Sunday, August 10, 2014

Modern Squad Level Combat – Yes, it is possible!

I have always loved Advanced Squad Leader.  Critical Hit’s ATS system is also good, as are a couple of other systems such as Panzer, Fire Team and Firepower.  However, most of the squad level combat systems pretty much adhere to World War II.  There are some exceptions, Firepower and Fire Team come to mind, and Critical Hit has attempted to venture into uncharted territory with Genesis 48 and Dien Bien Phu modules for ASL and ATS.  The Panzer system had MBT and IDF, with reprints/updates on the way from GMT. 

But I have always wanted to take ASL in particular into the post-World War II era.  Right now, MMP is getting ready to roll out their KASL – Korean War ASL module.  This is awesome and I can’t wait for this to come out.

But what about other wars?  The majority of the Arab/Israeli Wars were fought with equipment that was not substantially different than its World War II predecessors.  Up until even 1973, the Israelis had modified Shermans, while the Arabs still had some T-34/85s.  Patton tanks, Centurions, T-55s and T-62s were not that much more advanced than their earlier counterparts.  RPG-2s and RPG-7s were only marginally better than the Bazooka or Panzerfaust.  Small arms were still similar. 

Basically, there is no real reason why gamers cannot reproduce engagements from the 1948, 1956, and 1967 Arab-Israeli Wars in ASL.  Or even engagements from the Korean War, the South African/Rhodesian Wars, the Indo-Pakistan Kashmir conflicts, the Sino-Vietnamese border wars, the Angolan Civil War and other African Civil Wars, etc.  You name it.  ASL should be able to accommodate it. 

Now, I will admit, once we get into the 21st century with increased lethality of the main gun armaments, body armor, increased accuracy of artillery and communications, air support by fast moving jet aircraft, things might get a little dicey. 

There was a move some time ago to bring ASL into the era of post-World War II combat.  MASL, modern ASL.  While some work has been done, my passion is to build on this and attempt to create an Arab-Israeli module that allows one to play scenarios from 1948, 1956 and 1967.  Critical Hit tried to do this with Genesis 48 and the new Genesis II, but I am not sure they captured the essence of either army, their respective quirks and the tactics and equipment used.  We’ll see how it goes.  In the meantime, take a peak at the DRAFT new counter for the RPG-7.  I'll probably wind up changing some of the values, but here you go.  

How did I arrive at these numbers?  They look pretty similar to the Panzerschreck.  TRADOC (U.S. Army training and Doctrine Command) in the 1970’s did an in-depth analysis of the hit probabilities of the RPG-7.  Their data was something like this:

To Hit %

Now, these percentages are at the training range in controlled conditions, not on the battlefield.  There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the maximum effective range for this weapon is out to at most 250m.  And with bullets flying, explosions going off, troops under stress, confusion on the battlefield, moving to get into position, etc., these percentages would go down a bit.  So I came up with my To Hit table.  Again, there are plenty of stories that describe the best use of this weapon is at close range, between 0 and 3 hexes in ASL terms.  After that, wind, jerkiness, missed aiming, and many other factors greatly affect the accuracy of the missile. I may have to extend the range a little, to maybe 7 or 8, and decrease the IFT value to 8, so the front values would be 8-8.  We'll see.  

Brett’s ASL TH Table
To Hit #

The To Kill numbers are based on armor penetration of the warhead.  The early RPG-7’s used a single stage HEAT warhead which penetrates about 260mm of rolled homogeneous armor (RHA), or just over 10 inches of armor plating.  In comparison, the Panzerschreck could penetrate about 150mm of RHA, and the Panzerfaust could penetrate around 200mm of RHA.  The 1945 models could do even more damage.  So I extrapolated the RPG-7 To Kill number at somewhere between 32 and 33. 

Now, this is all subject to playtesting, but the technical specifications and the battlefield useage all indicate that the RPG-7 (the initial model through the 1970’s) was just a bit more accurate and damaging than the Panzerfaust.    Of course, I didn’t do any ballistics modeling or statistical analysis, but this is only a game (sacrilege, I know)  and apples to apples comparisons also serve to help determine the capabilities of weapons in the game. 

So there we go.  I am going to start developing counters and rules for other weapon systems and see where it takes me.  Plus I am going to start researching engagements and scenario-possibilities for some of the Arab-Israeli Wars.  

1 comment:

  1. I searched in Google for Modern Advanced Squad Leader and didn't find much, is it still in development?