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Subject: Suppression Fire... rss

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Dennis Kochan
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Hello..

'Suppression Fire', mentioned in just about every military engagement, at least on a tactical level anyway. But, I just don't get the impression that any combat result, in the game, reflects that tactic.

So, is it possible to simulate it in the game? 'Suppression Fire' seems to be used to 'interfere' with freedom of movement or action taken by the 'attacker'. Essentially to 'disrupt' the attackers activities. This is done by laying down fire to block movement or bring a target or area under sufficient 'fire' to cause the 'target' to proceed with caution or defer actions.

One method might be to reduce the 'combat' results related to 'suppression fire'. This could be done by 'reducing' the combat result types. Since with most 'suppression fire' a specific target is not necessarily being fired at, but an area being brought under fire.

So, reducing the effects would seem to reflect that. By reducing the effects, I mean that there would not be an 'X' result available when resolving a 'suppression fire' attack. The 'X' would be reduced to a 'D' result, as would 'DD' results. But, in order for the 'suppression fire' to have an effect, the Combat Odds Ratio would be increased by one or two 'steps'. That is an attack that would yield a 1:1 attack could be raised to 2:1 or even 3:1. This should be sufficient to make the non-specific 'suppression fire' effective, but not 'destructive'

I look forward to your feedback and idea's.

Dennis
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Peter Lloyd
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Suppression fire simulation is very difficult in a my turn - your turn sequence of play. AH tried it with Squad Leader, in the Prep Fire, Move, Advance Fire. That would likely be the best route in PB, but now you will likely need a Opportunity Fire rule.

Another option is an alternating activation sequence like with Tactical GameX or Panzer Grenadier. TGX would probably work best, because it is built off the PB/PL system.
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Robert McConnell
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Dennis, I think it is probably best simulated in PanzerBlitz by direct firing on a key position with about 3:1 odds (less if you need it NOW). Get the desired "D" or "DD" result and move your non-firing infantry, halftracks, and assorted supporting AFVs into position for a Close Assault and hit him with a sledgehammer. Oh, and then there is indirect fire: usually does the trick.

Bob

dgk196 wrote:
Hello..

'Suppression Fire', mentioned in just about every military engagement, at least on a tactical level anyway. But, I just don't get the impression that any combat result, in the game, reflects that tactic.

So, is it possible to simulate it in the game? 'Suppression Fire' seems to be used to 'interfere' with freedom of movement or action taken by the 'attacker'. Essentially to 'disrupt' the attackers activities. This is done by laying down fire to block movement or bring a target or area under sufficient 'fire' to cause the 'target' to proceed with caution or defer actions.

One method might be to reduce the 'combat' results related to 'suppression fire'. This could be done by 'reducing' the combat result types. Since with most 'suppression fire' a specific target is not necessarily being fired at, but an area being brought under fire.

So, reducing the effects would seem to reflect that. By reducing the effects, I mean that there would not be an 'X' result available when resolving a 'suppression fire' attack. The 'X' would be reduced to a 'D' result, as would 'DD' results. But, in order for the 'suppression fire' to have an effect, the Combat Odds Ratio would be increased by one or two 'steps'. That is an attack that would yield a 1:1 attack could be raised to 2:1 or even 3:1. This should be sufficient to make the non-specific 'suppression fire' effective, but not 'destructive'

I look forward to your feedback and idea's.

Dennis
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Scott Clinton
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Surpression is exactly what the D and DD results represent.
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Mike Weaver
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As others have quickly pointed out, it is already possible in the game (not just possible, but a key tactic). If you are looking for additional options, see The General, vol 13, no 4, p 31, "Increasing Infantry Firepower", which includes barrage fire for H- and M-class, and sweeping fire for I-class units.

https://archive.org/details/GeneralMagazineVol13i4
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Thanks for the link to the General article. The rules seem complete. But doesn't address what I'm trying to do here. Some of the attributes won't apply to what I have in mind. Also some of the components of the rules just don't align with actual tactical methods. Something that is hard to do and still get PB/PL to work. Its not a disqualifier, to be sure, but I'd like to see if I can get it to work without to many compromises.

I think that maybe, judging from the responses, I need to post a more comprehensive explanation of what I'm calling 'suppression fire'. My bad, I'll try to work it out and post it as quickly as possible. Thanks for raising the issue.

