Wargaming Rules

Nightfighting WW2 - Western Desert

Posted by Ochoin on 28 Nov 2021, 12:08

Since Covid has killed our big, two day Show games, our little group's biggest event is the annual Australia Day Battle (coming up in late January).

This year, the talk is for the Western Desert in WW2. The rules we use are Blitz Krieg Commander which are company/battalion scale rules so 8-10 tanks a side, commensurate infantry etc.

Up to now, we've only ever gamed late war Western Europe. The battlefields have buildings, hedges, woodlands etc - plenty of cover & the means of limiting the ranges of weapons eg a German 88 can fire 100cms unless blocked by line-of-sight. This is vital in a game as otherwise the attackers would get massacred.

I know the Western desert had wadis etc & dust plays a role in concealment & you can always use smoke rounds to hide troops, however, the battlefield looks fairly naked.

And then I had a "wizard wheeze": set the game as a night attack.
Sadly, our rules have no provision for this. I'm trying to devise some bolt on rules.....eg half ranges, movement potentially being in random directions, perhaps morale issues for the defenders????

Does anyone have any concrete ideas? I'd be grateful.

donald
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Ochoin  Scotland
 
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Posted by C M Dodson on 28 Nov 2021, 14:57

You might consider not laying out the physical forces until contact is made.

A ‘ battleships’ type of movement record by each side moving to their plan until they see each other.

Pre registered artillery co -ordinates would be ok as well as known positions.

However, bearing in mind visibility, flares etc no one else can engage until they are seen.

Morale would probably be downgraded as the uncertainty of knowing what was what is going on is bound to be dispiriting.

Just a few thoughts.

Chris
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Posted by Xantippos on 28 Nov 2021, 15:06

It seems that range should be halved, if space is not a problem, it could affect quite a bit the dynamic of the game.

Maybe something like having to send a unit to discover the enemy before you can attack, or having to shoot before.

Of course a bit difficult to depict, unless you use a gigantic piece of dark foam to cover all your army units from the eyes of your adversary :P .
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 28 Nov 2021, 15:24

Turn off all the lights in the room and the only illumination can originate from in game elements?
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Posted by Minuteman on 28 Nov 2021, 20:27

I'm not saying that it never happened, but suspect that tank v tank combat in the western desert was a bit of a rarity. Raiding (SAS/LRDG et al) and some reconnaissance certainly, but not full scale armoured combat. My understanding is that tanks would retire to leaguer for the night, allowing time for rest, re-arming, repair, etc. Besides, in the absence of night vision sights etc, any shooting unless at point blank range would be futile, unless light conditions (full moon) allowed this. Valuable tanks in the dark would also be exposed to close-in infantry attack, hence (again) one of the reasons for their retiring for the night.
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Minuteman  United Kingdom
 
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Posted by Minuteman on 28 Nov 2021, 20:27

I should have course have said tank v tank combat AT NIGHT!! Apologies.
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Posted by Ochoin on 28 Nov 2021, 23:50

Thanks for the insights.

I should explain that in most of our gaming, I supply all or at least most of the figures.

This game will be a rarity in that I'll take nothing to it. My 4 pals have assembled a mess of British,Italian & German figure & vehicles.

So convincing them not to use their various tanks will be impossible. I just hope to get them to limit the numbers deployed to make a workable game.

I would think any tank, moving at night, would create enough noise to become a target. That's something to consider.

donald
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Ochoin  Scotland
 
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Posted by Ochoin on 28 Nov 2021, 23:51

Bluefalchion wrote:Turn off all the lights in the room and the only illumination can originate from in game elements?
:-D


Alternatively, I could blindfold the participants....play the game by touching the figures & trying to identify them....

donald
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Ochoin  Scotland
 
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Posted by C M Dodson on 29 Nov 2021, 11:46

From memory, I believe, as previously mentioned that the tank crews tended to lager at night.

The Germans however were good at tank recovery under the cover of darkness.

Tanks make a lot of noise, but if the night is dark and with the open space it would be difficult without illumination, to actually see it until it was very close.

Similarly, unless you were using a compass orientation as to direction of travel would be difficult unless the line of attack was marked by tales etc.

I once watched a drama documentary about the Scottish attempt to attack the British camp at night before Culloden.

Amazingly one part of the force actually found its way to the assembly area before withdrawing.

If you actually go out at night into a wood it is totally disorientating.

We are used to background light but real darkness is an experience and that’s before your mind starts imagining things!

Good luck with the battle.

Chris



Interesting stuff.
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Posted by Minuteman on 29 Nov 2021, 21:23

Real darkness, ie: without the 'interference' of street lighting etc, is a wonderful but daunting thing...wonderful for admiring the stars, daunting if there is the possible threat of a lurking enemy. I'd suggest that, quite apart from the noise of tracks and engine, driving a tank around in the dark would be a very awkward and possibly frightening thing to do. Much better after nightfall to be in the relative safety of a leaguer with a brew 'on the go' and an armed sentry to see off intruders.
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 30 Nov 2021, 03:58

Did WWII era tanks have headlights?
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Posted by Minuteman on 30 Nov 2021, 11:05

Image

Yes, they did. This Matilda II has two very prominent lights for instance.

Lights were mainly for driving to/from the battlefront rather than in battle. I doubt that a wise tank crew would wish to advance with headlights blazing in the dark, towards an enemy screen of anti-tank guns though. "Wait until you see the whites of their headlights" etc.....
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Posted by zulu`s 1000`s of em on 01 Jan 2022, 21:30

Don`t use 88`s , they did not cover every yard of front, 50mm,37mm were far more common for the German forces , static ones anyway . Italians being more common again 47mm and 20mm
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