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"Tactics Discussion: First shot in a tank engagement" Topic

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Wolfhag21 Dec 2019 9:47 a.m. PST

One of the details I've been working on is the situational awareness factors, tactical advantages and timing for getting off the first few shots in a 1:1 tank engagement. Historically, a short engagement of a platoon or less would be over in 1-3 minutes at ranges of 900m or less.

Here is some historical information I've come across:

I've tried using various reaction/activation and IGYG methods but it's hard to get the relationship right especially simulating decreases situational awareness against flanking concealed units shooting.


Martin Rapier22 Dec 2019 1:31 a.m. PST

Interesting data but hard to interpret clearly. The overwhelming impression is that the defender almost always gets to fire first, so for IGYG simply use the Pazerblitz/WRG move sequence of shoot then move and add in e.g. a one turn restriction on acquiring previously unspotted targets out of the frontal arc.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2019 5:11 a.m. PST

These tables were extracted from a larger study, with much more descriptive narrative as well as more tables, "BRL Memorandum Report No. 798, published bu the Ballistic Research Laboratories (BRL), Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland in June 1954". The title of the memorandum is: "Data on World War II Tank Engagements Involving the U.S. Third and Fourth Armored Divisions"

I have a hard copy purchased from Merriam Press link

Mine is an earlier version they put out at about half the pages of the current offering. Merriam Press is a gold mine of such documents. In many cased original manuals or studies have not just been reproduced but in many cases cleaned up and reformatted to clean, readable formats such as the tables Wolfhag has provided.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2019 8:18 a.m. PST

Given some of the above numbers, thinking logically, and extrapolating from the losses for which side may have fired first, or the same time where there is a question (depending upon those losses shown), it seems pretty clear that surprise and flanking shots are very deadly. Not only because flank armor is thinner, but I also suspect, even with their heads out of the turret, the commanders may be looking towards the sector where there main gun is pointing, at least much of the time.

Hard to derive a lot from the above data, but it probably can be used to support some assumptions.

From accounts I've read, the defenders usually do have the advantage of cover, and concealment, and are most likely not moving, so more likely to get their shots off first most of the time.

However, in some cases, they get surprised, especially in foggy weather/snow/rain, and/or when they are otherwise distracted or fatigued. Tight terrain like bocage, and/or city fights will have an impact here too.

I'd say that attackers might gain surprise 20% – 33% of the time over the defenders, as a rough guess. Better trained crews will also make a difference here, so that should be factored in too.

UshCha22 Dec 2019 8:37 a.m. PST

Thresher01 I suspect your assumption is overly crude. Acritical tactic for tanks, I assume fairly quickly and certainly by the end of WW2 was to Skirmish, moving from one position, a few yards further (proably in excess of about 50 yds) to another and-aquire and being over 40 yds cannot be simply corrected. All tankers seem to sgree closer than 40 yds and the fire correction is all most 100% accurate.
Most first hand accounts against dug in and camoflarged anti Tank Guns ans tanks seems to give them first shot.
The Sherman seems to have gotten first shot in over Tigers and Panthers due to better sights if the sighting was simultanious.

There may be situations where the defender did a poor job but I suspect whan your life depends on it there were not too many poor jobs.

Interestingly the Russian habit of fireing in Volleys of Anti Tank fire was aimed at both better distribution of the overall fire but also to confuse the enemy and make them harder to spot.

none of these seem to chime with a 20 to 30% chance of first shot. They seem much closer to 100%.

Legion 422 Dec 2019 8:58 a.m. PST

I would think in many cases for gaming, unless it is very clear who can see who and in turn who could shoot first, etc.. May come down to a die roll with possible modifiers ? E.g. as Thresher pointed out,

From accounts I've read, the defenders usually do have the advantage of cover, and concealment, and are most likely not moving, so more likely to get their shots off first most of the time.
However, in some cases, they get surprised, especially in foggy weather/snow/rain, and/or when they are otherwise distracted or fatigued. Tight terrain like bocage, and/or city fights will have an impact here too.

Having sat in the TC seat of an M113/M577 many times before, what and who you can see and vis versa is not always clear.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2019 9:21 a.m. PST

Did Shermans really have better sights than Panthers and Tigers?

