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MBT (second edition)» Forums » Rules

Subject: Question on Observers rss

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Rich Jennings
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The Forces for a scenario usually display one or more leg units marked at some level of observer for indirect fire paired with an equal number of vehicles also marked at some level of observer.

1. Do the leg units function as the integral crew referenced in Rule 7.39 and function as an observer for indirect fire either as mounted or dismounted (with penalty)? When the observer leg unit is dismounted, the vehicle cannot function as an observer?

2. Or, do the leg unit(s) and vehicle unit(s) function as separate, independent observers(dismounted leg and separate vehicle or mounted leg in an observer vehicle both capable of calling for indirect fire)?

Thanks
rich j.
 
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Nadir Elfarra
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If the unit doesn't have the notation (e.g. "Recon") then it lacks the capability.

For example, it's common in some scenarios for the Soviets to have an "FO" unit with a "K" (command-variant) BMP transport. If the FO unit separates from the transport, only the FO unit will be capable of calling in artillery. By contrast, several scenarios feature US Cavalry units where both the dismounts and their transporting M3 CFVs are marked "Recon". That enables both the dismount unit _and_ the M3 to call for artillery as "Recon."

I see no reason that the transported observer couldn't call for fire while transported so long as it shares the OW command with the transport (i.e. you can't give the Observer OW command while giving the transport a separate Fire, Move, or Fire-Move command).

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Martin Lane
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I believe the observer would be able to spot whilst being transported whatever the command given to the transporting unit as long as it's not a MOVE Command. Passengers do not share the command given to the transport nor are they marked with a separate command but are limited in what they do if the transport is given a MOVE command.

6.6.7.2 Transported Fire
Squads, half-squads and sections may utilize Direct GP Fire while
transported, except from helicopters.
The passenger may fire, or observe for indirect fire, if their transporting vehicle has any command except Move

This was clarified for me by Jim on a Panzer thread:

Martin, thanks for your question.

I think it would be more straightforward to look at this from a minimalist point of view.

1. Passenger units are not assigned their own commands, nor are they bound by the command assigned to the transporting unit, other than ...

2. If a transporting unit has a MOVE Command, the only thing the passenger(s) may do is dismount or go for a ride.

3. Passengers may observe for indirect fire (5.9.4), overwatch fire or direct fire.

4. If a passenger fires it must apply the Transported Fire modifier in addition to any other modifiers. Again, they are not impacted by the transporting unit's command, e.g., SHORT HALT.

Also keep in mind, that passengers are not counted for command control purposes (they do activate unarmed transporting units on a one-for-one basis), so you're not gaining extra commands when transporting.

Full thread:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1485618/transported-units-d...

The only thing I'm not sure about is whether a transport unit with no combat strength could be given a SHORT HALT command as a way of enabling the passenger to fire then be transported in the same turn. My uncertainty comes from the fact that the transporting unit would not be able to utilise the firing part of the command. Can we issue a command to a unit that can't fulfil it?
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Nadir Elfarra
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men wrote:
...The only thing I'm not sure about is whether a transport unit with no combat strength could be given a SHORT HALT command as a way of enabling the passenger to fire then be transported in the same turn. My uncertainty comes from the fact that the transporting unit would not be able to utilise the firing part of the command. Can we issue a command to a unit that can't fulfil it?


Excellent question. A "reality argument" suggests that the Fire-Move order should be allowed, but you're right when you say it's inconsistent with the rules since the unarmed transport can't comply with the Short Halt as an individual unit. I'll be interested to hear Jim's take on this.

-N
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Kris Miller
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mzen wrote:

The only thing I'm not sure about is whether a transport unit with no combat strength could be given a SHORT HALT command as a way of enabling the passenger to fire then be transported in the same turn.


Transports may not have a Short Halt command. See 4.2, third bullet point under the section start. Only a "vehicle combat unit" may have a Short Halt.

Kris

EDIT: See post two below. Clearly Leg units can receive Short Halt commands.
 
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Martin Lane
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Looking at the rules again it seems the only command an unarmoured transport unit could be given is a MOVE command since the other commands require it to be a combat unit....So, does this mean that passengers on an unarmoured truck without a command can fire/observe etc? ie does the No Command command count as a command for transported fire purposes or is the only thing a passenger of this type of unit can do is go for a ride?
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Kris Miller
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HI Martin,

See 6.6.7.2 Transported Fire.
It looks like the transported unit can fire when the transport has any command other than MOVE. So, I believe the transported unit can fire or spot with an N/C.

