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"Tank Decision Tree " Topic


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UshCha01 Jun 2018 6:51 a.m. PST

Just for interest in a discussion of what is complex I drew up the decision tree for a tank commander driving down the road with no immediate threats to respond too.

link

Each half move the player to select one of the coloured boxes representing whathe vehicle and its crew will do. Note once at a speed range the player can move and turn withing the limits of the speed range without invoking the need for another movement action.

I don't consider it complex as most of it is pretty much intuative to a car driver.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2018 7:41 a.m. PST

Did you ever play in a Dungeons and Dragons game where you had to roll every turn to see if you fell off your horse?
Or how about Sniper, where a bad roll makes you fall down the stairs?

Did you ever stop to think that sometimes too many decision points ruin a game?

Legion 401 Jun 2018 7:47 a.m. PST

Good point Winston … sometimes I think at times gamers "over think" some things …

Some things should or are "random" per se, but generally leaders, commanders, etc., usually or should make "some" "educated" decisions, etc., or even SWAGs. That is what they get "paid" for.

And if one thinks too much it may be too late. And that is why many "good" militaries do battle drills, immediate action drills, SOPs, protocols, etc., plus practice & rehearse again and again. Reacting quickly generally is/may be a matter of life or death at times.

UshCha01 Jun 2018 7:58 a.m. PST

The whole point is that these are not die rolles thay are the decisions the tank commander has to take. If he is sensible (history however is full of fools)the platoon commander orders a formation wingman 1 left, 2 right 3 rearward and the commander enter. However the the threat may be to one side so all tanks will be in traver echalon right. Equally he may have got it wrong and all the tanks are pointing in the direction. You cannot give toy soldiers second sight which is what your implying (though maybe you can in D&D). The unit cannot magicaly be in all formations at once. EGO you have to put them in a formation. Shrodingers cat can be put in a box in a state. You may not know what that state is until you open the box but it CANNOT be in any state you want when you open the box.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2018 8:01 a.m. PST

When you're driving a standard shift car, do you have to think about what to do every time you shift gears?

Legion 401 Jun 2018 8:03 a.m. PST

I hope not …


The whole point is that these are not die rolles thay are the decisions the tank commander has to take. If he is sensible (history however is full of fools)
Well you can use die rolls do decide what the leader orders. Maybe for a solitaire game ?

We use that for some units that are "out of command/leader loss". And even those "Out of Command" tables would/could vary by army or force, etc. E.g. French vs. Germans in 1940.

And generally as always K.I.S.S …

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2018 8:06 a.m. PST

I would rewrite your chart as: Each phase you can do one action. An action is …..

Mobius01 Jun 2018 8:06 a.m. PST

Tanks run in groups. How are the other tanks in the group going to handle the mid-turn changes? We know tank commanders have ESP so are they going to have their tank peel out to the right and left of the first tank without some kind of communication?

UshCha01 Jun 2018 8:08 a.m. PST

I hope to hell you think about what you are going to do when you come to your turn, and that you think to slow down when you come to a tight bend! Much better analogy, however i have met folk that don't, however with luck they only kill themselves.

Legion 401 Jun 2018 8:12 a.m. PST

We know tank commanders have ESP so are they going to have their tank peel out to the right and left of the first tank without some kind of communication?
As I said, if one thinks too much it may be too late. And that is why many "good" militaries do battle drills, immediate action drills, SOPs, protocols, etc., plus practice & rehearse again and again. Reacting quickly generally is/may be a matter of life or death at times.

So in many cases well trained troops react without getting orders/being told what to do. So in gaming that may/could/should be reflected.

