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"What is your definition of a tacticaly interesting wood" Topic

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World War Two on the Land

1,178 hits since 18 Dec 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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UshCha18 Dec 2018 12:59 a.m. PST

It is interesting that after ten yers issue with the "rules" are more about definitions than the actual rules.
In the original rules the default definition for woods was a Difficult area for AFV's i.e Impassible to all but tracke with a risk of bogging/getting stuck and with a density of trees that means the vehicle has to travel gun rearward and cannot fire as there is no room to travetse the gun barrel.

We in our actual games relented somewhat and allowed vehicles to move gun forward and fire in woods but still risk bogging.

Having had some discussions there are woods that would allow off road 4 by 4's to get through because being narrower and smaller they could pick their way thruogh where as a large tracked vehicle may struggle due to it being wider.

So what in your opinion is a good default definition of a tacticaly interesting wood? Any or all of the above are "real" examples but which one makes a good default?

I have to confess this is proably only a topic of interest to 6mm to 15mm players only, larger scale players cover so little ground such things may not be very relevant. This may be why as we wrote the rules for 1/72 and only later addopted 12mm where the battlefield become much bigger.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Dec 2018 6:51 a.m. PST

I usually have several types of wood in my games, though I am not precise in defining a wood. Rather, model trees represent differing kinds of terrain.

1) Single trees are always just for window dressing. In game terms they do not exist and may be relocated for convenience of the players.

2) Orchards are relatively easy to navigate so mostly block LOS and give a little cover.

3) Light woods represent either woods with very small, thin trees, or woods with widely spaced trees. Slower to navigate and offer more substantial cover. The edges of such woods block LOS but LOS within them is more open.

4) Heavy woods are dense and difficult/impassable to vehicles, whether gun forward or not.

I simply define each piece of terrain before play begins.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2018 7:25 a.m. PST

Tactically interesting wood! Ooohh, er, missus….

deephorse18 Dec 2018 7:30 a.m. PST

I have to confess this is proably only a topic of interest to 6mm to 15mm players only, larger scale players cover so little ground such things may not be very relevant.

Why do you make such a huge assumption? Terrain effects and defining terrain features are just as important in my 20mm games as they are in any other scale. I do as Extra Crispy says and define the effects of terrain before play starts.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2018 7:31 a.m. PST

Being Irish, I have to vote for blackthorn as the most tactically interesting wood.

Legion 418 Dec 2018 8:04 a.m. PST

Once again, K.I.S.S. … Basically as Extra Krispy points out. And with very thick woods you may want to do a Dangerous Terrain Test as I pointed to you in another thread … TMP link

Generally speaking, after serving in three M113 Mech Bns. Unless a woods/forest is very thick which AFVs or any vehicles wouldn't probably go thru anyway. Moving thru wooded terrain would only slow your movement. Most Track Drivers are capable enough to avoid hitting a tree or trees and just go around them.

Of course the advantage of woods is the cover & concealment it provides and blocks LOS. Unless you are in the woodline i.e the edge of the woods, firing out. But for reality purposes you'd still get a cover bonus …

Here is generally what we use/d … Get a copy of the GW Epic Armageddon rules. [Yeah I know it's Sci-fi ! Regardless …] Go to page 18. See Terrain Effects Chart. [Check out most of the rules too !] It is generally pretty accurate/realistic for Infantry & Vehicles. Again, based on my experiences as a Grunt, both Mech and Light/Air Assault. And very often being attached to a Tank Bn as a Mech Cdr. Plus war gaming since the '60s [1960s not 1860s or earlier !] old fart

Having operated in various terrain and weather conditions all over the USA, in Panama, Korea, and [West] Germany. Including thick woods/forests, jungles, swamps/marshes, desert, the paddy laden fields of the ROK. And the rolling/agro and urban terrain of Germany.

Don't get too rapped around the axel as it seems to me at times as some do(?), with too many fiddly, etc., rules. E.g. Rolling at the beginning of each turn to see if a unit got hot chow/C-Rats and mail call … or not.

