Designers' Response to the Desperation Morale Review of Forgotten War

Kenneth P. Katz

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Thank you on the clarification on the kill mechanism of HEAT vs. EFP.

I do not think that a 12 dud sufficiently represents this situation. I have read of many ocasions, not only in WWII, where a round penetrated a vehicle but did not destroy it. Either the round has to hit something significant (including an occupant), or it needs to impart sufficient energy to the target such that pieces of the target detach from it and cause damage in the interior.

Thanks. I would not disagree with this. The only point is does rolling a TK of 12 cover those possibilities? So then what was the dude rate or inability to do damage after penetration rate of the various WWII HEAT rounds? I think your rules for the M6A3 are justified. Their failure in early combat in Korea is well documented and there were problems with it in WWII. One problem was the shape of then wind cap could cause it to yaw at impact thus causing the jet to mal-form or not hit the armor optimally. The sloped armor of the T-34/85 would make this more likely to happen.

I worked at TACOM as a threat analyst supporting combat vehicle programs and did a lot of work on defeating RPG warheads. As antiarmor weapons developed and different types come out it becomes more difficult in game terms to work out their ability to affect the target and for the target to defeat them. How complex do we want the game to become? The player is really concerned with did I kill or not, or did I lose my tank or not. For most of the typical anti armor weapons of WWII the game works. As to HEAT, I would surmise that if it penetrates the WWII tank it will most likely do enough damage to either take out the tank or cause the crew to poop and want to leave. WWII armor did not have much to with interior design for survivability [EXC US Army wet stowage] nor fire suppression. So maybe, outside of analysis of dud rates, the 12 dud is likely appropriate.

A technical note. HEAT does not form a slug, it forms a plasma jet that is extremely hot. The Explosively Formed Penetrator or EFP is what forms a slug and also uses a shaped charge bunone of a different shape and size, and is slower, relatively speaking. When Inretired it was not still fully understood whatbthenshapedncharged jet is doing to armor: is it eroding the armor, punching a hole, burning a hole or hydrostatically cutting the armor? It happens so fast and scientists were still trying to figure it out. I took some course from the Royal Military Collge of Science in the UK on HEAT. It is quite interesting stuff. I even had courses from Dr. Manfred Held from Germany who started out on studies post WWII of the Panzerfaust and it’s affects. Interesting stuff.
 

Kenneth P. Katz

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I think that within the constraints of a board wargame, ASL does a pretty good job of rewarding historical tactics. Not in every particular, but in the big picture.

Good points. In fact I would say that ASL rewards ahistorical tactics no matter the nationality with the leadership modifiers. I have experimented with a modification to how Leaders work - basically what it does is instead of the leadership modifier affecting the IFT shot it is the number of hexes excluding the one the Leader occupies that can participate in a Fire Group (minimum one and this Fire Group cannot Cower). It still needs tweaks but does help move things away from the "Death Star" tendencies.
 

Blackcloud6

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Thank you on the clarification on the kill mechanism of HEAT vs. EFP.

I do not think that a 12 dud sufficiently represents this situation. I have read of many occasions, not only in WWII, where a round penetrated a vehicle but did not destroy it. Either the round has to hit something significant (including an occupant), or it needs to impart sufficient energy to the target such that pieces of the target detach from it and cause damage in the interior.
Here's some data from the US Army "Survey of Tanks Casualties in World War II" Technical Memorandum ORO-T-117, 1 March 1951:

In Italy & Sicily: combining the US & UK sample of 17 tanks that were hollow charge causalities, 15 burned for 88.2%
In the ETO: 198 US, UK and Canada, 198 tanks that were hollow charge causalities, 116 burned for 58.6%, not burned but still a casualty, 82 for 41.4%

What is unknown is how many were hit by hollow charge but were not a casualty. However, looking at the high percent of not burned casualties, I suspect that those hit and nothing happened to the tank, were low. As stated in a previous posts. WWII tanks did not have any internal survivability designs except for the M4 series wet ammunition stowage, and that WWII tanks were relatively compact inside, the likelihood of the shaped charge jet hitting critical components, burnable components or crew, was pretty good and likely. Although there are anecdotal accounts of the jet harmlessly passing through the vehicle, I would say that without hard number, in game terms, the roll of a natural 12 dud result would suffice to cover this remote possibility. It may even be high considering how often the dude 12 is rolled across the playing of hundreds and thousands of scenarios where shaped charged weapons are encountered.

