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"Woodland definition" Topic

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450 hits since 13 Sep 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
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UshCha13 Sep 2021 1:06 a.m. PST

It's great to be back, it's taken a few weeks to get back into gaming, seriously and I wondered if I would but the fun is back big time. This means more thought about scenarios and making them credible.
Recent thoughts turned to appreciation of ground scale and representation of real terrain. My perfect Modern game is with a ground scale of 1/1000 on at least 6 by 6 ft. (man cave) or ideally 8ft by 6ft. This sets the scene.
Thoughts have turned to improving the representation of woods to make them more plausible and tactically interesting. The typical toy soldier wood is small and uniform, pretty unattractive tactically.

Some map study indicates woods can be complex shapes, have a variety of ground condition but important for us in representing European semi commercial woods have lots of tracks through them. A manual for the UK Forestry Commission indicates that tracks should have no trees overhanging them, so trees no closer than 2 m from the edge of the track (this allows the track to dry out). In addition they are designed for a max vehicle weight of 44 tonne. Map study of such woodland indicates track spacing typically between 300 and 1000m through the woodland.

That gives us one track design in Woodland, in excess of 12m wide and a surface load capacity of 44 tonne (tons are a similar weight) if they have been well maintained. Higher weights than that could cause drainage structures to fail so a risk of ditching. This adds interest so putting tanks down could cause serious issues for non-tracked/partially tracked vehicle over this weight using then effectively, this adds interest as the commanders have to think carefully about what vehicles are practical to use.
The width of the track and its boarders mean tanks can travel down; let's be generous to keep it simple, with the turret at any angle.

Now we have all been down tracks hat don't conform, so we have tracks that basically the turret must face front or back or be destroyed by collisions with tree trunks, they may also be less weight capable so with a lighter weight limit, this adds much to the ‘colour' and ‘flavour' of scenarios, just not so ‘samey' woodland.

Now to travel through woodland not on a track and this is where I could do with some CONSRUCTIVE feedback. Again its need to be as KISS as possible while being sufficient for the task. Currently we are re-defining woodland (sort of). Potentially we have Major Obstacle woodland which we now consider sufficiently dense that any significant travel must be with the gun to the rear to avoid damage. Currently traversing the gun is considered impractical so shooting is very limited. We are pondering whether in reality a tank could ‘jockey' itself with some effort into a stationary position with the turret in an alternative position to fire. What do you think? This is of course in addition to getting stuck due to the often soft conditions and fallen trees hindering travel.

Obviously the Minor obstacle woods would be less dense but with soft patches so none tracked vehicles could still ditch or get stuck on fallen logs etc. However turrets could be safely traversed with the tank stationary.

Perhaps still trying to dump the lessons learnt from too many poor sets of rules, we are learning to add colour by adding clearings and making the woods none uniform. Too obvious, you should have been doing it years ago, I do agree but for too long we assumed rule writers knew what they were doing and were genuinely trying to get it right this in many cases this was not the prime objective, they were aimed at a different audience. This creates bad habits' that have been difficult shake.

Note visibility is typicaly set to 80m, this is a boit arbitray but it helps account for the oversise nature of the model compared to the ground scale.

PS this only addresses Woodland not Forrest of Jungle which have different features.

Martin Rapier13 Sep 2021 3:58 a.m. PST

I play at soldiers in a lot of different types of woodland. Yes, there are tracks of varying widths and usefulness. There can also be some really, really boggy bits which are significant obstacles to vehicular (and foot) movement.

Dense pineland has very, very restricted LOS, deciduous woods are better but obviously it varies with season and they can have surprisingly long lines of sight.

One feature they all seem to have (depending how well managed they are) is really dense irregular areas of undergrowth which completely block LOS and make foot and wheeled movement well nigh impossible- Rhododendrons are the worst as they exist all year round.

The other thing is the woods are BIG, not the little copses wargamers like to put down on the table. But inspection of any map will show that.

UshCha13 Sep 2021 4:14 a.m. PST

Martin, Interesting about Rhododendrons I have not seen that in the UK but thats very interesting. Certainly we have had imppassible woodland for vehicles effectively to boggy/close trees. Not realised it can be impassible (praecticaly) to infantry)more like Jungle. I will need to look closer.

Wood size – Its why we need 1 to 1000 ground scale that covers at least some modest sized woodlands in the uK.

Lamorak13 Sep 2021 5:07 a.m. PST

The National Library of Scotland has a very good collection of digitised Ordinance Survey maps of the UK which may help you with this. They can be found here:

Martin Rapier13 Sep 2021 6:10 a.m. PST

"Not realised it can be impassible (praecticaly) to infantry)more like Jungle."

Rhododendrons are awful. You _can_ get through them but it is a real struggle and your kit gets hung up on them. I don't recommend trying to drag a Panzerschreck through them. Ahem.

I've seen them all over the UK from heathland west of London, the Brecon Beacons and up to North Yorkshire. No idea how prevalent they are on the central German plain though.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Sep 2021 7:04 a.m. PST

Rhododendrons are fairly common in parts of the US. They are a massive PITA to get through. If you're out for a hike, you go around. But this can be a bit like the hobbits in the Old Forest – you end up far off your intended path.

My wife's family has a country house near the Canadian border, located inside a state forest. Footpaths are quite common and there are a handful of vehicle capable tracks. All of these paths suffer from very soft, boggy stretches. Basically, any dip in the ground turns to mud quite often. Again, hikers just go round if possible. The mud might bog a vehicle but would only slow infantry down a tad (you could easily lay a path of fascines for foot troops).

Murvihill14 Sep 2021 5:57 a.m. PST

If your rules have bog roles I'd make a bog role for doing anything off the track. Give minuses or plusses depending on the thickness of the woods. If you don't have bog roles just make up a simple "fail" roll with a d6 and set the number based on the woods. On the track allow one tank wide and it can fight normally but not turn sideways.

UshCha14 Sep 2021 8:56 a.m. PST

Murvihill, the rules have the equivalanet of bog checks.

UshCha14 Sep 2021 8:56 a.m. PST

Murvihill, the rules have the equivalent of bog checks but we use a D20

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