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"Infantry Immediate Action Drills" Topic


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Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse24 Oct 2020 4:40 a.m. PST

I've gone back to working on some of my infantry rules. Since I don't use unit activations or a traditional IGYG turn I wanted to implement Immediate Action Drills that most nations train their military for. This would allow the player some latitude in controlling his units when they first come under fire.

The image above is how I see the different actions a unit up to platoon size would have when first coming under fire. Since the unit is already trained and drilled they don't need to be ordered to perform an action, they perform it immediately and I let the player choose it.

Aggressive Ratings would be from 1 lowest to 5 highest. In certain scenarios like going Berserk or Banzai charge an Aggressiveness Check might be passed automatically. I still need to playtest the D6 results and modifiers.

To Advance Under Fire or Assault the unit needs to pass an Aggressiveness Check. The result is variable. The result of "Advance and shoot" means the player can choose anything from a sprint to performing Walking Fire, crawl forward, hit the deck in an Improved Position to return fire, or Hunker Down. However, the player cannot choose any result above the one he rolled. A result of Improved Position means the unit stopped its advance and is returning fire. A Hunker Down result (which the player could choose) would be considered Pinned Down.

You might notice there is a modifier making Advance Under Fire for having only one or two personnel advancing. Why? Because historically it was easier for one or two guys to sneak up on or attack a defensive position rather than the entire squad. This allows Leaders to perform "Heroic" actions.

If you are sprinting to assault you have already built up momentum so it would be easier to keep it going and be a moving target.

Disengage: In certain circumstances, the unit will want to disengage. If the enemy is over 50m away an immediate assault may take too long and not be successful. However, an immediate assault into a close range ambush might work. A Fall Back order is automatically obeyed but the unit must continue to fall back and not shoot until they are out of the enemy LOS. Once out of danger they can rally. Normally a "Rally Point" was designated the units would fall back to or they'd fall back to a prepared alternate defensive position. You could have one or two teams lay down suppressive fire and the other fall back in a leap frog arrangement covering the withdraw.

Hit the Deck: The player can choose to have them go into an Improved Position and return fire or Hunker Down and not return fire but be safe from direct small arms fire. Improved Position and Hunkered Down would be considered two levels of suppression.

Hunkering Down to avoid fire would be only on certain types of terrain or features to hide behind of course. Improved Position is dispersed and taking advantage of available cover and returning fire. A unit occupying trenches or structures would also be in an Improved Position but afford the cover of the structure they occupy.

Fire & Maneuver: A Squad of three teams/sections would lay down suppressive fire and the assault/maneuver element be Hunkered Down. Since they are out of the enemy LOS they are not fired at. Once the enemy defenders have been suppressed enough the Assault Element can move out/advance without needing to pass an Aggressiveness Check because they were not under fire.

Leadership: Leaders have a rating they can contribute to Aggressiveness Checks to "motivate" his units to attack and is added AFTER seeing the D6 result. If the player desires he can have his leader contribute his modifier to pass the Aggressiveness Check. However, when leaders exposed themselves to display their courage in the middle of a battle they can become a causality. Use them wisely.

Enemy Firepower: The greater it is the less chance of advancing. If it is too great you may need to Hunker Down (Pinned Down) and wait for reinforcements. When units Hunker Down that's when you call in mortars on them and force them to Fall Back. Superior firepower will weaken their fire allowing you attackers a better chance of an advance.

Morale Checks: I'm not using morale rules right now. I'm thinking of having a unit's Aggressiveness Level decrease each time they fail an Aggressiveness Check or after causalities. Eventually it will get so low they'll fail to advance into enemy fire. If they Fall Back and rally they can recover to their original level.

Firefights: Once units start shooting at each other they are considered "locked" in a firefight and must continue to shoot at each other. Switching to a new target takes time. This is what can allow the assaulting unit the time needed to get close enough to assault.

Causalities: I'm using a modified binomial table to determine causalities with one die roll. Every 10 seconds of game time the results of the volume of fire is determined. This means small arms fire is simultaneous and it really speeds up the game. If a unit is in a Firefight and taking causalities it will have to Hunker Down or Fall Back. Small arms firefights over 200m range will be inconclusive if both sides stay in an Improved Position.

I know there are some former military out there that can comment and make suggestions.

Wolfhag

Legion 424 Oct 2020 9:36 a.m. PST

Looks pretty good Wolf. Very detailed …

Maggot24 Oct 2020 3:43 p.m. PST

Hmm, interesting thoughts Wolf, and I'm always on the lookout for a rule set that actually reminds me of my never-ending FM 7-8 battle drill training, but I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to achieve. The only automatic action that you can be sure will take place in the first few seconds of an engagement of trained western armies are thus:
1. soldiers will go prone.
2. soldiers will then use individual movement techniques
to find cover and concealment.
3. soldiers will then wait for their team, squad or platoon leader to give decisive orders; leaders give orders to activate battle drills, those collective drills are not really "automatic."

So I guess if you are rolling to determine what actions the leaders are able/allowed to give, I get where you are going, if not, you've lost me.

When looking at "realistic" rules, I always go back to the most common actions we took in the field; Ill give you example of a typical movement to contact action we would have undertaken in a US light infantry battalion in light to medium vegetation:

Our company would be deployed in a company column, with each platoon also in column, with fire teams in wedge (I understand called arrow head for British half-sections). So basically a long column of fire team wedges interspersed with MG, HQ and light mortar teams.
1. Do your rules enforce formations? Soldiers cannot see "all around," as most rule sets allow. Lines, wedges and columns exist for a reason.

Upon contact, the most important factor was "who got the drop?" It drives the entire action/reaction cycle. Since studies after the Vietnam war proved that it was usually the defending force that almost always got off the first shots, can that be accurately depicted?
1. Do your rules reflect fog of war that causes those initial engagement points to be one of confusion and limited intelligence? Does getting the first shot off count?

If our lead fire team was not all dead or wounded since the defender usually got the "drop," the immediate action (after the prone/find cover action) was return fire. Then the fire team or squad leader began the decision cycle: ID the target, can we engage with fire team, squad or does it go higher? So, suppress with fire team or squad? Begin squad or platoon attack drill? Or does this need to go higher?
1. Can your rule set depict that decision cycle? Do fire, squad or platoon leaders drive the action or are those actions be whatever the player wants them to be?

Then the decision cycle keeps moving in a cycle of never ending battle drills, but those drills are spurred by leaders, and should not be considered to be automatic responses-how they are carried out are generally automatic (how shooting is conducted, how the drill is executed are trained responses), but the response to the initial and follow on contact is not.

I've struggled to find a good rule set that accurately, or even abstractedly re-creates that cycle. TFL CoC comes closest, but still regulates leader actions to a roll of the dice. Good luck if you can figure out the formula.

Note: apologies if I'm slow or negligent in responding, I'm only a rare poster to the boards.

Peter12325 Oct 2020 1:41 a.m. PST

I do really like the look of this but have a similar question to Maggot is this meant to replace an individual soldier's behaviour in a wargame or the behaviour of fireteams/sections/platoons?