The study quote the commander of a combat command of the 4th AD, Colonel W.L. Roberts, on 21 April 1945: "Panzerfaust is the worst weapon we have encountered in this exploitation type of war. It will go through any US tank, and can be handled by even and inexperienced individual. It is the only weapon that is getting out tanks today."

Most kills by the PF/PSK were 55 yards and below with most under 35 yards.

So in game terms, the player opposing the PF and PSK should fear them. So looking at a holistic design effect, the player playing allied tankers of 1944, and especially those of 1945 should quake in his tanker boots at the thought of German infantry with their Panzerfausts that they will likely have. Thus this forces the Allied player to use proper combined arms tactics and send in his grunts to clean out the Jerries before his tanks close. This notion, to me, is akin to the same design philosophy used for the rules on the CPA in FW.
 
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jrv

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For what it's worth, ignoring the BAZ44 & BAZ45, the changes to the dud rules increase the dud rate from 1 in 36 to about 1 in 6. Depending on the TK# and AF the TK DR may have been NE in any event, so in some cases "duds" would not have done anything anyway. The BAZ50 will feel the full effect of the change, while a weapon like the 57 RCL will not be affected at all on a side shot against a T-34/85 (if it rolls a colored 6 for a minimum TK DR of seven, its eleven TK# will never penetrate the six AF). My belief is that the change does not increase the number of duds to the point where enemy tanks will be more aggressive than they would be with the WWII rules because of this new weakness in HEAT ammunition. It's still suitably dangerous to approach most HEAT weapons with an AFV.

JR
 

Chas

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Ken,

Don't get wrapped up in DMs product commentary. He does a lot of great stuff, and hats off to him for even trying to wade through the CH stuff.
However, he does have his bias and quirks which come out. He will not like chrome, will always discuss what is not in the product, etc. This is OK as it informs players what is and what isn't in the product, and most guys are probably smart enough to work through the bias.

The one big negative is that he has a bad habit of making bold and inaccurate claims. The designers must have done this or that or X, based on something else. He has no idea what type of collaboration went into FW. This type of stuff should not be in his reviews as he simply doesn't know, and it is irrelevant to the consumer looking at a product review.

On the HEAT discussion. I wont go into specific details, but I gave my comments on this years ago. The system actually models it well. Using probability and statistics, and the general range of BAZ engagements (sometimes beyond the ASL range) in Korea, the numbers make sense. Just take the probability of a Baz firing at max range at the front of the moving T-34. The only thing that could be different that could model the HEAT type weapons better is to make an 11 or a 12 a dud. My take is otherwise nothing needed to be done from the original design, but that is just my opinion.

On the Commie Chinese, leadership, etc, that is a design for effect and you guys designed it that way. It was playtested and enough people felt like it worked. Dont let the commentary diminish your feelings of success. Now, if the entire ASL community said it sucked, then be worried. But that is not the case.

Chas
 
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Michael Dorosh

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The one big negative is that he has a bad habit of making bold and inaccurate claims. The designers must have done this or that or X, based on something else. He has no idea what type of collaboration went into FW. This type of stuff should not be in his reviews as he simply doesn't know, and it is irrelevant to the consumer looking at a product review.
DM's penchant for wild speculation is made more bizarre by an unwillingness to contact developers and designers before publishing the "writeup." I am positive that the majority of TPP receiving a private message or email from someone saying "hey, I'm doing a review of your product and I'm not sure about - x" would be more than willing to supply additional information for said write-up.
 

asloser

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He does a lot of great stuff, and hats off to him for even trying to wade through the CH stuff.
However, he does have his bias and quirks which come out. He will not like chrome, will always discuss what is not in the product, etc. This is OK as it informs players what is and what isn't in the product, and most guys are probably smart enough to work through the bias.
I believe most people can adjust their views as Mark is consistent on what he likes and dislikes. I can get a good idea if I will like a product or not by reading DM, wether it is positive or negative.
 

