Exiting Shellholes

MAS01

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If an infantry unit the is IN shellholes, does it expend 1 MF to exit the shellholes (similar to what happens with foxholes)? It does not specifically say that in B2.4 like it does in B27.4

Thanks in advance everyone!
 

Robin Reeve

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It does not specifically say that in B2.4 like it does in B27.4.
Well, you had the answer in your question.
If the rule doesn't say it, it doesn't apply.
 

von Marwitz

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Well, you had the answer in your question.
If the rule doesn't say it, it doesn't apply.
But who knows if there is something on the matter somewhere in some obscure or unrelated place? Most of us know that experience: "I would have NEVER expected the answer in that place of the rules..."

So, it has been fair to ask.

von Marwitz
 

Robin Reeve

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And how many times do we imagine things that are not, and realize that we read too much in the rules?
At least, it happens to me far too often.
 

BattleSchool

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I've got two issues with foxholes in ASL. Both, in my estimation, are the result of exagerration. One exagerrated effect has to do with exiting, the other with the protection afforded in relation to the time expended entrenching. Let's look at the protection element first.

Shellholes tend to be deeper than shell scrapes. And shell scrapes tend to have more in common with hastily-dug "foxholes" in game terms. And yet foxholes dug during a scenario provide better protection than shellholes do.

Unfortunately ASL doesn't have a shell scrape equivalent. A sangar is probably the closest in ASL-effects terms, although it's obviously a different form of fortification.

Digging a foxhole ought to be harder to accomplish than it currently is, especially in the time frame of most scenarios. One could include an SSR that allowed for gradations during Entrenchment attempts, from nothing to shell scrape (+1/+3 TEM) [a Sangar counter would suffice as a shell scrape], to foxhole (+2/+4 TEM).

Exagerrating the time required to exit a foxhole is the second failing of ASL foxholes. Unlike a (fire) trench, foxholes (and shell scrapes) shouldn't require a MF to exit prior to exiting a hex. We're good with a unit notionally at the far end of a building entering another hex without the need to expend a MF to exit through the far side of the building. Why penalize the occupants of a foxhole, especially when the same unit is otherwise able to climb out of a much deeper shellhole crater with comparative ease?

Intead, foxholes (and shell scrapes) ought to be treated more like shellholes in this regard. Ideally, foxholes and sangars should not require a MF to exit prior to exiting the hex. Trenches might also benefit from a revision. Perhaps it would be worth allowing a trench's occupants to exit the trench without incurring any D1F in the trench hex provided they declare Assault Movement first.

I leave it to a scenario designer to test these ideas in a scenario pack or historical module. The Pleva OBA rule has been tentatively adopted, appearing as an SSR even in MMP scenarios. A new interpretation of foxholes need not be retroactive. Future HASL and scenario SSR might allow for a more "historical" use of what is currently dismissed as, at best, a sub-optimal rout path, and at worst, a death trap.
 

Robin Reeve

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Doesn't the 5 DR for digging a foxhole (33% chances of success at first attempt) make the time for digging it quite variable, thus including the difficulty a given terrain can add to the task?
 

BattleSchool

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Doesn't the 5 DR for digging a foxhole (33% chances of success at first attempt) make the time for digging it quite variable, thus including the difficulty a given terrain can add to the task?
I don't think so. It took me more than a hour to dig each two-foot deep hole that was less than three feet in diameter when planting some trees a few years ago. Granted I wasn't taking fire at the time and could have dug a little faster. :)

Apart from a layer of topsoil and sandy substrate, I was digging in clay. Even digging a shell scrape in sandy soil takes 15-20 minutes of sustained effort to remove the top layer of soil, cut through any roots, remove rocks, and dig down 18 inches. A foxhole is three times as deep and can take hours to dig depending on what one encounters during the dig. (Digging in sand is not necessarily faster as the sides will cave in requiring added excavation and removal.)

If a turn is supposed to represent 15-20 minutes of time, then a shell scrape is reasonable in the course of a turn, but not a foxhole, even if it took three turns to dig. But an ASL turn is much shorter, evidenced by the fact that a SMC can easily cover 240m in a turn. You would have to be exceptionally adept with an entrenching tool to dig a foxhole in the time it took my well-fed 6+1 to stroll around a track and field oval. In fact, I doubt very much that you'd be finished before my army chaplin completed three laps, advancing left or right to bless his flock along the way.
 

