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OldBloodandGuts
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OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Thu, 14 October 2010 17:33
As has been noted in another thread, the rulebook for Winter Wars is up in pdf form (http://cdn1.daysofwonder.com/memoir44/en/img/mm_ww_rules_en. pdf).

I have to say, most of these new units look like they will add a lot to the game. Tank Destroyer units were sorely needed (in fact, some others on these boards and I have been making them as "special rules" in our own scenarios for some time), and the rules look pretty solid. Scoring a hit on vehicles with a star symbol is a tried and true way to reflect their lethality. The increased vulnerability is a neat idea -- TDs are also hit when armor or artillery rolls a star against them -- representing the tradeoff between armor and armament that is nearly always necessary. I'm not sure how historical it is - were Jagdpanthers and Jagdtigers easier to kill than Panthers and Tigers? - but it should be a neat game dynamic.

I also like giving Russian and German TD units a one figure (ie., "elite") advantage. Again, I'm not sure how historically accurate this is, since the Americans had really caught up in TD technology in a lot of ways by late 1944 and 1945 with the introduction of the M36, but I like the concept.

Heavy AT guns are a nice addition, too. Does the "heavy" mean that we can expect to see "light" ones for early war combat in North Africa? My only complaint here is that the AT gun represented, the fabled German 88, was also a dreaded anti-personnel weapon. It would have been nice to see something in the rules represent that. But this is a small matter.

Infantry with AT guns and infantry with mortars seem like solid, common-sense based units. Giving established (ie., non-moving) mortars a range bonus should create a nice effect.

Infantry with machine guns, though, don't seem like they will represent the effect of an MG very well. If you aren't familiar with the rules, MG units function as regular infantry but if the MG unit hasn't moved that turn, it scores on stars vs. "soft" (ie., infantry) targets. To me, this doesn't represent, even in the M44 abstract, the effect of an MG on the WW2 battlefield.

Unlike WW1, when units were ordered to march straight into MG fire, by WW2, infantry knew to find cover. The MG, then, was less a tool of lethality than a tool of suppression -- great at forcing the enemy to keep his head down while the infantry flanked, or at closing off avenues of attack, and great at breaking up attacks. This would have been better represented, in my mind, by (1) treating MG rolls of stars as retreat flags and (2) using three figures per MG unit to show the vulnerability of the MG, and how it needed to be protected by other units. Instead, the MGs are just hyper-lethal infantry, with no trade-off.

Aside from the MGs, though, this promises to be a great expansion, and I'm looking forward to it.

Your thoughts?

OBG
      
ad79
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Thu, 14 October 2010 22:37
I like the new Late War Mortar units, and their ability to move and battle as infantry, or function as Mortars with extended range when not moving. A great move by Richard and DOW since I think the old Mortar unit was only good at defending.

Heavy AT gun was introduced in the Breakthorugh Kit and this time around we get proper badges to represent them. I think they work well in the scenarios I have used them. (Breakthrough To the Beach and Counter-Attack of the BEF)

Tank Destroyer sounds cool and I like the rule that it ignores the Town hex handicap for armor units. This will be a unit that will work well with the new On the Move orders in the Breakthrough Deck


But from this Winter Wars expansion I think On the move will make the biggest impact on gameplay.
Defensive moves will be possible while keeping the pressure up on the frontline.
Feint attacks will be more prominent, as you can move some units in one section and then move 1 or 2 dangerous units into position another place on the board.

And I think scenarios like Breakthrough to Mortain, Sword beach, Nach Moskau and Manado Landings from the Breakthrough Kit will play very differently with this deck.

Stig Morten

[Updated on: Thu, 14 October 2010 22:38]

      
Shoegaze99
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Thu, 14 October 2010 22:39
OldBloodandGuts wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 11:33

Unlike WW1, when units were ordered to march straight into MG fire, by WW2, infantry knew to find cover. The MG, then, was less a tool of lethality than a tool of suppression -- great at forcing the enemy to keep his head down while the infantry flanked, or at closing off avenues of attack, and great at breaking up attacks. This would have been better represented, in my mind, by (1) treating MG rolls of stars as retreat flags and (2) using three figures per MG unit to show the vulnerability of the MG, and how it needed to be protected by other units. Instead, the MGs are just hyper-lethal infantry, with no trade-off.

Good thoughts. I can certainly see this working, or as an alternative, maybe something akin to "infantry units in close combat with an MG unit may not move (but can attack as normal," or a similar effect when stars are rolled.

