C9.3, A4.41, A7.25 Mortars, Moving Spotters, and Opportunity Fire

EJ1

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Hi all,

During my PFPh, I placed a Bounding-Fire counter on part of my light-mortar team (i.e. my manning squad, mortar, and leader, but not on my spotter). During my MPh, my spotter moved one hex, is still adjacent to the team, and has LOS to a new target. Now in our AFPh, my full team (i.e. with spotter) wants to fire - it will now be spotting & firing. If this is something I may do, what are my fire-based DRMs for both my TH and IFT DRs?

A4.41 doesn't seem to restrict me as the SW did not move. Furthermore, stationary weapons recovered by new owners may fire during the AFPh.
A7.25 seems to be clean - the squad, mortar, and leader were marked with the BF counter.
C9.3 seems clean as well. Line six states, "Spotting is considered the equivalent of using a SW for purposes of movement curtailment and inherent FP loss..." (2e). Fine, up through my MPh, my spotter had not yet done any "spotting", therefore his movement was not curtailed and he did not lose his inherent FP.

Now that my spotter has moved to an adjacent window on the 1st floor, he's shouting down instructions to the balance of his team, who, with their BF status, have been waiting eagerly to drop some serious hurt on the enemy. Seems to me that the team should not be adversely affected by any fire-based TH or IFT DRMs.

Thoughts? Rules? Thanks
 
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Hemaelstrom

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Note the second part of sentence quoted from C9.3: Spotting is considered the equivalent of using a SW for purposes of movement curtailment and inherent FP loss; the Spotter must be predesignated by the owning player during his PFPh/DFPh and marked with an appropriate fire counter for having used a SW during that phase.
So the spotter's movement should have been curtailed, i.e. the spotter should also have been burdened with a counter signifying use of a SW, and movement then is NA.
 

EJ1

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Thanks Hemaelstrom,

Per your approach, I've been playing this incorrectly. Yet, I'm considering the following:
  • "...the spotter must be predesignated...during his PFPh/DFPh..." Agreed. He was predesignated as the spotter during his PFPh, it was during an earlier PFPh, and he has remained the designated spotter ever since because, since then, he hasn't been "eliminated, broken, or captured" (C9.3, line 15). Thus, he's still the designated spotter, doesn't need to be "predesignated" again, and doesn't get marked with an appropriate fire counter in this new player turn.
  • "...and marked with an appropriate fire counter for having used a SW during that phase." Agreed. During the phase in which he was predesignated as the spotter, he was marked with an appropriate fire counter. Because, now, a couple turns later, he's still in good order and hasn't lost his spotter status, he is free to move and fire should he wish, without loosing his status, and without being marked.
Are you suggesting that the same unit or a new unit must be predesignated as the spotter each and every PFPh and DFPh? Wouldn't such an interpretation be contrary to line 15 of C9.3 - he remains the spotter till eliminated, broken, or captured? Yes, my spotters have broken in the past, at which point, predesignating a new spotter caused the new spotter to be marked right then with an appropriate fire counter. I don't see where it's written that spotter status only lasts till he's eliminated, broken, or captured, or the end of that player turn, which ever happens first.

OK, no problem. Let me test my understanding of your approach. If I have to predesignate my spotter each and every PFPh/DFPh, what happens when the mortar attempts to fire smoke, exceeds his s#, and "is not considered to have fired yet for any purpose"? Is the spotter considered to have fired and marked with a Prep Fire counter while the mortar is not (C8.9, line 10)? I sense your approach says the spotter is marked while the mortar is not because C9.3 comes after C8.9. With my approach, given the s# was exceeded, neither the mortar nor the spotter were considered to have "fired yet for any purpose", and the spotter is not marked and is free to do other things.

I guess this comes down to C9.3 line 15 - the spotter is the spotter till eliminated, broken, or captured, and I can't find anything that adds that such a condition only lasts that player turn.

Where I am now, I think a good resolution would be that either language is added that the spotter, new or pre-existing, must be predesignated to fire during each and every PFPh/DFPh in which he intends to fire, including the use of Bounding Fire, or that my mortar team may be marked with a Bounding Fire counter, my spotter may move, and, during the AFPh, the mortar/spotter team may fire with a +2 TH DRM similar to C5B..."Fire in AFPh without entering a hex during that Player Turn". Bottom line, I like/prefer the +2 AFPh DRM, but understand and accept the predesignation requirement each and every PFPh/DFPh. With the later, I'll use his APh to move the spotter about, and that a DR>S# does not constitute the use of a SW by the spotter.

