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"Not much love for the patrol scenario?" Topic


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869 hits since 26 Aug 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2018 5:45 p.m. PST

I have read (perhaps erroneously) that one of the infantry's main jobs is patrolling. Running into an enemy patrol, finding a mine field, or finding nothing at all provided commanders with a better picture. I rarely read reports from gamers involving patrol scenarios. Instead, the typical report involves an attack on some force holed-up in a village. Why is there not more love for the patrol scenario among skirmish gamers?

Lucius27 Aug 2018 5:54 p.m. PST

Could it be that a realistic patrol scenario probably requires an umpire?

mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2018 5:57 p.m. PST

Each side could preplot a route until contact or have a route assigned randomly.

Zyphyr27 Aug 2018 6:12 p.m. PST

Most patrols result in nothing worth gaming. The ones that do are either 'meeting engagements' or ambushes.

People just tend to skip the 'patrol' part of the mission and jump straight to the action part.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Aug 2018 6:19 p.m. PST

But, but on the Combat television series Sgt Saunders' patrol was always running into Germans. evil grin

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2018 6:43 p.m. PST

I love them for infantry, or armored units.

As mentioned, a GM is very helpful, but not absolutely necessary, if the defender pre=plots unit positions on a map, and sits in place.

You can also use chits/markers for real and dummy units too, should then there's the age-old issue of dummies searching for other dummy, or real units.

Sergeant Paper27 Aug 2018 8:04 p.m. PST

I think you need a big enough area that there are plenty of places to go look into, enough that you can assign specific targets and/or areas to patrol, rather than just "sweep the board and return."

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2018 8:59 p.m. PST

I do lots of patrols in Nuts! It is a form well-suited to solitaire play.

Jubilation T Cornpone27 Aug 2018 10:27 p.m. PST

Agree with Whirlwind here. Patrol scenarios with randomly assigned hidden enemy make excellent solitaire games. Are they in the Farmhouse? Are they on the grassy knoll? You don't need a lot of figures for it either. Small board, lots of terrain. Worth trying.

advocate27 Aug 2018 10:52 p.m. PST

Agreed about solo play. A patrol doesn't expect to meet (equal) enemy forces, and rarely expects to have to fight them. Often it might be better for the mission objective if you just stay hidden and let the enemy pass by. Not a great gaming experience if both sides are player-led.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Aug 2018 3:36 a.m. PST

Chain of Command's pre-battle 'Patrol Phase" is kind of cool.

deephorse28 Aug 2018 3:45 a.m. PST

A patrol doesn't expect to meet (equal) enemy forces, and rarely expects to have to fight them.

By and large this is true. A recce patrol does not want to encounter the enemy. That's not its mission. On the other hand a fighting patrol is intended to locate the enemy, though hopefully not on equal terms. The capture of one or two enemy soldiers for intelligence purposes doesn't make for much of a two-player game however. Solo play seems the way to go.

Dragon Gunner28 Aug 2018 4:18 a.m. PST

I have tried it and the reason is patrols for the most part are boring, players want action and carnage not turns of movement where nothing happens. I have had some game flops where the patrol never made contact with the enemy.

"A patrol doesn't expect to meet (equal) enemy forces, and rarely expects to have to fight them."

When I was in the Army we conducted a lot of "movement to contact" patrols, not exactly reconnaissance more like "we are looking for a fight". If we encountered something bigger than ourselves it was always implied we could bring artillery, air strikes and reinforcements to tip the balance in our favor. We also rehearsed retrograde movement, withdrawing under fire while maintaining order in case we encountered something we could never prevail against.

Legion 428 Aug 2018 7:11 a.m. PST

I have read (perhaps erroneously) that one of the infantry's main jobs is patrolling.
No that is pretty much true. Both in Light & Mech Infantry. And Infantrymen regardless must be able to do most of their missions dismounted on the ground. And Patrolling includes not just Recon, but Raids, Ambushes, Economy of Force, etc.

I agree with Dragon Gunner as well … Of course we were in the US ARMY at about the same time. old fart But AFAIK know what he & I have said still generally holds true today.

I just posted this on another thread here.

I went thru Recon training in a number of courses/schools. But Recon was generally to observe & report. Be a "ghost". However like any patrolling in can rapidly change. And we were trained for those missions as well. E.g.:
Calling in fire on a target, which is a standard for any mission if other than but including Recon.

Set up an ambush(s)

Raiding

Looking for a weak point and then possibly exploit it.

