Sunday, 4 December 2016

Force on Force WW2 modifications

Further rules for the Force on Force WW2 campaign.  This is a work in progress with many points for discussion amongst the group.  Also includes stats for the units involved (all up for discussion).


See the earlier post for details on the campaign:

All distances are doubled at 28mm, so 6” = 12”

Though vehicles will generally be rare in our games they will appear.  Specific rules for these vehicles adds interesting aspects to the game.

Vehicle Smoke Dischargers
A target vehicle equipped with Smoke dischargers may attempt to pop smoke.  Smoke is only effective for attacks originating in the front arc of the vehicles turret (exception: Panther VG, Tiger VIE and King Tiger, which have directional Smoke Mortars, so can drop smoke in any direction).  Before the Reaction Test is made the reacting player declares his vehicle will attempt to Pop Smoke.  Make a TQ, on a 4+ the vehicle has popped effective smoke.  If the reacting player wins the reaction test then the vehicle will benefit from the Smoke during Round of Fire.  If the player rolls a 1 on the TQ the tank has depleted its smoke.

A vehicle smoke screen blocks LOS until the end of the turn.  Place a 6” smoke screen 6” from the vehicle in its turrets front arc.

The following tanks have Smoke Dischargers
German: PzKpfw III, PzKpfw IV(1), PzKpfw V(1), PzKpfw VI(1), StuG IIIG(1), StuH42
British: Cromwell(2), Churchill(2), Tetrarch(3)
US: M4A1(4), M4(105)(2), M4A2(L)(5), M4A1(76)(5)

1: From July 1944 the Pzkpfw IV, V, VI and the StuG IIIG have a +1drm on the Smoke Discharger TQ.  StuG stopped having Smoke Dischargers quite early, so these may have a very small chance of being present.
2: M4(105), Churchill and Cromwell have a +1drm on Smoke Discharger TQ
3: Tetrarch has a -1drm on Smoke Discharger TQ
4: M4A1 has a -2drm on Smoke Discharger TQ
5: From July 1944 the M4A2 and M4A1(76) has a +1 on Smoke Discharger TQ

Smoke Ammunition
A tank may fire a Smoke round on a TQ.  The following tanks carry Smoke rounds:
               German: PzKpfw IV, StuG IIIG, StuHIV, Marder I, Marder II
               US: All Sherman, M8 Scott HMC, M7 Priest HMC, M10 TD*
                              *M10 TD have a -1 on Smoke TQ.
               British: Cromwell IV, Churchill IV, Bishop
A smoke round creates a 4” smoke screen that blocks LOS.  It lasts until the beginning of the placing players next turn.

White Phosphorus Ordnance shells
The Cromwell IV, M8 HMC, M7 HMC and all Sherman’s may use WP on a TQ.

White Phosphorus ordnance shells create a 4” (6” for 105mm) wide LOS blocking smoke screen.  The smoke dissipates at the start of the placing players next turn. 

WP vs. vehicles are counted as WP1, the target only receives one armour dice in defense.  All other modifiers are as normal.  If a WP ordnance successfully hits the vehicle the Smoke screen will “stick” to the target on a D6 4+.  The target vehicle has a +2 Defense and a -2 Attack modifier.  The vehicle must also pass a Morale Check or bail out. 

If the WP round is fired into a building containing infantry the infantry must pass a Morale Check or immediately move out of the building.  If a WP round is fired at a structure containing flammable material or at crops, hedge or trees roll a D6, on a 4+ the area catches fire.  A burning building must be exited at the next opportunity.  When infantry within 3” of a WP hit are attacked with a 3D attack.

WW2 Bailing Out
Crews were more prone to bail out of their tanks in WW2. Therefore any damage result on a tank, other than “Suppressed”, the crew must roll a Bail Out TQ.  If the crew fails the test it bails out.  This makes vehicles less dominating in our games.

The crew on its next activation may roll a Morale Check to remount vehicle.

An alternative rule which includes the option to pull back:

Vehicle suffers a hit and any result other than “Suppressed”, apply normal result and then roll a TQ
 PASS: No further effect
 FAIL: If the vehicle is mobile perform Pullback, if unable or would rather not, roll a second TQ: 
  PASS: No further effect
  FAIL: Bail Out

Which do you prefer?  And should we make vehicles also check for bail out on any damage result, including Suppressed?

EDIT 6/12/16: We discussed and decided we would use the "Pullback OR Bail Out" option.  Need to decide now if this happens on any successful hit or just on non-Suppression results?
EDIT 10/12/16: Any vehicle with Low Confidence or Confident will Pull back OR Bail Out on any hit.

Offboard Support Units
Due to the very small size of the battle area in 28mm (or 15mm depending on the mission) games a player may choose for snipers, Forward Observers, Vehicles, Guns, Medium Support and Heavy Support to be setup offboard.  Offboard units cannot be targeted while moving.  Offboard units may not enter the playing area but may move along the edge.  Offboard units need LOS and need to successfully pass a Spotting TQ each time they attempt to target onboard units (and vice versa for onboard units vs. offboard units).  Offboard units can be setup in Overwatch.

