Great Battles of WWII:
Rules Clarifications

The following answers are official, thanks to the help of designer Bruce McFarlane.

3.0 Formations
4.0 Assets
6.0 Pre-Game Preparations
9.0 Activation
11.0 Artillery Barrages
13.0 Command Phase
14.3 Movement
14.4 Direct Fire
14.5 Opportunity Fire
14.8 Close Combat
16.0 Night Phase


Q: The diagrams in section 3.0 Formations show companies, but not support assets. Could you clarify where the support stands go, particularly in March and Defensive formations?

A: In March formation, support stands should follow the main battalion. In Defensive formation (as well as Assault formation), they go in the 2" gaps between the main battalion stands or on the flanks (within 2"). Heavy weapons and command stands can be placed in the second row, since they do not actually fire.

Q: In March formation, for Direct Fire purposes, I presume the "front edge" of the lead company considered to be the leading "side" of the stand?

A: Correct.

Q: Rule 3.5 mentions placing transport vehicles ahead of the infantry stands they are carrying. How should transports be based?

A: It really doesn't matter, since they are technically "under" the infantry/gun base. I mount mine on 1" x 1" bases.

Q: Are infantry in transports treated as infantry-type stands, or vehicle-type stands?

A: Vehicles. Trucks = soft skinned. Armoured transports = light armour. Infantry within the transports suffer the same result as the transport.

Q: Can transports (i.e. halftracks) conduct attacks? (I presume not.)

A: Neither transports nor the infantry within may conduct attacks.

Q: Rule 3.5.3 implies that towing vehicles are a legitimate target when not idle. Is this the case?

A: When a towing vehicle is not towing, it is removed from the table. When the vehicle is towing, it is a legitimate target.


Q: Are HQ stands and Command stands the same thing? Are the terms interchangable?

A: Yes.

Q: Field guns are mentioned as a separate stand type in 2.1.2, but are not otherwise mentioned (for instance, in 11.3.2). Would it be correct to assume they are treated in all ways similar to anti-tank guns?

A: Correct, except they may have templates, rounds, ammo limits, and in-direct fire as indicated by scenario.


Q: With regard to rule 6.3, do units start hidden only on the first day of the scenario, or do units become "hidden" again at the start of each day?

A: Units start hidden at the beginning of the game. Once moved or fired, they are never re-hidden.


Q: How long does activation last? Is a unit activated for the entire scenario, for the day, or only for that Day Turn?

A: A unit is activated until it "goes to ground" or the day ends.


Q: Is "style of barrage" selected per template, or per round? That is, do all rounds fired using the same template have to be the same barrage type?

A: "Style of barrage" is assigned per template. Every round fired into that template must be of that "style."

Q: On pg. 13, it says that a unit must spot for a pre-registered barrage. Which units can spot? Does this involve simply establishing a line of sight within visibility limitations?

A: Any combat or command stand may "spot" for pre-registered and on-call artillery. The forward observers are considered to be within the stand.

Q: Do on-call artillery missions use templates?

A: Yes.

Q: With regard to the table in rule 11.3.3, what are the definitions of "hard cover" and "soft cover"?

A: That is left to the scenario designers. However, in general, soft cover is woods, wooden buildings, etc. Hard cover is brick, stone, and concrete buildings.

Q: I presume that a non-activated unit in hard cover would use the "hard cover" line on table 11.3.3, and not the "non activated" line?

A: Correct.

Q: Rule 11.3.4 says that being suppressed again doesn't affect a unit, but rule 14.8.2 says that extra suppressions eliminate units. Is 14.8.2 an exception to 11.3.4?

A: Correct. Close Combat is the only way a stand is eliminated through double suppresion.

Q: Rule 11.3.4 says that extra suppressions don't matter, but rule 14.7 seems to refer to removing suppression markers one-at-a-time. Can a stand have more than one suppression marker?

A: No, but a battalion can have more than one suppression marker. I guess the rule should read:

"...for each die that rolls equal or less than the battalion's rally numnber, plus modifiers, remove one suppressed marker..."


Q: Rule 13.0 says that C Ops roll for Action Points. What can they do with them? Are there limits as far as how they can allocate the points?

A: All they can do is move up and down the roads. They cannot allocate them to any other units.

Q: Can a battalion save its unused Action Points for a future player-turn?

A: No.

Q: What if a battalion has 1 Action Point, but decides not to use it. Later, when a friendly unit is spending its 2nd Action Point, a circumstance arises which makes the 1-point battalion want to act. Can he do so, or does rule 14.0 prevent him since all first actions must precede second actions?

A: All first actions must be taken first, then all second actions. If a new opportunity occurs later in the player-turn, too bad - actions cannot be saved for later in the turn or for later turns.

Q: With regard to the Command Chart, it appears that distinctions are made between different types of HQ/Command stands. Could you explain this further?

A: The top of the Command Chart refers to the quality of the battalion testing for its actions. This quality is listed in the briefing section of each scenario, under "Morale."