Still learning. Cheers and thanks.
 
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Hemaelstrom

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Good questions!
Now I'm wondering how much of it I have wrong...
I believe some of the wording is accounting for HIP spotters, where the predesignation must be recorded on a side record. My understanding is that for each turn that the spotter is spotting it is marked with a fire counter, since spotting is the equivalent of using a SW.
I'd certainly be keen to hear what the ASL Big Brains have to say - hopefully I won't be shot down in flames, but even then at least I'll learn something new. :)
 

EJ1

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Yes! Yes, I forgot that part of my angle was that I had already predesignated my spotter(s) in some games with HIP. Thus, again, I don't need to predesignate them again. I went down this rabbit hole simply because I didn't think that moving a spotter one hex and then AFPh'ing should be without penalty. I should be able to move my spotter, Bounding Fire the mortar, and then fire in the AFPh. But, I didn't see where there was a DRM, like the C5B +2 DRM for firing in the AFPh. What fun. Cheers
 

Binchois

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You're both correct to be confused here! The Spotter rules are one of those notoriously underwritten rules in the ASLRB (there are many Q&A's about "spotter designation" alone). So there is room for some debate, but I think the following is true based on EJ's original post:

1. During my PFPh, I placed a Bounding-Fire counter on part of my light-mortar team (i.e. my manning squad, mortar, and leader, but not on my spotter).

OK. So your MTR has to have had LOS to a unit, or else the Spotter would've been needed for LOS (and, thus, would also get an OPP FIRE counter placed on him). NOTE that (pre-)designating a Spotter is not the same as "spotting." The player "designates" the spotter, but the unit has to choose "to spot" as his fire-action for that phase. The Spotter may have been designated since the beginning of the game, but if he is needed to spot, it counts as use of a SW. A MTR can't place an OPP FIRE counter on it unless it (or its spotter) can see a unit (see end of C9.3). So if the Spotter is needed for LOS, both MTR and Spotter get the OPP FIRE.

2. During my MPh, my spotter moved one hex, is still adjacent to the team, and has LOS to a new target.

Fine. But, again, the MTR must have had LOS to some enemy, or else the Spotter couldn't move at all (due to the weight of that giant OPP FIRE counter)...

3. Now in our AFPh, my full team (i.e. with spotter) wants to fire - it will now be spotting & firing.

Here's where there is a question possibly* worth submission to ASL HQ (Perry): Assuming that a MTR did have an enemy in its LOS during the PFPh, placed an OPP FIRE counter on itself, and then moved (during the MPh) its Spotter into the LOS of a new enemy unit (currently not in LOS from the MTR itself), could the MTR fire at the new target using the spotter? What would the modifier be?

*I say possibly because I am not sure what the ASLRB intends. The case is not explicitly discussed. That said, I think the RB is clear by omission. It does not deny the MTR use of its spotter just because it moved - same as other units with an OPP FIRE counter which are not prohibited from FireGrouping with units that moved before the AFPh (for that matter, I think OPP FIRE units can even be directed by a leader that moved into its Location during the MPh). So I would have to assume that the spotter and its new target are both valid and, would receive +2 for Spotted fire.​
If additional modifiers are intended, MMP needs to let us know! [Possibly +2, Case D, in accordance with C.4: "If the firer's status would impose Area Fire (e.g., Pinned, LATW firing from shallow stream, etc.), Case D applies (5.4)." - C9.31 doesn't state additional can apply, but a pinned Spotter, in effect, pins the MTR...]​
 
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Hemaelstrom

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I assumed that failure to mark the spotter would preclude its use for spotting in that turn, but now i see how other assumptions may be made.
 

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1. During my PFPh, I placed a Bounding-Fire counter on part of my light-mortar team (i.e. my manning squad, mortar, and leader, but not on my spotter).

OK. So your MTR has to have had LOS to a unit, or else the Spotter would've been needed for LOS (and, thus, would also get an OPP FIRE counter placed on him).
I'm confused here. There is no requirement to have LOS to anything to mark a unit for Opportunity Fire.

JR
 

jrv

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From C9.3: A mortar cannot be designated for Opportunity Fire if it has no Spotter (9.3) and its intended target is out of its LOS.
That's sort of odd. If I designate an empty hex as my intended target, am I good? Am I required to fire at that designated empty hex if another, better target becomes apparent?