And if they did get mail, how many "Dear John" letters the troopers got. Or how many got a C-Rat they didn't like. To see if morale is affected … evil grin

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2018 8:53 a.m. PST


Legion 418 Dec 2018 8:58 a.m. PST

evil grin Hey I remember not getting mail while training at the NTC in the Mojave desert and it effected my morale ! frown

The Mojave sucked !!! huh? wink

Minibeady18 Dec 2018 9:53 a.m. PST

Ha, now I'm envisioning a modern skirmish mission, with a US fireteam that immediately takes a massive hit to moral/motivation because the TL and SAW gunner got vegetarian lasagna, and the cherry ate charms in the truck.

What an interesting rule mechanic.

Oberlindes Sol LIC18 Dec 2018 10:52 a.m. PST

@MMinibeady: Soldiers have been missing action by being sick for as long as there have been soldiers, so units have been going out understrength for as long as there have been units. Games don't have mechanics for it, but it's something one can use.

Regarding tactically interesting woods: For 25mm science fiction games, I find that areas of wood of 8in-12in diameter with 2in-8in clearings and paths between patches of wood work pretty well. (Literally patches -- my woods are pieces of cloth with trees and brush on them.)

RudyNelson18 Dec 2018 11:23 a.m. PST

Just like there is four classifications of desert, there are several classifications of woods. One aspect is the amount and thickness of undergrowth among the trees. Even old maps in the West Point series had designations for woods based on tree type. This included mixed.
Trafficability, cover, concealment and unit cohesion and size are all factors scouts consider when classifying wooded areas.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2018 11:37 a.m. PST

I use the same classifications as Extra Crispy. I let folks know ahead of time of course which type of woods each "forest" is ahead of time.

After seeing too many games where:
a. players moved the trees to accommodate the figures moving through and the whole woods get displaced and/or
b. players arguing about where the edge of the woods are for line of sight
I now indicate woods using patches of material. My wife is a quilter and she ends up with all sorts of interesting fabrics. I have her cut pieces to size making them irregular, not square patches. The material provides a hard edge for figuring things like line of sight. You can use different colors to indicate various types of woods. Trees are then added for "eye candy" but can be freely moved without any issues. Makes life as a GM, and a player for that matter, so much easier.

Blutarski18 Dec 2018 12:33 p.m. PST

+1 @Marc33594

- -

One thought I will offer for consideration is that hindrance to movement in woods is sometime not just about the trees. Terrain that is too precipitous, broken, rocky, muddy/swampy or otherwise difficult of access to serve as farm or pasture is often left to nature and evolves into woods and forest.



Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2018 2:23 p.m. PST

The only real example I'm aware of with tanks moving through some medium/heavy woods is Russia using KV-1's to knock down trees in winter and deep snow. Behind followed rows of infantry with their arms locked to tamp down the snow to make it easier for more troops and vehicles to get through. I think this was outside Kharkov. Also accounts of Russian light tanks attacking out of woods.

There are also accounts of Russian light tanks attacking out of the woods.

Did the Germans move through woods in the Ardennes?

Tanks can fairly easily get stuck over stumps and become immobile. Brake turning in a forest is going to put uneven lateral forces on treads and damage or pop them off. There are some many other things that can go wrong as others pointed out.


Legion 418 Dec 2018 3:44 p.m. PST

with a US fireteam that immediately takes a massive hit to moral/motivation because the TL and SAW gunner got vegetarian lasagna, and the cherry ate charms in the truck.
Yes that could be very interesting. Based on how the rules work. E.g. in the old AH's Guadalcanal game, units would lose strength points for Malaria. So an Attack Factor of 4 now becomes a 3 …

so units have been going out understrength for as long as there have been units. Games don't have mechanics for it, but it's something one can use.
Very true, many times my Plt and/or Co. was understrength for a variety of reasons. E.g. my Rifle Plt with only 17 troops and later my Mech Co. at only 63. And we were deploying or deployed. In both cases that's about half strength … frown

Those are good examples Wolf. I'd think for gaming, in the first and second example a DTT and movement cut to half speed for all units.

As far as the Ardennes. There were some trails, secondary roads there. As well as in Spring of '40 the ground was hard enough to support AFVs when going off road in some locations. But those same roads in the Winter of 44' in many cases were snow and ice covered. At least initially. And certainly slowed the advance at times. Plus off road going would be a bit risky in places. If not impassable …

As I said on that thread I posted above, when it comes to rough, etc., terrain.

However, for gaming purposes we have used a Dangerous Terrain Test[DTT] Chart of some sort. While crossing a DTT roll as it enters the DT and then again when it attempts to leave. And the DT will probably incur a movement penalty. Like 2x the movement speed/cost.

