Cover Your Mines and Wire! Um... about that....

Tuomo

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Every single time I set up a defense using Mines or Wire, I am haunted by the Age-Old Advice that echoes down the Hallowed Halls of Gaming Lore: "Cover Your Fortifications".

This stands in the same company with "Take The High Ground" and other such Nuggets of Wisdom as Things You Just Don't Question.

OK, but here's the thing. I rarely cover my fortifications. Once they're in position, I almost always find something else for my defenders to do. There's another gap in the line somewhere, and I just don't have the units to spare, trying to add insult to injury by firing on attackers who are dealing with my Mines and Wire. If the enemy has blundered into my Fortifications, I've essentially already attacked him, and like any attack, I don't expect that to be the end of it. The first shot has been fired, and we'll see if our second level of defense is necessary.

So to that end, I see Mines and Wire as merely delaying elements that will hopefully buy me time. But in terms of allocating a Real Firing Unit to overwatch them? Who has the luxury?

Am I missing something?
 

skarper

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I suspect this is due to not having many fortifications and having too few troops in general. In ASL usually wire and mines are an add on that don't really stop the enemy rather channel attacks and maybe delay them. People don't usually clear mines/wire. If they get caught in a minefield then they usually rout out or die trying. Then tehy go around.

You don't see large multi-hex minefields covering a width of 10 hexes and depth of 5 - with maybe a path thru for defenders. That would be common in actual WW2 combat but I've never seen that in ASL.
 

samwat

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Tuomo's approach works in a standard modern ASL game of 7ish turns. Back in the 80s and 90s, it didn't always work so well if the attacker had 10 turns to get through the wire and move on. Same for real life: military engineers and defensive planners use the same aphorism as the ASL one you note, because there may be urgency in real life, but no 7-turn limit.

In ASL, it depends on the situation: are you defending the long edge of the board against VC to get off the board, or defending a locality? In the former case, which sounds like what you're discussing, you probably don't have enough units to cover everything by fire, so you use the wire or mines to delay, and hope your troops can move laterally to reinforce that sector.
 

bendizoid

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Look for ponds and swamps to build off of and channel the attack.
 

jrv

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There are times when fortifications (and woods with vehicles) are more porous than they first appear, and they do need to be covered. If the Japanese can Banzai, they can move next to a line of wire and Banzai under it in one turn. So while in most situations the attacker will go around fortification obstacles, they may also go straight through them in hopes of gaining an advantage.

JR
 

sfcmikej

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In real life mines and wire are meant to delay and channelize an attack into kill zones. They are not expected to stop an enemy thus you must cover them with fire or the bad guys will just infiltrate through. For good or bad I try to do the same in ASL but usually there is not enough mines and wire nor covering units to make that effective. It seems to me that mines and wire in ASL are more of a nuisance obstacle in order to deny a particular hex or to delay a rout the a particular avenue of approach. Of course as they are HIPPed they are a psychological weapon too with some opponents.

Mike
 

bprobst

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Am I missing something?
Yes. Cover your fortifications. It doesn't matter if your defenders have "other things to do". Of course they have other things to do. If you have enough defenders to cover everything that you need to cover, than it's probably not a very interesting scenario.

If you're not covering your fortifications, there's no point in setting them up at all. They're useless.
 

jrv

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If you're not covering your fortifications, there's no point in setting them up at all. They're useless.
In an ASL scenario this is not true. Wire and mines slow the enemy down even when not covered. The killing of an enemy AFV on an AT-mine is very valuable even when the mine is not covered.

JR
 

Eagle4ty

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I still adhere to the old adage that one should be able to cover by fire a mined/wired obstacle (used as a general term-not in the ASL verbiage usage of the term) or otherwise it is simply a nuisance as still a wise caution. One rarely finds an opponent advancing willy-nilly against an opponent that has these combat multipliers available to him and if so, the opponent deserves what he gets. If they are found early and at less a prohibitive cost (as should be the case if not covered by fire), they are usually easily circumvented or if need be (time permitting) breached and thus rendered ineffective. Perhaps a direct over-watch of the obstacle isn't always possible, but even if it is able to be brought under fire from a supplemental firing position, its value is multiplied several fold. One that does not adhere to this principle may well get some use out of the obstacles, but failure to adequately protect them is giving away a large defensive value.
 

Earthpig

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I like putting wire along a hexspine I want to put a fire lane down or as a final protective wire in front of a position. In all cases I try to cover them with fire both direct and indirect...I was both a Combat Engineer and an Infantryman, covering obstacles with fire is second nature to me....doesn't always workout the way I want...but still do it.
 

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I suspect this is due to not having many fortifications and having too few troops in general. In ASL usually wire and mines are an add on that don't really stop the enemy rather channel attacks and maybe delay them. People don't usually clear mines/wire. If they get caught in a minefield then they usually rout out or die trying. Then tehy go around.

You don't see large multi-hex minefields covering a width of 10 hexes and depth of 5 - with maybe a path thru for defenders. That would be common in actual WW2 combat but I've never seen that in ASL.
You need to play more DTO. Then you will see it. :)
 

witchbottles

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A circumvented ( aka moved around ) wire and/or minefield has done its job. It has forced the opponent's units to move in a different direction rather than directly into it.
 

