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Moving under Defend Orders
As noted above it is possible to do this and you may move in any direction provided what you do is a reaction to the enemy you spotted rather than moving off against some as yet undetected threat (the old helicopter view general ship issue). In Journal 39 Mark recounts an occasion in a game where it took him a while to re-deploy a company on defend orders; to support a neighbouring company that was exposed on the flank and under attack. Using an order change will speed this up Mark, exactly as you mused on in your battle report! By issuing an order change all stands in the recipient battalion may make an unlimited pivot next movement phase, as they can also do when the reach the end of their attack ‘arrow’. In MSH units have large CZ’s, so in Mark’s example the BHQ could have advanced with one company to support the outlying company while other stands could have remained stationary in their positions still within in the CZ (since the unit was engaged with the enemy stands are not required to move at all under attack orders). Admittedly this is slightly ‘marginal’ (i.e. the BHQ should be able to look after it’s own matters) but it has the desired effect without requiring any rules changes.
Ground Surveillance Radar
In both Journals 43 and 44 Mark refers to GSR and offers some proposed house rules – I like the look of the proposal in Journal 43 and would be interested in feedback from players as to whether they find this “too powerful” or not, and hence whether play balance suffers. MSH is intended to emphasise manoeuvre and command rather than long-range gunnery duels at theoretical range and performance! So extended spotting capability may prove counterproductive to game play.
The effects of training are built into the combat system – but in reverse. They affect the ability of stands to remove suppression rather than the ability of stands to inflict damage. The reason for this is that when using a d6 for fire combat there just isn’t room to add adjustments to attack or defence values for training. If we were using a d10 for example we could have factored in a +1/-1 for Veteran/Green troops respectively – however we aren’t, so I strongly discourage Mark’s suggestion in Journal 44, see my previous comments earlier in the article.
Higher Level HQ’s
Mark’s suggestion is quite acceptable and is in fact more or less the very same house-rule I use myself. Brigade/Regiment HQ’s may form improvised battalions by attaching up to 3 companies of troops from their own command.
Dismounting from IFVs and Combat Teams in General
Here I have a major difference of opinion with Mark. Unfortunately these suggestions are symptomatic of a failure to grasp what we were trying to achieve with MSH (no offence to Mark intended) – I have had this discussion repeatedly with gamers here in New Zealand (mostly those that play the WRG modern one to one scale rules), where I believe the combination of a change of scale and a radical shift in rules focus which does not emphasise theoretical performance and (irrelevant) technical details – tends to be a bit much to take in initially!
TI Bonus for spotting troops in cover if halted
In all honesty this is irrelevant in my view – This is an unnecessary complexity – it’s just another minor rule that will have little impact on 99% of games and will simply slow them down. We culled out several of these types of rules prior to publishing to assist game play and speed up games. However I have no objection to the rule per se, if (as Mark obviously is) you are happy to use such a rule then do so.
Order of Fire Attacks
If you are playing some sort of combat modifier for troop quality you should not also play a house rule of this type (Journal 44) – not withstanding that I have already explained why we did not include a combat modifier in the first place. If you do feel a need to represent differences in troop quality I’d prefer to see this option used rather than adjusting die rolls. Personally I don’t actually see a need for this anyway – since the better-trained forces have advantages basically everywhere else, if they need this as well they aren’t being commanded very well! Once again, if you prefer it, then use it.
Contrary to Mark’s comments in Journal 46 the rules are clear about Close Assaults. The close assault described by Mark is not permitted – normal (dismounted) infantry may not assault Combat Teams or AFV Stands (that are unsuppressed in the open). As the troops described are armoured, and not “inside terrain” (e.g. in a wood or town), they cannot be assaulted, except by “Combat Teams”. The hedge is a linear terrain feature so they are not “inside it”, nor do tank scrapes count as “terrain”. The philosophy here is that normal infantry, in the open, simply wouldn’t be able to, or wouldn’t be allowed to, close with unsuppressed armour. Combat teams, riding in or moving behind their IFV’s, could however literally drive “onto the position” (hence they are allowed to CA armour in the open). An artillery barrage to suppress the Scimitar’s, etc, would have allowed the Soviets to close and assault.