Paul M. Weir

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I believe most people can adjust their views as Mark is consistent on what he likes and dislikes. I can get a good idea if I will like a product or not by reading DM, wether it is positive or negative.
I agree with this for the most part. New readers to DM might take Pitman's commentary as gospel, but after reading a number of DM reviews, especially of something they already have in their hands, most will pick up on the general DM "vibe". For years, when entering DM my Pitman Tinged Polaroid Goggles™ automatically snap into place.
 

hongkongwargamer

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I agree with this for the most part. New readers to DM might take Pitman's commentary as gospel, but after reading a number of DM reviews, especially of something they already have in their hands, most will pick up on the general DM "vibe". For years, when entering DM my Pitman Tinged Polaroid Goggles™ automatically snap into place.
It's funny how, from what I gather from being in their chat rooms, newer ASL'rs from Asia have these "Goggles" already in place. So it cuts across distance, language and culture.
 

Paul M. Weir

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It's funny how, from what I gather from being in their chat rooms, newer ASL'rs from Asia have these "Goggles" already in place. So it cuts across distance, language and culture.
Thank you for that titbit. It's been so long since I first perused DM, I'd really forgotten what my early reactions were, so your comment I find reassuring from other new buyer's/reader's perspective.
 

Eagle4ty

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  1. That a projectile can penetrate a target does not mean that it necessarily will penetrate a target, particularly in the case of WWII-era HEAT.
  2. That a projectile that penetrates armor will necessarily destroy the target.
  3. That high overmatch between the projectile and the armor translates into a high probability or certainty of catastrophic target destruction.
Example: Firing a PF at an AF 1 target. In ASL, if the PF hits, the high probability is that the target becomes a flaming wreck. In reality:
a. The PF warhead might not fuze.
b. The metal slug might be malformed.
c. The warhead might fuze and the metal slug does penetrate the armor but it doesn’t hit anybody or anything of significance.
Only if you're talking about a single PF, which ASL does not replicate in their fire computations. As stated, the effects are not from a specific single round being fired but the cumulative effects of several rounds of ammunition being fired over an extended period of time. It's the biggest mistake I see gamers make with ASL as they equate a single shot to just one round of ammunition expended, it isn't the case and never was.
 
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klasmalmstrom

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Only if you're talking about a single PF, which ASL does not replicate in their fire computations. As stated, the effects are not from a specifuc single round being fired but the cumulative effects of several rounds of ammunition being fired over an extended period of time. It's the biggest mistake I see gamers make with ASL as they equate a single shot to just one round of ammunition expended, it isn't the case and never was.
Indeed, Chapter C Footnote 8:
8. 3.8 MULTIPLE HITS: The two minute Game Turns of ASL, combined with the To Hit system mechanics, require that each “shot” fired on the gameboard actually represents the firing of an unspecified number of rounds within that time span. A “hit” means only that at least one of those rounds found its target. In reality, several such rounds may have struck the target and had an effect—a “hit” that eventually scores a KIA/MC on several units in the same hex can often be assumed to have been caused by several well-placed rounds. This multiple hit possibility increases with smaller caliber Guns which could fire a greater number of rounds in a given time span, and were often even clip-fed with automatic fire capability.
 

Gordon

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Yeah, ASL ain't "Tobruk" where I believe you counted each shell.
 

Gordon

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But DO we? Or do we count some quantum-like wave function of potential Panzerfaust-esque effects?
 
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