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Subject: Weapon Ranges rss

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Confusion Under Fire
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While researching weapon ranges for my game I came across a very interesting post on another site http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=71&t=182867

Within this thread are other links which are very interesting.

The general gist of the thread is that hand held weapons in WW2 such as rifles depend not largely on the actual weapon but how far away the target is. The difference between 100 metres and 300 metres is dramatic to say the least. At 500 metres the chance of hitting anything is very low.
Put a weapon on a bipod or tripod and the range goes up to around 1000 metres.

This post is not looking at the maximum range of weapons but the difference at 100, 200 and 300 metres and how this is portrayed in wargames.

When I first started in wargaming I started with minis and had a set of rules which, I imagine like many others, had a range table for weapons and different hit factors at different ranges. Moving up to today's board wargaming and moving away from masses of tables we find these range tables disappearing. What we have instead is a combat factor which remains constant up until the maximum range. "Hey I can fire my full 8 Combat Points up to 10 hexes but cannot even attempt a shot at 11 hexes". I know that some games do offset this with double range with half attack strength and a bonus for firing at adjacent hexes etc. To me the dramatic change in range deserves better consideration than the cursory glance it appears to be getting at the moment.

My collection of tactical games is by no means large so maybe some tactical games do approach this in a more realistic way? Are there any tactical games which use a range to combat strength ratio without looking up on a table.

My game which is under construction uses a very simple idea which is to take the combat strength and this is reduced by one for each hex, or one for each 3 hexes for mounted weapons, range to the target. The system uses a minus one for each hindrance so it is easy to count down the range at the same time as totalling up the hindrances. There are maximum ranges but firing at dug in targets at max range give a slim chance of doing much damage.

Has this vital element of tactical wargaming been ignored or overlooked?
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David DeThorne
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I agree- tactical games lose something important when range doesn't have much granularity, particularly for small arms and anti-tank rockets. A little change in range can have a dramatic on hit probability for those types of weapons.

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J Macc
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I can see how range differences can drastically affect the effectiveness on wounding/killing a shoulder but how much do you think that would effect moral of the target unit. It seems to me that the effectiveness of weapons fire in a tactical game such as ASL depends a lot on how well you can suppress the enemy and I think just getting rounds down range and close would still be quite effective.
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K G
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Ambush, an elegant solution.

That said, I've always assumed that most games' CRTs incorporate a good deal of this uncertainty regarding range and effectiveness. At some point, one must generalize to keep things moving. Otherwise, we'll be determining wind speed for those especially long distances.
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David Janik-Jones
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Jim Krohn's Band of Brothers series takes range and diminishing volume of fire into account. A new set of minis rules, Fireball Forward, also does this very well.

Up Front as well.
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Martin Gallo
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The old Firepower game rated each weapon known to man for various ranges. I always found that to be fairly useless as it ignored the firer and so traded any claim of realism away since it only looked at half the equation. Other than that little issue I thought it was a fairly decent game.
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Art Bugorski
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Battletech: Total Warfare handles this with 4 or 5 range classes, don't have time to check right now.
 
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Robert Stuart
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Jim Krohn's Band of Brothers series takes range and diminishing volume of fire into account. A new set of minis rules, Fireball Forward, also does this very well.

Up Front as well.


Small arms fire in Band of Brothers is very granular: very deadly at 40 yards, full strength but not as deadly up to 200 yards (American) or 240 yards (German), and half strength up to twice that distance. Bazooka fire, however, is graded: +1 to the proficiency roll for every 40 yard increment.

I really think this is an accurate re-creation of reality. Small arms fire in WWII was similar to longbow fire in the medieval period. In the heat of battle, beyond close proximity its effectiveness wasn't so much due to an individual taking an accurate bead on an enemy soldier, as much as a unit throwing a volume of fire in the general direction of the enemy. Hence, between 40 and 200 yards, there probably wasn't much difference in effectiveness. The bazooka, however, was different: it was an aimed shot at a single target; hence the greater the distance the more likely it would miss (simulated in BOB by a proficiency roll).
 
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Steven Mitchell
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J Macc has nailed it — at least for ASL. It's actually rather hard to cause casualties in ASL. Most of the results are morale-related. You usually need to have tons of firepower or be really close.
 