IIRC, the German ones were top notch.

I'm just going off some anecdotal evidence from various "at the sharp" end, battle accounts I've read in the past, and of late. In those, on a number of occasions, the defenders were indeed surprised.

I agree with the anti-tank gun comment, since they are frequently small, so easier to conceal, and hard to spot. They also get 180 degree, plus, situational awareness, like a tank commander/TD commander/crew with their head(s) out of the turret. That shrinks rather severely if/when they button up.

Wolfhag22 Dec 2019 9:48 a.m. PST

Anti-tank guns would have 3-5 crewmen that could cover SA in 360 degrees and have the benefit of hearing oncoming tanks when they are about 500m away. They'd be very hard to surprise but in the heat of battle, it could occur.

If the AT guns had enough time they'd make a range card and know the range to certain spots to eliminate the range estimation error and have and an excellent chance for a first-round hit out to one second time of flight.

I read an account of a Sherman surprising a German 88 on the flank that attempted to traverse and engage him. He missed the 88 on his first two shots but nailed it on its third just as the 88 fired it's first and barely missed him.

The Sherman had a tank commander override to traverse the turret himself to line up the gun for the gunner. No other tank in WWII had it. Many Shermans had a vane sight for the commander and he could set the gun elevation for a certain range. This would allow him to engage and get off the first shot at a target out to maybe 500m without needing the gunner. This is a huge advantage. Combined with a 24 degree/second traverse a Tiger or Panther (turret traverse from 6 to 18 degrees?) would be at a severe disadvantage allowing the Sherman to shoot 2-3 times before the Panther or Tiger could get off their first. The Panther or Tiger had its gun pointed in overwatch in the right direction to shoot first, ambushes allowed it. Even performing a neutral turn to engage an enemy on the flank is only about 10 degrees/second from my observation and could overload the drive and transmission. It was not unusual to have a StuG protecting their flanks.

Better Situational Awareness, crew experience and recon/intel can beat a superior weapons platform.


Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2019 12:45 p.m. PST

Did Shermans really have better sights than Panthers and Tigers?

IIRC, the German ones were top notch.

The Panther's sights were optimized for long-range engagements. The gunner had only one sight, with a limited field of view. It had excellent clarity and light admission, and the German sighting reticles were evidently useful for the purpose (claiming no personal expertise in this).

So if you were on the steppes, and engaging targets at 2Km, you had a real advantage.

But if you were in the fields and streets of western Europe, where lines of sight exceeding 1Km were relatively rare, and most engagements actually took place at 800m or less, the narrow field of view of the gunner, and the lack of a TC override, meant that it took a lot longer for the gunner to get his gun onto a target that the TC had spotted.

TC says: Gunner traverse right. Target, tank, to the left of the barn.
Gunner says: Which barn? I don't see any barn…
TC says: Traverse right 45 degrees.
tic … tic … tic
Gunner says: I still don't see any barn.
TC says: You went past it, go back left 10 degrees.
Gunner says: You mean the red barn?
TC says: No, the green and white barn.
Gunner says: Oh. OK, now I see it. Very clear, with excellent reticles and good zoom. Did you say the target was to the left of the barn?
TC says: No, now it's behind the barn ….

On the Sherman not only did the TC have an override, but the gunner had a panoramic view periscope and a zoom view telescopic sight.

TC says: Gunner I am traversing. Target, tank, to the left of the barn.
tic … tic
Gunner says: Got it. Switching to primary.
Gunner says: ON THE WAY

Yes, this is a fabricated dramatization. But it addresses the real issues of engagement. The Panther had a very good cupola for the TC, and an excellent long-range gunnery sight for an excellent long-range AT weapon. The Sherman didn't have a cupola (until very late), but in both cases TCs tended to fight head-out anyways. Sherman TCs could hand-off targets to the gunner faster, and their turrets traversed faster.

Shermans had a great advantage in getting off the first round. and they fired faster, so often had an advantage in getting off the second and third rounds. Just like Pz IIIs did against T-34s in 1941 and 1942.

Didn't mean they succeeded in firing first in every engagement -- only in most engagements. And the first to fire didn't win in every engagement, but did win in most engagements.

