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"Taking the Gembloux Gap CoC mini-Campaign: Battles 6,7 & 8" Topic


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©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Whirlwind31 Jan 2023 1:46 p.m. PST

Please see link link and link for the next three actions in this refight of the Too Fat Lardies' pint-sized campaign Taking the Gembloux Gap.

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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2023 7:14 p.m. PST

Jon,

First, you can't stack up three batreps and post them all at the same time, it's a wargaming crime! ;)

Second, a great campaign, congratulations on seeing it through to conclusion, and thanks for blogging it all and sharing it with us.

The French certainly had a rough time, but nothing ahistorical about that, though I certainly understand your consternation that they didn't put up more of a fight. For what it's worth, two things really stuck out to me:

1) a lot of the French ineptness was simply a horrible run of dice, which didn't allow them to capitalize on any of their tactical opportunities. They had plenty of decent engagement opportunities and just seemed to blow it, whereas the Germans were exactly the opposite (look at that stonk in the last game); and

2) French Force Morale was brittle to begin with and made worse by the the bad dice rolling, first in terms good German rolling causing more casualties causing more morale checks, and then bad French rolling ending games on account of more bad rolling ("anything but a one, rolled a one").

So I don't think you've got a solo bias issue, I think the French just had an incredible run of bad luck. And if there was a structural problem with the campaign, it was the small number of forces on the table, and the ‘Force Morale' mechanism possibly not being properly aligned with the (small) force structure. Fewer units on the table meant there was no ‘cushion' to live through a string of bad rolls (the idea being that a higher number of rolls might allow the rolls to ‘even out,' collapse on the average, so to speak), and any losses at all representing a significant piece of your force (assuming your Force Morale rolls are weighted and/or triggered by certain percentages of units becoming casualties).

In any case, I was happy to have the opportunity to read all through your campaign, thanks for sharing.

VR,
Jack

Whirlwind02 Feb 2023 12:43 p.m. PST

Thanks Jack, that's kind (and encouraging)!

First, you can't stack up three batreps and post them all at the same time, it's a wargaming crime! ;)

True, true. I ended up with a ton of reports and I needed to just shovel them out of the door…mea culpa.

Thinking on it some more, I think there was an extra thing going on in the Gembloux Gap which skewed things against the French. The French infantry organization that was used had a platoon of 8 elements, whereas a German platoon would typically have 11, giving it nearly a 50% 'raw' firepower improvement and much more robustness against losing an element or two to bad luck. Given that the Germans had the advantage in support weapons (and luck) that was probably a major factor. I was leaning anyway to changing the theoretical organizations for all these forces from a reinforced platoon to a very weak company: in the rules, that should give everything more staying power. So in the last fight (around the railway station) instead of grouping the French into a single big sub-unit, they would have instead have had a weak infantry platoon, a weak improvised armour platoon and either have the anti-tank gun as a single element 'platoon', or attach it to the infantry. That increased articulation should stop the mass routs (although obviously it will make the individual platoons a little more brittle).

Joe Legan02 Feb 2023 5:43 p.m. PST

Jon,
Great stuff. I hate to agree with Jack because he is rarely correct but here he has a point. Force morale wasn't equal with both forces as you say yourself. Also as you set up your french platoons i think they had more men than german platoons didn't they?
I don't think you have any bias. I suspect I do. I probably run 70/30.
Again great stuff

Joe

Joe Legan02 Feb 2023 6:07 p.m. PST

Jon, just looked it up and my memory is bad. The french platoons were similar to the Germans. The french infantry companies had an extra platoon; I always get that confused. Sorry.

Cheers

Joe

Ps. Making the individual platoons more brittle might even be historical one could argue.

Whirlwind03 Feb 2023 7:04 a.m. PST

Thanks Joe, I appreciate that. In any case, some more WW2 stuff coming up soon I hope, although this time it will definitely be more of a true company-level game.

Erzherzog Johann19 May 2023 11:11 p.m. PST

I know that in WRG 1925-50 2nd ed, a magazine fed bipod machine gun, like a Bren or a French FM24/29 is an LMG, a belt fed one like an MG34 or MG42 a SFMG, and is more powerful. Is that the case in these rules? It would make a meaningful difference to the firepower balance.

Cheers,
John

Whirlwind20 May 2023 7:10 a.m. PST

Yes, those distinctions exist in these rules. The main issue is if, and if so how, to distinguish between the various magazine-fed light machine guns and automatic rifles.

Erzherzog Johann20 May 2023 12:15 p.m. PST

I think most magazine fed LMGs, British, Soviet, Japanese, French, etc are close enough to be fine. I think the US BAR gets a lucky pass being treated as equivalent but it's a small enough issue to not be worth worrying about.

I think the difference between an MG34 and an MG42 is probably more significant (when the MG42 wasn't jamming it was a real step up), but still probably not worth worrying about. Would a platoon commander think, "it's OK, it's just an MG34; don't worry about it"? Any belt fed MG can keep up a constant stream of short bursts better than a magazine fed MG so I think that's the critical distinction.

Cheers,
John

Erzherzog Johann20 May 2023 12:19 p.m. PST

Incidentally, I like the fact that the WRG rules went from LMG, MMG, HMG to
LMG, SFMG, GPMG, MMG and HMG.

It may be OTT but I like it :~)

Cheers,
John

Whirlwind20 May 2023 8:41 p.m. PST

Incidentally, I like the fact that the WRG rules went from LMG, MMG, HMG to
LMG, SFMG, GPMG, MMG and HMG.

It may be OTT but I like it :~)

Well you say OTT but the 1e probably didn't cover enough – LMGs were too esay to overwhelm with numbers, so I can see why the extras were added.

WRT the LMGs, there is a nuance in the rules about LMGs used in a gun group and LMGs used as part of a 'fire team'. But the bigger difference is more coverage of the various small mortar types and anti-tank weapons.

Erzherzog Johann20 May 2023 11:23 p.m. PST

That's a good point about the 'fire team'. In the 2nd ed lists:
US Marines get fire teams,
US armoured infantry get SLR groups and the .30 cal or .50 cal MG in the 1/2 track.
US infantry get SLR groups and a BAR.

It works out that on average, a single shot by an SLR group with an integral BAR is worse that a shot with an SLR group and a shot with a BAR (LMG). So, BARs being at the bottom end of LMGs, US infantry should probably have them as combined elements.

Re mortars, yes, I think that was good too. It does remind me of another issue though. Keeping track of 'limited ammo', eg smoke for most mortars, HE for British 2" mortars (smoke is more useful than HE in my experience), rifle grenades, panzerfausts, some APHE rounds etc) was a right pain. Just dicing to see if one is available that bound is probably a better mechanism.

Cheers,
John

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