House ruling mechanic - Combat Modifiers

Discussion in 'World At War 85 Series' started by Alexandre Leal, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. Alexandre Leal

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    It quickly became apparent while playing that it seemed that the effects of Obscuring hexes was undervalued. It seemed strange that tracing the LoS through such an hex would entail no effect on the To-Hit value of Direct Fire attack. Aiming and shooting through an hex such as cultivated or Rough terrain is obviously more difficult than through clear terrain. Personally I will apply a +1 penalty to To-Hit in such cases, maintaining the blocking mechanic when traced through 2 such hexes.
     
  2. Keith Tracton

    Keith Tracton Member
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    If you feel the need. I think everyone's ideas about house rules are amazing! Play what feels right to you!

    As a Designer Note... ;-) Officially though I must mention that I am finding that many modifiers that are being proposed seem to be from a tank v tank perspective and scale, and I must emphasize that WaW85 is platoon versus platoon. So from a design perspective, I personally find it difficult to justify that it is 16% more difficult (which is approximately what a +1 penalty works out to) for a platoon's four or so tanks to aim and shoot through a single such hex. I always try to think about what is happening within a counter. As an example: cultivated terrain hex obscures rather than blocks LOS because a single hex of it does not provide 100% blocking of LOS, so there are in fact still many Lines of SIght across it, and a 5 to 15-minute turn to find them, and 4 tanks, say, in a US tank platoon to look for them from within a counter, all from different angles (allowing even more possible Lines of SIght) within the 150-yard wide hex they occupy. And to complicate it even more, the LOS is to attack, say, 3 Soviet tanks in the opposing target platoon counter, who are also moving within their counter to find any LOS for shots as well. Obscuring terrain as a concept for another game may affect one tank versus one tank where it might more time-consuming to find a LOS in a 2-minute turn or even completely block LOS because only one LOS is calculated at a time (like MBT), but here there are so many more tanks represented in one counter in WaW85 and more than enough time to maneuver within a counter - meaning even without leaving a hex - for the platoon as a team to find multiple effective LOS in the time frame of a turn, cultivated terrain intervening or no. And, to my mind, that is not enough to merit a 16% decrease in effectiveness. Which is why the rule is the way it is. :)
     
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  3. Alexandre Leal

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    I understand your argument but still... The fact remains that even though the shooting and target units will be platoon size and over the course of a 5-15m turn tracing LoS through a obscuring hex is not the same as shooting through 150m of clear terrain. Yes, being platoon sized units things are bound to be a bit more abstract than a 1vs 1 tank battle, BUT the fact remains that 2 such hexes BLOCK LoS, even though the units are platoon sized and maneuvering/shooting/looking for a better perspective through 5 to 15m of action.

    But that same abstraction, that same action and counter-action by attacking and target unit through out the 5-15m of the turn through 150m of obscuring terrain means that the extra maneuvering looking for the best angle or simply the action of all it's elements trying to target all the elements of the target unit through obscuring terrain makes the overall Direct Action fire more difficult to succeed, hence the +1 I apply To-Hit.
    The bottom line is that I think there should be a middle ground between zero effect of a LoS traced through clear hexes (not obscuring hexes) and a LoS traced through 2 Obscuring hexes, which equals to Blocking LoS. But, like you say Keith, it's just a house rule that works for my particular "sensibility" shall we say.
     
  4. Starman

    Starman Member

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    That's why there is a +1d6 non vehicle defense bonus , it's an abstraction as its highly unlikely any crops or even cultivated ground apart from bales at harvest time would stop small arms let alone HE shells.

    Cultivation is an abstraction for crops and arable land e.g. undulating fields with livestock,farm buildings(storage and milking sheds) animal shelters etc. in Europe it is not the wide open fields of American farmland (even now unless in natural flat land , which is not the case in this area of Germany) it is far smaller fields mostly walled and hedged off (3-5ft), some areas it's all live stock and very little crops, getting a targe lock via gun optics across 2-3 hedged boundaries is far more difficult than slinging MG or HE at activity a couple of fields away.

    You will often have fields of livestock interlaced with feed crops and divided by walls/hedges for obvious reasons, some would have wire fences or have individual fields cover a wider area but not many.

    From these images you will see the issues involved.

    https://images.app.goo.gl/uf9zgEA4nVCJtrP97

    Or 2/1 Alpha in Fulda Gap 1986 though cheating as it's from in game footage


    https://images.app.goo.gl/bk7gGiXw17HkwbCE8


    EDIT Not sure if Porruguese farmland is similar to central Germany but it is where I live in Dorset UK.
     
    #4 Starman, Mar 2, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  5. Alexandre Leal

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    I would argue that would be an argument in favor of implementing a +1 To-Hit and not a +1d6 defense bonus as it makes it harder to actually target and shoot with accuracy (and thus offering some concealment), not offering cover in a way as to negate actual hits. But like I said that is just how I see and interpret things, so it's subjective.

    In Portugal "farmland" can be very disparate, with very different types of "farming" terrain, from the "Lezírias", partially flooded lands that tend to be flat, to rolling, and vast, landscapes in Alentejo region which you will find along many small and walled farms there, to many regions with small to very small "arable" plots (in many cases just for cattle to graze) enclosed by 5feet stone walls (stone most likely taken from the plot to make it arable), etc. It's complex.

    Vineyards, for instance, make a clear case for +1 To-Hit. They Cleary will not stop a bullet, let alone a AP shell, but can make it difficult to lock on to targets as concealment is great during its season.
     
  6. Starman

    Starman Member

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    Cool, so if in Potugal it would be mostly flat rolling fields but not the case in Central Germany.

    Note during exercises in the 80s the highest threat to NATO forces were the farmers defending their hedgerows and walls.
     
  7. Vincent Stella

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    To all,
    While the farmlands in former West Germay, the Fulda area and Bavaria in general are not like the "endless" flat farmlands of Middle America, having been stationed there for five years I can safely say they are more open than you might expect.

    First, the farm fields in that part of Germany are rarely, if ever, walled off or divided by hedgerows. The stock picture links presented earlier show the fields divided by farm roads, some even appear slightly raised but they also show that they provide long, open lines of site and fields of fire. It was not difficult to hover an AH-64 Apache just above a tree line or better yet, slide laterally out from behind a treeline, a few feet above the ground and have lines of sight/fields of fire that extended for a couple of kilometers. Yes, the ground does undulate and a good tanker can find sweet spots in the terrain that can provide low hull or hull down positions but by the same token, the opposite is also true where you could spot a tractor, a car, livestock, etc. sitting in the field from a long way off.

    The main point is, while there is merit to the thought that obscuration impacts LOS and to Hit probability, let us not draw misconceptions about the topography in question.

    I hope this helps.
     
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