That said, the existing rule works for me, too.

[Updated on: Thu, 14 October 2010 22:39]

      
tank commander
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 01:08
OldBloodandGuts wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 11:33

I also like giving Russian and German TD units a one figure (ie., "elite") advantage. Again, I'm not sure how historically accurate this is, since the Americans had really caught up in TD technology in a lot of ways by late 1944 and 1945 with the introduction of the M36...





The M 36, while having a more powerful gun than on earlier US TDs still retained the open topped turret. Its armor was also not up to snuff compared to the German and Russian TDs. While the latter could slug it out in open battle with heavy armor, the M 36 would be hard pressed to do so.

[Updated on: Fri, 15 October 2010 01:12]

      
50th
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 03:03
tank commander wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 18:08

OldBloodandGuts wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 11:33

I also like giving Russian and German TD units a one figure (ie., "elite") advantage. Again, I'm not sure how historically accurate this is, since the Americans had really caught up in TD technology in a lot of ways by late 1944 and 1945 with the introduction of the M36...





The M 36, while having a more powerful gun than on earlier US TDs still retained the open topped turret. Its armor was also not up to snuff compared to the German and Russian TDs. While the latter could slug it out in open battle with heavy armor, the M 36 would be hard pressed to do so.


That is why, in my house rules, American TD's are susceptible to sniper hits. Snipers in tall buildings, trees, ect could shoot crew in an open topped tank destroyer.
      
OldBloodandGuts
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 03:43
tank commander wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 19:08




The M 36, while having a more powerful gun than on earlier US TDs still retained the open topped turret. Its armor was also not up to snuff compared to the German and Russian TDs. While the latter could slug it out in open battle with heavy armor, the M 36 would be hard pressed to do so.


Interesting -- I'm not a tank expert, so that's news to me. I was under the impression that with the M36 and the lighter armed but super-fast M18 Hellcat, US TD technology could hang with the Germans...nothing quite on pace with behemoths like the Jagdtiger or Soviet SU-100, but not completely outclassed. Guess I stand corrected.

Can you point me towards some good reading about this stuff?
      
Brummbar44
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 05:11
Tank Commander is on the money with regard to the Western Allies TD's. The Wolverine was essentially a Sherman in terms of armour. The M-18 was even lighter which allowed for it's incredible speed which is what it mostly relied on for it's defence (thus the variant in my Hellcats Race to Noville scenario).

Funny, while the Germans and Soviets went heavier (they did mainly fight each other so the need was there) the Americans took a different route and decided on speed.
      
tank commander
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 11:43
OldBloodandGuts wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 21:43

tank commander wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 19:08




The M 36, while having a more powerful gun than on earlier US TDs still retained the open topped turret. Its armor was also not up to snuff compared to the German and Russian TDs. While the latter could slug it out in open battle with heavy armor, the M 36 would be hard pressed to do so.


Interesting -- I'm not a tank expert, so that's news to me. I was under the impression that with the M36 and the lighter armed but super-fast M18 Hellcat, US TD technology could hang with the Germans...nothing quite on pace with behemoths like the Jagdtiger or Soviet SU-100, but not completely outclassed. Guess I stand corrected.

Can you point me towards some good reading about this stuff?


You can start here:

http://www.wwiitanks.co.uk/

and here:

http://www.tanksinworldwar2.com/

If you type search "WW II tanks" you can find a number of sites with info.

Hope this helps.

[Updated on: Fri, 15 October 2010 11:49]

      
tank commander
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 11:53
The chief advantage of the US TDs vs German TDs was their turret, which of course gave the gun all around field of fire without having to move the vehicle and it's speed.

As to the open top, a hinged metal roof was later used on the M 36 but I think was was in the post war period.
      
OldBloodandGuts
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 16:43
I'm surprised, actually, to see how lightly armored the M36 was (50mm, compared to twice that on parts of a Panther), especially considering a lot of books I've read talk about what a godsend the M36 was -- I read a book on the Bulge that seemed to argue the M36s basically single-handedly cut the corridor to Bastogne and won the battle. I guess that just goes to show how weak and outgunned the older US TDs were.

And you're right, the metal roof for the M36 was definitely a postwar addition -- that much I did know. Smile
      
tank commander
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 22:10
OldBloodandGuts wrote on Fri, 15 October 2010 10:43

... I read a book on the Bulge that seemed to argue the M36s basically single-handedly cut the corridor to Bastogne and won the battle. Smile


I have come to learn that not all that is printed in a book about history is fact. Sometimes it is based on faulty and or misleading info.