MajorDad

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By doctrine obstacles (wire, mines, AT ditches) have four intents; Disrupt, Delay, Turn or Block. They ae determined by the density and shape of the obstacle. All must be covered my fire (either direct or indirect) to be effective and meet the intent. Obstacles do not take the place of troops to cover areas of the line. In ASL it is no different.
 

jrv

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By doctrine obstacles (wire, mines, AT ditches) have four intents; Disrupt, Delay, Turn or Block. They ae determined by the density and shape of the obstacle. All must be covered by fire (either direct or indirect) to be effective and meet the intent. Obstacles do not take the place of troops to cover areas of the line. In ASL it is no different.
Perhaps this would be better phrased as, "covering by fire will substantially improve their effectiveness in meeting the intent."

JR
 

Robin Reeve

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As usual, the answer to that question is situation dependent.
As in real life, you often don't master or have in hand all the assets needed to do the perfect job.
So you have to adapt, and give up some elements in favour of some, more urgent ones.
A good tactical challenge should deprive the players from some deemed important resources, to test their capacity of adaptation and of establishing the right priorities.
"When the world is running down
You make the best of what's still around"
 

Capt. Batguano

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Every single time I set up a defense using Mines or Wire, I am haunted by the Age-Old Advice that echoes down the Hallowed Halls of Gaming Lore: "Cover Your Fortifications".

This stands in the same company with "Take The High Ground" and other such Nuggets of Wisdom as Things You Just Don't Question.

OK, but here's the thing. I rarely cover my fortifications. Once they're in position, I almost always find something else for my defenders to do. There's another gap in the line somewhere, and I just don't have the units to spare, trying to add insult to injury by firing on attackers who are dealing with my Mines and Wire. If the enemy has blundered into my Fortifications, I've essentially already attacked him, and like any attack, I don't expect that to be the end of it. The first shot has been fired, and we'll see if our second level of defense is necessary.

So to that end, I see Mines and Wire as merely delaying elements that will hopefully buy me time. But in terms of allocating a Real Firing Unit to overwatch them? Who has the luxury?

Am I missing something?

I have to agree in general (and naturally we're always speaking in generalities in these subjects). I put wire and mines in places I don't have the luxury of covering. If my opponent moves into the wire I am usually prepared at that point to move into a position to cover anyone following the first squad. In any case if the opponent is going to choose that route, so be it. I am prepared in the sense that I am ready to stop that gap. The main thing is that it cost him time. If he ignore the mines/wire and moves around them as is often the straightforward response to such fortifications then I have more to cover his advance with. Just like cleavage the effect is all in the channeling and squeezing.

That's not to say I won't cover wire/mine hexes if I do have the luxury of a squad or two, or an AFV, to spare but I assume the same caveat runs true with you.
 

BattleSchool

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Wire atop minefields and more around roadblocks,
tunnels that lead to a big concrete pillbox,
trenches connecting fortified buildings,
these are a few of my favorite things.

I was saving this for the what-to-do-with-a-wounded-6+1-leader thread. But I'm feeling especially charitable for some reason.

Uncommon are those memorable occasions on the defence when I succeed in eliminating an enemy unit for "failure to rout."

Mine a likely approach hex with AP mines, and string some wire on top for good measure. Post your weakest man ADJACENT to this hex, preferably in good cover. The trap works best if Beetle Bailey is concealed. Granted he doesn't meet the OP's definition of a "real firing unit," but that can work to your advantage. In fact, your opponent may begin to suspect a dummy. And he would be right. Tactically witless he may be, Beetle nevetheless remains armed and dangerous.

Once an enemy unit falls prey to your trap--breaking as a result of the minefield attack--your unlikely hero need only reveal himself at the beginning of the Rout Phase. The wire/minefield, and the mechanics of the RtPh will do the rest.

I do not recommend this as a game-winning ploy. The best that I can usually manage is a fleeting moment of glory, and a more fleeting moment of optimism that my defeat is not a foregone conclusion.
 

Tuomo

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If you're not covering your fortifications, there's no point in setting them up at all. They're useless.
Nonsense. If I have minefield guarding a road on my flank and my opponent blunders into it, it's useful. Whether I cover it or not.
 

Michael Dorosh

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Find scenario designers who know what fortifications did historically, and play their scenarios.
 

bprobst

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Clearly we have differing opinions of what's "useful". If all a fortification does is be a minor inconvenience to the enemy, as opposed to being a major obstacle or thorny mess that has to be avoided, then there's no point to it. That's the corollary to "cover your fortifications" -- make sure you put them exactly where your opponent doesn't want to see them.

Of course there may be exceptions. There are always exceptions. They don't disprove the general rule. If the best thing you can think of with your minefield (or whatever) is "oh, this might annoy him for a turn" then it's not a very effective minefield. Or to put it another way -- those hexes that you want to cover with your defenders any way -- the hexes that if he doesn't come through, his attack will be seriously delayed or reduced in effectiveness -- those are the hexes where you want to put the fortifications. And you've got your guys covering them, because that's the smart thing to do. It's doing anything different that's "nonsense".
 
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