I have an RAF squadron that has reached its orders hex. I wish to give it a new vector order and place its orders chit in another hex. I roll, using the optional rule, and get a 1 so the squadron doesn't hear me and "continues with its original order."
Q: Would/could the squadron now have an orbit counter placed on it?
No, because Orbit orders are given in the Patrol Phase [10.3.2]. This issue is aside from whether the unit is occupying a suitable landmark hex to enter an orbit.
I'm trying to visualize what the squadron would be doing as it didn't "hear" the new order. Wouldn't they in essence orbit in the current hex and look for the enemy? There is no altitude change, so they have to be doing something.
As I wrote in the Designer's Notes, the die roll for vector orders is an imperfect model as to how giving too many vectors can have a frictional effect on squadrons. However, possible interpretations of what is happening could be:
(i) The squadron has gotten lost and is flying about trying to get its bearings. (Don't laugh, it happened!)
(ii) The squadron is milling about inefficiently, in some fashion.
I understand the rule as written, but wondering that since a squadron in range can attempt a tally in the combat phase wouldn't an automatic orbit for the turn be appropriate?
I'd say not. The implication here is that 'friction' is making the squadron behave inefficiently. It is not properly patrolling the airspace or is in some other way inconvenienced. It might not even be in the hex and could be zipping about the nearby airspace, trying to get organized or going on a wild goose chase.
Is not a patrol line a moving orbit point? I was curious as to why a unit on a patrol line could not automatically tally around its current hex just like an orbiting unit?
Probably gives too much favoritism to the RAF, but just wondering.
Actually, an early version of the rule did just that, and it was deeply problematic. It made Patrol Lines far too powerful a tool. It was easier to make Patrol lines function exactly as they did in history--creating two waypoints that Squadrons fly between.
Patrol Lines make sense when using the optional 10.3.1 rule. Then they become like an system for automatically bouncing between two points without having to give any vector orders and risk failure.