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"Modelling Dead ground" Topic


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905 hits since 11 Jul 2019
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UshCha11 Jul 2019 1:45 a.m. PST

We have achieved much in terms of terrain but one type that features in the manuals but we struggle to model is ground that obscures the bottom half of an infantry man. Its the ground the underslung Grenade launcher is vital for defence of. How do you model such terrain if you use it?

Legion 411 Jul 2019 5:53 a.m. PST

Terrain you can't get a clear LOS, e.g. like between 2 rises would be considered "dead ground". Infantrymen when not moving will kneel or go prone. Or set up on the reverse sloop of a rise/hill/ridge, etc. To gain cover and still have FOF.

If you can't see the target behind the terrain I've described … it can be considered "dead space".

Any Infantry not moving [e.g. on fire orders] gets a cover bonus, as again they are prone or kneeling. If they are behind any cover or concealment, they get a cover bonus … but not both for fire orders.

Don't over think it. Infantry spend a lot of time trying to get something solid that will block direct fire/LOS. And/or conceal them no matter what they are doing. And again when stopped/not moving they are kneeling or prone. Infantrymen use every fold, undulating terrain, etc.

We never had a concern when gaming about dead space. You can either see the target or not. If you only can see part of the target, e.g. 50%, it gets a cover bonus. Dead space is simply an area you can't clearly see the target if at all.

Again don't over think it. As we always note … you can only get so much detail on the gaming board verses reality.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jul 2019 7:09 a.m. PST

For the most part we gave up trying to model this kind of terrain. The only partial solution we came up with was "ridgelines." These are simple lines that represent small swells of ground. They are marked with a line of flock, and they block LOS but have no other game effect.

A big part of the challenge arises because dead ground is relative. Position X may be in dead ground if I am located at Y, but not if I am over at Z.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2019 11:09 a.m. PST

Depends on the scale. While in a skirmish/1:1 game you can effectively model this on the tabletop, it creates an unmanageable mess at other scales.

I find it more effective to assume that *all* terrain includes dead ground for infantry past very close/close range.

Lion in the Stars11 Jul 2019 2:05 p.m. PST

I find it more effective to assume that *all* terrain includes dead ground for infantry past very close/close range.

Agreed. And I usually just roll the chance of dead ground into the infantry's save against damage.

Failed to save? Guess you got caught by that M203 blast!

Legion 411 Jul 2019 2:17 p.m. PST

Bottom line … you either get a cover bonus or not. If you are behind some sort of cover you get the bonus. Regardless of what type of cover or concealment.

You can further divide cover/concealment into two types: Hard or Soft. And the size of the cover bonus it based on that. E.g. -2 Hard … -1 Soft.

Dead Ground/Space = Soft …

stephen m11 Jul 2019 6:34 p.m. PST

I like the way Conflict of Heroes handles this. If you move quickly over open ground (using only 1 action point to cover one hex distance) the next action your opponent takes (alternate actions) treats them as easier targets (moving in open). If you spend 2 action points they are considered to be using available cover and are harder to hit (treated as stationary targets in open). If your opponent doesn't attack immediately after your move then your units are again treated as cover similar to being stationary.I like the feel and that in order to benefit your opponent must attack right away (sort of like opportunity fire).

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2019 6:51 p.m. PST

Hmmmmm, having trouble with that description of yours, Stephen, but I get what you mean (I think), e.g. basically short dashes in the open, while seeking available cover.

To me, it is not harder to hit "stationary targets in the open" unless they've gone to ground.

I think they would be easier to hit when they are truly "stationary targets in the open", as opposed to those "moving quickly over open ground". Most times moving targets are harder to hit than stationary ones (again, unless the latter have gone to ground, and are using available cover after their short moves, or while truly stationary).

stephen m12 Jul 2019 2:58 a.m. PST

My interpretation is the moving faster targets are much more exposed than the stationary or moving cautiously ones. The reasoning for only lasting immediately after is quick dash followed by hitting the dirt. At least that is how I see it.

Legion 412 Jul 2019 6:47 a.m. PST

I see how that is handled in CoH. What scale is that ? I do nothing but 6mm. So in my posts I described what I think works in that scale for us. And is "realistic", per se. Again based on a set of rules taken from Featherstone.


