Thursday, 21 July 2016

What's in a name?

...quite a lot actually!

Russians in Syria attempting to defeat a VB-IED

I have started calling this project Desert Eagle. To be certain that it still gives due regard to the original Lion Rampant, which I think is only polite, the full nomenclature is now: 
Desert Eagle: A modern warfare implementation of Lion Rampant
Other nomenclature issues requiring beer and deep thought have been raised by the Duc. The key one is "toughness" what is it and what should we call it? In the rules it is used to assess the degree to which the target unit can resist the effects of combat. So, how many hits convert into casualties.

Some of you may find this discussion a little near the edge of acceptability but we live in an age where we can see much of what is happening on the ground (like it or not) and it makes sense to try to interpret it. The photo above is a still from a newsreel showing Russian troops with a technical attempting to destroy a VB-IED coming fast in their direction. The VB-IED was successfully destroyed but not early enough to prevent the indicated soldier being killed in the blast. The story is here.

These troops demonstrated great courage (and confidence in their abilities) but were vulnerable to the effects of the enemy weapon. These are the concepts that I am trying to get across in Desert Eagle but am currently failing to adequately describe. 

Lets start with "toughness". This was used in the Eagles Rampant adaptation in WI to replace the medieval characteristic "armour". This indicates the level of protection of troops defending themselves from shooting. In the original Lion Rampant this is about arrows and the defensive effects of body armour ranging from none to full plate. In the case of Desert Eagle, this is about body armour which ranges from none to (again!) plate carriers. It also includes ballistic helmets and additional armour on vehicles. This is for protection against bullets and bombs (IEDs). But it is also about tactical issues such as dispersal and use of terrain. In fact with VB-IEDs it is also about throwing up earth berms to keep them at a distance.        

VB-IED going off
I have therefore done some more research about terminology and what we might call survivability. Wikipedia gives us this:
In the military environment, survivability is defined as the ability to remain mission capable after a single engagement. Engineers working in survivability are often responsible for improving four main system elements:
  • Detectability - the inability to avoid being aurally and visually detected as well as detected by radar (by an observer).
  • Susceptibility - the inability to avoid being hit (by a weapon).
  • Recoverability - longer-term post-hit effects, damage control, and firefighting, capability restoration, or (in extremis) escape and evacuation.
The European Survivability Workshop introduced the concept of "Mission Survivability" whilst retaining the three core areas above, either pertaining to the "survivability" of a platform through a complete mission, or the "survivability" of the mission itself (i.e. probability of mission success). 
My vote therefore is to replace armour/toughness with Vulnerability for Desert Eagle.

ISF troops approaching Fallujah (AFP/Getty)
The other issue is the courage rating. How many hits can you take before running away? This in LR is a reaction test to casualties or other criteria, such as loss of a leader. I think that in DE it might have wider application. In the example above, would your troops have stood and contested a VB-IED? Other video shows that apparently rag-tag ISF units are not only alert to VB-IEDs but identify them early and seek to engage them. We see individuals running towards them and shouldering rifles and RPGs to lay down defensive fire.

Le Duc has come up with the concept of Willingness to Fight, or WTF! In the case of potential reasons for testing morale, a WTF test might well be very appropriate. I'm therefore going to use WTF in place of courage, representing the ability of troops to withstand threats other than simple reactions to casualties.  

1 comment:

Duc de Gobin said...

Very thought provoking stuff here. I like the concept of vulnerability and its link to body armour - though I guess better troops who know how to find cover also count.

There might be a difference between troops who 'run away' due to low WtF and those who opt to stay in covered positions (western forces) awaiting medevac. they won't move forward, though will still use their firepower.