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Subject: "Blocked Hex-sides" rss

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Dennis Kochan
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Hello....

The rule for 'Blocked Hex-sides' is the same for PB/PL as far as I can see. But, I've been wondering if it is correct when units are adjacent to the unit being spotted.

If a 'Hex-side' is an obstacle to the visibility of units 'behind it' then it/they therefor can't be seen. So, by the rules you have to see units in order to conduct a direct-fire attack. So, you can't fire at those units.

But, if you are adjacent to the 'Blocked Hex-side' you can attack those units with a direct-fire attack. Well, its just my opinion, but for the sake of consistency, 'Blocked Hex-sides' should always block the spotting of a unit that is between the spotting unit and the unit being spotted.

This of course would limit attacks on units in such a hex, in that situation, to that of a CAT attack. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

Dennis
 
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Frank Clarke
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The original rules allow bocage terrain, where you are shooting over the wall at your neighbour.
I see your logic, if a 6 foot wall blocks LOS at 1000m, it will block LOS at 10 meters.
I think it is a 6 foot ramp rather than a 6 foot wall, so if you get close you would have LOS.
But you could add a new terrain feature, the "abrupt 6 foot wall" that you can't see over at all. Perhaps a houserule to the existing terrain on a per scenario basis.
 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Yes, exactly. I've gone round and round with this for quite awhile. Part of the 'problem' is that there is no actual definition as to what constitutes an actual 'direct-fire' attack or a 'close-assault'. There are the 'game' definitions, of course.

So, I think that having a basic definition of the two might help. To me, a 'close-assault' can be composed of the following actions or abilities.

The ability to fire a weapon at a target without having to 'aim' over the sights of the weapon. Pointing it, aligning it, with the target will suffice to having 'aimed' the weapon when firing.

The ability to deliver grenades on the enemy positions.

The ability to emplace 'charges' onto enemy positions for the purpose of disabling or destroying them.

The ability to engage in hand to hand combat with the enemy.

There could be additional actions that can be undertaken, but basically that is it.

For 'direct-fire' none of those actions are capable of being done by the attacking unit. There is sufficient distance from the attacker to the target that the weapon must be aimed using sights in order to be effective.

So, anything that causes the unit to not be able to see the target also causes the unit to not be able to 'aim' its weapons for effective fire.

I've done the situational examples of why units should or shouldn't be able to attack through 'Blocked Hex-sides'. But, it becomes a 'circular argument', because for every situation you can think of, a counter to that can easily be presented. All the time, overlooking the conditions that cause the situation. One of the things that I have to remind myself of is that we are talking about an 'organization' being in a position for its weapons to be used in a manor consistent with their abilities to perform as a unit. Not individual tanks or soldiers, but a complete 'unit', a group.

To consider the abilities of an individual component of a 'group' is to be making allowances that are really applicable to another 'level' game. Such as Squad Leader. Where 'sub-units' of an organization can be considered and the way they operate in a smaller game scale. We have to keep in mind the scale of the units and the map. For every increase in the size of units, or the scale, certain 'details' are no longer applicable.

So, 'only' allowing for some sort of 'close-assault' through Blocked Hex-sides, would be more consistent, in my opinion. I think the difficulties of attacking in close terrain would be better simulated if the types of attack where limited. Otherwise you don't really have much difference between terrain types, as far as the effects on 'combat' are concerned. Again, just my opinion.

As always I look forward to your feedback and comments

Dennis

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Frank Clarke
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Squad Leader has
2.1.7 7.8 Units may always fire into any adjacent hex regardless of terrain. [Exceptions Cliffs]

If you can assault over the obstacle, you can probably shoot over the obstacle. So what kind of obstacle would allow assualt, but prevent direct fire? If the enemy are 50m into the woods or buildings, you would have to go in and get them, which is CAT.
So an unoccupied cover hex would be such a barrier (has to be 250m in PB), the lines on hex edges would be 6-foot mounds with gentle slopes.

You could houserule hex edges to be los-blocking thick cover that you can walk thru, I suppose.
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Juan Valdez
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dgk196 wrote:
Hello....

The rule for 'Blocked Hex-sides' is the same for PB/PL as far as I can see. But, I've been wondering if it is correct when units are adjacent to the unit being spotted.

If a 'Hex-side' is an obstacle to the visibility of units 'behind it' then it/they therefor can't be seen. So, by the rules you have to see units in order to conduct a direct-fire attack. So, you can't fire at those units.

But, if you are adjacent to the 'Blocked Hex-side' you can attack those units with a direct-fire attack. Well, its just my opinion, but for the sake of consistency, 'Blocked Hex-sides' should always block the spotting of a unit that is between the spotting unit and the unit being spotted.