So, if I read Wolfhag's charts right, I see the following in engagements between M4s and Panthers (Mk Vs):
Total Number of M4 vs. Mk V engagements: 30
M4s fired first: 24
Mk Vs fired first: 4
Don't know who fired first: 2

This is the issue we talk about when we say the Sherman had better gun sights.

(aka: Mk 1)

Wolfhag22 Dec 2019 1:38 p.m. PST

Nice description as it helps you visualize better what is going on.

German gun sight FOV: link

The TzF sight enabled the gunner to better estimate the range but would take a little longer and would most likely not be needed under 900m.

The Shermans had a variety of telescopic and periscope sights:

The early Sherman periscopic was flawed from poor linkage and had no through turret telescopic sight.

The variable the charts do not show are the engagement tactics after the first shot. Shermans would often fire AP and then follow up with WP if they saw no immediate damage result. This has the advantage of decreasing the Panther SA and giving the Sherman the freedom of initiative to maneuver somewhat freely for up to 60 seconds. Forcing the Panther to move is always a good idea because sooner or later it will break down. That's pretty hard to duplicate in a game and I'm sure the German player will not like it.

Another variable is how hard was it to spot the Panther? Good concealment and flashless powder would make it pretty hard to spot with your peripheral vision.


Blutarski22 Dec 2019 8:14 p.m. PST

A really quality tank gun sight was not available for the Sherman until Spring of 1945.

And that still did not solve the excessive gun blast problem that prevented observation of fall of shot at shorter range and relegated the 76mm and 90mm high velocity guns as 'one shot weapons' (so described in a US Army post-WW2 analytical document). Hence the frantic efforts to fit muzzle brakes toward the end of the war.

Then there was the lack of flashless/smokeless propellant which meant that any firing US tank would usually reveal itself to any observer looking in its general direction.



David Brown Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2019 3:04 a.m. PST



Anti-tank guns would have 3-5 crewmen that could cover SA in 360 degrees and have the benefit of hearing oncoming tanks when they are about 500m away.

Not completely sure about this one.

Having had a little experience of sitting in a defensive position with an A/T weapon facing "enemy" tanks two things come to mind.

First, you rarely, if ever have a 360 degree SA, the crew look forward and the position you've adopted often prohibits 360, even though you try to achieve at least say, 180 degrees. You'd rather be in cover with 180 degrees or less SA than stuck up without any cover with more.

Yes, you can hear tanks from a way off, but the noise is distorted and you actually have no idea what direction they are coming from. The overriding memory was expecting a tank to roar over our position at any moment because we couldn't see them or where they were coming from!


Mobius23 Dec 2019 3:29 a.m. PST

If that data is only from an allied report doesn't the anthropic principle indicate that the allied tanks would survive more often? Just that they would be able to properly report the incident as apposed to the enemy surviving.

Gaz004523 Dec 2019 5:38 a.m. PST

Recall reading that British Sherman's carried an HE shell 'up the spout' so they could hit infantry, support weapons or armour first……obviously the HE shell wouldn't kill the enemy armour but it would startle/shock/ damage/blind them and mark the position for other friendlies to acquire…….

Mobius23 Dec 2019 5:41 a.m. PST

You know there was an Army publication that stated that it took 13 shots to hit a tank at 500 yds. from a Sherman. I don't believe that but where in the data would that be shown?

(Even at 1500yds the 75mm Sherman would have a 12.5% chance of a first round hit )

Legion 423 Dec 2019 7:09 a.m. PST

Better Situational Awareness, crew experience and recon/intel can beat a superior weapons platform.
That really is the bottom line …

Good concealment
Yes, good cover & concealment/good fieldcraft certainly will make a difference.

Army publication that stated that it took 13 shots to hit a tank at 500 yds. from a Sherman.
I have heard the same … It could quickly turn into a gun dual, I'd imagine. Like a gunslinger, whoever hits the target first would usually win.

Of course that could and does depend on a number of things, e.g. an M5 Stuart vs. a Pz. V or VIa/b.

Wolfhag24 Dec 2019 6:44 a.m. PST

First, you rarely, if ever have a 360 degree SA, the crew look forward and the position you've adopted often prohibits 360, even though you try to achieve at least say, 180 degrees. You'd rather be in cover with 180 degrees or less SA than stuck up without any cover with more.