The only thing I have ever been trained to do when coming under effective enemy fire is to return fire, take cover, return accurate fire. Beyond that, and a whole host of mnemonics for minor things, every commander from LCpl upwards is trained to appraise the situation and make intelligent decisions rather than following SOPs (yes, there are SOPs to cover what different courses of action they are likely to follow).

This is what the 'Strategic Corporal' and 'Auftragstaktik' are all about I think.

I'm desperate to find a set of rules where you play the platoon commander and not some platoon demi-god who is in the consciousness of all the NCOs too, and so really like these ideas!

Peter

gunnerphil25 Oct 2020 2:32 a.m. PST

Very detailed but overly complucated. Most of these things are already factored in.

For section A 8 riflemen come under fire from section X 10 riflemen. Section X player rolls a number of dice, and certain factors including training are considered, result is 3 killed. Now we do not know, and neither would section commander of that was because the other 5 were faster hitting the ground or that the dead had chosen to do some heroic action and failed.

Now section A returns fire achieved 2 hits, was that because the other firers has gone to ground in panic we don't know, neither does the commander.

So it goes on. Most good rules take, traing, and or experience into consideration.

deephorse25 Oct 2020 2:52 a.m. PST

Sorry Wolfhag, but Maggot has it. Your action flowchart does not reflect the reality of my training. Come under fire? Then hit the deck, yes. Then immediately find a little dip or hollow for better cover. Then try to locate the enemy. Not much point in firing back if you don't know where to shoot. If you can see the enemy then tell your section leader where they are. He should then control the action from there, laying down suppressive fire, passing the contact message up the chain of command, deciding whether or not he can deal with this threat with the force he has under his control, etc., etc.

Stoppage25 Oct 2020 3:27 a.m. PST

Terminology:


Immediate Action – applies to a piece of equipment (eg gun stopppage)
Battle drill – applies to every soldier

Ps. We were always told to only react to Effective Enemy Fire – not stray shots.

PPs. During a training exercise using those laser-kits one Gurkha "Enemy" mowed down an entire line. They were then told be "a little less accurate for training purposes". LOL.

Legion 425 Oct 2020 8:45 a.m. PST

I see there is a difference in "terminology" between the US and UK infantrymen.

never-ending FM 7-8 battle drill
I think I still have one of those here somewhere …

Most good rules take, traing, and or experience into consideration.
I mention that frequently when talking about this topic. Based on my experiences as a Rifle Plt Ldr and later Mech Co. Cdr. As well as my study of history, etc.

I see what Wolf is getting at with his flow chart. It shows the options, a unit Cdr/player has from a reality POV into a gaming POV. As Wolf's chart shows you have options which come into play based the leader's/player's decision and more importantly battle/immediate action drill/training.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2020 12:03 p.m. PST

Interesting.

I suppose some of this pertains to they type of fire the troops are receiving, e.g. rifle or smg fire, incoming rounds from light or medium machine guns, HE fired by tanks, mortar rounds, artillery barrages, etc., etc..

A lot also depends upon the terrain the troops are in, and the position of the enemy (the latter on level or higher ground?), e.g.: on a paved or dirt road, in an open field with low or no grass or rocks for cover, in the open, but with tall grass to hide in, near a ditch or small undulations in the ground to hide behind, in woods or a forest, in a village, on a hilltop ridge, reverse slope, hillside, snow, open beach, river bank, etc., etc..

I like your flowchart, and think it will be especially useful for solo games, but can be used for other scenarios too.

UshCha25 Oct 2020 12:52 p.m. PST

I cannot dissagree with the fundamental options those actions were what fundamentally drove our system they are the basic rules of thumb we used.

A) Suppression is the key to any assault.
B) Hit the deck or take cover.
C) if its a killing ground get off it.

It also depends on game philosophy and size of the game.

1) For the size of our games, often Company and a bit more on the larger size this looks too detailed and perhaps not generic enough. Like Tresher01 says you may need a lot of these for the types charts for different incoming fire types. Certainly HE but in this level of detail it may vary if its possibly direct such as a Grenade launcher used in direct fire vs indirect fire HE.

2) We tend to favor a more mechanistic system where the player has a basic mechanism that allows him to do much of what you allow but in a much less explicit manner.
This allows inexperienced players to play like inexperienced troops who tend to go prone rather than experienced players who may follow the old adage, first get off the killing ground. This is a philosophical point at which the designer wants the players experience to reflect that of his troops, or does he trying to superimpose experience on an inexperienced leader.

One of the things I have learnt is that while I may comment on this section of your rules, the system can only really be appreciated as an integrated whole. What appears in this section to be a bit complex may be mitigated by other bits so that overall its not that complicated.

Legion 425 Oct 2020 3:01 p.m. PST

1. soldiers will go prone.
2. soldiers will then use individual movement techniques
to find cover and concealment.
3. soldiers will then wait for their team, squad or platoon leader to give decisive orders; leaders give orders to activate battle drills, those collective drills are not really "automatic."

Come under fire? Then hit the deck, yes. Then immediately find a little dip or hollow for better cover. Then try to locate the enemy. Not much point in firing back if you don't know where to shoot. If you can see the enemy then tell your section leader where they are. He should then control the action from there, laying down suppressive fire, passing the contact message up the chain of command, deciding whether or not he can deal with this threat with the force he has under his control, etc., etc.

A) Suppression is the key to any assault.
B) Hit the deck or take cover.
C) if its a killing ground get off it.

We were always told to only react to Effective Enemy Fire not stray shots.

I think we are saying the same thing. Only in a different way.

UshCha26 Oct 2020 12:11 a.m. PST

Legion 4, That bit was there to comfirm which you have, that essentially in terms of recation to fire we are on the same page.

Wargeame Shows for us seem to have less interest than of old. Years ago we met a trainer for troops who said his gereatest problem was getting them to see cover less than 6".

In our own game which is higher level (I think) troops go to ground and do find some level of cover. However in a generic reponce there is a die roll to remove the suppression. This represents (perhaps not ideally but it works modestly for a range of situations) the time taken to get into a position and be in a situation both metally and physicaly to be able to fire back. In this siuation we assume the troops (typicaly4/5 men) move within the approx 30m by 20 area of there base (1mm to 1m ground scale) so no need to move the figure. Obviously if they need to move further they have to physicaly be moved.
This is a bit of a cheat. The British army certainly within my lifetime worked at the lowest level as a buddy team so for instance skirmishing would be move and fire by pairs at most. As a desighnet our system is a compromise, as that is too detailed for company level so we have to over simplify, which introduces some inaccuracies as the micro level but those get washed out at the higher levels by careful desigh.
r

Skarper26 Oct 2020 1:42 a.m. PST

In my home made rules I handle it this way.

Any serious attack will pin or 'ground' a squad. The player then has the option to let them stay grounded and move another unit [which covers the tactic of drawing fire so others can engage or outflank the enemy] or they immediately try to unpin the unit and continue the assault or escape the killing ground.

I give prone units in open ground the option to move to another location even without cover and gain concealment. This is useful at longer ranges but can still help at close quarters. It's harder to get troops to move while prone and if grounded under fire much harder. Experienced troops have a fair chance, but green units tend to just stay down.

Legion 426 Oct 2020 9:06 a.m. PST

Legion 4, That bit was there to comfirm which you have, that essentially in terms of recation to fire we are on the same page.
Yes it's pretty obvious once you cut thru the "minutia" from the of POV of reality vs. games.

