SSR for Off-Board Machine Gun Fire?

Srynerson

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One of the battles I've been thinking of for a possible scenario describes machine gun fire being directed from across a lake toward the actual combat zone. Based on both the map in the book I have and Google Maps, it appears that, even if the machine guns were set up right at the lake shore, it would still be most of a kilometer from there to the combat zone. In other words, it would be well beyond the boundaries of a typical geoboard (especially because the flow of the main battle would require the geoboards to be set lengthwise at a right angle to the source of the MG fire) and also pretty clearly beyond "long range" for ASL HMGs. Has anyone seen an SSR addressing this type of situation or have any suggestions for how it could be represented?
 
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Vinnie

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Depending on the type and numbers of MGs being used, I'd have a 4fp OBA module directed by an off board observer at level zero or 1. I would restrict the amount of drift but not the blast height. If you want to be fancy you could restrict the blast area to only affecting locations that can be seen by the observer but this may be unnecessary.
 

SFiedler

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Why not just increase SAN? Or if you'd like to give player more control set up a SSR that defines a MG as offboard and level + Malf# and range (if TH vs Vehicles is likely). Define malf and repair.
 

Srynerson

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Why not just increase SAN? Or if you'd like to give player more control set up a SSR that defines a MG as offboard and level + Malf# and range (if TH vs Vehicles is likely). Define malf and repair.
The SSR you describe is what I had actually originally been thinking of doing (increasing SAN is too arbitrary for my tastes -- the MG fire was coming from a specific direction relative to the battle, so the attacker should have the benefit of being able to use cover to screen himself from it), but now I'm intrigued by Vinnie's OBA suggestion. I hadn't thought about it before, but the explanation for the MGs' range in the battle would probably be that the gunners were firing their weapons upwards so that the rounds were arcing over the lake, thus acting more like indirect fire.
 

RobZagnut

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Look at Pavlou's House in Valor of the Guards to get a different perspective. It's has MGs firing at units on the Volga and uses ROF to represent this ability. One of the best SSRs I've used.
 

witchbottles

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The SSR you describe is what I had actually originally been thinking of doing (increasing SAN is too arbitrary for my tastes -- the MG fire was coming from a specific direction relative to the battle, so the attacker should have the benefit of being able to use cover to screen himself from it), but now I'm intrigued by Vinnie's OBA suggestion. I hadn't thought about it before, but the explanation for the MGs' range in the battle would probably be that the gunners were firing their weapons upwards so that the rounds were arcing over the lake, thus acting more like indirect fire.
My best advice here: Think outside the box, and KISS.

Use those 2 together, you'll find a solution. OBA will mean blast height issues. The other one is complicated to read and grasp easily. re word it well if you use it. I like VotG idea as well. And why not the "modified" SAN SSr from Urban Guerillas? ( ie a SAN of 6 but any 6 SAN activation results in your said 4 FP OBA?) avoids the whole OBA draw pile mess.

KRL, and good luck!

Jon H
 

Thunderchief

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How about using a few 2 or 4 FP resid (in the same hex) and doing an OBA drift method to place them?
This is pretty much what I did a few years ago but the scenario hasn't gone anywhere yet (so many designs, so little time).
 

von Marwitz

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It is possible to use MG fire balistically. I have read about this in some books of WW I, so the idea is quite old.

I probably would treat that MG fire as a HMG using Area Fire with a lowered ROF to be placed and drawing LOS as an artillery offboard observer at a height or board edge coordinates as befit the situation of the scenario to be designed. According to the range, that offboard HMG would probably not be able to strip concealment and I would not let it inhibit rout paths or cause interdiction either. Malfunction and (lowered) ROF I would treat normally.

von Marwitz
 

Carln0130

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There are a couple of scenarios out there that have used mg's off board. Steve Swan had one in the first Leatherneck pack from CH. I was playing around with one, using a very similar ssr for a scenario using Tony Stien on Iwo. That one has not seen the light of day. I was just basically using a 50 cal x number of hexes from an offboard hex, predesignated at start. Put it's parameters in the ssr. Didn't much matter because the two playtests it was used in, it boxed out on the first shot both times. Personally, I prefer to just place it off board and use it within the parameters you decide to lay out. See Kabuki Theatre from LFT, for an idea of what I mean. They are using Offboard ordnance in that case, but the principal is the same.
 

Srynerson

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Thank you everyone. :thumup: There are a number of interesting ideas here and I'll probably try out several of them to see what works.
 

wrongway149

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Or this: SAN is '6', but any 5 or 6 result can only be effective if the SAN counter has an LOS to the board edge which the MG is firing from. No LOS and the SAN counter may still be moved on a '1' or '2'
 

RobZagnut

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Or this: SAN is '6', but any 5 or 6 result can only be effective if the SAN counter has an LOS to the board edge which the MG is firing from. No LOS and the SAN counter may still be moved on a '1' or '2'
Not sure if I like this.

