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Subject: Really!? rss

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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Maybe its just my imagination. But, have you noticed that 'H' class weapons are very effective against 'A' class targets when using direct-fire?

For example... in PB, the Russian 122mm has an attack factor or 40 at a range of 10 against 'A' class targets! That's better than any of the Russian purpose-built anti-tank guns, that come with the game! In PL, its slightly different. The range at which 'H' class can attack 'A' class targets is 6 hexes, for direct-fire. Still that means the 8" howitzers have an attack factor of 80 at a range up to 6 hexes!

So, I'm setting an ambush with my 8" anti-tank guns. So that, those Tiger II's have to expose themselves to my direct-fire at 6 hexes or less. 5-1, say goodbye to that Tiger II platoon! Really!?

So, do you think that the PB/PL games have the relationship of 'H' class weapons firing at 'A' class targets correct? I mean if the 'H' class weapons where actually that effective against armor, why did any country even bother to design, manufacture and use these obviously inferior anti-tank ('small caliber') weapons at all? I mean, every country had plenty of 'field artillery' weapons of all sizes even before the war began. If the PB/Pl relationship is correct for H and A units you don't even need AT guns, since most attacks are at close-range anyway.

I probably got it all wrong. But, given the choice, I'd build 105's and 150's and use them in multipurpose roles. Increasing the number of guns that I already have and making a much more flexible and applicable force to most situations. You might need to build 88's for long range, but you are already doing that for anti-aircraft purposes anyway.

I think that maybe the relationship of H and A units might not be right. But how do you address it? Limit the range of H units against A units even more? Reduce the attack factors? Or some combination of the two? What do you think?

As always I look forward to you opinions and feedback.

Dennis
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Warren Davis
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Because when you check the actual numbers of the Tiger IIs, they weren't all that numerous, even in the Wehrmacht. Therefore, you were most likely to be facing lesser tanks against which the anti-tank guns were more effective.

Case in point: Seeing as the M4 Sherman was proven markedly inferior to the Tiger (any variety), why did the US curbstomp Germany? Shermans produced: 10,000+. Tigers (all varieties) produced: 886. Once the US figured out that 4 Shermans could kill 1 Tiger (OK, OK, the formation reliably lost 3 out of 4 Shermans, but hey, at least the Tiger was dead) the rest was a foregone conclusion.

Besides, all the 'H' class weapons in real life had far more non-armor targets that posed an immediate threat to important targets, the armor never really made it up the priority list. Hell, the more-famous-than-famous Long 88 started out as a flak gun, & it's other uses were only discovered when the forces in question had to shoot at something & the 88s were the only things available to shoot them...
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Seth Owen
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It's also a 44-year-old design and also the very first tactical board wargame. Subsequent research and game designs have addressed this problem and newer tactical games tend to have more nuanced effects.

The vehicle movement factors are all two or three times faster than they should be as well. The overrun rules are clumsy and the combat rules reward bunching units against indirect fire, which is the opposite of tactical soundness.

Seriously. Cut some slack.
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Martin McCleary
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Note that the Hummel in PB has the highest AF of any unit.

The Campaign Analysis booklet in PB explains how they arrived at their values, it isn't all based on range or muzzle velocity.

The Soviet large caliber "guns" were in fact quite effective vs armored targets. The 152 equipped Su/ISU series were known as extremely effective tank killers with only the HE round.

Not all combat results are a reflection of armor penetration; enough HE will immobilize, disable, or otherwise render ineffective an armored vehicle.

Do I think the ranges are somewhat exaggerated? - yes. A towed 122 wasn't going to engage tanks at 10 hexes (2500 yards). It didn't follow Russian AT doctrine and would jeopardize the survivability of the firing piece or battery.

Likewise many (most) of the tanks also have ridiculous engagement ranges but since the effect is applied across all units in the game it evens out.

I still like this series of games. Many tend to dismiss them but at the end of the day they are fun and easy to learn and the outcome is no more or less "realistic" than games of greater rules complexity at this scale.

You can tinker with the rules as many have over the decades but each change has a ripple effect so I'm in the leave it alone category and enjoy it as is out of the box.
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Frank Clarke
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There should be separate HE/AT values, but it was a simple game, you have to stop feature creep.
It is easy to come up with a dozen ludicrous things about Panzerblitz, where do you start.
"Half the Attack Strength for HE against armor, sure, let's get the thing out the door."
Simple is good, you have to sell stuff, not be 100% accurate.
Combining "A" class attacks so that 3 light tanks is the same as a heavy tank kills me. But I still love the game .