Khill

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I've got two issues with foxholes in ASL. Both, in my estimation, are the result of exagerration. One exagerrated effect has to do with exiting, the other with the protection afforded in relation to the time expended entrenching. Let's look at the protection element first.

Shellholes tend to be deeper than shell scrapes. And shell scrapes tend to have more in common with hastily-dug "foxholes" in game terms. And yet foxholes dug during a scenario provide better protection than shellholes do.

Unfortunately ASL doesn't have a shell scrape equivalent. A sangar is probably the closest in ASL-effects terms, although it's obviously a different form of fortification.

Digging a foxhole ought to be harder to accomplish than it currently is, especially in the time frame of most scenarios. One could include an SSR that allowed for gradations during Entrenchment attempts, from nothing to shell scrape (+1/+3 TEM) [a Sangar counter would suffice as a shell scrape], to foxhole (+2/+4 TEM).

Exagerrating the time required to exit a foxhole is the second failing of ASL foxholes. Unlike a (fire) trench, foxholes (and shell scrapes) shouldn't require a MF to exit prior to exiting a hex. We're good with a unit notionally at the far end of a building entering another hex without the need to expend a MF to exit through the far side of the building. Why penalize the occupants of a foxhole, especially when the same unit is otherwise able to climb out of a much deeper shellhole crater with comparative ease?

Intead, foxholes (and shell scrapes) ought to be treated more like shellholes in this regard. Ideally, foxholes and sangars should not require a MF to exit prior to exiting the hex. Trenches might also benefit from a revision. Perhaps it would be worth allowing a trench's occupants to exit the trench without incurring any D1F in the trench hex provided they declare Assault Movement first.

I leave it to a scenario designer to test these ideas in a scenario pack or historical module. The Pleva OBA rule has been tentatively adopted, appearing as an SSR even in MMP scenarios. A new interpretation of foxholes need not be retroactive. Future HASL and scenario SSR might allow for a more "historical" use of what is currently dismissed as, at best, a sub-optimal rout path, and at worst, a death trap.
good points. sad something as ubiquitous as foxhole on the battlefield are such in our game that they are Rarely employed by players
 

Robin Reeve

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good points. sad something as ubiquitous as foxhole on the battlefield are such in our game that they are Rarely employed by players
Aren't they mostly meant to protect from artillety indirect fire?
They are not that useful vs. direct fire situations.
But I am just guessing.
 

BattleSchool

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good points. sad something as ubiquitous as foxhole on the battlefield are such in our game that they are Rarely employed by players
Thanks Keith.

It's bizarre, not least because, as you hinted, entrenchments were the most common fortifications employed by infantry. In a game designed to model infantry combat, the widespread avoidance of foxholes points to a flaw in the system.

During the Flintstone era of SL and early ASL, skulking wasn't a common practice, in part because many of us simply banged away at each other during the PFPh and DFPh until someone broke. The tactic was invented because ASL lacks a means of mitigating incoming fire while remaining in situ. It seems obvious to me that if an infantryman wanted to avoid incoming fire, he would take cover by keeping his brain bucket out of the line of fire as much as possible, akin to going BU for an AFV. The purpose of an entrenchment is not only to provide protection while firing, but to provide increased protection when not firing. But there's no mechanism in ASL that allows Infantry to drop out of sight during the MPh without leaving a hex [EXC: when entrenched behind a wall or hedge, bocage, and perhaps one or two other rare cases that are de-facto skulking mechanisms], reduce incoming fire by half (or a quarter if concealed), and then pop back up in the APh. Given the option of ducking or skulking, however, I think most players would still opt to leave enemy LOS provided there was a way to do this without eating fire upon exiting the foxhole.

While I'm on the subject, the effort to leave a trench could be modelled differently. Rather than have Infantry expend a MF in the hex when exiting the trench, this MF could instead be added cumulatively to the cost to enter the next hex. (Alternatively, only allow a "Snap Shot" on the exit MF.) I think of an ASL trench as a series of fire trenches connected by shallower communication trenches.