This of course would limit attacks on units in such a hex, in that situation, to that of a CAT attack. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

Dennis


Have you tried limiting to CAT to see how it changes the game play?


For a while I played rules which allowed firing into any hex not blocked by a green or gray bar. For example, a unit in a "forest" hex did not need spotting.

It did change the game play. For example, in Situation #1, this rule renders the Germans as defenders pretty much unbeatable. The Russian player can't get any cover from the German 88s.

I'm playing original rules and finding scenarios appear to balanced with respect to these rules.

However, I'm also having fun jiggering with the OOB, starting and victory conditions as well. So it's all good.

Have fun!
 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Yes, I have, and it most definitely has an effect on 'game play / balance'. But that's what it is intended to do. Now, it would be difficult to take on enemy units, inside of villages/towns/cities, as it was. The same would be true of woods/forests and such. So, a 'Stalingrad' type situation can be a very difficult one indeed for the 'attacker', as it indeed was.

When operating 'inside' towns or woods, squads or platoons become 'separated' from one another in respects of being able to see each other or what would have been 'common' targets in open terrain. And again, what you can't see you can't shoot at (direct-fire weapons). So, attacks in such hexes becomes a series of sub-unit battles in which they may or may not be able to support one another against a 'common' enemy unit.

When you would be firing 'through' adjacent 'Blocked Hex-sides', you would most likely be firing on outposts, screening units and the like. You would not be taking on the bulk of the unit in its depth. So, if you are allowed to 'fire' through such hex-sides, the effect on the target should be very limited. Dispersion of the bulk of the unit would not occur, because you cannot fire on it, only its outlying sub-units. So, 'DD' or 'X' results would almost never occur. A very heavy modifier as to effective number of attack factors and/or odds-ratio modifiers and die-roll-modifiers would probably be in order, in favor of the defender. And for close-assaults into such hexes also.

Just my opinion. Thanks for your responses.

As always, I look forward to your opinions and feedback.

Dennis
 
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Brice Yokem

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Just to add to thee confusion...

When I read the PZB rules, the Brown hexsides cut the attack factor in half
for units attacking through those terrain features. I presume this applies to CAT as well.
 
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Frank Clarke
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Jokem wrote:
When I read the PZB rules, the Brown hexsides cut the attack factor in half
for units attacking through those terrain features.


Good point. The brown hex sides are on a slope, and "a unit attacking an enemy unit defending on a slope or hilltop, attacks at half-attack-factor." (Hill and Slope Defense Exceptions, PanzerBlitz)

"Consequently, whenever a slope is relatively straight, it does not obstruct the LOS along it. In some instances, two or more slope hexes meet without a hilltop being formed between them. This represents a ridge or “razorback” hillock. The Brown hex-side symbols represent the “spine” of these ridges. " (I- (MAPBOARD NOTES))
Razorback Hillock (Brown Hex-side):


The brown hex-sides are 70m high ridges on slopes, green and grey hex-sides are 10m high obstacles on level ground.

Since "F- No matter what the obstacle or the terrain, a unit may ALWAYS fire at a target to which it is directly adjacent (regardless of elevation)." I imagine the green hex-side to be a berm (Green Hex-side):
 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello....

An interesting discussion. The examples of terrain are interesting, it helps much to see what is being described / referred to in your posts.

In the first example, the ridge-line, we are looking along the ridge and very little if anything is obstructed on either side of the ridge. But, on either side of the ridge-line, a units (enemy or friendly) deployed on either side of the ridge, would see what's on their side of the ridge and not what is on the other side. Essentially blocking the view of what is adjacent to you. To 'see' over the ridge, units on either side would have to move up to the ridge-line so that they could see 'over' the obstruction.

This is a different situation all together. Because we are not talking about the unit being deployed in the hex that has the adjacent blocking hex-side. Instead, we are talking about a unit deploying along the blocking hex-side. A different matter all together. This would require 'facing' and 'deployment' aspects of the unit to allow 'firing' or attacking through such a hex-side. Effectively you would have to make an 'attack' through the hex-side, at PB/PL scale that is. Remember we are talking about units deploying for combat. Somewhat different than small outposts or patrols keeping a lookout. For some units even deploying along the ridge-line would be difficult and restrictive as to their being able to fire from the ridge-line. For 'guns' and tanks you wouldn't be able to depress the guns enough to fire into the next hex. The would be literally pointed up the hill. A good AA position I guess.
Just joking, couldn't resist, my bad.

The second example the 'berm' in front of the trees on the right, is just that a berm in front of the trees. Its not a tree line, correct? So, this would be a very good example for trench-lines for say guns or tanks deployed behind them. It certainly would reduce their visible profile from the area opposite the side of the depression. A very good example of a 'manufactured' hull-down position. That photo was a great find, thanks for posting that. It will make a very good reference for helping define 'field positions'.

