Now wet days should be good wargaming days, as they give you an excuse to stay indoors and keep dry … and get on with all those wargaming tasks that you wanted to do. But life has a habit of finding other, more pressing things for you to do, and today has been no exception. So most of today has been dedicated to doing all sorts of non-wargaming things.
I had plans to make some minefields and pillboxes for my next play-test, but I have made no progress at all and have no idea when I will be able to sit down and make them.
C’est la vie!
I did, however, manage to visit the Arts & Craft section of the small department store that is situated in the Retail Outlet Centre at Chatham Maritime, where I bought some more pieces of coloured felt. These will be used for the forthcoming play-test of the latest draft of the Modified Morschauser ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules.
I pose this question because of the recent work I have done – with the help and assistance of Jim Wright and Ross Macfarlane – modifying and developing Joseph Morschauser’s wargames rules.
Whilst the basic mechanisms are still very definitely Morschauser’s, the wording of the rules is gradually moving away from his style, content, and layout to become much more like my own. Rules have also been added to those in the original version, and some of the original ones have been changed or even removed. At some time in the future I intend to add some explanatory notes and diagrams to the text, and at that point I suspect that over 50% of the content will be my original work rather than Joseph Morschauser’s.
But is it right to call the result mine?
My gut feeling is that the answer to this question is ‘NO!’ because the fundamental elements of the rules will still be Joseph Morschauser’s.
Perhaps the answer is to look for a solution in the world of music, where composers have used the work of others to produce variations. For example, Brahms’s wrote VARIATIONS AND FUGUE ON A THEME BY HANDEL and the VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY HAYDN. So when I cast around for a name for the rules I am still developing, perhaps I should subtitle them something along the lines of VARIATIONS ON A SET OF WARGAMES RULES BY MORSCHAUSER.
- Reformatting the ‘Units’ table so that the Unit Types are separated into Infantry, Artillery, AFV, and Miscellaneous
- Removing Antitank Grenades from the list of weapons in the ‘Units’ table that Infantry Units can use
- Adding Minefields to the list of Unit Types
- Removing the rules that allow Tank Units to run down other types of Unit
- Removing the rules pertaining to the use of Antitank Grenades
- Removing the rules that stopped Tank Units from engaging in Close Combat
- Adding new rules that deal with Woods & Built-up Areas, Minefields, and Barbed Wire to the ‘Special Rules’ section.
Class Wargames has recently launched a film about Guy Debord’s THE GAME OF WAR, and it is possible to view the film in five sections on the website. Whilst I found this … interesting … I actually found the rules of Debord’s game more relevant to my studies of wargames that use gridded playing surfaces. They are certainly worth looking at in more detail, and I shall be doing so sometime over the next few days.
- Removed the section of the rules that allows Tank Units to run down other Units and destroy them (This immediately reduced the complexity of the rules and increased their simplicity)
- Given AFV – Tanks a Close Combat Power = 3
- Given AFV – Armoured Car a Close Combat Power = 5
- Removed the use of Antitank Grenades from Infantry – Rifles and Infantry – Submachine Gun Units
- Added a rule about what Units can move through woods off road
- Added a rule about the ability of Units in woods to fire at enemy Units
- Added a rule about the ability of Units to see enemy Units that are hidden inside woods
I am also thinking about introducing rules for minefields and barbed wire before the next play-test. Time … and pressure of work … will be the determining factors as to whether I manage to do so or not.
During the first Tank vs. Infantry encounters in World War I (and also during the early part of World War II) there were instances when the Infantry broke and ran, but once they had been trained how to deal with tanks at close-quarters the Infantry learned that staying and fighting was safer.
Morschauser’s rules do not seem allow this to happen. Furthermore, trying to explain the anomalies that arise in the rules as a result of Tank Units being the exception to the general Melee/Close Combat rules is adding a level of complication that could – and should – be avoided.
I have discussed this by email with Jim Wright, and I have decided that the next draft of the rules will reflect these changes:
- AFV – Tanks will have a Close Combat Power = 2
- AFV – Armoured Car will have a Close Combat Power = 3
- Infantry – Rifles and Infantry – Submachine Gun Units will no longer have the option to use Antitank Grenades (they only had a range of 1 grid square, which is the same as the Close Combat range, and they are therefore subsumed into the Close Combat Power of the Infantry Units)
I am also thinking about introducing rules for minefields and barbed wire … but not until after the next play-test at the earliest.
The Eastlanders were smarting as a result of the defeat they suffered when the punitive force they sent across the border into Morschauserland was – to all intents and purposes – wiped out. They decided that national honour demanded that they send a more powerful force across the border to destroy the Morschauserland units that were there.
The Morschauserlanders were not unaware of the Eastlanders desire for revenge, and rearranged their border defences. They also sent one of their Tank units up to the border to reinforce the units that were already there.