A wounded leader leaving the "long drop" in 4X8 cannot be fired upon as he exits the outbuilding on his way to W9, despite having a lot of Open Ground to cross (including the hex centre dot on the original board below) before he reaches W9. Why then should a unit exiting a trench in W9 be required to pause for a photo op before heading to the same latrine?
22527

Earlier I forgot to mention another thing that bugs me about foxholes: capacity. While it makes sense for trenches, I have a hard time visualizing an enemy squad sharing a 1S foxhole with another enemy squad. Maybe B27.44 was written this way for simplicity sake. I'm not buying it. Should an enemy unit eliminate one or more occupants of a foxhole during CC, the enemy unit ought to be free to avail itself of any unused foxhole capacity. Otherwise it's SOL, as it would be in real bust up. And so I'd argue for dropping the per-side capacity of a foxhole and adopting something akin to that for a sangar below.

F8.3 CAPACITY:
A sangar has the same capacity as a 1S foxhole. [EXC: One non-vehicular Gun of any size/type may be placed in, and may fire out of, a sangar. A sangar that contains a Gun may never also contain a squad, nor more MMC than one HS or crew. A sangar's capacity is the total number of units/Guns allowed beneath it, rather than a "per side" capacity as given in B27.44.]


Aren't they mostly meant to protect from artillety indirect fire?
They are not that useful vs. direct fire situations.
But I am just guessing.
Yes and no. The concussive effect of artillery fire can kill without leaving a scratch on its victim. But the deeper the hole, especially one with overhead protection, the more likely one is to weather the firestorm. Foxholes in ASL provide a good deal of protection from OBA. I'm not sure that it's warranted, however, given that foxholes are meant to represent hastily dug entrenchments. A foxhole dug during play provides the same level of protection that an OB-given one does.

(Fire) trenches are a different beast, and I think that ASL trenches do a good job of simulating the added benefits of overhead protection and communication trenches for moving between fire trenches/positions.

As for direct fire, it depends on whether the occupants are in a firing position, or keeping their heads down. ASL doesn't distinguish. But in the real world, I'd take a shell scrape over nothing. It would allow me to keep most of my body below ground, making me harder to target directly, while also providing some protection from grenade and other (non-airburst) fragments.

Foxholes (individual fire trenches) and trenches would provide even more protection from direct fire than a shell scrape because most of your body is well below ground level. Keep in mind that an MG can shred a wooden or cinderblock building. So I don't see the protection of a foxhole or trench vs direct fire as overrated. Moreover, I think a sangar's +1 TEM is much more in keeping with what an ASL "foxhole" really is. So in that respect, I agree that an ASL "foxhole," which is really a shell scrape, ought to be less useful in protecting from direct fire, not unlike a sangar is.
 

PresterJohn

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There is no equivalent of the hastily dug shell scrape (a real shell scrape is up to an hours work), relative to the foxhole or fighting position that will take hours to prepare.
In the abstract sense the DR plus TI for entrenching might mean finding a suitable location so that a hasty shell scrape might provide some useful cover. A slight natural depression plus a few inches of furious digging to provide limited cover from direct fire. Just abstract in about ten minutes of time and it might be reasonable for +1.
 

Wayne

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ASL Foxholes are just one simulation-FAIL in a good game w/a number of such.

So far, the annoyance has not motivated anyone to write the (non-trivial) "fix."

[If that happens at all, I look for it to appear first (and last?) as a CG SR, I predict.]
 

bendizoid

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ASL Foxholes are just one simulation-FAIL in a good game w/a number of such.

So far, the annoyance has not motivated anyone to write the (non-trivial) "fix."

[If that happens at all, I look for it to appear first (and last?) as a CG SR, I predict.]
Here’s one fix, rule #6:
22529
 

BattleSchool

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Here’s one fix, rule #6:
View attachment 22529
Rule 6 seems easy enough to add as an EXC to B27.4 (and B20.93). But I agree with Wayne that amendments to foxholes at this juncture are likely to be limited to a future HASL module where foxholes predominate.

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Some variation of the Insta-Berserk! rule would have been fun add to Red October and Sword and Fire. There's nothing quite like the chaos created by an out-of-phase berserker.
 
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