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse26 Oct 2020 10:30 a.m. PST

Thanks for the response guys. I'll try to get to all of the questions.

Hey, Maggot (damn I love saying that),
Thanks for the detailed response. My initial question was if the diagram covered all of the actions involved and makes sense to former military guys. To keep a response from being too I'll start with the following.

The Immediate Action or Battle Drill is the initial response a small unit is going to take in the first few seconds of being fire on and may interrupt their current move or fire order. They don't stand around and get shot at waiting to be told what to do. Some games roll dice to tell the player what he can or can't do or use unit activations as a way to parse the action between units.

I leave it up to the player for the most part. Going prone to return fire, seek cover or break contact is going to be pretty automatic. Advancing under fire is the tricky and variable part and is the only case a die roll is needed.

The Aggressiveness Check does limit to an extent what the player can choose a team to do and will allow to assault a close assault a near ambush or fall back, seek cover from a far ambush. Hunkering Down will allow for the rest of the platoon to come to your aid and help out.

This is the reference I'm using for the drills in an attempt to make a template for suggested actions for a player to use, it downloads a PDF: link

These drills form a template for a player to follow making it easier for new players to go in the right direction and make fewer stupid decisions based on real small unit actions, not artificial and abstracted rules.

The Marine Corps MCWP 3-11.3 uses the term Immediate Action Drills too.

You can't have OODA Loop timing without a clock. I use a manually player operated game clock that "ticks" second to second to track the time as the action progresses. "Action Timing" is how long it takes to execute an action/order through the OODA Loop. If an order is given when the clock shows 3:47 that will take 12 seconds it executes at 3:59 UNLESS your opponent interrupts it and forces you to make an Immediate Action Drill.

Interruptions creates the friction that makes it difficult to get your troops to do what you want. Suppression increases the amount of time to get through your loop which can give a natural initiative advantage to your opponent without the need for initiative rules.

If you complete your loop and Act before your opponent (faster timing) you have a very good chance of interrupting his loop (get inside his loop) and force him to react with an Immediate Action Drill which forces him to cancel his current order to react to you. You've now seized the initiative and you are forcing the enemy to react to you and set the tempo. That's the game experience I'm trying to create. Fewer rules make it easier and less complicated.

This creates friction as it becomes harder and harder to execute even simple orders because they keep getting interrupted and suppression will increase the amount of time to get through your loop to execute an order making it easier to interrupt it. It can become a viscous feedback loop. At a certain point the player is forced to Fall Back out of the enemy LOS to recover and reorganize. A player can issue any order he likes, it just may not be carried out so he has real limitations not determined by the rules and dice.

If you are not familiar with the military OODA Loop it might be easier to read this link outlining the OODA Loop for infantry. It downloads a PDF:
link

Or a discussion at the Army War College: link

My goal is to give the players a realistic template of action to follow (or not follow) when encountering different situations. Most games have artificial rules and game mechanics that tell the player when and what he can do or not do. Some games have it based on a die roll that may limit his choices. Some use activations. My approach is to let the player do what a real platoon or squad leader would do and suffer the consequences if he chooses he wrong one or his judgment is wrong.

In most games when it is your turn or you activate a unit it responds to your wishes and executes its order immediately. My approach is that units are always active and observing and from the time a leader observes and decides what to do, issues the command and a team/section executes it takes time. The amount of time is variable and based mostly on training, situational awareness, suppression/friction. That is what the OODA Loop is. Once an order is executed you immediately loop back to Observe and do it all over again.

We don't determine the amount of time spent in each of the four parts of the loop, only how long it takes to go into action (Act). The OODA Loop is an intuitive way to observe the action, evaluate your options and tactics, make a decision/issue and order and have it execute several seconds in the future with a game clock keeping the time.

I borrowed the Aggressiveness rule from GI Commander. Advancing under enemy fire is one of the hardest things to do so I don't make it automatic. If you fail your Aggressiveness you are essentially Pinned Down. If you Fall Back because of intense enemy fire the assault was repulsed (morale failure). Your advance speed is determined by the volume of enemy defensive which is suppressed by your suppressive fire element allowing you to advance. Effective suppression means a faster advance and fewer causalities. If you examine it you'll see that it does allow an attacking unit to get close enough to throw grenades to suppress, raise and assault. When attackers get that close it may be a good time for the defenders to Fall Back.

That's all for now Maggot. PM me if you want to discuss this in more detail offline.

Wolfhag

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse26 Oct 2020 12:08 p.m. PST

Hey Maggot,
More answers:

The only automatic action that you can be sure will take place in the first few seconds of an engagement of trained western armies are thus:
1. soldiers will go prone.
2. soldiers will then use individual movement techniques
to find cover and concealment.
3. soldiers will then wait for their team, squad or platoon leader to give decisive orders; leaders give orders to activate battle drills, those collective drills are not really "automatic."

1- Yes, hit the deck in an Improved Position (disperse and seek available cover) or seek full cover and not return fire Hunker Down.
2- Yes, coordinated fire and maneuver or team or individual leader rushes. The Improved Position posture covers finding cover and concealment.
3- Yes, teams can wait for additional orders while in an IP and returning fire or Hunker Down playing it safe until told what to do AFTER the initial reaction when a leader takes over.

So I guess if you are rolling to determine what actions the leaders are able/allowed to give, I get where you are going, if not, you've lost me.

In a real battle does a leader roll dice to see what actions he can take and orders to issue? No

The Immediate Action Drills will guide the player to make the same decisions a real leader would make. After the drill, you can issue whatever order you like but it takes TIME to execute and be carried out. The OODA Loop is all about timing. Any order can be carried out if the unit has enough TIME, that's where it gets interesting. If a leader issues an order to change from a column to skirmisher formation but the enemy reacts more quickly ("got the drop", maybe an ambush) his squad will be forced into an Immediate Action Drill (see the diagram). If the enemy fire is sporadic they may have a good chance of Advancing Under Fire to finish executing the order. If not they'll hit the deck. That's how suppression and friction is created.

At this point in a game many players are lost in exactly what to do and artificial and abstracted activation rules are limited in recreating the real action and player choices. If the player refers to the "React to Near Ambush" he'll have an idea of what he needs to do but he is not required to follow it. These speeds up the game because players can choose their course of action more quickly.

Our company would be deployed in a company column, with each platoon also in column, with fire teams in wedge (I understand called arrow head for British half-sections). So basically a long column of fire team wedges interspersed with MG, HQ and light mortar teams.
1. Do your rules enforce formations? Soldiers cannot see "all around," as most rule sets allow. Lines, wedges and columns exist for a reason.

Yes, it uses squad/team formations which are important for Situational Awareness (Observe). Facing the direction the enemy appears enhances Situational Awareness. Formations and facing are important. No soldiers cannot see all around. When a mutual LOS is established both sides perform a Situational Awareness Check. If you are flanked/surprised the enemy will most likely be able to go into action first (get the drop). Concealed defenders will have a big advantage to detect, act and shoot first to trigger ambushes.

Upon contact, the most important factor was "who got the drop?" It drives the entire action/reaction cycle. Since studies after the Vietnam war proved that it was usually the defending force that almost always got off the first shots, can that be accurately depicted?
1. Do your rules reflect fog of war that causes those initial engagement points to be one of confusion and limited intelligence? Does getting the first shot off count?