- 4th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit; 1 x Machine Gun Unit
- 5th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit, 1 x Machine Gun Unit
- 6th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit; 1 x Mortar Unit
- 1st Artillery: 1 x Howitzer Unit
- 1st Tanks (The Morschauser Bays): 2 x Tank Units
- 103rd Rifles: 3 x Rifle Units
- 104th Rifles: 3 x Rifle Units
- 102nd Machine Guns: 1 x Machine Gun Unit
- 102nd Mortars: 1 x Mortar Unit
- 101st Artillery: 1 x Howitzer Unit
- 101st Antitank Artillery: 1 x Antitank Gun Unit
- 101st Tanks: 2 x Tank Units
The following map shows the initial positions held by the Morschauserlanders and the main axes of attack used by the Eastlanders. The 103rd Rifles and 102nd Mortars were ordered to follow behind the 101st Tanks, and the 102nd Machine Guns and 101st Antitank Artillery were to advance behind the 104th Rifles. The 101st Artillery was to remain just off the battlefield and only move forward once the 104th Rifles had engaged any enemy unit on their axis of advance.
Both sides threw a die to see which side would move first; the Morschauserlanders threw a 1 and the Eastlanders threw a 3; therefore the Eastlanders moved first.
With the 101st Tanks in the lead, the northernmost Eastland troops advanced into Morschauserland. The 101st Tanks opened fire on the 5th Grenadiers directly to their front. The southernmost Tank Unit threw a 6, which destroyed the 5th Grenadier’s Machine Gun Unit, and the northernmost Tank Unit threw a 2, which meant that the Tank’s fire had missed its target.
First blood to the Eastlanders! The Machine Gun Unit of the 5th Grenadiers is destroyed.
The 104th Rifles then moved across the border in line, closely followed by 102nd Machine Guns and 101st Antitank Artillery. The 104th Rifles reached the edge of the woods, but as the 4th Grenadiers were in cover a simple 50:50 dice throw was used to determine if the 104th Rifles would see the 4th Grenadiers. Because the 104th Rifles were judged to have seen the 4th Grenadiers, they opened fire on them. Starting with the northernmost Unit, the 104th Rifles threw a 6, a 1, and a 2. As a result, the Rifle Unit of the 4th Grenadiers was destroyed.
The 4th Grenadiers are reduced to 50% of their original strength.
The 101st Artillery then crossed the border just south of the main road. It then opened fire on the Machine Gun Unit of 4th Grenadiers. The Eastlanders threw a 2, which meant that the Artillery had missed their target.
The 101st Artillery opens fire … and misses!
It was then the turn of the Morschauserlanders to move. The Machine Gun Unit of the 5th Grenadiers opened fire on the left-hand Rifle Unit of the 104th Rifles. They threw a 4, and the Rifle Unit was destroyed.
The Morschauserlanders strike back! A Unit of the 104th Rifles is destroyed by machine gun fire.
The 1st Artillery then opened fire on the right-hand Rifle Unit of the 104th Rifles, which was just in range. They threw a 5, which destroyed the Rifle Unit.
The 1st Artillery open fire with devastating effect on the enemy.
The 1st Tanks now moved forward to engage the 101st Tanks. Moving from their position behind the village, they advanced so that they straddled the road between the village and the remaining Unit of the 5th Grenadiers. They then opened fire on the advancing enemy tanks.
The northernmost Tank Unit threw a 1 … and missed its target! The right-hand Tank Unit threw a 2 … and also missed its target!
The two Units of the 1st Tanks open fire … and both miss their targets!
Both sides threw a die to see which side would move first; the Morschauserlanders threw a 4 and the Eastlanders threw a 5; therefore the Eastlanders moved first again.
The 101st Tanks moved forward, the right-hand Tank Unit running down the remaining Rifle Unit of the 5th Grenadiers. Both Tank Units then opened fire on the Tank Units of the 1st Tanks. The right-hand Tank Unit threw a 5 and destroyed the enemy Tank Unit that it was alongside. The other Eastlander Tank Unit threw a 6 … and destroyed the Morschauserlander’s last Tank Unit.
Short-range Tank vs. Tank engagements tend to be fast, furious, and deadly, and this one proved no exception to the rule.
The remaining Rifle Unit of 104th Rifles charged into the wood to its front and engaged the Machine Gun Unit of the 4th Grenadiers in Close Combat. The Eastlander’s threw two dice; a red one for themselves and a black one for the enemy Unit. The red dice score was 6 (which is great than its Close Combat Power) and the black dice score was 2 (which is less than the enemy Unit’s Close Combat Power). The Machine Gun Unit was destroyed!
The Machine Gun Unit of the 4th Grenadiers fights to the death against the remaining Rifle Unit of 104th Rifles.
The rest of the Eastland forces now continued their advance. The 101st Artillery opened fire on the concealed 1st Artillery, They threw a 5, which destroyed the 1st Artillery before it could reply.
The 101st Artillery firing at the opposing Artillery … with devastating results!
At this point it was apparent that the Eastlanders were going to prevail, and the 6th Grenadiers began to withdraw. All the Morschauserlanders could hope for was that reinforcements could be mobilised quickly and sent forward to stem the Eastland invasion.
As before this battle was fast and furious. The tanks did have an effect on the speed and decisiveness of the Eastland victory, as did the apparently one-sided dice scores! The melee rules (now renamed the Close Combat rules) worked well on the one occasion that they were used, and were much easier to understand now that they have been re-written.
Again I was in luck and managed to buy two more models each of ‘Vogel’s Mark VII tank’ and the German Army truck. In addition I purchased two models of the ‘Last Crusade Biplane’ which are described as having two 50mm machine guns(!).