E.g. in an old SPI game IIRC "Kampfpanzer" I still have it. The "better" units would pick less Command Chits. Randomly/blindly from a cup, etc. I.e., in 1940, the Germans drew 1 or 2 numbered chits, the French 3,4, or even 6 in some scenarios. The numbers on the chits were random order "generators". If a unit that was on a hex that ended in that number. The unit would have to roll on a random order table. And not move, shot, etc. based on the "commanders orders" or commo failure, etc. …

Obviously e.g. the French would have a higher probability of not reacting/following to the commanders orders, etc. I.e. drawing more chits than the Germans. 1 or 2 vs. 3-6 chits …

donlowry01 Jun 2018 8:44 a.m. PST

My eyes are not small enough to read that chart!

emckinney01 Jun 2018 11:52 a.m. PST

If the game is about demanding an armored platoon, and it has a semi role-playing aspect where you're simply rolling along, looking for contact, then this makes sense. If you are trying to run a complete company, or worse a battalion, then obviously it is far too detailed. Also, it doesn't make sense to use this if there aren't hidden enemy forces, or if contact will be made in the first turn or two. That's the semi role playing experience. I can certainly see the attraction of a scenario that has been clearly defined to the player or players as being a whole scenario, where you don't know when, or even if, contact will happen. For example, I have played a game of Harpoon where there were numerous civilian ships in the area. That made for a lot of decision-making about radar contacts and what to do about them. After all, opening fire on a fishing trawler was bad in a lot of dimensions! Wasted ammo, International condemnation :-), and giving your position away.

emckinney01 Jun 2018 11:54 a.m. PST

Boy, folks need to use a spell checker in their browsers, and probably a usage checker as well. Lots of wrong words and similar words that slipped through. Makes a lot of content here difficult to follow. I use voice typing, but i'm fanatical about proofreading. Which probably means that there will be a terrible error in one of these posts. You might try writing your posts in word and then copying them over. It won't catch everything, and it's not a practical solution if you are writing on your phone, but it really helps.

UshCha01 Jun 2018 1:26 p.m. PST

Emckinney few indeed are the situations where you know where all the enemy are. At one to one you need to do more as a wargamers than perhaps the real world. Abstracting only works if the abstraction is plausible. If you as the commander assess that there is potentially a 30% chance of the enemy being in front 20% % of being to the left and 50% On right what formation does the platoon commander decide on. It has to be one, none are perfect, a set of rules cannot cope with this issue as it needs an intellegent decision. Dice rolling or pretending its not happening degenerates the simulation to the level that it is on longer plausible. The level of detail to achieve plausibility is higer than most folk appreciate.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2018 2:45 p.m. PST

The level of detail needed to finish a game in optimum time is lower than most people think.

I dare not mention the " f" word ( fun) as it seems to have escaped this topic. I will add if the OP likes this level of detail, fantastic. Just don't expect at least me to like it as well. I'm with Ralph on this one.

Legion 401 Jun 2018 3:06 p.m. PST

few indeed are the situations where you know where all the enemy are.
until it's too late.

The randomness of many situations can be only worked into a rules set just to a point. Otherwise … all the players have to do is keep rolling dice and looking at a chart. And not actually game/play/lead … just move or shoot, etc., all your units. Based on a chart with each roll telling to what to do. With is the way e.g. a leader lose/out of command table does. But not for all your units, in almost all cases, …

28mm Fanatik01 Jun 2018 3:20 p.m. PST

I don't think even 'Advanced Squad Leader' is so tedious on a micromanagement level. Games must maintain a delicate balance between realism and playability, which means not getting bogged down with micromanagement and too much unnecessary details or people will get bored and lose interest.

UshCha01 Jun 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

Not sure personally how the key feature of a tank which is the ability to turn a turret, in referring to its key feature is micro management. It's what sets it apart from say assult guns. Or perhaps you only consider vehicles and also ignore armour. Oh and while you at it ignore armour thickness variation front to rear. Playing a credible game is fun. Rolling die without any reasonable connection to reality to me is most definitely not fun.

In our serious games we deploy on maps and less serious games we use blinds. Having both sides on the table at the start would result in a very boring game.

Lee49401 Jun 2018 4:31 p.m. PST

For a manageable game at the level of detail you're looking for you should use s computer game. I believe there are several cloud based multiplayer games out there.