Yes to all of the above. The second a mutual LOS occurs both sides make a Situational Awareness Check to determine who gets the drop, seconds count. A concealed defender can "Hold Fire & Track" an enemy and wait for them to come into range or the kill zone of and ambush.

If our lead fire team was not all dead or wounded since the defender usually got the "drop," the immediate action (after the prone/find cover action) was return fire. Then the fire team or squad leader began the decision cycle: ID the target, can we engage with fire team, squad or does it go higher? So, suppress with fire team or squad? Begin squad or platoon attack drill? Or does this need to go higher?
1. Can your rule set depict that decision cycle? Do fire, squad or platoon leaders drive the action or are those actions be whatever the player wants them to be?

In a three squad platoon the lead squad would be fired upon by an enemy that "got the drop" on them by being concealed and better Situational Awareness. They perform their Immediate Action Drill (interrupting their current order or OODA Loop) lead squad returns fire or Hunkers Down. That's a player's decision. The player, now being the Platoon Leader, decides to order what to do. Good leaders will respond with almost no delay, poor leaders will hesitate. The amount of time is somewhat variable (FoW) and will take longer if under fire.

Then the decision cycle keeps moving in a cycle of never ending battle drills, but those drills are spurred by leaders, and should not be considered to be automatic responses-how they are carried out are generally automatic (how shooting is conducted, how the drill is executed are trained responses), but the response to the initial and follow on contact is not.

Correct, not all drills are automatic. After the initial shooting and response of the unit taking fire the player can order the teams to lay down covering fire, maneuver, etc. If teams are not under fire/suppressed they'll normally act as desired. The actions are executed by using an OODA Loop timing cycle. Better trained and experienced troops will be faster through their loop and "seize" the initiative. Suppression makes it take longer to get through your loop to act or issue an order. The system allows player the flexibility to give any order but poor troops and suppression/friction may not allow it to be carried out in time. If the enemy is executing faster than you because his troops are better and he has firepower superiority your action choices will be limited. He'll be interrupting your unit's loop by forcing them into Immediate Action Drills or force them to fail their Aggressiveness because of a larger volume of fire or even Fall Back (failed morale).

I've struggled to find a good rule set that accurately, or even abstractedly re-creates that cycle. TFL CoC comes closest, but still regulates leader actions to a roll of the dice. Good luck if you can figure out the formula.

Me too. In a small unit firefight, especially in close terrain and urban environment, seconds will count. You've been there and can relate to that. You can't faithfully recreate that without a using some type of timing mechanism in the game measured in seconds. Trying to parse the multiple actions that teams/sections could make in a 30 second turn requires a lot of abstractions and artificial rules but that's what some players like. As you know, 30 seconds can be a lifetime in a firefight and many times the entire fight was over in that time but a battle is composed of many firefights that the game clock and all unit's OODA Loops will synchronize.

Wolfhag

UshCha27 Oct 2020 2:06 a.m. PST

This thread is most refreshing, folk who are talking about the philosphys underlying the simulation and how thet are
applied. While we may not agree at all time the other folks challenge ones own understanding, seed new ideas and help crystalise what is important and what is chaff. Thanks folks.

Legion 428 Oct 2020 8:07 a.m. PST

thumbs up Wolf +1

I basically understood what you were saying in you initial post. Again both being Infantryman in our youth, our training and experiences were similar, though you in the USMC and I in the Army.

Though I never made it to the Army War College … frown

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse29 Oct 2020 11:09 a.m. PST

Legion 4,
They have not scheduled the events for 2021 but you can come as part of our team. It will be on the East Coast somewhere, hopefully in Quantico or Fort Meade. By then we'll have a modern combined arms board and miniatures game we'll be showcasing, we'll need you to help me out.

So the way I see it after a team/section makes their IAD the Platoon Leader (player) then then decides his Course of Action to command the teams not engaged in a firefight. I'd expect he could break contact and fall back, advance, call for mortars or air support, try some type of fire and maneuver.

However, there is a COA OODA Loop the Platoon Leader would need to go through before issuing an order which would be somewhat variable and depend on how close he is to his Squad Leaders (status report and recommendations). If he has causalities he'll have to establish a Causality Collection Point and that would limit some of the actions he can order. If he is up front near the action he'll get through the loop to decide more quickly (better observation). A good Platoon Sergeant can help. If under fire it will take longer (suppression extends timing through the loop). If he has a standing order he can order that pretty quickly. He may need to talk to his CO and report in before taking a Course of Action.

Once the PL commits to a Course of Action it will take additional time to change it and the friction of combat, suppression and causalities will make communications difficult which could allow the enemy to gain the initiative and keep interrupting team/section loops to execute their new order by forcing them to make additional IAD's. Now the Leader loses control, units get cut off and risks will need to be taken to restore the situation. That's where individual initiative can come into play.

So what happens as both sides make contact and engage one side will react faster than the other and be able to maneuver or move up reinforcements while the other side may be indecisive. The formation they are in, training and the number of teams/sections not engaged will also dictate how quickly they can go into action.

Wolfhag

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse29 Oct 2020 11:46 a.m. PST

Skarper,

I think we're on the same page.

Any serious attack will pin or 'ground' a squad. The player then has the option to let them stay grounded and move another unit [which covers the tactic of drawing fire so others can engage or outflank the enemy] or they immediately try to unpin the unit and continue the assault or escape the killing ground.

The IAD flowchart allows the same thing.

I give prone units in open ground the option to move to another location even without cover and gain concealment. This is useful at longer ranges but can still help at close quarters. It's harder to get troops to move while prone and if grounded under fire much harder. Experienced troops have a fair chance, but green units tend to just stay down.

Getting troops to move under fire is difficult, that's why I use the Aggressiveness Check. The volume of enemy fire and defender traiing/aggressiveness and leadership will determine how effectivey they'll react and move or potentially Fall Back.

The result I'm hoping for is that players with units on the losing end of a firefight will Fall Back (automatically obeyed) before causalities become too high. I'm hoping to recreate an ebb and flow of a battle rather than an attrition game where players just sit back and shoot at each other the entire game. Players can chose to have a team Hunker Down (self-suppress) to avoid causalities but still hold their ground and wait for reinforcements, arty or mortar barrage.

Wolfhag

Skarper29 Oct 2020 10:02 p.m. PST

Yes – I admit to having trouble understanding your ideas at first but it does seem we are both aiming at the same thing.

I have an option to 'hunker down' too and this makes units 'almost' safe from direct fire.

I have 2 levels of suppression. PINNED UNDER FIRE and PINNED NOT UNDER FIRE. Something I added after reading an article in a NUGGET [by John D Salt I think] is that troops can be kept pinned down by a very small amount of fire. So any fire at all will replace the PINNED UNDER FIRE status.

My system uses 2d6 dice rolls with low being 'good'. Units have an ML [Morale Level but I'd prefer it to be Experience Level with hindsight] that ranges from the highest level – 8 for experienced or highly trained elite units, 7 for trained troops and 6 for green units with no experience and little training.