Thanks Dave. I was basing my assumption that with many crewmen they could be covering any direction in their LOS.


Legion 424 Dec 2019 7:34 a.m. PST

That does make sense … generally whether in an AFV or on the ground you'd wouldn't necessarily have 360 SA/LOS.

UshCha24 Dec 2019 4:13 p.m. PST

You couold easily get to a large number of shots if the vehicles were skirmishing. In a significant number of cases a tank breaks LOS and moves position, particularly where the second or 3rs shot is needed to walk the shot in. Optimising ist survival. If you believe the Sherma short 75mm Tank commander, kills were not an issue he was content to drive a tank off with HE which would involve high rate of fire but little if any chance of a kill.

Wolfhag24 Dec 2019 6:02 p.m. PST

Yes, US Sherman were more likely to run into infantry and AT guns than AFV's. Having HE or WP in the chamber would even be good against an AFV. If it hits you know the range for the next round being AP and it may scare him off of damage some equipment. If you miss you you still have the advantage of a ranging shot to make corrections for the next shot.


Simo Hayha24 Dec 2019 8:25 p.m. PST

major respect to all in the thread
proposed sequence of fire
1. AT guns shooting as blinds (unspotted)
2. AT guns
3. tanks stationary shooting as blinds
4. tanks moving shooting as blinds
5. tanks stationary fire
6 tanks moving fire

to hit modifiers
suppressed cant fire
- 1 pinned (cant advance)
- 1 new target
+ 1 ranged in
+ 1 firing as blind

position selection for AT gun, interlocking fires/shot selection become imperative otherwise they just get spotted, flanked and arty.

what do you think?

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2019 8:34 p.m. PST

I've read about the very low, first-round, hit rates too.

Ran across a chart when looking up Cold War era data for the M48 and M60 tanks. I forget what it said, but hit rates in WWII were very, very low – surprisingly so. Same goes for Korea too.

IIRC, I think it listed the number of rounds that needed to be fired on average in each period, in order to get a hit, or destroy an enemy tank. I think in WWII it was almost 20 (17 sounds familiar, but I'm unsure about that).

Improved a bit by the early Cold War period 1960s/1970s, and astoundingly so by 1980s – 1990s+.

The 90mm gunned M48 tank only had almost a 50% chance of a first-round hit at 1,500m, so you can extrapolate on either side of that.

Can't find the chart I was looking for, for the WWII, Korea, and later Cold War tanks. Thought I saved an image/document of it, but can't recall where, currently,

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2019 8:56 p.m. PST

Sometimes, even if you have a 76mm gun vs. a Panther, and get off the first shots, it doesn't matter either.

Reportedly, only the US 90mm anti-tank gun, and the 105mm howitzer, the latter firing HEAT rounds, could reliably kill a Panther from the front.

"Sherman tank crews paid the price in blood to learn how to deal with the German Panthers and Tigers by using the Sherman's mobility to maneuver into a position where they could fire upon the weaker side and rear armor of the German tanks. But they still encountered frustrating scenarios such as the one faced by Sgt. Francis Baker, commander of Sherman tank with an improved 76mm gun, during a battle with German Mark V Panther tanks on Nov. 20, 1944, as recounted in Zaloga's book.

"Ordering my gunner to fire at the closest tank, which was approximately 800 yards away, he placed one right in the side which was completely visible to me," Baker wrote. "To my amazement and disgust I watched the shell bounce off the side. My gunner fired at least six more rounds at the vehicle hitting it from turret to the track. This German tank, knowing that I possibly would be supported by a tank destroyer, started to pull away. I was completely surprised to see it moving after receiving seven hits from my gun"."

The above quote is from this on-line article:


Wolfhag26 Dec 2019 9:03 p.m. PST

The Panthers mantlet was the weak spot and could be targeted if close enough.

Here is another Sherman 75 and Panther, Tiger engagement:

The interesting part of the Tiger engagement is the Tiger shot first, missed and the Sherman fired 5 more times without the Tiger firing once.