UshCha01 Jun 2018 7:51 p.m. PST

Never have liked computer games, just not for me,

Vigilant02 Jun 2018 3:22 a.m. PST

Isn't all this covered by the normal phases of a turn, i.e. movement into cover/hull down/direction change – spotting which would involve moving the turret – firing with selection of weapon(s) available – morale which would include discounting an immobilised tank.

UshCha02 Jun 2018 6:08 a.m. PST

I was not saying, that all of it is not within what I would call normal operation. However some folk do hate to have to turn the turret of a model. There are a number of limitations however in our game only, one of the options is possible in a half move.
Dismounting is not neccessarily a moreale thing. The Isralis dismouted tanks to clear trenches, repair trakc, attach tows etc. on the odd occation. Certainly in some cases (Witman in WWII often inspected areas on foot). It may be sensible to inspect potential minefields on foot for a better view.

The thing is that you cannot do all of them at once

Legion 402 Jun 2018 8:06 a.m. PST

I don't think even 'Advanced Squad Leader' is so tedious on a micromanagement level. Games must maintain a delicate balance between realism and playability, which means not getting bogged down with micromanagement and too much unnecessary details or people will get bored and lose interest.
Amen ! As much as we liked those games, it was best to play with my friends who were mechanical and electrical engineers or had a physics degree.

We used to joke about rolling a die a the beginning of each turn. To see if the mail comes and how it will effect the troops' morale … evil grin

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2018 8:56 a.m. PST

I just watched Dunkirk over Memorial Day.
One of the Spitfire pilots had a shattered fuel gauge. It cost him. "For you Englander, ze war is over!"
Perhaps we should have a Minor Critical Hits chart that's at least 15 pages long. Which of course requires us to roll on other charts.

You cannot call your rules "realistic" unless they are at least 3 times longer than a normal pre flight checklist.
If 5 seconds in Real Life do not take at least 10 minutes to play in game time, you should add a few more pages of complexity.
Balancing between a desired level of realism and people vowing to never come over to your house again can be a delicate calculation. It's on the order of how many strippers do you hire for a bachelor party. Again, quality vs quantity is an important issue.

UshCha02 Jun 2018 10:27 a.m. PST

Winston,
How would you define a tank? You are full of detraction, but how would you model a tank, how would you model it's need for formation. Many 1 tank = 1 platoon are laughable as they do not account for formation. It seems Naplionic players understand such fundamentals but not modern players.

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2018 12:22 p.m. PST

Formation is usually dictated by terrain and SOP's. Desert condition or steppe might dictate line abreast, or Normandy bocage might dictate one 'up' on point and three back.
Minutiae like this are fine if your game time is 1:1 with real time, otherwise IMHO not practical or necessary. I only ever play 1 tank=1 tank etc.

UshCha02 Jun 2018 12:30 p.m. PST

Not sure that is minute, read accounts of real battles and you fine opponents catching there enemy looking the wrong way, clearly not in the right formation.

Fred Cartwright02 Jun 2018 1:11 p.m. PST

Not sure that is minute, read accounts of real battles and you fine opponents catching there enemy looking the wrong way, clearly not in the right formation.

It is a fallacy to assume you have to explicitly model every factor to get an accurate reflection of real life combat outcomes. It can be abstracted into the combat resolution mechanism.

UshCha02 Jun 2018 1:44 p.m. PST

I do not see formation as an obscure factor. Would you model the decision to go to square as one that was "JUST FACTORED IN". It would defeat the learning and fun of the game. Similarly could just role a die base on an analysis of two forces and get rid of 2 hrs of nail biting fun. No point you would not learn form the experience.

I would have to factor in the possibility that my unit was in the wrong formation rather defeats the object of the simulation. Would you have a chart.

SCORE 37 37 "Sorry you screwed up the formation, you thought it was obvious but it was not" Seems poor entertainment to me.

Why did I bother with a tank models? your game would game ignores the formation so I could use just a bit of card as the direction of the turret is irrelevant.

