Half Tracks and ASL

jwb3

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Just to clarify, only the SdKfz 251 Ausf A had any sort of ports in the passenger compartment. The Ausf A was produced in small numbers and replaced by the Ausf B which was somewhat simplified by, amongst other things, no (openable) vision ports except in the driving compartment. None of the later SdKfz 250 or 251, US M3 SC or M2/3 h/t had any sort of vision or firing port in their rear compartment.
Okay, that's one understanding *totally* demolished! :) Good information (as always from you).

The sides of the US M2/3 h/t track barely reached the top of a seated passenger's head and with the SdKfz 250/251 not even quite that.
Really? I had no idea they were that short. In fact, I always thought the US troops would have trouble seeing over the side of the M3.

It seems my youthful collection of WWII models -- which included a 251/1, but not a M3 -- has failed me. But then, I always did feel robbed because the 251/1 model didn't actually come with any passenger figures. Though I think I remember fiddling around with the driver figure to try to get a sense of things, and not being able to figure out how you could fit ten men in the thing anyway!


John
 

Paul M. Weir

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Okay, that's one understanding *totally* demolished! :) Good information (as always from you).
The driving compartments of all the above did have openable view ports that could be used to fire a personal weapon from though that would be awkward and the driver would have better things to do. The Israelis did add a .30" BMG to many of their M2/3/5/9 h/t, but that was post war.

The early post-WW2 wheeled APC like the Soviet BTR-152, BTR-40 (M-3 SC equivalent), British Saracen and slightly later tracked BTR-50 all had simple passenger firing ports and that continued with the Soviet BTR-60/70/80 series. They were more intended for self defence suppressive fire than any positive offensive value. The tracked British FV432 and US M113 had none. The advent of the BMP-1 with more sophisticated (and NBC proof) firing ports prompted a similar feature of the US M2/3 Bradley, though they were often later plated over. The BMP and Bradley series were designed for fighting in a nuclear and chemical environment.

Really? I had no idea they were that short. In fact, I always thought the US troops would have trouble seeing over the side of the M3.

It seems my youthful collection of WWII models -- which included a 251/1, but not a M3 -- has failed me. But then, I always did feel robbed because the 251/1 model didn't actually come with any passenger figures. Though I think I remember fiddling around with the driver figure to try to get a sense of things, and not being able to figure out how you could fit ten men in the thing anyway!
If you were short you were invisible, if you were average then your tin hat protruded, if you were tall you hunched over. Standing to fire one of the pintle mounted MG meant that half your torso was exposed unless you crouched.
View attachment 43217
The German ones were just a little shallower. They all were very tight for space inside. The US added racks on the sides and rear for additional storage but both the US and German h/t often resembled old style gypsy caravans with all sorts of crap hanging over the sides. I have even see photos of German h/t with jerricans hanging over the side (the German h/t had a rail just inside the top of the side armour, I assume for tying things on). The Czech OT-810, a post-war closed top version of the SdKfz 251 was unpopular and nicknamed "Hitler's Revenge" by its users.

I almost forgot a term that some US troops used for their h/t - "Purple Heart Boxes".
 

BigAl737

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Thank you Paul! Interesting stuff. Rep gun is empty. Somebody get him for me or else I'll fly overseas and buy him a COLD beer :)
 

synicbast

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Defensive artillery fire was the norm from even well before WW1, but is rarely seen in ASL. To represent this you would need to subject non AM moving attacking infantry to a 1FP residual fire attack in a band 3 or 4 hexes wide about a similar distance out from a defensive line.
This would be good to see in a scenario. Particularly if you add a one or two hex resid corridor on each flanking board edge to represent there's more going on than just the narrow isolation of the scenario map area. Would also help in muitigating the artificial board edge creep/isolated flank guard.
 

thedrake

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Defensive artillery fire was the norm from even well before WW1, but is rarely seen in ASL. To represent this you would need to subject non AM moving attacking infantry to a 1FP residual fire attack in a band 3 or 4 hexes wide about a similar distance out from a defensive line. Because that is ignored in ASL the protected transport nature of h/t is a bit understated, IE getting troops through the "beaten zone".
This would make an interesting CG RG option--use Purchase Points to buy it as a Defensive Barrage module.
 

Paul M. Weir

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Don't take my 1FP residual band too literally. I was just suggesting something like that to give an idea of what would be fairly commonly expected when attacking a moderately well prepared position with just light artillery/mortar support. In that situation, with few shells falling, it is as much the threat and resultant disruption and slowing than actual killing power that would be the problem. I also gives a new slant to the utility of APCs. By all means run with the general idea though.