Dennis
 
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Robert McConnell
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Dennis, I took another look at your post and I think it really seems to represent overwatch fire coming from a supporting infantry platoon while another infantry platoon attempts to maneuver closer to the "target". I do agree with the premise that the "D" and "DD" results represent that effect. The goal of suppressive fire in tactical combat is to throw enough lead at the enemy that they are unwilling to expose themselves outside of their positions (foxholes, trenches, dugouts, whatever), while someone on your team moves in to deliver a weapon which will deliver a more unpleasant result (flamethrowers, satchel charges, shaped charges, your choice; i.e. Close Assault). Sometimes suppression actually eliminates enemy resistance (they all die or are wounded or run away or possibly surrender). I hope this doesn't sound simplistic, but I do think it addresses your original post. Let me know in a PM if you have rethought this as I am curious.
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Okay, sorry about the lengthy delay of my response. But, I've got my new tin-foil hat and I'm ready to go!!!

Yes, what I had in mind was a purposeful elective action instead of a random result. This type of 'attack' would be used to 'apply' a 'D' or 'DD' result in place of an 'X' result. Not that on a 'micro-level' scale there would be no casualties when doing this, its just that the primary effect is that of 'suppression'. I allow operations by units that have a 'D' or 'DD' effect imposed on them. I simply do the +/- on die-rolls when such units are attacking (+) or attacked (-).

This would simulate, setting up 'lanes' of fire with heavy automatic weapons or area fire. The intent being, to cause target units to stay under cover or reduce their exposure. So, this would be less specific as regards any one particular target. As such, it should be 'easier' to do. In order to reflect that, when electing to apply 'suppression' fire the Combat Results Odds ratio can be increased by one(1) or two(2), your call. But, the 'X' results become 'DD' results. There is no direct 'elimination' result when conducting 'suppression' fire.

There are other considerations to using such a mod-rule like this, so I leave it up you all to weigh-in on the discussion.

Dennis
 
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Scott Clinton
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To each their own for their games but not for me.

My reasons are many:
1) Extra rules for a game that is very good because it is simple
2) IMO, allowing units with a "Disrupted" status to move, attack will break the (very simple) system that is Panzer Blitz

Lastly, and I think perhaps most importantly for me is I do not think it is realistic to have entire platoons "fire for supression" with no chance of damage and somehow an increased chance to impact their target's morale/ability to respond. I cannot rationalize this at all to tell the truth, not on this scale and especially not in a game of this (low) complexity.

Just my 2 cents,
GG
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Robert McConnell
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Scott, you can disagree but "simple" is not the same as "good". You don't have to play this, since it is the Variant section of the forum. Go on with your simple Original PanzerBlitz (OPB); no harm= no foul. But others want a better simulation.
And by the way: Platoons do fire suppressive fire on the enemy in combat (at least in the U.S. Army). It's called bounding overwatch, and has been around as a tactic since the end of World War 1. Whether you can rationalize it is immaterial, because the fact is it is practiced by many armies around the world. On moving Disrupted units: it's a game, you can modify it to suit your needs. It doesn't suit your needs, so don't play any variants. My two cents.

Grumbling Grognard wrote:
To each their own for their games but not for me.

My reasons are many:
1) Extra rules for a game that is very good because it is simple
2) IMO, allowing units with a "Disrupted" status to move, attack will break the (very simple) system that is Panzer Blitz

Lastly, and I think perhaps most importantly for me is I do not think it is realistic to have entire platoons "fire for supression" with no chance of damage and somehow an increased chance to impact their target's morale/ability to respond. I cannot rationalize this at all to tell the truth, not on this scale and especially not in a game of this (low) complexity.

Just my 2 cents,
GG
 
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Scott Clinton
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For the record: for some people, simple does equate to a good thing (all else being equal of course) and more complexity for the sake of more complexity is never a good thing. Trying to make micro changes to a macro game is not my idea of an improvement. I simply stated as much.

Sorry to offend as I obviously have but thanks for the insight into "bounding overwatch". Myself, having read about tactics and history for over 45 years I had (of course) never heard of such a concept. Maybe we should try to add it to "Third Reich" as well? shake
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Robert McConnell
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Scott, no problems with your opinion. I respect that you like the original game. Yes, on bounding overwatch. There are variations on it as well: you can "bound" the entire platoon (risky) or even bound by sections or teams to minimize return fire. The suppression part is to allow the platoon/section/team to cross an open area with minimal return fire. Smoke is frequently (as in "always") used to cover the move/obscure enemy observation. Third Reich? That may be beyond the scale! All is well on my end. I am not offended, honestly. I am not an advocate of complexity- if an additional rule makes the game more faithful to history, then I am all for it. But it has to "pay" for itself by actually improving (a relative term admittedly) the game effect(s). So there you have it.


