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Combat Commander: Europe» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Why would you ever play a platoon? rss

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Reid Connors
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My friend and I were playing a RSG 1944, Germans Green vs Americans Line. I chose a Veteran Rifle Detachment and he chose a Volksgrenadier Platoon. He hoped for a good support roll and the only thing available to time was a weapons team with a medium mortar and more Volksgrenadier. His surrender level was only 3 and despite his guys being in a bunker he was quickly forced to surrender to the combined fire from the American's medium and heavy MGs and their 203mm artillery.

Why would anyone ever choose a platoon? 2 Actions a turn and only one commander seems like such a hindrance. Why would anyone want to limit themselves to such an inflexible army?
 
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Stacey Hager
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Psiclone wrote:
My friend and I were playing a RSG 1944, Germans Line vs Americans Line. I chose a Veteran Rifle Detachment and he chose a Volksgrenadier Platoon. He hoped for a good support roll and the only thing available to time was a weapons team with a medium mortar and more Volksgrenadier. His surrender level was only 3 and despite his guys being in a bunker he was quickly forced to surrender to the combined fire from the American's medium and heavy MGs and their 203mm artillery.

Why would anyone ever choose a platoon? 2 Actions a turn and only one commander seems like such a hindrance. Why would anyone want to limit themselves to such an inflexible army?


It's all about the bidding meta-game. The platoon player surely ended up with a VP advantage at the start of the game. It's quite possible to hold off a larger force and win. The first RSG I witnessed was a detachment vs a platoon, in the Pacific game. The Japanese detachment did win the game, but it was a nail-biter. The Japanese troops were elite with deadly Betsudotai sqauds, and the US were lowly, green garrison troops. Halfway through the Japanese turned Banzai through an event, and even then the US Platoon was able to hold their own. American surrender did not occur until after Sudden Death. A very tense and exciting game.
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Richard Pardoe
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Psiclone wrote:
My friend and I were playing a RSG 1944, Germans Line vs Americans Line. I chose a Veteran Rifle Detachment and he chose a Volksgrenadier Platoon.

Volksgrenadier Platoons are Green, I assume you meant he choose Rifle Platoon or Conscripted Rifle Platoon. (Not that it would change much.)

When choosing a Platoon, one is intentionally trying for the defender posture. And since defenders (usually) sit back and try to forestall the attacker, the forces might be sufficient - especially if it is a wide-open map with no cover for the attacker.

Since the troop quality, map, orientation, and objectives are all known prior to picking the forces - one can choose a Platoon if one feels that they can defend and hang on for the victory.

Finally, just as the Germans were unlucky in their support roll (I assume they rolled a 4 and it was a Lt Mortar not a Medium Mortar that was available, the Americans seemed to get lucky with their roll of 2 to acquire that artillery.
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Reid Connors
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RPardoe wrote:
Volksgrenadier Platoons are Green, I assume you meant he choose Rifle Platoon or Conscripted Rifle Platoon. (Not that it would change much.)

When choosing a Platoon, one is intentionally trying for the defender posture. And since defenders (usually) sit back and try to forestall the attacker, the forces might be sufficient - especially if it is a wide-open map with no cover for the attacker.

Since the troop quality, map, orientation, and objectives are all known prior to picking the forces - one can choose a Platoon if one feels that they can defend and hang on for the victory.

Finally, just as the Germans were unlucky in their support roll (I assume they rolled a 4 and it was a Lt Mortar not a Medium Mortar that was available, the Americans seemed to get lucky with their roll of 2 to acquire that artillery.


Sorry. I did mean to say Germans were green.

I do suppose it's entirely situational. In the case that one is trying to go for defender. Green vs Line. Green are typically lower cost so should the player then perhaps pick a detachment that at least has an HMG to defend with and hope their point value is still lower? I figured the German playing hoping to pick up a HMG on his support roll was an unnecessary risk.
 
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Bryan Collars
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Psiclone wrote:
My friend and I were playing a RSG 1944, Germans Line vs Americans Line. I chose a Veteran Rifle Detachment and he chose a Volksgrenadier Platoon. He hoped for a good support roll and the only thing available to time was a weapons team with a medium mortar and more Volksgrenadier. His surrender level was only 3 and despite his guys being in a bunker he was quickly forced to surrender to the combined fire from the American's medium and heavy MGs and their 203mm artillery.

Why would anyone ever choose a platoon? 2 Actions a turn and only one commander seems like such a hindrance. Why would anyone want to limit themselves to such an inflexible army?


Hi Reid,

I'm having a difficult time recreating your stated situation. There is no column on the German Support Table that limits the Germans to only selecting Wpn Tm/MMtr and VlksGrn Sqds. In fact the single column where there is a Wpn Tm/MMtr and VlksGrn Sqd available they do not have overlapping available dates so they cannot be chosen together. So either your opponent misread the table or some other issue is at work. Could it be you meant to type Wpn Tm/LtMtr? Which is available on the 4 column with VlksGrn Sqds.

You are aware that during the RS.7 step that once the column is determined that you can select any of the units available in that column. You are not limited to selecting a single unit but rather you may select as many available units in the column that match the scenario's year, have pieces remaining in the counter mix, and you are willing to pay the cost of.