You basically have to roll <= the unit ML to move, fire etc. If PINNED UNDER FIRE there is a +4 DRM. So 8ML units have about a 1/6th chance, 7ML 1/12th chance and 6ML 1/36th chance.

There are other DRM for a multitude of situations, but the main one impacting this is proximity to the enemy. If within 50m there is a -1DRM and 25m -2DRM. It seems to make sense and follows with what I have read about troops being more active when there is a nearby threat.

Leadership is key, of course.

My system grew out of attempts to modify Advanced Squad Leader, but I've changed so much that it doesn't resemble it much now.

The foundation of my system is the ACTION TASK CHECK. No actions are automatic and if you fail an Movement Task Check or Fire Task Check it ends all ATC within 100m – creating a LULL.

Legion 430 Oct 2020 8:06 a.m. PST

Legion 4,
They have not scheduled the events for 2021 but you can come as part of our team. It will be on the East Coast somewhere, hopefully in Quantico or Fort Meade. By then we'll have a modern combined arms board and miniatures game we'll be showcasing, we'll need you to help me out.
Glad to help out if I can ! thumbs up

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse30 Oct 2020 11:27 a.m. PST

Legion,
I'll keep you posted.

If I've lost you or you are confused remember this. Think and act like a real leader or commander and use common sense and real tactics. The game mechanics are easy enough for a middle-schooler a few of which have played what I'm describing. I had a 14 year old kick butt on three old timers who could not adapt to timing and the OODA Loop. Seeing a detailed game automatically kicks your brain into "it must be really complicated mode" and you over analyze what is really a simple procedure. Sometimes I tell experienced players to forget every game rule they've every played because you probably won't find it here today.

Firefight Overview: Just like in a real battle, you are always active and observing. An infantry unit performs an IAD when first coming under fire. To shoot, place a firepower marker in the direction to your target. Small arms fire is simultaneous with Firefight results determined every 10 turns by comparing the volume of fire and the defender's posture (in the open, moving, improved position, hunkered down). Units are normally in an Improved Position in a firefight. Usually a firepower superiority of 3-1 will "win" the firefight and force the loser to Hunker Down degrading his observation, firepower, ability to move and communicate. At least 1-3 odds will keep their heads down. To "rally" and move back into an Improved Position requires passing an Aggressiveness Check (more potential for causalities) or Falling Back out of the enemy LOS. I don't use regular morale checks.

Movement: The games uses proportional movement markers that shows the moving units distance moved on a second-to-second basis and is effortless to use (really). This synchronizes movement and gun rate of fire on a second-to-second basis eliminating the need for opportunity fire rules. There is no indirect fire "phase" like most games as we use the rounds time of flight (usually 15-60 seconds depending on range) to determine when the round lands and interacts realistically with moving units making them difficult to engage.

Grenades: These will take 10-15 seconds to use reflecting the time to get it ready, throw and delay time before detonation. Players can attempt to react to them by moving, hitting the deck or kicking them into a grenade sump (remember those?). Readying and firing handheld anti-tank weapons have the same timing issues.

Engagements: A typical infantry engagement starts out as a meeting engagement, prepared ambush or hasty ambush. The initial action and reactions will be determined by the troop/leader experience, formation, posture, tactics and Situational Awareness. If flanked you may be surprised allowing the enemy to maneuver before you notice him. Overwhelming firepower will enable you to fire/maneuver or force the enemy to Fall Back. If he has tactical reserves he can wait for you to advance into a Hasty Ambush and then counterattack. Depending on the players tactics and decisions the action can go back and forth. Firefights over 200m will normally be inconclusive if both sides are in an Improved Position, trench or in good cover. It's fairly easy to avoid causalities but give up initiative and maneuver space.

Fire & Maneuver and Team Rushes: You start with one team Hunkered Down (the maneuver team) out of sight and the other team(s) lay down suppressive fire engaging the defender in a firefight. When the enemy is suppressed/Hunkered Down the maneuver team, not being under fire, can move out without needing an Aggressiveness Check. The defender, Hunkered Down and suppressed performs a Situational Awareness Check which will most likely result in an Engagement Delay of about 3-7 seconds before he can notice the enemy advancing on his position and switch fire to it (if he had an unengaged unit in overwatch they could immediately engage). Now if in those 3-7 seconds the maneuver team is now out of the defenders LOS the defender can't shoot. This is how the player realistically uses cover. If the enemy fires at the maneuver team they perform an Immediate Action Drill or the player can choose to have the maneuver team hit the deck in an Improved Position and open fire. They are now the suppressive fire element engaging the defender in a Firefight. The original team(s) that were laying down suppressive fire, now not being fired at, can move out and advance without needing to pass an Aggressiveness Check. Now you get an accurate portrayal of alternate fire team rushes with a minimum of rules.

Defender dilemma: Continue in the firefight or attempt to switch fire on the advancing team(s). He can expect that if one element gets close enough he'll receive a grenade barrage which will suppress him enough for the attackers to make that final 30-40m rush for a Close Assault.

The defending player decides to Fall Back (automatically obeyed even under fire). Hopefully he has a covered withdraw and an alternative defensive position to occupy. After he is out of the enemy LOS he's recovered from any suppression (rallied). If he has no covered withdraw his guys may be cut down as they attempt to flee. If the defender has multiple teams they can alternate laying down covering fire and alternate falling back.

Combined Arms: Of course mortar fire, smoke and WP grenades will make it even more interesting as will barbed wire and a minefield in front of the enemy defenders. So will HE and canister direct fire.

Pinned Down: You may have noticed no reference to being Pinned Down. Being Hunkered Down and failing an Aggressiveness Check to move under fire covers that. If you want to try to move go for it, maybe you can start by crawling.

Suppression: No die roll. I divide the total firepower on the defender by the number of defenders. A firepower of 15 against 5 defenders is a 3-1 which will force a veteran and poor unit to Hunker Down. A 2-1 forces a poor unit to Hunker Down and no effect on a veteran or elite troop. A 4-1 suppresses all troop types. Occupying a bunker or pillbox would make it one level harder (5-1 against elites, 4-1 vets and 3-1 poor). An elite unit could split fire and take on three poor units, especially if they have automatic weapons.

Springing an ambush: A unit Hunkered Down and in cover is hard to spot. They detect an enemy patrol coming down a trail towards their ambush spot. They allow the enemy to come into the kill zone. They then "pop-up" from Hunkered Down to an Improved Position and trigger the ambush. The ambushed teams under fire perform an IAD. The Platoon or Squad Leader perform a Situational Awareness Check and determine what to do (Course of Action) and how long it will take to get the unengaged units into action (their OODA Loop timing). The ambushers Course of Action could be to Full Back and melt away or suppress, maneuver and surround the enemy to continue the fight. We are experimenting with a 6th Sense rule that allows the ambusher to be detected. Dogs will help too.

Causalities: I use a modified binomial table with a single D20 roll to determine causalities based on the number of shooters.

Determining the suppression and causality results of several firefights is done very quickly. I couldn't get this kind of result and level of detail using traditional rules, maybe you can.

Wolfhag

Skarper30 Oct 2020 9:36 p.m. PST

I think I'm getting my head around this now. I found it hard at first because it all comes, as you make clear, from a different angle.

I'm also sure it is much easier to grasp when you play thru some examples.