How about using one of the long Railroad overlays? Secretly record a location 5, 6, or 7 (or more) off board along one hexrow using the long overlay. Once the HMG fires, pull out the overlay, place it off board along the hexrow and trace LOS from there?

This gives the desired affect of knowing where the fire is coming from, but not being able to do anything about it except for hugging terrain out of LOS.
 
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hayman

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When I read your question, the first thing that came to mind is similar to Thunderchief's suggestion: placing RF counters.

Allow an off board observer from a specific board edge hex. Original shot not allowed & No ROF allowed, double sixes on a RF roll = mlfn MG. The single hex for the RF counter must be chosen at the start of the Enemy's movement phase (before any movement occurs). .50 cal = 4RF, other HMG or MMG = 2 RF.

Very long range from MG's used arched fire and was primarily used as interdictory fire (like a light howitzer) to prevent enemy movement. An Aussie commando in New Guinea was able to fire a water-cooled MMG over a mile from mountainside to mountainside to stop Japanese infantry movement (he called it "sniping with a machine gun".
 

jwb3

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Srynerson,

Very long range from MG's used arched fire and was primarily used as interdictory fire (like a light howitzer) to prevent enemy movement.
Furthermore, it has been stated numerous times around here that this type of fire was actually one of the primary roles of the British HMG units. So yeah, there's no question what happened in this battle was reasonable, and probably used a mechanism like the above.

However, one question you should ask yourself is, how did the actual effect of the MG fire in this battle manifest itself?
  • If it scattered like rain over wide but random areas, causing lots of people to keep their heads down, then that points toward the OBA-like suggestions and using drift rules. (Otherwise, I'd try to avoid any reference to the OBA rules, except possibly Offboard Observers.)
  • If it caused trouble for specific men or squads as if it was targeted at them, then I'd go with the suggestions about setting up one or more MGs in an off-board location and just letting them shoot.
  • If it caused interdiction to units trying to move through specific areas, then that points to the residual fire suggestions, with or without drift.
Personally, I most like the residual fire idea because it is most different from anything I've seen before. It also seems to me pretty easy to explain -- "Player A gets an Offboard Observer, who may place a single x fp residual counter in any Location he has LOS to, at the start of each enemy MPh." You don't even need to get into discussing ROF, malf, or the fact that the fire represents MGs.

(If there was more than one MG doing the shooting, then IMO the possibility of malfunctions should just be factored into the size of residual placed, rather than creating a malf/repair mechanism to complicate things.)


John
 

witchbottles

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I would agree the techniques was commonly used, very old in tactical thinking, and still used in the 1960-s in SEA area of Ops.


Heavy water cooled MGs were the normal culprit for this, albeit John Browning's excellent design of 1/2 inch bore is an air cooled exception that works well.

See J.E Kaufmann's Book "Fortifying Europe" on how the many , many emplacements incorporated not only the principle, but the ingenuity of it throughout all of Europe in the early 20th Century. Most impressive for me was the indirectly aimed via a cartographic device method through a fully enclosed embrasure ( the defense against FT assaults).

All sides used indirect grazing fire for the area denial role from 1917 on.

The primary purpose of such fire is in fact area denial. As such, one should focus the rules accordingly for the effect. It is not aimed directed fire at a specific enemy location or geographic point. ( IF it is this which is being desired, why not just follow Rob W's idea of placing the MG in play on an off board overlay?)

Ma Duece was still used in Vietnam on firebases for the same purpose, shredding foliage in order to deny an easy route of advance into concealment terrain by the enemy forces. It was likewise used in Fallujah to sweep rooftops during the assaults in order to deny the height advantage to enemy snipers from long range non directed fire.

The principle is sound. Ballistically, the gun is pre measured for bullet drop point of impact at ranges over 1 mile, then elevation markings are set on the gun frame for this graizing fire to be fired upon command; and a set of aiming stakes goes to each side to delineate to the shooter the boundaries of such fire left and right. since air friction will slow the bullet down eventually to a point of no force upon impact sufficient to inflict harm; there does need to be some focus as to the ultimate effective range of the grazing fire.

KRL ,Jon H
 

Honza

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I'm using offboard Japanese MG and MTR fire in my Iwo CG. It is a tricky SSR but it can be done. The principle works the same as the Zoo Flak Tower in CH's Berlin module. Choose a board edge hex from which to trace LOS from and add a number of hexes for extra range. Give it a level and treat the weapon as though it was onboard firing from that range, level and hex but is immune to reciprocal attack.
 
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