Grumbling Grognard wrote:
For the record: for some people, simple does equate to a good thing (all else being equal of course) and more complexity for the sake of more complexity is never a good thing. Trying to make micro changes to a macro game is not my idea of an improvement. I simply stated as much.

Sorry to offend as I obviously have but thanks for the insight into "bounding overwatch". Myself, having read about tactics and history for over 45 years I had (of course) never heard of such a concept. Maybe we should try to add it to "Third Reich" as well? shake
 
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Scott Clinton
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"...Third Reich? That may be beyond the scale!"

My feelings about Panzer Blitz as well, especially considering the niche for "simple games" that it has always filled and all of the details that were intentionally not included in the game, that some would claim are equally/more important than supressive fire of this detail.

To each their own.
 
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Robert McConnell
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Scott, you took a parting shot at Dennis! LOL.devil Touche' on Third Reich (a great game BTW). My sweet spot for simple games would be more like Star Ship Troopers or OGRE for tactical and SPI's original Napoleon at Waterloo for "operational". To be brutally honest I do agree with you on the "D" and "DD" results as representing suppression (and any other manner of confusion, disorientation, fear, etc.). We like PanzerBlitz, just in different ways and that is not a bad thing.



Grumbling Grognard wrote:
"...Third Reich? That may be beyond the scale!"

My feelings about Panzer Blitz as well, especially considering the niche for "simple games" that it has always filled and all of the details that were intentionally not included in the game, that some would claim are equally/more important than supressive fire of this detail.

To each their own.
 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Good discussion... I agree, that 'D' and 'DD' could represent Suppression. I'm just trying to make it an elective as opposed to a totally random event. I don't really know what to say about additional rules. Either you use them or you don't. I'm just presenting 'variants'.


Everyone gets to play whatever version you like, no problem there!

Dennis
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Steve
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dgk196 wrote:
Hello...

Good discussion... I agree, that 'D' and 'DD' could represent Suppression. I'm just trying to make it an elective as opposed to a totally random event. I don't really know what to say about additional rules. Either you use them or you don't. I'm just presenting 'variants'.


Everyone gets to play whatever version you like, no problem there!

Dennis

My take on the problem you are trying to solve is --

1] Inf. were way undervalued for their AF when they fire at soft targets. I'm told that their AF is really their Anti-Tank CAT strength. Their range is really their I-class range, though.
. . What this does is to make the defending units firing at the enemy Inf. approaching to make a CAT attack, less effective than they should be. It also makes the attacking Inf. less useful when it fires to Disrupt and suppress the defending Inf.
. . Perhaps the thought was that Art. was supposed to get the D & DD results on the defender that simulate their suppression.
. . By making town hard/Armored targets PB made AFV with A-class weapons very good at suppressing Inf. in towns.

2] During "fire and move" aka "bounding overwatch", etc., the whole idea is to keep the defenders heads down so they will take a little longer to sight on your moving troops if they are moving in short bounds instead of continuously.
. . To me it therefore makes some sense that the attacker may want to trade some -X DRM for making X results be D or DD. The attacking Inf. units that are firing are not trying that hard to hit anyone. They just want to keep the heads of most of them down. For this aimed fire is less important.

......................................................................
In PB the defending Ger. Inf. already can't kill* many or any advancing Rus. Inf. Comp. They just don't have enough AF to hurt them.
. . Defending Rus. Inf. do have enough AF to kill individual Ger. Inf. Plat.; they need 2-1 odds and to roll a 1. So, they need 16 AF, 5x3 =15+2(from a Mortar) =17. Or, 6x2 =12+3+2(from M &/or H) =17.
. . OTOH, requiring a whole Bn. worth of Inf. to fire at 1 Plat. to kill it 17% of the time is not a good simulation. Like I said, Inf's AF at other Inf. is way too little.
. . This non-symmetry is a very bad thing.
. . Dennis, I think you'rre intending to do something about this non-symmetry by replacing the Rus. Comp. with 3 Plat., right?



. * . Note that killing a unit in this game doesn't mean killing and wounding 75% of its men.
. . Rather, it means "so disrupting the unit that it is ineffective for 1 or 2 hours." This might be achieved just by killing the commanding officer if the unit is not veteran.
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Robert McConnell
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Steve, this may be the best description of what is wrong with infantry in PanzerBlitz. Outstanding analysis of the "problem" and a nice, clear description of why it is a poor simulation in that regard. I may have to frame this on my wall.