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Joeseph McCarthy
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And always keep in mind that there is frequently a wild difference between the ranges established for the weapon on the test ranges and the range in combat. One of the more common things pointed out by combat veterans that I know is that while the AK-47 has a decent performance on the firing range, their experience is that in the field they're little better than bullet hoses, and on more than one occasion they've downed a Haj with '16 fire who was blasting away with the AKs from the shoulder and weren't even getting close. They commented that they didn't like how fragile their weapon was, but "at least we could hit what we aimed at!" Yet from the bench those two weapons are fairly similar.

Training, weapon condition, ammuntion, and all sorts of stuff play in there to make "shop" performance closer to wishful thinking than reality.

Mogadeet
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Mogadeet wrote:
And always keep in mind that there is frequently a wild difference between the ranges established for the weapon on the test ranges and the range in combat. One of the more common things pointed out by combat veterans that I know is that while the AK-47 has a decent performance on the firing range, their experience is that in the field they're little better than bullet hoses, and on more than one occasion they've downed a Haj with '16 fire who was blasting away with the AKs from the shoulder and weren't even getting close. They commented that they didn't like how fragile their weapon was, but "at least we could hit what we aimed at!" Yet from the bench those two weapons are fairly similar.

Training, weapon condition, ammuntion, and all sorts of stuff play in there to make "shop" performance closer to wishful thinking than reality.

Mogadeet


interesting point. Did the North Vietnamese soldiers also use the Russian AK47 guns? I would guess a similar result when they went up against American soldiers?
 
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Edward Kendrick
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Well in Battle Cry you roll one fewer die per hex away from the target ...
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Eric Hinrichs
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Training, leadership, supply, terrain, and the law of averages have more effect on ToHits than the performance of a specific weapon during a specific attack.
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When you talk about range, it can have many different meanings:

Maximum range - which is pretty much as far as the round can travel and still cause damage

Maximum effective range - basically the distance that a trained operator can reliably engage a target.

And the really important one, which isn't in the specs:
Practical range - the distance that a given operator can reliably engage a target under the given conditions.


Most people who get to use firearms in peaceful countries use a 25, 50, or 100 yard/meter range. At those ranges, an AK and an AR are not too different. The AR platform is much more accurate, from "bench" conditions to the limits of the bullet's performance. The AK platform is not as accurate at range.
 
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Eric Walters
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So much depends on how the shooter feels....

When targets are a bit distant and the shooter feels like (1) he has sufficient cover to return fire relatively safely--i.e., he is not suppressed, and (2) he has sufficient confidence in his single shot weapon for aimed fire OR (3) he's got a semi-auto or fully-auto weapon that gives him the emotional outlet of "spray and pray," he'll let some fire loose. The closer the targets are and the less cover there is, the harder it is to expose oneself to fire unless there's supporting arms on the target and/or there's a semi-auto/fully-auto weapon and plenty of rounds at hand.

Much also depends on whether the shooter is pissed off/hacked off or just "had it" or is having a bad day that day (and everybody has them at one time or another). Of course, having an NCO breathing down your neck screaming at you to shoot is very motivational....
 
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Michael Dorosh
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ericmwalters wrote:
So much depends on how the shooter feels....

When targets are a bit distant and the shooter feels like (1) he has sufficient cover to return fire relatively safely--i.e., he is not suppressed, and (2) he has sufficient confidence in his single shot weapon for aimed fire OR (3) he's got a semi-auto or fully-auto weapon that gives him the emotional outlet of "spray and pray," he'll let some fire loose. The closer the targets are and the less cover there is, the harder it is to expose oneself to fire unless there's supporting arms on the target and/or there's a semi-auto/fully-auto weapon and plenty of rounds at hand.

Much also depends on whether the shooter is pissed off/hacked off or just "had it" or is having a bad day that day (and everybody has them at one time or another). Of course, having an NCO breathing down your neck screaming at you to shoot is very motivational....


Some armies also have fire control orders which regulate the use of weapons...
 
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Art Bugorski
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Michael Dorosh wrote:
Some armies also have fire control orders which regulate the use of weapons...


I presume that a US Marine Corps Veteran would be aware of such things... and I more most of those orders don't mean shit once people realise that there is now a good chance that they are actually gonna die.
 
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Edward Kendrick
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As Laurence Olivier so nearly said: "That's discipline, darling."
 
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