If DTT is failed, then the vehicle can roll again at the end of the turn. And can do this every turn until it is freed/unstuck.
DDT Chart could very by what kind of terrain is being crossed as well as vehicle type and even Infantry.
E.g. Roll 1D6, 1-4 it enters then exits the DT, roll for both If 5,6 is rolled it's stuck … And roll again to get free at end of the next turn …

Yes and vehicles can get stuck in the woods and many other places. But again as I said usually it does not always happen. And has a much higher probability in e.g. a swamp, stream, etc. Tracks can even be broken in rough terrain as well as tires punctured. Been there done that … frown

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2018 10:30 p.m. PST

"I have to confess this is probably only a topic of interest to 6mm to 15mm players only, larger scale players cover so little ground such things may not be very relevant."

What an odd comment. I play from 15mm to 28mm, Skirmish to Divisions and even Corps and I have trees for each scale. Here is one of my 28mm battalion/regiment AWI games. Count the trees.


William Ulsterman18 Dec 2018 11:26 p.m. PST

One with a gingerbread house hidden in the middle of it.

Andy ONeill19 Dec 2018 5:12 a.m. PST

I know it when I see it.

Legion 419 Dec 2018 6:48 a.m. PST

Or a Beer Hall in the woodline … evil grin beer

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 9:04 a.m. PST

The one with the Teddy Bears' ambush laid.

Legion 419 Dec 2018 9:28 a.m. PST

You mean like the ones in Star Wars ? huh? Ewoks IIRC ?

donlowry19 Dec 2018 9:40 a.m. PST

The Huertgen Forest?

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 10:07 a.m. PST

Yes those adorable fuzzy little empire-toppling cannibals, the Ewoks!

The ones who ride your jetbike like they stole it; because they did.

UshCha19 Dec 2018 12:23 p.m. PST

Rallynow, At 28mm the ground you are likely to model is extremely small. Even at 1/172 our ground scale means the table is only 720 yds by 480 yds 6' by 4' board and 960 yds if the maximum dimension is 8ft. At 28mm to look sensible the ground scale is probably going to be about 560 and 1020 yds in the maximum dimension (assuming 1/56 which is typically referred to for 28mm vehicles). The size of the vehicle means that generally you will only be modelling a few 10's of yards of Forrest, even I have to admit generally forests will not be a big issue.

Legion 419 Dec 2018 2:17 p.m. PST

adorable fuzzy little empire-toppling cannibals

KPinder20 Dec 2018 11:53 a.m. PST

All too often, gamers tend to throw a green felt on a table, lay out some hills and roads, a structure or two and call it done, paying little to no real thought as to why what goes where. I think gamers who model railroad may have a leg up on this.

Consider why some areas are wooded, while others not. If no one has ever cleared the area because the underlying ground is too irregular to farm, the problem for the rollers is not the trees, but the gullies. If it's too marshy, then that's your answer.

Most water courses are tree lined because of the ample water, and the relative uselessness of the land at the water margin. Roads through such terrain are built to obviate such obstacles for wagons and trucks. Tanks just come along and take advantage.

Remember water is the sculptor of almost all terrain. The Qattara Depression is where it is because the water that formed it went bye bye. Streams start high and flow down to low, cutting water courses as they go. Even the flat of the central US plains is scored by stream gullies.

Anyone taking a roller into an unscouted wood is taking an awful risk. Is the ground level? Is there a water course that has sides too steep to negotiate? Will the trees get thicker? If so, how do I back out without getting into a worse mess. At least using a road through a wood you have a fighting chance the terrain is suitable to the far side of the wood, assuming there isn't a bridge out.

You should probably consider in your scenario where woods make sense. If the area is sparsely populated, there would be lots of old growth forest. In long settled areas, you might have the kinds of pine orchards that so terrified allied infantry, as they offered crappy cover, perfect hunting ground for snipers and the kind of trunk bursts from artillery hits that rendered foxholes limited protection.

Decide in advance what kinds of woods and obstacles you are laying out and their implications to rollers and walkers. Then, at the start of the scenario, explain to the defenders what's in the woods, assuming they've been here a while.