Q: Is the modifier noted at the bottom of the Command Chart meant to apply only to Germans and Canadians, or to all battlegroups?

A: All battlegroups. This was the original chart from Volume One, Canadians in Europe. In Drop Zone, it must change to British/Commonwealth brigade HQs, and the rest of the world Regimental HQ.


Q: Do the movement restrictions which apply to heavy weapons and antitank stands, also apply to field gun stands?

A: Yes.

Q: Rule 14.3.7 states that unlimbered stands suffer a movement penalty, but rule 14.3.13 says that the penalty applies to the entire battalion, and rule 4.1.5 says the penalty applies specifically to infantry stands in the battalion. Can you explain?

A: Anti-tank guns can operate as independent batteries. In this case, the penalty is applied only to them. If AT guns or heavy weapons are attached to an infantry battalion, the whole battalion is slowed down until the weapon is "limbered."

Q: Does Rule 14.3.13 mean that a battalion can only move at the rate of the slowest stand? Or can stands move at different rates, as long as all remain within formation?

A: The battalion is slowed to the movement rate of its slowest member. This applies when a stand is suppressed, as well.


Q: Rule 14.4.1 implies that HQ/Command stands can't make fire attacks. Is this correct?

A: Yes.

Q: Can HQ/Command stands be fired at? Are they legal targets?

A: No. They are attached to a battalion, and the owner decides which soft-skin stand within the battalion takes the hit.

Q: Can the FUP be fired upon? Or overrun?

A: A FUP is an "area," not a body of troops, so it cannot be fired upon. If it is overrun or cut off, troops cannot deploy from the FUP for the rest of the day - RULE 5.2.5

Q: Rules imply that Heavy Weapons Stands can't make fire attacks on their own. Is this correct?

A: This is correct. (See Designer Notes in Volume One.) For Volume #3, France 1940, we will have machinegun battalions (company size) that can fire independently.

Q: Does rule 14.4.5 mean that once any stand of a battalion moves into contact with an enemy, the entire battalion is immune from being fired upon? Even if no close combat has yet been resolved?

A: That is basically correct. Remember, the side moving into the close combat is also the "shooting." If he doesn't want to interfere with his own shooting, he shouldn't move into contact. Also, moving into contact does not prevent the non-phasing player from opportunity-firing at the moving battalion when it is still 1mm from its target.

Q: Rule 14.4.2 mentions smoke as an obstacle. Under what circumstances would smoke occur on the tabletop?

A: Special scenario rules only. In Volume One, the Canadians used bombers to lay a vast smoke screen. For Volume Three, Rommel had a village set afire to screen the crossing of the Meuse River.

Q: Ranges measured in inches, with each inch potentially having a different score to hit. It seems an interesting design decision for such a high-level game.

A: We broke the ranges into 12 one-inch segments because we found that short, medium and long was too simplistic. Each gun needed a "To Hit" and a "To Destroy" factor, and these factors did not diminish in lock-step with each other. Some "To Destroy" factors don't diminish - vs. soft skin vehicle, for example. Obviously if a heavy shell hits a truck, the truck's gone. Equally as obviously the chance "To Hit" decreases with range, however. We wanted both factors to be represented in Great Battles. We also wanted the critical "mid-range" where "To Hit" effectiveness dropped off rapidly.

If you look at the chart, each gun really has a close range (8 to hit) and a long range (1 or 2 to hit). It's only in-between where each range has a different "To Hit." We listed every inch for every gun so that each range would form a single column down the page, for easier reference.

Interestingly, at Historicon the complaint was that there was not enough to differentiate light, medium and heavy guns. Some wanted a separate chart for each model of gun, so that you really got the critical drop off from prime performance. "The Panthers knew that the Shermans couldn't... blah, blah, blah"


Q: When does Opportunity Fire occur? Rule 14.5 implies that it occurs during enemy movement, but 7.2 indicates it occurs after all friendly Actions.

A: Opportunity fire occurs during enemy movement. However, it is usually courteous to allow a player to finish his move, and then say "This battalion will shoot at him as he moved across here."


Q: With regard to 14.8.2, what if the close combat result is a tie?

A: Both battalions stay in contact, and the close combat is re-rolled on the next player-turn. The battalions cannot fire out, nor may any units fire into the close combat (although they may join the fray).


Q: There's a note on the Replacement Chart: "Isolated - no path to friendly road = no recovery and destroy additional CV." What's a CV?

A: Another typo. "CV" should read "stand." A playtest version of the game used "combat values" instead of stands, and we didn't catch all the CV's left over in the charts.

Q: Is one reinforcement roll made per battalion, or per eliminated stand?

A: Replacement Roll is made for every eliminated stand.

Q: If a battalion is wiped out, are reinforcement rolls still made for its stands?

A: Yes. On "Separated" roll the first night, and then in reserve until it is returned to the field.