Edit: The whole WEC has the same "Half or Double" blatant oversimplification. "A" against "I" is the same problem, a Panther's 75mm HE shell does not contain more explosive than a Panzer IV's HE shell.
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Charles Neal
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I think Martin has the right idea. A barrage of HE will cause enough damage to put the unit out of action. Remember the timescale of the typical PB situation, about an hour at most. When units are eliminated they aren't necessarily completely destroyed, they have been sufficiently disrupted to render them ineffective for the next hour.

I for one still think PB is a great game 44 years on. The concept is simple and there aren't a ton of rules to learn that I don't have time for. Especially if you borrow the Opportunity Fire rule from Panzer Leader to prevent Panzerbush.
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Juan Valdez
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cgneal wrote:
I think Martin has the right idea. A barrage of HE will cause enough damage to put the unit out of action. Remember the timescale of the typical PB situation, about an hour at most. When units are eliminated they aren't necessarily completely destroyed, they have been sufficiently disrupted to render them ineffective for the next hour.

I for one still think PB is a great game 44 years on. The concept is simple and there aren't a ton of rules to learn that I don't have time for. Especially if you borrow the Opportunity Fire rule from Panzer Leader to prevent Panzerbush.


Yes, 6 minute turns, 60-90 minute scenarios.

Concur, still a great game after 44 years, even with panzerbush.

Scheduled to play Situation #12 this afternoon, in fact, with the rules as shipped in the box.

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Bill Eldard
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dgk196 wrote:
So, I'm setting an ambush with my 8" anti-tank guns.. .


Yeow. Eight inch shells of anything ought to do a lot of damage in a direct fire mode. That's like a tank being hit by a shot fired by a heavy cruiser (CA).

I would think that the concusssion from an 8" shell exploding on contact with a tank would incapacitate if not kill the tank crew, and possibly blow the turret off or knock the vehicle over onto its side. A lot of stuff is going to shake loose.
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Michael Sommers
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Eldard wrote:
I would think that the concusssion from an 8" shell exploding on contact with a tank would incapacitate if not kill the tank crew, and possibly blow the turret off or knock the vehicle over onto its side. A lot of stuff is going to shake loose.

The Americans sometimes used SP artillery in direct fire mode against fortifications on the West Wall. Even if the emplacement itself was hardly damaged, those inside were usually killed by concussion, as you suggest.
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Rob Notmyreallastnameberg
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dgk196 wrote:
Hello...

Why did any country even bother to design, manufacture and use these obviously inferior anti-tank ('small caliber') weapons at all?
Dennis

Finite resources determined what was most efficient to produce. As a case in point a US 8" howitzer weighs nearly 30 tons and a US 57mm weighs 1.25 tons. Of course a single battery of howitzer has a huge advantage over a single batter of 57mm AT guns, but the bigger weapons require far more resources to produce and transport. A single 8 inch howitzer uses as much steel as 23+ 57mm AT guns. Those 57mm guns can cover a large area of the front, and are less vulnerable to attack because they will be spread out over a vastly larger area. When put in that context production of the 'small caliber' weapons makes much more sense.

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Juan Valdez
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Eldard wrote:
dgk196 wrote:
So, I'm setting an ambush with my 8" anti-tank guns.. .


Yeow. Eight inch shells of anything ought to do a lot of damage in a direct fire mode. That's like a tank being hit by a shot fired by a heavy cruiser (CA).

I would think that the concusssion from an 8" shell exploding on contact with a tank would incapacitate if not kill the tank crew, and possibly blow the turret off or knock the vehicle over onto its side. A lot of stuff is going to shake loose.


That's probably right, flip it in place at the least. Tanks are heavy.

I'm pretty sure a direct hit would probably crack it open as well though.

I managed to walk a 5 inch shell top dead center onto a wrecked truck or halftrack or some such on the Vieques naval firing range back in the day. It cut the wreck in half to be sure, but having bits and pieces spinning hundreds of feet into the air, not so much.

Always loved that about recon, much better to shoot other people's guns than your own. Because if you hafta shoot your own gun, you're in a world of hurt.
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Brice Yokem

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Eldard wrote:
dgk196 wrote:
So, I'm setting an ambush with my 8" anti-tank guns.. .


