Saturday, 25 April 2015

Chain of Command: Post-WWII

"Tell HQ to deploy Second Squad at that Jump Off Point".
Having contributed to CoC: España and currently part of the team working on the 'CoC: Rhodesia' project - the forthcoming COIN expansion, it is perhaps no surprise that I favour these rules for most platoon-sized games with a 20th Century theme. They are therefore just the ticket for Early Cold War games.

The majority of equipment in use is predominantly of the same technological level as that of WWII. In game terms the AK47 is little more than an upgraded StG44, the M14 an upgraded M1 Garand, the M60 was based on the MG42 and the SKS and RPD have their equivalents too.

The T34/85 and IS2 were still in service and the M48 Patton used the same gun as the M26 Pershing, in fact it was even essentially a redesign of that vehicle. The T54/55 appeared in the immediate Post-WWII period and used the same 100mm D10 gun as the SU100, which could also still be found in service.

Tank armour was a little thicker and often more sloped, but was no different otherwise. What had changed however, was that HEAT rounds for tank guns had become quite common and even the T34/85's D5 gun had received an improved AT round in the immediate Post-WWII period. A straight transference of AP strike values from WWII to the '50s & '60s is therefore not on the cards.

Infantry anti-tank capabilities had improved too. The M20 'Super Bazooka' was a more than adequate weapon for close-in work and a range of recoilless rifles now equipped both sides of the Cold War. The Soviets had produced the RPG-2, a weapon not so dissimilar to the Panzerfaust. Nevertheless there was still a role for anti-tank guns and a number of states still had these weapons in their arsenals. 

Experience within WWII and the Korean War had informed U.S. infantry tactics and belief that the next battlefield would be a nuclear one led to the wholesale mechanisation of the frontline infantry. A similar policy was followed by the Soviets, which led to the introduction of the BTR line of personnel carriers.

From the above comments it should be imagined that at the conventional level at least, adapting CoC to game the 1960s presents no real difficulty, other than superficial upgrades to existing equipment. COIN or 'asymmetric warfare' is a quite different animal however and one I won't be addressing until both the Fighting Season and Rhodesia supplements have been released by TFL.

Nevertheless this will not prevent me from producing force lists and weapon stats for the troops and vehicles involved in this pet project of mine in the meantime, nor the minor rule changes which follow.

Additional Rules

HEAT Rounds
Most of the main tank and anti-tank weapons use HEAT in this era. The AP Strike Values become so ridiculously high for some weapons, that a single hit can destroy most tanks with ease. Even with a vehicle with a high Armour rating, the sheer numbers of dice rolled for some weapons would mean it would be pointless rolling to save against them.

Somewhat realistic in some contexts perhaps, but when you have spent time and money modelling your 'armoured beast of war', a bit off-putting to say the least. It also does not take into account the chance of the HEAT round  striking a non-critical area and causing less than disabling damage.

In the spirit of the original CoC rules therefore, the following rule applies to all weapons firing HEAT (including infantry AT weapons);
  • Weapons designated with the HEAT attribute add +1 to their Strike Dice when determining the number of hits on a vehicle.
Example: A 106mm M40 recoilless rifle (AP = 14) fires at a T55 (Armour = 16). Shooting is worked out as per the normal CoC rules, until you reach step three, when +1 is added to each dice rolled per AP Strike Value; in other words a hit on the front of the vehicle now only requires a roll of 4, 5, or 6, rather than the 5 or 6 previously needed. 

The T-55 still rolls its 16 Armour 'save' Dice, but is now at a disadvantage compared to the increased efficiency of the HEAT projectile, as it still only 'saves' against each hit on a 5 or 6. A one hit kill is now inherently more likely, as are two, three and equal hits to saves, but not automatic, which would otherwise be the case using pure AP values.

"Seriously that +1 still means you have to side shoot a T34 with a 2.5" Bazooka, see?" 
Modern Gun Stabilisation
While stabilisation devices were introduced during the later stages of WWII, the first ones controlled by gyroscope did not appear until after the war ended. While some were better than others, they did make an impact on warfare, principally that vehicles no longer had to stop to place an accurate shot on target. 
  • Vehicles noted as 'stabilised' suffer no penalty for moving and firing.

Operation Sealion

I had intended to avoid gaming German forces, but the more I thought about an alternate history scenario which leaves them out, the more it felt unsatisfactory. I still intend to go along the lines of Britain vs France (or England vs. France, as after all we are always "Les Anglais" in the French press), but an invasion of Britain without Germans, is like Diana Ross without the Supremes... just not the same somehow.

Sure the scenario is improbable at the very least, but Operation Sealion has to be the most argued talked about alternate history scenario going. As I have previously mentioned, I must have every book going on the topic and have not even begun to start looking up the various books done on the Home Guard as yet... "Mr Al Front's" being at the top of the list. Just to take things to the extremes of improbability, I will be looking at Britain's least prepared moments, i.e. September 1940.

I am going to assume that the invasion all goes off without a hitch. I have no plans to cover the 'whys' and 'why nots' surrounding why this could or could not have occurred, for my needs it just does. If you want a good coverage on that topic, I suggest you read this thread. I just want to play with some toy soldiers and do not really care if the Germans needed to be able to teleport across the Channel to ensure success.

Wargaming Sealion

Chain of Command are my go-to rules for pretty much anything 20th Century, so it will come as no surprise that I will be making use of them for this too. Pat G has kindly constructed Home Guard lists for these rules, to which at some point I hope to add a few of my own for the 'Make Do' regular units of the immediate Post-Dunkirk period. German lists are available here, although they are due to be updated in the near future.

Lists for German Paratroops and more Home Guard are available in the Too Fat Lardies 2014 Summer Special. I hope to be able to add to these with some specific lists for specialist units, which are otherwise not covered by the basic lists. German aufklärungstruppe, British motor machine gun units, things like that.

I am not going to do my usual run-down of figures and models, as they are mostly not difficult to find in whatever scale you prefer. I will feature figures and models as I acquire them in the form of reviews though.