Legion 402 Jun 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

Well as far as tank turret facing in minigaming. Generally based on turn length, e.g. each turn = 5 mins in game time. I.e. what happens in 5 mins of actual time within the game. As what a Tank can do in that 5 mins in the real world.

So unless, the game turns are very short, like 1 min., it is a given the turret could traverse and engage a target. Within that time.

Formations/facing in mini wargaming basically has a lot to do with LOS to AFV flanks or rear. As the way we do it, a flank shot gets a +1 to hit. A rear a +2 … for obvious reasons. And we were talking about this before, keeping your AFVs under cover/concealment is more important than keeping in formation. Really that is the way it is done generally … AFAIK …

Charlie 12 Inactive Member02 Jun 2018 2:27 p.m. PST

Reading over your chart, it occurs to me that many, if not all of your "decision points" are subsumed in the SOPs, battle drills, etc. that any competent military establish for such actions. You don't THINK, you just DO. I know that's true in tanks (was in them for 10 years). As a friend of mine (with 20+ years in tanks from know-nothing butter bar (I know, that's oxymoronic) to BN S3) after he looked over your chart asked, "What were my TC's doing in all those classrooms and field ops, sleeping?!?!?"

Legion 402 Jun 2018 2:36 p.m. PST

Yep … as I mentioned here previously if one thinks too much it may be too late. And that is why many "good" militaries do battle drills, immediate action drills, SOPs, protocols, etc., plus practice & rehearse again and again. Reacting quickly generally is/may be a matter of life or death at times. …

But yes, you being a Tanker and I a Grunt have had that "experience & training, etc." to see/get/understand all that and more. I'm not trying to be "mean" to anyone here, etc., but we [and other Vets] have an entirely different POV. I'd think …

Fred Cartwright02 Jun 2018 2:42 p.m. PST

I do not see formation as an obscure factor. Would you model the decision to go to square as one that was "JUST FACTORED IN". It would defeat the learning and fun of the game. Similarly could just role a die base on an analysis of two forces and get rid of 2 hrs of nail biting fun. No point you would not learn form the experience.

Then perhaps you could explain to me why in a game with platoons as the basic stand and you as battalion commander you should even know what formations your platoons are in, let alone be able to control it? As the player you should be concerned with what a battalion commander is concerned with, not micromanaging platoon tactics. Wargamers have a tendency to want to be the big commander, but also play every level below it. As a battalion commander you have to manage the bigger picture. Use of your recce assets, finding and fixing the enemy, trying to outflank with one of your companies, when to commit your reserves to reinforce success or rescue a situation. If you think that makes for a boring game because you can't control your platoons formations, then I would disagree with you. Having played games like Command Desicion where each stand is a platoon and you as battalion or Battlegroup commander I can assure you it is far from boring. And all without having to worry about platoon formations.

Lion in the Stars03 Jun 2018 4:07 a.m. PST

What happened to assuming that your crews were some level of competent and didn't need their hands held for every little thing?

If turret facing is a thing in your game, how long does it take a modern tank's turret to swing to face the threat? How long is one turn?

Legion 403 Jun 2018 6:36 a.m. PST

As the player you should be concerned with what a battalion commander is concerned with, not micromanaging platoon tactics. Wargamers have a tendency to want to be the big commander, but also play every level below it
Yes, Plt Ldrs lead Plts, Co Cdrs command Companies and Bn Cdrs command Bns.

Now Sqd Ldrs will insure his Fire Tms are doing their jobs to the individual troop level. PL will insure his Sqd Ldrs are doing their jobs. As will the Co Cdr. E.g. at times making sure the FOFs of his MGs, GLs etc., are "correct", in the right locations, etc.

The Bn Cdr/S3 … not so much … He needs to make sure his Co Cdrs are doing their jobs, unit locations, strengths, etc. Don't get me wrong at times a Bn Cdr may/will show up and tell the Co Cdr, PL, etc., to move an MG, TOW, etc. over there, or here, etc. But that level of micromanagement is far from the norm. Well trained and experienced units don't need that level of coordination.