For more established positions with better communications and up to strength and supplied artillery, then you would have to up the FP and make it apply to all, not just non-AM moving units. For situations like that were common with US defensive artillery fire during Wacht Am Rhein (the Bulge), then use something more like the current Barrage rules to establish a 'barrier'. Another example would be would be Villiers Bocage, where after Wittman's mangling of 7th Armoured, the British established a defensive position and used artillery fire on 3 sides of their lodgment to stymie the German attacks until they decided to withdraw.

Though the philosophy of ASL is that a scenario starts after the attacker's offensive barrage had done its work, which you may or may not agree with, it ignores situations like during WAR where after the German preparatory offensive barrage and the Germans moved out in the assault, they were hit by massive US artillery fire, with guns not only from the US troops' division but from Corps and Army level. That is entirely within the ASL time frame, though it would be both tedious to play and not much fun for the attacker. We are talking full strength OBA here, with multiple 100+, 150+ with the occasional 200+ thrown in either as normal OBA 'blobs' or as 'lines' as per the Barrage rules.

Whilst a historical level of artillery would not be much fun, everyone should try it once or twice, even if only solo, just to see what a 'real' battle is more like.
 

Vinnie

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I had always got the impression that one of the reasons armoured infantry were so effective is the ready access to more ammo meant the soldiers were more willing to spend the bullets they had safe in the knowlege that reloads were available.
 

BigAl737

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Just stumbled across a great HT article by Ian Daglish in Journal 5. "Heads Up, Heads Down" addresses marking the bu/ce status of crew and passengers in different situations.
 

A/CSM Bird

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Though the philosophy of ASL is that a scenario starts after the attacker's offensive barrage had done its work, which you may or may not agree with, it ignores situations like during WAR where after the German preparatory offensive barrage and the Germans moved out in the assault, they were hit by massive US artillery fire, with guns not only from the US troops' division but from Corps and Army level. That is entirely within the ASL time frame, though it would be both tedious to play and not much fun for the attacker. We are talking full strength OBA here, with multiple 100+, 150+ with the occasional 200+ thrown in either as normal OBA 'blobs' or as 'lines' as per the Barrage rules.

Whilst a historical level of artillery would not be much fun, everyone should try it once or twice, even if only solo, just to see what a 'real' battle is more like.
We've done some of that, on a smaller scale, in DYO where each side purchased multiple OBA modules and got them down landing in a small vital space for both sides. Carnage for anyone not in a stone building, trench, cellar, etc. and sometimes that was no respite either when four OBA are landing and overlaping one area.

In a George Kelln design of the Battle for Abbaye des Ardennes, a scenario pitting the Canadians vs the 12SS south of Caen we managed some nifty OBA placement. My Canadian tanks and infantry trailed behind a Creeping Barrage on the hex grain which was flanked by a Smoke Barrage at a 90' angle on the hexrow masking their movement from the mass of the enemy guns and mgs. Almost worked to perfection but the creeping barrage landed early and out ran the assault waves. At one point the lead elements stopped In Motion at the exact spot of a SS Rocket OBA Pre Reg Hex. The German FOO
suffered radio malfunction and never got the OBA down, he was pissed.
 

witchbottles

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Don't take my 1FP residual band too literally. I was just suggesting something like that to give an idea of what would be fairly commonly expected when attacking a moderately well prepared position with just light artillery/mortar support. In that situation, with few shells falling, it is as much the threat and resultant disruption and slowing than actual killing power that would be the problem. I also gives a new slant to the utility of APCs. By all means run with the general idea though.

For more established positions with better communications and up to strength and supplied artillery, then you would have to up the FP and make it apply to all, not just non-AM moving units. For situations like that were common with US defensive artillery fire during Wacht Am Rhein (the Bulge), then use something more like the current Barrage rules to establish a 'barrier'. Another example would be would be Villiers Bocage, where after Wittman's mangling of 7th Armoured, the British established a defensive position and used artillery fire on 3 sides of their lodgment to stymie the German attacks until they decided to withdraw.