Depending on the size of your unit you may need more forces to do this effectively …

Mech & Tank Recon Plts in those Bns were organized with 3 M113s and 3 M901s. The 901s were there to get you out of trouble, i.e. break contact, etc., if need be. But if you go tank hunting with a Mech/Armor Recon Plt alone, even with FA, CAS, etc. support, you may just be looking for trouble.
Before my Mech Bn got the Sct Plt in the ROK. '84-'85 got the M113s & M901. It had @ 7 M151 Jeeps. They would not look for trouble, just observe, report and call in fires in need be. They'd also do dismounted recon if the situation called for it. But those Jeeps were not armed with .50s like we saw in WWII. They dismounted had M60s, M203s, etc.

At one point in the 101, in the early 80s. Our Bn Sct Plt[dismounted] also had @ 7 Kawasaki[250 ?] dirt bikes. Some of them did carry M47 MAWs. But that was more for getting out of trouble … Not Tank Hunting … Just like the M901s in the Sct Plt of Mech/Armor Bns. Back then …

mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2018 8:19 a.m. PST

One thing that annoyed me was that in games where units represented a squad or vehicle (or group of vehicles), there was no real way to use recon vehicles. Gamers tend to just toss them into a fight like any other unit. I've started putting out markers that might reveal a terrain feature (damaged bridge, road that wasn't on the map, etc) in order to give some incentive to use recon units like recon units.

Dragon Gunner28 Aug 2018 9:35 a.m. PST

I have found the best way to use recon / scout units in games is to build a scenario specifically for them. I tend to draw heavily on my experiences in the Army for creating scenarios and I will offer this one from a training exercise…

My infantry company was attempting to disengage from a collapsing front. We had to reach a certain grid reference at a specified time to avoid failing the training objectives of being surrounded and wiped out.

The opposing force was just recon units zipping up and down the roads and fire breaks trying to spot us. We needed to use the roads at least part of the time to make our escape in a timely manner. It turned into a giant game of "whack a mole". They would show up and we would hide in the woods in time or they would ambush us and shoot us up.

You need a referee and hidden movement!


This is a great way to break out those armored cars, light tanks and gun jeeps!

CalypsoCommando28 Aug 2018 1:03 p.m. PST

" I rarely read reports from gamers involving patrol scenarios. Instead, the typical report involves an attack on some force holed-up in a village" Your wargaming experience and mine are pretty much opposites then. Roughly 70% of the (non-ancients) wargames I've played in, read about or observed have been meeting engagements, whether land, sea or air. (The ancients games are almost universally set-piece battles, unless they're skirmish games in which case the meeting engagement comes very much back into play.)

RudyNelson28 Aug 2018 1:09 p.m. PST

I designed a scenario several years ago of an American patrol in the Ruhr Valley in 1945. The patrol was ambushed. It was a scenario dear to me as it was based on an actual action involving my uncle. In it he won the Bronze Star yet lost an arm and the use of both his legs due to a severed spine. He never told the family about it but had been interviewed by a Flagstaff Arizona newspaper.

bhall389 Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2018 3:05 p.m. PST

I played in a convention game once that was double blind. There wasn't even terrain on the table, the Recce elements had to advance up the table to confirm the terrain as well as find the enemy.
One of the most intense games I have ever played in, a fond memory that makes me a sucker for double blind games that too often are stinkers.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2018 3:06 p.m. PST

I have run several patrol scenarios for StarGrunt games set in the Classic Traveller universe, and the players have all had a good time. These were typically infantry units backed by orbital, conventional, or meson artillery. I was the referee.

One game involved pro-Zhodani insurgent forces trying to sneak fighters from one table edge to the other while Imperial troops patrolled the area and tried to spot and stop them. That was loosely based on a situation described in Small Unit Tactics in Vietnam.

Another scenario was set around a facility (agro-chemical, if I recall correctly). The side that owned the facility patrolled the area outside the facility. It could set its own path, as long as it spotted all of the chits placed on various terrain features, some of which were important and some of which were dummies. Meanwhile, the other side was trying to sneak past the patrols and get into the facility and do some mischief.

Maybe I should run a patrol-vs-patrol scenario for my next convention game.

Lion in the Stars28 Aug 2018 5:07 p.m. PST

Ambush Alley (and Force on Force/Tomorrow's War) games start after the first shot or IED goes off.

I think actual recon games would be better served with Palladium's Deluxe Revised RECON RPG. link

donlowry29 Aug 2018 8:40 a.m. PST

When I hear (read) "patrol" the image my mind conjures up is one of a squad of infantry stumbling around in the dark trying to make sure no one is sneaking up on their company's position.

Maybe more suited for laser tag than miniatures.