Each time an offboard unit moves it may roll a D6 to find out how high many inches high the units location is relative to the board edge, leave the D6 in place as a reminder, when checking LOS measure from a location above the edge equivalent to the height.

A mission may modify the maximum height of an offboard unit.  The map location in the campaign also modifies offboard units.  Dense Bocage and major towns have a -1drm on Spotting TQ.

Preparatory Bombardment
Due to the close in nature of Force on Force artillery is of minimal use.  Single artillery pieces may support an attack from offboard (like a single offboard tank, AT gun, howitzer).  Due to the small area and short time there is no realistic way to call in artillery.  But, the Preparatory Bombardment is still a good option.  If the attacker has artillery available (from the campaign map) they can pepper the area before entering.  Rules to come.

Interdiction Artillery
The defender may call on artillery to interdict and incoming attack.  If the mission includes artillery support the defender may interdict a number of units as they are about to enter the playing area.  Rules to come.

Preparatory Smoke Screen
In the area where the campaign was fought smoke screens were used, but generally seem to be late or poorly implemented.  We can add this as an attackers option, with only a small chance of success.  Rules to come.

The attack may attempt to flank the enemy position and attack from one of the flanks.  We had rules for this in the Malikastan campaign, so may reinvigorate those.

German Counter-attack
One aspect of German forces in WW2 was its near clockwork reaction to enemy gains, the immediate counter-attack.  How do we play this?  Keep it to the campaign map, or give the German player a counter-attack reserve.  I think this will add to the game.  So, maybe a quick barrage followed by a last minute counter-attack adding two turns to the game (if time permits?)?

EDIT 6/12/16: We discussed and decided we would use a card system.  So say the German player is losing on the second to last turn, he can pull two cards from the Counter-Attack deck.  These will have some unit or support, for example, a squad, a vehicle or offboard support.  The player has two turns to benefit from the reinforcement.

The rule may be, on the 3rd to last turn the German player can randomly select one reinforcement card OR on the 2nd to last turn draw 2 cards OR on the last turn draw 3 cards.

WW2 Small Arms
An important rule to remember in WW2 games is the OUTGUNNED rule on page 43 of the FOF rulebook.  This rule covers self-loading rifles, auto-rifles and bolt-action rifles.  Though, I think the British SMLE probably outguns the KAR 98K, what do you think?  Check the many Youtube videos on the SMLE Mad Minute …

Alternatively, studies showed that only 15-20% fired at the enemy in WW2.  Maybe 1 dice per THREE? 

The definitions on Force on Force page 37 and 38 imply:
Light Support: M1918BAR, BREN, Rifle Grenades, MG38 magazine
Medium Support: MG42, M1919A4, MG38 belt, British 51mm Mortar*
Heavy Support: MG42 tripod, M2 HMG, German and US/German light mortars

The British 51mm Mortar can use direct fire.
The British PIAT can fire from within buildings.

Hollow-charge weapons may be used against targets in buildings and vehicles:
Light Support: Anti-tank Rifle Grenade
Medium Support: Panzerfaust
Heavy Support: PIAT, Bazooka and Panzerschreck

General squads
The following is the general division of squads.  An interesting difference between the Allieds and the Germans is the positioning of the squad leader.  In the British Sections and US Squads the squad leader is in the maneuver or assault team.  The German’s have the squad leader in the Fire base team.  I wonder if we should try simulate this effect?  Maybe giving a +1 on the Reaction Checks for Squad Leaders?

The US Paratroopers squad is divided into two teams:
[Squad Leader + 6 Rifleman + 1 RifleGrenadier]
[Assistant Squad Leader + M1918BAR/M1919A4+ + 2 Assistants/Rifleman]

The Germans generally:
[Squad Leader + 1 MG42/MG38 + 2 Assistants/Rifleman]
[Assistant Squad Leader + 2-3 Rifleman + 1 Rifle Grenadier +1 Rifle/PanzerFaust]

[Squad Leader + 5 Rifleman]
[Assistant Squad Leader + 1 BREN + 2 Assistants/Rifleman]

EDIT 6/12/16: We decided to go with the new rule that all Squad Leaders impart a +1 Reaction DRM to any reaction.  This will allow us to simulate that the Allied squad leader was in the maneuver or assault team compared to the German gruppe leader who is in the fire support team.

Campaign Progression – Squad Improvement
After each battle select one squad and roll an improvement 2D6:
2: Squad Morale permanently shifted up one
3: Troop Quality permanently shifted up one
4: Initiative permanently shifted up one
5: Unit gains bonus, D6
               1: +1D on all attacks vs. vehicles
               2: +1 on all Spotting Tests
               3: +1D on all Defense Rolls
               4: +1D on Close Combat Attack Rolls
               5: +1 on all Reaction rolls
               6: Designate one soldier as a marksman.
6-12 Nothing

Each squad may have only one improved skill, if a new one is rolled replace the last one.