What happened to assuming that your crews were some level of competent and didn't need their hands held for every little thing?
Agree on both points and mentioned similar … on this thread and else where on TMP …

Again:

Battle Drills

Fieldcraft

SOPs

TTP

That is the way it works at least in the real world AFAIK … Yes ?


If turret facing is a thing in your game, how long does it take a modern tank's turret to swing to face the threat? How long is one turn?
Yes, as I said … how long is a turn ? E.g. 30 seconds may be enough to traverse 180 degrees … or not ?

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 7:37 a.m. PST

Ushcha,
I cannot see why you have a fixation with formation, perhaps I'm reading it wrong and you mean 'facing'?
Tank formations aren't fixed, they're fluid. Much depends on tank type, doctrine (both army and local commander), troop commanders preference, if troop is in attack, static, or defence, terrain (open, dense, rural, urban etc), weather (mobility conditions), expected opposition, current objectives, etc, etc, etc. ad infinitum. In short 'how long is a piece of string?'
Are you playing your games in real time, 1 sec = 1 sec?
How far in the detail are you going to go? What happens in the troop if one gunner has a sneezing fit and fires off a round in error? Do they all stop and go to cover? Is their attention drawn to the direction he fired in?
What happens if the tank commander is distracted by being stung by a bee, or chokes on his cheese sandwich while issuing orders? does he lose awareness and observation for the whole turn?
What about overwatch etc Are they all moving in 'formation' at the same time? or 'bounding' making use of cover and hull down positions?
In any case, any 'rigid' formation, won't last long after contact with the enemy or unexpected circumstances.

Legion 403 Jun 2018 7:39 a.m. PST

All Good points JARROVIAN …

As I said :
Formations/facing in mini wargaming basically has a lot to do with LOS to AFV flanks or rear. As the way we do it, a flank shot gets a +1 to hit. A rear a +2 … for obvious reasons. And we were talking about this before, keeping your AFVs under cover/concealment is more important than keeping in formation. Really that is the way it is done generally … AFAIK …

And :
So unless, the game turns are very short, like 1 min., it is a given the turret could traverse and engage a target. Within that time.

UshCha03 Jun 2018 8:41 a.m. PST

Jarrowvian, Legion 4, as carefully posted out by Wolfhag, situational awareness particularly in a buttoned up tank is quite limited, Therfore rate of turn of the turret is not a big issue but seeing enemy not in the direction you have chosen to be most aware is. Platoon commanders need to reflect the will of their commanders. They can't be in the formation that the commander wanted, and the one they should have been in. Ignoring lower levels completely in assuming that are in magically facing the right direction even if it was against the commanders intent.

At top level a commander conveys his intent to the lower levels. In the real world that intent is considerd and interpreted by the lowest level. In single player games there is nobody to interpret the intent. Therfore that intent must be interpreted by the player. A one size fits all its "just in the right formstion" is frankly a cop out, showing the player has no real will or capability to set out an intent other than just go there. It contains no analysis of the perceived threat which is a key part of high level command. It saves lots of time if the commander sets the formations to his intent. Of course if he got it wrong then you get a plausible response as the units are as intended but may not be in the ideal position.

One wonders, we're you one of "those" managers who managed by dictat without understanding how complex his job was.

Gwydion03 Jun 2018 1:53 p.m. PST

Which command level are you modelling?
Brigade, battalion, squadron, troop, individual tank?


At individual tank level some of your points are worth modelling in a game. Some possibly in a troop level game. Above that your are concerning yourself with detail that should have been taken care of as far as you as a squadron or battalion commander is concerned, in training. If your drills aren't in place before contact you're stuffed if you are trying to fight each individual tank commanders battle.

If your rules are trying to represent the decision points of every commander on the field they are unrealistic and will never yield anything like a true simulation.

Micro managers who try and dot every i and cross every t for their workers are as inefficient as those who rule by fiat with no understanding of the job.

There is a sweet spot – know what they are doing – train them to do it and make decisions in the knowledge of what is possible,and let them get on with doing it while you do yours.

