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"TMWWBK rules question" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

MajorB06 Jul 2024 5:42 a.m. PST

Trying out the Osprey TMWWBK rules and I'm finding them somewhat puzzling.
A British Regular infantry unit has 12 figures. They shoot at 24" range with 5+ to hit. An attacking Irregular Infantry unit thus will potentially be shot at 4 times, twice at long range (>12") and twice at short range. With 12 figures rolling 5+ the average is 4 hits. That's 2 figures at long range (twice) and 4 figures at short range (twice). With average dice scores then the Irregular infantry unit will take 12 figures as casualties before it closes to attack and be wiped out. Surely this level of fire effectiveness is too much. Or am I missing something?

Dexter Ward06 Jul 2024 6:09 a.m. PST

You are missing that the irregulars will also get pinned.
They need cover to have a chance of closing

cavcrazy06 Jul 2024 6:33 a.m. PST

Don't forget that you will have more native forces on the table than European…a lot more to shoot at, but chances are you will be closed in on if you're not careful.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine06 Jul 2024 7:17 a.m. PST

Use the scenerios at the back of the book. Any game were the European regulars just get to stand and shoot ends badly for the natives, unless they have huge numbers or plenty of cover,and honestly make pretty boring games.

Much better games can be had if the European/Colonial forces have objectives that force them to at least move about a bit rather than just forming square and shooting all game.

If you find regulars to much there is optional rules on page 38 for limited ammo which means the regulars have to consider when best to fire rather than just all the time.

Irregular infantry normally start with obsolete rifles which have 18" range so they only have to move 6" once to get into range of the regulars. Then they are both shooting at each other at long range. Also don't forget irregular infantry can upgrade their rifles to modern rifles if you can justify it. So Boers would be irregular infantry with modern rifles for example

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2024 7:21 a.m. PST

I'll double down on cavcrazy's comment. Any colonial rules that allow an even number of Brits vs. natives half a chance are not historically correct. My own favorite TSATF, the normal ratio is 3 to 1 in the native favor. Natives take a lot of losses, but when they close…

Bottom line, natives have the number and Brits have the firepower.

Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2024 8:03 a.m. PST

"They got the guns
Well, but we got the numbers
Gonna win, yeah
We're takin' over"

- Jim Morrison, the Doors (5 to 1)


Glengarry506 Jul 2024 10:05 a.m. PST

"Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not."

Hilaire Belloc

MajorB06 Jul 2024 2:11 p.m. PST

The curious thing is that in Rebels and Patriots (which covers a similar historical time period) it takes 2 hits to kill a figure at short range and 3 hits at long range. This is effectively only half as good as the kill rate in TMWWBK. Why the difference?

cavcrazy06 Jul 2024 2:37 p.m. PST

The biggest difference is technology, a Martini Henry is much more effective than a musket

MajorB06 Jul 2024 2:46 p.m. PST

Except that Rebels and Patriots states that the rules cover "up to American Civil War and beyond" – which overlaps with the colonial period. Bear in mind that repeating weapons were available in the ACW and the Martini Henry was introduced in 1871.

cavcrazy06 Jul 2024 4:35 p.m. PST

1871 isn't that far beyond the Civil war.

Prince Alberts Revenge06 Jul 2024 9:40 p.m. PST

It's all in the scenarios, as others have mentioned, Colonial forces are put in a pickle when they have to move in order to fulfill an objective.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine07 Jul 2024 3:12 a.m. PST

I think the question is what sort of game do you envision were a single unit of gun armed irregular infantry just advance towards regular infantry for 4 turns without returning fire, finding cover or getting support from other units in a much larger native force.

Your maths is in theory correct but it's unlikely the battle will take place in an open plain with one irregular infantry unit fighting one regular unit one on one with no other factors involved.

MajorB07 Jul 2024 6:38 a.m. PST

Thank you for your comments. However, with all due respect I think you are missing my point. Yes, I cited a theoretical situation, not something that would actually happen in a game. The trouble is that if you get unrealistic results in an hypothetical situation such as I described then you will get unrealistic results when the same mechanics are used in a game. For instance a poorly drilled 4 figure machine gun crew will have the same effect as the unit of regular infantry. A unit of infantry firing small arms is as effective as a machine gun?