Its really good, to have such fine feedback on these subjects. Guys, keep up the good work. I for one appreciate the fact that you take the time to help out in these discussions with you opinions and your ideas. I look forward to your opinions and ideas.

Dennis
 
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Frank Clarke
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Heartbreak ridge, Korea:


Iwo Jima, I think:

 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Yes indeed, some nice photos showing what would be on a PB/PL map a ridge-line, resulting in a blocked hex-side. The second photo gives us a good example. The Marines actually have to deploy along the crest of the ridge-line to 'see' and or 'fire' from it. Of the guys at the bottom of the ridge-line, not too many yards away, all they can see is what's between them and the top of the ridge-line. Half the Japanese Army could be 50 yards from them and they wouldn't know it.

Also, any vehicle or gun would have to advance over that crest of the ridge-line to be able to bring their guns into action, completely exposing them and negating the 'defensive' aspect of the ridge-line that would be afforded to an infantry unit. The first photo shows a similar situation looking along the ridge-line, but just below it. Occupying such a position gives you a good line of sight along the ridge-line, but not over it.

As to the effects on firing. Well for me the infantry deployed along the ridge-line should be able to fire their weapons at whatever lies in front of them, out to their visible and weapons range. I don't see why they would have their attack factors 'halved'. As to guns or tanks. Unless they actually crest the ridge-line (cross it) they shouldn't be able to fire over it at the adjacent area(hex), for direct-fire.

These, and previous photos, are very good examples as to why 'blocked hex-sides should be exactly that for attacking. If you can't trace an unblocked line of sight into a hex then you cannot direct-fire into that hex, regardless of the position of the firing unit, adjacent or two or more hexes away. Blocked is blocked. Without treating the hexes in this way, you negate the existence of such terrain on the map. At that point why not just have a 'feature-less' map with roads on it?

'Obeying' the concept of blocked terrain, no matter what the range, makes up 'tank-proof' terrain. Something 'defenders' are always looking to deploy along... gives them the advantage of limiting the types and direction of the attacks that may be coming their way. And though it may seem like a 'minor' distinction, one look at a PB/PL map and looking at what terrain is blocked and what is not, will answer any of those questions, eh?

As always, I look forward to you opinions and ideas.

Dennis
 
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Brice Yokem

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Yes, exactly. I've gone round and round with this for quite awhile. Part of the 'problem' is that there is no actual definition as to what constitutes an actual 'direct-fire' attack or a 'close-assault'. There are the 'game' definitions, of course.

------------------

CAT is like infiltration tactics, where a unit moves using cover and concealment as much as possible to get close. Read about Stosstrupen in the German army in WWI.

Direct fire is what the infantry did before Stosstrupen tactics. They simple fired at the enemy at range.

 
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Keith Plymale
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An important thing to remember is when it comes to direct fire every piece in the game was rated for it's effect on armored targets. I've always thought CAT in PB/PL was happening at Squad Leader scale.

Imaginative Strategist has articles on the original design of PB.

http://www.imaginative-strategist.layfigures.com/IMSTRAT%20P...
 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Its been awhile... but in discussions its been brought up that there are of course basically three ways of modifying the 'special effects' on units in the game. Combat Results table related modifications and unit effectiveness and a combination of the two.

What about treating woods and village / town hexes as if they where 'fortifications'? That is they would have two attributes. The first being a 'defense' factor and the second being that of how the hex is occupied.

For the 'defense factor' modifier in 'woods' there would simply be a 'rating' which would be 'added' to the occupying units defense factor. This would not apply to 'hard / armored' targets. So you may have a rating for light, medium or heavy hex modifiers. This modifier could be a numerical value added to or replacing the units defense factor. Or if could be a Die-Roll-Modifier (DRM) or a Odds-Ration-Modifier (ORM). Also, the 'effect', as in fortifications, of being inside or on the 'fort' would be the same for woods. Either you are far enough into the woods to get the benefit of the 'modifier' or deployed forward enough that you can make attacks from that position.

Then for 'village / town' hexes it would be treated exactly as 'fortification' (fort). But it could have a numerical value which is 'added' to the units defense factor instead of 'replacing' the factor. Or it could 'modify' the CRT aspect. That is it might have a Die-Roll-Modifier (DRM) or a Odds-Ratio-Modifier (ORM). Many variables are available. Of course you could have ratings for light, medium or heavy terrain types.

Then too, you can have 'area' of woods that has a light rating and another that has a medium or heavy rating. You can 'detail' your map as you like. Something simple like a progressive increase of the woods on a map. One half, or an entire map, may have a 'light woods rating' and the other half or next map might have a 'medium woods rating'. Then 'village / town' hexes could be 'detailed' as regards their rating as needed also.

Thanks for listening

Dennis
 
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