Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

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UshCha
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Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by UshCha » Thu May 16, 2019 5:39 pm

It has occurred to me that war gamer's, particularly those not in competition never talk about tactics and their implementation in there chosen rule set. mainly the talk is about models not how they behave on the table top. Why is that?

The sort of topics that I would have expected would be considered but typical have little or no air time are illustrated below. Theer are many other examples, but the question remains is why are they not discussed to any extent?

The machine gun: it is one key weapon that needs to be implemented at least plausibly to allow real world tactics on table. Often sited to fire across the front on fixed lines, use of range bands with excessive accuracy drop off would invalidate real world tactics. It's surprising to me that such basics are not discussed when any new rule set is considered.

How does a new rule mechanism cover reconnaissance and placement of units hidden at the game start.

How credible is the artillery control compared to the real world? Is the yield comparable to available basic data.

More complex and erudite and applicable to larger scale games , would be the price to be paid in materiel for information about roughly where the enemy is and how many. A member of the WW2 Long Range Dessert Group said most of the time was hiding afraid, bored, hot or cold counting trucks passing so, the real world puts a significant price on that data as there were exceptional fighters who would otherwise stiffen an infantry formation significantly. Monty generally was anti elite formations for this reason. How does a chosen high level set account for this and how well does it seem to fit the available evidence even if somewhat anecdotal in nature.

CarlL
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by CarlL » Thu May 16, 2019 7:32 pm

Interesting topic UshCha.
Is there a lack of discussion, as you suggest, in answering your question?
Perhaps discussion gets stuck at different levels? Both online and at our clubs?
1. The gamer may discuss tactics but only within the rules they play?
2. The reader or historian, may only ask about tactics as seen through their reading material? A biography of a general may lead to different talk than that from reading the autobiography of a gunner.
3. The level of focus, or the point at which tactics means something, may depend on whether you command a squadron of tanks, or a regiment of tanks, or a division of tanks; or other formation variations of course.
Perhaps simulation and games play are at different planes of interest around tactics?
My most recent tabletop game, a 20mm models, Rapid Fire, representation of action around Rots, (11th June, 1944) led to a lot of after game discussion about the British & Canadians players tactics in trying to achieve their scenario objectives with game time scale allowed.
But this may not be the kind of tactics discussion to be found in likes of Stephen Bull's "Second World War Infantry Tactics: The European Theatre" book. I enjoy both.
I hope we could accommodate all these variations in discussion on the forum (and perhaps in the Journal if it lives to issue another edition or two)? Perhaps we need a new tab on the Forum? TACTICS? And within this, subfolders for games players and historical analysis and perhaps a what if tab for wars that didnt occur?!
CarlL

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hammurabi70
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by hammurabi70 » Thu May 16, 2019 11:07 pm

Perhaps because gamers like models and are limited in using them to hoping they roll better dice than the enemy; many veer towards the gaming fun in preference to the simulation aspects.

Real world tactics seem to get less airing than they should.
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Seret
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by Seret » Fri May 17, 2019 9:36 am

UshCha wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:39 pm
It has occurred to me that war gamer's, particularly those not in competition never talk about tactics and their implementation in there chosen rule set. mainly the talk is about models not how they behave on the table top. Why is that?
I'm not sure I agree with that. I'm on forums and FB groups where tactics comes up regularly. I think the most common topics on ruleset-specific forums are not the models but rules queries, and often those give rise to tactical discussions. You'll get questions like "How do I use X unit in the game" and that'll turn into a discussion of how they were employed in real life.

It really depends on the rule set though. Some lend themselves more to realistic tactics than others. I tend to gravitate to rule sets that do have some treatment of things like recce and fog of war that you mention. Rule sets that lack those seem to be missing the point a bit I feel.

