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"Calling Rommel Players" Topic

13 Posts

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473 hits since 22 May 2023
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Comments or corrections?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2023 7:07 a.m. PST

I need advise. I've got WWII in both 6 & 2mm. The 6mm works reasonably well with home rules and stand=platoon. I'd like to do something different with 2mm, and I keep circling back to division or just under--brigade or combat command--size forces. So I as C.O. or a combat command would be dividing my forces into mixed-arm "teams" which would occupy an area around 1000 meters. It keeps sounding very like Rommel.

But before I pay out $50 USD, Is this something Rommel actually does? Can I put together my mixed-arm teams, allocating my TDs and engineers as the situation calls for, or am I just maneuvering battalions? If Rommel won't work, is there an off the shelf alternative somewhere around the same square/hex=1,000 meters scale?

I'll invent the wheel if I have to, but I don't want to REinvent it.


Martin Rapier22 May 2023 7:41 a.m. PST

Rommel may be what you are after. The stands are companies but grouped into regiments/brigades. How you arrange them within the overall formation is pretty flexible, perhaps too flexible, but may be what you after after.

Personally I found Rommel to be a bit gamey, but there are some interesting ideas in there.

Lascaris22 May 2023 8:24 a.m. PST

Rommel, in general, assumes that the support units are embedded within the companies. Having said that, there are optional rules that allow for things like TD's to be on the table as separate units. Engineering units are handled more abstractly, i.e. it's about the engineering function, rolling for the bridge destruction rather than moving a unit to destroy the bridge, however if it's something like the engineers during the Bulge I think they would be treated like any other infantry company as they weren't really focused on engineering tasks rather they were acting like regular infantry.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2023 11:44 a.m. PST

Thank you both. If it helps any, the immediate sparks were the various stands mostly by elements of CCR 9th AD against 2nd Panzer in the run-up to Bastogne and 4th AD pushing to relieve Bastogne. In both cases, the combat commands were sorting out teams by mission.

Point taken that in the Bulge engineers were often used as infantry, but I'm thinking that a team with engineers should have an edge in, say, mine clearance or clearing fortifications that it might not get from an equivalent size force of riflemen. Trying to get into the actual decisions someone commanding a US combat command had to make in forming up teams or task forces.

Lascaris22 May 2023 7:44 p.m. PST

I think for that level of granularity you'll have to move down a level to a platoon/base scale. I'd suggest Command Decision for that.

Martin Rapier22 May 2023 11:59 p.m. PST

Spearhead puts a lot of emphasis on attachments as part of the planning process, also platoon sized elements like CD.

Dexter Ward23 May 2023 2:23 a.m. PST

Rommel is quite abstracted; it is a very good set, but the sort of detail you describe is mostly provided by the ‘Command Posts' which give attack or defence tactics for each side to use. Combat is attritional; you won't destroy fresh enemy in one go, so you need to attack in waves, and reserves are crucial.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 5:04 a.m. PST

Robert, perhaps your desired ground scale could be adding a conceptual choke point – 1,000m hex?

Teams at the infantry heavy level, or tank hvy. teams with supports often mixed with combined-arms platoons, or even down to sections (as Martin mentions above, commonly being added as platoon size attachments). The 1,000m hex might be too coarse to reflect the tactical level, or be an impediment to reflect this tactical cross-attaching (example – mixed columns of tanks and armored infantry carriers interspersed among themselves).

I converted a board game system that I re-defined with a ground scale – to use 500mm areas (formally hexes) for this level of combat command, where the areas express platoon unit limitations – a capacity per area. This allows players to occupy areas with troops from different arms, so teams function based on those being basic platoon elements, that maneuver within geographic proximity to each other (as local supports/attachments) – so assembled as combined-arms 'firepower' teams – and that can evolve too with changes happening with battlefield conditions.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 8:06 a.m. PST

Edit – meant 500 meter areas above (and what I selecting as a good combat frontage/deployment regulator).

Choosing a 500 meter area, and applying average deployment frontages (attack/defense for an inf. platoon), and informed by a 200-250 meter 5-tank platoon frontage on the move, etc.), a 500m area of ground might accommodate just a single dispersed platoon, or more if further reinforced, and allow multiple platoons to occupy an area (when concentrating for an assault).

With this, a 500m area might allow up to 4 platoon-size elements to deploy, concentrated as a maximum capacity. Of course, combat conditions may require dispersal of platoon elements, or back to higher concentration for assaulting the current point of attack – still, LOS from/in an area further enforces platoon alignments within (typically seeing 2 platoons forward/1-2 platoons back).

One of the downsides of maximum area concentration? – enemy artillery strikes become more effective (more targets in a defined area to potentially suffer hits).

Arriving at a ground scale, and a unit scale, facilitates the design. Players may not understand the period's tactics well, or unit combat frontages, or even combined-arms formation, but these things can all work under the hood, automatically – to let them concentrate best on the battle at hand.

Martin Rapier23 May 2023 11:48 a.m. PST

For our homegrown brigade level rules, we use 800m hexes with battion sized manouvre units occupying one or two hexes, most elements are company sized but some are platoon sized although they need to be closer to half company size to qualify. Minor elements just get factored into the company stats eg the pioneer platoon in panzer battalion HQ companies.

Dexter Ward24 May 2023 1:13 a.m. PST

The squares in Rommel are 1km, and up to three stands can be in each, so roughly 1 battalion per square. The only thing with ranged fire at this scale is artillery

pfmodel24 May 2023 3:00 a.m. PST

Perhaps this video will give you an idea of what other rules may suit your requirement. I suspect you are after movement trays which are present battalions or regiments;
Post what you finally decide as I am thinking of 2/3mm but am wondering how I can use this scale in some innovative manner. I am currently thinking of using them with Panzer Korps, as i know another player who has done this.

sidley26 May 2023 2:13 p.m. PST

Rommel isn't quite a company represented by a stand. A stand is a reinforced company or a reduced battalion, such as is seen on the Eastern front.
It does cater for combined arms if arty, armour and infantry, including a nice mechanism whereas Tank Destroyers are good in defence but less so in the attack.
As each square is a Km it does feel as if you are a corps commander moving your forces over a map.
It plays well and fast. There are good free scenario sets out there link

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