Though the philosophy of ASL is that a scenario starts after the attacker's offensive barrage had done its work, which you may or may not agree with, it ignores situations like during WAR where after the German preparatory offensive barrage and the Germans moved out in the assault, they were hit by massive US artillery fire, with guns not only from the US troops' division but from Corps and Army level. That is entirely within the ASL time frame, though it would be both tedious to play and not much fun for the attacker. We are talking full strength OBA here, with multiple 100+, 150+ with the occasional 200+ thrown in either as normal OBA 'blobs' or as 'lines' as per the Barrage rules.

Whilst a historical level of artillery would not be much fun, everyone should try it once or twice, even if only solo, just to see what a 'real' battle is more like.
John Hill once said a realistic representation of a Russian Assault in SL would begin with 35 Turns of OBA after OBA; followed up by the Russian attack to clean up anything that survived in the target area..

Not much changed when Don made ASL, same general reference would apply, realism would scream for a near constant OBA overhead all along the front , from both sides, ( no such thing as "friendly" artillery fire). But such things mean naught in the scope of the game for it is after all a game, not a simulation.

do love the idea, esp in CGs , like an RG that can can be expended resources in CPPs to lay a rfp band along a section of the front for X number of game turns. Certainly an operational level choice any battalion or Regimental commander could make.


KRL, Jon H
 

Paul M. Weir

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Is this similar to the 60mm FPF Barrages the US Marines get in the Watchtower mod?
Not particularly tied to any one concept or national or service doctrine. What I am thinking of is more like a sporadic and thin barrage (in terms of gun/mortar density) that slows and harasses attackers. It can also represent long range or indirect MG fire. On retrospect, 3 or 4 hexes wide might be a bit much but definitely 2 hexes wide. I would suggest from 1 to 4 FP, definitely no more than 4. For higher barrage density then use the normal OBA/bombardment/barrage rules. Maybe the OW rules can be used, but I was just thinking aloud in general terms.

Others have suggested it as CG purchase options, I would leave it to designers and SSR writers to specify the exact mechanisms. I would suggest that it be linear, fixed to a particular (alternate) set of hex rows before play, maybe allow drift (1: 2 hexes towards enemy, 2: 1 hex, 3-4: on the mark, 5: 1 hex towards friendly, 6: 2 hexes) with a relatively high probability of it occurring. How long it lasts and whether it has a chance of being delayed and how long a line module is in hexes is really a designer issue for a particular scenario/CG.

My idea was concerned with the utility of APC against both the threat and actuality of long range MG fire along with the habit of many armies of throwing the odd handful of shells over to keep other side on their toes. Although ASL has harassing fire, it is a bit more deliberate and dense than what is usually understood as harassing fire. In many cases Sniper Attacks cover this type of thing, but I wanted something more that penalised too adventurous movement. More a case of the defenders thinking "the buggers are up to something, let's dust them a bit and keep them honest" than bringing the wrath of god down on them (which may not be currently available).

There is a further type of WW2 artillery fire which ASL ignores and that is interdiction fire which was shelling an unspotted target like a crossroads (often just by map reference) either continuously with a low rate of fire or at random intervals to disrupt movement behind enemy lines. That is out of the ASL scope in 99% of cases and tended to be the plaything of a side with artillery and ammunition to spare.

As I said before, I was thinking aloud about situations where the defender either did not have the resources or did not take the attacker seriously enough to lay down a sufficient defensive barrage to warrant a full scale ASL OBA module of whatever type and just had a defensive 'barrage-lite'. By all means run with the idea if you think the concept useful, but I have nothing more than vague suggestions, just now, as to the mechanism. More debate and suggestions may well make this something solid and useful (or not :)).
 

A/CSM Bird

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There is a further type of WW2 artillery fire which ASL ignores and that is interdiction fire which was shelling an unspotted target like a crossroads (often just by map reference) either continuously with a low rate of fire or at random intervals to disrupt movement behind enemy lines. That is out of the ASL scope in 99% of cases and tended to be the plaything of a side with artillery and ammunition to spare


We sort of did that one time by SSR in a Double Blind ASL match. One side got a single hex OBA module of 8FP. It was used to cut access paths and to hit a crossroad by the defender.

I think your ideas are doable by simple SSR without too much trouble. The key word is simple.
 
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Mr Incredible

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I recall a Finn v Russkie scenario where the Russians had a Harassing Fire module placed over a large wooded area. Nice reflection of random softening up before the attack.
 

BigAl737

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This thread is 8 years old?!? I thought 3 maybe 4. Ha! Where does the time go...

Just read through it again. Great stuff in those posts. My thanks again to all the responders. Also a trip down memory lane. I miss Paul.
 
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