Bob

Steve1501 wrote:

My take on the problem you are trying to solve is --

1] Inf. were way undervalued for their AF when they fire at soft targets. I'm told that their AF is really their Anti-Tank CAT strength. Their range is really their I-class range, though.
. . What this does is to make the defending units firing at the enemy Inf. approaching to make a CAT attack, less effective than they should be. It also makes the attacking Inf. less useful when it fires to Disrupt and suppress the defending Inf.
. . Perhaps the thought was that Art. was supposed to get the D & DD results on the defender that simulate their suppression.
. . By making town hard/Armored targets PB made AFV with A-class weapons very good at suppressing Inf. in towns.

2] During "fire and move" aka "bounding overwatch", etc., the whole idea is to keep the defenders heads down so they will take a little longer to sight on your moving troops if they are moving in short bounds instead of continuously.
. . To me it therefore makes some sense that the attacker may want to trade some -X DRM for making X results be D or DD. The attacking Inf. units that are firing are not trying that hard to hit anyone. They just want to keep the heads of most of them down. For this aimed fire is less important.

......................................................................
In PB the defending Ger. Inf. already can't kill* many or any advancing Rus. Inf. Comp. They just don't have enough AF to hurt them.
. . Defending Rus. Inf. do have enough AF to kill individual Ger. Inf. Plat.; they need 2-1 odds and to roll a 1. So, they need 16 AF, 5x3 =15+2(from a Mortar) =17. Or, 6x2 =12+3+2(from M &/or H) =17.
. . OTOH, requiring a whole Bn. worth of Inf. to fire at 1 Plat. to kill it 17% of the time is not a good simulation. Like I said, Inf's AF at other Inf. is way too little.
. . This non-symmetry is a very bad thing.
. . Dennis, I think you'rre intending to do something about this non-symmetry by replacing the Rus. Comp. with 3 Plat., right?



. * . Note that killing a unit in this game doesn't mean killing and wounding 75% of its men.
. . Rather, it means "so disrupting the unit that it is ineffective for 1 or 2 hours." This might be achieved just by killing the commanding officer if the unit is not veteran.
 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Very good observations. Again, I believe that both PB and PL followed the 'kiss' principle. There is nothing wrong with that. Fortunately these games lend themselves to being rather easily modified while, in most cases, still using the basic framework of the game. Yes, the 'mix-up' of the infantry's anti-armor af and the range for the non A-class targets sure went a long way to confuse things. But, with some effort it could be sorted out. Whatever the numbers (af / df) turn out to be, I think the basics can be worked out.

So, using a 'procedure' already in use in the game, maybe we can make it work for infantry v. infantry. Without 'modifying' too many things at one time. In the game A class weapons engage A class targets with an interesting, and simple relevance. When firing at half range or less the af is doubled. Why couldn't we use the same basic principle for I class weapons v. I class targets!? When an I class weapon is firing at an I class target at half range or less, the af is doubled! If you'd like you could double the I class af against any target that is not an A class target.

Dennis
 
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Robert McConnell
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Dennis, I think you have answered your question. I agree that Jim Dunnigan was going with the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" (KISS) principle for PB. It just doesn't translate well now as most experienced war gamers (yes we can say Grognards) expect better. I think raising the Infantry attack factors would have made this a better game out of the box. Infantry antitank factors should not drive that part of the game (I know we agree on this). The second part of my response is that the CRT was also "broken" out of the box. Yes, Jim Dunnigan was going into previously uncharted territory with it. So how do we "fix" it? I think it is actually pretty easy: if you want to use suppressive fire you have a new CRT for suppression. Take the active CRT and reduce the number of "X" results (don't remove them entirely as suppression will occasionally eliminate units for game purposes). That's what I think, Dennis.

Bob

dgk196 wrote:
Hello...

Very good observations. Again, I believe that both PB and PL followed the 'kiss' principle. There is nothing wrong with that. Fortunately these games lend themselves to being rather easily modified while, in most cases, still using the basic framework of the game. Yes, the 'mix-up' of the infantry's anti-armor af and the range for the non A-class targets sure went a long way to confuse things. But, with some effort it could be sorted out. Whatever the numbers (af / df) turn out to be, I think the basics can be worked out.

So, using a 'procedure' already in use in the game, maybe we can make it work for infantry v. infantry. Without 'modifying' too many things at one time. In the game A class weapons engage A class targets with an interesting, and simple relevance. When firing at half range or less the af is doubled. Why couldn't we use the same basic principle for I class weapons v. I class targets!? When an I class weapon is firing at an I class target at half range or less, the af is doubled! If you'd like you could double the I class af against any target that is not an A class target.

Dennis
 
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dgk196 wrote:
Hello...