Something I think we have in common, that to my mind is vital, is that you don't have any certainty a pinned [hunkered down in your terminology] unit will stay suppressed. Somebody may well pop their head up and ruin your plans. This is both realistic and more exciting than some systems.

Thanks for taking the time to explain more. This is all very interesting and informative.

Legion 431 Oct 2020 9:08 a.m. PST

Legion,
I'll keep you posted.
😎👍👍

Think and act like a real leader or commander and use common sense and real tactics.

I get what you are saying Wolf, but both you & I were Grunts !

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse02 Nov 2020 11:16 a.m. PST

Skarper,
My game design efforts revolve around documenting combat activities and crew actions, enemy unit reactions and interactions (IAD), the amount of time to execute orders (OODA Loop), and historical tactics players can use to gain an advantage and increase enemy timing (longer OODA Loop) through suppression. It's mostly about variable timing rather than die roll modifiers and rule abstractions. That's what makes the game Time Competitive.

Just to clarify, I'm not trying to develop another Tractics or a dry unexciting military data model simulation. It needs to be fun, intuitive, and engaging for new and experienced players. Everyone has played a Time Competitive video game so the concept is nothing new. You could also say all sports are Time Competitive with split-second interaction and results just like real combat.

The OODA Loop is an intuitive way anyone responds and decides on an action to take without thinking about it so it does not need to be taught. However, it does seem to be confusing when explaining it to people in detail. By leveraging these two concepts and a simple way to determine Situational Awareness Checks and Action Timing (normally roll 1-3 D6 with 1-3 modifiers or player decisions using custom unit type data cards) I think I'm on the right track and videos will help.

Something I think we have in common, that to my mind is vital, is that you don't have any certainty a pinned [hunkered down in your terminology] unit will stay suppressed. Somebody may well pop their head up and ruin your plans. This is both realistic and more exciting than some systems.

Yes, they may try with an Aggressiveness Check. If they are already under fire and attempt to "Pop Up" they immediately roll on the Small Arms Fire table to see it they take causalities. Sticking your head up while under fire can be dangerous. So even if a unit is Hunkered Down/Pinned you still need to keep it under fire. Players can attempt to do anything that was realistic however, it may not happen the way they want it to. I guess you could look at it somewhat like an activation chance.

If Hunkered Down (concealed) and NOT under fire (not Pinned Down) popping up is automatic when the player determines it is best, just like you would on a real battlefield. This is how you spring ambushes, Panzerfaust gunners shoot, infantry tosses grenades, etc. As soon as they Pop Up a new LOS is created and enemy units can immediately react and change their current order to engage (overwatch, infantry formations). Popping up right in front of the enemy will most likely not work. Waiting for a side or rear shot or in their Blind Spot should work. You get split second timing interactions without additional rules. Suppression degrades response times.

With all other factors being equal the better trained and experienced troops will get through the loop quicker giving them a timing and initiative advantage.

In my game a Situational Awareness Check is how a unit reacts to enemy action, think of it like a unit activation except that because of poor crew training, suppression and being surprised the unit may not go into action right away (delayed activation). The players Course of Action is normally to move or shoot. To move place a movement marker showing the speed and direction of movement. To shoot for direct fire weapons over 15mm determine how long it will take to get the shot off (turret traverse/pivot, aim and shoot). That involves a D6 roll and 1-3 modifiers. The player can choose to shoot a few seconds sooner (Snap Shot) but with an accuracy penalty just like real crews did.

A Time Competitive game where the opposing units attempt to act more quickly than their opponent and seize the initiative naturally creates an OODA Loop for each unit. It's not some rule I made up. In a Time Competitive game and in real life orders are rarely executed immediately like with traditional unit activation and IGYG game systems.

Also, rather than tracking which units have activated for a turn, after a unit executes an order (Act in the loop) he immediately determines what that unit will do next and determine how long it will take to get through his loop to Act. Traditional games that don't have a timing mechanism cannot duplicate this but do recreate a chess like gaming experience with the players using strategy and tactics different than a Time Competitive game. It's a different experience some people like and some don't.

For infantry and automatic weapons fire place a firepower marker facing at the target (just opened fire) and the target performs an IAD (does not wait around to be activated). It's almost like real time interaction between units. That creates a firefight that will increase the amount of time for them to react to new threats (friction and suppression).

When playing the game and you observe an enemy action in one of your unit's LOS just think "what would I do in a real battle when faced with this situation". You can now interrupt the game clock to make your decision and record your future Act Time. When being shot at you don't wait around to see what happens. The IAD is what the real military uses so I use that rather than some creative abstracted rule. Your Course of Action is normally to shoot or move, that simplifies things. Your customized unit data card shows your options, tactics and timing values so it puts new players on the same level as experienced players with little memorization needed.

Because it is a Time Competitive game the players are evaluating their response and orders based on the interactive timing of the friendly and enemy units in his LOS. On a real battlefield, if you want to engage a moving enemy unit you need to estimate where it will be in the next 5-15 seconds it will take to get the first shot off at it. If you take too long it will disappear from your LOS before you shoot (no special opportunity fire rules needed). Players are confronted with the same exact situation in the game so they use their real judgment and skills instead of abstracted rules and die rolls.

You don't know exactly what enemy units will do and when unlike traditional activations and IGYG move/shoot games. This recreates a more realistic Fog of War and some suspense because as the game clock "ticks" second-to-second with each second being announced no one knows exactly which units will finish their loop to Act/shoot. This delivers historic split second results without additional rules.

So if a unit shoots when the game clock shows 5:23 and he wants to shoot again and it will take 9 seconds he shoots when the game clock "ticks" to 5:32. A Time Competitive game does not need initiative, activation, opportunity fire, movement points or IGYG shoot/move rules. Many things will happen in that 9 seconds and he may be killed or have his loop interrupted before 5:32.

So you could say in a Time Competitive game using seconds as a timing mechanism a unit "activates" after a certain amount of time rather than right away like traditional activation and IGYG games. However, while waiting for the clock to get to 5:32 if a dangerous threat suddenly appears in his LOS (not in a Blind Spot) at 5:26 he can react with a Situational Awareness Check and potentially cancel his shooting order to move and engage the new threat. Better crews execute more quickly getting in more actions in the same amount of time than poor crews and beating them to the punch more often.

In designing the game I use the historical Action Timing for things like weapons platform performance, rate of fire and crew performance. For a tank to shoot it takes the amount of time to traverse the turret/pivot, estimate the range, aim (Snap Shot) and shoot. Longer if the chamber was empty and needed to load a round. Follow up shots is just the reload and aim time (Rapid Fire). There is always the small chance of a SNAFU.

I compare the results to historical accounts, training standards and individual AAR's. I'm using the military infantry manuals to recreate the action and timing to allow the player to make the same decisions and use the same tactics as real leaders did. Ideally, when a current infantry squad leader plays the game he'll recognize the game and be able to do what he would do in combat with a minimum of abstractions. That should increase the playability for him too.

In January our group will be getting together for online discussions. We have new players (teenagers are welcome), former and current tank crewman (some with WWII vehicle experience), combat vet infantrymen and SpecOps, successful commercial game designers and developers, history professors, Army War College instructors, bloggers, and current military personnel involved in war gaming. I'll have rules and videos done next month for you to review. We'll also be live streaming some play testing. You are welcome to join us as I'd like your input.