Also, the rule doesn't say that the Spotter is designated for Opportunity Fire. The MTR just needs to have a Spotter to be marked.

JR
 

Hemaelstrom

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That's sort of odd.
It's the same odd ambiguity that arises from making MPs vanish by "intending" to enter a Location for which not enough MPs remain. The intention is non-binding. It would be nice to replace intentions with binding commitments - there might then be fewer fisticuffs at tournaments.
 

Binchois

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I'm confused here. There is no requirement to have LOS to anything to mark a unit for Opportunity Fire.

JR
As I said, C9.3 is an underwritten rule. But again consider this:

C9.3: A mortar cannot be designated for Opportunity Fire if it has no Spotter (9.3) and its intended target is out of its LOS.
I think the intention is clear that a MTR cannot OPP FIRE if it has no enemy target in its LOS - unless its Spotter has LOS to an enemy unit instead (in this case, at least, empty hexes cannot be a "target"). If the Spotter is needed, it is now spotting and should also be given an OPP FIRE hat. YMMV, I guess....

We likely make many assumptions about empty hexes (and other matters) that the RB never bothered to explain or make EXCeptions for. In this case, the implication is clear that empty hexes cannot be used to declare OPP FIRE. Otherwise, I do not see any other way to interpret the passage. Do you?
 
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Paul M. Weir

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I interpret "C9.3: A mortar cannot be designated for Opportunity Fire if it has no Spotter (9.3) and its intended target is out of its LOS. " differently.

I read it that BOTH conditions must be met to void OF: "it has no Spotter" AND "its intended target is out of its LOS. " If either condition is False then OF is allowed.

Having a spotter is simple but the second condition needs careful parsing: "its intended target is out of its LOS. " I read the "its" as referring to the subject of the sentence, the mortar, not the spotter. While the reference of "its" may be disputed, having a spotter, regardless of LOS, makes the first condition False thus prohibition of OF fails.

False AND False = False, False AND True = False. So once you have a spotter then OF is allowed, regardless of the MTR or spotter's LOS.
 

Binchois

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I interpret "C9.3: A mortar cannot be designated for Opportunity Fire if it has no Spotter (9.3) and its intended target is out of its LOS. " differently.

I read it that BOTH conditions must be met to void OF: "it has no Spotter" AND "its intended target is out of its LOS. " If either condition is False then OF is allowed.

Having a spotter is simple but the second condition needs careful parsing: "its intended target is out of its LOS. " I read the "its" as referring to the subject of the sentence, the mortar, not the spotter. While the reference of "its" may be disputed, having a spotter, regardless of LOS, makes the first condition False thus prohibition of OF fails.

False AND False = False, False AND True = False. So once you have a spotter then OF is allowed, regardless of the MTR or spotter's LOS.
Interesting! This makes sense, logically, though it doesn't really seem to change the preceding discussion.

[EDIT: Confused paragraph redacted so as not to confuse thread any further!]

P.S. why does the text refer to "intended targets." Since when do we declare intentions for OF? That's why I would assume that "possible target" is what is meant here and exclude JR's empty hexes.

Spotters: essential concept, poorly executed.
 
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Paul M. Weir

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Interesting! This makes sense, logically, though it doesn't really seem to change the preceding discussion.

Moreover, I wonder if your interpretation leads to an unintended situation: namely, that MTRs cannot OF at all - even if it has an enemy unit in its LOS - unless it has a Spotter. Is that realistic? Is that what the designers meant to say? As I've said, it's a poorly written rule.

I'm guessing the meaning should be read: A mortar cannot be designated for Opportunity Fire if its intended target is out of its LOS and it has no Spotter [to that target].

Spotters: essential concept, poorly executed.
If it didn't have a spotter then the first condition ("it has no Spotter" ) is True.
Then determine the 2nd condition ("its intended target is out of its LOS."). If it doesn't have a LOS then that condition is also True. Only if both conditions are True then OF is prohibited. True AND True = True.
If on the other hand the MTR had a LOS to a target then "its intended target is out of its LOS." is False and the combined is False. True AND False = False. Indeed if the second condition is false (the MTR has LOS) then whether the first (has Spotter) is irrelevant (True/False AND False = False). Binary logical operations are commutative, the order doesn't matter. So your worry about the absence of a spotter does not preclude OF when the MTR has LOS.