E.g. :

Infantry not moving, i.e. on Fire Orders they get a cover bonus. As they are prone or kneeling behind any little bit of cover that can be found. E.g. slightly undulating terrain, a few rocks, etc.

Then the hard & soft cover bonuses I talked about.

Also for a moving target to take fire from a OPFOR unit on Fire Orders(FO). And in turn use Opportunity Fire(OF). The moving unit must move at least a 1/4 of it current movement rate in the LOS/FOF of the unit firing on FO/OF. That simulates the unit "dashing" from cover to cover, etc.,.

UshCha12 Jul 2019 8:16 a.m. PST

One of the issues that seem not to be addressed in the post is the usual disparity to reality war gamer's cheerfully accept. One of the key uses for a grenade launcher is ability to hit troops currently not vulnerable to direct fire as they are in dead ground. Its a key item in platoon defense in the US manuals. None of the suggestions really cover that in the detail I would expect from a platoon level player. The weapon type is effectively ignored. Some of the issues covered sound more like the basic model for fire and maneuver which is by short rushes before hitting the deck. As against WW2 simple advances or the US unique "marching fire".

Legion 412 Jul 2019 3:09 p.m. PST

One of the issues that seem not to be addressed in the post is the usual disparity to reality war gamer's cheerfully accept.
Again, you can only simulate so much …

One of the key uses for a grenade launcher is ability to hit troops currently not vulnerable to direct fire as they are in dead ground. Its a key item in platoon defense in the US manuals.
Yes, I had 2 in each of my Inf Squads, both Lgt & Mech. I know the FMs well.

Do your rules have a separate line for each weapon in the Sqd ? E.g. my Inf Sqds had 2 M203 GLs, 2 M249 SAWs, 1 M60 MG, 1 M47 MAW, the rest carried M16s.

Again do your rule delineate separate shots/die roll(s) for each of those weapons ?

Now if you can't see the enemy troops in the dead space, how do you know they are there ?

Did you see them move there ?

Otherwise you probably don't know they are there, yes ?

Do you just tell you GLs to fire into the known dead spaces regardless of other targets ?

Some would give their Team Ldrs the GL to help direct the Teams Fires.

You can also use mortars or even FA to hit dead space.

None of the suggestions really cover that in the detail I would expect from a platoon level player.
Again do you have a stat line for each weapon ?

The weapon type is effectively ignored.
Do you have a stat line for each of the weapons in your Fire Tms, Sqds or PL ? I.e. again how do you fire the GL into dead space if you can't see the target. If as you "quoted" from the FM, you can only see the top 1/2 of the troops. So by that description for gaming purposes those troops would be considered under cover. E.g. behind a fold in the ground, short wall, etc. Just like any target(s) on the battlefield.


A PL/Co Cdr may assign the GLs in the unit Dead Space to cover. Just like primary & alternate FOF are assigned to most weapons.
Again, they can also register mortar fires to cover that dead space(s).

Some of the issues covered sound more like the basic model for fire and maneuver which is by short rushes before hitting the deck. As against WW2 simple advances or the US unique "marching fire".
Not in my description :

You can shot all your weapons & not move …

You can charge and not shoot at all as you are moving too fast for fires to really hit anything/be effective …

You can advance and only shot small arms


Moving from cover to cover is a basic tactic. If you don't spend enough time in the OPFORs' LOS/FOF. They won't see you long enough to effectively target/shoot at you.

How do you see covering Dead Space/Ground ? A GL or Mortar can fire in an arc. So like Howitzer they can fire over an obstacle.

If you can see the top 1/2 of the OPFOR behind cover … again you can just fire at them with any weapon. But for gaming purposes they will get a cover bonus. Because the are not in the open.

I'm not sure why you think firing in dead space is different than firing at an other target on the battlefield. Again, save for they are only partly visible. Or otherwise not visible at all.

In reality any weapon in the unit can engage them. Now you may have your MGs firing at/along other designated FOFs. And assign GLs to fire at dead space. Regardless if you can see the OPFOR even only partly. You can shoot at them regardless. And assigned GLs to those areas are a good technique.

Again, I think you are over thinking it.