Wolfhag

Skarper02 Nov 2020 11:31 a.m. PST

Thanks for the thorough and deep explanation.

It is a very interesting approach and will I'm sure provide and enthralling and educational experience.

I hope I can observe and provide input as you have kindly invited me to.

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse03 Nov 2020 8:52 a.m. PST

Skarper,
Sounds good, I'll get you started. Email me at:

treadheadgames AT gmail

Welcome aboard!

Wolfhag

UshCha04 Nov 2020 7:04 a.m. PST

Wolfhag. I certainly think all this is on the right track apart from the concern about whether one or more charts are required.

In our own rules there unfortunately proved to be an issue that the general rules not dissimilar in its options but wildly dissimilar mechanics, could not seen to cover. That was troops facing a fixed, unobserved fixed line machine gun defense such as an FDF fire line (they feature in may infantry training manuals for those reading who are not familiar with the term, the US may use Graving or Graseing fire).

From the anecdotal evidence, for which there is little I have found, indicates troops are aware of such fire, I suspect its relatively "easy" to spot and will be reluctant generally to pass though as it as too high risk. Now Maneouver Group's approach is to constrain the elements from crossing the line or reducing the speed at which they pass through as the try to find limited cover (in one case a shallow track used by vehicles to pass through.

However in such small games you may consider fixed line fire out of scope and hence a none issue.

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse04 Nov 2020 10:36 a.m. PST

UshCha,
I'm assuming you are talking about your "gaze rule"? If I have it right your Gaze rule does simulate overwatch. I use a play aid to determine angles and arcs so facings and formations are important.

Team/Sections and gun crews are generally going to have a crew of 2-6 troops. They'll have pretty good all around Situational Awareness especially because the leader should be observing and not participating in the shooting. That means they shoud be able to take new and moving targets under fire with a minimum of delay. In bunkers and pill boxes there will be blind spots.

Regarding moving through FPF and grazing fire. Here is my aproach:

If the moving unit is not under fire or suppressed they'll obey an order to move (run from one building to another). As soon as they come under fire (FPF or Gaze) they perform an IAD and determine if they took any causalities. Most likely they'd want to move through the fire to cover (like running across a street) and the IAD is to Move Under Fire with a D6 roll + modifiers.

An MG set up for FPF or grazig fire would have excellent SA to it's front to react to enemy movement (overwatch). However, just like a tank needs to traverse its turret to engage the MG may have to reposition to engage a new threat outside it's 20-30 degree arc (bipod or tripod mount). That takes time allowing the moving unit to move unhindered without being being fired on. I'd guess it could take from 3-10 seconds to relocate a LMG to engage a flanking target, a BAR less time.

A sprinting unencumbered infantryman could move about 7m/second (the movement marker shows distance/second). So flanking/surprising an MG position is possible especially if the MG is already under fire (suppression = delay in reacting). This could allow a troop to get withing grenade range. If the MG has rifleman to protect him they can engage the flanking threat almost immediately.

This is a reference on the interaction of moving and shooting of small infantry units (I forget where it came from). A defender could get off a shot about every 20-25m of movement depending on speed. So troops can take their chances of sprinting across a street if they want to. If a defender is suppressed enough, poor training or flanked/surprised he may not be able to get a shot off in time.

While most game use a die roll for a chance of success of an action a Time Competitive game actually models the interaction of moving and firing on a second-to-second basis. It's actually easier to play because there are fewer rule exceptions and die rolls and you can observe the action somewhat like real time. Suppression of the enemy translates into more freedom of movement and completing your OODA Loop without needing to take an IAD.

There are some charts and customized unit cards, there's no getting around it.

There will be a free intro version of the game that will be a little more abstracted than I've been discussing that should be ready in January.

Wolfhag

UshCha05 Nov 2020 4:28 a.m. PST

Wolhag unusually we are not on the same page. I am talking about pre-surveyed MG lines of fire (for the M240 its muzzle to 600m, where the round does not exceed 3ft in height. It can be called as continious fire like the old MG platoons of WW2 so is likley to be in place and observed as being present before it is encounterd physically. it is likely to be raltively low rate (the old MG platoons fired at a mere 150 RPM so can be kept up sensibly for several minutes with stored ammunition available to the defenders.

Legion 405 Nov 2020 8:53 a.m. PST

As we know, in a defensive position MGs, etc., are set up with interlocking sector of fire and not be fired until the enemy comes into their Kill Zone, i.e. FPF/L. As heavy weapons draw fire and generally your ammo is not unlimited.

UshCha05 Nov 2020 9:00 a.m. PST

Legion 4,
I noted FDF's could be called with say a Flare and everybody opens up on pre-defined lines target or no. Certainly MG platoons fire long shoots. To My knowledge the Brits fierd a barrage in WW2 with a number of the good old Vickers using something of the order of 1/4 of a million rounds. They had dwell times of 20 min firing on a specific line.

Interestingly one WW2 training film norted the US technique of increasing fire on two of the guns from about 150 rpm to 200 rpm while the third gun changed barrels and then 150rpm was run by all 3 again. Hence long term fire is a reality.

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse05 Nov 2020 9:36 a.m. PST

UshCha,
The M240 sustained ROF is stated to be 100 rounds per minute (average 1.5 rounds per second) with a 10 minute barrel change. Rapid Fire is 200 rounds per minute with 2-3 seconds between bursts and a barrel change every 2 minutes.

From the anecdotal evidence, for which there is little I have found, indicates troops are aware of such fire, I suspect its relatively "easy" to spot and will be reluctant generally to pass though as it as too high risk. Now Maneouver Group's approach is to constrain the elements from crossing the line or reducing the speed at which they pass through as the try to find limited cover (in one case a shallow track used by vehicles to pass through.

Ok, fair enough. So how high is the risk and how motivated do they need to be to cross and take fire?

My approach is to not to limit artifically what a player can order his troops to do but they don't always obey orders and suffer the results of a bad decision. Personally, if under fire I'd sprint if < 20m and crawl if longer. I'm not sure what you mean about "reducing speed".

So if you observe an enemy machine gun that is firing but not currently at you how can you respond? Well, there will be times when you will have to move through their field of fire it's easier if not under fire. How much easier? That for the game designer to fill in and I'd expect it would be how desperate the unit is and how much "motivation" their leader can give, maybe going first himself.

I do have some limited experience firing an M60 from a bipod, not a tripod. After a short 3-5 round burst you do have to make a slight adjustment to get back on the target and regain your sight picture in the peep sight. This takes some time. How long? Maybe a second but seconds count in this type of an engagement.

So let's model what your chances are if you want to run from cover to cover across a street and the enemy has a LMG that he has been shooting down and he's just under 1 second time of flight away in range with grazing fire and has a 90 degree deflection shot. Maybe we have some real machine gunners that can answer some engagement questions for us.

Let's examine the defender that wants to cross a street to the other side crossing 20m (60 feet) and is highly motivated to do so. He can sprint about 7m/second so in 3 seconds he's to the other side.

