before the game.

The Break Contact rule from Flames of War is about as much extra complication as I want to add for special rules (that rule applied to all platoons with the Recon keyword). IIRC, once the Recon Platoon does their Break Contact move, they need to pass another Morale test to re-organize and get back to the snooping and pooping.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2017 6:49 a.m. PST

For Brigade Commander, we kept it simple and use the Recon element to "halt" an enemy move, then the recon element recoils back to its parent formation and can be deployed forward again.

The halt can represent you getting a chance to react and intercept due to improved intel or it can represent a recon platoon opening up with fire and then retreating, depending on doctrine.

Highly abstracted but works well enough.

The Steel Panthers games on the computer make recon elements quite expensive.
You can fight with them if you like, but you're committing a very inefficient resource to do so.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.