You can either see the OPFOR to target or not …

stephen m12 Jul 2019 3:51 p.m. PST

UshCha

Excellent info. Now how would you implement that in game terms? Since troops in "open" are either fully visible and subject to attack (my fast moving infantry above) or gone to ground.

Basically attacking any area would work similarly, would moving but erect troops be more or less in danger from or receive damage different? Maybe advancing troops are easier to range in on vs gone to ground, therefore easier to spot or get an accurate range?

So if incautiously advancing troops are attacked by such a weapon system would they get results similar to what I stated for COH, an increased potential damage effect? And therefore treated the same as above or what? I am not trying to belittle your input I am trying to get a workable answer to your insightful input. Thank you.

stephen m12 Jul 2019 3:54 p.m. PST

Sorry didn't see Legion's reply until I had posted mine. I don't know if we are going over the same thing so forgive me if I seem to be beating a dead horse. I also have to go over it.

Legion 412 Jul 2019 6:56 p.m. PST

How do you model such terrain if you use it?
Well … back to the original question. If you want to mark Dead Space/Ground. You can do something similar to what Crispy posted. I'd use lichen or large course flock. Any unit behind that then can be designated as being in Dead Space.

And in turn I'd give it a cover bonus for being partially obscured.

Short answer:

Use Lichen to designate …

Give soft cover bonus …

UshCha12 Jul 2019 11:55 p.m. PST

stephen m, Yhe isssue is that in the dead ground the infantry can advance prone immune to direct fire rifle and Machine guns. Such areas are pre-registered for greanade lanchers, Now few of un want to count ammunition its a tall order. So the alternate is to "over emphasise or highlight" just a bit the "gains and losses" in the system so as to encourage optimum use of the weapon and of course to some extent penalise those forces not having an optimum mix. Also greanade launchers beyong abount 90m if I recall (distance to put a grenade through a window is part of the Success criteria for qualifying on an M203, wheras at longer ranges its an area effect, weapon.

Litchen or flock is not an option for us as it "escapes" and the pub landlord is none to pleased. Perhaps a furry green tape may be an alternative I had not thought of previously. Anybody seen such an item?

stephen m13 Jul 2019 4:56 a.m. PST

Cut lengths of green (or suitable for base terrain) yarn and arrange as sight blocks or crests. The alternative is something akin to a crater, but marked as different, with a crest all around or on as many sides as desired.

So only falling fire weapons can attack behind the crest lines? Direct fire weapons, rifles, MGs, etc are treated as impotent? Or the crest lines have a dead zone of X distance? If so then back to a crater where the size of the crater defines the dead zone.

UshCha13 Jul 2019 6:49 a.m. PST

Stephen m, the rules already have a Dead Ground rule but to be honest it aimed at being behind a ridge on the ground and does not work well for a "crater" as it's not practical to dig into the table. In theory we could cover the table apprt from where the crater was but on a club night this would dramatically increase set up time. So you are correct I need to define a "crater" terrain piece and then it would effectively work using the existing rules. Producing a "flat" modular crater may prove interesting.

Legion 413 Jul 2019 7:33 a.m. PST

Yhe isssue is that in the dead ground the infantry can advance prone immune to direct fire rifle and Machine guns.
Again … Now if you can't see the enemy troops in the dead space, how do you know they are there ?
Did you see them move there ?
Otherwise you probably don't know they are there, yes ?
Do you just tell you GLs to fire into the known dead spaces regardless of other targets ?


Such areas are pre-registered for greanade lanchers, Now few of un want to count ammunition its a tall order.
Like with all weapon GLs don't have unlimited amount of ammo … like in Hollywood.

Again … You can also use mortars or even FA to hit dead space. Which have a longer range than a 203.


Also greanade launchers beyong abount 90m if I recall (distance to put a grenade through a window is part of the Success criteria for qualifying on an M203, wheras at longer ranges its an area effect, weapon.
From one of my old dog-eared FMs.

M203 target ranges :

Window (.75m wide x 1m high) 90 100m

Bunker 135 -150m

Troops in open 325m-350

Troops in open emplacement 275 300m

FYI I qualified many times …


So the alternate is to "over emphasise or highlight" just a bit the "gains and losses" in the system so as to encourage optimum use of the weapon and of course to some extent penalise those forces not having an optimum mix.
Yes, if you have a separate stat line fire the GL along with stats for the other heavy weapons in the unit. E.g. SAWs, MGs, etc.