Ex.
On the German Support Table you roll a "5". Lets further say the scenario year is 1944. Available to the Germans are:

Cpl Schmidt for 3VP
Wpn Tm/LMG for 2VP
VlkgGrn Sqd for 1VP

The Germans could acquire any number of combinations of the above so long as the 3 restrictions mentioned above were met.

Finally to answer your question Each RSG is different and the map layout may allow a Platoon on the defense to hold out against a much superior force, especially augmented by additional forces and fortifications. Returning to your scenario, which granted I don't have all the particulars, we do know that the point value of the Vlks Grn Plt is 7. Since I don't have my US OOB Table I'll guess that the point value of a US Vet. Rifle Det. is about 21. That gives a difference of 14 VPs.

Knowing the disparity between the forces as the German player I'm going to grab to fortifications during that step. First though is the support roll. I make the roll and its a "4". Before making any choices I'm going to decide in my head what fortifications I'm going to take. With 14VPs I'll take the Bunker Complex for 10VPs (This is all subjective since I have no idea what map is in play. My choices might be different given that information.) A Bunker Complex grants the following 3x Bunker+Trench+Wire+8FPMines that is a lot of protection even against a 203mm Artillery and Vet. Rifle Det. If I go with a Bunker Complex that means I can spend 3VP of my original VPs on support units and still maintain the Defender Posture. If I spent 1 more I could make it a Recon Posture. But I'll stick to 3VPs and with the roll of "4" take one VlksGrn Sqd and one Wpn Tm/LMtr to go with the Original Plt. After all that the opposing forces should be something like this:

Germans
1 Ldr
4 Sqds
1 Wpn Tm
a couple of weapons
and really good fortifications

US
2 Ldrs
6 Sqds
1-2 Tms
2 MMG,1 HMG
as indicated a 203mm radio

Really not so imbalanced. I'd play that. As the defender there is still the defender only actions that can throw even more defensive fortifications into the path of the attackers and maybe even reinforcements will arrive.

So sorry for the long post but I got on a roll and couldn't stop myself.blush
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David desJardins
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I think there are a lot of scenarios that you're probably going to lose if your opponent rolls the 203mm artillery. That's the biggest factor here.
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Reid Connors
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I believe the roll was a 4 and he purchased a light mortar. Light mortars and VlksGrn don't really stand up too well when the entire army facing them out ranges them. I still believe that a defender needs an HMG for Opfire rolls and should ensure that they are equipped with one before making their support roll.
 
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William Garramone
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Boy, you're not joking David. I've faced the awesome 203mm a couple of times. Got blasted to pieces to the point we were both laughing. The other time was close because I hoarded those Dig In Actions and managed to play a few Hidden Entrenchment Actions too. It made for a tense game. I know my cardboard units were just praying that there would be no direct hits on their foxholes.
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Etienne
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I'd also like to point out that, if you're like me and have limited gaming time available on yours hands, it is easy to agree with your opponent a set point limit among the OB you choose from. For example if you have only 90 minutes or so to play your game you can set a 20 pts limit, in which case platoons can be more interesting than detachments.

Not in the rules per se, but a great way to make sure you actually finish your games rather than pack up in the middle of one.
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Dan Huffman
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If the board is long, I think a platoon can be a good choice, as I'll be able (hopefully) to slow him down with defensive cards. Once the Americans get close to the bunker, it is time to run away....so the bunker has to be positioned to allow that.

AGain, it is situational. If I'm green and Position 5 is worth 10 points, Maybe I'll take a company and try to swarm him. Certainly, though, like experience games (line v line) would make platoon a viable option, based upon the board.
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Dan Tomlinson
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I have logged around 100 solo plays, and for me a go-to strategy for the defender is the single-platoon defense. As others have said it depends on the map. The defense works well either for the Germans or the Americans. I have not had success running it with Russians.

With the Germans, you have to use a mass of mines and wire to avoid a melee fight. Basically, you try to leave a semi-inviting funnel that runs your opponent past you, and then you burn fire cards and run the time track. If you roll for a HMG you can do some killing, too. The key is that you must prevent the enemy from closing for melee - which again comes down to wire and mines.

With the Americans, they shoot so well that even a platoon has playable fire power. Plus, you are less worried about melee, so the American platoon should have deep trenches to keep them unbroken.

The possibility that an opponent may take a single platoon adds texture to the game setup mechanism. (You may not wish to take a full company of elite troops and face a map full of mines and wire.)

One quick example: I just played a game on map 10 in the original game - the city board with a lake in the middle. The German line platoon faced an elite SMG company. The Germans had 19 points to spend, bought 2 sets of minefields, 1 set of wire, but no fortifications and only LMGs. One minefield shut down the narrow side of the map, and the other minefield surrounded the platoon's defensive position. The Russians got off to a good start but bogged down, unable to close for melee or tiptoe through the minefields. They lost by 47 points in a 2x elimination game. Russian casualties were 24 compared to 1 for the Germans. Casualties are calculated by counting the number of icons on units in the casualty track (e.g. a squad equals 4 casualties).

In summary, I believe that a single platoon, played on favorable maps, has at least as high a win percentage as any other configuration.
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