US Parachute Infantry Regiment & other parachute units of the 82nd Airborne

US Glider Infantry Regiment (325th GIR)
The glider troops are regular infantry.  Regular infantry have a initiative of 8.

746th Tank Battalion
Equipped with M4A1 Sherman’s (and M5A1? And M8 Greyhound?)

889th Tank Destroyer Battalion
Equipped with M10s, experienced (Tunisia and Italy).  Landed on D-Day, by D+1 some of the tank destroyers reached Chef-du-Pont passing through Forges.  They had liaison personnel in arrive on D-Day with the 82nd glider landing.  Any M10’s in the mission will originate from this unit.

The 91. Luftlande-Infanterie-Division
MORALE D8 or D10
The German 91st Airlanding Infantry Division was stationed in the centre of the Cotentin Peninsula.  The division was formed as an air transportable infantry division in January 1944.  The division had no combat experience but was fairly well trained.  The commander of the division was killed a few hours after the 82nd Airborne landed.  The decapitation of the division resulted in a few hours of indecision that greatly benefited the US Airborne in obtaining their objectives.  In the campaign we will keep the commander alive, giving the division a quicker reaction time, therefore you will likely see the counter-attack occurring a few hours earlier than it did occur. The D8 morale?  I am in two minds about this, they died in their droves attacking, maybe D10.

241 and 709 Infanterie Division
These to “stationary” divisions added armour to the 91 Luftlande Division attack on St Mere Eglise on June 7th.  These two divisions are second rate, too old, too young, the lame and POW convinced to fight for the Nazi (instead of dying of starvation).

The armour seconded to the 91st Luftlande were vehicles from the 241ID which had StuG IIIG (Panzerjaeger Abteilung 243) and the 709 ID which had Marder I and Marder IIIM (Panzerjaeger Abteilung 709)

OST TRUPPEN in Georgians (Ost Battalion 975 and 797) and Russians (Ost Battalion 653)
TROOP QUALITY D8 (drops to D6 at 50% strength remaining OR Platoon Leader SW/KIA)
MORALE D8 (drops to D6 at 50% strength remaining OR Platoon Leader SW/KIA)
Rule for consideration: Maximum of one activation per turn.
These Russian and Georgian ex-POW troops appear to have initially put up a fair fight and then suddenly capitulated.  The units had German leaders, but due to communication and the will of units the initiative is dropped to D6.

Therefore, I have given them TQ8 and MOR8, though this permanently suffers a die-shift when they get to half-strength or their platoon leader is seriously wounded or dies.  The Ost Truppen are holding ground around St Mere-Eglise and south and east of St Mere-Eglise.

Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 6 (6th Fallschirmjaeger Regiment)
A well trained parachute regiment with a core cadre of combat experienced NCOs.  The 6th FJ was attached to the 91st Luftlande Division.  We could drop the Initiative to D8.  Why?  Partly due to circumstance, the regiment performed poorly on the attack, though that seems to mainly be to the regimental commander himself, poor communications, lack of ammunition and poor reaction due to the disruption by the scattered US paratroops. Once linked to the 17th SS Division they did put up a hard fight. But, maybe this was due to the SS arresting and threatening to shoot the FJ commander.  One battalion was lost early, it is difficult to figure out why this battalion “vanished”.  Maybe they were in range of the ships.  We may change reality a bit with more of the FJ meeting up with the 82nd Airborne. So, instead of holding the Carentan Front with all three battalions one may move around to the N and W and attack across the Merderet River (why? Well, I have the minis J ).

Panzer-Ersatz-und-Ausbildungs-Abteilung 100 (and possibly 206)
The 100th Tank Replacement and Training Battalion consisted of an HQ and three companies.  The battalion was equipped with French Hotchkiss 38 (8), French Somua S35, x1 French B1-bis (flame), French Renault R35, French Renault FT17s (!) and Panzer Mk III.  On D-Day only 50% of the units tanks were “runners”.  I presume many of these were made to run as many were destroyed by the advancing US forces to the south.  A mission may add a special rule on reliability, like, roll a D12 each turn on a 4+ activate the vehicle suffers engine failure or something like that.

The unit was under command of the 91st Luftlande Infanterie Division.  As a training unit I have given then a TQ of D6 and any leader vehicle (PzkW III) is D8.  The Battalion included four infantry platoons with one light machine gun per squad.  The 206 seem to mainly have been used to make “tank” noises to cause uncertainty amongst the US.  The German commander thought this worked as it caused a pause in the US attack on Montebourg.

Maquis (French Resistance)

Though the French Resistance played little part in the Cotentin campaign (as far as I am aware). We may play some behind the lines interdiction missions.

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