Wolfhag03 Jun 2018 2:54 p.m. PST

Wargamers have a tendency to want to be the big commander, but also play every level below it.

Well yes, they do and I'm somewhat guilty on that count. If someone wants to design and play a game while micromanaging units three levels below command so what? Not realistic? So what!

To "realistically" attempt to play the Battalion CO tucked safely away in a TOC 5km from the FEBA you can forget using miniatures and just use a map that has the status of friendly and enemy units with intel report that has a 1% to 99% chance of being correct or arrive too late to act on. Have fun. I never once saw my Battalion commander in the field and never expected him to show up nor was his presence desired.

Overall I would think if you are running units at 1:1 or up to a company of 10-12 vehicles, the formation they are in would be important for situational awareness, reacting and attempting to get off the first shot in a 1:1 shootout.

At higher levels, it may not be the platoon formation that is so important (echelon, Vee, etc) as it would the overall units posture like a static overwatch, bounding overwatch, tactical overwatch, road column/herringbone, etc.

The key thing is the player is getting out of it what they want. We all have our biases, prejudices, and ideas of what is "real" and you'll never get a majority to agree on anything so don't bother.

As designers, we detail what we like or what we think should be included (real) and abstract or leave out what we feel is not important. I don't see anything wrong with that. If you don't agree don't play.

Formations seem to be a pet peeve for UshCha so he's going to attempt to get them into the game. Giving the player the choice is not at all a bad thing and maybe better and quicker than rolling the dice to see what he does.

I've read over the rules UshCha developed and feel they are certainly above average for the period of play they were designed for. However, I don't agree with him on everything either. His rules do have a particular slant and emphasis that is not exactly mainstream but seem to work – for him anyhow. His ideas are thought provoking though, aren't they?

Wolfhag

Legion 403 Jun 2018 4:03 p.m. PST

situational awareness particularly in a buttoned up tank is quite limited
I know … commanded a an M113 Mech Co in a Bde of the 18th ABN Corps, '87-'89. In all types of terrain including [West] Germany and the Mojave Desert … But what do I know !? evil grin


At top level a commander conveys his intent to the lower levels.
Yes, Commander's intent is part of the US ARMY OPORD.

One wonders, we're you one of "those" managers who managed by dictat without understanding how complex his job was.
Pretty sure I understood how very complex my job was … All my Bn and Bde Cdrs never thought otherwise based on my OERs, etc. And I was routinely cross-attached to a Tank Bn as well. So Having graduated from the Infantry Officer Basic and Advance courses, and Combined Arms Services Staff School, etc., etc. pretty sure I knew my job. laugh


Therfore rate of turn of the turret is not a big issue but seeing enemy not in the direction you have chosen to be most aware is. Platoon commanders need to reflect the will of their commanders. They can't be in the formation that the commander wanted, and the one they should have been in. Ignoring lower levels completely in assuming that are in magically facing the right direction even if it was against the commanders intent.
Again, battle drill, SOPs, etc. I never had to tell my Tank PL or AT Sec. where to point their weapons. They knew their jobs too … But again … what do I know ! evil grin

VonBlucher03 Jun 2018 6:39 p.m. PST

Like playing sports you think ahead what your going to do in certain situations, so all you do is react at that point to the situation that occurs.

Lion in the Stars03 Jun 2018 7:39 p.m. PST

I'm quite aware of how crappy your arc of vision is in a buttoned-up vehicle, I've been chewed out for not spinning a periscope fast enough while I was trying to figure out what I was looking at one night.

If y'all will forgive me for suggesting someone watch an anime, I think watching the first few episodes of Gasaraki will help. The episode I'm specifically thinking of shows a group of tanks and IFVs moving through a town. They're actually in good formations, the IFVs are in a diamond with each one covering a different arc.

Problem for the IFVs is that their opponents are far more mobile than they are and can attack from the tops of the buildings as well as from street level.

