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"New 1944 period anti-tank rules rules..." Topic

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Warspite103 Feb 2020 3:36 p.m. PST

…from a very old source.

While I am fairly happy with Bolt Action's infantry rules I am not so satisfied with the BA anti-tank rules. Now I've been around a few years (quite a few actually). I got started in the hobby in the late 1960s after reading Donald Featherstone's seminal book 'Wargames'. He included rules for ancient warfare, horse and musket warfare and WW2 but for the latter there were actually TWO sets of rules, his simple set and Lionel Tarr's rather more ambitious approach.

Tarr's system always struck me as being better than Featherstone's as he assigned strike values (SV) to each gun calibre and defence values (DV) to each target vehicle types. These values and the roll of three dice neatly dealt with hit chances AND armour penetration in one action. If you made the score, the target was hit and knocked out. It was quick, efficient and I have very fond memories of it from the late '60s and early '70s.

Tarr's range of values were quite narrow and – to be frank – I am dubious about many of his relative figures. Having spent 40-odd years since getting the book studying the period I think… hope… pray… that I have improved on Tarr's original somewhat.

Below are a draft set and I am putting them up for discussion. Please feel free to try them out and any feed-back or constructive criticism would be appreciated.

*** *** *** *** *** ***

Draft Normandy 1944 WW2 anti-tank gun rules (adapted from Lionel Tarr's original work)

The system is SV (strike value + modifications) + roll of three dice. The total must equal or exceed the target's DV (defence value). Target destroyed if this happens – it has been hit AND the armour has been defeated or by-passed.

US 37mm and UK 2pdr SV 0
UK 6pdr SV 3 but SV 4 under 12 inches due to APDS
US and UK 75mm SV 2
US 3-inch A/Tank SV3
UK 17pdr + US 76mm * SV 4 but SV 5 on 17pdr only under 12 inches due to APDS
UK 95mm howitzer+ SV3

37mm SV 0
50mm SV 3
75mm how+ SV 1
75mm L43/48 SV 3
75mm L/70* SV 4
88mm L/56* SV 5
88mm L/70* SV 6

* guns are high velocity and do not fall off so badly at range
+ guns are short barrel howitzers and suffer much more at range

Range variations:
Up to 12 inches +1 SV
Up to 24 inches 0 SV
Over 24 inches -1 SV but 0 for all * guns // -2 SV for all + guns
Over 30 inches -2 SV but -1 for all * guns // -3 SV for all + guns

Other variations:
Target or shooter moved this turn, -1 SV each, -2 if both
Target moving fast -2, shooter moving fast -3
Target in soft cover -1 SV
Target behind hard cover or hull down -2 SV

Target DV values:
First value is frontal attack, second figure is side or rear attack

Universal Carrier 14/ 13
Half-track 13/ 12
Stuart 14/ 13
Sherman 15/ 13
Cromwell 15/ 13
Churchill (early) 16/ 14
Churchill (Mk 7) 17/ 15

Half-track 13/ 12
Panzer IV (H/J) 16/ 14
Panther 19/ 14
Tiger 1 17/ 15
Tiger 2 20/ 16

Fire correction options:
If the first shot misses, the shooting player MAY opt to store two out of three Strike dice behind the target vehicle (showing the numbers that were rolled on the missed first shot). Next turn if neither the shooter nor the target have moved, the shooter may roll ONE fresh die as a 'correction' of the fall-of-shot – applying the two previous dice to the third new die's score.

The shooter does not have to correct, if all three first round dice were poor, shooter may instead opt for three fresh dice on the next shooting round. A pair of dice scores may only be stored once for correction. If second 'corrected' fall-of-shot also misses, all three dice must be re-rolled on the third turn.


Lee49403 Feb 2020 3:56 p.m. PST

My rules for 28mm use a similar approach but you only need 1d6. It's proven popular in play. Fast. Easy. Effective. Cheers

Warspite103 Feb 2020 4:00 p.m. PST

@ Lee494:
Thank you.


Warspite103 Feb 2020 4:00 p.m. PST

Examples of play:

A Sherman 75mm SV 2 engages a Panther head-on at 12 to 24 inches SV 0
The Panther's armour is 19 (well sloped) so the Sherman needs to roll 17 or 18 on three dice to KO, basically hitting the shot trap under the mantlet or blowing a track off. If the Panther had been moving then the Sherman would need to roll 18.
If the Sherman misses with 6,6,2, the shooting player may gamble on a shot correction by saving the two 6s behind the target Panther and trying for a re-roll on the next turn.

A Tiger I engages a Sherman at up to 12 inches. The Tiger is sideways on to the advancing Sherman.
The Tiger's L/56 has SV 5, the range is +1 but the Sherman is moving so that cancels the range bonus.
The Tiger must roll 10 or better to kill the Sherman's 15 DV (which on an average die roll of 3.5 per dice is slightly better than a 50/50 chance).
However if the Tiger misses then the Sherman gets SV 2 (+1 range, -1 moving) and must roll 13 on three dice to penetrate the Tiger's thinner side armour of 15.

If the Tiger had been front-on the Sherman would need to roll 15 with three dice to beat the Tiger's 17 DV.
In real life at least one Tiger was destroyed frontally by a Sherman's 75 striking the edge of the driver's vision port while the 'Fury' film's very own Bovington Museum Tiger was captured by a Churchill's 6-pounder engaging frontally. The 57mm shot jammed the turret under the gun barrel and the crew bailed out in panic when they found they could not traverse to engage the Churchill.

