British Cromwell hunts Whittman!

British Cromwell hunts Whittman!
A pic from a Fireball game at Fall In 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Artillery Rules...and the Hurtgen Forest difficult as it has been to nail down the armor combat rules, which it looks like we finally did, the artillery rules have come together very quickly. We tried them out in two playtests of the second scenario in the Hurtgen Forest: Kall Trail scenario book.

Basically, there are a few types of artillery missions: interdiction, on-call fire, registration and prep fire. Except for interdiction they are all more or less played the same way with slight variations. Interdiction represents artillery fire being used behind the enemy's front lines to impede his progress, resupply, hinder reinforcements, etc. This is represented by a player using his interdiction artillery mission to prevent the opposing player from using 'initiative chips.' It works well...basically to slow down the enemy's advance. The other missions have an FO or company commander pick a target point and make a morale check...if they pass then they roll on the artillery chart. The artillery chart is the key. You roll 2d6 and the chart tells you what happens.

The idea behind this is we do not want (or feel we need) to model the entire procedure for calling in off board artillery. Basically you order that fire be placed on a target and there is a dramatic event...or not. The chart gives a storyline as well as a result so you know what happened. For example if you roll a 5 the result is:

5 Hello??? Hello??? - Armor moving through the area has run over telephone lines interrupting communications. The FO struggles to get is his request through.

No effect – the fire mission is NOT expended and may be used on a following turn.

Our feeling is that the game is about tactics and simple rules...not complex procedures for very technical operations. Artillery is dramatic and possibly decisive on the battlefield. American Artillery which is the best in WW2...imho...has a success on a 7+ with a 6 being possibly good. 4-5 are nothing and 2-3 are bad results.

After a few playtests everyone loves it.

We played a scenario from the Hurtgen book with lots of US artillery. The game was the German assault on Kommerscheidt, which is also an old GI Anvil of Victory scenario. The German armor commander wrote that he attacked the town but kept waiting for the infantry to follow him...they never did. He finally reached his objective and still the infantry never showed up so he retreated. As the American account of the fight mentions the liberal use of artillery it was decided that we would give the Germans infantry but also give the US plenty of artillery. The result was what we had expected. The US artillery compounded with alot of open ground allowed the US player to chew-up the German infantry. Although they made progress it was slow and costly. seems like the big three elements of the rules are finally shaking out! Infantry, Armor and Artillery all seem to be very close to working!


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