Also note an M203 can penetrate @ 50mm of armor. So the flank/rear of e.g. BMP, BMD, BTR, etc. are viable targets. [you can use an M2 .50 cal too]


So now saying that you may have to use your GLs to take out those type of AFVs. and use supporting fires, e.g. mortars to cover dead space.


Have discussed the M203s, stats, uses, the original question of how to ID dead space on the board ?

I think lichen is as good as any "marker". Even if you use it for hedges, etc. AS … when in dead space or behind a hedge, etc., you still should get a cover bonus. As again if you can't clearly see the target because of terrain, weather, etc. you don't have a clear LOS. Which in turn makes them harder to hit. E.g. like using smoke grenades[hand or GL], or mortars/FA. Smoke won't stop any fires, but making the target harder to hit is it's primary use, i.e. you can't clearly see the target(s) to effectively shoot.

The concept of cover vs. concealment. Cover with stop direct fire. Verses Concealment which only blocks LOS. But will not stop fires.

Producing a "flat" modular crater may prove interesting.
We use a rubble counters for structures that are destroyed. You could make a "dead space" counter as well since you seem to want to delineate the cover & concealment that dead space provides vs. any other cover & concealment. If I understand you correctly?

Which IMO in the long run it really does not make any difference on the board [or even generally in the RW]. You either have cover or not.


If your goal is to show the effectiveness of a GL for using on targets in dead space. Which should give the units with it an advantage. Again, a Ldr/Cdr[or gamer] who is worth anything he can use the weapons in his units as he sees fit. E.g. Use your GLs to target light vehicles at close ranges. And mortars to cover dead space. IMO the vehicles at close range are a bigger immediate threat than some Grunt taking cover in dead space or any cover for that matter.


Dead Ground rule but to be honest it aimed at being behind a ridge on the ground …
Dead Space/Ground is generally are the shallow undulations in ground. That blocks or limits LOS. I.e. a good place for Infantry to hide/take cover from direct fires. Or even indirect fires as you may not be able to see the target(s) in the Dead Space. Hence you generally won't fire GLs, mortars, etc., there.

Stat lines for gaming purposes :

We fight in stands of Infantry in multiple Fire TMs. E.g. 8-9 stands = a Plt. I.e. = 3-4 Sqds with HQ + possibly attachments, etc..

Generally we use one or two stat lines for a Missile Launcher [and/or a GL, MG, etc.] Then other weapons fall under a Small arms stat line.

stephen m14 Jul 2019 3:10 p.m. PST

My suggestion was how to represent visually a dead space. Thinking more on it I see an irregular shape with a piece of string covering between 1/4 and 5/8 of the length of the border. Make the irregular shape out of whatever you are comfortable with, mdf, sheet plastic, thin foam board, etc.. Paint it a slightly different colour than the usual table covering you use. The string along the edge defines the crest line which affects or limits fire and the total area of the irregular shape defines the extents of the dead zone.

Maybe have each side roll 2D6 at the start of the scenario after all terrain and forces have been placed. Each side gets half their dice roll, rounded down, in dead zones they can place. Then the side with the lowest roll can remove one half of the differences in rolls dead zones of their choice. Each side may choose to not deploy a dead zone or remove them but for each they don't use or remove they may rotate the deployed zones 90 degrees. Low side starting first each side alternates.

Just ideas as this thread has started me thinking. I have no rules for how they play in game terms, just how to represent and how to deploy.

UshCha15 Jul 2019 12:03 a.m. PST

To be honest we never use dice deployment. It can lead to unimnteresting terrain and hence waste an eveing game. Some scenario books sufferd from a similat problem. Interestingly I was thinking on similat lines as to what to print, string never occoured to me.

Legion 415 Jul 2019 8:36 a.m. PST

I AH's old Tobruk game when a AFV stopped you'd roll to see if they found a fold in the ground etc. To get cover bonus. On a 6 you got cover.