FourDJones07 Jul 2024 7:45 a.m. PST

Try another set of rules, Major …

MajorB07 Jul 2024 8:13 a.m. PST

Try another set of rules, Major …

What do you suggest?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jul 2024 9:06 a.m. PST

While I enjoy the Rampant series of rules, I always think of them as being "box scale." That is, movement, morale and combat are worked to vaguely feel right and make the game last 90-120 minutes. Then troops are "balanced" to fit the 10 or so troop types and point limit for the armies.

All these games have these kinds of inconsistencies. Some 1 point upgrades are more valuable than others but both cost 1 point. Some relative weapons ranges are downright absurd.

Prince Alberts Revenge07 Jul 2024 11:21 a.m. PST

Your exercise sounds a lot like a play test of Omdurman with accurate results.

I like TMWWBK for certain types of games. They are advertised as cinematic rather than historical. I think that is an assurance assessment of them.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine07 Jul 2024 1:21 p.m. PST

Major B why do you think your results are unhistorical in your hypothetical situation?

I would suggest, at least in Africa which is the area I've researched the most, massive casualties to native forces fighting European or European lead forces with modern rifles result in huge casualties for the natives if the Europeans have time to prepare and pick the battlefield.

For example in 1895 a British force of 15 Africans and Sikhs lead by a Corporal Fletcher RE, in Central Africa, was attacked in while a defensive position by 2000 Yao and Lomwe warriors almost exclusively armed with muzzle loading guns. The British had 30 year old Snider breech loaders after several hours of fighting the Yao were routed with over a hundred casualties the british hadn't suffered a single casualty themselves. The snider in the hand of trained soldiers was far superior to the native muzzle loaders.

When Sir Samuel Baker invaded Bunyoro (in present day Uganda) at the head of an Egyptian forces of a hundred odd men his force included 40 men armed with sniders (the rest had smoothbore muskets) when the Bunyoro army attacked them led by the 1000 strong elite Bosroom guard. Baker remarks on how the spear armed natives couldn't get close to the square in face of the fire from the Sniders.

If you another example
On a larger scale Ulundi in 1879 sees 12,000 Zulus take 1500 casualties while the 4000 British suffered under a 100.

The battle on the Shangani river 1893 700 BSAC men fought 5000 Matabele inflicted 1500 casualties and took 4 in return.

The Battle of Omdurman is another example of massive casualties for the natives and barely any for the British led forces.

So I wouldn't say that regulars with modern firearms causing massive casualties to irregular forces is far fetched. There are plenty of examples of European forces being roughly handled in Africa to but this is almost always a result of local forces achieving strategic surprise (Islandlwana) or tactical surprise like the Hehe achieved against the Germans at Lugalo .

MajorB07 Jul 2024 1:54 p.m. PST

a defensive position by 2000 Yao and Lomwe warriors almost exclusively armed with muzzle loading guns. The British had 30 year old Snider breech loaders after several hours of fighting the Yao were routed with over a hundred casualties

100 casualties out of 2000 = 5%
12,000 Zulus take 1500 casualties

1500 casualties out of 12,000 = 12.5%
5000 Matabele inflicted 1500 casualties

1500 casualties out of 5000 = 30%
By any calculation 30% losses are indeed a massive casualty rate.

Even your last example is a far cry from the 100% casualties in my hypothetical situation.

To be in the same ratio, the MAXIMUM casualties sustained would be 4 figures lost out of the 12 in the unit.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine07 Jul 2024 3:26 p.m. PST

You need to look at the other way in the first example 16 men inflicted 100 casualties or roughly 6.25 casualties per man in your example 12 men inflicted 12 casualties so 1 per man that is actually far less.

At the Shangani 700 men killed or wounded 1500 or roughly 2.1 casualties per man

If you look at another Matabele war action the Shangani patrol of 37 men were wiped out but those 37 men caused 500 Matabele casualties or roughly a ratio of 13 Matabele killed or wounded for every trooper in the patrol which makes your 1.1 ratio low again.

Rorkres Drift roughly a ratio of 5.66 Zulu casualties per British regular.

Imo You shouldn't be looking at how many casualties they suffered as a percentage of their own number but how many casualties were inflicted by the soldiers with modern weapons compared to their numbers.

FourDJones08 Jul 2024 1:16 a.m. PST

You've got yourself a real war now, Major …

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 7:38 a.m. PST

I fully agree with Rufus. In our table top battles casualties are not all dead or wounded, they include figures who no longer have the will to fight.

I seem to remember an ACW set of rules that allowed units to reform during the game. They could recover losses (commonly called bring back the dead).

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