Note that APDS shot is only of value to the British at short range. War-time and later tests revealed that the sabot round was grossly inaccurate at longer ranges possibly due to the sabots fouling on the muzzle brake as they discarded. Strangely the Comet's 77mm (a cut down 17-pounder) somehow avoided the problem and no inaccuracy was reported. I would give the 77mm a +1 in the 12 to 24 inch range band when it is introduced in 1945 but that is outside the remit of these Normandy rules.


pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2020 4:24 p.m. PST


Interesting take, and seems simple to carry out. However, how does morale factor in? Less experienced tank crews were not keen on sticking around when shells started banging off the armor.

Warspite103 Feb 2020 4:42 p.m. PST

My take on morale in Bolt Action is this:

Units that take 50% casualties will not advance towards any known enemy until a friendly unit has contacted or passed through them.

So an infantry section of 10 men which loses 5 men will halt, fire or retire but will no longer advance towards any known enemy until another section behind has advanced through or past them – this is known in military circles as 'refreshing' the attack. Once passed through (and not being currently pinned down) the 5 man section will advance again until it takes another casualty and the situation repeats. The four men will halt, fire or retire, etc.

Now, in tank terms, that means a 4 tank section will experience the same when it loses two tanks. It will not advance again until a friendly unit, any unit, passes through or past them. So the two surviving tanks will only advance when – say – a friendly infantry platoon passes them. It will halt again if it loses another tank, etc.


Dynaman878903 Feb 2020 5:47 p.m. PST

I've never been a fan of combining to-hit and to-penetrate in a single roll. It messes up the edge cases too badly. Surprising number of edge cases too.

Warspite104 Feb 2020 2:47 a.m. PST

With you on the edge cases – one of the advantages of the dice is that they provide a 'fuzzy' area which would cater for edge cases or outliers of performance.

Another famous 'edge case' is the M8 Greyhound armoured car which allegedly got behind a Tiger at close range and pumped 37mm shot into it and scored a kill.
37mm SV 0 – +1 for range/-1 for moving = 0
Tiger rear DV 15 – so M8 must roll 15 on 3 dice
If the M8 misses and gets initiative on the next move (i.e. shoots before the Tiger) then the M8's chance drops to 14 for a kill as it is no longer moving.


Warspite104 Feb 2020 3:20 a.m. PST

In the examples above we looked at cases where the Germans are at disadvantage. However (as 'Kelly' says in Kelly's Heroes) "the Tiger is an open country tank"… so let's put it into some open country.

Tiger I at over 24 inches. SV 5 – range penalty should be -1 but the 88 L/56 has a * on it. No range penalty.

Two Cromwells are attacking, one with a 75mm and one with a 95mm+
The 75mm is SV 2 (-1 for range), the 95mm is SV3 but -2 for range due to its +

The Tiger needs to roll 10 or better to kill a Cromwell's DV of 15
The 75mm Cromwell needs to roll 16 (+1 for its remaining SV) to kill the Tiger's 17
The 95mm Cromwell needs to also roll 16 – it has a big HEAT shell but it's short barrel negates that advantage. If both Cromwell's moved this turn the Tiger would be 1 worse on its roll but so would the Cromwells for firing having moved.

Next turn, a 17-pounder* Firefly comes into action in the same engagement, same range.
The 17pdr is SV 4, it is * so it is not affected by the range band. Firing at the Tiger's DV 17, the Firefly only needs to roll 13 to hit the Tiger. The 17 pounder misses on 6,4,1 so the shooter opts to 'store' the 6,4, behind the Tiger and correct next turn. On the next shot only 2 or better is required to kill the Tiger, but if the Tiger has wisely started to change position (moving) the 17-pounder may not use the two dice that were stored, the range has changed. Three fresh dice must be rolled.


Sgt Steiner05 Feb 2020 1:53 a.m. PST

Interesting update of venerable rules.
First blush read of charts i would not rate US 76mm has 4 but 3*.
17pdr could be 5* or else the dread 88 might be 4* rather than 5 ?
95mm seems high at 3 a 2 or 1 ‘feels' better.
PzIVH i would rate 15/13
Not read in ages but the stats seem similar to Op Warboard
Tinkering is fun :-)

Warspite105 Feb 2020 10:12 a.m. PST

@Sgt Steiner:
Thank you for your considered response.

Re-reading the official documents which Nicholas Moran has put up on the World of Tanks website, the general comments are that the US 76mm and the 17-pounder are about equivalent with APCBC, etc. The 17-pounder has the edge with its APDS but only at short range as it appears that the sabot petals fouled in the gun's muzzle brake and tended to knock the tungsten steel core off-target. Down-range APDS accuracy was very poor.
The 95mm is based on its HEAT penetration (which is around 4-inches) but what kills it as an anti-tank weapon is the howitzer-style short barrel and low muzzle velocity. Remember that at any range it will shoot at SV 1 because it is rated '+' (see chart).
88mm L/56 was much much pondered. At closer range the 75mm L/70 is actually superior out to about 400 yards but the 88's heavier shot keeps penetration higher down-range. You might be right.
On the PzIV I was, of course, be-devilled by its frequent up-armouring, etc. I agree with you, I think I rated it too high.

Not listed yet, I am still pondering the Stug, Hetzer, Jagd Panzer IV, M-10 and various armoured cars. There were also some old Panzer IVs in Normandy during the early weeks after D-Day with the short-barrelled howitzer and about 20 or so various Panzer IIIs with either long barrel 50mm or the short-barreled 75. I will have to factor them. I would rate the Jagd Panther about the same as the Panther. However the Jagd Panther does lack the tank version's shot trap under the turret mantlet so it might make another '1' DV. Still pondering! :)

This is a work-in-progress and I value your input.


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