EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Friday, August 22, 2014

Partway through the list.

I had time yesterday morning to think about that list and started to get some interesting ideas. Then I spent a tense 4 hours as a Roman defending a hill line against a horde of hairy Gauls,  (something for my Gathering of Hosts blog). By the time they retired discouraged, I could barely remember my thoughts of the morning!

The main thing which I have been trying to come to terms with, which is different from earlier and later wars, is the historical attempt to deal with magazine rifle and machine gun fire by attacking with infantry extended in long thin lines with wide spacing by advancing in groups alternately making  short leapfrog rushes or providing covering fire. Under heavy fire such lines could stall but with both sides taking cover, a desultory firefight could go on for hours. If a unit did manage to get close enough, a final rush could carry the position ........ or get shot to pieces.

In theory the old wrg system of rolling to hit then rolling again to convert a pin to a kill  should work but its a lot of rolling and when no one is moving the odds should be tediously low. I did consider having all units in the field of fire of an enemy to always be pinned and just roll to see if it managed to work forward and if it lost any figures but it just didn't feel right, especially with glossy toys.

Turning back to my existing mechanisms I decided to tweak something I experimented with a few weeks ago by treating a fire swept area as a sort of terrain effect. I looked at forms of reaction fire but the existing igo system with fire or move will work well enough.b

The idea is that an extended unit may only move 1/2  if it is in the line of fire and range of a deployed enemy unit.  If a unit moves and then takes hits it must roll higher than the number of hits  (+1 for elite etc) otherwise it falls back to where it was and may not try again  next turn.

Troops in column seemed to have been harder to stop but took horrendous casualties so they will suffer heavier, pissibly double casualties but do not have to test due to fire.

Stationary troops will not need to test  either. The only way to get them out will be to shoot them all or assault them. (Assuming as usual that wargame hits are not all dead and wounded.)

Hopefully a new test game will happen on Friday.


  1. Dear Ross,

    This past Wednesday, The Friday Night Old Guys ('cause we usually game on Fridays...) completed a WWII game set on Saipan in 1944. The scenario involved the only mass attack by Japanese armor against the western allies during the war and also saw a number of banzai attacks against the USMC foxhole line. The way we played it was that once the leader screamed "Banzai!" there was a die roll which determined how far the charge could go varying from as much as 30" to as little as a failure in morale where only the oficer bolted forward. After the Marines brought defensive fire, the surviving Japanese would engage them in hand-to-hand combat. While the Marine defenses gave them some advantage this was more than made up by the Japanese desire to use their katanas and long bayonets. We've made a decision that when it is a Japanese unit's turn, units that have knee mortars may fire them first and then the charge goes in. The system actually worked quite well and reflected the historical results quite accurately.
    There are a couple of "funky" things that went on. When the Japanese decided to launch the Banzai attack, there was no pre-attack morale check. They were Japanese committed to follow the code of Bushido and die for the Empoeror. The Marines would only take a morale check if they were shelled and the combat results would call for it. In any other case - such as reacting to the enemy charge , USMC morale took over and they simply prepared to expedite the Japanese journey to the afterlife.
    If I had any sugestion based on this experience it would be to tailor your morale rules to match up with the scenario. For example, if you were asking the 1st Moscow Militia to rise up and charge a solid wall of German fire, the way to resolve the pre-battle actions might be a lot different from another scenario. I strongly suspect that their reaction would be a lot different than an advance of the 2nd Guards on the flank of an unsuspecting enemy.

  2. Thanks Jerry. That sounds like it would have been tense and exciting for both sides at times.

    Your advice on tailoring the rules is spot on. Generic rules tend to be either too simple to catch nuances or too clumsy to be practical. A key advantage to the simple version is that its easy to bolt on special rules for a given game. Good point.