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Subject: Game Changer? Maybe! rss

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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

I have a rule mod that might change the way you play PB/PL! Basically its the adaptation of the tactical application of the Bounding OverWatch (BOW) maneuver. This is when part of a unit advances and the remainder of the unit provides 'cover', by fire, of the advancing units. Then when the lead units get to their position, the 'covering' unit then advances to that location also, while the lead unit provides the 'cover'. Additionally, during this maneuver, the unit perfoming this, may only fire at a unit(s) that have fired at it during this maneuver.

In order to implement this into the games, without making new counters, the method for the new rule could be as follows. First the individual unit performing this method may move up to 1/2 their movement factor during the turn. The unit may also direct-fire at spotted units at anytime during this maneuver. When doing so, the unit may not combine its attack factors with any other unit. Also, all modifiers apply, such as doubling attack factors and so on. When conducting this maneuver, the unit when 'attacking' has a plus-two (+2) added to any die roll that it needs to make for 'spotting' or 'firing'. Also, if the unit is fired on, then a minus-two (-2) will be added to any die-rolls related to activities against this unit. Such as being 'spotted' and being attacked.

When the unit preforming this maneuver fires at a unit, it no longer may move during that turn, regardless of how many of its movement factors that may or may not have been used. At the moment this rule-mod is meant for 'mobile/self-propelled' units only. In order to reflect the tactical-doctrine and equipment limitations, this rule does not apply to any Russian 'mobile/self-propelled' units. There will be another post regarding this subject as regards 'foot units', infantry units that is.

I look forward to your responses/feedback/ideas on this subject.

Dennis
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Philip Hernandez
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Clearly some sort of opportunity fire option is required in conjunction with this proposed rule.

The Russians experimented with gyrostabilized guns before the war, and of course they had Lend-Lease American tanks with their partially gyrostabilized guns as well. What use the Russians made of this advantage I do not know, but perhaps another reader does. (Note that while such vehicles are not in the original game, counters for Lend-Leased tanks do appear in aftermarket items like the IMSTRAT sheets; naturally American-built tanks are also to be found in Panzer Leader.) I had thought to adapt the split-move-and-fire rule from Arab-Israeli Wars for such vehicles.

With the possible exception of the StuG III and maybe the SU-85, I would limit BOW to tanks. This would include support tanks like the early Panzer IV and many British models. The larger assault guns had limited ammunition, and tank destroyers generally did not operate in this fashion. American tank destroyers, while used as assault guns from time to time, were designed to operate from ambush and behind cover. British tank destroyers were similarly unsuited to BOW.

Similarly, armored cars would only be able to use BOW by scenario special rule. Note that the M8 Greyhound had a gyrostabilizer.

The Japanese (aftermarket, again, but they also fought the Russians) may not use this tactic. While doctrine called for attacks in echelon, the US Army noted that in the field the Japanese ignored doctrine and simply charged ahead with their tanks -- with predictable results.

Finally, how much did the armies of World War II use this tactic? (I first heard the term "bounding overwatch" during the Vietnam era, but that does not mean it wasn't used earlier.)

Phil
 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

For sure, an 'opportunity fire' situation is necessary for this rule-mod to work.

The Idea wasn't based on equipment attributes, just 'tactical doctrine'. While Gyro-Stablilizers could allow firing while moving in certain conditions, its not necessary for the rules application. As with all proposals for rule-mods, their use, and the way they are implimented are up to the user. If there are 'details' you would like to pay more attention to, I'm all for it. Its your game and you should be able to play it the way you like, IMHO.

As to the use of the BOW concept, it should be able to be used by just about every weapons type and category. I guess equipment being towed would be exempted. However all other categories, infantry, tanks, assualt guns and the like would be applicable. Basically if it has its own movement factor and doesn't rely on a transport to move about then it can use BOW.

Of course having some sort of attack factor is necessary also. Even stationary guns can provide 'cover' for units within its unobstructed field of view and that can fire directly at a target. I'm told there are basically two 'types' of BOW. One is that an element of a unit moves a specific distance and the the remaining elements provide 'cover fire' for the manuevering unit. Once that is done, the 'covering' unit either moves up to the lead-element and the process repeats, or the 'covering' element manuevers past the lead-element and procedes to the next position. At that time the previous lead-element becomes the 'covering fire' element.

The idea, is that a unit is capable of manuevering into a position while retaining its ability to fire when needed, or planned. Now limiting the units movement factor to half may or may not be sufficient. That depends on just what it is you believe is being done in a specific amount of time. Now you can consider that the manuevering unit is either 'cautiously advancing' (that is at a slow rate of speed) or moves rapidly to the designated location to reduce the time needed to get there which allows the 'covering element' to also rapidly gain the location. Either way for simplicity sake, reducing the movement to half seems reasonable!?

Yes, BOW was pretty much used by all forces, sometimes at different 'levels'. For instance, Russian Rifle Company's actually did the BOW at a platoon-level. One Platoon would move, while the other two, along with any heavy weapons attached to the company, would provide the covering-fire. Once the manuevering platoon reached its objective, the second platoon would manuever, and again, the other two would provide the cover fire. The process would then repeat for the third platoon.

You can find discriptions in books on tactical aspects for various combatants. To give you some examples...

Soviet Infantry Tactics in World War II, Red Army Infantry Tactics from Squad to Rifle Company from the Combat Regulations, by Charles C. Sharp.

German Panzer Tactics in World War II, Combat Tactics of German Armored Units from Section to Regiment, by Charles C. Sharp.

German Squad Tactics in WWII, by Matthew Gajkowski.

I hope this has helped with some of your questions. I look forward to your comments and ideas.

Thanks

Dennis
 
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David Cheng
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I think the purpose of covering fire is not to hit or destroy target but to keep enemy heads down so that friendly troops can advance without being attacked.

If the moving unit can be opportunity fired before firing back, then the whole idea of providing covering fire is lost.

A more realistic way to simulate this kind of tactics is to let the unit fire at half strength (or with some penalty) first, then move at half movement allowance. This way, enemy unit may be pinned down & that unit can move safely without being attacked.
 
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