Very good observations. Again, I believe that both PB and PL followed the 'kiss' principle. There is nothing wrong with that. Fortunately these games lend themselves to being rather easily modified while, in most cases, still using the basic framework of the game. Yes, the 'mix-up' of the infantry's anti-armor af and the range for the non A-class targets sure went a long way to confuse things. But, with some effort it could be sorted out. Whatever the numbers (af / df) turn out to be, I think the basics can be worked out.

So, using a 'procedure' already in use in the game, maybe we can make it work for infantry v. infantry. Without 'modifying' too many things at one time. In the game A class weapons engage A class targets with an interesting, and simple relevance. When firing at half range or less the af is doubled. Why couldn't we use the same basic principle for I class weapons v. I class targets!? When an I class weapon is firing at an I class target at half range or less, the af is doubled! If you'd like you could double the I class af against any target that is not an A class target.

Dennis

Doubling may not be enough when firing at all soft targets.

Triple at half range or less.

Doubled beyond half range.

Also, doubled for CAT if there are no closed top AFV with the defenders. They are tossing hand grenades into the open tops.

 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Yes indeed, the AF for I class (soft-fire) units just doesn't seem right. Also, I was trying to incorporate a concept already in use in the game, albeit for a different weapons class. So, it would be a concept that people would already be used to, adapted to a different situation.

As to double or triple the attack factors, depending on the range, each of us would have to decide that for themselves. Some might like the more effective triple AF, in order to have some immediate effect. Others might like the double AF to keep the destruction of units more difficult. Either would be acceptable depending on your goal. I don't think there is a wrong answer to that. So, go for what you feel is correct.

I think the 'selective' results as opposed to the problematic result, might be applicable in other situations. Such as Indirect fire, barrage fire and so on. I was never a big fan of 'half' af because its indirect fire. I think maybe the type of pattern, the number of batteries and so on should have more of an impact than just an arbitrary modification of the af. So, in a sense you should be able to elect for a 'suppression' type result for both direct and indirect fire.

I look forward to your responses.

Dennis
 
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Dennis, because you seem to like out of the box solutions, let me suggest this one.

We now have a rule that lets a unit be tripled when it fires and then be removed from the map and considered to be Eliminated.

Suppose that instead of being eliminated we marked it as permanently unable to fire. This would apply the Art. and Inf. mostly, but AFV sometimes. However, Inf. could still make CATs so it can defend itself.

I-class would still be doubled at half rage or less. So, I-class would be 6x normal if it used this rule. So, a 3 becomes an 18 or a 5 becomes a 30.

OTOH, there is a general rule is wargaming that doubled and doubled is just tripled [not quadrupled]. That is, 2x2 becomes 2x2 =4, 4-1 =3.
. . So here, 2x3 =6, 6-1 =5; so the units above are just 5x normal. Therefore, 3x5 = 15+3 (from a mortar) =18 [which is 1-1 on a Comp.], and 5x5 = 25 [which is 1-1 on a full Ger. Inf. Comp. or 3-1 on a Plat.]

Replies are welcome.

 
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Daniel Blumentritt
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One type of suppression the game doesn't model (which seems more appropriate for a game like Tobruk than this game anyway) is that even though small-arms fire is unlikely to cause problems to AFVs, it does make them button up and close the hatch.
 
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Robert McConnell
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Daniel, I absolutely agree with your observation. The value of suppressive fire from "I"-type weapons on AFVs is not understated in original PanzerBlitz, it does not exist at all! Steve Fitt and I are working together on a PanzerBlitz variant (currently it includes Panzer Leader, but I may have to make it a separate module due to size limits on VASSAL) which should address a LOT of these issues. We will include a rules addendum in the notes section for everyone to read, once we complete it and playtest it. The "D" and "DD" results are a compromise result on the CRT in my eyes. They work well enough.

Bob

Statalyzer wrote:
One type of suppression the game doesn't model (which seems more appropriate for a game like Tobruk than this game anyway) is that even though small-arms fire is unlikely to cause problems to AFVs, it does make them button up and close the hatch.
 
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I have another thought.

I have said that James Dunnigann may have made Inf. so weak because it is normally defending in towns or woods [to avoid being Elim'd by fire attacks]. Therefore the attacker can't suppress the defender's fire.

Basically, the problem is to keep units in towns and woods from being X'd by fire without a spotter.

One solution would be to allow blind fire [i.e., fire without a spotter] into towns and woods, but --
1] Add one more +1 DRM.
2] Add 4 DF to all Art. units
3] Convert all X results into DD results.

Now, you can suppress the defender's when he is in cover by getting a D or DD result, but this is harder to do. And, you still can't Elim him with fire attacks without having a spotter.

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