UshCha
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by UshCha » Sat May 18, 2019 1:42 pm

So I guess the first question is : do your rules even allow your machine guns FPL fire as its called in moderns or as far as I can understand it in the past (and present) Graving", "Grazing Fire" or Fixed line fire.
Obviously our rules Have it and Phil Barkers 1925 to 1950 ruels has it. Despite some limitations overall Barker, was well ahead of its time and many new sets to me have been a step back from Barker, being more reminiscent of HG Well Little wars than serious simulation which was what it was all about in the days of the Wargmes Development crowd.

Without such fire any attempt at real world tactics will fall flat big time, as an example. Machine gun platoons would become just a farce. Now I freely admit our own rules are seriously imperfect in some ways. I discovered, well was pointed too, an excellence training film on Machine gun platoons. In defense the units were widely separated and established a cross fire and were in communication with each other so operated as a platoon but widely spaced, but covered a very specific area. To avoid reductions in fire during barrel changes in there combat area the standard rate of fire which was about 100 RPM was increased by the other two guns to compensate for the loss of one gum while it changed barrels. Now such complex interactions are not covered in our rules directly its just too much organization and most of the time the effect would be minimal as the weight of fire would be very similar in a similar position.

Is there anybody does more correctly than us and how. Interestingly the same film noted that such fire was impractical if the Jeep holding the ammunition was further than 500m fro the Gun position. I would hate to have to ferry MG ammunition 500m to a hungry gun.

bannockburn bhoy
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by bannockburn bhoy » Sat May 18, 2019 4:25 pm

I really like to get things as close to what actually happened ,and as realistic as possible/practicable ,but it usually comes down to the happy medium , as things can become over complex to reproduce , or become bogged down.
I do attempt to try things out to see if it can be accommodated . It obviously depends on the size and level of the game, at the right level HMG fixed fields of fire ,are for me a must have, as they were used extensively. I do think there should be a lot more discussion on rules , sharing of ideas etc. Perhaps an aspect at a time. cheers John

Seret
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by Seret » Thu May 23, 2019 9:49 am

UshCha wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 1:42 pm
So I guess the first question is : do your rules even allow your machine guns FPL fire as its called in moderns or as far as I can understand it in the past (and present) Graving", "Grazing Fire" or Fixed line fire.
Obviously our rules Have it and Phil Barkers 1925 to 1950 ruels has it. Despite some limitations overall Barker, was well ahead of its time and many new sets to me have been a step back from Barker, being more reminiscent of HG Well Little wars than serious simulation which was what it was all about in the days of the Wargmes Development crowd.
I think that's only a relevant detail for a specific type of wargame. Anything below about company or battalion level arguably doesn't need it and those above that level would be abstracting it into all the (supporting) fire of a unit. So you're looking for a company/battalion set with a high level of simulation? Personally I don't think there are any sets that I've found out there that manage to include that level of detail and also be fun to play. If you find one, let me know!

I actually think company/battalion is a bit of an awkward level to play at for simulating weapons effects. It's small enough that you want a single element to be a vehicle or a squad, but you've got so many toys on the table that you can't really model the specific weapons or characteristics of a single vehicle without getting bogged down. So you either end up micromanaging, or you have vehicles and weapons that seem quite generic. Finding that happy medium is tricky.

Personally I think once you've at that level it's more interesting to put your simulation effort into morale, command/control/OODA. Modelling weapons effects is starting to get beyond the sphere of interest of someone controlling a battle of that size.

UshCha
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by UshCha » Fri May 31, 2019 5:21 pm