Yeow. Eight inch shells of anything ought to do a lot of damage in a direct fire mode. That's like a tank being hit by a shot fired by a heavy cruiser (CA).

I would think that the concusssion from an 8" shell exploding on contact with a tank would incapacitate if not kill the tank crew, and possibly blow the turret off or knock the vehicle over onto its side. A lot of stuff is going to shake loose.


As a matter of fact, check out what the experts say about the SU 152.
It knocked out Tiger Tanks not by blowing a hole in the armor, but the concussion actually blew the turret off.
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Byron Henderson
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Quote:
So, I'm setting an ambush with my 8" anti-tank guns. So that, those Tiger II's have to expose themselves to my direct-fire at 6 hexes or less. 5-1, say goodbye to that Tiger II platoon! Really!?


Yes well, depending on doctrine the big guns were sometimes used in a direct fire mode. For example the Italians, as the war went on, made sure their 75mm H guns were stocked with a supply of AP rounds (since their 47mm ATG was next to useless, almost from the start).

The big guns, above 105mm at least, really don't belong on the board (unless you are playing with 4-5+ boards anyway). The easiest way to prevent misuse is to require that they be set up off-board and use Robert Chiang's Off-Board Artillery rule (included here for complete information).

Quote:
Off-board Artillery (from Abstract Panzer Leader by Robert Chiang)
At the start of the game, when each player is choosing his order of battle, that person may at his discretion decide to place one or more of the “(H)” class units behind “friendly” lines. Such units cannot be moved, and cannot be spotted or attacked by enemy units (for the sake of simplicity, assume that counter-battery fire is ineffective versus such fortified off-board positions, within the short time span of the game, and that…aircraft cannot spot off-board artillery due to perhaps low visibility weather conditions in that area). Off-board units may only use indirect fire to attack on-board units, and then only enemy units within three-fourths of the off-board artillery unit’s range allowance of the friendly board edge.
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Paul Brown
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What a good forum discussion...intelligent measured responses that get the old brain cells working about what is being modelled; how it stacks up against reality and...whether that actually matters if you're enjoying yourself.

Oh well, I guess Robert Chiang is right about the heavy stuff not really having a place at the FEBA. . But all those lovely counters held off-board!

Don't care. The Hummel stays!devil

Its just too intimidating NOT to have it on the board!

//Dotar
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Free Throw
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This discussion reminds me of a true story I once read. An infantry captain requested artillery support to destroy a pillbox along the Westwall late in the war. An M7 with its 105mm howitzer trundled up. The gunner aimed the gun by eye directly through the open gun tube then loaded an HE shell into the breech. He then asked the captain if the latter would like the honor of firing the gun. Before enthusiastically accepting the offer, the captain said, referring to the HE shell, "That's not going to kill the guys in that pillbox." The gunner admitted that that was very true, "but," he added, "it will scramble their brains." A moment later, the captain did indeed scramble the brains of the Germans inside the pillbox. Was the pillbox destroyed? Nope. Was it capable of any further combat? Nope again.

I can imagine pretty much that same scenario with A and H weapons playing out in PB and PL. The A-class unit may not be technically destroyed in the same manner that an effective AT round would destroy a tank, but it would scramble the brains of the crew enough to neutralize the AFV. The wreck counter would then not represent a "wreck" per se, but rather a vehicle that is no longer functioning as a combat unit, but is still taking up space on the battlefield.

Also, considering the tight confines of an AFV, I would imagine there were cases where the concussion of the hit may have set off the AFV's ammo. I don't know for certain that that happened, but if I ever come across evidence that it did, I wouldn't be surprised.
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Dennis Kochan
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It would appear that the ability of an H-class weapon would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis. The basic situation is the type of sights available on the gun. Not all guns have telescopic sights, some have panoramic sights. This is good for firing into an 'area' or for directing guns onto a target they cannot directly see. But, apparently not good for direct-fire against individual targets, even at close range.

Some sort of 'generic' rule might be acceptable... like say limiting antitank direct-fire to say a kilometer or so (4 hexes), just to put a limit on such attacks and later as actual data for specific guns are found the ranges and effects could be altered. As to the applicable attack factor, I use 10% of the H class attack rating. Not perfect, but its a start.

Dennis
 
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