Q: When a support asset is wiped out, does it roll for reinforcements with the unit it was attached to when it was eliminated?

A: No.

Q: Can "part" of a battalion (not counting attachments) be pulled into reserve, or must the entire unit be either in or out of reserve?

A: An entire battalion must be pulled into reserve.

Q: Can an isolated unit be withdrawn to reserve?

A: Yes. There may be some scenario rules or house rules that assign some sort of penalty - i.e., they lose a stand or two.

Q: Rule 16.3.4 says that attachments must stay within the home brigade/regiment. What about attachments which do not have a home brigade/regiment, such as divisional assets?

A: Divisional assets must stay within their own division.

Q: With regard to 16.1.1, if there is no road route clear of enemy units, I presume the FUP remains where it was?

A: Since it is now a vacant lot, I would remove it from the table entirely. It can reappear when the cops have a clear road-net to a friendly table-edge.


Q: Why are Comets rated as slow speed, despite being one of the fastest tanks about?

A: Quite right. Upon review of my design notes and rating system, the Comets should be Heavy gun, Light armour and Fast. Our playtesting never uncovered this typo because none of our scenarios, to date, use the Comet.


Q: The scenarios rate artillery for rounds per day and maximum rounds, but how many rounds do they start with? It looks as if maximum rounds = starting rounds?

A: The rounds listed stands for the number of rounds the player starts the game with, and his maximum. Why would HQ send you more, if you haven't even used any of what you started with?

Q: The organizations given for some of the scenarios seem unusual - eg. all German units (armoured or not) are equipped with Wespe SP artillery.

A: This was a scenario design decision. We decided that towed artillery would set up some miles from the battle field (these are represented by templates). In some cases, however, the Germans were forced to move up SP Artilery to serve an anti-tank role. In play testing we found the Wespe a convinient vehicle to use as a generic mobile AT gun.

Q: How high should each level should be on the tabletop?

A: I use GeoHex, which I believe is 1".

Q: For those interested in designing their own scenarios, how much height does each level represent?

A: 50 meters.

Q: Thhe game has a "horizontal" ground scale of 1" = 150-200 meters, but a "vertical" ground scale of 1" = 50 meters. Was this done to accentuate the contours in play?

A: If you are going to do the battles in a reasonable-sized area, you are going to have a horizontal ground scale of 1" = 150-300 meters.  If you are going to reflect the landscape, you are going to have to use a smaller vertical scale (1"= 50 meters) or major features like the "gully" at Ortona or even the cliffs of Dieppe and the mountains of Crete disappear or get leveled out.

I'm not really  interested in the vertical ground scale.  It is more important to represent the features over which the battle was fought. You could say that it was done to accentuate the contours. However, that is not really the way I approached the problem.  Horizontal scale was done to keep the game on a ping-pong table.  Vertical scale was done to best represent the ground features of the battlefield.  The Canadian Armed Forces maps I took most of my research from typically had a horizontal ground scale of 1" or 1 cm = 1 mile and a vertical scale of 30-100 meters per contour.  Obviously, you couldn't reconcile both scales on the same gaming table and have a playable scenario.

Q: In the Heraklion scenario (Drop Zone , pg. 28), the Matilda stats differ from those given on pg. 18. Is this intentional?

A: This is a typo. Pg. 18 lists the correct Matilda stats.

Q: In the Maleme scenario, special rule #2 refers to a Matilda tank unit, but no such unit is listed in the New Zealand Forces. Should there be?

A: Yes, as a divisional asset to the 5th NZ COps.

Q: In the Maleme scenario, where should the 5th NZ Division C Ops and FUP start?

A: With Maroi Regt. (historical) or free deployment.

Q: In the Maleme scenario, can the heavy weapons stand of the Maori Regt be attached to the Greek battalions?

A: No, the hvy weapon is not listed as a divisional asset, but rather attached to the Maori Reg't.

Q: In the Maleme scenario, the German 7th Air Division has a number of units (C Ops, FUP, 2 AT guns, Hvy Weapons) which arrive on May 22nd. Do they arrive in a similar manner as the 5th Mountain Division troops?

A: Yes.

Q: On the Maleme map, west of Polemarkhi and south of the "1 VP," there is a colored region that doesn't match anything on the map key. What is it?

A: Woods (with the wrong "fill" pattern).

Q: On the Maleme map, next to Polemarkhi, is a stream. Where the stream reaches the water, it forks into two branches. One branch seems too straight - is this actually a stream, or something else?

A: It is a mistake and should be removed.

Q: In the Arnhem scenario, there's a note at the end of the British Briefing (pg. 58) about motorized and truck transport. The British appear to have no such transport. Could this note apply to the German briefing?

A: It applies to all units, but since only the Germans have motorized and truck transport in the Arnhem scenario, practically it only applies to the Germans.

Last Updates
21 October 1998designer on height and scale
20 October 1998Maleme scenario answers
17 October 1998more answers
26 December 1997page first published
Comments or corrections?