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Moving onto the effects of the actual close assault (taking on board that it occurred in the game described regardless), a failed assault only results in troops retiring when a single defender defeats multiple attackers. The logic here is that the (defeated) stand will advance again on the following move, so it retreats a double move back, then advances a full move forwards next turn, ending up 1 move away from where it attempted the assault the previous move. This is solely a mechanism to have the stands end up in the desired position (1 full move from the original target) and unable to immediately assault again on the following turn. An alternate more complicated option would have been a standard single move retreat, followed by a suppression that could not be removed that turn. This is obviously very clumsy, and leaves the stand vulnerable to suppressing fire the following bound – which we did not want.
The idea here that Mark mentions is a good one and I support it totally. My personal house rule is similar; “Recon stands may move half speed and count as in spotting cover regardless of where they are – while doing so they may not shoot”. In fact, on contemplation, I would suggest a combination of the two (see below).
Artillery OPs (FOs)
Again I agree with Mark and have no issue with OPs calling in fire while ‘Combat Moving’. However OPs should not be allowed to call in fire if they move their full movement.
In several issues Mark has offered some rehashed data cards, and I must admit I have not studied these in detail so I will reserve comment for some other occasion. However I would note that the beta version of the official Dutch data cards is available on the website – and may differ from Mark’s offering.
In conclusion I’d like to remind players that MSH is all about what you enjoy – so if you aren’t happy with something feel free to experiment. MSH is designed to provide a backbone for your games, and scenario designers are encouraged to incorporate special rules to add flavour to individual games. If you don’t like something – change it! Hopefully you will play fast exciting games, have lots of fun, and when it’s all over look at the final result and say “that’s probably the result that would have happened in real life!” Also please remember that I am but one half of the MSH team, and my thoughts on house rules and similar are purely those; mine. MSH is very much a combined effort in which Alex and I had many differing ideas, which we eventually incorporated by finding the best adoption of those ideas in each area.
On the whole I’d like to thank Mark for his constructive criticisms and thoughts regarding MSH, and look forward to more thought provoking discussion. I hope this article has been informative, useful, and as thought provoking as Mark’s? Where possible I will endeavour to periodically submit articles to the Journal in response to queries and comments contributed by other SOTCW members.
Optional Alternative Reconnaissance Stand Rule Suggestion
- Recon stands may use “Stealth Movement” at the rates suggested by Mark and Phil (1/3 Speed for Green, 1/2 Speed for Regular and 2/3 Speed for Veteran), they may not fire while doing so. The movement of any recon stand cannot be reduced below 1/3 when doing this (e.g. a Green Recon Tank stand on soft ground would move 1/3 not 1/6 it’s normal distance).
- Their base range for being spotted becomes 3” while doing so (even in the open), adjusted of course for spotters on high ground or in helicopters.
- If fired at (while in stealth mode) they will suffer fire as normal, but may choose to “break off” (directly to their rear) a full move if suppressed (if it survives this occurs immediately at the end of the fire phase in which it was suppressed – this movement counts as its move for the next turn's movement phase). Unsuppressed stands that were fired on (but not hit) may do a reversing move their full move distance in the next turn's movement phase if desired. These moves do not count as stealth movement above and can include an initial pivot if needed the minimum to avoid enemy in the way.
Mark Bevis replied to this reply in the SOTCW's Journal 51 (Christmas 2004) and you can read his reply here in More thoughts on Modern Spearhead.
Contributor: © 2003 John Moher.