Thursday, August 29, 2013

FoW Campaign: 7th Panzer France 1940 Rules

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1973-012-43, Erwin Rommel.jpg                    VS       Portrait of Brigadier-General Augustin-Marcelin Agliany
          Rommel                                                                Agliany                              Welvert
                                                  17 MAY 1940
     First off, thanks for participating in this experiment.  I am new to FoW myself, but a long-time fan of historical gaming and board war-gaming.  I am not using any FoW reference for the operational level campaign design.  FoW is the rule-set used for tactical engagements played out by the unit commanders (players).  The operational level will be represented on Google topo maps of the actual terrain.  Units will be from the listed TO&E and nothing smaller.  So 25th Pzr Regiment will have one chit itself moving on the map, or it will be its separate subordinate Battalions, but no smaller.  Im not breaking anything down below what is on the TO&E.  That would make this a mess to run. Except for some Eng companies it all battalions.  Outside of the general location of the unit on the map, I will track each unit's strength based on its success/failure in engagements.

     I am a fan of empowering leaders to make decisions and use their own judgment. That being said here are my few guidelines or play:

1) Scope of Engagements: The two players of any engagement have the latitude to conduct their game in anyway they see fit as long as they both agree on it.  If both sides decide to exclude air or even artillery and they just want to use tanks, fine, that's up to them. I just need the result of the engagement.  The point value for the engagement can be decided  by the players based on their time available that day.  The entire point of this is to have fun, learn more about FoW and learn some history on the side.  Its not a tournament and there is no prize.

2) Requirements for Engagments: The only thing I ask is that when the engagement is initiated, the possible lists for each side according to the TO&Es  needs to be adhered to exactly.  No extra panzer platoon or free infantry.  This just makes for more realistic campaign and connects the need for good operational maneuver on the map to good tactical success on the game table.
       For example:  The German 25th Pzr Regt or the 7th Divsion encounters elements of the French 12th Zouaves on the operational map.  At that time it is clear that a tactical engagement between the two will occur.  The German players look at the possible army lists and decides he is going to build and bring a Czech Pzr Company on Pg 72 of the Blitzkrieg book.  This does not need to be shared with his opponent until game day and in fact he can even switch to one of the other two options according to the TO&E allocated units anytime prior to the game.  The French player on the other hand is not so fortunate.  He has but one choice, the French Infantry Company listed on Pg 148 of Blitzkrieg.

As you can see some units have flexibility by the number of possible lists, making them more unpredictable and in some ways more powerful, and so they were in real life as well.  despite the various options on the lists you can still roughly determine the type of force you will be facing and prepare accordingly.  So like real commanders in the field for example, you know you are facing a mechanized infantry unit, but don't know if he has or will use tanks, lots of artillery or air until he arrives on the field.  The Fog of War.

3) Movement on the Operational Map:  Once unit commanders are assigned to units, each turn they will make the calls for their respectively assigned Regiments or Battalions for their movement.  We will use a simple 8 point compass (N_NE_E_SE_S_SW_W_NW) for picking the direction of travel of a unit.  I will move it according to terrain movement, enemy contact and unit spacing its full distance. So, example, Player 2 wants to move 2/25 Pzr Bn.  He says NW.  It is a mechanized unit and so it moves up a road and over some open terrain on its heading for a little more than 3km because of the increased allowance of the road.  The Bn ends it move out of enemy contact and is not stacked over more than one other unit.  Good to go, then next unit.  This continues until all the units have moved and then we resolve all contact and engagements.

4) Determining Engagements:  If chits from both sides are touching (or really close), they are in direct contact, which means an engagement is triggered.  I will place a flash over the location.  I will list the engagements and the units in a format like this:  1) 4 Km south of Sars-Porteries German 37th Recon vs French 12th Zouaves and 26e BCC.  You then reference the chart that has the allowed lists for each unit.  The German player can use: Leichte Panzer Pg66, Kradshutzen Inf Pg80,
 The French player can use: Infantry Company Pg 148 or Tank Combat (Squadron) Pg 144
Based on their respective allowed lists by unit.

5) Recording results:  Simple, I need three things. 1) Point values of both sides at the start, 2) Losses in platoons (anything that goes below 50% its starting strength), 3) Who won according to FoW rules and scenario specifics (Victory Points).

6) Operational effects because of tactical success or failure:
  Casualites --Units that suffered more than 50% casualties in points the engagement before will have their initial point value for the next engagement reduced by 10%.  This will simulate the effects of loss, lack of supply, etc.
     For example:  The German 1st Bn, 7th Motorized Infantry Regiment makes contact with the French 95th Recon Bn.  The Germans roll poorly and make some stupid moves in  a 1000pt game, loosing 600 pts worth of forces.  The next time this unit fights an engagement it will reduce its points available 10% from whatever the agreed upon point value for the engagement.  1/7th having pushed back the Recon Bn at quite a cost continues its attack the next day running into the French  3e Demi-Bde legere (Tank Bde). The players agree on a 750 point game.  The Germans must take 75pts (10%) off of their total points allowed because of the previous whooping they recived in their last engagement.  You can see how this effect can snowball and make units ineffective very quickly.  I think that accuratly represents the effects of battle very well especially in a campaign like this where the events took place over a very short span of time. Some units may need to be withdrawn very quickly to the rear because they will become un-winable lists after 1-2 beatings. There is no re-supply or rebuilding units,  Not feasible in the actual time period. 

Ok, so that it for now.  I will post a list of definitions and unit operational symbols later to demonstrate how the operational maneuver and weekly sitreps will work.  I am open to suggestions and if we need to all get together to discuss this and make sure we are all on the same page, Im cool with that too.

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