So I took the advice and finaly did a little study just to convice myself we had not got it too far wron in our rules. here it is.
Firing a Machine gun on Fixed line
I have long been interested in firing a machine gun on a fixed line (an FPL line.and why this is better than say spraying an area as a last means of defence, like the movieas. Here is an analysis that I undertook that may be of interest for folks with an interest in such subjects.
Fixed line basline Assumptions
Machine gun Rate of fire 100 RPM = 1.67 Rounds per second
Based on continious fire used in US MMG WW2 tactics, well below maximum Rate of fire.
Maximum rate of fire 650 RPM Lowest typical rate quoted for M240.
Muzzel velocity a 2700 ft/sec a bit lower than spec (M240) for slowing down. (not used in the end)
Man walking at 3mph= 4.4 ft sec.
Target width 1 ft (man seen sideways.)
Length of target (prallel to bullet stream) 2ft
Graving fire assumed so bullet never more than 2 ft above ground for 600 yds. Also assumed if a bullet passes through the target it causes incapacitation and that the target cannot avoid being hit by changing pose or interveneing ground.
The analysis assumes a perfect fixed, no dispersion, line a bit of a simplification.

Analysis
Time for man to pass is through the line of bullets 1’ / 4.4’= 0.22 sec
Time in the path = 2’/2700=0.00074 sec. Not much diferent to 0 so 2D target used as a a conservative assumption.
So odds of hitting a man is 0.22/1.67=0.133 or 13.7%.
At 650 RPM the frequency is 650/60=10.8 rounds a secrond or 1/10.8=0.0925 sec between bullets.
Hence 0.22/0.0925= 2.378 hits on average. Massive overkill.
So optimum kill rate is 0.22 bulets per second. 272 RPM.

Traversing an area with Grasing Fire as a comparison
Basline Assumptions
Assume its an area 150 ft long by one figure wide. This covers a small angle 4.7 degrees which is small so traverses can be considered parallell to man track
Time to walk over this area is 150’/4.4’=34 seconds.
Assume a traverse each way of 10 seconds. This is more than 3 passes of the area in the time the target traverses the area.
Assume 272 RPM so 4.55 bullets every second.
Threfore in the time to traverse the beaten zone there will be 4.55*10= 45.5 bullets fired.
So the horizontal bullet spacing is 150/45.5=3.926 ft
Now the man is 1 ft wide so odds of hitting once on a pass is :-
Chance of being in the space being in the space as the bullets pass 1/3.926 = 25.47%
Odds of being hit if in the space 100%
So each pass proability of not being hit=0.7453^3*0.7453*0.4 (3.4 passes of the MG) = 51.4%
Conclusion
A fixed line of MG fire is 100% effective at 272 RPM in this calculation but only 48.6% effective.
Clearly in reality 100 RPM has a very high lethality as part of a 3 man MMG platoon and the dropping out of 1 of the weapons as it moves/reloads/changes barrels can easily be compensated for by the other weapons.
While it is possible to argue the exactitude of the numbers, please feel free to critique the assumtons as well. The analysis does show clearly why a Final Protective fire line, surveyed to ensure maximum effct of grasing fire is the ultimate killer. Speeding up the traverse to say 5 seconds actually increases survival as does widening the traverse angle.
Of course it does give the position of the MG’away as its firing continiously so unless in an Artillery proof bunker it does not want to be revealed too early as it soon becomes a sitting duck. However it does have the advantage it does not need tracer rounds as it is a pre surveyed line of fire so fall of shot observartion is uneccessary.

Now it begs the question in reality I guess and some anechdotal accounts indicate though effective that may not be quite as effective as by simple analysis indicates. One good morter bomb on the Line could provide some protection for the enemy as it may intersect the fixed line. As I understand it on Omahar beach they were intending to bomb the beaches to provide some such cover but missed.

Clearly any rules not accounting for this effect in some way is departing a long way from realism.

bannockburn bhoy
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by bannockburn bhoy » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:03 am

UshCha Very interesting post ...Ammunition supply is one of the main problem , all guns must be consistently sustained and supplied to maintain any effectiveness ,this poses additional challenges with all the inherent problems attached to it. Then obviously you have to incorporate this into your chosen rule set . Again game level and degree of detail come in to play. The more depth to the detail ,usually the more complex the rules have to be to accommodate it.
Thought provoking though. cheers John

dadlamassu
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Re: Wargamers and Tactics/strategy.

Post by dadlamassu » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:58 am


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