Mobius27 Dec 2019 6:10 a.m. PST

It may be the Tiger in #4 and the Tiger in #5 is the same Tiger. It was hit by a number of Shermans that emerged from Fontenay-le-Pesnel.

Blutarski27 Dec 2019 2:47 p.m. PST

If I were out in the open and being hit four or five times in quick succession by an unknown gun which I presumably had not yet located, my initial response would in the following order -


Where is he shooting from?

Driver, get us the hell out of here.

Driver? Driver?

Quick! Everyone out.

Legion 428 Dec 2019 8:52 a.m. PST

Bleeped text happens !

Wolfhag28 Dec 2019 10:08 a.m. PST

Regarding hit rates.

I've heard about a few statements the same about 10+ shots to hit but there are no real details and it does not prove out in AAR's and personal accounts.

There are many variables. An anti-tank gun set up in advance for defense would most likely have the range pre-measured to choke points and locations to expect the enemy to move. While concealed they could engage the target at long range and wait until they got to the ranged in spot (normally 500m or less) and be ensured of a first-round hit, they may not get a second shot.

I think Simo has the right idea.


Wolfhag29 Dec 2019 12:19 p.m. PST

I came across this British War Office report and thought it would be pertinent to the discussion:

WO 291/975 Tank battle analysis.

This report presents the results of an analysis of 83 tank vs. tank actions in NW Europe taken from unit war diaries. The data means that it is not possible to separate results out by individual tank or gun types. It is assumed that Allied (British) tanks have 25% 17-pr tanks, and that 25% of towed ATk guns are 6-pr, the rest 17-pr. German ATk guns are assumed to be 50% 75mm and 50% 88mm.

The report's conclusions are:

1. SP guns are more effective that towed ATk guns by a factor of about 3 for the Allies, and about 2 for the Germans.
2. The Panther and Tiger are more effective than Mk III and IV against Allied SP guns by a factor of about 4.
3. "In tank versus tank engagements, for the chance of success to be equal for either side, Allied tanks would have to outnumber the German tanks by some 30%".
4. For an equal chance of success against German anti-tank guns, Allied tanks need to outnumber them by about 2 to 1.
5. The mean "success range" for the 17-pr was 2100 yards, as against 580 yards for the 75mm.
6. The average "success ranges" for tanks were 750 yards for the Allies, 1290 yards for the Germans.
7. Allied ATk guns were successful at 1090 yards (SP) and 870 yards (towed), whereas German figures were 330 yards (SP) and 300 yards (towed).
8. Of 83 actions, 58 were won by the side that fired first. Where a side was both numerically superior and fired first, it was invariably successful.
9. A successful tank attack typically resulted in about 15% losses; a failure, about 65%.
10. A successful ATk gun defence resulted in about 12.5% (SP) or 15% (towed) losses; a failure, over 50% (SP) or 80% (towed).


Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP30 Dec 2019 4:14 a.m. PST

Add in this rather interesting discussion on engagement ranges in Northwest Europe 44-45, but also includes some good info on other fronts:

Mobius30 Dec 2019 6:34 a.m. PST

@Marc33594 I'll be bookmarking that page as this subject will appear again. Just that some ppl don't seem to get what the numbers mean and don't mean. Also, it doesn't say how many combat actions were counted.

Legion 430 Dec 2019 8:02 a.m. PST

Good intel Wolf !

donlowry30 Dec 2019 8:43 a.m. PST

6. The average "success ranges" for tanks were 750 yards for the Allies, 1290 yards for the Germans.

But I have read somewhere that it was rare to find a line of sight in NW Europe greater than 500 yards.

7. Allied ATk guns were successful at 1090 yards (SP) and 870 yards (towed), whereas German figures were 330 yards (SP) and 300 yards (towed).

That dichotomy seems strange. Could it be because the Germans held their fire waiting for shorter ranges longer than did the Allies?

Fred Cartwright30 Dec 2019 8:59 a.m. PST

German ATk guns are assumed to be 50% 75mm and 50% 88mm.

That seems too high for 88's. Considering the only SP's with 88's would be a few Jagdpanthers, as I don't think the Nashorn made it to NWE. For towed guns it would be a few battalions of Flak. Did the Pak 43 make it to NWE in significant numbers? Most of the guns would be 75mm in Marders, Stug's, Jagdpanzer IV's and towed Pak 40's.

