10 October 2012

GameTalk - Melee Combat

Fix bayonets! CHARGE!

How should melee combat work in a modern wargame?

Yes, it does still happen - read this citation for proof.

By: Brant


Mad Padre said...

I'm just playing the Lock N Load Game Heroes of the Gap by Mark Walker and he uses a mechanism that seems very similar to the old AH SL. You tally the firepower of the units in melee, including applicable support weapons, add any leaders' combat mods, then work out the odds and roll on a CRT. Simple enough. The flaw in that, possibly, is that you can have units locked in melee for several turns while other stuff happens around them. My own feeling is that melee should be pretty well simultaneous as in some miniatures wargaming rules. I think that one side would either perish by close range firepower and other violence, or would lose heart and flee (and maybe get cut down as they run) and that this would happen pretty much at once. I am also unhappy about games where sides in melee have the potential to wipe each other out simultaneously.

Brian said...

I generally agree with the Padre, but would note that Squad Leader has 50 metre hexes, so a "melee" situation where opposing squads are in the same hex is actually a Close Quarter Battle situation.

It's still actually quite rare to beat people to death with their own weapons, as CPL Wooldridge did, but bayonet charges do happen too - in 2004 a platoon of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Basra ran low on ammunition and charged the Mahdi Army militiamen engaging them - none were killed with the bayonets but 35 were shot at close range as they fled (which is the way it's been since ancient times, normally the side with higher casualties has most of them inflicted while it's running away).

Anyway, in a modern game in-hex melees should be simultaneous and decisive, as Padre says. I think an exception would be in urban terrain, where getting anything done takes longer and more men and material than you would think.

Jack Nastyface said...

I think the "close combat" mechanism from Force-on-Force is not too bad. Basically attacking unit makes a morale check to see if it can launch a close assault attack; if fail, no...if yes, then defending unit makes a morale check. If passed, then defending unit can either try to break charge with defensive fire, or make one "rapid" movement. If unit fails quality check, then it either stand and fight or flee one rapid movement and get auto-pinned. If close combat occurs, fighting occurs until one unit is either wiped our or captured.

Obviously a flow-chart might be handy for this kind of thing.

IIRC but I can't find the resource, I believe the brits recorded over 20 bayonet kills in the Falklands.