TacticalPainter0103 Jun 2018 8:55 p.m. PST

I think the issue is not so much what is ‘real' or ‘realistic', so much as, what reality do you want your rules to model?

You can micromanage every aspect of command for a single tank and if you model it well you can have a good claim to it being a realistic representation of the decision making cycle.

What then if your rules allow the player to command multiple tanks? What reality of command are you now representing? The rule mechanics for command of each tank are sound and have a claim to be realistic, but what are you modelling now that the gamer is inside the head of every tank commander? If there is no model in the real world, then this incarnation of the rules could be criticised as unrealistic despite the fact they are realistic at an individual tank level.

You can play your game commanding every tank this way and have a lot of fun, but I'm not sure what your playing a game about, as it won't be a representation of command of multiple tanks in combat in WWII.

A game's claim to realism is gauged against what reality it wants to model and therefore how well it is deemed to achieve it. A game's claim to be a lot of fun just uses a different benchmark, but it doesn't follow that a realistic game can't be fun, that will be realised by the creative design skills of the rules writer.

UshCha04 Jun 2018 1:43 a.m. PST

lets try with a very simple scenario. You are a platoon commander. You are briefed that the threat will be from the left flank as you advance. What formation do you take up? proably Echalon left Optimum Firepower to the front/left.

Now as all things happen, it goes wrong and the enemy appears on the right. For a period of time the enemy will have the best of you as you change formation to respond. This is where the drills come in.

Now if you have not specified a formation in the wargame what formation is the unit in? It cant be in all of them at once. The enemy appearing on the right will have no impact compared to enemy appearing on the left unless you specify a formation. Clearly this is inccorrect, otherwise the manuals would not go into great detail about formations. Thus the rather trite "leave it to the sub commander" is incorrect. Or you could assume its always in the worst one (as a commander you never conveyed your intent), or you can convey your intent and have the unit do what you as a commander would expect them to do. The toy tank(s) won't do it on its own.

This fundamentl approach flows up to whatever level you wish to model. I most certainly only play at 1:1, Wolfhags description of higher levels is correct, they proably spend a good deal of time on logistics by that level. Not a bit
of wargaming i want to do in much detail.

Fred Cartwright04 Jun 2018 3:00 a.m. PST

UshCha none of what you have just outlined needs formation to be explicitly stated. I have a stand that represents a platoon of tanks. The frontal arc of that stands represents the orientation of the platoon in terms of where it's firepower and spotting ability is focussed. As my stand moves the frontal arc is pointed where I expect trouble to come from. Instead it comes from the right flank. The attacking stand gets a bonus for a flank attack and/or I am disadvantaged by being attacked in the flank. If my platoon stand survives the intial round of combat next turn I can turn my stand to face and combat is now on even terms. Simple and no need to specify formation.

Legion 404 Jun 2018 5:53 a.m. PST

UshCha none of what you have just outlined needs formation to be explicitly stated.
As a Rifle PL my CO never told me what "formation" for my Fire Tms and Sqds to use while maneuvering, setting up an ambush, in the defense, etc. It's a given between my PSG, SLs and I are trained well enough to know … And if we don't do what he wants, he corrects us, if need be …

As a Mech Co Cdr, I never told my PLs what formation(s) to maneuver in. As I said … being in cover is more important than staying in formation. The formation "morphs" to fit the terrain, etc. Again, my PLs, PSGTs, SLs were/are trained and experienced to know how and where to place their tracks, etc. If they did something I didn't like I told them to correct it. But that was very rare. We all knew and all were trained in our basic and advanced courses/schools, etc. But we would still practice and rehearse, etc. That is again What good militaries do …

It is generally a given the enemy will be somewhere to your front … @ 10:00 to 2:00 … But you have to be prepared for fire to come from any direction really. Especially in Closed or Mixed terrain. E.g. urban, like Lion alluded to. Or in thick woods/jungle … Again, you have SOPs, do Immediate Action Drills, TTP, etc.