I think I may have been wrong two posts above. Leg units can get SHORT HALT commands according to 6.6.4.1, paragraph 9. It might have been nice if 4.2 had simply said "combat unit" instead of "vehicle combat unit."

I think the question comes down to: Can an unarmed transport receive FIRE, SHORT HALT or OVERWATCH commands?

The truck's passengers can clearly shoot on a N/C, but not on a MOVE.

If passengers are transported by a combat unit (i.e. an APC), they can clearly fire with a SHORT HALT, OVERWATCH, N/C, or FIRE command.

Kris
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Martin Lane
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Hi Kris,

I'm unsure if you're right about transported units being able to fire etc when their transporting vehicle is not marked with a command (which is exactly equivalent to saying marked with a N/C command). ie I don't think your interpretation of a N/C as a command is correct. Aside from philosophical arguments around whether the absence of any thing still a thing, (when is a command not a command? when it's a No Command! :-) ) the fact that the game has the economy of placing commands as such a central dimension to the strategy and tactics involved makes it seem unlikely that this would be the case.

Imagine a formation with 15 combat units and 5 transport units which had 10 commands to play with. Allowing mounted units with N/Cs to fire etc would mean that, if the 5 transport units were occupied, all units in the formation would be able to engage in combat that turn without having to share any commands (effectively increasing their formation grade). Perhaps unlikely but it brings out a point.

Jim does mention the category of 'unique commands' and specifically distinguishes them from N/Cs and I feel in this differentiation lies the answer to whether a N/C counts as a command as far as reading 'The passenger may fire, or observe for indirect fire, if their transporting vehicle has any command except Move.' (6.6.7.2) goes. ie the 'command' referred to in this sentence is a unique command.

I may well be wrong, I hope Jim will help clarify things for us.

I have to disagree with you when you say:

'Leg units can get SHORT HALT commands according to 6.6.4.1, paragraph 9.'

because, being transported units the rule that takes precedence is 6.6.7 which says;

'Passengers are not marked with a separate command'

So Leg units don't have commands issued to them whilst being transported but their actions are limited by the command issued to the transporting vehicle such that if it's a MOVE they can't fire/observe and (this is where it's not 100% clear from our readings of the rules) if it's a N/C they could only sit tight or dismount.

Lastly you ask:

'Can an unarmed transport receive FIRE, SHORT HALT or OVERWATCH commands?'

I'd say no as the rules clearly state these can only be given to a vehicle combat unit whereas a MOVE command can be given to any vehicle. The glossary defines a combat unit as 'Any armed unit or fire support sighting capability'

Regards,

Martin.
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Jim Day
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MeghansFerryRR wrote:
The Forces for a scenario usually display one or more leg units marked at some level of observer for indirect fire paired with an equal number of vehicles also marked at some level of observer.
1. Do the leg units function as the integral crew referenced in Rule 7.39 and function as an observer for indirect fire either as mounted or dismounted (with penalty)? When the observer leg unit is dismounted, the vehicle cannot function as an observer?
2. Or, do the leg unit(s) and vehicle unit(s) function as separate, independent observers (dismounted leg and separate vehicle or mounted leg in an observer vehicle both capable of calling for indirect fire)?

As I read the question, I believe you are referencing two types of observers that are included in the MBT’s scenarios. To make certain we’re on the same page, let’s use scenario 4 for reference.

The US Force includes an M981 FISTV FO vehicle. That vehicle qualifies for optional rule 7.39. If the FO dismounts as per the rule, the M981 may not also act as an observer.

The Soviet Force includes an FO leg section. It doesn’t qualify for optional rule 7.39. The section may observe if it’s mounted or dismounted. The transporting vehicle doesn’t have any FO capabilities on its own.

For the FOs, when mounted, they may observe for indirect fire, if the transporting vehicle has any command except Move (including N/C – No Command).

mzen wrote:
The only thing I'm not sure about is whether a transport unit with no combat strength could be given a SHORT HALT command as a way of enabling the passenger to fire then be transported in the same turn. My uncertainty comes from the fact that the transporting unit would not be able to utilize the firing part of the command. Can we issue a command to a unit that can't fulfil it?

Unarmed (non-combat) vehicles mat not receive Short Halt or Fire commands, since they are unable to fulfill the combat portion of those commands. Therefore, when transported by an unarmed vehicle, the only time the passenger could fire or observe is with an Overwatch (in the case of the M981) or N/C command.

The unique aspect of Fire, Move, Short Halt and Overwatch commands only relates to them counting for the number of commands limits, where N/C commands don’t count. N/C commands are still commands for other aspects, e.g., 6.6.8 Hasty Entrenchments and 7.15 Defensive Fire.
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