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Found a fantastic series on Youtube (G.I. History Handbook).

Home Forums Historical Tabletop Game Discussions Found a fantastic series on Youtube (G.I. History Handbook).

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  lolapaluuza 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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    Cult of Games Member

    This series really does a good job in explaining how US infantry squads (and platoons) were trained and organised. After watching them I realised what a terrible job our modern day Wargames rules do at reflecting the tactics of the period. Usually it’s just a “Warhammer 40K” spacing of 2 inches apart (such as found in Bolt Action), whereas the troops actually could be VERY spread out (as long as they were in visual range of the next person in the chain of command as there no radios in those days). The use of squad squads almost never appears, and things like bounding overwatch (probably THE most basic squad tactic) never appears.

    Seeing as most wargame rules like Bolt Action are aimed at platoon sized actions, how is it we’ve got things so wrong?

    But agree or disagree, this series is a fantastic watch and very educational. It might also have you asking yourself again about some very basic assumptions we “armchair generals” have about the period. I’d love to find similar for other nations in the period (you can find LOTS on German equipment and squad organisation, but finding stuff on the training, handbook and squad tactics is a lot harder to find).



    Cult of Games Member

    Great question. I could probably write a very boring essay on this topic. You may not agree with that essay and I may not be right in my views but, to sum it up in one word, gamefication (if that’s how you spell it).

    Bolt Action is an entertaining game and designed for enjoyment on the table top. Gamers want to see troops and some armoured vehicles charging around. When you consider the scale, the table top is actually only 120m by 70m (rough estimate). That’s pretty small. If you played it realistically and true to what actually happened, you’d have maybe 3 or 4 models per side in that area, at least in open terrain. To make that interesting, you’d need a skirmish rule set and something very different.

    So there probably are historically accurate rule sets out there. But then it is a case of striking a balance between scale, realism and ‘fun for the majority’. Looking back at old rule sets from yesteryear, they tried realism. But then they involved a lot of tables, rules and other faffing around that just isn’t as much fun. So while the game may not reflect the actual historical training regimes and other effects, the rules try to replicate but require unit cohesion for table top neatness and accuracy of game play.

    It effectively boils down to playing a game and scale that you think fits what you want to achieve. 🙂


    Cult of Games Member

    The videogame ‘Brothers in Arms: Hells’ Highway’ did focus on proper squad level tactics and made it into the core gameplay loop.
    It was still a game (everyone has infinite ammo), but you did get to use suppressive fire to ‘fix’ the enemy squad and then order a second squad to flank them. So it kind of worked.

    Depending on the luck of the draw you can sort of simulate that in Bolt-action too (pin the enemy with one squad, eliminate it with a second one).

    The ‘Ambush’ order can be used to mimmick ‘overwatch’, but it kind of grants initiative to the enemy (you hope they’re foolish enough to enter your line of fire).

    It would be neat if real world tactics were easier to do in games like this.

    1:48 tactics is a game that does have potential to do this as it is a few models per side with each soldier being unique characters.



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