UshCha29 Aug 2018 11:53 a.m. PST

I have in the past done the odd Stargunt II based game where the defender of say a powerlant maps out a route and positions for the patrolling defenders and the fixed point security. They proceed on the patrol route using a small random variation in speed to stop them being entirely predictable and are allowed a spotting role if they come close to an enemy that is creeping up, the difficulty of the role being about the enemy's status at the time. The game only really begins when the patrol spots something. Of course enemy that are hiding don't get on the board until they move: so does the defender move all his kit to take out what he sees of does he keep some elements patrolling on the basis more troops may come out later? We did it, it worked, but to be honest it was not that challenging or interesting a bit too slow for the attacker as he can do nothing until a trigger occurs and that is too random to make a riveting game for us, so we stopped fairly quickly doing that sort of game.

Legion 429 Aug 2018 3:01 p.m. PST

This is a great way to break out those armored cars, light tanks and gun jeeps!
thumbs up

kettbo Inactive Member30 Aug 2018 3:05 a.m. PST

good reconnaissance tanks time…..ask me how I know this.
(hint: 20 years US Cavalry)
Of course, modern recon includes motion and sound detectors, radio signal, thermals, drones, helicopters. We can get lots more done now at a lot quicker pace than ww2 soldiers. Thing is, sometimes you need precise info like calculating a bridge's capacity, width and height of even a small tunnel, radii of turns for big/wide vehicles, slope, as well as conditions at fords that you intend to use.

CoC does touch on this with the Patrol Phase
I am on a 28mm kick, do not yet have the vehicles. I do have most of what I need for 15mm, just more difficult to see the little bastages.

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP30 Aug 2018 3:48 p.m. PST

Patrol is my favorite scenario is Platoon Forward. You don't know what you will run into. It could be a cake walk or a fighting retreat. As some have said, I play solitaire so not worried about it being balanced.

Joe

Legion 431 Aug 2018 8:24 a.m. PST

I play solitaire so not worried about it being balanced.
Or have to worry about who wins … wink

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2018 5:13 a.m. PST

Legion,
So true but as you know I always have "my side" so it can hurt! Your comment about the gun jeeps ect and this whole thread has made me realize that a "patrol" in WW III would likely be between two mechanized forces as opposed to WW II. Will need to modify my charts to reflect this. Hopefully, PanzerGrenadier Lachman will get a chance to find out in the next week!
Kettbo,
Interesting you mention checking out bridges and the like. Since my focus is always on a infantry squad/platoon and not engineering, I have those missions as well but they are not under "recon". From the infantry platoon's perspective they are considered "screening".
So your mission for today is to screen some engineers while they check out a bridge.

Cheers

Joe

Legion 402 Sep 2018 7:17 a.m. PST

So true but as you know I always have "my side" so it can hurt!
I've done solitaire gaming too … So yeah I'm both the winner & loser at the same time … evil grin

Your comment about the gun jeeps ect and this whole thread has made me realize that a "patrol" in WW III would likely be between two mechanized forces as opposed to WW II
Yes, but not always, it will again depends on the terrain and situation as always. But never discount the effectiveness of a dismounted night patrol. But like any TTP it has to be used at the right place, at the right time. Infantrymen can go many places that vehicles can't and generally more quietly. I.e. if properly trained, etc., of course …

Blutarski02 Sep 2018 1:49 p.m. PST

I'd suggest that the quality of the scenario is much more important than the nature of the scenario.

Several years ago at "Huzzah" up in Portland ME (great show BTW), I was privileged to participate in a very engaging, tense and entertaining ETO Winter 1944 (Huertgen Forest or Bulge never actually specified) patrol action between a US patrol (a couple of infantry squads) versus some unknown number of German infantry, set in snowy rolling wooded terrain on a big 6x8 ft table. Kermit and I ran the Americans; the umpire ran the Germans (with great fairness and objectivity I might add). The American orders were to sweep the woods for Germans; I suspect the German had similar orders. Only the American figures were on the table; we did not see the umpire-controlled Germans unless they fired upon us or we detected them. Visual spotting range at night was lethally short, but hearing provided very helpful advance warning if you stopped to listen. AS we stalked our way through the woods, every once in a while we'd stumble upon an old bunker or group of abandoned foxholes, which might or might not contain some D&D-like "goodies" a box of grenades, some rifle ammo, a flare gun, sometimes just some useless ham & lima beans. It turned out to be a really tense and exciting game. Kermit's fire team stumbled upon an MG42 nest and ended up getting a couple of guys hit in the course of a big shoot-out and close assault. My fire team was very lucky. Having stopped to give a listen, we were told by the umpire that we heard a bunch of boots crunching through the snow. We took cover in a couple of nearby foxholes. When the Germans were nearly on top of us, we tossed out a couple of volleys of grenades (no firing flash, so the Germans could not spot us) and then finished the survivors off with M1's and Tommy Guns.

Don't recall the name of the fellow who crafted and ran the scenario, but a big +1 hats off to him for a great game experience!

FWIW.

B

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