Mobius30 Dec 2019 10:45 a.m. PST

I recall one of the Pattons in the first batch in NWE was knocked out by a Nashorn.

Fred Cartwright30 Dec 2019 12:03 p.m. PST

I recall one of the Pattons in the first batch in NWE was knocked out by a Nashorn.

That was presumably May ‘45 when the Western allies were encountering all sorts of odds and sods. I was thinking more of deployment of a couple of Nashorn equipped heavy PanzerJäger battalions West when the German Army was still functioning.

Wolfhag30 Dec 2019 12:39 p.m. PST

On March 6, Pershing No. 25, from Company H, 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, was knocked out of action in a northern suburb of Cologne by an 88mm round fired from a German Nashorn tank destroyer at 300 yards. The crew bailed out safely, but the hit set off the stored ammunition, burning out the turret.

This just proves again how concealed ambushes at short range can give you the initiative to defeat any weapon system.


Legion 430 Dec 2019 3:11 p.m. PST

thumbs up

Simo Hayha30 Dec 2019 9:44 p.m. PST

ATk guns are assumed to be 50% 75mm and 50% 88mm.
I assume this is means towed weapons. I would bet some pak 38s were still present. maybe I am wrong. 88mm flak units were definitely used heavily in normandy in the antitank role against the British. I know 4 88s took out about 20 cromwells.

Andy ONeill31 Dec 2019 2:44 a.m. PST

There were a fair few 50mm and 37mm paks still in use in 44.

Legion 431 Dec 2019 7:28 a.m. PST

Yes, I saw that too. I guess it is better than nothing. You might get lucky and blow off a road wheel or track(?).

Wolfhag31 Dec 2019 8:09 a.m. PST

Here is my current example of a first shot engagement when both sides get a LOS at the same time. Players go through their natural Decision Loop to Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.

Units do not normally go into action on the same exact second a threat is noticed. A Situational Awareness Check will determine how quickly they can respond to move or shoot and what factors come into play.

After any Engagement Delay, the crew can move or go into action to engage and shoot.

If the shooter saw that the target was going to disappear from his LOS before turn #64 he could use the "Hasty Shot" tactic to get the round off sooner than turn #64 but with a further +100m accuracy penalty for each second/turn shooting sooner.

This method eliminates the need for traditional activation and IGYG turns. Since the rate of movement and rate of fire are synchronized on a turn-to-turn basis they are no special opportunity fire and overwatch rules needed. Being caught out of position or in a blind spot can be disastrous. Buttoned up and poor crews take longer to execute actions.

Using a Decision Loop for each unit with their future Action Tuns kept secret eliminates the need for initiative rules and portrays a realistic Fog of Waar – no one knows exactly who will act next.

The first shot goes to the unit that has the best tactical position and executes the quickest. There are a variety of tactics and rules that allow the player to act more quickly to "get inside" his opponents Decision Loop. As soon as an order is executed the player goes back to observing and determines his next action and the Action Turn it will be executed. There is no orders phase.


Wolfhag02 Jan 2020 11:24 p.m. PST

I thought this was a good visual to show the importance of shooting first:


Legion 403 Jan 2020 6:48 a.m. PST

thumbs up Makes sense … That is the way I understood it …

Wolfhag10 Jan 2020 6:29 a.m. PST

After more play testing and some changes this is what we're going to be going with for the initial release of the rules.

It gives more historic engagement and first shot timing results and most importantly, the player has some decision points to gain the initiative with a better crew, better tactical positioning and Risk-Reward Decisions to trade accuracy for speed and takes only one die roll (unless target is concealed).

The results of how long it takes to perform an action or shoot is hidden from your opponent creating a natural Fog of War as no one knows who will act next.

Using the OODA Loop game turn mechanics, as soon as an action is performed the player immediately loops back to Observe and determines any Engagement Delay, Orients himself to the situation and options he has, Decides on an action and how long it will take and Acts in the future turn, if he is still alive then. If a new and more dangerous threat appears he can attempt to cancel his current order to react to the new threat by moving or shooting.

All units are synchronized to the same game turn, players can attempt to react to enemy actions on the turn they occur. This keeps all players in the game as there is no IGYG sequence or unit activation.