I read a book in the past on the battle of Prokhorovka. It stated that over 800 Soviet tanks charged and badly defeated 700 German tanks with nearly 100 of the German losses being Tigers.

Well, it turns that that would be one mean feat as the German units involved in that engagement had barely 20 operational Tigers total.

It also turns out that the Soviets suffered heavier losses that was first believed. As they had nearly 300 light tanks mixed in with their forces this is not surprising.

Current data suggests that the Russians lost 400+ tanks while the Germans lost less than 100 -- a handful which were Tigers.

I believe that battle was also where the tall tale of a KV-1 which goes soemthing like this.

It was set afire by several hits . The crew bailed out but then one crewman got back in and rammed a Tiger tank blowing both up and unnerving the rest of the German tankers in the area so much that they withdrew.

I never put much stock in that one -- it just did not sound right even when I read it over 30 years ago.




      
OldBloodandGuts
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Fri, 15 October 2010 23:25
tank commander wrote on Fri, 15 October 2010 16:10



I read a book in the past on the battle of Prokhorovka. It stated that over 800 Soviet tanks charged and badly defeated 700 German tanks with nearly 100 of the German losses being Tigers.

Well, it turns that that would be one mean feat as the German units involved in that engagement had barely 20 operational Tigers total.




The over-reporting of Tigers was a problem throughout the war for a lot of countries, I think. A lot of first-hand American accounts of the Bulge talked about Americans being overrun by Tigers -- turns out panicked troops, maybe in an effort to save some face, would report just about any enemy armor that they ran away from as a Tiger. Later investigations would find few, if any, cases involved actual Tigers.

But I guess if I was staring down the barrel of a Panther, I might call it a Tiger and run away, too... Smile
      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Sat, 16 October 2010 09:49
Also the Panzer IV type H was often mistaken for a Tiger as the skirting plate armour changed the outline shape to resemble a Tiger, especially the turret.

This was not intentional but it does show the extent of "Tiger Terror" in battle reports.

[Updated on: Sat, 16 October 2010 09:50]

      
ad79
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Sat, 16 October 2010 13:31
A question regarding the Tank Destroyer and Half-Tracks.

Any non-infantry unit hits the TD on a star, and that means the HT also does that.
Did the HT historically had firepower as an infantry unit or as a non-infantry unit.
To me it looks like it usually had MG's mounted and no heavier gun.

Stig Morten
      
OldBloodandGuts
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Sat, 16 October 2010 17:56
ad79 wrote on Sat, 16 October 2010 07:31

A question regarding the Tank Destroyer and Half-Tracks.

Any non-infantry unit hits the TD on a star, and that means the HT also does that.
Did the HT historically had firepower as an infantry unit or as a non-infantry unit.
To me it looks like it usually had MG's mounted and no heavier gun.

Stig Morten


I'm no armor expert (see above), but I know halftracks could be outfitted with a wide range of armaments. The Sd Kfz 251 - the standard German halftrack of the war - had variants with MGs, mortars, AT guns, AA guns, rocket launcher, even a flame thrower. The most common American HT, the M3, was a little less versatile, but still could mount MG, AA, and artillery.

Maybe some of you armor experts out there could back me up (or correct me Smile )?
      
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Sat, 16 October 2010 18:17
OBG is correct here. The HT was sometimes refitted with heavier ordnance (mostly the Germans and the Americans tended to do this).

Generally speaking though, the half-track was a troop carrier only armed with an MG (and soldiers!).

Interesting to note historically, the main tank killers on the Eastern Front were neither Tigers or Panthers (they really came late to the war) nor were the crews troopers (as tank crews are generally called) they were in fact gunners in SP guns. Most notoriously of these killers were the StuG's. Initially designed as close artillery support for the infantry, they were found to be the best at knocking out Soviet armor (better than the PzIII's of the day). As the war went on, the Tiger and the Panther did show up to match the Soviet tanks but the StuG's remained and continued to do the job.
      
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Sat, 16 October 2010 19:58
The M3A2 Gun Motor Carriage had a 75mm anti-tank gun with a shield mounted on it. There was also a 37mm variant.

      
ad79
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Re:OBG's take (and yours?) on the new units Sat, 16 October 2010 20:13
Thanks for the answers: OBG, Malcolm and 50th.


Stig Morten
      
    
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