To put it logical notation: We set A = "MTR has a Spotter" and B = "MTR has LOS" and C = "OF allowed" then we can rewrite the original rule as
C = NOT ((NOT A) AND (NOT B))
Eg: it has LOS but no spotter: C = NOT ((NOT False) AND (NOT True)) = NOT (True AND False) = NOT (False) = True (IE OF allowed). Ditto if Spotter and LOS truth values are swapped.
Another eg: it has no Spotter or LOS: C = NOT((NOT False) AND (NOT False)) = NOT(True AND True) = NOT(True) = False (IE no OF).

We can write it much simpler, a NOT of a NOT cancels out and a NOT of AND reverses to an OR.
So C = NOT ((NOT A) AND (NOT B)) transforms into (A OR B), which in English is "C9.3: A mortar can be designated for Opportunity Fire if it has either or both a Spotter (9.3) or its intended target is within its LOS. ", the underlined being the changes. I used the "either or both" phrase to clarify the English usage of "or" which can mean either inclusive (one or both, OR) or exclusive or (one but not both, XOR).

Your "A mortar cannot be designated for Opportunity Fire if its intended target is out of its LOS and it has no Spotter [to that target]." also achieves the same result.

Sorry folks but the ex-programmer in me took control and would not let go :eek:.
 
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Binchois

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If it didn't have a spotter then the first condition ("it has no Spotter" ) is True.
Then determine the 2nd condition ("its intended target is out of its LOS."). If it doesn't have a LOS then that condition is also True. Only if both conditions are Tue then OF is prohibited. True AND True = True.
If on the other hand the MTR had a LOS to a target then "its intended target is out of its LOS." is False and the combined is False. True AND False = False. Indeed if the second condition is false (the MTR has LOS) then whether the first (has Spotter) is irrelevant (True/False AND False = False). Binary logical operations are commutative, the order doesn't matter. So your worry about the absence of a spotter does not preclude OF when the MTR has LOS.

To put it logical notation: We set A = "MTR has a Spotter" and B = "MTR has LOS" and C = "OF allowed" then we can rewrite the original rule as
C = NOT ((NOT A) AND (NOT B))
Eg: it has LOS but no spotter: C = NOT ((NOT False) AND (NOT True)) = NOT (True AND False) = NOT (False) = True (IE OF allowed). Ditto if Spotter and LOS truth values are swapped.
Another eg: it has no Spotter or LOS: C = NOT((NOT False) AND (NOT False)) = NOT(True AND True) = NOT(True) = False (IE no OF).

We can write it much simpler, a NOT of a NOT cancels out and a NOT of AND reverses to an OR.
So C = NOT ((NOT A) AND (NOT B)) transforms into (A OR B), which in English is "C9.3: A mortar can be designated for Opportunity Fire if it has either or both a Spotter (9.3) or its intended target is within its LOS. ", the underlined being the changes. I used the "either or both" phrase to clarify the English usage of "or" which can mean either inclusive (one or both, OR) or exclusive or (one but not both, XOR).

Your "A mortar cannot be designated for Opportunity Fire if its intended target is out of its LOS and it has no Spotter [to that target]." also achieves the same result.

Sorry folks but the ex-programmer in me took control and would not let go :eek:.
Doh! Of course. ...yet somehow I did pretty well in school. :oops:
 

EJ1

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Paul’s dive into formal logic is great!

Ok, I still want to OF the mortar, move my spotter to a new hex, and AFPh the mortar with spotter’s help at a new hex - not the target the mortar team used to satisfy its OF. Allowed? If so, with what DRM?

Cheers
 

Eagle4ty

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Paul’s dive into formal logic is great!

Ok, I still want to OF the mortar, move my spotter to a new hex, and AFPh the mortar with spotter’s help at a new hex - not the target the mortar team used to satisfy its OF. Allowed? If so, with what DRM?

Cheers
No, a Spotter must be designated during the PFPh/DFPh (only) and must be marked with an appropriate Fire counter at that time (C9.3). If the Spotter is attempting Opportunity Fire it is marked OPP FIRE (Bounding Fire) and cannot move (A7.25).
 

Binchois

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Paul’s dive into formal logic is great!

Ok, I still want to OF the mortar, move my spotter to a new hex, and AFPh the mortar with spotter’s help at a new hex - not the target the mortar team used to satisfy its OF. Allowed? If so, with what DRM?

Cheers
I still stand by my above explanation (post #6) as the best way to interpret the Big Book and to answer this question - at least until an official pronouncement comes down from HQ.
 
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