Players "Play their Loop" which automatically determines initiative and opportunity fire. Units are always active to react and change orders on any turn (subject to their Situational Awareness and Engagement Delays) like their real WWII counterparts so there is no need for unit activation or command dice. There are no over watch rules. Having your gun pointed in the right direction allows better Situational Awareness and faster action.

The players has several decision points to get inside his opponents loop by trading accuracy for speed to seize the initiative to act or shoot first as there is less reliance on die rolls. However, if you shoot first and miss you may not get a second shot. The player determines if he'll be fast or accurate.

To gain a timing advantage you need to suppress your opponent, force him to button up or maneuver on his flanks to surprise him. Using a customized data card for each unit type the player has all of the options and timing variables available to him.

The game delivers realistic split second results that were so common in small unit engagements with the players decisions being a key part of success.


mkenny10 Jan 2020 10:25 a.m. PST

88mm flak units were definitely used heavily in normandy in the antitank role against the British. I know 4 88s took out about 20 cromwells.

Depends how you define 'Flak'. Each Pz Div had 12 x 8.8cm guns and they could be used in the AT role but Pickert (Commander of Flak Korps) refused to allow his guns to be used in the front-line AT role. From memory the Flak Korps (200+ guns) claimed less than 100 tanks. The Luftwaffe did send dedicated 'Tank Hunting' 8.8cm Units to Normandy but they were deemed a failure because they lost more guns than they claimed in tank kills. There were a couple Army independent Heavy anti-tank Units with Pak 8.8cm. The role and number of 8.8cm in Normandy is greatly overplayed.

I have never heard the '20 Cromwell' claim before and know of no matching loss in a Unit record.

Wolfhag10 Jan 2020 2:27 p.m. PST

Maybe Simo Hayha has the 88's location wrong? Maybe rather than Normandy it was in the British and Canadian AO during Goodwood and Operation Blockbuster/Battle Of Hochwald Gap. It was better country for anti-tank guns and very high tank losses for the Allies.


Blutarski10 Jan 2020 8:43 p.m. PST

Tiger tanks? Over-rated.
Panther tanks? Over-rated.
8.8cm Pak and Flak? Over-rated.

Who knew?


Wolfhag10 Jan 2020 9:53 p.m. PST

I think we've come up with a new rating system for WWII weapon systems:

Over Rated
Somewhat Over Rated
Mostly Over Rated
Almost always Over Rated
Absolutely Over Rated
Totally Worthless

If an Over Rated 8.8cm Pak and FLAK that has a reputation of being accurate(?) and takes 10 rounds to confirm a kill on a tank what should a weapon rated as Absolutely Over Rated take to confirm a tank kill? 20, 100, 500?

If it takes 50,000 rounds of small arms fire to kill a bad guy in the mid-east today according to my son he fired off 1+ million rounds of 5.56 ammo through his M4 carbine and his claim to a one-shot hit at 750 yards with his M4 ACOG is bogus because according to our new rating system he's "Totally Worthless".

Those NAVY SEAL's must go through a ton of ammo. I mean really 2,000 pounds on a single raid. I'm glad I don't have to hump it.


Mobius11 Jan 2020 6:08 a.m. PST

If you just go by the numbers in the first data sheet you find that there were 72 incidents where the attacker and first shot can be determined and only 12 that have the attacker firing first. That is 1 in 6, a pretty easy odds to use for a gamer. Do you really need to develop a decision tree or loop to try to get these odds? Especially, where there is a huge variety of starting conditions. Wouldn't it be easier to just roll a D6 and on a ‘6' the attacker fires first?

If Wolfhag's Threat Engagement for First Shot situation were to be applied to Panzer War the unbuttoned stationary Panther sees a new target at 900 m (450 in PW scale). This is within the first turn reaction range of 450. Also, 45° from the main gun is also within sighting arc. A moving vehicle is well within the sighting range of 1100 so the target is sighted. A 100% chance of getting a first shot.

Targeting factors would be +1 for first shot over 300 and +1 for moving target. The basic to-hit number of the 75mm/L70 KwK is a 3 which goes to 5 so a 60% chance of first round hit.

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