If the LMG gunners engagement time is 0.5 seconds and the TOF of the round is 0.5 seconds the defender is already about 1/3 of the way across the street when the first rounds arrive. Now he has 2 more seconds to avoid the 3-4 rounds that may or may not intercept him. I think the LMG gunners solution is to aim down the center of the street to have the best chance of hitting someone crossing for either direction. So what are the chances of making it across the street alive?

Based on my slightly modified binomial table using a single D20 die roll if each of the three rounds have a 20% chance of hitting (just a guess on my part with the gunner doing a mostly an unaimed snap shot) there would be a 50% chance not being hit, a 40% chance of being hit by 1 round and a 10% chance of being hit by 2 rounds. Being hit by a round would give about a 10% 20% chance of a very light wound to no effect. So what would be his chances of getting across alive? Maybe about 50%-60%.

Now let's change the scenario from a street to an alley way that is 5m (15 feet wide). What are his chances of making it across? Pretty good I'd say.

Now if the LMG gunner decides to squeeze off a 2-5 round burst every 5 seconds in a continuous sustained fire mode daring someone to cross what are the chances of success? Could the defenders attempt to time his dash starting immediately after a burst ends? Could they wait for a barrel change and then cross? I'd think so.

If the M240 gunner was waiting 2-3 seconds between bursts performing Rapid Fire what would your chances be of getting across without being hit if you timed his bursts? Would more "firepower" equal better results? Interesting to consider isn't it. At a sprint of 7m/second figure it out.

Now you add into the fact that suppressive fire degrades the enemy observation (Situational Awareness) and extends his engagement time an Engagement Delay of 3 seconds from suppressive fire allows the guy to run across the 20m street unscathed. Interesting how seconds make the difference in a real small unit engagement.

I'm not advocating these mechanics in a game but I do like to start with a realistic model to abstract from and a scenario like this would come under an Immediate Action Drill. If you knew the chance of moving from cover to cover it could be simple to figure out. However, the game system you are using may not be able to accommodate this type of detail.

I think crossing a LMG FDF lane of fire would be about the same as crossing and alley or street and the chances would depend on speed. The faster you move the quicker you are out of the zone but the more exposed you are. Also, normally MG FPF is not aimed at a specific target, you put the rounds out there and the enemy walks into them.

At night in WWII the Marines replaced their M1919 LMG with the water cooled Browning M1917. So in 10 seconds you could rip off a bust of 60+ rounds in a 20 degree arc and keep it up for quite awhile. If you get 3-4 of these with interlocking flanking fire and it's really devastaing.

So I hope the above examples are pertinent to your discussion and question. It also models to a large degree a squad performing a fire and maneuver. You can see why team rushes were only about 5 meters because exposing yourself to enemy fire any longer than a second will result heavier causalities.

Wolfhag

UshCha06 Nov 2020 7:49 a.m. PST

Wolfhag, the last paragraph is similar to what I was considering. Grasing FDF would be a random (if you had good gunners so the sprinter would not know when and where the next burst would start or stop, improving the chances of a hit considerably as the lulls would be unpredictable. That this was not always achieved is the case. One Sergent Hollis won a VC for storming a German machine gun firing in a too predictable pattern.

I suspect from the odd account I have read that an FDF grasing fire was very off putting.

When I say reduce speed I mean average progress I.e the troops will me more careful and may wait to see if the burst pattern is predictable and hence try and improve their chances of surviving.

Certainly the Brits tripods both have a "nodding device" to spread out slightly the grasing fire to make it more effective. This in of itself indicates the tripod if correctly set up beforehand should not move.

We only allow such fire for weapons that have had time to be installed adequately and the line of fire surveyed to pick the optimal position to minimize dead space in the FDF line of fire.

Wolfhag In the TMP Dawghouse06 Nov 2020 10:41 a.m. PST

When I say reduce speed I mean average progress I.e the troops will me more careful and may wait to see if the burst pattern is predictable and hence try and improve their chances of surviving.

Ok, I understand. In my system units are always under some type of order (moving, overwatch, etc) and are always observing so always considered to be activated.

There are two ways to change that. One would be by the enemy interrupting the units current action or posture by being targeted by the enemy or reacting to enemy actions not targeted at you.

Infantry units under fire will perform an IAD. Any unit with a LOS to an enemy unit that performed an action (moved, fired pivoted, traverse, sound, etc) reacts with a Situational Awareness Check. That determines if the can react by moving or shooting right away or a number of seconds/turns in the future (Engagement Delay from suppression, surprised, etc).

So if a squad needed to cross a road and had heard an MG firing down its length the units SA Check would result in a delay simulating the unit thinking about what to do (responding to potential danger). Poor units and ones suppressed will take longer. After that Engagement Delay the player can now decide to move across and take his chances, pop smoke, suppress the MG, find an alternate crossing point, etc.

I also have a Suppression Delay which extends the amount of time for a unit to get through its loop to Act, change orders or shoot. Small Arms fire and HE Blast will increase the amount of time for an anti-gun to shoot. Spall damage to a tank will do the same thing. Spall damage also has a small chance of causing internal damage, starting a fire or forcing a bail out. Gun crews may decide to Hunker Down (cancels fire order and no new target engagements) or Fall Back.

Since I'm using action timing and movement rates measured in seconds I can model a team/section attempting to cross a street, alley, fire & maneuver, etc. So the event is actually a Time Competitive contest between the MG gunner and the infantry attempting to cross. Whenever the gunner fires there is a 5% chance of a SNAFU which could result in a jam, change mags/belts/barrel.

This systems show the advantages and disadvantages that tripods, bipods and automatic rifles (BAR) have in engaging and reacting to an enemy threat.

Tripods are great for long range, interdiction, high rate of fire, great FPF, and suppression but can be surprised and flanked and are hard to move and cannot keep up with an infantry advance.

The same gun on bipod has a shorter range, less accurate, lower ROF but can more easily shift fire and engage new threats and can move with the infantry.

A BAR has the shortest range, lowest ROF but is a harder target to hit and can be used for suppressive fire in a fire and movement situation with the infantry.

Vickers nodding device: Didn't know. I think the MG42 tripod has the same feature.

I think the big advantage of grazing fire is when flanking an enemy unit or catching them in a formation allowing you to engage multiple targets even if they are spread apart. So you might have your teams in a "V" formation with 5m intervals giving good SA to the front and flanks but a MG team could wait until your unit advances far enough he can engage the entire team/section with one burst rather than only one member.

A lateral skirmish formation will give less SA and firepower to your flanks but an enemy MG to your front can only engage one member before you do your IAD to hit the deck. If you use infantry formations that have a risk-reward decision and one size does not fit all your ability to be a real squad leader is challenged.

Thanks, good discussion.

wolfhag

Legion 406 Nov 2020 7:06 p.m. PST

I noted FDF's could be called with say a Flare and everybody opens up on pre-defined lines target or no.
Whatever the unit SOP is based on the OPORD/Commander's Intent.

technique of increasing fire on two of the guns from about 150 rpm to 200 rpm while the third gun changed barrels and then 150rpm was run by all 3 again.
Yes that would be an effective technique …

Brits tripods both have a "nodding device" to spread out slightly the grasing fire to make it more effective.

Vickers nodding device: Didn't know. I think the MG42 tripod has the same feature.
US T&E – link

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