One wonders, we're you one of "those" managers who managed by dictat without understanding how complex his job was.
Again, you are Not describing any Ldr/Cdr I served with and that I know of. I have to wonder if you understand what the complex job and training combat arms leaders have/do/go thru ?

I you want a modicum of reality in your games. Well guys like Lion, Wolfhag, C12 and I, who were trained & experienced for @ a decade or so each, who did it for a living. Who were frequently evaluated, etc. Well I can't tell you about "soldiering", etc., anymore than I have.

So as I always say with gaming … Do What Works For U … Not me …

UshCha04 Jun 2018 6:38 a.m. PST

Fred you miss the point. If you were expecting fire from the flank you would not take that disadvantage. As a commander you would have improved the survival rate of your forces, you would be the better commander.

Legion 404 Jun 2018 6:45 a.m. PST

Again …
It is generally a given the enemy will be somewhere to your front … @ 10:00 to 2:00 … But you have to be prepared for fire to come from any direction really. Especially in Closed or Mixed terrain. E.g. urban, like Lion alluded to. Or in thick woods/jungle … Again, you have SOPs, do Immediate Action Drills, TTP, etc.

Wolfhag04 Jun 2018 9:21 a.m. PST

I think we've gotten off the topic and question UshCha is asking about. On his chart it appears he's attempting to parse activities to get a better feel of the activities of individual vehicles in a small unit.

He states in his intro the game uses a Company Group of up to 8 tanks and 1-2 platoons of infantry. He does use command drills when reacting to the enemy, some are a choice and some are restricted. I think some of the drills are based on the formation type.

When a unit is activated it can perform certain tasks. I think that is what the link describes and is asking feedback if it is complex or intuitive and consistent with what he is trying to simulate.

His armor penetration values are in 250m increments, vehicle armor is rated front, side, rear and top. Turret direction is used as is buttoned up/unbuttoned status.

Taking all of these factors into account it should not be inconsistent having units in formation. In fact, I'd criticize him for not having designated formations.

Fred said:

UshCha none of what you have just outlined needs formation to be explicitly stated. I have a stand that represents a platoon of tanks. The frontal arc of that stands represents the orientation of the platoon in terms of where it's firepower and spotting ability is focussed. As my stand moves the frontal arc is pointed where I expect trouble to come from. Instead it comes from the right flank. The attacking stand gets a bonus for a flank attack and/or I am disadvantaged by being attacked in the flank. If my platoon stand survives the intial round of combat next turn I can turn my stand to face and combat is now on even terms. Simple and no need to specify formation.

I'm in agreement with him except for the fact that formation dictates speed and security/reaction, especially in small units. In troop formation movement behind the FEBA, moving into contact or in contact the commander evaluates the need to balance speed and security. Without designating a formation how do you handle speed? Without a formation how do you determine how you will react to initial contact? He could have default formations depending on mission and terrain but he chose not to.

In Fred's example being hit in the flank would have a larger impact on the defender if they we in a line abreast but much less of an effect it in a Vee or echeloned towards the enemy. I think that's one of the nuances UshCha is trying to represent in his game. Formations have tactical advantages and disadvantages Ushcha is trying to bring out.

UshCha seems to use formation orders risk-reward tactical decisions for the player to make. I don't think there is anything wrong about that.

Example: Moving through some light woods would involve a column for speed to use a path with poor security or deployed for better security, slower speed and the chance for more breakdowns. It's a decision the player should make. Implementing a default formation depending on terrain and other factors takes the player out of the decision loop at the low level the game is played.

So after reading over his rules I think stating the formation is consistent with the rest of his game. Is it realistic or not? That depends on the individual.

He also states in his rules:
If you want to get a real flavour of what it would really be like to fight this type of action, limit the thinking time between activations to 30 seconds; a tank could go a hundred yards or more in that time, so even that is getting it easy.

If you look at the link you can kind of visualize each selection as an abstracted way of taking about 30 seconds for a task. It seems OK with me if you like the flavor of individual tanks reacting and performing various tasks. I do but I take a different approach.

Wolfhag

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