Saturday, 16 April 2016

Face front.....

Pointing in the right direction!

Shoot that way boys....USMC in Afghanistan
Further feedback on the FiveCore hex grid conversion has raised an interesting point about facing. Ivan's view is that:
On facing, I'd be inclined to use the Battletech method: Vehicles face a hex side (which as mentioned fits many hex map roads). The two facings on either side of the front are also (front), the one opposite the front is rear and the two adjacent to the rear is left and right (if that makes sense?)
Norm's view is a little more traditional:
The only thing about using hexsides rather than a vertex to establish the front facing is that flat edges create a forward arc of 3 hexes, which in turn on a small board makes flanking shots and positions harder to achieve.
At the moment, my view is that facing is important for tanks because they have different armoured strengths depending on which part of the tank you may be firing at. This is really important for Panthers because of their relatively weak side armour. Also, tanks with turrets have a 360 degree field of fire for their main armament, but assault guns and similar vehicles have a very limited arc of fire. Use of facing helps to differentiate these capabilities. Therefore, I like the idea of facing but it is not yet in the hex grid conversion.

In the base Company Command rules: 

  • Infantry squads do not have a fixed facing and may turn to face any desired target.
  • For speed of play, we are not concerned with exact vehicle facing. Players who prefer a more detailed game may upgrade weapons one step when firing at the rear of a vehicle (for example a kill shot becomes overkill when targeted against the rear of the vehicle).

So, including facing is a good thing for vehicles but not, so far, for any other units. I may worry about anti-tank guns at a later date however!

Hex side or vertex? I am going for hex side at the moment as suggested by Ivan. I'm not a Battletech player so I don't have any practical experience in this approach. Like Norm, I usually prefer the vertex solution. My decision here is based on the practicalities of managing more than one tank per hex (max two in the current draft). 

Looking at this picture you can see that a vertex solution with two tanks looks a bit odd. Turn the picture round (in your own mind is ok!) a hex side solution looks a little more usable. I think I can cover off Norm's point about giving a chance to get in flank shots by deciding on how to play LoS. 

Facing and LoS are critical factors in small unit fighting. I don't think civilians appreciate the complexities. As a civvie myself I often turn to US manuals for insight. I have just been reading MCRP 3-11.2 Marine Rifle Squad because I'm interested in what facing looks like for a squad. Looking at direct fire issues:
1. A sector of fire is an area that is required to be covered by fire by an individual, a fire unit (squad or fire team), or a crew-served weapon. It is a pie-shaped area enclosed by two lateral limits and a forward limit (i.e. a vertex solution).
2. A principal direction of fire is a specific direction within the sector of fire given to a flat trajectory weapon and which is designated as its primary fire mission. Within a rifle squad, a principal direction of fire is assigned to automatic rifles. Units are not assigned principal directions of fire.
The sector is assigned if possible but where it is not possible, weapons are assigned PDFs. Although this looks like a vertex solution, if we have multiple squads in a hex my feeling is that a hex side solution becomes easier.

At the end of the day we just need to make a decision now and test it out, so lets go.......

1 comment:

Duc de Gobin said...

Very interesting discussion.

I always had a concept in my head where 3 infantry stands could be in a hex - then face three hexsides - so a single 'platoon' say 3 squads could set up a Night Defensive Position (a la Vietnam) by facing three opposing sides of the hex. For infantry this would grant coverage of fire - by saying that infantry facing a hex face, get visibility and fire to the hex in front, and the adjacent hexes to that.

For tanks - perhaps only the hex in front of the hexside is covered- then the 3hexes outside that, the the next 5 and so on as range increases - which allows sneaky infantry elements to sneak upto an 'off' flank hex in the front hex if they can get close enough, and really forces the other player to protect tanks with infantry in the short range frontal area.

So a tank is fine for the hex in front - but 'blind' to the hexes either side of that hex - while infantry can see all 3.

Yes...I'm confused now too...I really need a diagram LOL