Sunday, January 19, 2014

Thoughts on Fallchrimjager for Bolt Action and Chain of Command - How do you attempt to reflect squad and team tactics in Bolt Action?

In the last update I mentioned that I felt Bolt action didn't really look to reflect the way teams operated in squads and that I had a few ideas on how to overcome that.  What I want to achieve is a semblance of team tactics within the squad in the same way as you would experience in Chain of Command.

The important thing for me was that during this and post WW2 squad and team tactics are important to how an infantry platoon operates.  German training worked on the basis of the squad operating as one large MG team but when the need for suppression fire was called on the squad would break down into the composite roles of MG team and Rifle team to achieve the result. Especially in assaults.  MG team acting as the suppression element and the rifle team as the assault element. 

Bolt action allows for the overall squad role  but I don't see it reflecting the fact that the Squad Leader actually had tactical flexibility in how he deployed his men and we have not even entered the realm of platoon tactics.

A post war analysis by the American command found that the German tactical training at the squad level - specifically the flexibility and initiative based training at the squad level made German troops the formidable force they where in WW2 backed up with exceptional equipment. 

Stephen Bull in "Second World War Infantry Tactics"  notes "the squad was no longer regarded as two differently armed sub units but as a single flexible entity that might be divided in various was as required for tactical purposes such as fire and movement"

So when im playing chain of command I can achieve this flexibility exactly as the squad leader had access to. Yet a "squad" in Bolt action is not assigned the same flexibility.  I cannot deploy the MG42 to lay down fire and then assault with the infantry.  I'm locked into either firing or assaulting as the case may be.

So thinking on this how do I get a semblance of the same tactical flexibility offered to the squad leader in Chain of Command in games of Bolt action.

1st a review of what a 1944 Fallchrimjager platoon.

Luftwaffe War Establishment (Kriegsstärkenachweisung) 8121(L) dated 1.5.44 gives the following organization for a rifle platoon in a Fallshirmjägerkompanie:

Zugführer (Platoon Leader) Lt,

Zugtrupp (Platoon HQ section)
1 Zugtruppführer (Sec Ldr)
3 Melder (Messenger)
1 Waffenwart (Armorer)

3 Squads, including in total (for all 3 squads)
3 Gruppenführer (Squad Leader)
3 Stellvertretende Gruppenführer (Deputy Squad Leader)
12 Schützen (Riflemen)
12 MG-Schützen (Machinegunners and assistants)
2 Drivers for 3-ton trucks

All personnel except the Platoon Leader (Lieutenant) were NCOs. NOTE: All enlisted personnel in Luftwaffen Parachute units were NCOs.

The Platoon was armed as follows (the War Establishment does not assign weapons to individuals)

16 Rifles (incl. 3 with sniper telescopes)
13 Pistols
9 Submachineguns
3 Grenade pistols ("Kampfpistole" these were modified flare guns that could shoot small grenades)
6 Rifle grenade adapters
6 Machineguns.

So looking at a squad break down you have :

1 Gruppenführer (Squad Leader)
1 Stellvertretende Gruppenführer ( Deputy Squad Leader)
4 MG-Schützen (Machinegunners and assistants)
4 Schützen (Riflemen)

Its important to note the fact that all enlisted personal where viewed as NCO's this sees the nature of the unit as very capable to loose a leader and compensate.

Thinking on this then I could with Bolt Action reflect the same squad but splitting it into two Bolt Action "Squads"  using the term loosely to reflect the historical structure im looking to achive.

So in Bolt action you would have 2 "squads"  each with:

(1st "Squad")
NCO with SMG/Assault Rifle (1 Model)
LMG Gunner and Assistant (2 Models)
Riflemen armed with Kar 98's and one with a Panzerfaust  (2 models)

(2nd "Squad")
NCO with SMG/Assault Rifle (1 Model)
LMG Gunner and Assistant (2 Models)
Riflemen armed with Kar 98's (2 models)

Ideally then a Platoon would have 6 of these units to reflect a full strength platoon or 4 to reflect a late war understrength formation.

While this is not strictly accurate is gets me as close as I can go in Bolt Action and also reflect the tactical flexibility offered to German Squad and Platoon leaders during WW2.

So I hope this help anyone thinking how do I go about getting historical structures in bolt action and maybe it was just an interesting read.

More painting soon !