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Christopher O
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Summer grasses / All that remains / Of soldiers' dreams. - Basho.
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I'm play-testing a fun scenario by Mark that involves an all tank (well, technically, tank-destroyer) force vs. a combined arms force of defenders. I won't go into further detail so as to not spoil it in case it gets published.

Due to the make-up of this scenario, you get a lot of all-AFV attackers vs. all infantry defenders and all-infantry attackers vs. all-AFV defenders than you would normally get in almost any other scenario.

So to be clear right off that bat, I know that, in general, you want an assault to be a combined arms affair. Same with standard combat. Again, in this particular scenario, getting a combined arms force on the attacking side is a literal impossibility. You have NO infantry, artillery or ATGs.

I acknowledge the odd-ball nature of asking about attacks like this in the Operation Dauntless system, which is why I've titled it the way I have.

I want to make sure I have the rules and steps right:

First - All-AFV Attackers vs. All Infantry Defenders Assault

- AFVs move or begin adjacent to target of assault and announce assault.
Tactical Advantage modifier calculated (usually, due to the nature of the chart for calculating tactical advantage, the infantry will be picking at least 2 or more chits)
- Again, due to the nature of the tactical advantage, USUALLY the defender(s) will be able to fire AT fire at least once. Each unit may only conduct AT fire once, if given the opportunity by the chit draw.
- For each infantry unit that is entitled to fire, you draw a number of modifier chits, depending on the weather conditions and time of day. These modifiers are applied to their anti-armour fire rolls.
- Once all AT fire is complete, calculate combat odds, with assault modifiers per the table.

If the infantry is not forced to retreat by the combat result, the AFVs remain in the hex that they began in. In addition, AFVs never suffer losses as a result of the combat table.

This seems straightforward.

Next All-Infantry attackers vs. All-AFV defenders Assault

Identical to steps above, with the exception that the attacking infantry is the attacker for the purposes of the TA chit draw.

It never seems to be a good idea for infantry to assault an all-AFV hex unless they outnumber the AFVs by quite a lot. Why? The AT fire step will usually permit them a few shots, but seldom more than one or two (it can be up to four). By comparison, the odds that the infantry (stack) will suffer at least a step loss is quite high, given that the first two steps taken by the asasulting force MUST be as step losses. The AFVs never suffer losses as a result of combat odds chart rolls.

All this seems quite logical. If you want to assault an all-tank hex with infantry, you want there to be as few of them as possible, and you want as many infantry as possible.

The reason why I'm asking about this is because in this playtest scenario, it's not uncommon for a stack of four tank troops (two-step units) to be moving together. In addition, all of the defending infantry is a single step platoon. Consequently, because of the chance of taking a step loss during an infantry assault on the AFVs, the one-step infantry never wants to assault. Even if you concentrated your forces - say four platoons - in a single hex, you'd probably lose a minimum of one, and probably two or more steps if you tried to assault. Now, you'd probably take out one or two steps of tanks, so all-told it's a 2 VP for 1 VP trade (more in this scenario, but that's another story).

Now, "standard" combat is a bit different.

All-tanks vs. all-infantry is easy - combat odds = attacker total CS vs. defender CS, apply modifiers, roll, see results. If the defender takes enough casualties that the stack needs to retreat, the tanks move in.

All-infantry vs. all-tanks in standard combat is never successful, as I understand it. You could have the best possible combat odds - like four panzergrenadier companies for a total CS of 28 vs. some half strength AFV with a CS of 2 - 14:1 odds, but the infantry will never reduce or cause the AFV to retreat.

As far as I can tell, there are no circumstances in which this would be recommended, so the only way for an all-infantry force to push an AFV out of a hex that it occupies as a defender is by assault.

In summary:

All-AFV Attackers vs. All-Infantry Defenders Assault = Usually not bad for AFV attackers if you have numbers.
All Infantry Attackers vs. All-AFV Defenders Assault = Usually bad for infantry attackers unless you have really decent numerical advantage.

All-AFV Attackers vs. All-Infantry Defenders Combat = Almost always good. You will not be damaged in any way.
All Infantry Attackers vs. All-AFV Defenders Combat = Never good. There is no circumstance where this will go well.

Is this correct?

Everything seems logical and makes sense - I just want to "check my math" as it were. I could have just posted my question to Mark, but I tend to learn a lot from the questions that others ask, so I posted it here as well.
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Mark Mokszycki
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You are 100% correct in your assessment.

Of course, there are shades of "good" and "bad" and much of it is situation-specific.

Quote:
In summary:

All-AFV Attackers vs. All-Infantry Defenders Assault = Usually not bad for AFV attackers if you have numbers.

That's right. But "good" and "bad" are relative and subjective here. Since a lost 2-step AFV unit earns 4 VPs for your opponent and a lost single-step infantry platoon earns only 1 VP, this is usually not a good idea--especially since the enemy infantry will tend to hang out in close terrain hexes with Dug-In markers. It all comes down to what you're willing to sacrifice to take that ground or punch that hole in the enemy's front lines. This, in turn, comes down to the scenario's objectives and victory conditions.

Quote:
All Infantry Attackers vs. All-AFV Defenders Assault = Usually bad for infantry attackers unless you have really decent numerical advantage.

This is also true in general but situation-dependent. For example, on night turns, when all AFVs have their CS halved, it's fairly easy for a company of Panzerfaust-armed German infantry to slip across the front line and knock out a lone British tank troop that has been parked too close to the front. That company can break down into three platoon-sized units at the instant of the Assault, so chit pull of AA or better is quite likely to brew up the tanks. On day turns, a stack of multiple such tanks will probably chew up the assaulting infantry via their anti-personnel MGs unless, as you mention, the infantry have the Tactical Advantage (i.e., they are swarming in sufficient numbers and/or attacking from close terrain).

Quote:
All-AFV Attackers vs. All-Infantry Defenders Combat = Almost always good. You will not be damaged in any way.

True, so long there are no AT-capable units around. In the historical scenarios--and the Campaign Game in particular--there are almost always 6-pounders and Shermans positioned to protect the infantry from German armor. Otherwise, the numerous thin-skinned German vehicles, like armored cars and half-tracks, could really tear up the British infantry every turn since all those MGs and 20mm autocannon grant them high RAS ratings (usually in the ballpark of 5-7) and since they are immune to CRT-mandated losses.

Quote:
All Infantry Attackers vs. All-AFV Defenders Combat = Never good. There is no circumstance where this will go well.

Right. You can't take a hex in this manner in this game system. That's because there is a separate routine for AT Fire. Consider that Combat takes place at a range of 425 yards and a unit's CS is derived mainly from its light machineguns and rifles--weapons that have no effect on armored vehicles. (Even an Armor rating of 1 = an average of 1 cm = 10mm of armor thickness.) But recall that units with an AT Range of 1 or greater can perform AT Fire as their sole action during the Combat Phase. This means that, in normal situations with a mixed stack of AFVs and non-AFVs in the target hex, you'll need to either knock out any AFVs in the target hex with ranged AT Fire *before* you declare the Combat against the remaining "soft" units, or else do an Assault.

Thanks for the interesting analysis!
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