As I said … We use a rubble counters for structures that are destroyed. You could make a "dead space" counter as well since you seem to want to delineate the cover & concealment that dead space provides vs. any other cover & concealment.

stephen m15 Jul 2019 4:44 p.m. PST

I don't use dice deployment. It is just dead zones to me are so nebulous they would never be on maps and would be "discovered" by enterprising troops. Just thinking along those lines.

UshCha16 Jul 2019 12:07 a.m. PST

Stephen m. My thoughts came from the Platoon manuals in the sections that are on defence, In those cases they are looked out so as to make sure they are covers. To the extent that troops walk along so that tyhe groung concerned is checked throuhgly.

Legion 416 Jul 2019 7:29 a.m. PST

Yes, that is the way it is done. But sometimes you don't have the opportunity/time or the situation & terrain does not allow it to happen. To walk out of position of position to ID Dead Space/Ground. You just have to use the map & your old Mk.1 Eyeball.

And again terrain is a critical factor. E.g. setting up an Ambush along a jungle/heavily wooded trail. You may have no Dead Space.

Again if you have the assets you can register mortars & FA on suspect Dead Space, along likely enemy avenues of approach, etc., etc.. Of course when you set up a defense assigning sectors/FOF for all weapons is standard to achieve interlocking Sectors of Fine, FPL, etc.

Covering Dead Space is not as big a deal as I think is being made here. It's SOP and GLs are just one of the weapons/assets in your unit. That the FMs state can be used to cover Dead Space/Ground. But again it always is terrain dependent and if you occupy a position in darkness or in heavy fog, etc. You again may just have to use your map to ID any Dead Space.


Again I think you are trying to make Dead Space something different than any other piece of or bit of terrain that blocks/limits, etc., LOS. Cover is cover generally for gaming purposes and in RL as well.

UshCha17 Jul 2019 3:02 a.m. PST

Leigion 4, The trick is not that its dead ground or specific to greadage lanunches, dead ground in WW2 in some Normandy defences were at least theoreticaly covered by a flame thrower, so any manner of weapon can cover dead ground. as such, but this tread is aimed at a unique form that could be difficult to show clearly on the table top, as you point out it needs to be surveyed so is more specificaly a part of a comprehensive defence set up. The advantage of doing so "in Game" is simply it diffrentiates the abilities of a greanage launcher as opposed to just lumping it in as a general weapon.

Legion 417 Jul 2019 8:29 a.m. PST

I understand that … As I said I actually planned/set up defenses many times in my past in RL. And of course on the gaming table.

We play 6mm … and we never took Dead Space into account because we considered it just another form of cover. Based on terrain on the board.

And as I mentioned any Infantry unit on Fire [Only] Orders[not moving in the turn] get a cover bonus. Again because they are kneeling or prone making themselves a smaller target. As well as using every little fold, undulation in the ground, small rocks, etc. That takes into account dead space, etc. Do you see what I'm getting at ?

But I see you are try to show the difference capabilities of a GL. And yes in the FMs they are noted as being good to cover dead space. Generally yes they are. But as I said so are other weapons e.g. Mortars & FA. Or in your example a flame thrower.

So if you want to ID Dead Space/Ground so the GL gets an advantage. I guess you'd have to add that in it's stat line. I.e. "Can fire into Dead Space/ignores cover …"

But if that is what you are getting at then you'd have to put that into the stat lines of other weapons that have similar capabilities, again mortars & FA. So my point is again K.I.S.S.


We again just consider Dead Space as just another form of cover. And in our rules[again based on Featherstone] Inf on Fire Orders get an cover bonus for the reasons I already stated. In turn that covers other weapons like Mortars & FA, etc., as well. Plus if you wanted to you could add "Ignores Cover" to the GLs stat line …


But as always do what works for you … not me. But I was just trying to show how we handle things like Dead Space. And again based on my RW experience & training. Plus how it works in our rules.

But again Do What Works For U …

UshCha17 Jul 2019 12:00 p.m. PST

You were doing great till yo mentioned the "F" word (Featherstone ;-)), even as a kid (I started on his war games book) I soon realized his rules were, being polite "poor" as a teenager. But yes I think this topic is now done to death, but it was fun!

Legion 417 Jul 2019 3:43 p.m. PST

Indeed …

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