Tell the attacker that these are woods. Tell them nothing more than what they could see from the outside. If they press for details, tell them "go in and find out if you want." I bet you a buck most attackers will go around as much as possible, especially once they go in and walk into an ambush.

And who says a minor in Geography is going to be utterly useless.

Legion 420 Dec 2018 3:36 p.m. PST

thumbs up

donlowry21 Dec 2018 10:17 a.m. PST

KPinder: excellent post. Good food for thought.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2018 10:52 a.m. PST

Most of my scenarios have been Russian tank attacks against German tanks/pakfront. I tell the Russians they can go in the woods but there may be Tank Hunting Infantry in there and if within 150m they are in Panzershreck range. They'll bypass the woods but on the other sides of the woods, they get ambushed from the rear by German AT Guns. Great fun!


KPinder21 Dec 2018 1:51 p.m. PST

The geography of wargaming can be a fascinating business. Consider that during the ACW, the rivers in the eastern theater were always barriers. while in the west they were always highways.

No one would have wasted 15 minutes on Guadalcanal if it hasn't had a broad flat coastal plain.

In 1862 the Union Navy got within 10 miles of Richmond, only to bang up against a little problem called Drewry's Bluff, where the Tidewater region meets the upwelling of the Piedmont Fall Line. (See Plunging Fire)

Wellington didn't choose Torres Vedras by accident.

Is this stuff cool, or what?

Legion 422 Dec 2018 12:16 p.m. PST

As we were taught, basically it depends on Terrain & situation.

UshCha23 Dec 2018 2:17 a.m. PST

It shopws you should always do some reading! I picked up a pdf from the English Forestry commission on road building in forests. A lot of them are controlled by the Forrestry commission. The typical access road is actrally required to be rated to 44 tonne, smaller roads typicaly 3 to 6 tonne, the minimum to get small earth movers access. In special cases 2m very light roads are made but this is normally for access to a private house.

Also the roads are required to be about 2m wider each side than the metaled section and at no point overhung by trees, apparently trees die off that close. So back to the drawing board for my definitions.

Now interestingly my "rules" are often accused of being Over complicated for issues such as clear definitions of road weights, and definitions of terrain, yet here is an excellent thread that says even if you only have one wood type its important to define what it is. I guess is's the ususl dice rollers who really want "Snakes and Ladders" and simulatores who are interested in the real world.

Is it worth another thread on civilian bridge weight limits and how much heaviers you can put a modest number of military vehicels acroos before it fails? More of a campaighn issue than a battle issue in most cases. Critical however to raeal world simulation.

Legion 423 Dec 2018 7:47 a.m. PST

With any game/rule set, before the game roads, bridges, stream, etc. can be designed which type vehicles can use or cross, etc. E.g. this is a ford, if a bridge won't fit a vehicle it can't cross, DTTs, etc..

Generally that is the way it works in the real world. E.g. some bridges and roads in the ROK were impassable to heavier vehicles in the countryside. Like if you thought a bridge was not strong enough to hold a heavy vehicle, you'd have to find another route. Obviously, better to do that than have a vehicle crush a bridge and get wrecked at the same time.

Saw one of our M88 Heavy Recovery Vehicles crush a ROK secondary road out in the countryside like peanut brittle … frown

KPinder23 Dec 2018 11:13 a.m. PST

I knew a guy who served in the army in Germany in the 80s in an armored infantry company. His company was out on maneuvers when the road he was assigned to use for an advance was changed en route.

He figures, "no big deal. The new route has to be OK."

He manages to wedge a Bradley in one of those gatehouse archways. 10cm narrower and he'd have hit the front and stopped. 10cm wider and he'd have scraped thru.

There was apparently bloody hell to pay.

Legion 423 Dec 2018 11:26 a.m. PST

Oh yeah ! Every time a GI damages something the US has to pay for it too ! And generally Mech/Armor forces can do a lot more damage that Light Infantry can. By just driving by or thru some place they shouldn't be.

Lion in the Stars23 Dec 2018 12:15 p.m. PST

Is it worth another thread on civilian bridge weight limits and how much heaviers you can put a modest number of military vehicels acroos before it fails? More of a campaighn issue than a battle issue in most cases. Critical however to raeal world simulation.


My stepdad is a civil engineer, he's rather conservative in his load ratings. My guess is that you could drive at least twice the rated load across a bridge without damage.

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